A Brief History of Magic part 4
Magic in the World Today
Now magicians are everywhere, doing many different types of magic. Comedy, card tricks, illusions, doves, escapes, and even magic that defies definition—no matter what kind of magic you want to see, chances are there's a magician out there making it happen. Experience the many flavors of magic.
Siegfried and Roy started the big magic tradition in Las Vegas
Siegfried & Roy
Before 1980, Las Vegas was best known for legal gambling. German magicians Siegfried and Roy made Vegas into the home of magic. With their rare white tigers and other animals, they worked up to starring in their own show at the Stardust hotel.
In 1989, they moved into a theater built for them at the Mirage and opened a larger-than-life show featuring fabulous sets, lighting, showgirls, music, exotic animals and illusion
The pair met in 1960 working on a German cruise ship, where Siegfried tended bar and did magic once a week. After one show, Roy said, instead of making a rabbit appear, why not a cheetah? Roy smuggled his pet cheetah on board for the next cruise. This new act stunned the audience and started a long and profitable partnership
David Copperfield presented the magician as rock star
Magician David Copperfield followed the TV success of Doug Henning, but with a twist. Henning used the flower-child symbols of the 70s. Copperfield adapted the look of a rock star, usually presenting magic to rock music Other magicians have since adopted the look
Lance Burton turned classical magic success into a big Vegas show
At first, Lance Burton's magic was a classic, 12-minute, silent routine with doves and cards. He kept working in Las Vegas for years, improving and adding to his act. In 1995, he opened a large, lavish show in a theater built just for him. With his mix of classical magic and big illusion, Burton's show is a major attraction
Lance Burton fell in love with magic when he was five years old and a magician made coins appear from Burton's ears. Even now, he refers to invite children to join him on stage
Goldfinger and Dove dance with high-energy magic
On stage, magicians Goldfinger and Dove are always in motion. They don't seem to be performing magic so much as dancing it into existence. They make impossible things happen–cards appear, silks flow from nowhere and torn papers are made whole–with an unmatched energy and enthusiasm.
One of Goldfinger and Dove's early appearances on TV came with Sammy Davis Jr, who said of their act, "Goldfinger and Dove have flash, man"
Max Maven knows what you're thinking
If you went to see world-famous mentalist Max Maven, you'd see him tell people things they were thinking that seem impossible for anyone else to know. With psychology, memory and the power of suggestion, he seems to read minds. He also writes, invents new magic and consults for other magicians. Most people know Max Maven best for the interactive effects he has created for TV
Athletic and fast, the Pendragons are masters of the big illusion
Magicians Jonathan and Charlotte Pendragon are most famous for their version of Houdini's "Metamorphosis." Jonathan is tied in a sack and locked in a chest. Charlotte stands on the chest and tosses up a curtain. Suddenly Jonathan is standing there; she's in the chest. When Houdini did this trick, he was out of sight for only three seconds. The Pendragons do it in a split second. Jonathan and Charlotte Pendragon use their incredible athletic strength to perform magic that no one else can do.
Jade presents magic with grace, elegance and beauty
The magician Jade has a range of performing styles, including but not limited to traditional Chinese magic. She changes a small bowl of rice into water, brings paper butterflies to life, and creates a snowstorm on stage. Her grace and skill as a magician have earned the respect of her peers–she is the first woman to win the coveted Gold Medal from the International Brotherhood of Magicians.
Jade fell in love with magic in high school, when she walked into a magic shop on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. They thought at first she was too shy, but she convinced them to give her a job and grew from there into a talented professional magician.
Penn & Teller call themselves the "bad boys of magic"
Penn & Teller performing Casey and the Bat
Magicians Penn and Teller have perfected their creative, original and irreverent style. They can seem to show you how a trick is done and still leave you baffled.
For example, their version of the magician's standard cups and balls–with clear cups–also comes with quick talk, smooth teamwork and moves that you simply can't follow. Even at the end, you won't know how they did it
In one of their illusions, pictured here, Teller tries to break free before Penn finishes a fast reading of Casey at the Bat and stands to take a bow, releasing the rope
In Portugal, Luis de Matos does magic on TV
Luis de Matos
If you ask someone from Portugal to name a magician, they'll probably name Luis de Matos. He turned his early love for television into a career presenting magic. While only in his 20s, he'd already starred in and produced several series of magic shows–more than a hundred shows. De Matos performs illusions, escapes, close-up magic and even shows tricks viewers can use to win bets
Tina Lenert blends the arts of mime and magic
Tina Lenert prefers not to be called a magician. But on stage, she uses magic with other arts, like mime or music, to tell a story. In her best-known routine, she plays a cleaning woman who's tired and unhappy. When her mop magically "comes to life," it offers flowers, romance and the chance to live her dreams.
Tina Lenert followed a strange path to magic. She has played guitar (rock and classical), surfed with a tandem surfing team, and left a secretarial job to become a mime
Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen