Apr. 21st, 2007

bluegargantua: (Default)
Hi,

So I just finished up Hiding the Elephant by Jim Steinmeyer. Hiding the Elephant is mostly about the major figures and personalities of stage magic from the late 1800's to the early 1900's. It also goes into some detail about the technology of stage magic and the performance of stage magic and how both of these things evolved over time to meet the new technologies and times they found themselves working in.

It was a fairly interesting read. Mr. Steinmeyer deftly cuts and weaves the overlapping stories of the various magicians together and shows how the innovations of one magician quickly get copied, stolen, bought, or improved upon by the other magicians around them. He also provides examples to show how important the performance of magic is as opposed to simply working the trick.

Along the way he describes how a number of magic tricks work. He's quick to point out that one of the very best ways to keep magic a secret is to simply publish it. And in a way, he's right. As a kid, I read all sorts of magic books that explained how various illusions worked but I'm still enthralled by a good magic act. Penn and Teller have made a career of exposing magic secrets in the middle of their show, but that hasn't diminished their appeal at all. So even though I probably "knew" how some of the tricks work, I'd simply read over and forgotten it.

Alongside all of this, the author tries to work out how two magical effects from the era were performed. The first, being the vanishing elephant trick performed by Houdini turned out to be rather straightforward. The second, the disappearance of a donkey, proves to be much more intractable.

Overall a fun read for people who like stage magic.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hi,

So I just finished up Hiding the Elephant by Jim Steinmeyer. Hiding the Elephant is mostly about the major figures and personalities of stage magic from the late 1800's to the early 1900's. It also goes into some detail about the technology of stage magic and the performance of stage magic and how both of these things evolved over time to meet the new technologies and times they found themselves working in.

It was a fairly interesting read. Mr. Steinmeyer deftly cuts and weaves the overlapping stories of the various magicians together and shows how the innovations of one magician quickly get copied, stolen, bought, or improved upon by the other magicians around them. He also provides examples to show how important the performance of magic is as opposed to simply working the trick.

Along the way he describes how a number of magic tricks work. He's quick to point out that one of the very best ways to keep magic a secret is to simply publish it. And in a way, he's right. As a kid, I read all sorts of magic books that explained how various illusions worked but I'm still enthralled by a good magic act. Penn and Teller have made a career of exposing magic secrets in the middle of their show, but that hasn't diminished their appeal at all. So even though I probably "knew" how some of the tricks work, I'd simply read over and forgotten it.

Alongside all of this, the author tries to work out how two magical effects from the era were performed. The first, being the vanishing elephant trick performed by Houdini turned out to be rather straightforward. The second, the disappearance of a donkey, proves to be much more intractable.

Overall a fun read for people who like stage magic.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hi,

So the other day I'm watching my Sesame Street DVD (as you do), and they discuss the fact that Sesame Street is shown in other countries and that it often uses muppets who are "local" to the country they're working out of.

"Heh, wouldn't it be great if the Seasame Street muppets went to the UN and encountered all the foreign muppets from the Sesame Streets around the world."

No.

That's not a great idea for a show...

...that's a great idea for a LARP!

All I need is some sort of Cooperation Mechanic and I'm good to go...
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hi,

So the other day I'm watching my Sesame Street DVD (as you do), and they discuss the fact that Sesame Street is shown in other countries and that it often uses muppets who are "local" to the country they're working out of.

"Heh, wouldn't it be great if the Seasame Street muppets went to the UN and encountered all the foreign muppets from the Sesame Streets around the world."

No.

That's not a great idea for a show...

...that's a great idea for a LARP!

All I need is some sort of Cooperation Mechanic and I'm good to go...
Tom

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