Friday, April 20, 2007

Miscellany: The Close-up Magic of Michael Ammar

I've been ruminating on my childhood summer vacation days recently, and one of my dearest memories from that era was when I tried out the stuff in the Klutz Book of Magic. One of the biggest lessons I learned from that book is that the practice of magic is a difficult performance art; simply knowing "the secret" of a trick won't allow you to do it, and even mechanically executing a trick flawlessly won't guarantee an astounded audience. Proper magic is equal parts dexterity and showmanship that only a few magicians ever really master.

Michael Ammar is one of those magicians. While he'll probably never have the fame and supermodel girlfriends that David Copperfield and David Blaine get to have, Ammar remains one of the great close-up magicians alive today. His unassuming, friendly manner and somewhat bemused attitude towards his tricks is refreshing in a world full of self-important illusionists. This is the kind of magic where, even if you know or discover "the secret," you can still be amazed at the fluidity (and sometimes bald-faced, P.T. Barnum-style misdirection) that only hours and hours of practice can produce:

Note the brazen misdirection used to get the third ball on the cup at 0:50 :)

Michael flashes his palm a bit here, but he's young


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