Monday, March 30, 2009

Eric Mead

I met magician Eric Mead a few years ago when Chris Korn (another terrific sleight-of-hand artist) brought him to my radio show. While Chris' work has always astounded me, I wasn't prepared for how good Eric was. Since then, I've seen him perform in only one other venue, but hope to have the opportunity to do so again. If either of these guys are ever performing anywhere near where you are, rush to see them and you won't be disappointed.

In the meantime, here is Eric onstage in Monterey last December at The Entertainment Gathering. In his presentation, he mentions how many people come up to him and ask, "How did you do that?" This has always baffled me; perhaps it's because I know a little bit about magic and illusion -- not enough to be able to pull it off, but having studied several magicians, I've learned a few things. But even with that knowledge, it's better not to know how a trick is done. Believe me, the reality isn't magical at all. In fact, it can be a little disappointing. Ask any child who learns how a simple illusion is achieved and they'll tell you how disappointed they are. They want that magic to be real, and it is, right up until the point where you learn how it was done.

That's not to say that magicians like Penn & Teller, Lance Burton, Mac King -- or Eric or Chris -- are killing a trick by showing you what they did, because the truth is that they're not really revealing anything. They're only increasing your appreciation of their skill.

When I see a well-executed trick, from a big illusion to the slightest of sleight-of-hand, I have two reactions -- I am impressed by the performer's ability to execute it and mystified by what I've seen, without the desire to know how it was done. That's the key to enjoying what the best magicians offer.

Now, here's Eric combining magic and science...