In my inaugural column we explored some magic theory as it related to the use of the term “trick.” As we discussed, many magicians hate the word “trick” so much that they will spew utter nonsense just to keep from saying it. One cause for this distaste is rooted in the performer’s ego. The idea of a “magic trick” suggests to the audience that a special prop or device, something that anyone could buy if they only knew where to find one, was the cause of the miracle the audience has witnessed and not the skill of the performer. But, as any passionate magic collector will tell you, there are props and tricks which are specially made just to create a miraculous moment, and some of these “tricks” are pretty darned amazing. Their inventors and builders manage to combine engineering, design, psychology, craftsmanship, creativity, and even sleight of hand into these amazing products that can amaze and befuddle as deeply as any other magic experience, by any name you wish to call it. I love “magic tricks.” Some of the most beautiful magic “tricks” ever presented were the design and creation of a Dutch magician named Eddy Taytelbaum. Eddy is 91 years old as of 2016. Like many, his interest in magic began in childhood. An early leg injury sent him into the hospital where he discovered a book on magic. He was attracted to a particular piece of card conjuring which necessitated remaking a standard card into a special magic changing card. His talents for arts and crafts served him well over the years, working as he did...
by Brad Henderson The word “magician” can mean many things, and one can be some, all, or any combination of those things. Some magicians make their living performing, some do it just for fun. Some magicians collect the equipment, ephemera, and even the secrets of bygone magicians. While they may not perform, they provide a valuable service by keeping our history alive. Some magicians are interested in the theory of magic—as an art, a craft, a science. They provoke others interested in magic to re-view and reevaluate their beliefs, values, and choices. Some magicians craft and manufacture the props and equipment used by the performers and coveted by the collectors. Some magicians write for other magicians, both technically and creatively. There are magician publishers, and magician consultants, and magician photographers, and the list goes on. As magician-philosopher Eugene Burger put it, “Magic is a house with many rooms.” As a magician, I have spent a lot of time in many of these spaces. I make my living performing and producing events throughout the world; I have been collecting magic-related items since I was a teenager; I spend almost every waking moment thinking about magic, what it means, and how we can better create emotional responses for our audience; and I love talking to real people (i.e., non-magicians) about magic and what it means to them (and me!). To that end I’d like to kick off my Conjuring Arts Research Center tenure with a question that allows me to introduce you to several of my favorite rooms. Q: What word do magicians hate the most? I love asking this question...
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