Täglicher Theater-Zauber

ZZZBühne

Naja, nicht ganz… Nicht täglich, aber doch gefühlt im Wochentakt ist ab September in der neuen Kabarett- und Kleinkunst-Saison 2019/20 irgendwo ein Zauberer im Raum Frankfurt/Wiesbaden zu bestaunen, z.B. Ingo Oschmann, Marion Metternich, Pit Hartling (mit und ohne Thomas Fraps), Monsieur Brezelberger, Harry Keaton, Christian de la Motte, das Team von Magic Monday und andere mehr. Insbesondere das Thalhaus-Theater in Wiesbaden glänzt mit zahlreichen magischen Gastspielen.

Die genauen Termine müsst Ihr euch bei Interesse schon selber raussuchen, aber hier geht es zu den Programmen der von mir begutachteten Schaubühnen:

Frankfurt, Die Schmiere: Programm

Wiesbaden, Thalhaus-Theater: Programm

Frankfurt, Die KÄS: Programm

Und auch das Zauber-Schiff der Primus-Linie legt mit dem “Original Zauber-Dinner” an Bord zwischen Oktober und April wieder regelmäßig zu Abendfahrten auf dem Main in Frankfurt ab!


 

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Nicolai Friedrich ganz nah

Meistens kann man Nicolai Friedrich auf ziemlich großen Bühnen in noch größeren Stadthallen bewundern, doch nun kommt er ganz nah heran: Vom 25. Dezember bis zum 5. Januar schlägt er seine Zelte buchstäblich in einem solchen auf, nämlich im Zeltpalast an der Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. Dieser bietet im Halbkreis in zehn Sitzreihen bis zu 260 Zuschauern Platz, die auch auf den äußersten Sitzen maximal 7,70 Meter von der Bühne entfernt sein sollen – nah genug, um Zauberkunst mit Spielkarten, Münzen und Fingerringen zu erleben sowie verblüffende mentalmagische Experimente.

Die Shows beginnen um 14 und 19 Uhr. Und ja, das Zelt ist beheizt!

NicolaiFriedrich
Screenshot Website Nicolai Friedrich

Nähere Infos gibt es hier.


 

Die Stiftung Zauberkunst lädt ein

StiftZK

Ein Update von Uwe Schenk und Michael Sondermeyer:

Einladung zum Stiftungstag am 16.11.19

Am 3. November 2018 wurde die Stiftung Zauberkunst im Zentrum für Zauberkunst in Appelhülsen gegründet. Ein Jahr später möchten wir interessierte, engagierte, neugierige und kritische Menschen einladen, mit uns über die weitere Entwicklung und die Zukunft der Stiftung zu beraten. Dazu laden wir am 16.11.19 zu unserem ersten Stiftungstag ein.

Der Stiftungstag wird am Samstag, dem 16.11.19 stattfinden. Da viele Teilnehmer eine weite Anreise haben werden, gibt es die Möglichkeit, schon ab Freitag Nachmittag ins Zentrum für Zauberkunst zu kommen, und auch am Sonntag Vormittag ist das Zentrum geöffnet.

Ob und wie diese Zeiten schon für Gespräche, Arbeitsgruppen oder noch für die Vorbereitung genutzt werden, entscheidet jeder selbst. Wir gehen davon aus, dass viele Teilnehmer schon früher anreisen, so dass sich auf jeden Fall die Gelegenheit zum Austausch und dem Zusammensein mit Zauberfreunden ergibt.

Am Samstag wird es zum Einstieg einen kurzen Bericht über das erste Jahr der Stiftung geben. Danach soll in Kleingruppen an verschiedenen Themen gearbeitet werden, die für die Zukunft der Stiftung von Bedeutung sind. Zurzeit sind AGs zu folgenden Themen geplant:

  • Ist Zaubern Kunst?
  • Ideen zur Ausbildung von Zauberkünstlern
  • Inventarisierung und Dokumentation der Sammlung
  • Finanzierung der Stiftung (u.a. der Förderverein)
  • Räumlichkeiten der Stiftung
  • Mögliche weitere Aufgaben und Tätigkeiten der Stiftung

Die Liste kann gerne um weitere interessante Fragestellungen erweitert werden.

Wir freuen uns über jeden, der sich an diesen Diskussionen beteiligen möchte. Die Stiftungsgründung hatte ja vor allem den Zweck, eine Zukunft für die Sammlung und das Dokumentationszentrum zu ermöglichen – losgelöst von unseren Personen. Von daher wünschen wir uns eine möglichst große Beteiligung an den weiteren Planungen … und dann auch an deren Umsetzungen.

Wir hoffen auf viele Teilnehmer und Teilnehmerinnen und freuen uns auf einen anregenden und spannenden Tag!

Michael Sondermeyer und Uwe Schenk

Auf der Website zum Stiftungstag gibt es weitere Informationen zur Organisation, zu den Themen und die Möglichkeit zur Anmeldung.
Ich bin dabei!

An Interview with Hans Klok

Hans Klok
“There’s no place like Vegas in the world”

 

Hi, Hans! About six weeks into your new show at the Excalibur in Las Vegas, how has it been going so far? Has the show already been worked in well?

Hans Klok: We are definitely proud of the show we are performing here. We took enough time to produce it already in Europe, and the results are extremely rewarding. It is running smoothly and the reviews are fantastic. It was my dream for many years to come back here to Las Vegas and we are settling down very well.

On Instagram you have already posted a number of photos with magic and other celebrities… So how have you been received by the magic community on your return to Vegas?

I have always felt very welcome by the magic community here in Vegas, especially by Siegfried & Roy, who have always been my great inspiration. They have been to our show recently and were very enthusiastic and excited for me, as was my dear friend Criss Angel when he was here. Lance Burton has also been a good friend of mine for many years and it was fabulous for us to catch up again.

Who is your main audience, and how are the fill rates of the showroom doing?

We are having great response from audiences from all over the world. Las Vegas is obviously a huge tourist magnet for all nationalities. We are filling the room nicely with a multitude of international visitors, but on saying that, our main audience still seems to be Americans, people from Germany and of course the Dutch.

You deliver about 50 illusions in 70 minutes, which is an amazing feat. So what‘s your smallest trick in the show, and what‘s your biggest illusion?

The smallest trick is the Floating Light Bulb, which has a gigantic effect on the audience. I am proud to have the permission from the Blackstone Family to be the only illusionist today who is allowed to perform this miracle world-wide.

I guess the largest illusion is the Eclipse, in which I produce three lovely assistants from nowhere. And I really love the Suspended Animation from John Taylor, which is one of the best illusions created in the last 20 years.

At age 50 now, is it getting harder to stay „the fastest magician in the world?“ How do you maintain your fitness level outside of the show?

If you are passionate enough about anything that you do, you can remain at the top of your profession for as long as this passion drives you. When I am performing, I feel ageless. So I guess that being the fastest magician in the world is still going to be my label for a long time. And going to the gym every day and swimming a few laps in my pool every evening helps as well.

KlokBillb
Instagram screenshot from Hans Klok a few days before his premiere in Las Vegas

You have three sentences for a good pitch. Why should families visit your show, and why should magicians also take notice?

To sum it up in one sentence: Apart from my performance being a tornado of illusions, this show is also a tribute to some of the greatest magicians and illusionists of all time, so the audience get to re-live such great moments through the history of magic, for example the mysterious Floating Light Bulb from Harry Blackstone and not to forget the fabulous Moretti Sword Box.

In a recent portrait of yours in de Volkskrant you said that, on the one hand, everything in Vegas is „fake and plastics,“ on the other hand it feels very much like a special place for you. Why is that?

Hey, that’s Las Vegas. There is no place like this in the world!

Heel erg bedankt for taking the time to answer my questions, und weiterhin alles Gute, Hans!

(Interview: Jan Isenbart)


Watch the TV trailer for the new show here:

Visit Hans Klok’s website and get tickets for his show at the Excalibur Hotel & Casino (starting at 44,95 $) here.

Read more interviews with magic celebrities in English and German on ZZZAUBER  here.


 

Some Collected Impressions from the 8th EMHC in Vienna

EMHC Vienna 2019 Head

Traveling back now from Vienna on Sunday evening, the 8th edition of the European Magic History Conference is already (very recent) history. I am more than happy to have made the trip and to have attended for the first time!

My head is spinning with interesting facts and insights from a total of 16 lectures; I have met a few familiar faces and made many new acquaintances; my magic collection has grown through a few pieces I was able to acquire; my own presentation found some kind interest; and a couple of exciting new books are about to appear!

Overall, rubbing shoulders with some of magic‘s greatest historians / collectors / luminaries like Edwin Dawes, John Gaughan, Mike Caveney, Roberto Giobbi, The Davenports, our host Magic Christian and many others has been a reverent and rewarding experience!

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Now if this blog were more tabloid style, I could yell out headlines like these:

Dutch Magician Decapitates Rabbit!
Renowned Book Collector Considered Buying A Buried Witch‘s Bones!
Famous U.S. Collector May Bring His Treasures Back Into Barnes and Attics!

 

But of course I won’t. Fortunately, I am more of the serious and responsible writing kind! However, I have no intention of giving a full and thorough review of the conference; I was there to listen, learn, and discuss. So what follows are just some facts, highlights and side notes from my very personal point of view.

For the full program and abstracts of all lectures, have a look here. For the details and the laughs you simply had to be there–sorry! But as a glimpse into the program will reveal, the diverse agenda catered to almost every field of interest: biographical notes and details on some performers and venues; books old and new and how to study them; collectors’ items; some case studies (on a gruesome illusion, a fake automaton, a famous painting, and an early trick deck from 1623), and two topics on magicians serving in wartime and political crisis.

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Wien11_Hofzinser_MC

Shortly before the conference, Magic Christian had already announced a major surprise: the resurfacing of a fine and known Hofzinser portrait, painted by Johann Matthäus Aigner in 1846, that had been missing for almost a century. Christian had been looking for it for 25 years, mainly in museums and other collections. Then, only weeks ago, he received a phone call from a lady who offered him to acquire this huge portrait from an estate. It had in fact been hanging in a private home in Gmunden for the last 100 years! Proudly, Christian unveiled it and presented it to the participants, who were duly impressed!

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Wien9_Flip

I must say I enjoyed all the talks, as diverse as they were in terms of topic, material, and presentation, but I took the most fresh knowledge and inspiration from these contributions:

Flip tracing the history of the “Decapitation Illusion”, as always with an abundance of pictures and information, and also with a word of criticism on the “trivialized” versions like “Forgetful Freddie” and the “Armcutter”. To prove his point, he successfully (non)decapitated a toy rabbit.

James and Sage Hagy with a vivid description of the magicians present (including Houdini) and their tricks at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. They very graciously handed out free copies of a beautiful little book they had prepared along their topic.

Steffen Taut shared some amazingly enlarged pictures (look here, zoom in and marvel!) and recent scientific methods to (re)assess the paintings of Jheronimus Bosch (correctly pronounced “Boss”), and he added some interesting new hypotheses on a number of details, symbols, and meanings of “The Juggler.” He concluded that there may have been an original version of this famous painting; the one we know and admire, however, was more likely painted “only” in his workshop or by a follower, but not by Bosch himself.

Francois Bost presented some exciting new findings from his own long-standing research on Robert-Houdin‘s political mission to Algiers in 1856, including a heretofore unknown letter from RH to Colonel de Neveu (who had won him for the trip). He concluded that RH had in fact played to a selected, peaceful audience of civil servants (instead of fierce, hostile Marabouts) and that the mission had caused little impact (although it was boosted by the press and RH himself), but had probably served as an early military attempt to test psychological warfare on a people with the help of a renowned magician! (This topics tied in nicely with my own presentation on magic and warfare.)

Ron Bertolla deserves our special appreciation for introducing us to French juggler-turned-creator Alain Cabooter and his wonderful (fake) automaton, “Ioni, The Magical Gymnast” (see below). Not only did he show a truly magical video presentation of Ioni’s astonishing feats at the horizontal bar, which caused thunderous applause; he also brought the treasured figure (now defunct) with their current owners to Vienna and handed out a free booklet with the full (and unhappy) story. Wow!

Wien8_Ioni

Again, I can’t help but marvel at the incredibly rich and diverse history of magic, its ingenious creators and performers, and its myriad links to other arts or historical events!

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Wien14_Hotel

The Venue

The EMHC Conference was held at the Hotel Stefanie, Vienna‘s oldest hotel, and their service team supplied us unobtrusively with a never-ending stream of tasty food, snacks, and drinks.

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Wien13_Marchfelderhof

Evening Entertainment…

…included a musical and magical dinner at Marchfelderhof on Thursday. When our bus arrived there, we were greeted and treated by the owner and his team with music and flags. Inside, the fine and fun restaurant is ridiculously but charmingly loaded with thousands of  items—lamps, musical instruments, pictures, signed photographs, figurines and what not (see below). As some collector‘s spouse suspiciously opined, the trip was probably taken to demonstrate „that other collectors put much more stuff in their rooms, see, Honey?“

The magic between courses was provided by Magic Christian, Flo Mayer and Wolfgang Moser.

Wien12_Marchf

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Friday evening was spent three stories down below city level in the very old Zwölf Apostelkeller, with traditional Viennese food and some fine strolling magic performed by Robert Woitsch and Raphael Macho.

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Wien2_RathausAufgang

Wien6_RathausEmpfang

Wien5_RathausLeuchter

Saturday afternoon saw us walking over to Vienna‘s huge and impressive City Hall (with 1,575 rooms, as a plaque said). After a formal reception at the invitation of the Mayor and Governor of Vienna, Dr. Michael Ludwig, we were ushered into the City Council where we marveled at the splendor of the enormous flambeau above us and soon took over the green felt tables. Reinhard Müller was the first to have the cards out. Soon after, Magic Christian performed an Ace routine (with a fine Graziadei subtlety) on this parliamentary stage where, on other days, more subtle deceptive maneuvers may be executed.

Wien4_Karten_RM

Wien3_Karten_MC

Before attacking another buffet, we were treated with a magic show of one piece each by Robert Woitsch, Mark Albert, Wolfgang Moser and Flo Mayer. With the exception of Wolfgang Moser, all featured performers over those three days hail from the Magischer Club Wien, of which Magic Christian is the President.

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Wien10_Koffer

What about the Future?

The conference closed on Sunday noon with an interesting talk on the future of magic collections, how to maintain them, and all owners’ responsibility to take care of their treasures and their knowledge in due time so collections neither get thrown away, nor scattered all over the world, nor disappear in obscure museums, but rather remain within the magic community and “the big river” from which the next generation of collectors may fish.

A second topic was how to get younger magic fellows interested in the old books and tricks of our art and how to facilitate their entry into the fields of history and collecting. (I might write more about these topics in a future post.)

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Next European Magic & History Conferences:

At least, the immediate future is safe and secured: The participants confirmed to have the next meeting in London in September 2021, organized by Fergus Roy, who already announced some exciting highlights, including a look into a rather unknown collection of 1 million (!) posters. The 2023 Conference is scheduled to be held in Gent, Belgium then.

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New Book Department:

November will see the publication of the coming Bible of Bookplates (please excuse the trivialized secular term, but the alliteration was too tempting) by the late Jim Alfredson and Bernhard Schmitz. About six years in the making, Bernhard and the sic! Verlag are currently putting the final touches on the book, which will present about 1,200 magic bookplates that have been identified yet! If you want your bookplate to be included also, make sure to send it to Bernhard before October 1st!

Birgit Bartl-Engelhardt and Wittus Witt will bring out a quick encore and addition to the beautiful Zauber-Bartl Chronology (in German) that was presented to the market just last week. This one will trace the story of the „Zauberkönig“ magic dealers family, to which Rosa Bartl also belonged. (Accompanying his conference presentation, Wittus also has a lovely small book out that features about 300 magic lapel pins. It comes both with an English and a German text.)

And finally, after about 40 (!) years in the making, Volker Huber and Christian Theiß have completed the long awaited Bibliography of German Magic Books until 1945, covering some 3,100 books and booklets on 700 pages. What a monumental achievement! It will most likely set the standard for decades to come. Whether a second volume covering books from 1945 til today will follow is currently unclear, as Christian said. And if so, it might well be a decade or more away. Let’s hope and see–and in the meantime, let’s be happy about and thankful for the first volume before asking for more!

All three books are available for subscription now. Do now what you have to do! 🙂

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Wien15_Paddle

Magic coincidence No. 1: A surprising discovery

I may have found an interesting historical magic reference in the cheap decoration of my hotel room. Look at the depiction of that old and grim Japanese warrior above: If it‘s not some sort of fly swat, he may be handling a huge magic paddle! 😉

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Wien7_Hexensabbath

Magic coincidence No. 2: A spooky discovery

Taking a stroll after Peter Rawert’s enlightening presentation on books‘ provenance research (a fascinating topic I had never even thought about before), his acquisition of a copy of Reginald Scot‘s seminal work and its link to the alleged witch Ursula Kemp (whose alleged bones he almost ended up buying!), the first shop window I looked at belonged to an art gallery and presented this painting, „Witches‘ Sabbath“ by one Bonaventura Genelli!

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Wien1_Denkmal

Magic coincidence No. 3: A weighty discovery

Noticing this statue in the heart of magic Vienna, some of us speculated it could well be our host’s very own one, with MCD meaning “Magic Christian Denkmal” (in German) or MCM meaning “Magic Christian Memorial,” erected by his grateful admirers and disciples… 😉

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Jokes aside, we can only conclude by thanking and applauding Magic Christian once more for being such a very gracious and caring host who offered us over four days a cornucopia of magic history, both from our field and from the wonderful city of Vienna!

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More Magic in Vienna:

While being there, you may also want to check out the Museum der Illusionen (Museum of Illusions; I guess you figured that one out) with its fine optical illusions.

And in line with it, there’s currently a dazzling exhibition (until 26 October, 2019) at the mumok museum, Vertigo. Op Art and a History of Deception 1520–1970.”

(Jan Isenbart)


Addendum 29.08.2019

And here’s a full review of the conference by Ian Keable of the UK, who had presented a lecture on the four magicians in Charles Dickens’s life.


 

Where Magic and Warfare Meet

EMHC Vienna 2019 Head

Today’s the day! I am humbled and excited to speak at the 8th European Magic History Conference (EMHC) in Vienna, Austria. You can download the full program brochure here.

I’ll be pursuing some of the many roads where magic and warfare intersect, which is quite a fascinating and multi-layered topics. These aspects include

  • the surprisingly military lingo of magicians
  • the constant “wars” some magicians are fighting
  • some magicians who were also involved in military deception (like Robert-Houdin, Jasper Maskelyne, John Mulholland, and Barton Whaley)
  • how, particularly during the Second World War, entire “ghost armies” appeared and disappeared; trucks turned into tanks and vice versa; dummy planes, trains, tanks and explosive sheep (!) helped to mislead or surprise the enemy; and deception plans were used successfully in at least five major operations of the War
  • the fact that the concept of deception has been rooted deeply in strategic and tactical warfare for thousands of years
  • the main similarities and differences between military deception and our friendly art of deception for entertainment purposes
  • some magic victims of warfare and
  • some truly “magical” war anecdotes.

I have read and acquired way too much material to put it all into my 25 minute presentation, so I guess I’ll be sharing quite a few bits and pieces here over time. Stay tuned!

Here’s my favorite picture from the presentation:

TankIllusion


 

 

Eine Ausstellung zum Becherspiel

AusstBechRaw

Ein halbes Jahrtausend Becherspiel-Geschichte steht im Mittelpunkt einer Ausstellung von Prof. Dr. Peter Rawert, die vom 12. August bis 7. September 2019 in der Zentralbibliothek der Bücherhallen Hamburg zu sehen sein wird. Dem interessierten Betrachter soll hier Gelegenheit geboten werden, “die Magie des Kunststücks selbst zu ergründen”.

Hier gibt es den Prospekt als PDF-Dokument: Einladung Ausstellung Becherspiel Rawert


 

Topas & Roxanne: Two More!

TopRox2
Heimspiel mit Live-Musik: Roxanne & Topas (Foto: Alexandra Klein)

Nach vier ausverkauften Vorstellungen stehen Topas & Roxanne am 6. und 8. September erneut mit Live-Band für zwei Zusatzshows auf der Bühne im Theaterhaus Stuttgart. ONE MORE! – Magic live in Concert verspricht “die perfekte Verschmelzung von Illusion und Musik, mit ihren besten Acts aus 30 Jahren und vielen neuen Überraschungen”. Zudem soll es reichlich selbstironische Comedy geben.

Für die passende magische Begleitmusik sorgt bei Topas & Roxanne übrigens seit über 20 Jahren der Komponist Andi Kraus vom Comedy-Trio „Eure Mütter“. Die musikalische Leitung von ONE MORE! liegt in den Händen von Derek von Krogh.


 

The Meaning of Beauty

The other day, we went to see the fabulous exhibition “Beauty” by designers Sagmeister&Walsh at Frankfurt’s Museum Angewandte Kunst (Museum of Applied Arts). Design does present art in meaningful and aesthetically pleasing ways.

This wonderful exhibition examines the meaning, diversity, and value of beauty in historical context. It is also interactive in the sense that it gives you several opportunities to rate your favorite design (shapes, colors, etc.) and to then compare your taste with those of other visitors.

In addition, Stefan Sagmeister invites you to send him an image of the most beautiful object you have ever created; he may then feature it on his Instagram account.

Not that I have created an awful lot objects in my life, let alone beautiful ones; but this would be my choice:

Impossible Bottle_bw