Monday, February 26, 2007



Due to the fact that I don't own my own domain, I am ineligible for this year's Blog Awards.

I just suddenly felt the drive to blog disappear... I hope I find it again somehow.

.:Morgan Strebler vs. Criss Angel!:.

This is old news to most people in the States, but not too many Filipinos have heard of this at all.

In a rather exciting turn of events, Morgan Strebler, the man who has devised the Liquid Metal Psychokinetic routine, has decided to issue a challenge to Criss Angel, star of the television program “Mindfreak”.

Now, to the average layman, it might simply seem like Morgan is merely trying to gain publicity at the expense of Criss Angel, but to the people who know better, that simply isn't the case. Strebler is a very famous performer in his own right, and very few magicians who have ever tried bending silverware with their mind haven't heard of him. He is a renowned stage performer, and throughout his interview, he emphasized the need to uphold magic that can be done live, and not with the security of “a controlled environment with multiple camera angles and creative editing”.

Criss Angel's series, “Mindfreak”, has been the subject of wide debate among people, whether or not he really performs his illusions or he simply uses camera tricks, plants, or the like in order for him to achieve the seemingly impossible. I'm sure he's a nice guy and all that, but this is a challenge that won't really do him any good to ignore, credibility-wise. Of course, the flipside is that his contract will likely be voided if he tried to respond, so I'm willing to bet that he won't take this challenge.

So what is the challenge? Well, Strebler makes a threefold challenge for Angel and he to perform with one camera trained on them 24/7, for all the magic fans on the world wide web to see. He wants both of them to start off with a stage magic show, then follow it with a street magic demonstration, and finish it off with the “Chinese Water Torture”, which is the ultimate test of endurance of the mind. Of course, if we are to believe Criss' performances, then he's already been suspended by the skin on a helicopter while hanging from meat hooks, so this shouldn't be a problem for him.

As a fan of Liquid Metal, I personally believe that if this challenge took place, Strebler would far outstrip Angel in all aspects except possibly the Chinese Water Torture. Strebler's performances are amazing, and I know for a fact that Angel has some notorious instances of stooge magic, particularly when he executed a very impactful version of Gutbuster.

That being said, I think it's high time we came clean on this, as I really think that while magic has been brought to public awareness by guys like Blaine and Angel, but they have unfortunately raised the bar to unrealistic levels. When they can achieve what they achieve with the help of wires or camera tricks and special editing techniques, magicians who perform end up being hit with the following deal breakers:

1. “I saw David Blaine/Criss Angel do a trick where he levitates two feet of the ground. Can you do that?”

2. “You levitated just a few inches? That's lame. David Blaine did better than that, and so many people were watching!”

3. “Ah, I know that trick already. I saw Criss Angel do that, and I know how it's done because I saw the AXN special.”

The third statement is a challenge for the magician to step up, but in the Philippines, people don't even care anymore whether or not they know a secret, but simply care that there is one, and that, to them, is enough for them to not want to pay attention anymore, because far as they're concerned, it's all smoke and mirrors.

On the other hand, the first two statements really hurt. Both statements box you into their realm, and in that realm, they are unquestionably king. There is no beating them because unlike them, chances are, you are performing impromptu, and no editing room can help you out or exaggerate your effects. Right then and there, they see a direct comparison, and that kills you right away if you don't meet the outlandish expectations created by the slick presentation and editing they've managed to achieve.

Just once, I'd wish a challenge like this were actually responded to. Knowing the egos on the line though, that'd simply never happen. The magic art form called, and it wants its dignity back.

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