Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Man Who Made Magic Beautiful

I was eleven years old at a family gathering when an uncle of mine showed me a Magic trick using a lipstick. It was the most awe inspiring thing I ever saw, a small mark of lipstick from his hand came onto mine, I bugged him till he told me how it was done and from then on, Magic became my life, it became my passion, it gave me a new identity.
From then on, I spent entire days watching David Blaine, Harry Houdini, Derren Brown and every other magician I came across. Having no friends who were very passionate about Magic, I did whatever I could around Magic myself. And for four years, I always thought that it was David Blaine who made magic cool and bought it out for the world to see. But then one day, I came across this video called, "David Copperfield - Grandpa's Aces." I saw that video and his performance made me fall in love with Magic. He is the one whose made Magic sexy, he's the one whose made Magic cool. He's made people want to watch Magic.
16th of September, 2 days ago, was his birthday. And as a tribute to the man who made me fall in love with Magic, I made a video of myself, re-enacting the first ever trick I saw David Copperfield doing.

The only reason I don't want to give the link of David Copperfield doing this effect, because people will begin to compare, and I don't think I deserve to be compared to him and frankly I think I din't really do it justice. If anyone is really interested in watching him perform, you can easily find it on Youtube. 
David Copperfield has sold more tickets than any other sole entertainer in the history of entertainment, more than Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga put together. His broadway show, "Dreams and Nightmare" has sold more tickets than any other show in the world, more than, "The Phantom of the Opera", "The Lion King" and "The Cats." He has 11 Guinness Records to himself, 38 Emmy Awards nominations and 21 wins. He's been awarded the Magician of the Century award and recently became the first person ever to be given the title, "King of Magic." He's walked through the Great Wall of China, made the Orient Express disappear and vanished the Statue of Liberty.
He's made millions of people, magicians and non magicians fall in love with the Art of Magic. As for me, I hate stage magic, I hate the cheesy music used in the tricks performed on stage, people who know me personally will tell you how much I hate stage magic. But David Copperfield is one person who I can watch cut people in half and fly all day long. David Copperfield is the one whose made me fall in love with Magic, and after I've seen Derren Brown live in February, I'll go on and watch Copperfield live some day too.
To the man whose made Magic beautiful, sexy, cool, amazing and awe inspiring, to the man whose made Magic terrific and has made the world stop in their tracks to watch him, I dedicate this post to the Wizard of Magicians, David Copperfield.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ripping Apart The Future

Over the past year or so I've been reading up on Tarot Cards, Crystal Ball Gazing, Palm Reading and basically every thing I could find to do with what we call Astrology or "Reading the Future." 
Ever since I got into Magic I was fascinated with all this, I always knew that it can't actually be real but I also wanted to know how they do it. Having read up on these apparently fascinating things I learnt that these "Artists" are not Reading the Future, but they're are actually reading you. Before I actually tell you the basics of how it's all done, I have a few facts and questions that I want you think about.
The most common one, "If they can predict the future, why can't they ever predict natural disasters?" Moving on, why is it that these artists always start by saying, "This is not an exact reading that I'm going to give you, but it will give you a general idea." Then what the hell are we paying you for? A dog can give us a general idea. If you go for a Tarot reading, you pick three cards that apparently tell your future, if you pick three cards five minutes later, obviously they'll be different, does that mean your future changes every five minutes?
Tarot Cards were invented as a card game, those portraits on the cards were never meant to tell the future. Why is it that only the Crystal Ball reader can see what the ball has to say, while for others, all it might suggest is that there'll be a lot of rain later that day. As for palm readers, do they mean that unfortunate people with no hands have no future? Extra-ordinary claims need extra-ordinary proof. But then how is it all done?
There's a technique called Cold Reading and a few famous statements titled Barnum Statements, these are general facts which are used in a way that they seem more personal. Example (Imagine a person who've you just met is saying this to you): You seem like a person whose got a strong Iron Clad exterior while at the same time  there's a soft sensitive side to you which you don't like to show. If you're at a party, there'll be times when you want to be the life and soul of the party and interact with everyone, then again, there'll be times when you want to just sit back and relax and observe people. You've got a lot of friends, but there'll be 3-4 friends which you are very attached too and sort of tell them everything. These are statements which will be true for each and every person in the world but had you not know that they would have seemed very very personal and specific to you. 
Then these Artists will come up with statements like, "At work, you're situation is good, but you hope it could be better, and if you work towards it, it will get better." Again very general when you think of it. "You're relationship is healthy, but it would be loads better if your boyfriend/girlfriend was more involved and did more to make you feel special." And they pick up on certain expressions like head tilts, body drawn backwards or forward to figure out if they're on the right path or not. And also these statements are very open to interpretation, we make sense of them ourselves to make it fit with our lives.
And as I end this post, I meant no offence to any of these Artists, because I do have great respect for their work as long as it's taken as light hearted entertainment and not something that some people follow and get all sorts of expensive rings and break up their relationships or get dis-heartened  at work. Some Artists who think they're psychic are like 3 year old kids who say Santa is real, they think it's the truth, but very sadly it isn't.
To everyone reading, don't ever take advice from these people,  by all means, continue paying to get a reading done, but take it as entertainment not as hard facts to live by. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Criss Angel... Who?

Are you ready?
It was nine years ago when I started with Magic, I had absolutely no idea who David Blaine, Criss Angel, Harry Houdini, Derren Brown or any other big names in Magic were. I slowly started coming across these people and got inspired by each and everyone of them... except for, as you might have guessed, Criss Angel.
For a major part of nine years, I have watched Derren Brown or David Blaine almost each and everyday, and the way they inspire me is something I'll never be able to put into words. They also made me forget of a certain Criss Angel who I used to watch for a very brief period of time.
But recently, a friend of mine, Anisha Shekhar, came up to me and asked, "What do you think of Criss Angel?", she for some reason found him unbelievably amazing. And over the next few days, loads of people came up to me and asked me what I think of him and that they found him amazing. The reason for all this was, his "show" was running on Zee Cafe here in India. All of this prompted me to write a blog on what the magic community thinks of him.
If any of you ever get a chance to go to Las Vegas, do go there and ask people about Criss Angel. Here's what a magician who lives in Las Vegas, whose also seen Criss Angel live, thinks of him, "He's a fucking fraud, I went up to him once, he asked me to be an actor on his show and offered to pay me quite a lot of money, being a magician myself I refused." Another friend of mine, whose also a magician says, "What makes magic real is the feeling of wonderment and something impossible happen to you, not camera tricks or paid actors or 14 chains hanging from your neck." A CAB DRIVER in Vegas said to me, "Criss Angel is fake. I used to love Magic, he's made me hate it."
To me magic is something beautiful and awe inspiring, not a business. You're a performer, entertainer or a showman. Not a businessman who pictures himself as God, which is exactly what Criss Angel does. Paying people to be on his show, using camera tricks and calling himself a magician. He's a disgrace to the name of magic, not a single pro regards him as a magician. Not a single pro respects him. You can't walk on water without having glass under your feet, you can't float from one building to another without a crane lifting you or using camera tricks.
Criss Angel is the Justin Bieber of Magic. Liked by girls because some of them find him hot for some reason. Liked by select few people who want Magic to be about cheap levitation illusions and disappearing actors in bikinis.
To Criss Angel, you are the biggest disgrace not just to Magic, but to any kind of performing arts. Stop using camera tricks, stop using actors, stop acting like God, because quite simply, you're nothing but a guy with a terrible accent, a few trick decks of cards, your camera crew, cheap actors and no self respect. Yours sincerely, each and every respectable magician to walk the face of the Earth and half of Las Vegas, who knows the real you. Die Angel.
And now you must excuse me, the half an hour of writing about him has disgusted me so much that I need to watch Derren Brown to make myself feel better. Till then, I hope you stop watching Criss Angel for good.