Toronto. We had signed photos and all this stuff and kids showed up. At one point I took out a deck of cards and six kids shouted, "I know this one." I think that's a reflection on children, on knowledge. To me that's not an indictment on sharing magic. If nobody ever shared the methods - and the method in magic is not the invisible thread. That's part of the method. The method is the presentation, the method is the personality, the method is all these things. If nobody ever shared any of this stuff, particularly in a respectful spirit, magic would die. There would be no magicians on the planet in 60 years. Surely the question is not, do we share. The question is how do we share. So one side is that magicians in Ontario may have to deal with kids in their audience who are more precocious, or more savvy, but on the other side, five or ten years from now there may be more amateur and professional magicians enthusiastic about magic in Ontario than ever before. I think that would be a wonderful thing for magic. DA: It seems like the mandate of both GAPC and TVO is education, so they're not interested in pointless exposure. Is this basically just another kind of science show for them? JS: That's right.
To them, the magic is not an end in itself. It's a means to an end. In fact, in the first season we had a segment called Worldly Magic where Bridget was the "empowered" one, and she would teach Jay some stuff about different kinds of magic that exists in the world, like chameleons changing colour, and how long do elephants live. But that segment has been cut out for Season Two because they have other shows that cover that kind of stuff.
DA: Nature, or science, or natury science...
JS: More like scientific nature.
DA: So what's new for Season Two?
JS: We're adding a segment called "Make and Do," where kids at home get to make things related to magic.
DA: Like what?
JS: Zig Zag Illusion. Asrah... Gimlet. DA: Finger or head? JS: Neither. DA: Ouch!
JS: No, stuff like get a shoebox, put some black felt on top, put a couple of dividers inside, and voila, you've got your own magic case you can bring around and perform on, and apparently, Hank Lee is interested in carrying these.
DA: [laughs] Are you worried about running out of tricks?
JS: Because we haven't even cracked open the Mark Wilson book yet. DA: [laughs]
JS: This reminds me of when people ask me if I've created as many tricks as I can create. There's no shortage of magic material in the world. Magic is an infinite well. DA: But there's a difference between material that you create yourself and material that you cull from the public domain, especially in terms of what's accessible for kids. Do you plan on, at some point, creating original magic for the show.
JS: Well, as I recall, in Season One we did some stuff with a key card that was pretty fresh.
[both laugh uncontrollably]
JS: I have a trick called "Floater" [from
Sankey Panky, Kaufman, 1986] where you make a deck of cards float that we'll be using in the second season.
DA: What else is going to be different in
JS: During the first season, I did a lot of wacky, improvised stuff, and they kept very little of it in, but then the broadcaster saw some of it and they've specifically asked for more of that in Season Two.
DA: How about getting guest magicians on future shows?
DA: Michael Rubinstein?
JS: I think we have a mandate to use only magicians with a Z in their names.
DA: I'll call Ken Krenzel.
DA: Usually when someone teaches magic on TV, there's some percentage of the magic community that takes umbrage, or offense, or whatever. Have you had any feedback of that kind so far?
JS: I assumed there would be angry people in some corner of the magic world once they heard that I was sharing the secrets behind the wobbly pencil. The show's been on now for almost two months and I did a count three days ago of how many e-mails I received from magicians complaining about the fact that we reveal secrets.
We got a bit jealous of David Acer asking all the questions, so we decided to ask Jay a few ourselves.
MS: As a former stand-up comedian, do you ever feel the desire to get back out there doing your comedy?
JS: Since the day I walked off the stage of that last comedy club I have never missed it, not even for a moment. I learned an enormous amount during the 8 years I went from sweating through the 4 minutes of my first amateur night to the excitement of closing shows three or four nights a week, delivering 50 minutes as a seasoned headliner. But there came a point when I either had to move to Los Angeles or put my efforts in another direction. And I never stopped doing magic the entire time I did stand-up, so taking my magic to an even deeper level of commitment seemed like the natural thing to do. As for my
"comedy," I do that every day, and not just during my magic performances. I do my comedy when buying a cup of coffee, bumping into someone at the gym, hanging out with friends, meeting new clients, etc. I've come to understand that my sense of humour is a fundamental part of myself, at least as much as my magic. Ultimately, they are two quite similar perspectives (in form, if not content) as well as coping mechanisms and ways of being in the world.
MS: What did you most enjoy about 'stand-up?'
JS: I love challenges. I love learning and becoming stronger at something. I'm the sort of person who, for better and worse, doesn't enjoy being just OK at something. Whatever I
DA: And how many was it?
JS: Counting yours, none.
DA: Ah, but that's before I sent the Magic
JS: [laughs] I'd like to think that I've established enough street cred so I can't easily be written off as some guy just trying to expose and exploit magic. Maybe that's why I haven't received any e-mails. Or maybe they're just waiting. DA: Or maybe their TVs don't go up to channel 850. JS: That could be it.
DA: What about merchandising? Like Spellz wobbly pencils.
JS: Absolutely. We're working on the usual. The website's underway, DVDs are in the works, t-shirts and mugs. DA: Do kids buy a lot of mugs? JS: They loves their Kool-aid smokin' hot. DA: What about a Spellz magic kit? JS: I very much doubt it. DA: Why?
JS: Because I hate them. They're always filled with the same plastic crap. What I would like is a DVD that maybe comes with a deck with the Spellz logo on the back. DA: That's not a kit. That's a freakin' promotional giveaway.
JS: Well what are you going to put in a magic kit that has real, long-term learning value? DA: Slush powder?
JS: No, I remember the kits I had. They're fun, but they lean more toward toys and novelties. I mean, if I can come up with some really special things from molded plastic, maybe, but my temptation is to say no. Whatever products come out will be the products I think are the best way to really inspire, and share, and teach magic, and I suspect it won't involve the pierced coin. ms
The method is the presentation, the method is the personality, the method is all these things.
It's competition time!!!
We have four sets of Jay Sankey effects to be won which include: XL, About Face, Hundred Dollar Miracles (DVD) and Paperclipped (special edition). There are some crackers here!
To win a set of these, visit Jay's website and answer the following question: According to Jay's website - how many uses does the 'Gemini Pouch' have? Visit www.sankeymagic.com and you will find riches beyond your wildest dreams. Or something like that. Email answers to: [email protected] by midnight, November 20th.
try my hand at, I'm driven to do whatever it was always a delicious sense of risk and single area or style of magic performance.
takes to excel. And from my very first success with that. Focus is one of the true keys. stand-up sets (where I was absolutely horrible!) I loved the challenge of the craft. MS: You've got £50 to spend as a total MS: In the bunker with Jay Sankey: There's
The discomfort, the nerves, the flop sweats, magic novice. What do you buy? a nuclear war under way, and besides your the "bombings." All of it. And believe me, it JS: I'd suggest a real range of stuff. In the family, you have time to take five objects hurt a great deal. And that was a good thing beginning it's about finding material that with you in to your shelter. What do you because it meant I really cared and risked speaks to you, that for whatever reason take, and why?
and tried. And I failed, many, many times. stokes your fire. To find that special material, JS: 1. Mason's "first year" dvd. Irreplaceable
But of course, the only real failing is in not I think the complete beginner would do well and precious, and not just so my wife and I
trying (someone, hit the gong!) so even to expose him or herself to a bit of everything can enjoy them, but also my children when at the time I realised that I was succeeding and then really focus on the material that they are adults.
insofar as I was rising to challenges and excites and inspires them. So, buy a close-up 2. Madelaine's "first year" dvd. (See #1.)
growing as a performer. As for what I enjoyed magic dvd, and a book about magic theory, 3. One of my "magic ideas" folders.
about stand-up, well, really rocking crowds and a few decks of cards, and a mental 4. One of my "cartoons" folders.
was of course a lot of fun. I also loved trying trick, etc. Try a bit of everything...and then 5. One of my "magic ideas" folders.
out new material and having it do well. There commit yourself, at least for a time, to a
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Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.