Saturday, November 15, 2008

Magic Castle

Thursday night I met Danny Sylvester at the Castle around 10PM. Always fun to spend time with him. Someone asked him to do "The Sylvester Pitch" and I watched as he launched into his whole routine complete with jumbo coins and big nut ending. The guys eyes were bugging out! It brought me a lot of joy to watch Danny work. His coin work is unique, fresh and on a good day not only angle-proof, but pert near undetectable. Then he pulled his tongue down to his belly button before his eyes bugged out huge, then instantly went back to normal. The man of a million gadgets, all on his person. Nutty to say the least. I met Dan 27 years ago and we've been good friends ever since. The two years that we spent as roommates 20 years ago, was a time to cherish and remember. All the fun we had, great times really.

Another old friend was there Chris Korn, I've know him since he was 15. He told me that Doc Eason was around. Todd Karr in the house. After a bit we all met down in the Library to see what Billy Goodwin was up to. Tony Picasso was there as well.

Billy, Doc, Chris, Todd & I stepped out for a smoke. Nice to chat with Todd. I met him as I was opening Seattle Magic, and he was moving down here. He's a gifted writer with an ambitious scope and offers the magic world the only post graduate course in magic, (I'm talking about every book he writes).

Hung out, had some fun, saw some friends. . . a bit of magic and handing the valet gut my ticket to get my car and I'm off, back on the freeway heading home.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Robbie Williams - Beyond The Sea

Cylinder & Coins

Cylinder & Coins, originally uploaded by Jaz27.

, originally uploaded by n.millen.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In my "In Box"

Hi Tom,

Great to hear from you! I myself am an amateur coin worker and love magic! I'd especially be interested in possibly shooting your portrait against a backdrop of antique magic equipment / posters. Is there a way to get me a photo of some of your collection? Thanks!


About the Portraits Project:

A sweeping, moving portrait of the people of Los Angeles (and the United States) told through a series of beautifully filmed portraits set to originally composed music. The portraits are of real people, in real places, each different but sharing something common to the human condition: the ability to laugh, smile, feel, share themselves. The project will be photographed over the next couple of months all over the Southland based on participants' availabilities. Each session will take about 3 hours and will result in a minute or two of 35mm or Super 16 footage, professionally photographed and color timed. Each participant will receive a Mini DV tape or DVD disc of their footage for their own use as well as credit in the film. This film will be submitted to film festivals.

About Jeffrey Waldron:

Jeffrey Waldron is an award-winning cinematographer and director who grew up around the world. He holds a BA in Cinema-Television Production from the University of Southern California and an MFA in Cinematography from the American Film Institute.

Reels available here:

Jeff Waldron's 60-Second DP Reel from Jeffrey Waldron on Vimeo.

Getting my groove back

Feeling the music, making my body move
deep groove
A thick and funky bass line
sax takes over leading in a new direction
bass compliments and buys her a drink

slipping off a barstool
and I haven’t even left home yet.

hands feeling good
cigar clutched between my teeth
a new deck of cards
slippers on my feet

coins between my fingers
rings on my toes
palm trees swaying
a winter rose

getting my groove back
need to move on
need to get on with this life of mine
need to sing a new song

Hammond B-3 Organ cutting off a slice
escalating tempos
as people dance feverishly
feeling the life that pumps through their veins
dealing with feelings, confronting pain

New Years Eve in San Francisco
The girl I love on my arm
getting ready
for the best is yet to come

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Fine Romance

Saturday night Polly and I attended a benefit for the Motion Picture & Television Fund. This was the 4th Annual “A Fine Romance”. The party was held at the Sony Pictures Studios (formerly the MGM Studios, where some of the best musicals ever were shot including “Singing In The Rain”). They had converted a large soundstage into two separate areas, one for cocktails and hors d’oeuvers, the other for the wonderful show we were treated to.

Catherine Zeta-Jones & Hugh Jackman hosted a the star-studded evening celebrating the love affair between Broadway and Hollywood.  Accompanied by a live orchestra under the baton of the Hollywood Bowl’s John Mauceri, a breathtaking array of singers from film and stage musicals performed the songs that have tied both coasts together for decades.

The list of performers included Amy Adams, Kristin Chenoweth, Alan Cumming, Sandy Duncan, Victor Garber, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Hugh Jackman, Elijah Kelly, Zachary Levi, Audra MacDonald, James Marsden, Donna Murphy, John Lloyd Young and Zeta-Jones. It was a tight 90 minute show full of singing and dancing!

My favorite song in the show was Sandy Duncan singing "Neverland" from "Peter Pan". It made me think of my kids and brought a tear to me eyes. If you don't know the song, here are the lyrics.

I have a place where dreams are born,
And time is never planned.
It's not on any chart,
You must find it with your heart.
Never Never Land.

It might be miles beyond the moon,
Or right there where you stand.
Just keep an open mind,
And then suddenly you'll find
Never Never Land.

You'll have a treasure if you stay there,
More precious far than gold.
For once you have found your way there,
You can never, never grow old.

And that's my home where dreams are born,
And time is never planned.
Just think of lovely things.
And your heart will fly on wings,
Forever in Never Never Land.

You'll have a treasure if you stay there,
More precious far than gold.
For once you have found your way there,
You can never, never grow old.

And that's my home where dreams are born,
And time is never planned.
Just think of lovely things.
And your heart will fly on wings,
Forever in Never Never Land

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Recently sold on Ebay

Antique Bronze Magician Mechanical Magic Desk Standish

Here is a wonderful old antique bronze or brass mechanical standish, in the form of a magician. It measures approx. 8 inches tall, 7 & 1/2 inches wide at the base, and approx. 6 inches deep. It is an authentic antique piece, well over 100 years old, and not a copy or repro of any kind. It is in completely as-found, all original condition, very dusty & dirty, with no repairs or restorations of any kind.~~~ I hardly know how to begin to describe this fantastic piece! It is of very high quality, and rendered with great artistic detail. It depicts a very animated magician, performing his act behind a small folding table on a cobblestone street. His sleeves are rolled up while he thrusts his wand into the air with one hand, and holds a small ball between the thumb & fore finger of his other hand. He is in the process of executing a ball & cup trick, and the table he stands behind is "rigged", as they say, as the central cup conceals a tiny and comical little figure, which is apparently supposed to pop up suddenly and ring, via the workings of a mechanical device and bell which are concealed in the base. (The mechanism is intact, the bell rings and the figure moves up & down, but it may need to be cleaned and adjusted to work smoothly & correctly.) ~~~The Magician is all dressed in 18th century clothing, again rendered in great detail, with tricorn hat, waistcoat, breeches and bow topped shoes. When his pig tail is pushed down, his hat flips up to reveal a well, and on the ground below the table are a trunk, a bugle, and a drum. The trunk opens up for storage, the bugle is actually a removable seal, and the drum top flips up to reveal an ink well, which still has the original porcelain liner in place (the liner has an old hairline crack). There seems to be something small missing on the right front corner of the table, where a tiny hole betrays it's absence. I would guess that it was the other die, but I'm not sure. Besides that, it looks mostly complete, with no cracks or breaks, and awaits a thorough cleaning and restoration. I can find no maker's name, date, or signature on it, but from the construction and feel of the piece, I think that it was probably made in the early 19th century, and certainly no later than the Victorian era. Once spruced up, it promises to reveal itself as a spectacular and rare piece, worthy of the most advanced collection!~~~ If you are a collector of magic memorabilia, small bronzes, or of antique mechanical oddities, then this wonderful piece is sure to please!~~~The only reference that I have been able to find for this fascinating piece is a nearly identical example that sold at Swann Galleries in New York City, on October 25, 2007, as part of the Christian Fechner collection of American and European Magic, Part III, lot # 315.

Sold for $5,300