As we look at Magic tonight, we are confused.
We are not sure which issues will be with us forever and which will leave us as soon as the next fad comes into town.
Will we care about “knock-offs” in five years?
Will it matter that David Blaine was in a glass box for 44 days?
Will we assume, perhaps ten years from now, that there will never be a better magic show than (fill in your favorite nominee) and that Magic had reached its zenith?
Right now there is much to be concerned about. The most successful magic show in the history of the United States, Siegfried and Roy, may have performed their last show.
The problem with live magic is that it is live.
If you did not see Doug Henning at the Court Theater in New York during his run in The Magic Show, you never will again.
If you never saw Dai Vernon perform his card magic, your chance is over.
If you failed to see Harry Blackstone, Jr. perform the Floating Light Bulb, you will never have another opportunity.
Many of our special events are saved on film or, now, in digital format. Unfortunately, they have not yet invented the recording device to capture the excitement when the lights dim, the music builds and the curtains part.
If you did not see the young David Copperfield starring in the play The Magic Man, you will never see him like that again.
That is the problem with living in a linear and time-based world.
Even as we write this, there are magicians we know and love who are growing older. They are pulled towards their individual twilight, moving closer to the point where they can only look back fondly or with regret on their current need to perform six nights a week, 48 weeks a year.
Continue reading “Trying and Failing to Stop Time”