Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Project 365 Smorgasbord (238-241): The Doc and The Boss

.:238/365: Dr. Ronnie Moraleta:.

Doc Ronnie is often regarded by most young magicians as one of the biggest influences in the local community, and with good reason.

A general medicine practitioner by profession, Doc Ronnie arguably had magic on his mind long before medicine, having been influenced to get into magic as early as nine. His emphasis on fundamental soundness has always been one of the most important first lessons most aspiring magicians learn from him, and he certainly exemplifies his own principles and standards in magic.

Having been interested in magic for the longest, time, it didn’t take long before he shifted back into the art with a lot more gusto when, after becoming a doctor, he read the Usbourne Complete Book of Magic and Magic Tricks in 1994. As he went through this book, flashbacks to classic magicians like Paul Potassy went through him, and his interest in magic was rekindled and it has never been put out since.

A former member of the hallowed albeit now-defunct Magician’s Circle of the Philippines in 1995 and one of the charter members of the Inner Magic Club, Doc Ronnie’s contributions to Philippine magic, in being a very powerful and reliable ambassador to the mainstream world in an industry often derided as a haven for outcasts and misfits, his mere presence has added an air of legitimacy about the art. His desire to expand magic across the nation has also led to him being one of the leading people to consult and approach for magic items and resources.

Most of his biography can actually be found here, but I certainly feel compelled to mention that in the magic world, Doc Ronnie is one of the people I am most grateful to, because he has always been a voice of reason and encouragement to me throughout my magic career. He has been nothing but supportive of me, and has a good eye for detail, being able to determine a person’s strongest suits as a performer and finding the right words at any given time to help them play to their strengths better.

Having said all of that, I guess it’s easy to say that I think very highly of Doc Ronnie. There’s no reason for me not to. And just because I figured it would be cool to do so, the video I included above highlights something about Doc Ronnie that doesn’t involve magic, and it’s his insatiable love for toys, particularly from Thor of the Avengers. Having been a consistent figure in ToyCon since 2007, I have met the man in toy conventions about as often as I have met him in magic conventions.

.:239/365: Q And A With Dr. Ronnie Moraleta:.

1. Who influenced you to get into magic? How long have you been into it?

It could have been my uncle, who eats balled up torn pieces of paper, which he magically reappears in between his buttocks and the television show “The Wonderful World of Magic” hosted by actor Bill Bixby. I started probably between 8 or 9.

2. What is magic? In your case specifically, what is mentalism?

For me Magic is making the impossible possible. I was introduced to Mentalism through Melbourne Christopher's Magic Book and during that time Mentalism for me was all about Mind Reading and Predictions.

3. What was your best experience while performing?

The best would always be when people applaud, laugh and tell you how they enjoyed your show, how amazed and amused they were and when they give you a big tip! :)

4. What was your worst experience while performing?

Nothing really, except I feel bad when I make a mistake, but I make sure the mistakes are minimal and unnoticed as much as possible.

5. Which layperson celebrity, local or foreign, do you think would make a great magician?

Eddie Garcia with a mustache. A very convincing Magician in my opinion.

6. What is your best advice to everyone reading this who's interested in getting into magic or mentalism?

Start reading the basics first then go into videos. Try everything first then specialize as to which branch of Magic you belong. You can do the other branches for pleasure, but the one you specialize, you do it professionally. Then do as many shows as you can.

.:240/365: Rannie Raymundo:.

Often known as “The Boss” and “The Manila Enforcer”, the man known as Rannie Raymundo is equally famous for being one of two or three most revered Filipino magicians in the worldwide magic community, and for being the man responsible for the monster hit song “Why Can’t It Be.” An artist and a performer through and through, most people would be surprised to know that he has been into magic for almost as long as he has been musically gifted.

Mr. Raymundo exudes class, mystery, and sheer charisma when you see him performing. As a very esteemed lecturer who has taught and demonstrated his magic in international conventions through the years, it’s easy to see that The Boss has made his mark as a Filipino magician in more ways than one, and has certainly earned his accolades through sheer talent and a very passionate work ethic. This is one man who is not afraid to emphasize that he is quite the perfectionist, and doesn’t hesitate to speak his mind when it comes to magic.

In doing so, the Philippine magic world is all the better for it. As one of the most vocal pillars of the industry today, Rannie Raymundo has successfully proved his longevity as a magician with the sheer number of people who can actually look past the fact that he wrote “Why Can’t It Be,” which, in my opinion, was the OPM song of note in the year it came out. If the average person can remember that The Boss wasn’t only the singer and composer of such a timeless hit, but even recall that he is one Hades of a magician, then there is nobody who can possibly deny how influential Rannie Raymundo is, whether it be among his contemporaries in the magic or music industry, or even in the mainstream.

Despite all of these, and despite whatever anybody else may say, The Boss’s success has always reflected back upon Philippine magic as a whole, as through his life experiences as well as his being one of the founding members of IMC, as well as one of the most prominent names in Magfi (An organization I hope to bring up next week or so.), he has always used it as an opportunity to harness the talents of other magicians. If there ever was a glass ceiling in the world of magic, The Boss took every opportunity to break it in favour of a deserving performer.

For that, and so much more, the Manila Enforcer will always hold an important place in Filipino magic history, and inevitably, magic history throughout the world as well. Not too shabby for a man who is undisputably a Renaissance man, being very much capable of “doing it all”, so to speak.

.:241/365: Q And A With Rannie Raymundo:.

1. Who influenced you to get into magic? How long have you been into it?

My father! I started magic when I was 7. I was very lucky to have travelled around the world at that age. I went all around Europe and the U.S. The first stop wold always be the magic shops. My father was an amateur magician. He was always the life of every party. He had incredible chops with a deck of cards. He did gambling routines. Probably my first recollection of its kind. He was also great in body loading. Later in my magical life, I found out that The Great Raydu (Manila's finest magician in the 40's) was my great grandfather. I was bound to become a magician.

In the mid 80's there were less than a handful of close up magicians and a handful of stage magicians. In the early 90's we were already a handful. We used to meet in an obscure apartment in Makati. We then formed MCP..MAGIC CIRCLE PHILIPPINES, then later became IMC. Then magic just started to grow.
I will be 43 so that would make me a magician for 35 years now.

2. What is magic? In your case specifically, what is mentalism?

Magic is an art! Just like music... it is a language that all can understand. Magic could be many things from the shallow to the very deep. An escape from reality, alteration of reality, distortion of reality, ENTERTAINMENT. Making the impossible possible and the possible impossible.

Mentalism- a branch of magic that uses the power of the mind as the theme. Pseudo mind reading and the likes. It is also one of the most abused branch of magic in many ways. In the advent of Derren Brown's popularity.... every Juan, Pablo and Harry, wanted to do mentalism. It takes character, perhaps age and wisdom to make this believable. Having a wise ass kid with no presentation skill and wisdom to do it, perform such magic, really ruins this art. It becomes just a puzzle.

3. What was your best experience while performing?

Every performance is a wonderful experience. From the good and the bad. I do have some memorable performances though. There is nothing like seeing wonderment in the eyes of your lay audience... but there is a different kind of satisfaction to fool and amaze a huge room of magicians.

I was in a magic convention abroad.... Someone asked me off the cuff to do my "Boss Ultimate Mind Reading". I obliged.. I pulled out a single card and laid it on the floor.. I said name a card... The magician said 5 of spades.... I told him to pick up the card and lo and behold it was the 5 of spades. Cut to the chase.... i did it again and again four more times with the same result.

Another great experience was having the Great Tommy Wonder watch my RAYTRIX act from behind me. It was also great to have greats such as HOward Hamburg, MIckey Silver, Curtis Kam, Roberto Giobbi, Rafael Benatar, Chris Kenner etc... watch my lecture and performances in Vegas.

4. What was your worst experience while performing?

I can't recall one honestly. I always manage to turn things around to my advantage. It is something the "Old dogs" talk about. We hardly talk about new sleight and those stuff... we always talk about situations. Having that knowledge and experience... we can always work things out. The only bad experience I can muster to remember had something to do with the aircon or the humidity problem of the performing venue. It affects the sleights as well as the deck.

5. Which layperson celebrity, local or foreign, do you think would make a great magician?

Best lay celebrity who would make a great magician... no one from this generation I'm afraid.

6. What is your best advice to everyone reading this who's interested in getting into magic or mentalism?

Research all you can. Know the history of things. Meet the masters. Be humble and know that you have a lot more to learn. Be original!

Regarding mentalism..... don’t just learn the trick... research on actual facts, learn to act the part. Add some years perhaps. Take your time!p

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