Monday, August 30, 2010

Project 365 Two-Fer (241-242): Lou Hilario

.:241/365: Lou Hilario:.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the king of Philippine magic as we know it.

Whenever Filipinos talk about magic, only one name transcends generations, and is revered and acknowledged as a pillar of magic both within and without the brotherhood of magicians. Indeed, Lou Hilario is the true household name for Philippine magic, and a veritable living legend because of his unique flair and charisma as a performer.

You can’t possibly have a shortlist of the who’s who in Philippine magic and miss out on this man. Earning a reputation through his sheer workrate, Tito Lou is a man who lives and breathes magic with every ounce of his being. From his early beginnings in magic thanks to learning how to do some tricks on television, to the countless guestings he has had on television, to the even more numerous shows he has performed everywhere, there has never been a shortage of demand for this man’s unique act. And I don’t throw the word “unique” around in a cavalier manner: you can search far and wide, but nobody has managed to pull off the combination of magic, ventriloquism, comedy, and trained animals the way Lou Hilario has.

I would have to admit that unlike most of my contemporaries, I was one of the few people living under a rock who saw Lou Hilario in action only a few years ago, when I was the designated street magician during a party, and he was scheduled to take the stage by storm. I just had to stop in my tracks and watch the master at work: there was no way my table-hopping was going to be able to compete with his top-of-the-line act, and besides, I wanted to watch the man perform.

After his show and after my walkaround, I approached him and his assistant, Jason, and they had very kind words for me, particularly since they noticed how I used the Shanghai Shackles as a close-up tool rather than a stage routine. I’ve been exceptionally fond of the Shackles for ages, and to hear such kind words from Tito Lou just a year and a half into my career at that point was truly a great honor.

As most people know, I consider Mr. Bing Lim-It to be my mentor, and lo and behold, the man, to this very day, will never hesitate to say that he idolizes Lou Hilario. And as I got to know him better over time through casual conversations with him, I developed a deeper appreciation for his importance to the industry not only as a performer, but as an inspiration to his contemporaries as well, all the same. The fact that he still joins (And often wins) magic competitions underscores his perfectionist attitude towards his craft, and with decades of experience under his belt, anyone who would just sit with him and listen to his stories on the road would certainly be blessed with his knowledge and wisdom.

And really, if you’re a parent, and you ever considered getting nothing but the best for your kid, if you really, really love your kid, you’d get Tito Lou for the party. If you don’t, then I guess you don’t love your kid enough. :P

.:242/365: Q And A With Lou Hilario:.

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

No one. Magic was one of my many hobbies. I started when I was 7 years old. There was an instructional magic demonstration on TV called "Magic Hands" in between the Popeye cartoons. Just hands with white gloves and a black background and a close up mat. Magician demonstrated a trick, gave a list of materials to get then a commercial break, then the secret.

I am now on my 32nd year of "surviving" from this art.

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

Magic is an exploration of knowing the deeper darker secrets of mankind. Mentalism is the magic of the mind. Nowadays, for me, it is a form of entertainment.

3. What was your best experience while performing?

Anytime I have a good audience is the best experience.

4. What was your worst experience while performing?

Worst is when you need to perform without an audience, like working regularly in some venues.

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

Anyone who has a passion for the art.

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

Watch all the shows, buy all the materials you can afford, make friends with magicians, get a mentor, spend all your time, money and effort on it. I guess this applies to everything else.

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