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PhotobucketDuring last week’s meeting of Inner Magic Club, I watched an applicant perform a card trick for a young lady assistant from the audience.

That he was skillful with a deck of cards was obvious when the applicant started doing card changes, flourishes, and multiple false cuts. He lacked the skill, though, in the entertainment department. That also was obvious judging from the way silence reigned in most part of his performance before an audience made up mostly of magicians.

But then, a little while later, the room suddenly erupted with joy. Howls of appreciation and wild cries of delight rang in the air right after the applicant executed a Classic Pass.

He did it without any cover or misdirection. It was an in-your-face, devil-may-care pass that many young magicians love to execute. They hope speed will outpace the eye and get away with it. Most realize, to their grief, that no Classic Pass can be done so fast that it escapes detection.

That was the case with the applicant’s Classic Pass. It was plain to see. A Classic Pass is not supposed to be seen. If it can be observed, then it is a bungled Classic Pass. At that instance, every magician in the room saw it. Curiously, they all cheered with delight seeing it. They whooped up a bungled move.


PhotobucketThat’s the greatest enigma of magic. In other fields, a messed-up performance will draw apprehension from an audience of peers.  A dancer tripping up on the dance floor, a singer hitting the wrong notes, will earn frowns of disapproval from fellow dancers and singers.

Not so in magic.  A Classic Pass observed by everybody in the audience is akin to a dancer’s missteps and a singer’s wrong pitch. While the dancer and singer messing up their pieces will displease their associates, a magician’s bungled move will entertain fellow magicians.

It seems magicians watching a magic show have a different list of criteria to measure the show’s entertainment value. On top of that list is moves. It doesn’t even matter if the moves are not done well, or whether they are covered, or disguised.

As long as it is difficult, subtle or clever, the move will earn praises from magicians.

Yes, one can entertain an audience with moves. Provided the audience are made up of magicians.

You will tickle them pink with your half-baked knuckle-busting, finger-twisting, and wrist-breaking moves.

However, if you perform before a lay audience and want to entertain them, you need not only dazzle them with moves. You have also to make your moves sound-proof, bullet-proof, bomb-proof and tsunami-proof. Meaning they must be absolutely undetectable.

PhotobucketLay people want to be amazed.  They love mystery. Look how many of them feed on conspiracy theory and UFO sightings. When David Blaine first appeared on TV, they talked endlessly about how he floated in the air.

You can amaze lay people too, but only when you completely fool them.

On the other hand, you can entertain magicians if you have the latest-released magic props and finger-breaking sleights. Even if you still can’t perform them well, they will still love you if you show them your new acquisitions of tricks and moves.

PhotobucketMagicians who love props, moves or subtlety won’t probably be entertaining to lay audiences. That must explain why a number of them prefer to perform for fellow magicians, who readily admire their creativity and buy their products.

Stay magical,