Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lougheed House

You want to talk about ambiance? This place has it in spades. Last night was Lougheed House's staff Christmas dinner, and yours truly was booked to entertain. The house, former residence of Senator Lougheed and his family, is one of the few preserved Victorian stately homes you'll find in Alberta. Rare, and therefore quite special. Yes, yes, many of you in the UK have got leftovers in your fridge that predate what is considered antique in Canada but regardless of that, this house is beautifully preserved and maintained.

In true Victorian style it's actually a mixture - ornate brass fixtures, textured wallpapers, dark panneling (Mission / Arts & Crafts), Persian rugs, but it all works. And after dark with the lights on it takes on a cosy atmosphere perfect for (what else?) parlour magic!

Parlour magic. In a PARLOUR! One of the nice things about a gig like this is that I get to do things that work best in certain atmospheres and that I therefore only occasionally do. My multiple-selection routine, for one: ten cards selected by different audience members, shuffled back into the deck and then found one at a time... in my pockets, inside the card box, flying out of the deck and so on. Great fun to perform but works best (with that number) when the people in the audience know each other well and have rapport already.

Superb night. And a highly recommended place to visit if you like old houses with charm and history.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holy freakin' brainwork, Batman

Thanks to iTricks for posting this (and Doug McKenzie for sending it there). Here's a guy who puts my own paltry memory-technique tricks to shame. The number of letter-arrangements he has to think ahead is remarkable, and the final reveal...well.

As he says, a return to the golden age of magic, the parlour atmosphere, is long overdue. Kudos to him.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Oh those sneaky emailers

Ah yes, the beautiful bit of pop psychology that had most of us fooled. Me for one. Hey, it made sense, didn't it? I have no idea who created it but whoever it was must have been a magician at least at heart. Let's face it: the result is pretty impressive. Rather cool. The kind of tidbit that should spark a few moments' clever conversation at any dinner party.

It only falls apart when you look closer.

Fortunately for me, fortunately for pretty much any magician who has ever offered an 'explanation' for an effect, it wroks wlel enguoh to be pssaalby (whoops - maybe that should read, this making sense yet?) bleiveblae...believalbe (that's better).

I think I almost like it more now that I know it's a load of cobblers than I did when I thought it was a real effect.