Tom Cheney in The New Yorker
Here’s some unusual footage of magician Ricky Jay when he was young, which I hadn’t seen before. He’s on the British variety television show, The Michael Parkinson Show, and Parkinson’s other guests included the well-known Dutch magician Fred Kaps.
The video is of poor broadcast quality but I thought aficionados might enjoy watching Jay perform some of his evergreen effects as Kaps and Parkinson react.
I extracted this video from an hour long video posted by YouTuber World Greatest Magicians
Let’s say that there was some kind of technology that no matter what your mood, no matter how lousy you were feeling, for two hours it would make you smile and laugh continually. Then let’s say the machine blew up and didn’t work anymore. Would you be upset?
Well, you shouldn’t be. Because the current play Old Hats Off-Broadway has exactly the same effect sans technology, and you still have a chance to see it. You will thoroughly enjoy yourself and leave a happier person for the experience.
Bill Irwin and David Shiner are two really terrific entertainers who present an evening of silent physical comedy in the manner of the classic vaudeville and music hall comedians. Think Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. Now I know I tend to get hyperbolic in my enthusiasms, but I tell you we mortals are truly blessed to be alive at the same time as Irwin and Shiner. If you live in the New York City area, you will see two superb clowns the likes of whom I’ll wager you won’t see equaled on the stage. And, as an added bonus, the show enlists the talents of singer-songwriter-accordionist Shaina Taub, a composer whose taste in lyric writing runs to Brechtian mordant cheeriness. Her dry cynicism contrasts nicely with the slap-happy Irwin and Shiner.
My favorite sketch (natch!) was “The Magician and His Assistant,” clearly inspired by Johnny and Pam Thompson’s “Great Tomsoni” act. Bill Irwin makes a sexier gun-chewing blonde assistant than Pam herself. Probably the biggest laugh in the show comes as David Shiner, who plays the magician, attempts to make an old-fashioned radio levitate—I won’t spoil the ending, but it brought down the house. They also do a sawing-a-woman-in-two act with a woman from the audience. At first, I thought she was a stooge, but later, as they called up more audience volunteers for other sketches, it became clear that Irwin and Shiner do a very nice job of cueing and instant-stooging the audience volunteers. Steve Cuiffo is listed in the program as the magical consultant, and you can see the thought that was given to making the sketch hilarious without revealing anything that shouldn’t be revealed.
One other wonderful sketch was of two political candidates debating, each one attempting to one-up the other. Believe it or not, the sketch was actually more ridiculous than the current Republican efforts, no mean feat.
The two clowns, Bill Irwin and David Shiner, who worked together in their play Fool Moon over twenty years ago, are now, almost unbelievably, both in their early 60s. In an age-defying way, they dance, pull physical sight gags, and knockabout in ways that would be impressive for someone half their age. It’s a must see. Hot tip: limited TDF tix are available.
Cardini, by Juan Rubiales.
Juan Rubiales is not only an accomplished magician himself, but also a wonderfully artistic profiler of famous magicians. I first saw his work on The Magic Cafe, and he generously gave me permission to reprint these portraits. Rubiales’s style reminds me of the great celebrity caricaturist Al Hirschfeld. Juanlu, as he is known to his friends, also sent me this brief autobiographical note:
JUAN LUIS RUBIALES, began magic as a child, and later studied directly from some master magicians. Tamariz was his mentor, and Juan had the good fortune to meet him and be in contact with him since the age of 14. Today, Juan is 36 years old, and is not just a direct student of Tamariz, he is also a good friend of him.
He is an original and creative magician, he is a member of the “Escuela Mágica de Madrid”(Magical School of Madrid), and he is an assistant at the prestigious “Jornadas catomágicas del Escorial” (Cardmagic Days of the Escorial).
He performs extraordinary magic with coins, knives and cards; he has created new techniques of this form of art, developing some original routines that mark its creative magic.
He is also an extraordinary cartoonist. He likes to make magicians’ portraits.
He has three DVDs in English:
“Con Denominacion” which means “with guarantee of origin,” a DVD about coins.
“The Opongobox,” about a new coin box, a DVD produced by Luis de Matos at the 33 Study
“The Bound Deck” another production of the Essential Magic Collection, this time with one card trick.
In December we can enjoy his DVD “Olé!” a pack of four DVDs by Luis de Matos collection with close up, parlour, and stage magic.
“He is very creative, he has an authentic and unique style. Like his Magic, authentic and genuine, a real marvel. Thank you Juanlu for what you are doing”.
“His Magic is absolutely brilliant”.
“I am very excited with Juanlu Rubiales and his new DVD. He is a great Magician.”
And now, some of my favorite portraits of his:
Thank you Juanlu!