Lance Burton has this young
magicians luncheon every year at the Vegas magic convention.
Considering the overlap between xtian magicians and priests,
it seems like a bad idea - but no one has gotten into
trouble yet. Lance feeds them some good steamed table food
and then lots of magicians talk to the kids and answer
questions. It's a good deed that Lance does. Lance asked
us to speak. Well, the porno convention overlapped this
one day with the magic convention, so I had to talk to the
kids and run to the porno. Teller was there too, so we
were going to speak together. Because I had to run to the
porno thing, Lance put us on first.
Jeff McBride announced that we were going first because I
had "another engagement." This is the first year that
we've been asked to do the Young Magicians thing that I
felt I had things I wanted to say. Other times for things
like this we just do a Q&A and we're done with it. But, I
got to thinking that there were important things to say.
So, while I was out for my trike ride, I thought about what
I really thought was important and got my thoughts
organized. After Jeff announced us, we took the stage. I
was going to talk about the importance of truth, so the
first thing I did was to say that my "other engagement" was
the porno convention. I have to remember that I'm a role
model for these kids and I wouldn't want them thinking I
would put a magic convention over a porno convention.
I had two rather simple points. Both of these points
became more important to me in the aftermath of 9-11. I
said that magicians had to tell the truth. I said that
superstition had killed enough people and the idea that
magic was in any way "mystical" was a very bad thing. I
pushed for Houdini's point of view on magic. You know, get
rid of the robes and the hype, and just do tricks and talk
about tricks, and in that way make magic about truth. I
guess that wouldn't have been very controversial (even
though it's possible Jeff McBride was actually wearing
robes to the luncheon). But, I threw in that I believe
that if you believe in anything supernatural, any kind of
god, that you were flying the planes on 9-11. I had a few
jokes thrown in, but the tone was heavy. It was very heavy.
My second point was about pandering. I said that doing
"things that worked," was the worst way to do showbiz.
That it almost guaranteed you wouldn't be speaking from
your heart. I said that when Danny Ganz sang "God Bless
America" on 9-11 at his show, and the audience applauded,
they weren't applauding for him. He was just deluding
himself. I gave many more magic examples. I was very
hardcore. It was odd to try to speak to young magicians
about things that I thought were important.
Teller brought with him copies of an affidavit that they
were all to sign swearing that they wouldn't do the Linking
Rings for at least the first quarter of this century. It
was very funny and it made some of the points I made, in a
light and funny way. We took a few questions and then when
there was a break I ran out of the room and over to the
Teller said it seemed to go over okay. Lance actually
backed us up and talked about us cutting "Flag" for several
months after 9-11 to make sure it wouldn't be pandering.
As I bumped into McBride and guys like that the next day,
they seemed to have the attitude that I was trying to
"shake things up" and be "outrageous." That, of course,
made me very sad - I was trying so hard to just tell the
truth as I saw it as directly and clearly as I could. When
I wanted to do that AND "shake things up" they were going
to notice. We'd planned that for Amazing Jonathan's Roast
the next night.