Monday, August 09, 2010

Project 365 Two-Fer (233-234)

.:233/365: Jeffrey Tam:.

Jeffrey Tam is one of those rare breeds of performers who can do it all. He can sing, he can rap, he can dance, he can do magic, and he can be funny. Some people often compare him to Bearwin Meily because like Bearwin, Mr. Tam is also quite the comedian. Except unlike Bearwin, Jeffrey Tam is actually good. Except unlike Bearwin, Jeffrey Tam doesn’t have just an extensive filmography to his name, but even several wins in national and international competitions alike. He has an extensive resume that you can check out for yourself in his site.

Jeff’s history as a performer is stuff of legend. With a meteoric rise in magic and a level of skill and presentation that is stuff of legend, he took the magic world by storm with his mastery of close-up performances and his amazing command of language, whether in English or the vernacular. Doing all of this has earned him many accolades, and few people can dispute that Jeffrey Tam is certainly one of the most popular names in Philippine magic today.

Whenever people wonder how comedy and magic could mix, people normally cite Mr. Meily when they really should be citing Mr. Tam as an example. One thing I really appreciate about Jeffrey’s performance style is that while he is unbelievably funny and outrageous, he never lets his comedy overshadow his magic. His magic always remains to be the centrepiece of his act, and he doesn’t distract from his own repertoire while he performs. In doing this, he has managed to do magic, mentalism, and put his unique twist on the act. Even though I also do comedy, magic, and mentalism, one only need look at how we each perform the Russian Roulette routine and automatically see how distinct his style is from mine, putting him in a class all by himself. It also doesn’t hurt that unlike me, Jeffrey can actually sing. I was not blessed with nearly as many talents. :P

In any case, inasmuch as I try to be an ambassador for Philippine magic in the online world through this blog, Jeffrey Tam has been one of the literal ambassadors because of his many travels abroad as a competing performer. Unless I’m mistaken, only The Boss, Rannie Raymundo, could possibly rival Jeffrey Tam in terms of international exposure, albeit Mr. Raymundo is an established lecturer, rather than a competitor, in most cases. Apples and oranges in that respect.

With youth, talent, and sheer chutzpah on his side, there’s nothing Jeffrey Tam can’t achieve in the magic world. He is limited only by his own imagination, in my estimate.

.:234/365: Q and A With Jeffrey Tam:.

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

It was David Copperfield. I’ve been doing magic for almost 21 years. Professionally, for 9 years.

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

For me, magic is an art. Mentalism, on the other hand, is a belief that some mental phenomena cannot be explained by physical laws.

3. What was your best experience while performing?

In 2008, in Bristol England. I was the only Asian magician to have performed in UK’s only magic bar, the Illusions magic bar.

4. What was your worst experience while performing?

My worst? When I won the 2009 international magic extravaganza in Malaysia. I won first place, but while performing, I had six mistakes during my routine. Coins fell off the table, my microphone fell down, and I even left my chop cup backstage.

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

Next question, please. Hehehehehehehe.

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

Three magic words: practice, hard work, and focus. (Okay, make that four, but you know what Jeff means.)

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