Mike Weatherford is a straight-shooter — although we have no idea why one's sexual identity should matter, especially if you are using a gun or any firearm.
He stays up on the Magic scene in Las Vegas better than most. He even knows the names of our illusions; which is disconcerting. It kind of creeps us out when lay people know the jargon of our biz.
We much prefer audience members to talk about our "scarf trick" or "hanky trick" rather than "a really nice routine with a silk ball."
Of course, we take the audience as we find them and if they happen to know the jargon, we deal with it like a professional. Still, we feel weird performing for closeted magicians who act like they don't know but they really do. They take the force card because they think they are helping; and yes, while it is nice to pull off a Classic Force once in a while, we would much prefer to do it on our own. We don't need charity — especially because most of our routine is based on screwing up the Classic Force. We don't know what we would do if it worked.
Anyway, we digress.
Secrets was the topic and coincidentally, secrets is the theme of Ariann Black's new show in Las Vegas.
Let us be very straight shooting here as well: Ariann Black is beautiful. She is the kind of beautiful that you don't want to look at because you become nervous, paranoid, and incontinent. Maybe that's just us. But she is not bad looking for a woman.
But we have never judged male magicians on their natural or enhanced beauty — except Darren Romeo and Lance Burton. They are good looking guys, we suppose.
Mike Weatherford's take on the amazingly attractive Ariann Black's new show is luke-warm. He appreciates her incredible skill set; ranging from close-up to big stage illusions. But he wants more.
He riffs off one of Ariann Black's lines in the new show. She reflects on her start in our art and recalls being told that "magic is for boys."
Mr. Weatherford agrees the statement was sexist. He believes the critic should have told the young performer to be:
"You know little girl, there are way, way more magicians in this world than there are illusions for us to perform. We all do the same stuff! But it's a boys club, so you just might be the one who could do something different with it."
Many women performers have tried to be different but Mr. Weatherford feels they have all fallen into the stereotypical trap he describes as a "vocabulary beyond the addition of fishnets and killer abs. Alas, Black is no exception in 'Secrets,' her modest showcase at the Westin Casuarina."
Check out his full review over at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. You can decide if he liked the show but thought it was challenged by limits imposed by our male-dominated society, or hated the show but really likes Ariann Black.
The 'Let's put on a show' work ethic on display here is more impressive than the actual content. This is gender-neutral advice I have offered before and probably will again: If you're a newbie to "Vegas-style" stage magic, this should fit the bill. If you're ready for the next level, it will seem quite familiar.
Mr. Weatherford exposes his intimate familiarity with our special, secret code language in a comment on Ariann Black's variation of a classic illusion.
For one illusion in particular, known in the trade as "Interlude," this creates a gay subtext, via some gentle caresses before Lee appears to pass through Black's body. Kinda hot for the straight-male demo. And the only new wrinkle on the usual display of doves, linking rings, bisecting boxes and levitations.
He concedes she is very charming but he wishes she was a little more "in your face" kind of vibe. Ariann Black should break the bonds of politeness and "do what a girl's gotta do" to make it in the world of Las Vegas Magic.
Ariann Black is both talented and painfully attractive. That is a tough combination for anyone in any world; and certainly in the Las Vegas show milieu.
We can't wait to see her perform even if she is polite and respectful and polished and professional. There should be room for that type of magician in Vegas.
Watch her perform "Ariann Black: Secrets" at 7:00 p.m. Thursdays through Tuesdays at the beautifully appointed Showroom at Westin Casuarina. Tickets are $40.00.
The show's web site is here.
And Ariann Black's web site can be found here.