Spain is one of the best places in the world for magic today. Over the years, the country has produced some incredible talents and developments, particularly for card magic, and Juan Tamariz has been around for all of it. Depending on who you ask, he might even be one of the greatest of all time. The website Jot Down has published a lengthy interview with Tamariz, covering his many decades in magic as well as his ventures in film, books, television, teaching, and even physics.
We’d highly recommend any Spanish speakers to read the conversation in the original language, but Google Translate does a pretty admirable job of grasping the nuances of Tamariz’s thoughts. He’s a generous artist, and admits that he prefers to think of magic as a game rather than as a trick.
“Trick, at least in Spanish, has a pejorative tone. It comes very close in meaning to the word trap,” he said. “Art, on the other hand, has always had that side of deception, which in this case we could also call illusion, because in truth you can not deceive anyone if you say: ‘From this moment, do not trust me.’ The conjurer can never deceive you because he already warns you of who he is and what he is going to do. That’s why magic is not a hoax.”
Tamariz had many mentors and teachers as he honed his craft, but none of them were performing magic in the style that he wanted to see. In the early 70s, nobody was doing what he aspired to do as a magician:
When I entered the world of magic I noticed that there were very few professional magicians. On the one hand, there was the magician…who was dedicated to doing magic only for a while, after working and such, and that, with some exceptions, he focused it more as a [diversion] than as an art; and, on the other, there were those who acted in rooms, very elegantly dressed, in suits and such, and who made short, very musical shows, especially aimed at tourists. There were extraordinary wizards and magicians in those environments, but it was not what I wanted to do. Although I’ve always been a very elegant guy, I was not going to wear the tailcoat. I wanted to go dressed normally, I wanted to do close-up magic, card games, and I wanted to be talking all the time because I can not keep quiet for long.
Read the full, fascinating interview here.
Canadian conjurer Mahdi Gilbert was born without hands or feet, but the illusions he’s capable of would put most able-bodied magicians to shame. Back in November, he was invited to speak and perform at the Hocus Pocus Festival in Granada, Spain, which gathers magicians from all over the globe in a celebration of the art of prestidigitation.
In addition to wowing audiences with his card tricks, he also answered questions from members of the crowd. One person who works with children with similar disabilities asked what advice he would give kids who are feeling discouraged when people tell them they won’t amount to anything. His response? “The only person you have to convince is yourself.” Watch the full clip below:
You can also watch a performance of his Fool Us-winning routine ‘Oil and Water’ for an intimate gathering in Spain via the video below:
Thanksgiving is here, but that doesn’t mean the Magic Castle is taking time off. On the contrary, it’s Magic of Spain week at the Castle, and some of the best acts from the country will be in attendance, including the close-up magic of Inés and Fool Us winner Javi Benitez.
Performances take place every evening from November 20-26 unless otherwise noted, and include:
Miguel Ajo: 7:00, 7:45, 8:30, 9:15
Camilo Vázquez: 10:00, 10:45, 11:30, 12:30
Woody Aragón: 7:15, 8:15, 9:15
Juan Luis Rubiales: 10:15, 11:15, 12:30
Rafael Benatar: 8:00, 10:00, 11:30
Rubén Vilagrand: 8:00, 10:00, 11:30
Arkadio & Bella: 8:00, 10:00, 11:30
Jean-Philipe Atchoum: 7:30-11:30 (All week)
Miguel Ángel Gea: 8:00, 10:00, 11:30 (Monday-Sunday)
Javi Benitez: 8:00, 10:00, 11:30 (All week)
Inés: 12:00, 1:00, 2:00
Parlour Kids’ Shows: 11:30a, 1:00, 2:15
For more information on what’s in store at the Magic Castle this week, as well as details on how to become a member, be sure to visit the official site for the Academy of Magical Arts.
If you click to watch the video above, make sure you’re prepared for four of some of the strangest acts in magic condensed into a quick, four-minute presentation. Hors Lits is a festival that takes place regularly all over the world, celebrating live performances of all stripes, and Hors Lits Mollet convened in Catalonia back in October to showcase some of the best acts in magic in with four 20-minute shows in an intimate, private setting. Watch Billy Kidd pop a pill out of her eye socket, Fakir Testa jam a giant metal screw into his face, Ola Muchin perform weird puppetry, and Gazzo amuse with some devilish close-up magic.