Listening to a creative master talk about their work is usually a fascinating exercise, and Eric Mead is unquestionably a master when it comes to magic. Mead isn’t just a star performer, but also a public speaker, educator, and author. He’s an electric presence on stage, but even in written form, Mead’s eloquence about magic shines through. He recently gave an interview to a local Colorado magazine that’s a must-read for any studious magic fan.
“The best and most interesting thing about magic is this very specific feeling you get when you’re confronted by something you think is impossible,” he said. “You’re a rational adult human being. You recognize that it’s a magic trick; you recognize there’s a secret to it. But applying everything you know about the world to it, it seems impossible. And that brings up a certain kind of feeling and experience for people, which is the key thing that magic is about.”
The conversation ranges from his early fascination with magic to his latest (and very lengthy) book project, with some stops to talk about ideas and curiosity along the way. Check out the Roaring Fork Lifestyle Magazine for the full interview.
For an example of Mead’s magic in action, check out his appearance on Penn & Teller’s Fool Us from September. Needless to say, he definitely wins.
There’s no real criteria for winning on Penn & Teller Fool Us, mainly because even well-established routines can be impossible to detect with enough skill. Eric Mead’s performance on last week’s episode is a perfect example of this.
Before beginning his routine, Mead takes great care to explain that he’s going to perform coin magic—one of the oldest tricks in the book—and that while Penn & Teller may know how 90% of the trick is done, it’s the last 10% that will stump them both. By explaining the rules in this way, he then puts the onus on the hosts to abide by his own terms. It’s a pretty stunning bit of verbal misdirection… and then the trick starts.
Even if he didn’t win, Mead’s coin magic employs god-like sleight of hand and enough linguistic gymnastics to win an Olympic medal. Take ten minutes to watch his performance and wonder to yourself all day how the hell did he do that?