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Meeting the legends at FISM 2009 (Part II) – Juan Tamariz

August 17, 2009

I attended ten lectures on magic during FISM 2009, almost all of them began with the magician performing a few of their favourite feats and finished with the magician explaining them. Juan Tamariz’s lecture began, similarly, with a 40-min performance, but after that he told us that those were all he was planning to perform and our hearts started to race with the anticipation of the secrets, he then took out a few sheets of blank A4 sheets and started drawing graphs. Line graphs of Time versus Interest in a performance of magic! It was as if this crazy Spanish man suddenly transformed into a crazy Spanish professor. It wasn’t until this point in time I truly realised, to use Rowan Atkinson’s phrase, “this guy is really good!”

In the following evening, I went to see him perform late at night in a small room with another 50 or so magicians/magic-lovers. For me, and I believe for most of the people in the room as well, that night I witnessed “magic” as I have never before. It felt as if inside that closed door is a tiny but separate universe ruled by this mad man in a straw hat and I never knew magic can be this absorbing. When you watch modern “cool” magicians perform on TV with live audience going “eeeeeeehhhh??!!” with exaggerated facial expressions, do you, like me, sometimes wonder whether the audience is part of the production team? (By the way, if you somehow need to find out whether you are Asian or American, get a TV magician to perform for you. You know you are Asian if you go “eeeeeeehhhh??!!“, on the other hand if you go “Oh my God!!”, you are definitely American.) I was thinking about them when I watched Juan Tamariz, because the audience was literally crying in disbelieve and some were clutching their heads as if they were about to explode, but but but but but the audience here is a bunch of magicians, who are meant to be at various degree knowledgeable of the secrets!

After all the epic talk, this clip might appear quite silly, but it is this clip that initially introduced myself to Juan Tamariz. Like Lennart Green’s TED talk, this is also quite encouraging for the aspiring magicians, for even though I might not have the skills, the experience or the charisma of the masters, at least I appear to have a similarly quirky sense of humour .

28/08/09 Update:

Just saw this advertised on TV, it contains some great performances of Juan Tamariz.

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