Category Archives: Musings

He’s called Fish.

An artist that I have admired for nearly 40 years is retiring. A poet, a fractured soul, a beautiful human being has recorded his last offerings. I heard the first of these today, and it brought me to my knees.

I’m going to share more about him later, but the heart that he has put into his work has saved my life several times, and has inspired me to make improvements in what I put forth.

And now he has moved me again. To keep pushing and to keep walking my path. I am still in tears from the beauty he showed me today.

Thank you, Fish.

 

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Here’s Where I Stand

Let’s get to it, shall we? In that I live this life out loud, with all my blemishes and scars showing, I feel I should make myself and my position clear:

Black Lives Matter.

I stand firmly as an ally, without my own agenda, asking the oppressed and the hurting how I can best serve them as an ally. I’m calling for an end to systematic racism and an end to police brutality against Black people. I will not be quiet, and I will not sit idle. Silence is complicity. Not taking a stand is standing with the oppressors. There must be change, and my own push is starting here and now.

Any birth or rebirth comes with pain. This won’t be easy and it won’t always be pretty. Hearts fundamentally must learn a new way. 400+ years of injustice must come to an end. I must help hasten that end.

Love is for everyone. Love is not a quantity that can be used up. We can stand under the universe and all marvel at the stars without diminishing anyone else’s joy. So, too, is it with love. Lending a hand (and a heart and a soul) to one group of people does not diminish the love and value of any other group.

Black Lives Matter.

More than property, more than ideology, more than power. I am lending my voice, my platform, my very privilege to help this cause. The trivialization and oppression of Black lives must cease. Police brutality towards Black lives must come to an end – right now. Right. Now.

I take this stance out of love, kindness, and basic human decency. I take this stance without hesitation or apology. Make no mistake: I’m mad. I plan to use that mad energy to stand in the gap.

Racism and Police Brutality are a pandemic whose time has come.

I hope there is love where you are.

h

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Love and Death

I love my work. My art.

It is truly wrapped up and is a part of me … while it has been cautioned to not let your job define you, I have let myself define my job. Clever lad, that Hannibal …

I would die for my art. I would pour my heart onto the stage with my dying breath. I want, need to work. If it were my choice to live or make art, I would make the art. Art hard. Prove the bastards wrong every day.

But it’s not just me, is it? Doing what I do and wanting to be surrounded by an audience puts others in danger. Strangers. Friends and loved ones of strangers. People I may never meet, but people that I could doom with my careless actions. So.
because I love, because Love is what I worship and strive to preach:

I stay in isolation and I practice for the day I can return to the performance.

I would die for my art
but I would not kill for it.

h

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Making a Connection

My friend Scott Wells conducted this delightful interview which … really got to the heart of the matter.
Have a listen.

https://www.themagicwordpodcast.com/scottwellsmagic/547-hannibal 

If you would like to become a patron and help support this ongoing art experiment/ quest, please visit my Patreon page.

 

h

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Props

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget  what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

In a recent “Ask Hannibal Anything” on Facebook, I was asked: “what is the single greatest idea/movement/invention/concept/development in the history of magic as a performance art?”

I thought through the books, sleights, apparatus, trends, and concepts I have studied and immersed myself in. A world of wonderful creativity based on keeping it all secret. I processed through a lot of things, and finally came to the quiet conclusion.

The realization that the props, secrets, and moves are not the magic. The magic is the performer, the artist. The concept that Art is the act of taking your heart and shining lights on it.

The hands, heart, and soul are what create the magic moment. When I say ‘hands’ here, I’m talking about the physical, of course, but also the conceptual. My hands are not just the miraculous machines at the end of my arms. My hands are the dance that happens in connection with my audience. I reach out with my spirit, inviting them out into my world, and I carefully lead them through the wonders … we hold hands. We connect. It’s my way of expressing love to them.

Them … the attendees, the audience. The ones seeking perhaps merely distraction. I feed them, and hope my offering is accepted.

I put forth the poetry of my soul. I can do this with comedy, drama, rage … or anything. Magic is the vehicle for my art.

Magic is not the props. No matter how clever or pretty the apparatus is, the magic does not happen unless the performer believes it. What’s that? Believe in magic? Aren’t we just scoundrels and tricksters, fooling people and amazing them with our prowess and skill?

Perhaps … but I honestly believe in my magic, and I want to give them something deeper than mere tricks.

 

h

 

*If you would like to become a patron and help support this ongoing art experiment/ quest, please visit my Patreon page.

 

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crazy?

“We are embedded in a biological world and related to the organisms around us” ~ Walter Gilbert

“I am just a dreamer, and you are just a dream” ~ Neil Young

“I was always ashamed to take, so I gave. It was not a virtue. It was a disguise.” ~ Anais Nin

They said I was crazy

for throwing away a certain future

in order to chase a silly dream

But, said I

I would rather have a wallet stuffed

with post-notes of scribbled poetry

to place into the palms of strangers

Than stacks of stiff bills

staring up at me (old, dead, white men)

As I die a fresh death every morning

sinking deeper into the center of my cubicle

They still call me crazy

I’m still more successful than I ever imagined i could be

I still scribble poetry

I don’t even own a wallet

and i breathe in new life when I wake up … whenever I want.

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weapons

Mother …

Let nothing in my hand be a weapon.

Neither gun, wand, nor pen.

If my fingers should fist, please break them.

Should I be tempted to raise my hands in anger, quickly remind me that you did not give me hands for that purpose.

Violence is not the war i wage.

The  hand … the hand is one of the most incredible instruments in the  universe. Of all the bones in the body, one-fourth are in the hand. The  balletic interplay of sinew and bone that is the human hand cannot be  overstated, though it always seems to be thirsting to make a fist. Our  greatest moment of humanity is when we open (un-fist) our hand to extend  it in love … cradle a glass of wine … cup the chin or cheek of a  loved one.

Even more … let nothing in my mouth be a weapon.

Not teeth, spit, or word.

Let my words be sweet … or savory. Never bitter, for I may have to eat them.

Turn my heart from hatred, and let love be the seeds i sow.

Fear is not the war I wage.

If I am to be known for anything in this world, let it be

“He left love where he went.”

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Other Art

I baked a cake today, from scratch. And the first time in a very long time …

I created an orange bundt cake. It came out a wee bit heavier than I would have liked, but other than that it was perfect.

It made me happy in a way that I cannot explain. I prepared, I planned, I executed, and I cleaned up after … And I made a new thing.

It’s a very odd feeling, what I’m feeling right now. Like something is about to move in a very big way. I will do my best to explain how I feel.

I’m going to wait and do that tomorrow. Tonight, I really need good rest.
I hope there is love where you are.

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These Hands

I don’t remember this myself, but my mother used to tell me that when I was very young I would stand with my hands outstretched trying to touch the Moon. I was convinced that when I got just a little bit bigger I would be able to catch it in my tiny hands.
My favorite toys were marbles and crayons. Colors captivated me of course, it was what I could do with them in my hands that fascinated me. I would spend hours coloring, drawing in new lines. Taking my aggressions out on the page rather than acting them out more physically.

It’s been years … in fact I cannot remember the last time that I balled my hands into fists because of rage. That doesn’t feel like the right thing to do with them.

My hands have felt extreme cold and extreme heat, and have put those feelings onto paper with ink.

My hands have held my son, and my daughters. They birthed all four into this world: Two by catching and two by pulling and guiding. One of them actually wedged herself in by turning her head at the wrong time and jamming her ear. Just for a moment, and then  hands freed her and she came, gasping and angry.

My hands have purposefully ended two (non-human) lives. I took their lives out of Mercy, and I cried bitterly after each. My hands turned off the machine keeping my mother alive, and signed the papers that let her killer go free. My darkest self believes I have a murderer’s hands.

My hands have been broken, bloodied, chained, and cuffed.

They have worn wedding rings and scars. Nail polish tattoos of a broken and false loyalty.

My hands have been trained to fight. My hands have been trained to heal. My hands have done the devil’s work, and they have been thrown to the sky in praise of a God. I stretched them on the boards for self-righteous mock crucifixion. They have been clasped together until they went numb, begging for an end to the pain of heartbreak.

My hands remember the feeling of caressing the face of my lover. The gentle curve of her cheek, the gentle curve of her hip. They recall the silk-smooth skin of her back. They remind me of the pads of our fingers pressing gently together, and the careful moving of a wisp of her hair from her eyes.

My hands let me speak the words of my heart in magic. They wield the instruments of my craft and turn them into art.

My hands have earned everything that I own. They have saved my life, and they have saved the lives of others.
They have made life a little bit better for countless souls.

The gift I have been given is not my hands, rather the gift I have been given is in my hands. My life’s goal is to honor the giver of the gift by using it.
Until it’s gone.

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Trauma (My Mother was Murdered)

1992.

I might have saved her, had I listened to the warnings in my heart. (and yeah: I know that’s just not true.)

I’m going to succumb to a nap, and try and silence these voices. I’m sad, I’m frustrated, i’m angry.

Mostly, I’m sad. Mostly, I miss my Mom.
She never, ever got to see me perform magic.

She went to every performance she could when I was an actor, when I was a singer. She insisted on video tapes when she couldn’t.

She would have adored Grace and Braiden.
She would have lit up when i took her to the Castle …

Fuck … this hurts. Life isn’t fair, but my Mother always taught me to love it, anyway. And to channel that love outward.

Thank you for listening.

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