Magic tends to be an art form all about the visuals. The whole “now you see it, now you don’t” act does require you to, you know, see. So while many magicians want their chance to dazzle your eyes on a television show, mentalists can still ply their trade over the audio airwaves.
First off, let that serve as a reminder for all the mentalists out there looking for places to perform. Radio. My tip to you.
Second, Canadian mentalist and hypnotist Spidey made a recent appearance on CBC Radio. Fresh from messing with Steve Harvey on the revived Showtime at the Apollo, the performer brought his act to a more intimate setting of the radio studio for Here and Now.
And, because this is the digital age, there is also video of his visit. Best of both worlds! Watch (or just listen for that true radio experience) him do his thing below.
Watch Canadian Mentalist and Hypnotist Spidey on CBC Radio's Here and Now https://t.co/U3I2wbxEdX
— CBC Here and Now (@CBCHereandNow) May 2, 2018
We’re pretty excited for the upcoming documentary The Science of Magic. And if you’re itching to learn more about the making of the film like we are, you can tune in to Toronto public radio station CIUT 89.5 FM on Friday at 9am Eastern for an interview with the film’s co-director Daniel Zuckerbrot.
Friday 9AM: Listen to @ciut895fm Friday Morning when Daniel Garber @culturalmining interviews documentary filmmaker Daniel Zuckerbrot co-director of The Science of Magic premiering on CBC's The Nature of Things@dzuckerbrot @geniionline @cbcdocs pic.twitter.com/1MgC99vLiT
— CIUT 89.5fm (@CIUT895FM) March 14, 2018
Zuckerbrot will be speaking with Daniel Garber, a film critic, interviewer, and host of a film show called Cultural Mining that airs every Friday on CIUT. The film itself will take a look at the intersection of psychology, scientific method, and prestidigitation, following a who’s who of the best working performers in the field (like Tom Stone, Billy Kidd, Juan Tamariz, and so many more), and the researchers studying their work to bring some magic into the laboratory. It sounds fascinating.
This isn’t Zuckerbrot’s first foray into movie magic: he previously filmed David Ben’s wildly macabre performance of “Call of the Colors” inside the house of late artifact collector Bill Jamieson.
If you’re unable to listen to the live broadcast (or, like me, don’t live in Canada), you can find links to livestreams on CIUT’s official website. If you end up missing the program, you can download the latest episode here. The Science of Magic will air on CBC’s The Nature of Things program on Sunday, March 18, and will be available to stream on CBC’s website as well. The documentary will eventually be available worldwide at a date yet to be determined.
In 2007, John Edward Szeles, better known by his stage name “The Amazing Johnathan,” was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart muscle that, if he didn’t receive a heart transplant, was nearly certain to kill him. Unfortunately, hospitals don’t give fresh hearts to patients with type 2 diabetes and a history of excessive, unrepentant drug abuse. In 2014, Szeles sold out his presumably final shows before announcing he had a year to live, and that he could drop dead literally at any moment.
In an interview in 2015, with diabetes eating away at the flesh of his legs, Szeles gave a candid statement about his longtime affinity for cocaine.
“Then, after John Belushi died, everybody stopped doing it,” he said. “It woke everybody up. It scared Robin [Williams] and it scared everybody else. It didn’t scare me.”
It’s now 2018 and Szeles is still not dead.
“Now I’m getting, “hey, aren’t you supposed to be dead?”” he jokes in a recent interview with CBC Radio, “I feel guilty for being alive now.”
Blood thinners and heavy weight loss have kept the reaper at bay and while nowhere near as prolific as he once was, The Amazing Johnathan was still touring and performing live shows as of last year.
Szeles is still dying, however. At one point he casually mentions that once every six months or so, tests confirm that his heart is still failing. A healthier lifestyle has slowed his decline, but there’s no coming back from this disease without a transplant, no matter how much kale he eats.
“I feel alright, to tell you the truth. I feel fine,” he says, “but the doctor tells me I don’t know what it feels like to feel good, that’s why I feel alright, you know?”
Despite his ailing health and the deaths of several of his friends, Szeles remains unapologetic about his drug use. When asked about Penn Jillete’s suggestion in the upcoming documentary about Szele’s life, Always Amazing, that he would have been a better performer without the drugs, Szeles is defiant.
“In the back of my head, I’m saying, ‘maybe he’s right.’ But in the back of my head I’m also saying, ‘maybe he’s wrong,’ ‘cos look at all the people who did drugs that were doing great. I mean, look at all the rock stars. Anyone who was great in my eyes went through drugs – went through drug addiction. Like John Lennon and Eric Clapton, those are the people I wanted to hang out with.”
“People who say that,” he adds, “generally, have never done drugs.”
Always Amazing will premiere on Saturday, March 10th, at the Rio theater in Vancouver.