Erik Mana: Not a Stereotypical Filipino Magician

Erik Mana's introduction on MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/erikmana) starts
out with a grabber – literally:

Long time ago, a wise man once told
me "…pat your hand near his crotch, then pull it out!!"

I later
realized that he was referring to how to lift a man's wallet from his back
pocket whilst applying the necessary distraction. Since then,

I've been picking
pockets, stealing watches and lifting jewelry like a bad habit, but then again
– that's my job."

We've written about Mr. Mana on other web sites and found
his fans to be the most loyal and enthusiastic of any of our subjects. 

(By the way, the least loyal and least enthusiastic fans are
those of "Bob Copperfield – David's Little Bro."

The folks at A&E
told The Daily Variety "the faux
relative of David first told us he was a real brother, then just a 'brother in
spirit,' and finally he claimed to be performing a 'tribute act' to David
Copperfield." 

The suits were no doubt upset that Bob Copperfield's lied to
get his special on the air and even more disturbed the special rated the lowest
of any prime-time cable network show in the last three television seasons.

The
public figures from a national rating service found the show was a complete
bust in the 18 to 56 demographic slice of America. 

In fact, we've yet to meet a magician who
will admit they watched the show).

Mr. Mana is a hit in his adopted home in the Philippines.  In fact, one commentator titled her photo
essay "Eric Mana is the "David Blaine" of the Philippines, except that he's
actually Canadian." See, Flikr
portfolio of Daphne Oseña-Paez here.

The lovely Ms. Oseña-Paez is partially correct.  Mr. Mana's family immigrated to Canada from the Philippines when he was three.  He returned to his native country about two
decades later.

While in Canada,
Mr. Mana was exposed to the virulent magic bug at the age of eight.  Like most victims of this insidious virus, he
did not know the true extent of his infection until later in life. 

He enjoyed "collecting magic tricks" in the same
way others collect comic books.  He had
fun performing occasionally for friends. 
He studied sound engineering in college and was destined to find a
non-magic career but for a fortuitous event.

He finally found the break that
started his career when he was hired as a production assistant for a magic
show. "In the interview, there was this guy who looked like Gandalf and he
asked me if I liked magic. I said. "Are you kidding? I love magic."

That was the beginning of the end.  The show was Princess Karma and Company and he toured with the troupe throughout
the Toronto
area.  He worked on his craft and sought
a solo career.  He modestly admits he
still had much to learn from his mentors in the magic business.  "It's hard to impress magicians — especially
the old ones. You might have a trick. That's fine and dandy. But try that on stage
in front of several people," Mr. Mana told the Manila Standard.

You think you know how the story ends: Mr. Mana dedicated himself to
practice, rehearsal, writing, staging, more practicing, and then performing.
But there's a twist. 

His show Stranger
did well in Toronto but rather than exploit the
success in Canada, he
decided to head to the Philippines.

He brought his skills to the production of a television
special titled Stranger – The Magic of
Erik Mana
and show brought him acclaim from viewers and critics alike.  He has followed on that success with a weekly
television show as well as additional television specials. 

Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, Mr. Mana's efforts
have inspired other Filipino magicians and whet the public's appetite for all
things magic.

He admires the iconoclastic David Blaine and hopes to break
magic from the stereotypes.

Everyone liked David Copperfield
so much that when they think of magic, they instantly have Copperfield in mind.
We really forgot about what magic was all about.
David Blaine made us remember
that magic wasn't just about stage stuff.

While he was interested in breaking away from the
stereotypical, he is cautious to not stray too far.  Some were worried he would suggest a link
between magic as a performing art and the occult or black magic.

Mr. Mana was able to walk the fine-line drawn by public
opinion.  Roman Catholic groups were not
offended and students from the Catholic St. Scholastica school have sent very favorable
comments about his performance. He even impressed the nuns.

We're sure we'll hear more from and about Mr. Mana as his
influence expands and career grows. 

We'll be there to cover it. 


Erik Mana's introduction on MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/erikmana) starts
out with a grabber – literally:

Long time ago, a wise man once told
me "…pat your hand near his crotch, then pull it out!!"

I later
realized that he was referring to how to lift a man's wallet from his back
pocket whilst applying the necessary distraction. Since then,

I've been picking
pockets, stealing watches and lifting jewelry like a bad habit, but then again
– that's my job."

We've written about Mr. Mana on other web sites and found
his fans to be the most loyal and enthusiastic of any of our subjects. 

(By the way, the least loyal and least enthusiastic fans are
those of "Bob Copperfield – David's Little Bro."

The folks at A&E
told The Daily Variety "the faux
relative of David first told us he was a real brother, then just a 'brother in
spirit,' and finally he claimed to be performing a 'tribute act' to David
Copperfield." 

The suits were no doubt upset that Bob Copperfield's lied to
get his special on the air and even more disturbed the special rated the lowest
of any prime-time cable network show in the last three television seasons.

The
public figures from a national rating service found the show was a complete
bust in the 18 to 56 demographic slice of America. 

In fact, we've yet to meet a magician who
will admit they watched the show).

Mr. Mana is a hit in his adopted home in the Philippines.  In fact, one commentator titled her photo
essay "Eric Mana is the "David Blaine" of the Philippines, except that he's
actually Canadian." See, Flikr
portfolio of Daphne Oseña-Paez here.

The lovely Ms. Oseña-Paez is partially correct.  Mr. Mana's family
immigrated to Canada from the Philippines when he was three.  He
returned to his native country about two
decades later.

While in Canada,
Mr. Mana was exposed to the virulent magic bug at the age of eight.  Like most victims of this insidious virus, he
did not know the true extent of his infection until later in life. 

He enjoyed "collecting magic tricks" in the same
way others collect comic books.  He had
fun performing occasionally for friends. 
He studied sound engineering in college and was destined to find a
non-magic career but for a fortuitous event.

He finally found the break that
started his career when he was hired as a production assistant for a magic
show. "In the interview, there was this guy who looked like Gandalf and he
asked me if I liked magic. I said. "Are you kidding? I love magic."

That was the beginning of the end.  The show was Princess Karma and Company and he toured with the troupe throughout
the Toronto
area.  He worked on his craft and sought
a solo career.  He modestly admits he
still had much to learn from his mentors in the magic business.  "It's hard to impress magicians — especially
the old ones. You might have a trick. That's fine and dandy. But try that on stage
in front of several people," Mr. Mana told the Manila Standard.

You think you know how the story ends: Mr. Mana dedicated himself to
practice, rehearsal, writing, staging, more practicing, and then performing.
But there's a twist. 

His show Stranger
did well in Toronto but rather than exploit the
success in Canada, he
decided to head to the Philippines.

He brought his skills to the production of a television
special titled Stranger – The Magic of
Erik Mana
and show brought him acclaim from viewers and critics alike.  He has followed on that success with a weekly
television show as well as additional television specials. 

Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, Mr. Mana's efforts
have inspired other Filipino magicians and whet the public's appetite for all
things magic.

He admires the iconoclastic David Blaine and hopes to break
magic from the stereotypes.

Everyone liked David Copperfield
so much that when they think of magic, they instantly have Copperfield in mind.
We really forgot about what magic was all about.
David Blaine made us remember
that magic wasn't just about stage stuff.

While he was interested in breaking away from the
stereotypical, he is cautious to not stray too far.  Some were worried he would suggest a link
between magic as a performing art and the occult or black magic.

Mr. Mana was able to walk the fine-line drawn by public
opinion.  Roman Catholic groups were not
offended and students from the Catholic St. Scholastica school have sent very favorable
comments about his performance. He even impressed the nuns.

We're sure we'll hear more from and about Mr. Mana as his
influence expands and career grows. 

We'll be there to cover it. 

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