Art Or Skill? Magic Is Winning On AGT – Thanks Houdini!
Happy National Magic Week! The week wraps on Sunday, Halloween, October 31st with National Magic Day. The day recognizes the thrill of seeing the performance art.
But in the magic community, the debate continues, is magic an "art" or is it a "skill?"
What Is A Magician?
The operating definition of a magician accepted by many is that a magician is - an actor playing the part of a magician or more accurately the entire quote is; "A conjurer is not a juggler; he is an actor playing the part of a magician; an artist whose fingers have more need to move with deftness than with speed. I may even add that where sleight-of-hand is involved, the quieter the movement of the performer, the more readily will the spectators be deceived. " -- Robert Houdin, Secrets of Conjuring and Magic, 1868
Robert Houdin knew his stuff, he is considered the father of modern magic. He is the stereotype of all magicians, a debonair man in topcoat and tails, and he is the man Erik Weisz used to form his stage name, Houdini.
Houdini Lives On!
Hungarian-born American magician, escape artist, illusionist, and stunt performer, Harry Houdini created such an impact that today, just four years short of 100 years after his death, he is still the first name you hear when you ask someone to name a famous magician. You might also hear David Blaine or David Copperfield or perhaps Shin Lim--otherwise known as that guy with the hair, that "Asian guy" from America's Got Talent.(AGT)
During the late '70s, thru the '80s, and into the early '90s, magic specials by Doug Henning, David Copperfield, and Lance Burton were a regular part of the holiday TV schedule. Then magic disappeared. Until David Blaine and Chris Angel brought magic back to the tube in the early 2000s.
Magic Is Back On AGT
But Magic really blasted back into entertainment and cultural relevance with the successful run of America's Got Talent. Through 16 seasons, dozens of magicians tried out and moved up in the competition. Check out the "TEN BEST".
Shuffle ahead to 2021 and once again it's a magician in the winner's circle of America's Got Talent. Dustin Tavella beat out nine finalists in the closest vote ever for the $1 million grand prize and a headlining performance in Las Vegas. What is so significant about those magicians' wins is that the American public voted for them. The kind of people who would pay to go to a venue to see them perform. There is a definite public interest again in seeing GOOD magic.
I have been in love with magic for 50 years and it is a thrill to see the art and the skill so widely accepted. If you see me out and about, ask to see a trick. I might just have something to show you that will amaze and amuse. Happy Magic Week!