Go ahead, call me a quack

I have a friend who is a magician. He performs the occasional stage show with card tricks and coins hidden behind the ear. His work is sleight of hand, a flash of movement deceiving the eye. He’d say it’s science. You experiment and find what actually works. My friend, Angus Stocking, is also a tarot […]

2011 Houdini Awards

I always thought of Harry Houdini as a master trickster, fooling his audience into believing something had happened when, in fact, it had not happened. That’s not true. Houdini’s tricks — like escaping from a locked packing crate after it had been thrown into New York’s East River — were real. His “magic” was that […]

Waking the Dead

The subtitle of the show is “Art and Magic,” but the word that haunted me when I visited “Houdini,” an exhibit at the Jewish Museum of Art in New York City, was science. The magic was certainly there. The handcuffs that couldn’t hold him. The straitjacket that couldn’t contain him. The thrilling films of Houdini […]