Tag Archives: power

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.

 

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*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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Joy in the Moment

There are days I wake up and feel like Sisyphus.

Do you know who I mean?

Sisyphus was an ancient mythological figure punished for all eternity to roll a boulder up a steep mountain, only to have it roll back down to the bottom when he reaches the top. Albert Camus called him an absurd hero; he struggled perpetually and without any hope of success.

That describes me on some days. Broken promises, lack of perceived ‘progress’, low bank accounts and good old self doubt are my boulder. I struggle daily to push it forward and upward, only to watch it roll back at day’s end. In the reality of my profession, the boulder is mine. I am aided and supported by an amazing set of friends and family, but the responsibility is on my shoulders. Sometimes this burden is crushing.

When times like this occur, I stop and breathe. I count my blessings and I look at my situation from a different attitude. Picture Sisyphus smiling.

The idea is so simple: here is Sisyphus, the wretch, interminably pushing his boulder up the hill, watching it roll down and repeating.  In my mind he was always completely defeated, hopeless.  And then, as I read Camus’ book on the ‘Myth of Sisyphus’, everything about the picture changed.  Imagining Sisyphus smiling, embracing his situation as his reality, not wanting a different past or a different future, but accepting the present, the scene totally rearranged itself.  He was no longer hopeless, but happy in his acceptance of the situation.

He must, in order to accept the absurdity of the situation, adjust his attitude and fulfill what has been put before him.

On the road to your dreams, there are certain absurd truths you must acknowledge. You must work as hard and as tirelessly as you can. There is no guarantee of success, but the burden and the struggle contain a successful measure of their own. To simply be doing what you love, and to master it, may be enough. Our ultimate fate is all the same, so why be miserable? Live your passion in the task at hand, and find satisfaction in your minor successes and your crushing failures.

Like Sisyphus, some see no other option than the mountain and the rock. Burdened with obligations, lack of control, hopelessness, low expectations and no alternatives, they continue to toil in dead-end jobs and uninspiring environments.

You, however, can see opportunity in obligation, freedom in failure and hope in hopelessness. You are unique, as are your burdens. Keep shouldering on, and be thankful for the journey.

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Point of You.

I found new ideas. I found mysteries and I crafted new stories. So this past week I went busking. Not for the money … for the rehearsal, for the experience. For the look of people hijacked by joy they didn’t expect. Night one went beautifully; I call the interaction between myself and my audience/ guests ‘the dance’. (Rene taught me that.)  The dance flowed … I slowed or quickened my steps, depending on my partners … the old music played and … it rained. So I packed up and went home. The city, though … my city was gorgeous in the rain.uptown

Evening two I worked for nearly eight hours, ebb and flow. Building a crowd and then letting them go. Catch and release. I honed, I altered.
I got invited to an after hours party … food and booze and they treated me like a celebrity. No lie … it felt amazing.

What’s my point? My roots. The street and the magic and the cards were there from the beginning and they were scary at first. Terrifying. With care and devotion they started paying my bills. With steady rehearsals like these I honed myself to a  deadly sharpness. Certain magicians have called some of my technique sloppy, and they aren’t wrong, but the passion and attention somehow put support under my weaknesses. I’m surrounded by love and utterly alone at the same time. I hurt, I laugh, I sing.
My actions heal, and my words … not everyone all the time, but enough to make a difference.

I come back when I need to. My rehearsal hall, my public stage without walls. You have an ability. You have a passion. Where should you plant yourself and allow your roots to embrace the earth? You can change the world for the better.

If we all embraced our abilities and strove to love our fellow creatures? Walked a rainy path to excellence? Hijacked strangers with kindness?

How different, Eden?

On my way back to the car I passed a street preacher. A quiet, kind-looking man. We made eye contact and we smiled.

He said, “With those hands, you could do anything. What do they do that makes you the proudest?”

Without thinking I said,

“With these hands, I pray for love.”

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The Cups

The opening scene of “LIAR!”

There was once a street magician …

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August 1, 2013 · 12:53 am

Joy?

This career I’ve taken on is frustrating, grueling and at times completely unrewarding. I often wonder why I’m doing it. The answer always comes immediately: My joy is here. There’s something very addictive about living your dream.

Tonight I had the honor to once again entertain and refresh some of the most amazing people I know. I’m talking about you, Laura. I know you are reading this. The opportunity to do what I do for such a brave soul as yourself and you your INCREDIBLE family is what feeds my addiction.

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Take away the awards. Take away the fame. Say goodbye to the Magic Castle and all the goals I set for myself. I can take it. As long as I can serve you, I’m wealthy.

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