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PhotobucketOn several occasions, I have heard the phrase “magic is an art” bandied about with mindless abandon—sometimes with a dash of pretentiousness—by magicians.

They say it while wearing the serious face of a dentist wanting to pull your molars without the use of anesthesia.

PhotobucketOn other occasions, I’ve read about a so-called list of preferred artists that ranks magicians second to the bottom. They are next only to clowns.

This is not to insult clowns, because I believe conferring on them the cellar-dweller status is unfair. But in the scheme of things, someone’s got to be at the bottom. The list says it’s the clowns, and magicians are just a step above them.

I have not seen the result of that poll. I don’t even know if such poll exists. Or if it’s urban legend. But the number of times this second-to-the-bottom-ranking pops up in my reading material deflates my ego and sours my day.

Why do people (and other artists) look down on magicians? How artistic can magic and magicians be if the public holds them in low regard?

Surely it’s not because of lack skills. We have world-class magicians who are the epitome of skills, Jeff Mc Bride being one.

PhotobucketSurely it’s not because of inferior material. We have classics of magic that have pleased audiences across several generations, the Levitation of a Lady is an example.

PhotobucketSurely it’s not because of lack of good looks. We have Adonises and Venuses for performers. We also pride ourselves with a bevy of drop-dead-gorgeous assistants who adds aesthetic value to a magic performance.

Surely it’s not about eloquence. We have performers who can soar to flights of rhetorics as elegantly as a champion orator—that is, if they so wish to soar there.

Then what is it that relegates magicians to the bottom rung of the hierarchy of performing artists?

I hereby sheepishly admit that I, Leodini, the know-it-all magician in the Philippines, do not have an explanation.

If you know the answer of this riddle, please let me know.

I have a suspect, though. An unusual suspect.

What’s wrong with this ad copy of a magic trick listed in some dealer’s catalog and back cover of the latest issue of your subscribed-to magic magazine? “Easy to do, no set-up and commercial.”

Have you ever come across a magic trick pitched by dealers because of its aesthetic features? One that is hyped because it will allow you to move gracefully and engage audiences with an artful program?

Or is the hype always on a trick being “commercial”?

PhotobucketYou can throw stones at me, pillory and crucify me for this, but I suspect “magic is an art” is just a fantastic notion of our subconscious. Our lips service it, but our demeanor gives us away. For a great number of magicians, including me, magic is geared toward begetting money.

Somebody tell me please that begetting money is an art. That will soothe my conscience.

Stay artfully magical,

Leodini

www.leodini.com


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