I seem to lead a delightfully charmed life. Every once in a while, I seem to get an email or a phone call from a friend, often out of the blue, with a request to work on a strange or unusual project. (Actually that seems to be happening quite a bit lately, so there should be some more stuff appearing here as soon as I'm allowed to talk about it.)
Earlier in the summer, my friend, fellow Canadian magician and fellow tall person (he's 6'5 or 5'17 in the US) contacted me about doing a show. Tyler used to live in Toronto a few years ago before winding himself up in England and Spain before finally finding his way home to Calgary. He's not only a very clever and creative magician, and extremely funny in a zany-off-the-wall sort of way, he's also knows more about the history of magic (in particular close-up magic) than just about anyone I've ever met.
His project was really interesting: he wanted to do a close-up show. Close up magic is possibly the strongest form of magic. There is an immediacy and intensity that comes with magic that happens feet and inches away from you. If you watch magic on stage, you could be dozens of meters away and if you watch magic on a screen, much of the impact gets lost – as I found out personally, listening to people talk about my recent appearance in a string of Wendy's ads.
I perform a ton of close up magic, but usually in a very unstructured way - what gets called strolling magic or mingling magic - at parties. But there it's a kind of Blitzkrieg approach, trying to show as many people magic in as short a time as possible. It's a great deal of fun and is very memorable, but it leaves the people who truly appreciate magic and want to see more feeling slightly shortchanged.
The main challenge is in economies of scale (rather lack of scale) - it's hard to have a successful show that only happens for a dozen people at a time. Historically, close-up magic has been forced into larger and larger rooms. I've attended (and competed in) magic contests that had close-up divisions in front of hundreds of people.
So for fun's sake, we've decided to put on a true close-up show: Illusions of Grandeur. We'll do the same ~50 minute show six times over two nights. Each seating will be strictly limited to fifteen people. As Tyler originally proposed it, this will be a micro-drama where we attempt to outdo, outperform and outbadass each other. (Apparently in Calgary, to outbadass is a real verb... or so Tyler tells me.) We're going to have tons of fun and we'll both be premiering some brand new material. We'll be at the Winchester, which has generously allowed us to rearrange their furniture to create our little close-up palace of mystery. The shows are separated by two hours so you're more than welcome to come early, stay late and/or enjoy some food and drink to go along with the show.
For even more fun's sake, we've added VIP seats, for the exorbitant surcharge of 3 cents. What exactly VIP treatment gets you; that's for us to know and you to find out. Hope to see you there.