Monday, February 15, 2010

Bizzaro, The Optical Illusionist, Lectures

The magician produced a red silk handkerchief, cleanly and magically. Ho hum. Then he pushed it INTO HIS OPEN PALM AND VISIBLY THROUGH HIS HAND, and we were off and running. Ring 50 had been pulled into Bizzaro’s eponymous world, where the magic is more than impossible – it’s uncanny.

For the next 90 minutes, Bizzaro showed us why he has been featured in Las Vegas and on network TV. Imagine your favorite manipulator combined with a Max Fleischer cartoon, and you can get close to the feeling. Bizzaro shared his own original work, plus his refreshingly different takes on classics such as the Bottle Production, Sponge Balls, Vanishing Sharpie™ and the Vanishing Bottle using – surprise! – a REAL bottle.

When Bizzaro punctuates his one coin routine by producing a jumbo coin, it’s nice, but normal. When he peels off the foil to reveal a chocolate coin, then visibly changes it back to metal, that is simply outrageous.

And that’s what makes Bizzaro….well, bizarre. He takes his magic a step further… and then runs it off the rails. A prime example is “One Step Ahead,” his take on the Ambitious Card, in which a signed selection does the usual dance through the deck (albeit very cleanly, with some nice moves for the move guys). So far, so what? Then the selection vanishes from the pack. A card that had fallen on the floor during an earlier routine turns out to be the signed selection!

He had our attention, and then spent the final 20 minutes or so on theory – which helped us to understand why his magic is so effective. He talked about the difference between style, persona and character, and how to use the boundaries of your character as fuel for creativity. His motto is “Don’t bend to the magic – bend the magic to you,” and he left us shocked and amazed and hungry for more. Bizzaro’s Website is