Friday, December 31, 2010

FINAL Project 365 For 2010!

.:365/365: On My Hopes For Magic In 2011:.

And so, after 364 other articles about magic... what have we learned?

We’ve learned that magic is multi-dimensional. We’ve learned bits and pieces of the storied history of magic, from its techniques and effects to some of its more prominent personalities.

We’ve learned that Penn and Teller are the best magicians of all time in the world. We’ve also learned that the author of these articles is really, really biased.

We’ve learned that Criss Angel is a hack and an embarrassment as a magician, and Bearwin Meily isn’t that much better.

But ultimately, what we’ve learned is that magic is an industry that grows by leaps and bounds with each passing year, more so in this decade than in the past how many others. We’ve also learned that there’s still so much more that needs to be done to really make magic reach the potential it has had ever since new horizons opened for it with the arrival of Blaine and Ellusionist and Erik Mana. Despite these growths, we’ve learned that magic has come under attack from within and from without, and it has kept magic growing in size, but shrinking in terms of esteem and prestige among laymen.

One could wish that all these magician feuds, these petty grudges that seem to never go away and prevent great performers from ever working together (Thank goodness I don’t hold a grudge against great performers.) and hamper the industry from achieving an amazing level of quality collaborations. Pride in the art form has also given rise to insatiable egos for performers. It’s a sad realization, but one that is hopefully not impossible to change over time.

There will always be new effects and brilliant new twists on classics. It’s the one reliable thing in the magic industry and is something that I don’t even have to wish for: it will happen. It always does. What I do wish for is that these new brilliant ideas would result in a great living for the thinkers who have come up with them. Intellectual property has always been a touchy subject in the industry, but if for the coming 2011, people got more of what should be coming to them than they have in the past few years or so, then I think we’d be taking ourselves to a new level of quality material altogether.

Here’s hoping that someone figures out how to market magicians to the mainstream, because for as long as we can’t do it the way singers and dancers have been doing it, it’s a safe bet that in 2011, we won’t be getting a magician to win _____’s Got Talent, either.

It’s been a crazy year for magic, and I’m grateful that it was a chance for me to get to know some of the luminaries of the Philippines a bit better, especially during August, the month that I devoted to researching and finding out more about the roots of Philippine magic. It’s been a great ride, and Project 365 has been a very fulfilling body of work that I managed to pull off. I doubt I could ever do this again, but it’s safe to say that magic is firmly in my blood, and it will always be a part of my blogging itinerary, no matter where we go from here.

I feel that the new decade will bring new developments for magic, both good and bad. I believe that with each new development that comes along, the magic community will begin to feel more and more the pressing need for them to come together and protect their own interests. The main reason the magic industry has come under attack, after all, is that for too long, magic has allowed itself to be looked down upon, and there aren’t enough outspoken magicians willing to defend the art form beyond just protecting her secrets.

Secrecy is but one component of what makes magic succeed. Beyond that, there’s also the integrity of performers as well – their willingness to uphold utmost professionalism in the face of heavily dismissive perception of magic as merely “kid’s stuff.” It isn’t just that, and neither is there anything wrong with being that. And if anyone ever approaches you and tells you precisely that, introduce me to that person so I can give them a withering glare because I don’t take too kindly to having one of the most venerable industries in the world, steeped in tradition and innovation, be casually dismissed for little more than a thoughtless, knee-jerk reaction.

A happy 2011 to all of us who are part of this colourful industry of magic! Let us raise our wands to a great new decade for the art!

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