Trolling around the internet last week, I noticed that today is Harry Houdini’s birthday. Which got me thinking about the state of “magic” in our culture and science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke’s famous quote:
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
In an era of computer-generated trickery ranging from software-doctored photos in magazines to entire computer-generated worlds in movies like Avatar, the idea of someone performing old-school prestidigitation seems almost quaint. Just the same, anyone who’s ever been wowed by updated versions of these traditional magic acts as performed by the likes of David Blaine or Penn & Teller understands that there’s some part of the human psyche that truly enjoys the experience of being mystified by illusions so finely crafted and deftly executed that the word magic definitely seems to apply.
Whether you’re an aspiring professional magician or just a curious amateur looking to pick up a few simple tricks to amaze and amuse friends and relatives, I think you’ll find these two annual events to be true extraordinary experiences:
June 30 – July 3, 2010; Atlanta
Founded in 1902, Harry Houdini was the longest-serving president of this organization whose members include everyone from Siegfried & Roy to David Copperfield. Their annual get together includes special programs for young magicians, a circus sideshow-style midway, contests, and nightly gala performances.
July 6-10, 2010; San Diego
With 12,000 members in 73, countries, the I.B.M. is the world’s largest organization for professional magicians and amateur enthusiasts. Their four-day convention includes lectures and workshops taught by internationally known magicians, a dealers area where you can try and buy some of the latest tricks, and several large-scale nightly magic shows.
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