Last night I went to see Tom Frank perform at the WC Fields bar at the Magic Castle. Tom is a friend of mine so I am a bit biased but that being said here goes my take on what happened.
Someone brought him a riser to stand on and it was placed before the stained glass window that shares a wall with the Library. Tom, a street performer, did a great set of magic and kept the crows entertained and buying drinks. When the Peller opened Tom stepped down from the riser and went over to the bar and performed at the bar itself. He was a working magic machine who understood the room and bar and used both at the appropriate time. He entertained and sold drinks.
But no this wasn't all that happened. The Piano Player was playing soft Jazz. Tom heard it and began to do his magic to the Jazz. The Piano player saw this magician using her music and timed the Jazz to coincide with his act. I don't know how to describe it except to say it was like a piano player at a silent movie providing back ground that was appropriate to what was going on in front of her. The two performed as one Magic hand in hand with Music.
I spoke with Tom afterwards and he told me it was his street performance skills that prompted him to use the music as his background and he went over and tipped the Piano Player. All in all the evening was a thing of beauty.
Tonight is his last night at the WC Fields bar. Please do yourself a favor and get down there to see how it can work.
Sometimes I go to watch friends perform, as an obligation or a way of showing respect. Last night was an experience I'm glad I got to see and enjoy in person. Do yourselves a favor, go see him and then let me know what you think.
And for those of you who are interested in a man who can draw a crowd, hold a crowd and perform some great magic, he has a lecture that he can do and has done for magic clubs in the past. So who ever has some sway in bookings for lectures it might be a great idea to get him to lecture to our magician members.
Have a great weekend and do come to see Tom Frank and the other magicians at our Club.
More than one of my magic co-horts had told me to keep an eye open for Tom Frank, knowing that I had spent my formative years performing street shows. So, I just sort of hovered around the Inner Circle for a while, waiting for the right moment to introduce myself. As I had been enlightened as to his years of experience on the pavement, I was not surprised to see how Tom flowed easily from bar to platform - from patter to music, from small crowd of peers to larger crowd of civilians. When I got to talking with him during a little lull, and happened to ask when he might next perform, he said, "For you, Phil, how about right this minute?" Well, there were three other magicians with me at the time. We got to see a 'private' show (?) on the dance floor that involved Sonyee improvising on the piano, and soon morphed into a much bigger experience as patrons slowly filtered into the room. Granted, I probably related to him because Tom is as addicted to performing as I, but it was also fun to see things just "flow" so effortlessly. I agree with Maurice. If you can come in tonight, I bet you'll be tickled to see this one!
Phil Van Tee
Why am I not surprised? Tom is a consummate performer with more flight time than (dare I say) a lot of the people who work the Castle. I am so glad to hear that he was able to work with the piano player. Tom's acumen for combining music and magic and having a pianist who 'gets' it, must have been sublime. She really is talented.
My feelings about the piano player are well known...I respect her talent and energy. I just feel that the presence of piano player (in general) is superfluous. But under these circumstances, I am thrilled to hear that all went so smoothly. Wish I was closer to experience Tom's performance. Knock em dead Tommy boy!