Thursday, April 28, 2011

There are a lot of guys in India who work at call centers these days, but these guys have decided to live a slightly different lifestyle. That is why even in 2011, people find India so fascinating, more so that in the past when it was perceived to be only 'backward and exotic.' Now, we know that there are hundreds of thousands of young Indians who can fix our most complex tech problems in the blink of an eye, and yet, there are still guys who spend their days lying around on beds of nails outside of Hindu temples in major cities like Calcutta (Kolkata) and Varanasi (Kashi). I won't try to explain why these guys do this routine, but I will explain to you why I do it. It's quite simple really. Because these guys do it, and their ancestors have done it for several generations, people expect to see an Indian magician lie on a bed of nails. So I went to the hardware store, bought a board, drove it home illegally sticking out of my open sunroof, and will soon proceed to drive nearly 1,000 large shiny spikes (that cost 18 cents a piece, you can do the math!) through this board. Then, because it's for a stage show in the US, not for sitting near an Indian temple, I will also put locking casters on the bottom, and likely cut it in half so it will fold to enable me to transport it more easily. My mother is quite right, I can do far better tricks than the bed of nails, and I will do them in my show. In fact, I am hoping to end with a stunningly beautiful mental bit that is straight from an Indian street magician I know.  It will soon be copied by magicians all over the Western world if I let out the secret. I'm tempted to put together a quick lecture tour and sell it myself, rather than let some magic company take the idea that I paid my friend Shaddruddin Baddruddin quite fairly (my wife thinks excessively) for. It's the trick he has closed his show with for years and he likely learned it from his father, who learned it from his father... so it's really an old Indian street magic trick. For those who couldn't wait for a magic show this spring, Jeff McBride did a fine show last night here on the Yale campus. I have tried throwing cards and never managed to do some of the things he can do, so I enjoy watching him. I hope that after a few weeks' break, in which I still have to build the new bed of nails, New Haven magic fans will turn out in even larger numbers for my final public appearance in this area. I pick up the paper postcards on saturday and will start distributing them immediately.  If you don't see them in whatever cool place you hang out, let me know and I'll drop some off. Or I can send a postcard directly to your home, real paper mail, signed by me, if you like. Tomorrow is that wedding in the UK where my friend Sandy Soparkar is performing. I wish him all the best and hope he got a really high performance fee from that old German family that has been ruling Britain for a few hundred years and has no plans of retiring. I think they planned the wedding for this year just to upstage prince Albert Grimaldi of Monaco, the Amherst alum, athlete and magic/circus patron who had finally decided to get married this year and give up his playboy ways. Let's face it, Prince Albert is way cooler. His family is the longest continuously ruling family anywhere in the world, his mother was Grace Kelly, stunningly beautiful scion of a famous rowing family from Philadelphia and also a movie star (duh!), he's a patron of the world's most wonderful performing arts, he's an avid water sportsman, and an Amherst man too. I danced with a lovely woman on the cruise who is going to Prince Albert's wedding, but could not be convinced to get them to hire me as the wedding entertainment. When Albert's father Prince Rainer III married Grace Kelly in April 1956, they had hired Channing Pollock to entertain with his original dove act that has been regularly copied but never bettered. So, they have seen the best Western dove worker ever. Maybe now it's time to book an Indian-American guy who's also an Amherst alum, a water sports enthusiast, and a pretty darn good fusion magician. I would much rather work the Grimaldi wedding in Monaco than the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha wedding in London, but if Sandy (real name is Sandeep just fyi) Soparkar really breaks a leg or can't perform tomorrow, I think I can cancel my sections of history 208 and entertain the Windsors. Otherwise, I'm rooting for my fellow Marathi from Pune to wow them with his Bollywood style.

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