Show and Tell Alexander Bell

I love the idea of integrating technology with performance art. The trouble comes when it happens in a superficial way and the audience leaves with a quaint feeling saying things like "that's clever" or "that's cute" like a six year old who has just repurposed a piece of kitchenware as a space helmet. Show and Tell Alexander Bell is not that.

Part of the 2013 Summerworks festival, it's a stunning example of... of... I have no idea how to complete that sentence because I've never seen anything quite like it. The title doesn't tell you nearly enough. There is dance - lots of it. Also some singing, not very much. Comedy, certainly. And plentiful and interesting visual elements which seem to counterpoint the surrealism of the underlying metaphor. (I've always wanted to work that into a sentence!) And there's even a magic trick or three in there for good measure.

It certainly shows us that there's is a wide open road ahead for integrating technology and art.

If you are in Toronto over the next week, go.

Two things which are important to remember:

  1. Remember to bring your cell phone.
  2. You'll never look at phone sex the same way again.

Show & Tell Alexander Bell

@ The Summerworks Performance Festival

by Ars Mechanica Theatre

Select performances August 8 - 18 at the Lower Ossington Theatre

Tickets $15

You can see more the of the 2013 Summerworks Program here.

A bit of bootleg footage

Last year, my show Lies, Damn Lies & Magic Tricks was in the Summerworks Performance Festival at the Scotiabank Studio Theatre. As an experiment, we included an announcement at the beginning of the show along with the cell phone notice saying "non-flash photography is permitted, weird stuff will happen and it belongs on YouTube and Facebook" just to see what would happen. Now, eight months later, someone DropBoxed me a the video they shot of a portion of the show from the audience.

I don't actually have all that much video of my performances and I'm always happy to see it. So even though this is (formerly) unauthorized footage, I'll share it, so that if there's anyone else out there who has something stashed away, perhaps they'll share it.

This remains one of my favourite tricks that I've ever performed. Those of you who have seen more recent versions of it know that I've changed the story from "waiting in a hotel bar" to "waiting in an airport lounge" proving that either my memory is getting progressively worse or I'm a better liar than ever.

Praise for Lies, Damn Lies & Magic Tricks

It's been a fantastic summer that I won't soon forget. Between the Hamilton Fringe Festival and the Summerworks Performance Festival, I completed thirteen performances of Lies, Damn Lies & Magic Tricks. Here are some highlights of what people had to say:

Truly Entertaining NOW Magazine

Remarkable... This magician is one talented fellow. The Hamilton Spectator

Thought-provoking, funny, astonishing and thoroughly entertaining. It's a great magic display and that's all anyone needs to know. Ontario Arts Review

I promise you will be thinking about how it's done - during and after the show and probably the rest of the month. Thoroughly entertaining. Artword

Brimming with wicked wit and calculated comedy. The VIEW Magazine

To my eyes, James Alan is every bit as good as any magician I have seen on TV... Alan is very personable, he makes you laugh between the lies and tricks... It is very engaging and entertaining. An hour will fly by before you know it. Mooney on Theatre