Tommy Wonder

One of my early inspirations in magic was a dutch performer named Tommy Wonder (ne Jacobus Bemelman). I devoured all of the Tommy Wonder material which was available. (Which at that time in the history of the internet, making far too many purchases on eBay.)

One of the things that made him such a memorable performer was that more than doing magic, he was someone that magic happened to. (And ending prepositions with sentences is a situation up with which we must not put.) He took after another dutch forerunner, Fred Kaps in that respect. It has been over ten years since he passed away I reached a point where I thought I had seen all that there was.

Yesterday, the YouTube algorithm (probably prompted by my review of Jamy Ian Swiss' article about him) turned this up for me and I remembered what I found so inspiring years ago. So enjoy a rather grainy television performance from the late, great Tommy Wonder:

Photos from Magic & Martini in Toronto #pride Edition

Last night, we had another Sold Out Magic & Martini at SpiritHouse in downtown Toronto. Thank you to everyone who attended. It was a special night for the show because it is Pride Week/end in Toronto.

On stage I walk a fairly narrow tightrope. I've always tried to make being gay something which defines how I behave in a show. I like that it's under the surface; something that people who are paying attention can discover on their own. The great Chicago close-up magician Eugene Burger said that good magic has extra details hidden inside of it, just for those people who are willing to pay attention. Or, as he put it, "If they don't pay attention, they don't deserve to know."  

In an earlier version of my show Lies, Damn Lies & Magic Tricks, which I did at a number of theatres and festivals in 2012, there was a lovely moment, about half way through the show which was very appropriate, and very cleverly constructed public coming out moment. I was quite pleased with it and felt very proud of it. Now I tend to delight privately that people can't tell unless they're willing to pay attention. There's a more mystical magical quality to it which I appreciate more.

In any event, here are a few photos from last night's show, by Tyler Sol Williams. We are on hiatus in Oakville and Hillsburgh for the summer, but do have a few Toronto dates scheduled with tickets available. My readers should use the code pride for a discount on tickets when reserving online. 

Mystic Halloween

Last year I performed at the Craftsight "Mystic Halloween" show. They recently shared the video online (eight months does seem to be the usual turnaround for creative unless you're willing to kidnap the videographer's children and hold them ransom.) 

It was a short performance followed by a Q&A:

The full video of the evening is available here. Unfortunately, I was the only one actually performing. The balance of the guests were assorted woo merchants that couldn't really be taken seriously (unless you desperately wanted your horoscope read.)

When Film Met Magic

When the TIFF Bell LIghtbox Opened in Toronto in 2010, I was invited to perform as part of that celebration. As part of their opening season, they wanted to explore the earliest origins of film and that led them to magicians

In fact, it was a particular magician, George Melies, who is widely regarded as the father of film editing (and therefore camera tricks.) Before Melies, films were recorded in one continuous take. A feature that we all take for granted now, the ability to take multiple pieces of footage and  cut them together to form a coherent narrative, was something he discovered by accident.

Crash Course, an interesting YouTube channel that produces educational contact, did a wonderful piece summarizing this history. 

Of course, magicians typically work in the opposite way, going to extreme lengths to produce feats which look like camera tricks. But ultimately, they all come from the same place. 

Random Martini Trivia

The British quiz show QI remains one of my favourite programs to watch. They have redefined educational entertainment. Their name is short for Quite Interesting, and the main rule of the show is you get points "for being interesting."

After a year of Magic & Martini I get sent lovely clips like this. Here is some interesting background on Martinis in general, and how James Bond prefers them in particular:

If you're a fan of things British, you will recognize the original host of Whose Line Is It Anyway, Clive Anderson and one of the world's most delightful all around humans, Stephen Fry