Finally getting to work prepping the Libbyest act. A few ideas I've been toying with and kicking around in my magic journal since early January 2019. Maybe some of them will work their way into my act. Maybe I'll embrace my love of collaboration and make this a group endeavor! Themes, effects, stage work and field trips all possible...and curiouser and curiouser.
I like the idea of metamorphosis, but the word itself is heavy with expectations. And, really, I started down this road because I especially want to see magic happening at the Natural History Museum!
Adaptation though, is the process by which we are all able to power through each and every situation from learning how to order from the secret menu at In-and-Out… to developing art, language, tools, politics, social standards and science so we could become slightly less hairy and more articulate, then make television! Adaptation is key in every moment of our lives and the long-term effects are incredibly impactful. I find that fascinating. I think some of my favorite collaborators Hannibal and Michael Rangel are particularly good at this facet of our art form.
How am I adapting right this minute?
Magic in the Natural History Museum! Frankly, adaptation could be explored anywhere (adapting to budgets and schedules is paramount in all our lives). In the museum setting though…
I would love to act as a docent guiding families through the Hall of North American Mammals. (Or better yet- my mentor, El Ropo! Who frankly would be perfect for this bit). Whilst he’s explaining how “you can see that fox is holding vole in her mouth, which she will bring back to her young…” his voice might continue from the same location, whist he himself is replaced by a taxidermied grizzly bear- preferably dressed as a NHM docent.
(This bit is for audiences who love pranks [my dad] and those who love personified animals [me]).
NHM is a great place to share the magic of metamorphosis.
A classic of science: the majestic butterfly.
I would really enjoy an earnest scientific discussion and demo of how a caterpillar- this pipe cleaner here with glued-on googly eyes, will climb, inch, and mosey its way to the perfect branch… twist itself into an impressive chrysalis (googly eyes on the inside- naturally)… and transform itself into a beautiful LIVE butterfly. I like the fun of an otherwise eye-rolly teaching moment (and publicly-funded institutions are famous for ‘em) becoming sensational through the reveal that the whole lesson is not actually sponsored by the 99cent store. Nature finds a way!
People too! What about us? What about our adaptation and evolution?
We found shelter in caves. We became nomadic. We settled and built semi-permanent structures. Then permanent structures, then cities…and now, we’re adapting to live in literal shoe boxes. (My friend Bendy Bonnie comes to mind). “Hello!”
I would be delightfully surprised to find someone living in a shoebox, particularly when recommended as the next logical anthropological step. The rent is too damn high!
Also, heavy with expectation (especially for a magician). My brilliant friend Michaelann Awesome is working on some absolutely fabulous props for her escape spectacular this very moment!
Luckily, language is aamaaaazing. In the zeitgeist, escape can mean to take a vacation (or a stay-cation), to leave work at the end of the day, to meditate- or otherwise eschew things that are spiritually weighing us down, to run away from baddies or leave a captor’s grasp, to break physically free of a space or discontinue being trapped under something heavy (like a shelving unit or expectation).
In too many cases we trap ourselves with our own expectations, our anxiety being the thing that actually prevents our escape. Let’s all discontinue being trapped under something heavy.
How can we magically explore our many escape routes?
I love reading the ISawU column! (In most media platforms now referred to as “Missed Connections).” However, in Seattle’s The Stranger, one can find a whole page in the back devoted to ISawU, we connected, I lost you, let’s connect.
In many ways, a missed connection is the promise of serendipity…
…which can be magically created later by a team of experts!
Sure. To manufacture serendipity is also to remove it’s meaning.
Nevertheless, exploring the joy it can bring, through found connections, something gifted just when it is most needed, or the electric charge of sharing a moment in time… reminds us all to look for serendipity in our own lives. I love the way my pal Siegfried Tieber explores lightning striking and seemingly spontaneous moments.
Can we spot it and enjoy it when it happens?
Can we encourage serendipity to strike?
There is something very heart-warming to me about showing appreciation to people whose jobs are often overlooked and frequently difficult: mail carriers, trash pickup, city utilities employees.
Are they the butt of soooo many jokes? Definitely. Are they just trying to survive each day and make a living? Mostly. (There’s that one jerk, but this isn’t fooooor him).
I’d love to see these hard-working people get a little love.
City workers arrive to do some repaving…the yellow dashes on the road have been reconfigured to read: “You’re Awesome!”
A mail carrier opens a mailbox to deliver letters…a disembodied hand emerges with a cookie.
Sanitation workers take the lid off a trashcan to dump it and it’s full of flowers. Or better yet, full of Ron Funches...Bunches of Funches! (I wish I knew Ron Funches. Someday I'll know Run Funches). I DO know the delightful Nick Paul and Joel Ward, who are so full of hilarious energy, I'd be thrilled to see them jump out of anything!
There’s something especially extraordinary about magic that happens in the spectator’s own hands. Those spectators become: Instaaaaant Wiiiizaaaards!
Instant Wizards are given a star-covered robe, or hat, or both! An effect is presented so that after the spectator provides their signature flourish and magic word the result proves that they had the power all along.
Of course the Instant Wizard never doubted themselves for a minute because they are: [spectator inserts personal wizard moniker] !!!! SFX: Thunder and Lighting
I, for one, particularly look forward to learning what people’s wizard names will be. Today, I myself might be known as: Laundryday Sox the Great! What wonderful wizardy names will come of this? I think Tom Frank has the perfect touch of whimsy for this, and the street performing chops to boot. Funny Eddie could also seriously elevate this bit- hilariously.
Bring ‘Em Back
We are so relentlessly forward-pressing with technology. But, are we ever taking time to explore which of the older inventions could still be highly useful?
Can a Telegraph Key make predictions? Of course!
Don’t snuff boxes print money? Yeah, they do.
Why don’t we use carbon paper anymore??? That stuff is amazing: write one page, with carbon paper sandwiched between your top page and the stack, and get the whole first chapter of your novel…done. Barrett Slagle does some beautiful, inventive, musical work in this arena and Dennis Forel is a master time traveler.
So why are these vintage objects relegated to thrift stores and junk piles? Bring ‘em back!
In related news: I am finding it increasingly difficult to tell hipsters and sea captains apart.
I suppose the only way to know is to set them adrift?