Saturday, October 30, 2010

Project 365 Smorgasbord (300-302)

.:300/365: Joker Lam’s Parasol Production:.

A personal favourite of mine, parasol productions are among the most elegant of routines in magic. Considering how parasols just keep coming out from thin air in rapid succession, this particular effect is certainly one of the most popular segments of a stage magician’s repertoire, especially in the case of a silent act.

.: 301/365: Rannie Raymundo’s Dislocator:.

The Boss is one of the best coin magicians you will ever witness. Here’s proof. ‘Nuff said.

.:302/365: Cyril’s Cigarette Magic:.

And just because it’s that worth it, let’s close this month off with Cyril performing his signature cigarette manipulation routine. Considering how well he does it, I’m just flat-out impressed by the man’s approach.

Next month, being November, and post-Halloween, we get into supernatural topics for magic. This ought to be fun.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Project 365 (299/365): Magicians On AGT We'd Rather Sweep Under The Rug

.:299/365: Magicians On AGT We’d Rather Sweep Under The Rug:.

If Kevin James made me proud to be a magician, these next few guys actually do, too. No, really.

You see, except for one particular act in that video that was just flat-out terrible, these magicians are all actually good to excellent performers, except they didn’t quite know that the playing field is massively against their favour in a short attention span program like America’s Got Talent. If you haven’t got something absolutely unbelievable going on with your magic act in the first ten seconds, then you’re probably not going to make the cut by sheer virtue of the wham-bam, thank you, ma’am nature of television.

Quite sadly, these talent shows won’t ever really catapult a magician to stardom. Unlike singers and dancers, magicians really are a seasonal thing, and savvy as the organizers of these competitions are, they won’t throw in their marketing machine on what could only be a fleeting success. At best, the lifespan of a fully marketed magician in this country would be five years at best, and even if they have continued success such as Erik Mana, you can rest assured that they won’t achieve the same mainstream appeal that a Sarah Geronimo would. It is what it is.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Project 365 (298/365): Kevin James Audition On AGT

.:298/365: Kevin James Audition On AGT:.

I’m a huge fan of new school magic packaged in an old school manner, and this is really what Kevin James managed to achieve in his audition for America’s Got Talent. It’s an illusion I have never seen performed the way he has, but the way he conducts himself and the way he sets everything up feels just so old school that the charm of the whole thing really makes one pause to think for a while.

I think that in terms of style, this is the way I like to perform full-on stage magic: something new dressed up as something old, playing on everyone’s expectations while you’re doing it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Project 365 (297/365): The Mind Of David Berglas TV Show

.:297/365: The Mind Of David Berglas TV Show:.

This video is a work of art: David Berglas, international man of mystery, once had a TV show that featured some of his best work. From the opening of the show to everything else, this program was really quite an eye-opener, and made for excellent television. Berglas is always a wondrous sight to behold, and his timeless appeal just oozes out in everything he does.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Weekend, In Brief Yet Again

.:A Weekend For The Ages:.

In shorthand, here's what happened:

Friday - went to the Goldilock's awarding event. Ran into an undesirable, but also ran into Kcat, who won the iPad that evening. I was pretty surprised to see her win, but it was good to know that my dear batchmate (She's from Don Bosco Sta. Mesa!) has been on quite a roll lately. And yeah, we met Elise and Brad today, which was pretty cool.

Saturday- quite a loaded day, but instead of going to Tali beach, we just headed out to take Elise, Brad, and another friend to Mall of Asia, where we just took in the sights and sounds, then had a hearty lunch at Dampa. Elise stepped into wet cement, which got a rousing ovation from the entire wet market. Carlos over-ordered and we ended up having food meant for a group twice our size. Afterwards, we drove around Greenhills, they got massaged in The Spa, then we had dinner at Chickboy, where they had Cebu lechon liempo and sisig. Unfortunately, the liquor ban hit us in the middle of their drinking spree, so Brad and Elise were majorly disappointed. :P

Sunday - wow, just wow. Richard led us to an awesome Japanese place for lunch (I forgot the name of the restaurant. I'll fill it in when I post again.), and he then joined our ragtag group on a walking tour of Intramuros, conducted by Carlos (Celdran) Palma. It was here that we decided to make "official Filipinos" out of our guests, but only Brad had the guts to chow down on balut. After that, him eating isaw and tenga didn't seem nearly as impressive. We did a tour of Greenhills this time, and they definitely looked shocked at the low prices they were treated to. Wait 'til they get to Divisoria. Dinner was in JT's Manukan at Ortigas Home Depot, and desert was at Razon's.

They're probably back in Singapore by now, but that was quite a weekend. Hope we get to do it again, and next time, I hope the Nuffies aren't sick!

Project 365 (296/365): We Interrupt Your Regular Programming...

.:296/365: We Interrupt Your Regular Programming...:.

No magic secret is safe on TV 5’s piece of crap.

Well, hello there, magic community! Welcome the newest bunch of jackasses who just can’t seem to help but want to look like they’re so smart so they go right ahead and “expose” the secrets of magic for everyone to see.

Yeah. Sure.

When Valentino pulled this stunt some time ago, many magicians were frothing at the mouth and all but wanted to murder the guy: under the guise of “forcing magic to evolve,” Valentino revealed the secrets behind some of the best illusions performed by magicians over the decades, and in one fell swoop, destroyed the honor and prestige of being a magician like it has never been decimated before. From that day on, an interview with any magician could never be completed without some reporter asking how the magician feels about Valentino’s actions.

Many magicians, solely because of the “Breaking The Magician’s Code” expose’s , found themselves in need of a new career. Their popularity flagged because *gasp* apparently, magic wasn’t real. It seemed that many people took delight in running across rooftops and shouting to everyone who would care that nobody has genuine magic powers.

I tried that once, actually: I went around school, telling everyone that Hugh Laurie wasn’t really a doctor. I can’t believe nobody was shocked, let alone gave a damn.

Newsflash: the deception of magic is an implicit contract of willing suspension of disbelief. We didn’t go here to start a new religion or to regale you with our extraordinary abilities. We went here to make a living. When the formula of a stupid softdrink is considered worth dying for because Coca-Cola’s secret formula equates to a multi-billion dollar company’s well-being, then is it any wonder when other magicians feel deeply offended when their trade secrets are being aired out for all to see, considering that it jeopardizes their livelihood and casts a very condescending eye towards the industry at large?

Why is it that these TV producers seem to think that they know what’s best for the magic industry? Who died and made them the people who can declare that “we’re not doing this to denigrate the art, but to force it to evolve?” Why is it deconstructionists seem to have no idea how to be reconstructionists, and leave the mess to the very same people they already castrated? And why is the Philippines copying an already tired trope and then trying to pass it off as “good” for an industry they have nothing to do with?

I’m one of those magicians who has never been directly affected by exposure. As a comedy mentalist, I always make it very clear that I’m not out to make believers when I perform. I’m merely there to entertain, and surely, there is nothing wrong with doing that. Despite that, every single magic or mentalist performer has been indirectly affected by exposure, because exposure has made it seem like magicians maliciously hide their secrets, rather than them hiding their secrets much the same way any business tycoon would never let you have a franchise of their successful business model if you don’t compensate them properly for it.

Magic is an art, but it is also a business. If you can’t respect magic’s business practices and instead decide for yourself that they should reveal how they do everything, then it’s pretty obvious that you’re not doing this to “evolve” magic, but because you take abnormal pleasure in killing people’s sense of wonder for no other purpose than to make you feel better about your own pathetic existence. That you had to destroy other people’s livelihoods to do it just makes it all the worse.

You’d think a musician like Kean Cipriano would be more sensitive towards respecting people’s intellectual property, yet surprise surprise, it turns out that we’re just going to have to remind everyone that YOU CAN DOWNLOAD CALLALILY’S DISCOGRAPHY HERE. Remind me never to catch Callalily’s gigs again.

I am outraged at the kind of disrespect that the producers of this show have demonstrated, all after the buckets of business one of their Talentadong Pinoy Hall-of-Famers, Wanlu, has brought to the table for them. I am outraged at the condescending tone that they take against magic, encouraging people to treat magic with disdain rather than as a source of entertainment. We all know that actors aren’t the characters they portray. Why can’t people get it in their heads that magicians are simply more of the same?

Fuck you, TV 5. And fuck you, Kean and Empoy.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Project 365 Smorgasbord (293-295)

.:293/365: Aldo Colombini’s Oil And Water:.

Ah, yes. The Oil and Water routine is a classic magic effect that emphasizes how for some reason, the red cards and the black cards in a packet never seem to mix together, just like oil and water. Aldo Colombini brings his flair and panache to the effect, and it will never be the same again if you ever take a good look at how the man does it.

.:294/365: Daryl’s Ultimate Ambitious Card:.

The ambitious card has always been a classic effect of magic, but Daryl stepped up the ante by making the effect absolutely impossible and stupefying like only he could. Catch him do the ambitious routine countless times, each iteration more impressive than the last, then see his grand finale that just boggles the mind. It seems like every possible handicap has already been levied upon him, yet he still manages to pull this off with aplomb.

.:295/365: Michael Ammar’s Topit DVD:.

The Topit is one of the tools a magician uses that achieves seemingly impossible results just through sheer skill and old school know-how. Michael Ammar is arguably the best professional using one, and watching him perform his Topit effects is just such a treat, because the Topit effects normally cap off other magic routines while he’s at it, so you get to see him perform at length, then see one of the best vanishes in the realm of professional magic.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Project 365 (292/365): Matt Marcy's Thumb Tie

.:292/365: Matt Marcy’s Thumb Tie:.

Well, this is pretty good escapology, and it happens right in your face. Looks like I have something new to study, as the whole comedy routine fits in perfectly well with anyone who wants to do relatively simple escapes with relatively miniscule props, but played big for the entire audience.

Funny, simple, and elegant: this routine has it all for a good six-minute performance.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Project 365 (291/365): Terry Fator In Action

.:291/365: Terry Fator In Action:.

Just thought I’d show this one off, considering how fun a ventriloquism act Terry Fator really is. While he doesn’t necessarily fall under magic per se, I do believe this act is “magical” enough, for the most part.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Project 365 Backlog (286-290)

.:286/365: Paul Daniel’s Chop Cup:.

If there’s one routine that never fails to amuse me for how good it is and how simple it is at the same time, it’s got to be the chop cup. Watching the great Paul Daniels perform it certainly enhances the experience, as there’s no question that he is one of the best people to watch in action.

The Chop Cup script is very simple: a ball appears and disappears under a singular cup, and it becomes seemingly more impossible than the regular cups and balls routine because there’s significantly less objects to keep track of, yet it just really makes the routine all the more impressive when you think about it that way.

While Cups And Balls is definitely more well-known than the Chop Cup, don’t count the latter out. Ever. Combination routines are awesome, too.

.:287/365: Chris Capehart’s Miser Dream:.

Worth watching considering that Chris Capehart is arguably one of the most popular children’s magicians in the industry, his version of Miser’s Dream is very effective and is hard to beat, barring using any sneakier sleights. When it comes to patter, presentation value, and his sheer ability to hold his audience in the palm of his hand, which isn’t easy to do with kids.

The Miser’s Dream is a coin-production routine that relies on both the conceit of the clinking sound effect made by coins on a small metal bucket and the apparently endless supply of coins he is producing from thin air.

.:288/365: Geoff Williams’s Heads Up:.

Quite a mind-boggler when you consider the apparent setup to the routine, but overall, watching it emphasizes exactly why I think very highly of Geoff Williams, who performs top-notch magic, and then does criminally underrated comedy while he’s at it. Overall, this guy is worth every single penny.

.:289/365: Brad Christian’s Crash Course In Card Magic:.

Brad Christian’s mode of instruction is clear, methodical, and leaves nothing to question. In all honesty, whether or not you like Brad, this fact is undeniable, and is the main reason why I would always point to him if anyone ever wanted to know how to get started in magic. Ellusionist isn’t perfect, but when they produce quality, boy, do they produce quality. Crash Course is one of those stellar pieces in their arsenal.

.:290/365: Lance Burton’s Dancing Handkerchief:.

Ever seen Lance Burton at work? Well, you know how smooth he is as a performer. The fact that he’s performing one of my favourite routines (that I never personally do) is just gravy.

The dancing handkerchief is a crowd-pleaser, because it just really is pure eye candy, watching the handkerchief go non-stop. Lance Burton adds his unique flair to it and makes it all the better for it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Project 365 (285/365): Dean Dill's Revelation

.:285/365: Dean Dill’s Revelation:.

This is more of an effect than recommended viewing per se, but I suppose I can’t let it slide, since it’s just wonderful.

Just watch the video. And find your mind boggled at how good he can pull things off. There are no words to describe how powerful this effect is, and I’m glad I took the chance to reserve a copy for myself. Worth every penny.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Project 365 (284/365): Ted Leslie's Cabaret Mindreading

.:284/365: Ted Leslie’s Cabaret Mindreading:.

The late and great Ted Leslie showcases his charm and wit in a very good compilation of mentalism effects that he performs superbly and explains very clearly.

The main reason I love this video set is because of his “Spectator as Mindreader” routine, where in a role reversal, he performs an excellent sucker routine that makes people believe he’s teaching someone a mentalism effect, yet in reality, he’s still actually every bit the performer based on the conceit that the spectator has no idea how he is achieving a genuine feat of mindreading.

Ted Leslie is one of the greats of the magic industry, and he will forever be missed. It’s a good thing some of his best output is immortalized in video, making it hard to ignore his genius.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


... the first result for whenever I Google my name and the company I work in together is a negative post that reminds me why I should never, ever handle Helpdesk again.

I love how people are just so cavalier about throwing names out like that. I'm still very much a private individual, and am less than thrilled to find that negative blogging has reached trigger-happy levels instead of doing the rational thing like, I dunno, addressing things privately first?

I never liked the shoot first, ask questions later mentality of blogging ever since the whole Bambi dela Paz blogger issue. Being on the receiving end of something I have disliked this much? Doubly frustrating.

The Sira-Buhay Gang strikes again.


Project 365 Two-Fer (282-283)

.:282/365: Richard Osterlind’s No Camera Tricks:.

In an obvious jab at Criss Angel, my favourite mentalist, Richard Osterlind, came up with a video series lovingly entitled “No Camera Tricks,” emphasizing that mentalism can and should be performed au naturelle, without using any paid actors, stooges, or special effects when doing things legitimately is very much feasible thanks to the performer’s ability to catch the crowd’s attention with ease.

Richard Osterlind covers some of my favourite material here, including the blindfolded rubik’s solve, the 20-card test, the acid test, Digital Feedback Extraordinaire, and of course, the Dracula book test, coupled with a Seafire kicker that only a man named Richard Osterlind can hope to pull off. He also performed the Pegasus Page, which is just like the Wizard Manual, only less better. :P

Watching Osterlind in action is really a thing of beauty. The way he talks to his audiences, the way he has everything under control, and his very stern demeanor against people messing around with him tends to really underscore how good he is at performing under pressure situations. It takes years upon years of experience to really gain the kind of confidence he has, but you get insights into what it takes particularly in these videos, especially once you see how he can hypnotize his audience with a high success rate.

.:283/365: Michael Finney’s Card On Forehead:.

This video, in all honesty, practically reveals the secret to the persons watching the performance, but see, the whole idea of the routine is how long Michael Finney can successfully misdirect the volunteer without him realizing what’s going on.

This is a true master at work, and while this is featured on his Live at Lake Tahoe Video in L and L form, watching it here on YouTube is every bit as satisfying, especially with his offbeat quips that you know he came up with on the fly.

Personally, after watching him and Mel Mellers at work, I’ve developed a flair for coming up with suitable one-liners in the middle of performances, and they go very well with the scripted lines you already are supposed to have. It keeps you from ever having dead air while doing stuff, and allows you to perform as a motormouth, which is the style I have chosen to utilize for myself.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Project 365 Smorgasbord (279-281)

.:279/365: Jay Scott Berry’s Symphony Of The Ring And Ribbon:.

Sheer poetry in motion. Most contemporary magicians are not fond of silent performers, but there are big exceptions. Jay Scott Berry is one of them.

I actually have the video and the tutorial, but I never bothered learning the actual routine. I was forever stuck at watching him do his stuff, because once I looked into how to do the moves and everything, I couldn’t imagine how long it must have taken him to make all of it look so graceful and suave. I’m about as graceful as a cow on ice, so looking at him do those moves without even breaking a sweat? Respect, Mr. Berry. Respect.

.:280/365: Penn And Teller’s Off The Deep End:.

Out of all of the TV specials Penn and Teller have had, this, by far, was their most ambitious one, and I really enjoyed watching every minute of it.

The entirety of the special is on YouTube, and you’d find how crazy Penn and Teller were, to practically reveal every single routine they performed during the special. It was offbeat, it was unique, and there was something just endearing about doing magic underwater and then blowing all the secrets just because they can afford to.

I feel that it’s very hard to top something of this magnitude, and I’ve watched a lot of TV specials already, but nothing done by anyone not named David Copperfield seems to come even close to what Penn and Teller have pulled off with this one.

.:281/365: Max Maven’s A Fabulous Monster:.

A documentary of sorts on one of the pillars of mentalism, A Fabulous Monster follows Max Maven in a very inquisitive manner, all the while leaving the most important question, “is what Max does for real?” unanswered. As you watch Max at work, you feel a strong affinity for his very endearing qualities, and how affable he can actually be despite looking like Satan most of the time.

Watching this seems like a constant battle of wits between Max and the crew following him around, and all the time, it feels like Max holds all the cards in the equation. Check it out, and learn precisely why Max Maven is just an absolute charmer, no doubt. I guess it becomes understandable why people think that Satan is more charming than most people assume him to be, because that’s exactly how Maven comes off here.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Project 365 Smorgasbord (276-278)

.:276/365: Aldo Colombini’s Impromptu Card Magic:.

Card magic tends to lose its sheen after doing five straight “pick a card, any card” routines, so it’s always good to have more options when performing. Aldo Colombini’s instructional video is one of the best out there because he covers a wide variety of effects one could utilize with a regular deck of cards.

Colombini’s humour and unique approach to magic has taken him places, and it’s good to be learning from one of the best. Don’t let his quirks distract you from the fact that he is one of the most accomplished performers in the world. He has earned his right to be quirky like that.

.:277/365: Bill Goldman’s One For The Money:.

Bill Goldman performs one routine, and it’s a strong routine, at that. While I wouldn’t recommend to you to buy the actual DVD, I believe just watching his performance and his subtleties would already give you enough of an idea how effective this particular impromptu bit of mental magic happens to be.

Bill Goldman does come off a tad creepy in this particular performance, but overall, the nice touches he puts on “One For The Money” really makes for a great routine that one should be able to use in any given show. With very basic moves necessary to make this work, there’s next to no reason anyone couldn’t master the dexterity bit of this routine, and then just go nuts with every other aspect of it when they figure the rest out.

.:278/365: Cyril Takayama Does Spider-Man 3:.

Pretty awesome stuff. Hardly even counts as magic. Just watch and enjoy a true master at work. The whole “routine” required 5% technical skill in magic and 95% acting chops. Thank goodness his 95% was every bit as good as his 5%, or else that would’ve just seemed like a hammy, cheesy way to end the show.

I don’t even know if Cyril’s magic is combined in the form of a special, or if it’s a semi-regular series.

Monday, October 04, 2010

A Call For Holy Disobedience

.:A Call For Holy Disobedience:.

Dear fellow Catholics, fellow Christians, believers in other faiths, agnostics, and atheists,

We cannot deny that the Philippines is statistically a Catholic nation. With 80% of the country’s citizens representing the Catholic church, there is no ignoring the kind of influence the church exerts on everyone within her sphere of influence. This is true. This is incontrovertible.

However, politically, the Philippines is not a Catholic nation. You see, we are a democratic country. Democracy is, at its purest form, a government by the people, for the people, and is as all-inclusive as possible to all sensibilities housed under this melting pot we call the Philippines.

The Philippine Constitution is the highest law of the land. Emphasized in it is the separation of Church and state. This state does not have an official religion. As such, any attempts by the Roman Catholic Church to pressure the state into going its way or the highway is only every bit as valid as the attempts by other groups to pressure the state into going the exact opposite way. The Roman Catholic Church, by virtue of our democracy, has a voice. What they are forgetting, though, is that those of us who do not agree with their opinion also have a voice. Furthermore, this alternative voice is every bit as valid as the church’s in the political plane.

If you are still reading after the cursory introduction to my main point, then you know you’re about to hit the good part of this whole thing.

In recent news, the Roman Catholic Church (Henceforth merely referred to as “church,” with no prejudice aimed towards any other churches of any other religions.) has been more than mildly vocal against the Reproductive Health Bill, all the while emphasizing that only abstinence and the rhythm method should be used for family planning. In a hilarious example of slippery slope logic, they believed that it was only a matter of time before abortion would then be legalized.

Even more hilarious is the fact that more than a few of the people against the RH Bill have never even read the bill in question.

As a response, the church has made a call for “civil disobedience” in case this law were to ever see the light of day. They want all the good Catholics out there to actively break the law of the Reproductive Health bill to protest that *gasp*, finally, we would have a basic attempt at actually giving people the option to plan their families.

In case the church hasn’t been paying attention, the RH bill was not designed to promote rampant promiscuity with no regard for the consequences. It was designed to help families plan their families. The spirit of the law is very clearly aimed in this direction, and not to cater to the worst fears of the CBCP.

Historically, the church has been notorious for preventing progress. From Galileo, to outright lying that condoms don’t stop aids, to what is going on at present, one cannot help but stare blankly at how anti-poor the church has been, all for this vague concept of “moral ascendancy.” Like the fear-mongers that they are, they claim that the RH Bill will destroy the very moral fibre that holds this nation together.

Really, CBCP? Pray tell, exactly how will this happen? What countries, upon adapting so much as basic reproductive health legislation (Which, make no mistake about it, is precisely what the RH Bill is: a basic piece of legislation.) suddenly fallen into the gaping chasm of Satan’s pit? Or have we simply ignored the fact that people would still have sex whether or not there are condoms, so the least we could do is make them aware exactly what happens when they have sex?

Worse, there’s even the implicit threat of excommunication being levied against the president. R-ight. Did the Italian president get excommunicated by the Vatican when they legalized abortion? Nope, didn’t think so, either.

Stop with the knee-jerk moral crusade, and get acquainted with the facts: we have a population control issue. A poor family with eleven kids will not magically stop being poor if they had a twelfth kid. The gift of life should come with the gift of a liveable life, and without the RH Bill in place, that’s obviously not going to happen.

Do you even know the history of your own leadership? Did you even realize that had he not died less than a month into his papacy, Pope John Paul I would have made sweeping changes to how the church would accept and understand hot-button topics like contraception? If even a Pope could have that kind of opinion, then surely, contraception is far from the all-damning evil that the church has been making it out to be.

So if you’re a person who doesn’t believe in how our Catholic Taliban is trying to run our country for us, and if you’re a person who doesn’t think that (supposedly) celibate men should be telling us lay people how to get laid, then I call upon you to act out our holy disobedience. Obviously, Carlos Celdran beat us all to the punch, but yes, we must stand against this act of bullying being carried out by the church.

A holy disobedience is every bit as valid an act of protest as the kid who refused to pledge allegiance to the flag until gays have equal rights. After all, where is this “liberty and justice for all” if gay rights are still being trampled upon?

Similarly, whenever the priest tells you to “believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church. The communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting,” then you are morally imposed to not respond “Amen,” because it is not so. Where is this forgiveness? Where is this resurrection? Where is this peace that we supposedly give signs of? And in fact, if 90% of the priests out there will just use their homily as a chance to do political commentary, why even bother going to church when you can get better political commentary from The Professional Heckler? Pushing a political agenda is not part and parcel of what the church was set up to do. Pushing a political agenda also ignores the fact that not everyone is a catholic, and not everyone who is a catholic follows the CBCP’s line of (il)logic.

CBCP, why do you have such a huge grudge against progress? Worse, why do you have such a huge grudge against women, who stand to benefit the most from the RH Bill? Has it ever occurred to you that the only reason you feel it absolutely unnecessary to have an RH Bill is because unlike women, altar boys don’t get pregnant?

We have no desire to be stripped of our choices and our rights. What the church would have us do is to waive our choices in order for us to become morally upright people, never mind the fact that only a clear, conscious, and informed choice can be construed as a truly moral one. When your spiritual leaders tell you that “It is morally incorrect for people to decide right and wrong based on their needs,” then you know that they are seriously out of touch with reality now. What is right and wrong is perfectly determinable by the individual, and that the government will not stand in the way of what is not illegal should also imply that people who wish to be “moral” would have every chance to prove that they are because the other option is right there for the picking.

Or is the CBCP trying to say that when a “morally incorrect” option is presented to their average believer, then they are more likely to choose it than the morally correct one, which would be the only conceivable scenario where the “thorough moral degradation of the Philippines” is even remotely possible?

Well, if it is, then it only goes to show what kind of character the church has been building within its flock. Perhaps they should tend to it more than they tend to politics, which they shouldn’t have a say in, since they aren’t even paying any taxes.

We want our right to choose. The right to choose to do the right things. The right to choose to do the wrong things. The right to know what these choices entail, and the right to determine which choice is which.

In case the church has forgotten, God Himself gave us that right to screw up. Who are we to challenge His own design?

So dear CBCP, yes, you can call for "civil disobedience" if you so desire. However, this also means that we have every right to call for a "holy disobedience" as an appropriate response to your asinine and backwards beliefs that we wouldn't have had a problem with if only you didn't shove it down our throats.

(No penis metaphors were intended in the previous paragraph.)

Remember, Remember, The 29th Of September...


So I ended up doing two shows, guesting on 99.5 RT, getting stuff done in the office, and being greeted by so many people I practically lost count before I even had lunch.

I have to say, this was a pretty stacked 27th birthday, to say the least. My head is still swimming in details, but overall, I was stoked about the whole day from start to finish.

Woke up pretty early that Wednesday to head out to RT and join the Disenchanted Kingdom, and boy, it was a really fun show. Met Ken for the first time, and there was a lot of fun to be had as we just ran with the show from start to finish. It was too bad Lu was still absent, although when I dropped in on Friday and caught him singing Tagalized Christmas carols, it was just as hilarious as it always would’ve been.

Immediately after the show, I headed to the office, and I decided to try my luck with Dang Dee and have them deliver ten bento boxes to the office for the team. I have to say: Dang Dee’s 78-peso bento boxes are a steal considering how great the food is and how affordable they are, all the same. From there, I had to start doing my shows, as I did a table-hopping show for a make-up brand. Overall, it was a fairly simple and quiet performance, and I was a bit disoriented because the venue was in close quarters. Still, that didn’t stop me from giving them their money’s worth.

Afterwards, I set foot in Votre bar and closed that night’s open mic comedy show with a full-fledged magic show where I actually went ahead and tried something new: the torn and restored newspaper routine, which, while new to me, is admittedly pretty old for most other people who have seen magic before. Despite that, I used it, if only for the ability to have a sucker finish, and capped the whole night off with some hypnosis and then some metal bending.

After the performance, I managed to kick back with the people in Votre, and there was a lot of fun to be had. I was pretty happy that my potential client actually checked out my show and was sufficiently impressed.

It wasn’t a momentous, earth-shattering night, but it was memorable, if only for the sheer number of people who actually remembered me. It was much-appreciated, and while yes, I’ve had better birthdays, it certainly turned out to be far from the worst.

For me, that’s enough.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Project 365 Smorgasbord (272-275)

.:272/365: October Is Recommended Viewing Month:.

The Youtube videos are back, and that’s going to be the entire point of this month: videos I recommend for people to watch to appreciate magic. Whether it be excellent sleight of hand, or a performance or instructional video of note, I’m going to cover it, and give a brief review of every vid I can get my hands on. If I can find the whole thing on YouTube, provided it’s not an instructional video, rest assured you’ll also see it here.

Due to time constraints, I’m just going to do a slew of posts covering all the way ‘til Monday, so I don’t have much of a problem racking my brain for what to do by then.

This video is one of my favourites. Penn and Teller explaining sleights in this manner is nothing short of entertaining and enlightening. He wasn’t really doing any magic per se, so the exposure in this sense was purely a performance art, and not at all wanton revelations of magic’s best-kept secrets.

273/365: Bill Malone On The Loose:.

A compilation of some of Bill Malone’s best working routines, all three volumes of this masterpiece make for a total must-buy. We already know that Bill Malone is one of the funniest, most engaging performers of our time. Now, in this set of videos from the man, Bill Malone teaches his secrets, while at the same time giving would-be magicians the most important thing about this whole package: a firsthand look at Malone’s unique style that is bound to inspire anyone who would witness him at work.

Overall, I wholeheartedly recommend this video, considering the wide range of effects Bill teaches here, and the kind of humor that he employs in order to really attract people to him. His razor-sharp wit truly comes to the fore in this particular compilation, and you don’t want to miss it.

.:274/365: Keith Barry’s Extraordinary:.

Keith Barry is an Irish mentalist whom I featured during mentalism month, and most of the routines that he has made himself famous for can be found in one amazing package: Extraordinary.

This video features multiple feats of mind-reading and stunts performed by Keith Barry for various celebrities. From terrifying Nicole of the PCD by driving blindfolded to forcing Wilmer Valderama into coming up with a mental picture of a painting he had yet to see, Keith Barry really captures the imagination of the average viewer, and emphasizes how powerful mentalism can be for television if they gave him ample time and material to work with.

His finale in this show was the hangman’s noose stunt, which he obviously survived. That particular stunt certainly had an air of danger all throughout, and no question about it: Keith Barry knew how to milk the situation for what it was worth.

.:275/365: The Magic Of Paul Potassy:.

That Paul Potassy performs the exact same routine for so many decades cannot be denied. That this one routine he performs is simply excellence in execution is equally undeniable.

Watching this video and not bothering with the instruction part is every bit a valid option, considering how his entire routine has allowed him to travel across the globe with the smallest of luggage for magical props. His old-school demeanor suits him well, but it’s his ineffable charm and sense of humor that shines through in a way that only he can get away with.

From his torn and restored newspaper sucker routine, to swallowing multiple razor blades in his mouth to string them all in his mouth and then pluck all of it out after the end of the routine, Potassy’s show is a masterpiece worth watching again and again. I highly recommend this to people who want to see what it means to be old school but undeniably cool. Paul Potassy has it in spades, and he’ll tell you in eight different languages exactly how awesome he is.