Friday, October 26, 2007

Tom Waits

Criss Angel • Mind Freak

bla bla bla

A current interest of mine is studying the way magic and magicians are represented in contemporary television and film. I find it utterly fascinating how alive our ancient art is in today's society. Copperfield, Blaine, & Angel have become a part of the vocabulary of the television watching pubic. People know these guys, understand what their trip is, and buy into it by watching, or not, by hitting that button on the remote. I can remember a day when you had to get off your ass to change the channel. Laziness has made a fickle public. . . more fickle.

A TiVo feature records any show with the word Magician. So, I’m seeing everything TV Land has to offer, about my chosen art. A nice segment on some channel with a show about vacation homes featured the Amazing Jonathan and his beautiful 5,ooo sq. ft. home in Vegas. Watching the segment made me recall the wild time I had there. I was assisting Sylvester the Jester, opening for Amazing Jonathan for a week at the Sahara, last year. I had a memorable time in that house.

Life is good. The week has been weak, but I’m sure I’ll make it up this weekend. I have my first real LA Gig!! Sylvester the Jester threw it my way. It’s kind of strange, but I’ve done this sort of thing before. A performance during cocktail hour before dinner. . . . . for 6 people. I’m all in and it will be a great show. There are certain things you can do in this intimate atmosphere, that you can’t do elsewhere.

Polly Lucke thinks that I should marry her for her medical and dental insurance. . . that would be a good trick.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

NBC’s ‘Phenomenon’ shouldn’t make magic disappear

By Mike Bent • Boston Herald

Uri Geller? That name takes me back. Back to the 1970s, when I was a preteen magic geek, destined to become a professional magic geek.

Magic had nearly died by the early ’70s, until two personalities appeared and changed magic forever - Geller and Doug Henning.

You remember Henning - the man who broke all the stereotypes of magician as top-hat-and-tuxedo-wearing rabbit plucker. With his TV specials and long-running Broadway show, he made magic hip, fun and groovy.

Geller, who co-stars in NBC’s “Phenomenon,” (debuting Wednesday at 8 on WHDH, Ch. 7), made magic hip, mysterious and controversial. As he made his way around the talk-show circuit, bending spoons and making broken watches run with his mind, he was dogged by a persistent question: Is he a telepath or a magician? A genuine psychic or a con man?

In “Phenomenon” Geller teams up with Criss Angel of “Mindfreak” fame in a live search for what NBC is calling “the next great mentalist.”

Each week, 10 contestants will demonstrate their talents for a panel of celebrity guests - plus judges Geller and Angel - before viewers vote, “American Idol”-style, for a winner.

The network has avoided using the dreaded “m” - “magician.” The contestants are called paranormalists, illusionists and mentalists.

Maybe that’s because Geller’s battles with skeptics - including professional magician James Randi and amateur magician Johnny Carson - are legendary.

When he appeared on “The Tonight Show” in 1973, for instance, Carson and Randi provided all his props - spoons, watches and the like - and kept them away from Geller and his associates before the show. Under those conditions . . . well, let’s just say that Uri had a bad night.

I wonder how Carson would feel about the Peacock giving him a prime-time forum?

Full disclosure: NBC called me last summer and asked me to send in a demo tape for the show. I did, knowing full well that I would never in a million years be chosen. My brand of magic (yes, I’m proud to be called a “magician”) is fun, light and played for laughs. I’ve read my share of minds over the years, but it’s always clear it’s just trickery, mixed with a well-intentioned charlatan’s knowledge of human behavior.

With Geller’s involvement, “Phenomenon” seems to want people to think there’s more than that going on. It looks like a continuation of the brooding, “poser magic” style of Angel and David Blaine. I hope it doesn’t take itself too seriously with an “is it real or not?” attitude. I hope it doesn’t take the fun out of magic.

Instead of looking for the next Uri Geller, I wish NBC was looking for the next Doug Henning. Now that would be groovy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Video du Jour • Jimmy Talksalot

Fire Sunset in Malibu

Malibu on Fire

Fire_003.jpg, originally uploaded by Sundogg.

Oct 21, 2007 Malibu, CA, USA - The celeb-filled community of Malibu is currently being threatened by a dangerous brushfire in the Carbon Canyon Area of Malibu. The affected area is north of the Pacific Coast Highway, and only a mile west of Pepperdine University. Over 1,200 acres have already been destroyed, aided by heavy Santa Ana winds that have been gusting as high as 100 MPH since last night. A firefighter who was sent to the scene said he believed high-voltage power lines had snapped and sparked the blaze around 5 am on Sunday.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

October numbers down

In October, I've had to switch things up a bit on key nights (Friday's and Saturday nights). Because of peak traffic on these nights for a Halloween event, there are no street performers allowed where I normally work on those nights. So, I've had to work 12-5PM instead of my normal 6-10PM shift. This has caused my earnings to be off this month since the City Walk doesn't really gel up until 4 or 5PM. Friday, I left the City Walk around 7PM. Feeling as though I wanted to try and pick it up a bit I went to Hollywood and Highland where I traded off shows with Daniel Davenport and a young man named Matt.

I liked hanging with the boys. There's something to be said about youthful enthusiasm. I explained to them both that the idea was to have a finite amount of time to make it happen, 10 or 15 minutes. If it wasn't happening it would go to the next guy. I thought we could have some fun and create some momentum. We all did shows, had some fun and made some money.

Click pic to enlarge.

I like what Daniel said at one point, "This is the hardest way to make an easy living." I agree. Get the crowd, keep the crowd, get the money. . . . that's what Cellini taught me, and that's what we all tried to do.

Hollywood and Highland was hopping! It's a very exciting place to be. It has a Times Square feel about it which is funny because it was all that long ago it was a crack and hooker neighborhood. Times change, Times Square and Hollywood Blvd. have booth been Disneyfied and made into respectable, clean and fun tourist destinations.

We hung out, talked magic, made some money and did our best to make people happy. it was a good night all around.

Another Showing of Favorites, originally uploaded by Geo Dog.


Life is such a trip. Ups and downs, Drastic polar spectrums in a dimension somewhere between reality and something else. The place where people go during near death experiences, or the place in someone's mind where magic can be real.

Santa Ana winds blow in all sorts of shit that are playing hell on my sinuses. Malibu fires destroy beach front property. Copperfield denies allegation's of raping a Seattle woman in the Bahamas, saying "I wouldn't fuck her with Hans Klock's cock".

I don't think he did it. David Copperfield can fuck anyone he wants on his private island. This is a guy who was banging Claudia Schiffer for Gods sake. I guess time will reveal all the sordid details of some evening gone awry. It's a shame there's such a market for these kinds of stories. It must drive the rich and famous crazy.

Back to the real world. . . I got a letter from Max. It was great to here from him. I had left a phone message for him asking him what he wanted for his birthday. It was a short letter but it let me know that he loves me and misses me. He sounds good and happy.