Friday, March 09, 2007

Magic! Abracadabra! Presto-chango! More on that topic in a minute, but first a few updates:

On the news front, I am excited to have met Jackie Silver, who has a fascinating website about the secrets of "Aging Backwards"; one look at her testifies to her expertise: She has a recurring spot on NBC's Tampa morning show, Daytime, and she is talking to their producer about possibly having me on as a guest at some point. Yay! I love these opportunities!

I'm also set to have an ad and a brief editorial come out in the "New and Notable" section of Tampa Bay Illustrated's April issue. I tried to sneak in a bit of an engagement announcement for my sister there. Dr. Katie Gres is now engaged to the very wonderful Steven Gold! But they didn't publish that part...

My good friend Jim Kennedy loved his portrait of his daughter Bridget and the family treasure, Bing (see below)!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Speaking of the movies, I saw "The Illusionist" recently.

I enjoyed the puzzles of "The Illusionist," and I won't spoil any surprises for you. I will say I wonder if anyone else saw foreshadowing in Eisenheim's (Edward Norton's) trick where he shows Sophie (Jessica Biel) her mirror image? And I love Paul Giamatti in every role he disappears into. All of the magic tricks had me fascinated and confused, and I loved watching the writer's commentary and finding out some of the magician's secrets.

Here's where we get to the aforementioned main topic of my post!

The audience in a movie theater is not so different from the old-time audience for a magician. The actors are magicians, transforming into characters. And the plot of the story is itself the best trick. Some viewers (the Biel character sort of viewer) might get enormous enjoyment out of watching passively, with a complete suspension of disbelief. The Giamatti-type viewer might be working hard to figure out the plot ahead of the movie's conclusion, and loving both the thrill of solving the mystery and the delight of being mystified. The crown-prince (Rufus Sewell) type would sneer condescendingly at a movie for the transparency of its illusions, would feel personally insulted by any "unsolvable" aspect of a movie, and would therefore never watch any movie with any genuine delight.

I've said before, in my biography on my website, that I feel a sort of magic in the art that I create. In the completion of a painting, there's a certain moment when the pigment and the composition come together, ready to burst off the page, and I feel like doing a happy dance around my easel, thumping my chest and raising my hands to the sky. Picture something like Tom Hanks on "Cast Away," exulting, "I have made FIRE!! Look what I have created!!" I hope none of my viewers are the prince/Sewell type.

And I love that one of the super "powers" on NBC's "Heroes" belongs to a magically prophetic artist. The Isaac Mendez character (Santiago Cabrera) seems to fall under a spell, into a trance, with a milky-white glaze over his eyes, and the art that results seems to come not from him, but through him, as if he is a channel for the electricity of an all-knowing intelligence. He falls out of the spell and is astonished at his future-predicting creation.

Ha! If I could have any super power, I think I'd prefer the ability to fly... :D