in conjunction with the Contemporary Jewish Museum and the Houdini exhibition, Beth and Arline have organized what is sure to be a very rare Thursday night. The theme is magic and the setlist consists of a constellation of personalities and professions within what might be considered the industry of magic.
For longer than anyone can remember, 'magic' has been faithfully functioning as an incontrovertible answer to all sorts of questions beginning with 'how.' This Thursday night, selected voices of experience and talents of the trade will showcase magic and, special treat, its relation to how. At issue, I think, is not so much the spectacle of magic and illusion; but, rather, the spectacle of our own experience in reaction to the unknown.
Authentic, present, and inspired, Eric Mead curates the magic that is strange perception. "It is my job," he says, "to imagine impossible things that never are or never were, and then I find ways to make them into theatrical realities." Check out his Ted talk to learn how the form of presentation is the content of perception. Wholly winning, he's the sort of meta-magician who illuminates the expansive power of human consciousness by revealing just enough to privilege our perspective, while concealing enough to sustain a self-consciously funny sense of awe.
There will be the professorial James Randi, world-renowned former magician and escape-artist turned nay-sayer and outspoken critic of the paranormal, pseudoscientific, and supernatural. In what I imagine to be the Fred & George Weasley of Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, Joe Pon - distributor and educator of magic, owner of San Francisco's very own Misdirections Magic Shop - will take the stage to tell stories from his unique position within the industry. And, for those of you expecting GOB!, you'll find him manifest to wild excess in the body and bombast of STALLION, master magician!
So, while the primaries drag on with their attendant abuse of communication, where inhuman talking points muddy the waters of human conversation, where stories are canned, calculating, and insult our curiosity, won't you while away with us elsewhere and listen to stories of magic and mind? For two hours, let's spend some time together in negative space - that thick, richly textured atmosphere between subject and object, where the self is half-suspended in the realm of mystery; let's exist for a while in our collective imagination, soaking in the porchlight of iridescent wonder. Thursday night promises to be totally super awesome.