Excerpts

It's All About Respect

Posted by Michael Close on

In the past, I have written and spoken about the stage contestants who turn the stage into a garbage dump during their acts. Some contest acts at the combined convention seemed to take this to extremes. In the past, the need to sweep the stage before setting the next act has caused large lag times between acts. At the combined convention it was decided that the way to alleviate this problem was to tape down drop cloths before each act; the thinking, I guess, was that the drop cloths would make clean-up faster. Unfortunately, all the drop cloths did was...

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One More Thing to Think About

Posted by Michael Close on

The average layman probably experiences close-up magic fewer than six times in their entire life. (I’m referring to an in-person performance, not a performance on television.) This means that every encounter with a magician is an important one, because the spectator will base his opinion of all magicians on that one experience. This has a profound implication. When you are out in the real world, performing for people who do not have a vested interest in your performance (family, friends, magic buddies), you represent all of magic. It is as if no other magic exists, other than the manner in...

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Venue and the Repetoire You Choose

Posted by Michael Close on

When I began to work at the Houdini Lounge, I made the amazing discovery that almost none of the repertoire I had developed in the past twenty-five years felt right in that venue. Part of the problem had to do with the physical space. The tables were smaller, and most of them were circular. This eliminated The Card, the Forehead, and the Saltshaker. The lounge has a dignified, elegant feel to it. The chairs are overstuffed and are deep red. The walls have dark wood. The Illusions restaurant, on the other hand, was lighter, more open, and more playful. Because...

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Making it Feel Real

Posted by Michael Close on

In Workers 1, I discussed my philosophy of magic. I want to perform magic that leaves the audience with no explanation and is entertaining in the process. At this stage in my life, I don’t need to show off; I don’t need the ego gratification of someone telling me how skillful I am. Instead, I want to be a conduit that allows my audiences the opportunity to feel the thrill of astonishment, and to use that experience to reawaken the memory that that the world is an astonishing place, full of mysteries that will never be solved. In order to...

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Evolution: Old Repertoire - New Environment

Posted by Michael Close on

The other problem in adapting my old repertoire to my new environment had nothing to do with the venue and everything to do with me. The problem was evolution. The Pothole Trick is a prime example of this. When I developed the trick I lived in Indiana, and in Indiana potholes in the roads are a part of life. Talking about potholes and figuring out a way to get rid of them (although symbolically through magic) felt real and natural to me. Then I moved to Las Vegas, where there are no potholes. All of a sudden, the trick felt...

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