Friday, April 04, 2008

Buster's first card trick • Click here

Happy 18th Birthday Busta John!

My Son Buster Frank, originally uploaded by tfrank8176.

Pic taken in Seattle when he was 15.

Birthdays and holidays suck.

Just when I’m feeling like everything just might be OK, Thanksgiving, or Christmas or Buster’s 18th birthday will come along and knock my dick in the dirt. I’ve spent the better part of the day watching old home movies of my first born like these.

Feels like a long time ago, failed marriages, estranged children & faded dreams of happy families. Fuck!

All manufactured tizzy. Nothing's different than yesterday, last month or last year.

“The seasons. . . they go round and round. The painted ponies go up and down. We’re all captive on a carosel of time”

- Joni Mitchell

Session with Allen Hayden

Met a new friend the other day. A fellow named Allen Hayden. He just spent some time in Phoenix hanging out with Shawn Greer. Shawn thought that we would hit it off so we set up a meeting. I met him at his house and spent an afternoon having magic fun. Allen was excited to show me lots of cool stuff. We went through a box of wallets in preparation for the Castle Swap Meet this Sat. We did card tricks and our linking ring routines for each other. I don’t meet too many other magicians that do a 5 ring routine. What can I say, nice guy and a memorable afternoon

Video du Jour • Click Here

Erik Peterson, a gifted musician, composer and vocalist. Went to Berkley College of Music with my brother Mike. Shot in 1990 at SCPA. Nice song and a cameo of Cricket and an infant Buster along with a girl Polly used to babysit. . . . small world.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

LA Sunset, originally uploaded by john w.

Monday, March 31, 2008

An entertaining evening in Hollywood

After finding out about Max Maven’s show from one the magic blogs I read, I couldn’t wait to see the show. I called Danny Sylvester to see if he wanted to go with me. Polly went to work at 3PM which meant she wasn’t coming home till 4 or 5 AM.

What can I say, I’m a Max Maven fan. I enjoyed the show and made a study of his timing, technique and persona. He’s an evolved performer with a deep sense of theater. I enjoyed his card routines, Key-r-rect routine and a mind reading routine with his eyes taped up and a ball gag shoved in his mouth. OK he didn’t use the ball gag, but the demonstrations rocked.

Afterwards Dan & I hit the Castle. I was hoping to pop in on Allen Hayden (guest librarian), but he was already gone. I gave Max Maven a lift to the Castle and confessed that I was a fan and that I remembered seeing him for the first time on "Mork & Mindy". It was nice to be stuck in Friday night traffic in Hollywood, it gave us a little one on one time. Max is the new entertainment director at the Magic Castle and said he would be happy to look at my video.

Saw Max Maven's Show Fri. Night

Review from the LA Weekly

MAX MAVEN THINKING IN PERSON Sporting a goatee and a haircut chiseled into a receded serpent’s tooth in the front, Max Maven cuts a figure that could have been carved by Edgar Allen Poe. He wears all black — some critic once commented on his “Japanese” attire, he points out, when in fact his jacket is from China, his shirt from Taiwan and his trousers from upstate New York. He scoffs at the error; in much of his solo performance — a magic and mind-reading act — Maven wields his intelligence, erudition and powers of memory over the audience with a blend of self-deprecation and haughtiness. Early in the show, to prove that he’s not going to tamper with a coin in a Styrofoam cup, a clear plastic box with a padlock appears. “I’ve been in this business 32 years, and I finally get a prop,” he remarks in a languorous voice that’s a dead ringer for that of Jim Schweda — the same rich tonality of utterances that almost crumble at the ends of sentences as though from a professor suffering the weight of too much knowledge. If the KUSC classical music host hadn’t been on the air during the time Maven said he was performing in France and Japan, I’d swear Schweda was moonlighting as a stand-up magician. “Remember Paul Erdös, the Hungarian mathematician,” Maven intones, one of many “remember” questions that invoke a range of historical figures from a Kabuki actor to a member of the Algonquin circle. The references leave the audience confounded, and leave Maven with an expression of stunned condescension: Oh, God, this part went so much better in Europe, he seems to be thinking. He tells a story of how an art critic once approached Picasso at an exhibition, complaining about the paintings’ abstractions, and how they don’t capture reality. The critic showed Picasso a photograph in his wallet: “This is my wife,” the critic said, “and this is exactly what she looks like,” to which Picasso replied, “She’s very small.” And so Maven aims to challenge our assumptions of what we think we know with the mystery of what we can’t know. It’s more than a ruse to amaze with trickery, it’s a magic act woven into slivers of metaphysics. Maven is blindfolded while an audience member sketches an image on cardboard. With the image firmly hidden, Maven replicates it. Blindfolded, he reads the serial number from a $10 bill provided by the audience. I’m a poor judge of how impressed I should be that, in 20 seconds, Maven could identify the missing card from a full deck of playing cards. I was merely amazed by how he could remember the names of all five volunteers for a demonstration. I’m dazzled by anything beyond that. Amit Itelman directs with keen attention to the crescendos of suspense, in conjunction with the uncredited lighting. Steve Allen Theater at the CENTER FOR INQUIRY–WEST, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri., 8 p.m.; thru (unlimited Run). (800) 595-4TIX.

Max Maven & Dan Sylvester