He builds illusions his own particular way, generally with full-scale constructions rather than computer simulations or miniature models. He emphasizes that real-world performance is vastly different than theory on paper or screen, and thus his old world skill set delivers the most modern of solutions for every conceivable variety of need and application. I literally cannot imagine the skills it requires to restore or recreate the automata that fuel Gaughan’s passion, but I am truly wondrous every time I see one of his performances with them.
On the first weekend of January, my partner, Ann Coleman, and I took my twin stepsons, Dexter and Grayson, now 14 years old, to Los Angeles for a three-day adventure, in the concluding days of their winter break before returning to ninth grade. This was the “J-Pa Knows A Guy” road trip (a sort of running family joke about me), that included magic, music, meals and more.
Spending time with Luis, I quickly became aware of his intelligence, passion, knowledge of magic, and what I can only describe as a deeply artistic spirit. He is very much a product of the influence of Tamariz and the Spanish School, but also, like Juan, he has tremendous experience as both a stage and television performer.
Nominations are now being accepted for work completed in 2017 for the Allan Slaight Awards. Each year the ASA awards a total of $50,000 recognizing outstanding achievements in the pursuit of the impossible across five different categories:
Sharing Wonder ($15,000) recognizes exceptional magic performed for the public, whether in live performance, on television or online. Past recipients include Derek Delgaudio (2017), Darcy Oake (2016) and Penn & Teller (2015)
The seventeenth gathering of the New England Magic Collectors Association is coming up this fall in Westborough, Massachusetts.
One last devilish addition to the Screening Room for 2017...
While Vernon’s focus was on sleight-of-hand magic with playing cards and other small objects, his vision was such that it would eventually impact the entirety of performance magic, from its largest stage illusions down the smallest feat performed with a single coin.
"When it comes to card magic at the dawn of the twenty-first century, it’s the Spaniards’ world, and we just live in it. ... Woody Aragón is an innovative thinker about card magic, deeply influenced by his mentor Tamariz, but like a number of these creative acolytes, he has developed a substantial body of original work, and is an accomplished performer in live venues and on television in his native Spain."
Magicana has added a new archive of films of magicians, shot between 1976 and 1981 by Canadian collector Larry Thornton. In this Take Two, I have selected nine newly discovered vintage films, featuring six previous Take Two subjects, with links to the original essays to guide you along the way.
Nearly twenty years ago, I was able to collaborate with my friend, filmmaker Daniel Zuckerbrot, on a profile of Dai Vernon for Canadian television. At the time, I believed that Vernon was the most influential magician of the twentieth century...