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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Finger/stage manipulation » » Outstanding Women Manipulation Specialists (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Anatole
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I am trying to put together a list of women--past and present--who present or presented a magic act that exemplifies the best qualities of a manipulative magic act. Obviously Jade and Juliana Chen would be in this select company. I remember seeing Marian Chavez do some card flourishes on an old Art Linkletter's House Party TV show. I never saw Suzy Wandas Bennett perform but would be interested in learning about any contributions she may have made to the art of manipulative magic. Angela Funovits is another outstanding contemporary example. My copy of Tony Taylor's _Spotlight on 101 Great Magic Acts_ lists Joan Brandon doing the Acrobatic Cane, cane to silks, and cigarette manipulations. I remember seeing in GENII back in the 60's an article about a Japanese magicienne who did the dancing cane. I haven't tallied the numbr of women magicians who read this particular section of the Café, but it might be interesting to take a poll.
----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
----- Sonny Narvaez
Peter Pitchford
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Go ahead and put Kyoko on that list.
Dynamike
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smagic
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What qualities would you say makes up a manipulation act?

~SR
JamesTong
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Anatole, are you referring to a full manipulative act?
Anatole
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I'll try to clarify what I mean by "manipulative stage act." I know I'm going to move tangentially along the path of this subject. But after all, this is the Magic Café, not the Magic Lecture Hall. It's okay to go off on a "sleight" tangent.

In answer to SR:
By "manipulative stage act" I mean an act that can be viewed by a large audience (that's the stage part) and in which most of the magic effects are created by digital dexterity (that's the manipulative part). Although I used the word "act" I suppose "routine" would do just as well.

In answer to James, I'm not sure what you mean by a full manipulative act. Kalanag, for instance, was primarily a stage magician, but he did a very nice billiard ball routine/act as kind of an interlude. That routine was definitely manipulation. And it was not really an act, much less a "full" act. It was, as I said, an interlude. (Now I don't think anyone would describe Kalanag as a classic manipulator, but the detail he put into his billiard ball routine as well as his illusion show was as dedicated as the detail that manipulators put into their acts. If you look at the Kalanag levitation, there is technically no appartus visible on the stage. There is stage decor, yes. But the whole beauty of the levitation is that there is a man and a girl and the girl floats with [as they say] no visible means of support. To the lay audience, Kalanag was not a manipulator when he did the billiard balls and an illusionst when he did the levitation. Throughout the entire show, Kalanag was simply--a magician.)

Perhaps the best example of what _might_ be a full manipulative stage act would be the one presented by Aubrey on one of the HBO magic specials. He did nothing but card manipulation and billiard balls. I know Aubrey did other types of magic in other performances, like the dancing handkerchief (available I think on one of Bill McIlhany's sets of DVDs). But for that HBO special he did nothing but manipulation with cards and billiard balls.

Maybe the following observations will help clarify my point of view:

I don't think many magicians ever did a 100% pure manipulation act. Cardini made use of the self-untying silk and the harlequin cigarette holder, neither of which is technically manipulation. Channing Pollock closed with the vanishing bird cage, which is obviously a mechanical illusion. Nevertheless, I think of both acts as "manipulative stage acts." I'm not sure even breaking an act or show into percentages of manipulation vs apparatus would help clarify the definition. I think of Andre Kole as primarily an illusionist, but (at least in the live performance I saw back in 1970) he does an interlude of exhibition card fans that I would consider manipulation. And don't forget Thurston! He started out doing a BP act (with the occasional apparatus trick like the rising cards--In his "autobiography" Thurston relates how he came up with his stage rising card trick when a somewhat inebriated cowhand shot the goblet he usually used for the rising cards) and even after he became Kellar's successor, I believe Thurston continued to do an interlude of manipulation. Somehow it is easy to see in my mind's eye Thurston doing card manipulation in the same show that he featured the Levitation of the Princess Karnac.)

Allow me to quote from Henry Hay's _Amateur Magician's Handbook_ in the section under Part III--Apparatus Magic--Chapter 15--Silks, page 243 of the 1965 expanded edition: "Most silk tricks take skill, and some of the moves taught in this chapter are downright hand magic." At first I might quibble with my mentor about most silk tricks taking skill. When most people think "silk trick" they think of phantom tubes, ghost tubes, square circle. But tying a knot in a handkerchief and making the knot disappear _is_ manipulative magic. The way I do the 20th century silks at
http://members.cavtel.net/parmenides/21stcentury.mov
is as much manipulation as it is "apparatus."

Perhaps a good illustrative example of an effect that is done by some magicians with manipulation and other magicians with apparatus would be the effect of changing a silk from one color to another. There are mechanical silks that do that. There are tubes that do that. But when the effect is done with the flesh colored gimmick that is never seen by the audience, THAT is manipulative magic. Vernon included a routine with the hand dye tube in his farewell lecture tour. The hand dye tube is a mechanical device, but I still think it takes some manipulative skill to use it, especially the way Vernon did.

Technically, the linking rings is a mechanical appartus trick, but I think 99 and 44/100% of us would agree that most linking ring routines are manipulation. Ganson included a detailed linking ring routine in _Routined Manipulation, Part I." Richard Ross won FISM on the strength of his linking ring routine (enhanced no less by a l*ck*ng k* r*ng) and the watches production. (Ganson was very particular about what he called "manipulation." So much so that he was almost apologetic when he included one trick in the Routined Manipulation series that was not manipulation by any stretch of the imagination.)

Would you consider the Fantasio vanishing candle to be a manipulation trick or an apparatus trick? Is Zombie manipulation or appartus? Is the torn and restored newspaper manipulation or apparatus? All three were used by Lance Burton in his IBM Gold Medal act, and with their help he won the FISM Grand Prix.

I think one of the strengths of the Magic Café is the opportunity for two-way discourse this way. I hope the above comments generate more discussion and/or controversy.

In my book (still in progress), I examine a phrase that is often spoken by magic theorists: "How would a _real_ magician do it?" Example: How would a real magician make a silk handkerchief appear? Would he use a chrome cylinder (e.g. a phantom tube or ghost tube)? Would he use a box (i\.e, drawer box)? Or would he imagine an invisible silk before his eyes, reach up, and pluck it into visibility?

Then I bring up that particular type of magician in the history of civlization who did magic not to entertain but to gain the favor of a king--the alchemist. If you know anything about the history of alchemy, you know that alchemists did not touch base metal with their finger and change it into gold (similarly Midas did or to the way Scotty York does in one of his routines). No, they (who, along with medicine men and witch doctors, are the closest thing in the real world to "real" magicians) employ an oven called an athanor to transmute base metal into gold. That's how a (pardon the expression) "real" magician would change base metal into gold. And trust me--Those athanors took up considerable space in the alchemist's abode.

So back to my request... and I will try to make it more specific. I am looking for examples of female magicians who include in their performance of magic a routine or act that required manual--or womanual ;-) dexterity to manipulate cards, balls, rings, coins, silks, doves--in short, anything that can be held in the hand. (I think maybe I should also qualify my request by saying I am interested in a list of female magicians who have gained some recognition by their peers in the art of magic for the use of manipulation in their acts. Otherwise people who don't read between the lines will send me the names of their daughters or granddaughters who know how to do a French drop or vanish a coin using the classic palm.)

Also perhaps germane to this discussion might be the description of Cardini's act on cruise ships from page 288 of John Fisher's _Cardini: The Suave Deceiver_. Somehow it is difficult to imagine Cardini doing the Egg Bag and Troublewit, which is not even magic. However, to meet the needs of performing magic "in the real world," Cardini added those to his repertoire. I bring this up not to diminish the ART of Cardini's accomplishments, but to point out that as far as the lay audience is concerned, there is nothing but one effect in all of magic: the illusion of the impossible (or difficult) made possible (or apparently effortless).
----- Amado Narvaez
----- Sonny Narvaez
JamesTong
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trashmanf
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Wow, great list James! I'm going to have to go through these when I get home.

Another outstanding amateur female manipulator that is fairly new to the scene , you guys may have not heard of, now she does not that I know of do much traditional stage-style manipulations (like backpalming or billiard balls) but the flourish-based manipulation style. Her name is Ekaterina or "BabyCatXD" in this youtube page: http://www.youtube.com/user/BaByCatXD

Since you are asking about manipulation specifically, I think the flourish-based style of card manipulation hopefully applies to your definition, there are a couple other very good ladies in this style:

Susanna or "Suzki" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sq4uGJUk7vk

Ling a.k.a. "LingNemesis" http://www.youtube.com/user/lingnemesis

well there are a few more good ones but Im not sure if you are interested in flourish-based manipulation so I'll stop now. James, you made a GREAT list I have not heard of some of those ladies, I will have to watch those videos when I get home, thanks again!
JamesTong
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Thanks, trashmanf.

I believe with a bit of help from Café members, the list will grow. Together with trashmanf's list, we now have 19 female magicians.

Let's grow this list, shall we?
magicusb
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Adding Dorothy Dietrich... who in stage reviews, trade and industrial shows has done the dancing cane, but with a lit torch, as well as a comedy burned and restored napkin with a member of the audience. When there are children in the audience she will most always do a Misers Dream routine, taught to her in part by Al Flosso and Lou Lancaster, which she later elaborated on with a glass bucket. Early on she used to do candles and multiplying balls with rhinestone balls, which she has since dropped. Her flash act with doves, ribbons, rabbits, ducks and poodles has several sleight of hand moments in. Sleights are involved in her goldfish productions as well. Her rope and thumb ties use sleights also.

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Bill Hegbli
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Celest Evans was a famous Chicago lady magician. She was fantastic.

http://www.celesteevansmagic.com/

Marian Chavez was outstanding as well with long legs and great costume, she performed much of the Chavez Course material. Seen here at Abbott's, I think it was her last performance, around 1972.

Here is a website listing Female Magicians.

http://www.all-about-magicians.com/femalemagicians.html
JNeal
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How could anyone forget the incredible Okinu?!
If you've never heard of her, you may have heard of her partner: Tenkai.
Together they presented classical manipulations that were so well executed that Dai Vernon considered them among the very best...and so did Marvyn Roy for that matter!
visit me @ JNealShow.com
Brad Jeffers
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RJH
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Sandy Chang and Ariel Chen!

RJH
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