Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Reader Mail.

Reader mail: Motta and Chance plus others.

It’s that time again folks.  Reader mail round up.
First, a letter from Bob Chance fro Motta and Chance Rock The House, the magic show I tore into a few posts ago.

“A bit harsh, but ever magician had to start somewhere, so as bad as you may have thought it was it was a learning experience. Not being able to perform ever...wow...that's just not cool.As a magic enthusiast maybe u should try with constructive points rather than bashing points its a brotherhood of magic right!? But with everything there will always be people to bash out or lash out... could it be better of course. But u picked out 2 tricks that and 1 that didn't go well... I am disappointed and hope that the person who wrote that review invites me out to their show to for me to be a critic...it'll probably never happen but I'll keep hoping. Thanks for coming out and and I hope the $20 door didn't hurt your wallet too much. But we will keep coming out and it will only get better. Thanks for the feedback and please let me know when you perform so that I can watch you too! All the best...CHANCE of Motta & Chance Magic.”

Gord Replies:  Yes, you are right, every magician has to start somewhere, but your show was not a “start,” it was a public show, heavily advertised, with a couple of hundred people in a theater all of whom paid real money.
The fact is your show was un-scripted, under rehearsed, far too long and at one point insulting to a volunteer.  (Yeah, that bit with a plunger on the head, real mature.  Notice how few people wanted to volunteer after you did that bit?  I did.  Two.)
By the way, my view is not a rare one.  Someone you know, probably quite well, reviewed the show to me a few days later with the quote “Well, I’ve seen worse.”
As for being a magic enthusiast, therefore I should support your show.  Just because I am also a magician does not mean I have to support BAD magic.  That’s kinda like asking a priest to support Jim James because, hey, they are both men of God.  (Look it up.)
As for my show, I will make sure to send you a pair of tickets and you can feel free to enjoy or not enjoy it.  In fact, I’ll even let you post your review of my show on MY blog, that is how sure of it I am.
Why am I sure it will be good?  Well, I started researching and scripting it last June.  I rehearse it every day. (And yes, I have a full time job.  Do you know how hard it is to rehearse when you’ve been up since five in the morning?)  I have a friend helping with the scripting, I have a director. (That cost me nothing, sometimes all you have to do is ask.)
When my show, (Titled Magic With the Sleight-est Hint of Cheese, by the way.  Just so you’ll know it when you see the poster.) goes up, it may be bad, but at least It’ll be rehearsed, scripted, directed etc.  At least I would have tried to make it better then the rest.  At least I can say, proudly, that I worked my ass off for this bad show.
But it won’t be bad.  I wouldn’t dare put a bad show on.  I wouldn’t insult the long and illustrious history of magic like that.
Here ends the lesson.

Next, someone replies to my post where I reviewed three shows.  Kreskin, Copperfield and Friday Night Magic.

Anonymous said:
“Who the hell are you to comment on shows? You are just some lowly nobody who has nothing going for himself, a crappy magician that will never amount to anything but and internet junkie....”

Hmmmm, I wonder who this could be?  Mark or Paul, Mark or Paul?  I’m going for Paul here since Mark isn’t afraid to put his name to his insults.
You want to know who the hell I am?  I am a magician, but above that I am a fan.  And as a fan I demand a certain amount of professionalism when I see a public show.   I expect to see well rehearsed, scripted material.  I do not expect to see people “winging” it.  “Winging” it is unprofessional and insulting to the audience.  PERIOD!!!!!
We deserve better.
I, by the way, am also a human being that lives in a democracy, and that gives me the right to air my views on ANYTHING, much like it gave you the right to post your reply.  Don’t like it, go to Cuba and see what a free idea gets you.
As for being a nobody.  Yeah, I’ll give you that.  My name is nothing in the world of entertainment, and I don’t care.  At least this nobody cares about the art of Magic.  At least this nobody knows well enough to say “no” when not prepared.  At least this nobody can hold his head high and say with confidence “I give a damn!”
BTW: Next time have the balls to sign your name.

Again, someone without the balls to put his name to his reply said:
“Who are you to be able to have the audacity to even try to critic Copperfields show....you are pathetic.”

Wow, I didn’t think my Copperfield review was that bad.  Well, my coward, I state again that I am a fan, and in this case I was a fan that invested quite a bit of money into this show, and those little bills with the Queen’s picture on them allow me the right to say if I was dis-satisfied with Copperfield’s performance, much like I have a right to complain about a meal at a restaurant that I have to pay for.
But hey, I guess were not allowed to have opinions, are we.  I guess we are supposed to blindly applaud disappointing and just plain bad performances and let those crappy magicians believe that they are good because we live in a time where hurting others feelings is bad.
Sure, I could look at you, whoever you are anonymous coward, and say “Yes, your performance was good,” when it sucked, but for what end?  So that you can stay bad?  So you never grow?  So that you live your life in a delusional state that you are good?  Is that what you want?  To be bad and stay bad?
I won’t do that.  There is a long and wonderful history associated to the Art of Magic and I am not going to sully it by pretending bad is good.  I am not going to rape magic by allowing crap to go unnoticed.
At least I care, which is more than I can say for you.
Oh yeah, just so you know I have received my fair share of bad reviews over time, and yes I get pissed, but I listen and take notes and try to better myself.  Don’t believe me, ask my friends.  (Yes, I have friends.)  Being that they are all artistic types (Actors, writers, directors etc.) they are never afraid to tell the truth and you can be damn sure after so long of this I can take it.

But hey, you can’t say I don’t put my money where my mouth is.  Much like I did for Mr. Motta above, (Notice he had the balls to post his name, you coward) if you post you real name I will make sure you get a pair of tickets to my upcoming show and will allow you to post a review right here, on my blog, unedited.  (Hell, I won’t even check for spelling and grammar.)  THAT is how sure I am about my show.  THAT is how sure I am that I am doing the right thing.
It’s up to you, anonymous stranger.  A public airing of your name for a chance to put me in my place.  What do you say?

Oh yeah, this is the last free pair I will give away, just in case you think all you have to do is bad mouth me to get free tickets.

Next Post:  I’m sure I’ll get some more reader mail, but I’ll try to think up something else to write about.  (Us uncreative nobody’s have trouble with original thoughts, don’t you know.)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006



Last Friday, the CBS network presented to North American audiences the new star of magic, Keith Barry and his special Extraordinary.  The one hour special featured Barry performing for big name stars such as Jessica Simpson, Mathew McConaughey and the hosts of Entertainment Tonight.
So, what did I think?
I liked it, kinda.

Let me explain.  (No, it will take too long, let me sum up.)

First of all, Barry’s personality for most of the special was of a “regular kind of bloke.”  This is quite refreshing in this day and age, since “regular kind of bloke” seems to be the last thing magicians these days seem to want to be.  I hope somewhere, somehow this influences young magicians who seem to think to be a magician means you mumble a lot.
Then there are the tricks themselves.  Some were outstanding (Like the triple prediction with Mathew McConaughey), some were weird (like the spider prediction with Jessica Simpson, although it was Ms. Simpson that made it weird.  What exactly was she on?) And one trick was, well, confusing (What exactly was he doing with The Divinci Code?  It was really badly done and confusing.)
And then there was the “Big Finish.”  The hanging bit.  I had a problem with this in that the lead up (The picking of the nooses, the deciding of where he stood) took far too long and was far too wordy, but even with that the visual of a guy on the gallows, possibly ending his life but then plunging downwards to safety was an outstanding visual.  (A hell of a lot better then a guy jumping into cardboard boxes.)
So, what is the end result?  Well, it was mostly good.  If they had taken out the Davinci Code trick it would have been better, but for a first special I believe it was really good.
Rumor has it that Mr. Barry has signed for two more specials.  I for one look forward to what he does next.
And no, I am not going to compare him to David Blaine’s latest special.  Comparing the two is like comparing apples to really boring mumbling kind of oranges.

Next Post:  Finally, I am going to address the hate mail I’ve gotten.  

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

David Blaine: Drowned Alive


I was going to reply to some hate mail I’ve recently received, but I thought I should do a bit about David Blaine, since his new T.V. special airs tonight. (Monday)
I’ll be honest, I used to like Blaine. I thought his first special was outstanding, especially the focus on the audience reaction to the tricks. While I have never been a fan of blaine’s “jeans and mumbling” style of magic, I found the first special good for magic in general.
Of course, the changed with his second special.
What happened? Well, first I realized that the focus on the audience was done because Blaine lacks as a magician. Secondly, those stupid stunts. Really, who cares about a guy standing in a block of ice, or buried in a coffin or standing on a pole?
Well, apparently people care. Before and after Blaine’s specials people start to talk, about magic and magicians and, yes, about those stupid stunts. People hear about a Blaine special and they want to talk magic and see magic.
Not only that, but how many young magicians have started out by seeing a Blaine special and being inspired? Really, how can that be bad?
So fine, I don’t like Blaine but I like his influence. It’s that state of confusion that I live my life in.


Boring, boring, boring, really boring, boring, boring, boring, boring, extremely boring, boring, boring, still boring, boring, boring, boring, interesting, quite interesting, very interesting, oh my god, the President is going to kill himself, boring, boring, boring, boring, Why would that idiot help the President? Boring, boring, boring.
(Note, I switched to 24 after the first hour and checked back on Blaine during commercials.)

Ok, maybe I’m being simplistic here, but let’s face it, the first hour and forty minutes of Blaine’s special was boring.
Ok, I get it. He’s in the water, he’s going to hold his breath, and he’s been training here there and anywhere. I get it; I got it, ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!!!
Yes, he did some magic. The emphasis goes on the word ‘some” there. While I didn’t purposely time it, the first actual magic didn’t happen until 25 minutes in. Not a good start for a “magi” special.
But let’s face it, these specials are no longer about magic, they’re now about the stunts, and the stunt isn’t enough to fill two hours of TV time.
And then there was the “stunt.”
The problem with these stunts are the fact that, since this is TV, what is real and what is fake is a blurred line.
Here’s what I know. Blaine was in danger, real danger. He was really struggling, his face turned blue. His hands and feet are really screwed up.
But beyond that … I don’t know. Did they plan on him not making it in advance; I mean was he supposed to not make it? Did they figure it was better TV and planned it this way? These are the problems that TV brings. You can’t be 100% sure what is real.
I do know this. If Blaine purposely stayed under until his face turned blue, then he is one screwed up person and needs some real help fast.
If it was real, and they expected him to make it, and he didn’t, then Blaine is now a real screwed up person and needs some help fast.
Either way, I hope he takes some time off and re-evaluates his life’s goals. Nothing, and I mean nothing, can be worth this.

PLEASE NOTE: Nowhere in the above post did I say I was in any way better than David Blaine, so save your hate mail. (I get enough already.) I will state it for the record now. I am not better than Blaine, I am different, that’s all. I will only say I’m better than him on the eve of my first TV special.

NEXT POST: There is another magic special on Friday. It looks entertaining, which seems to be rare in magic specials. I will review the special, and state that I am better than THIS guy. (Screw you.)

AFTER THAT: I got hate mail, and I tear a few new ones in my replies.