The magic union is strong (but what’s parallelism?)

The 2010 World Magic Seminar is over, and if I die without ever seeing another card trick, I'll be fine.

But that's what I say after every big magic event. Then, two weeks later, I'm jonesing for a multiple card revelation or a four-ace trick.

After spending a couple days at the WMS, I can tell you that the state of the magic union is strong. I particularly was impressed with the teens. Their chops are solid (i.e., their slight-of-hand is deceptive), and their motivation is strong. Their patter/presentation... well, it'll improve.

Two standouts:

I saw a bespectacled, brainy kid transport a signed playing card into a sealed plastic bag and then into a lighter. "Ladies and gentlemen," he said, in closing his presentation, "today you have experienced numerous instances of parallelism."

No clue what that means, but it sounded fancy.

I watched a Canadian teen in a leather jacket and a Mohawk — the Fonz of the teenage magic community — do a card trick with spray paint. Then he made a giant, shiny "bling" chain appear. His name is Neil Croswell, and unless he does something radical like go to business school, he'll have a regular gig at Planet Hollywood within the decade.

The main thing you have to know about Mickey Silver is that his coin vanish is the best in the world. Thousands of magicians make coins disappear (including the one writing this blog), but none of us do it as well as Mickey Silver. That's why I attended his World Magic Seminar lecture.

"Watch the gestures, the fakes," he told us at the start of his talk. "If you understand my thinking, you'll understand my magic."

I was so excited, but Silver didn't teach any of the good stuff. Not even his signature retention vanish. Just his French Drop variation, which I've never even seen him perform in his act. Don't get me wrong, it's a great move, but it's not his best.

Whenever somebody from the audience would ask him how he did a particular move, he'd say, "Let me slow it down for you," and then he'd offer a sucker explanation. (A sucker explanation is what magicians tell laymen after they ask, "How'd you do it?") But because Silver was so serious about his sucker explanations, some of the magicians in the audience didn't realize they were sucker explanations at all. A lot of people left confused. I left frustrated. And wanting more.

Still, Silver is awesome at what he does, and if he ever decides to share the good stuff, he'll have no trouble finding a forum to do so.

The highlight of the whole seminar was an impromptu, late-night performance, given by some guy I'd never heard of: Jimmy Fingers. He performed a close-up levitation, which he invented, and if he wasn't charging $1,500 for the gimmick, I'd be performing it, too.

I'll have to content myself with my new $30 color-changing Chinese token.

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