On July 2nd, 2018, magic lost one of its favorite sons. The professieonal magician, Brian Gillis, passed away from complications due to open heart surgery, the result of a major heart attack suffered two weeks prior. He was 71 years old.
Silvan’s performing record as a “general practitioner” reflects a tremendously accomplished career, including as the author of a dozen books for both magicians and the public, not to mention the sale of more than a million magic kits for beginners.
What accounts for the longevity of this classic? A recent survey has been touted that suggests that the public supposedly dislikes the classics of magic. The results of this survey mean—well, absolutely nothing to me, because the survey simply measures participants’ preconceived notions about magic. I, for one, have no interest in creating art based on random surveys or focus groups; I’ll leave that to lousy summer blockbuster movies.
Why get The Paradigm Shift Vol. 1 & 2? Because they are “filled to the brim with theory, technique, effects, history, perspective, experience, and a distinctive creator’s voice. What more do you want...?”
The nature of the variety arts is such that there have always been, and shall always be, unsung heroes. I can tick off a list of performers who had significant impact on me in the course of my life in magic, whose names would mostly be recognized by locals who shared the same geography.
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.
"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."
Canasta’s approach was startlingly original and so ahead of its time as to render him the subject of widespread criticism within the magic world by those who didn’t get it—and it would take another half century before they would. This didn’t have much of an impact on Canasta’s success...
When Bill Larsen wrote about him in a cover feature of Genii magazine in 1975, he began with this: “If my readers were asked to name the top ten close-up magicians in the world today, it is quite possible the at the name Jimmy Grippo would not be included. However, this same Jimmy Grippo probably comes close to heading the list (or possibly heads the list) but because he keeps a low profile, many magicians around the country do not know of him.”
"...in addition to being a great performer, Fantasio was an extraordinary and innovative inventor. His original effects with canes and candles, that appeared, disappeared, changed places and changed colors, became among the very best selling items for silent and manipulative stage acts, and influenced countless magicians who strove to follow in the maestro’s steps."