Tag Archives: Magic

I STILL BELIEVE IN MAGIC – PART FIVE

THE REAL THING

I’ve been lucky to have seen two of the Twentieth Century’s great magician/illusionists, one of them twice. Mark Henning and David Copperfield pretty much ruled the magic superstar roost back in the Nineteen Seventies to the Nineties.

They couldn’t have been more different in look and presentation. Henning was the geeky, long-haired nerdy guy in a gold lame suit with his beautiful wife performing as his assistant. He came across as the genuine article, a guy who seemed to honor and do homages to the magicians he’d been influenced by such as Harry Houdini.

Copperfield was more the rock-star–very flashy, handsome and tuxedoed with super-model types as his assistants. Copperfield went for the big illusions. And I mean big like making the Statue of Liberty or an elephant disappear. And he did that on stage –in the middle of his act, he showed a film of him performing those illusions. Now he did do smaller versions of that illusion live but paying to see a film was kind of disappointing.

Don’t get me wrong, Copperfield was great but Henning was more personable with the audience, intimate. He did a sleight-of-hand performance with members of the audience coming up on stage to observe the card tricks he was doing with all that being projected on a big screen for the rest of the crowd. You couldn’t tell how he was doing those tricks. It was like seeing real magic. Very cool. He’s the one I saw twice.

One of Henning’s most impressive illusions was one originally done by Harry Houdini called ‘Metamorphosis’. I’ve included a link below to a video of him and his wife performing that. Pretty incredible and probably accomplished with amazing speed, timing and agility, all of which, done right, are magical in their own right.

Henning’s wife’s wrists are handcuffed. She’s placed in a large sack which is tied at the top. She’s then put in a large wooden chest which is also latched and chained up. Henning stands atop the chest and pulls a rectangular screen/curtain which is lying on the floor around the chest up to his neck, completely concealing the chest and all of his body except for his face. He counts to three, pulls the curtain up to hide his face, the curtain falls and his wife is standing atop the chest, free of all her bonds.

The chest, still chained, is unlocked and the person in the bag is now Henning, wearing different clothes! Simply amazing. And he did it faster than Houdini had done it!

Sadly, Doug Henning died of cancer several years ago and David Copperfield was a suspect in some kind of sexual assault case. Oh, how the mighty have fallen! Chris Angel seems to be the most visible magician/illusionist around these days and he’s good too.

The magic in my books is real, at least as it applies to the stories and milieus I’ve created. But watching true masters at their art, even when you know it’s a trick, is something really remarkable.

Doug Henning’s Metamorphosis

Larry Ivkovich’s website ~ http://inkfish1.wix.com/larryivkovichauthor

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I STILL BELIEVE IN MAGIC – Part 4

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Another Kind of Magic ~

A few years ago, my wife and I and two friends took a trip to Venice, Italy. Truly a magical place. It was like being in an honest-to-God secondary world. At least to me. I got a few story ideas there, three of which made it into finished pieces with all of those being sold.

Of course, Venice has its problems like any city and the extraordinary facts of it slowly sinking into the sea, has flooded on occasion and the canals smelling bad during the warm months are well known. But with no cars being allowed in the city, Venice’s amazing culture, history and architecture, and, yes, the canals, give Venice an otherworldly ambiance like no other place.

Again, at least to me. I can’t speak for anyone else. I remember, after visiting England and getting the same type of emotional reaction to Stonehenge, a coworker who had also visited that wonderful monument, asked me what the big deal about it was.

Yikes! How do you explain that to someone who doesn’t get it? I experienced such an overpowering mystical feeling in Venice when I first stepped onto the quay from the vaparetto that brought us from the airport. I just stood and gaped at our surroundings. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before. The Grand Canal, St. Mark’s Square, the Rialto Bridge and Market, the Jewish Ghetto, the labyrinth of winding, narrow streets where you didn’t care if you got lost, the dozens and dozens and dozens of mask shops with their huge front windows displaying a multitude of intricately-designed masks. Here was a place of real magic!

And how do I explain those feelings? I guess that’s why I write. I put all that emotion into my acts of creation. I infuse the cities I create with some element of Venice, my characters with some aspect of the strong Venetian personality, my magic with the idea that you get that ability, that strength from the land around you. It’s a part of you and you’re a part of it. The city and its denizens are a part of a great whole, a complete living entity. The city is a character in the story itself.

“The Raptor and the Lion” (published in the SQ Magazine anthology Starquake 1) takes place in contemporary Venice and is the first of my Maghi stories where Venice itself demands blood sacrifice in order to survive. The Maghi, a group of ancient sorcerers and sorceresses, are more than willing to provide that sacrifice.

“Ravilla’s Wraith”, published in the Twisted Cat Tales anthology, takes in a Venice-like city with art and, of course, cats taking center stage. But these aren’t your average, everyday cats.

My short story, “The Turin Effect” (published in Penumbra online magazine) takes place in contemporary Venice and also involves the Maghi and their nefarious plot to return to power. This time, however, they may have bitten off more than they could chew.

Finally, Venice plays a big role in my in-progress sequel to THE SIXTH PRECEPT. Much of the action of WARRIORS OF THE LIGHT takes place in that grand city and features, you guessed, the Maghi.

What cities or places have you all visited that evoked a sense of wonder for you?

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