Wednesday 30 At He held up empty hands, and shrugged his shoulders. He eventually spent a week in Chicago, doing a lecture and a workshop. I for one am gagging for this book! He had just returned from F.
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He had just returned from F. He placed two red hardbound books in front of me, and proceeded to go into the depths of the shop without further comment.
I lost the next several weeks of my life because of those books—or more precisely, because of the author. The words jumped off the pages, and the concepts infiltrated my thoughts. It was obvious that the author spoke from his heart—that he cared about magic—that he loved, breathed, and dreamt magic, and he did it with an unparalleled passion.
He succeeded in inspiring me with his passion. I was ecstatic—I was already planning to attend, so this was the proverbial icing on the cake. Before I knew it, the date of the convention arrived. A small man, wearing a red sweater and a grey fedora approached me, and asked where I acquired the two books I had under my arm.
I replied that I had received them from Magia Potagia in Spain. His hair was shoulder length now in the books, it was short , and he had caught me off-guard. Juan introduced himself, and asked if I enjoyed the books. I told him that I thought they were wonderful. And perform he did. It sent shivers down my spine—he made us laugh, he astounded us, and he etched a permanent place in the memories of everyone present. His energy was nothing short of manic. His humor was genuine and hearty. His presence was all-encompassing.
And his magic, it was…well, it was magic. There was no explanation for the miracles that he presented. He received a standing ovation. We were drained from the experience. And then, he gave his lecture…. Later that weekend, I performed on one of the afternoon shows. After the show, Juan approached me, and said he enjoyed my performance—and that I had fooled him with one of the effects that I performed.
I laughed, and said that he was very kind. He said it was true, and was sincere. Late that night, we did other tricks, and discussed magic until five or six in the morning. I found out that Juan would be in the states for a while, so I arranged for him to lecture in Chicago. He eventually spent a week in Chicago, doing a lecture and a workshop.
More standing ovations, wide eyes, and open mouths. This time, Carmen accompanied him. It was marvelous spending time with them. Juan was always creating little magical moments at the most unexpected times. For example, Carmen would notice that she was missing a spoon at a dinner table. Without pause, Juan would immediately produce a spoon, and give it to Carmen.
This became a running gag: Carmen would misplace her lighter, look at Juan, who would then make it appear. Anyway, the hilariously magical Mac King was performing at a local comedy club during that week, so we went out to see him.
Carmen only ordered a desert. During the meal, while waiting for the desert, she started to play with one of the helium-filled balloons that the restaurant had decorated the room with.
We checked with the waitress, and found out that she had forgotten to order the desert—she would order it right away. After a few minutes, she came back and informed Carmen that the particular desert that Carmen had ordered would not be available that night. So, a different desert was ordered. This minor distraction took her mind off of the situation. About ten more minutes passed. Juan waved his hands, and—voila—there was the missing fork. She took the fork, and at the same time by freak chance , the balloon that had been tied to her wrist came loose, and floated to the ceiling.
Everyone looked up. Inspiration struck, and I immediately took the plate with the desert, and hid it out of sight on my side of the table.
When Carmen looked back down, the look on her face was priceless! After a moment, she looked at Juan, suspecting that he had taken the desert. He held up empty hands, and shrugged his shoulders. I saw my chance—I silently placed the plate back in front of her. Juan saw this out of the corner of his eye. She saw the desert, smiled, and looked at Juan.
She gave Juan a quick kiss and proceeded to devour the magical desert. Juan looked at me, smiled, and winked his eye. Not many magicians have ever seen it. Juan was very complementary, and showed me a impossible effect in return. Well, the week was gone before we knew it, and I was driving Juan and Carmen to the airport. I said I would be honored to explain it. But of course, we had no time. He explained that it was a convention of only thirty-ish attendees, who gathered once a year, to discuss a particular topic in magic.
It took about fifty-two milliseconds for me to accept the invitation. This last October I participated for the fourth consecutive year. Ultimately, I think words are not enough. How do you describe a man who is so thorough in everything he does?
Once, we were discussing rising cards, and he pulls a drawer out of his cabinet in his magic room. There were a ton of decks in the drawer.
So he picks up a deck and shows me a clever method. Then he takes another, and does the same. And then again, and yet again. Or, take his mnemonic deck. It is simply the most exquisite work ever done on the subject. And Juan has created over one-hundred effects with it.
All of them are direct and deceptive. True miracles. Imagine being able to do memorized deck work with a legitimately shuffled pack!?! Of course, when you realize that Juan has spent the last dozen years of his life creating and refining these routines, its a little bit easier to comprehend. Its still humbling…. And he never stops. One year he showed me a incredible four Ace assembly. It was perfect. The next year, he had greatly improved it. Whether he is thrilling an audience of over nine-hundred while doing stage work, shocking a dozen while doing close-up, or keeping millions laughing while on television, he always moves you with his ever present happiness.
And inspiring. Juan Tamariz is a muse. Every time that I meet with him—I end up with renewed energy, revitalized passion, dead-ends become open thoroughfares for ideas. Such inspiration is rare. He is the rarest of the rare: a true friend. And for that, he receives my endless thanks…. Jim Krenz.
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