Zaubern mit Hirn

Wahrnehmungstäuschung, Ablenkung, falsche Annahmen – das Wissensmagazin “P.M.” widmet in seiner aktuellen Ausgabe (06/2019) sechs Seiten dem Phänomen Zauberkunst und seiner wissenschaftlichen Erforschung. Zu Wort kommen u.a. Dr. Gustav Kuhn und Apollo Robbins, erwähnt werden aber auch einige weitere Forscher und Zauberer.

Gazzo_Cups and Balls
Gazzo, ein Meister der Straßenzauberei und der Ablenkung

 

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Zeitzeugen von Kalanag und Gloria für Buchprojekt gesucht

Im Frühjahr 2020 soll endlich eine in Zauberkreisen bereits gespannt erwartete Biografie von Helmut Schreiber-Kalanag erscheinen. Verfasser ist der Journalist und Buchautor Dr. Malte Herwig. Beim Sammlertreffen 2019 las er jüngst aus seinem Manuskript und führte viele Fachgespräche.

Derzeit sucht er noch Zeitzeugen, die mit Kalanag und/oder Gloria de Vos (alias Anneliese Voss) in Kontakt standen oder solche Mitmenschen kennen, die im Besitz entsprechender Briefe oder Dokumente sind oder die etwas über Anita/Angela Ferrari wissen, Kalanags Partnerin nach der Trennung von Gloria.

Malte ist zu erreichen unter malte.herwig [at] gmail.com.

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Well said, Mr. Lamont!

Magic is not about fooling the audience. Magic depends on successful deception, but that is the means, not the end. Of course, the audience should not know how it is done, but this is a basic requirement, not the goal. The goal is not to provoke the experience of not knowing how it is done. The goal is not the experience of ignorance; it is the experience of magic. The audience are not the enemy; they are the people for whom we provide this experience. The goal of the magician is to create the effect that something happens that cannot happen. This is a paradox. It is a source of wonder. This is a profound and worthy goal.

Peter Lamont on “What is magic?”


 

Magic Exhibitions in London

Speaking of magic exhibitions: “Staging Magic” has opened in London and promises to tell “the story behind the illusion.” It will be enhanced by special events and film screenings. You can see it at the Senate House Library, which is part of the University of London, until June 15th.

Staging Magic London

Another exhibition, “Smoke and Mirrors”, will open April 11th at the Wellcome Collection in London and run until September 15th. On that occasion, a new book on magic will be published: “Spectacle of Illusion” by Matthew Tompkins, who, according to the site, “recently became the first member of the Magic Circle to be admitted on the basis of a peer-reviewed scientific publication.”

Spec of Illusion


 

We blinded them with science

Recent years have seen a surge in scientific research around the hidden forces of deception. Names like Kuhn, Wiseman, Fraps, Martinez-Conde and Machnik come to mind. Soon, another book by Dr. Kuhn will appear on our bookshelf:

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Read more about it here.

BTW, the next Science of Magic Conference will be held in Chicago in July, more details to be found here.

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Woooooooooowwwww!!!!!

Simply amazing: My birthday’s coming up, and this book is coming out! Finally, after years and years and decades of waiting: 600 pages of pure insight and wisdom (I guess), by magic’s biggest treasure alive and our most beloved Maestro, Mr. Juan Tamariz.

Screw those flying unicorns; I want THIS rainbow!

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Update: Got mine! About 100 pages in, and I find myself nodding and nodding again… Transcendental lucidity!


 

Thoughts on Erdnase, 101

Erdnase, Fig. 101

Mulling over the famous figure 101 that comes with the trick “The Three Aces” within TEATCT, here is a thought I have enjoyed nurturing for quite some time: What if there was a secret connection between the opening of the book (the original title on the frontispiece, to be precise) and this more or less closing feature of the book, the final drawing?

Unlike the other figures, this one does not only explain the ruse; in fact, it does deceive you, the reader. The display of the aces looks totally regular. Only when you know that there is a subterfuge involved, you will understand that the Ace of Diamonds is not what it claims to be, but something-or someone-else (the Ace of Hearts).

Now the same may be said about the triple of ARTIFICE, RUSE and SUBTERFUGE (= ARS (lat.) = art). I have always wondered why Erdnase used three nouns with roughly the same connotation here: You are being deceived expertly and artfully at the card table. Precision? (Erdnase obviously loved describing things in detail by doubling or tripling words.) PR blurb to make his book sound utterly important? Or simply a clever means of hiding something in the middle, in plain sight? That something might be “RUSE and.”

What is more, in American handwriting, figure I0I can be read forward as well as backwards. A hint at an anagram or at shifting words around?

Remember, “RUSE and” = “and RUSE” = “Andrus” = “Andrews” (!)

Finally, the book’s frontpage promises “over one hundred drawings.” The total of 101 figures delivers this promise, but only by the smallest margin. You may not call this cheating, but probably another artful subterfuge…

Pure conjecture, I admit. This could be more convincing if, say, figure 101 were really displayed on the very last page of the book, maybe on page 202, and if the book’s title went more like ART, ARTIFICE and ACES at the Card Table to resemble the three Aces in figure 101 even more closely.

Just a thought.

Here’s a bit more on Erdnase within my site.


 

Vanishing Julian Assange

Let’s not get too political here. Let’s simply state that WikiLeaks frontman Julian Assange has been living and hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for more than three and a half years now (!) in order to avoid being arrested by British authorities and, subsequently, turned over to Swedish or U.S. authorities. His future path is uncharted and most likely stony.

Now, if you were an illusionist like David Copperfield or Franz Harary and called in for help, how would you make him disappear from the embassy without his guardians, his persecutors, and the press bloodhounds noticing in due time?

Having just watched several old TV specials by Copperfield and the late great Paul Daniels, I would have an idea or two. (O.K., Jim Steinmeyer would probably come up with 27 solutions at once.)

If someone were to pull this off – can you imagine the hoot and the headlines?!

This is not your grandfather’s egg bag trick. This is not the latest poor poo-poo card move. This is truly magic with a meaning!

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Another Word on Cohen

If you are a first-timer to Steve Cohen’s show, Chamber Magic, like I was only recently, here are three tips for an even better experience:

  1. The suite where the show is staged is not located directly at the Waldorf Astoria hotel, but at the adjoining Waldorf Towers. You may want to use their extra side entrance to get to the right registration desk. If you decide to take a walk around the famous hotel first (which I would highly recommend), simply turn left in the dark, sumptuous main lobby and take the elevator down to the ground floor. Later, you will be guided upstairs to the suite.
  2. If you are not a front row aficionado (like Dave of L&L video fame), you may want to save the extra bucks for a front row seat and stick with a general admission ticket (currently priced at 85$). Just make sure to enter the elevator with the first group of visitors. After entering the suite, you will likely find many empty seats with exellent sight lines to choose from.
  3. Get at least a souvenir booklet and have it kindly signed by Steve after the show. Choose your items from the online gift shop before ordering your tickets.

Cohen 2b_FS.jpg


Addendum: Here’s an older post of mine (in German) with links for magic things to see and do in NYC (and also in Las Vegas and London).


 

 

A Word on Cohen

Recently, I finally managed to see Steve Cohen’s long-running show, Chamber Magic, in an elegant suite (see picture below) at the legendary Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City.

Steve is a consummate pro, his show is charmingly traditional, yet fast-paced, interactive, very entertaining and highly deceptive, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly recommended!

From a magician’s perspective, I find three aspects of his program particularly worth mentioning:

  1. He opened and closed with card magic.
  2. He presented both his signature pieces, Brick from Hat and Any Drink Called For, rather early in the show.
  3. He did a lot of mentalism (and I mean a lot).

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