Magic’s Masterbators: “Tsar”

According to all sources, Tomas Blomberg is a fuc $%#&! magic genius. I have absolutely no reason to believe otherwise, and I look forward to reading his opus magnum, Blomberg Laboratories, soon.

Then I came across this performance video of his effect “Tsar” on YouBurp.

Please watch it before reading on.

How do you feel about it?

Despite some respect for the concept I couldn’t help but think that this trick embodies a lot of things that are wrong with (magicians’) magic today:

  • it is long, confusing, and procedural;
  • it seems to celebrate clever technique, but I see it as a shallow technical demonstration desperately trying to dress itself as “clever” and “astonishing”;
  • it is a mere puzzle enabled by one-dimensional skill and with a built-in, open solution for probably any spectator whose IQ hovers at least an inch above an Idaho potato;
  • to me, it is neither astonishing, nor entertaining, nor convincing;
  • thus, in my humble opinion, it is simply not good magic.

Rather it is what I would cautiously call magic masterbation.

I have counted at least 13 encounters with Count Elmsley before I dozed off. I am sure I missed a couple more, but hey – life’s no bed of roses! Having drifted back into viewing mode, however, I was treated with a less than elegant final displacement of the three (?) black cards accompanying each far-traveled King. Duh!

Now, to be utterly fair, this performance is not by Tomas Blomberg himself; he may be doing it much better or differently. I haven’t read his book yet; it may also be the case that he designed this trick not for laymen, but as an experiment in stretching Elmsley to the n-th dimension. As such, I actually find it very intriguing.

But overall, I feel this is a lamentable 80:20 trick – 80% technique & procedure for 20% effect(s). I would love to see a 20:80 version one day!


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