The New York Times Profile on Larry Hass and Muhlenberg College?s School of Magic

 

Larry Hass, Ph.D

Dr. Hass is a philosophy professor by way of experience and education but a magician by way of avocation.  He wanted to teach a course on the Finest Art at his Muhlenberg College in beautiful Allentown, Pennsylvania.  Actually, he wanted a little bit more than that.  He hoped to make the college a center for the study of theatrical magic.

 

Dr. Hass told the New York Times, “I was very, very nervous to bring it up to the deans. There was the concept and I was also asking for resources – about $20,000 – which would not be insignificant.”  Dr. Hass is no fool: he waited until he was tenured before proposing his concept.

 

The idea was met not with hostility or doubt but acceptance and resources.  

 

The curriculum began with two courses half a decade ago and is now a successful part of the unique college.  World-class magician Juan Tamariz lectured students for about a week and there were few seats available for the course.  

 

Mr. Tamariz not only discussed the best methods for entertaining, focusing and holding an audience, but also provided advice on innovating.  According to the New York Times article, “By the way,” he advised at one point, “all the rules of art are made to be broken. You just have to come up with a really good reason for breaking them.”

 

The profile is great and the course is worthy of such a great story.  You can read it

 

Larry Hass, Ph.D

Dr. Hass is a philosophy professor by way of experience and education but a magician by way of avocation.  He wanted to teach a course on the Finest Art at his Muhlenberg College in beautiful Allentown, Pennsylvania.  Actually, he wanted a little bit more than that.  He hoped to make the college a center for the study of theatrical magic.

 

Dr. Hass told the New York Times, “I was very, very nervous to bring it up to the deans. There was the concept and I was also asking for resources – about $20,000 – which would not be insignificant.”  Dr. Hass is no fool: he waited until he was tenured before proposing his concept.

 

The idea was met not with hostility or doubt but acceptance and resources.  

 

The curriculum began with two courses half a decade ago and is now a successful part of the unique college.  World-class magician Juan Tamariz lectured students for about a week and there were few seats available for the course.  

 

Mr. Tamariz not only discussed the best methods for entertaining, focusing and holding an audience, but also provided advice on innovating.  According to the New York Times article, “By the way,” he advised at one point, “all the rules of art are made to be broken. You just have to come up with a really good reason for breaking them.”

 

The profile is great and the course is worthy of such a great story.  You can read it here.

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