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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The October 2004 entrée: David Parr » » Take a Letter . . . » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

David Parr
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Speculative Fiction, Part Two:

You are given the opportunity to send letters to three of your magical influences, past or present, living or dead, thanking them for the education and inspiration they have provided you. To which three magicians do you post a letter and what did you learn from each of them?
Jonathan P.
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I am not at ease in those "choice exercises" (like "what would you bring on this famous desert island?" or "which three..?") but I can think of three magicians who taught me three very diffrent and important things. They ere not THE three, but they are three who made me progress.

First, I'd thank Bob Alan (a Belgian magician, as I am) who taught me A LOT. But, more than just tricks and techniques, he taught me the importance of a good magical culture. The knowledge of books and magical past as a tool to understand and analyse and design the best way to achieve the best effect. In, brief, studying what does exist in order to avoid pitfalls and to help creating what does not exist yet.

Second, I think I'd thank Dominique Duvivier since he helped me (while I was beginning) to organize my work. I told him when we met that I was a bit lost in all the information (tricks, techniques) that I was learning from books and videotapes. I was looking for a direction-line for my magic to "grow". He gave me one. (It was a "Duvivier's one", which I progressively quit, but that's another question.)

Third, another magician who made me make a big step forward is Greg Wilson. I am not sure about the "why". I think the most important thing he brought me is his character (persona). I am not a Greg Wilson's clone, neither find his character suitable for me, but his style and casualness changed my way of performing and opened me to a new approach of performance. And more, I performed (and still do) quite a lot of his published material. He is just great!

Well... thanks for the question!
Bill Hallahan
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New Hampshire
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Maskelyn and Devant for defining magic as a fine art in their book, "Our Magic", which also is the basis for all subsequent magic theory. These men made me think about both why and how I perform magic. (Can I count them as one? If I can only pick one, I pick Neville Maskelyne).

Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin for defining the genre, and stressing the importance of knowledge outside of the performance art of magic. He also gave me lots of performance advice.

John Northern Hillard for authoring much of “Greater Magic”, which is still one of the greatest, fairly well attributed, magic compilations. He improved on Professor Hoffman in quality and set the stage for future magician-authors like Tarbell. I've learned countless ideas from many magicians from "Greater Magic."

That's three, there's no room left for Dai Vernon! That seems wrong! Smile
Humans make life so interesting. Do you know that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to create boredom. Quite astonishing.
- The character of ‘Death’ in the movie "Hogswatch"
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Profile of ptbeast
The first would be the man who owned Callin's magic shop in Portland back in the early 70's (I am not sure if I ever knew his name). It was hanging out in that shop that sparked my early interest in magic.

The second would be Rick Maue. When I had given up on magic I met him on the internet. It was from him that I learned that there could be more to magic than simply fooling people.

Lastly, there is you sir, David Parr. After Rick pointed me in the right direction, yours was the first book I read. The idea of magic as true theatre rekindled my love for the art.

I am fortunate in that I have been able to write and thank two out of these three.

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1. I'd have to write one to Michael Ammar. When I got back into magic as an adult, his teaching style, and apparent love for the art, took me a long way. Probably the biggest thing I've learned from Michael is to have fun, or at least make it look that way, while performing.

2. This letter would go to Chris Capehart. Through him I've learned what a complete magician is. He's also very practical, honest (brutally) and down to Earth. From Chris, I've really learned how to inject 'ME' into my magic.

3. Last but not least, I would definitely have to thank Born the Magician. He's a relative unknown to most, but he's the one that got me back into magic. He's been there to support, encourage and be critical of my magic. Granted, he's taught me a few tricks, but we really feed off each other. I've been into magic since I was 8 or 9. As I got older, my enthusiam, not interest, faded. I knew two tricks and swore that you could only learn magic from another magician(which is true), and there were just none, that I knew of, in my area. Needless to say, when I saw this guy, that I've known since I was 15, making sponge balls disappear, my eyes lit up like I had seen a ghost. I've been back into it since and my life hasn't been the same. He and I have become so much of a unit that we now perform together. So, I'll be thanking Penn & Teller next! Smile
David Parr
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Letter One is addressed to Doug Henning, from whom I learned the value of sincerity in performance.

Letter Two is addressed to Eugene Burger, who taught me the importance of character and presentation — and much much more.

Letter Three is addressed to Tony Andruzzi, who showed me that it's possible to leave one path and pursue a more twisted path.
David Parr
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To ptbeast: Letter received. You are very welcome.
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