Thursday, April 06, 2006

Da Amazing Natori

You may not like me when I'm angry, but you'll like me when I'm magical! I've been into magic since I was a kid. I remember getting one of those 20-something-in-one magic trick kits when I was about six and playing with it endlessly. Not that I really learned anything, because I was a) too unimpressed with some of the really hokey, plastic tricks that were painfully obvious in execution and b) too lazy to do anything hard. Mind you, that didn't stop me from bragging to my first grade teacher for months that I was learning magic, until she put me on the spot and asked me to just come in tomorrow and show the class a trick, already. I don't remember if I even tried to learn anything that night or just blanked out in a cold sweat, but the next day I did a coin-from-the-ear penny palming trick that was about the worst ever (I made it up on the spot). To her credit, Ms. Rain oohed and ahhed over it, perhaps saving my cute little face, but I still felt shame within.

Popular magic shows - besides the Harry Potter movie variety - seem to have taken a much more "street" turn of late, what with the rise of David Blaine, Criss Angel and their like. I will forever bemoan the loss of Siegfried and Roy's extravaganza before I could see it, but it kind of makes sense. Street magic is much more appealing for the ironic/skeptical hipster youth of today, and also often both cheaper to produce and more convincing, when done properly.

Recently, however, I happened to see newly popular "experimentalist", Gerard Senehi, on the Ellen show and was intrigued. Senehi seems to use some of the more modern street magic effects while maintaining the "mysterious mentalist" demeanor (and suited dress code) of more innocent times. It's a pretty good combination, and more reminiscent of a more understated Uri Geller than the in-your-face hijinks of Blaine or Angel. Like them, however, Senehi's techniques are impressive enough to get many in his audience to wonder if his tricks are actual psychic/telekinetic phenomena, and he's taking his spoon-beinding skillz to the bank (although in his case, there's talk that his profits are mainly going to a creepy cult run by a less benign charlatan).

All of this led me to fondly recall my childhood love of magic and wonder, could I learn any of these tricks? Back then, magicians carefully guarded most of their secrets, and only revealed them to a select, interested few via magic-shop gatherings and writings. However, now we've got the Web, and guess what? For a certain price, it is entirely possible for anybody to get DVDs that will teach them to melt forks or levitate themselves like the pros.

So, the answer is, yes, I can learn them. And I'm definitely adding some of these goods to my birthday list, so I can entertain friends and party guests. But it's a little sad to know that modern magic is not only far less glam, but available to easily buy. Maybe, if I want a little fun, I should just drop the spoon-bending instructions and get me one of these.

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