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

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogroll, Musings, Public Diary

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.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Musings, Public Diary

Hat

Years ago:
I had a hat and a waistcoat.
I put them on, picked up my instrument, and went to work.

It was raw craft, at first. I had a little skill with words and so I used them to hide the flubs.
Raw craft … and then

I missed my mother. I was unhappy that she never saw me perform one effect, never saw what my hands were destined to do. I said so while shuffling cards. I made up a trick that i thought would make her laugh, could she but see.

… and they laughed. And they gasped. And they wriggled a bit in delight.
The laugh exploded and crystallized into art. Laughter through tears.

A marine. (hard and sober)
A goth chick.
A rabbi.
A homeless man.
A homeless woman.
A college student.
A lawyer.
A superstar athlete.
And several anonymous souls
… have told me that I saved their lives with my words and my art.

Tonight I made a woman weep with my stories.
I reminded her of her son
Who died …
Laughter through tears.
“He would have loved this … thank you for being who you are.”

tonight I drove home.
And I put my instrument down (for now, not for keeps)
I took off my hat and i hung up my waistcoat
and I wrote this to you.

This … is who I am.

Leave a comment

Filed under poetry

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Musings, poetry, Public Diary

Quest

Like .. a never-ending one.
Way back, pre-magic days. I was working my last job, at Heritage resort. I was asked to accompany my boss on a walk through the property. We chatted and walked, then sat beside a lake in a really green place. We were building a lighthouse stage there …
He complimented me on the work I was doing (writing scripts and executing them via live acting and puppets) and praised my efforts as an employee, husband, father, and human. You know that meme where it says that giving me compliments is like trying to put a wrinkled dollar into a vending machine? Yeah .. was then, still is true now.
And then he said something that still echoes in my head: “You have a really great way of reaching people, showing them your heart and loving them, that’s a real gift, but I never see you take much joy in yourself. Where is your happiness?”

Later in my story (couple of decades later) in the midst of an argument my wife accused me of being chronically miserable. She told me I could be happy if I could just act like I used to … find the ‘real me’ that I used to be. “You’ll be happy when you decide to be.”
My friend Andrea reminds me that I still create art for others and … it’s amazing and I’m really good at it. I’m dedicated and I care. All of these things are true.
Yet … I sink into a hole when I walk off stage. I give everything I have and I empty myself. I will get very still and quiet. On the best nights, after the best shows, and almost every single time I’m driving home from the Castle, I weep uncontrollably.
I’ve looked, I’ve meditated, I’ve quested for happiness through several therapists. I’m still sitting here with all this weight pressing down on my shoulders and i still have not recognized joy in myself.
Chronically miserable, though you’d not really know it unless I told you. Unless I foolishly laid out all the words about how painful life is. The persistent loneliness and certainty that I am unworthy. Not capable.

There is art to be made and art can be a forge that turns my grief into sunshine for someone else. So I’ll do the shows with all my might, all my heart.

Even when my heart is just a tiny, bitter, green pill.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Musings, poetry

Reads

Libraries, archives, and museums all find themselves at the intersection of materiality and the mystical. Perhaps this is why we’re so quiet when we enter them.” ~ Jenn Shapland,

Someday I dream we’ll visit these holy places together.

Or perhaps 

We’ll make a Holy Place of Our very own, someday.

A place without any fear.
A place where i will gather all the things I have written to You

Gather them close and read them aloud to You

So You can hear the love in my chest 

Among the hitches in my speech 

and the small gasps of affection

Perhaps.
Someday.

and I will dream of it until then.

Leave a comment

Filed under poetry

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Musings, Public Diary

Musing in Nashville

I’m broke, but no longer broken. I’m weaving the scars into tapestry. Art heals.

Nashville appeals to me in ways I didn’t expect; there is art and music everywhere. From new architecture to old country. The city has embraced the art that I brought to it and seems to genuinely like me. Granted I’ve only been here for six days, but after the initial fiasco with TSA in Los Angeles, it’s been a really incredible and Uplifting week.

Because you asked …
I stopped posting pictures with the hex fastener because I found out that the gift it was based on was an utter lie. I believed in it and I had faith in it for a very long time, (and I have deep regret) but I can no longer display it because I discovered its falsehood. Many people have asked, and that’s your answer. I was used, I was lied to, and I put it behind me.

It still nips at my heels, but I refuse to let it control me anymore.

I’ve decided it’s time to wake up. Admittedly I’ve been coasting for quite a while, but it’s time to seriously take the reins to walk my path as true as I possibly can. More proactive in my heart, my art, and in my life.

As a reminder, I do what I do for the beauty of it. For the satisfaction that it gives my heart. Not for contests, not for accolades, not for anyone else but myself and the giver of the gift. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful that what I do pleases people. I hope that it inspires them to chase their own curiosity. That’s how things change for the good, right?

This journey has been enlightening and amazing. The VisionQuest I didn’t expect, nor plan. I’ve gotten a little closer to my own truth, and that makes my heart very happy.

I hope there’s love where you are

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

An Apology

Who hurt you?

I know you were at the end of a long shift. I was taking the red-eye and my gate had changed three times and the plane was delayed twice and the people I was in line with were gruff and frustrated. For some reason you singled me out. Do I remind you of someone who was rude to you? A former friend? Someone who hurt you with words?

Who hurt you that you decided I should pay for it? Now … I don’t take it personally. You didn’t pat me down or even make eye contact during the twenty minutes we spent together. You unfolded all my clothes, opened every deck of cards, examined all the coins and various other props I was traveling with. Went through each pocket. You pulled cards out and flipped through them, spread them on your table seeking … something. You declared that the cards were ‘suspicious’ and told me I’d have to leave them or check the bag. Given that I had just a few minutes to get to my gate, mostly because of time I spent with you, I let you take them. Fifteen decks. Ten of them my favorite green monarchs … which run about ten bucks a pack. You left me with literally no recourse.

When you finished, you crammed all my things haphazardly into the suitcase and then broke the zipper trying to close it. Shrugging and smirking, you walked away. “I’ll let you take care of that” you said over your shoulder as you left.

Dismayed, I talked to your supervisor, who promised to look at the video, but wouldn’t take my name or any other information. One of your coworkers sheepishly wrapped my suitcase in packing tape to hold it closed.

Whoever hurt you and however they did it, I’m sorry. No one should be made to feel that bitter, because inevitably it gets passed down to someone else. I’m going to let it end with me, though. I’m putting these words out … not in anger or in frustration (those feels came and went) but as a caution. It’s so easy to pass hurt along, so breathe and maybe … don’t. Next time.

And … who hurt you? The nice lady who came up the aisle smiling until you saw you would be seated next to me. I was in my aisle seat and there was a lady in the window seat. None of me was spilling into your middle seat. I had the armrest comfortably down. Yet … you refused to sit next to me. Demonstrably. You summoned a flight attendant and demanded to be reseated “because just look at him!”. She declined. You made a scene. They found you a place, and I enjoyed an empty seat beside me for the flight. (Thanks?)

Am I so hideous? Was I scowling because of the earlier incident? Did I remind you of someone unpleasant?

Whatever it was … I’m sorry you were feeling that way. I hope your flight was better, wherever they put you.

I’ve purged my negative feelings over these incidents … hopefully today will rise above.

h

If you’d like to support this journey, please visit www.patreon.com/magicartist

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized