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The Magic Memories (167)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Magic Day in Łódź, Poland; Homage to Juan Tamariz at Teatro Circo Price, Madrid

These are The Magic Memories 167, gone online Sunday, March 10th, 2024, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, and 2023, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

I am just back from two trips abroad, one to Łódź, Poland, the other to Madrid, Spain, two destinations that could not be more different from each other, and both fascinating and memorable.

Magic Day in Łódź, Poland

Arsene Lupin, Poland’s premier conjuror, had invited me to lecture and perform at his magic day in Lodz on Sunday, 3rd March 2024. Here are a few brief impressions.

The City of Lodz

The title shows the exact spelling of the city’s name, the third largest in Poland, but to save me breaking my fingers on the keyboard, I’ll spell it simply Lodz, with all respect 🙂

Poland has a colorful past, and so do its cities. What is so remarkable about Lodz is that the ugly and the beautiful are so close to each other.

There were places which were simply magnificent: the architecture, the museums, downtown. Instead of pulling down old buildings many are thoughtfully renovated, and it looks like the city has a bright future.

I wish I had the time to tell you more, but will concentrate on the magic (below). For more info on the city of Lodz, CLICK HERE.

To me, who is fluent in six languages, this was one of the few “culture shocks” of my life, as I did not understand a word of Polish, nor could I read the signs. I had similar experiences only in Japan and China. Fortunately, most in Poland understand English, and some speak it quite well.

Downtown Lodz

Poland’s Magic Tradition

Poland has an interesting magic tradition, like so many countries, and it is little-known. I wish we had more people, resources and finances to conduct more research on this particular aspect of magic, namely that of investigating the magical history of each country, the important and less important figures they brought forth (performers, inventors, authors, historians, craftsmen, etc.).

You may want to ask ChatGPT and see what you get (…), meanwhile here are a few names of outstanding Polish magicians who have left an indelible mark on the history of magic: Max Malini, Chan Canasta, Johnny Thompson, Salvano, all of whom have left us.

Fortunately, their work has been documented in books and videos, and anyone who is interested can find out more about them, just enter their names in your favorite search engine, or go to YouTube, and you will be spoilt for choice.

I had the great fortune of meeting Salvano early in my life, when I was still a student in Paris.

He came to a very early lecture of mine, and afterwards approached me saying some very nice things to me. At the time he was working at “Le Milliardaire”, one of Paris’ top night clubs, that is now closed, and he invited me to see his show.

This was quite incredible to Young Giobbi, as I had never been in a night club before.

Briefly: His was one of the most sophisticated acts I had ever seen, and I think that most who have known Salvano will agree if I now write that his act was in the same class as the acts of Cardini, Pollock or Fred Kaps.

Later in life I met Salvano several times, booked him for a lecture in Basel, and even hosted him at my home.

See The Magic Memories 74 for more on Salvano.

Arsene Lupin

For the past decades, Arsene Lupin, has been Poland’s most successful magic performer and inventor.

He is also a Past President of the Polish magician’s association, and in this function organized several national magic conventions.

Lupin – the man and his work – deserve a book that I will not be able to write here, but the first thing you might want to do is to have a look at a few videos to see his work, among other things his act with which he won a FISM prize, clips from his full-evening shows, etc.

For years Lupin had his own magic show on Polish TV, and his inventions are being performed by some of the world’s top professionals.

In one of our conversations we found out that we had competed at the same FISM conventions in 1991 in Lausanne and both won the 2nd prize, Lupin in Manipulations, I in Card Magic… behind Lennart Green 🙂

The Magic Day

For the day I flew into Warsaw Chopin Airport (yes, Chopin was Polish and another credit to this amazing culture), where Arsene met me personally and had me as his house guest for the next three days.

He is one of the most charming hosts I have ever had, showing me around the city of Lodz and taking care of anything I needed; I spent a wonderful time, and made a new friend!

The magic event itself took place in Lupin’s residence which hosts a small theatre that can take up to 40 guests; the little theatre was filled to capacity and had sold out months in advance, as Arsene told me.

Arsene Lupin greeting the Magic Day guests

The program was varied, with performances and talks, all of which were in Polish, so I did not understand a word, but could see some excellent ideas as well as the positive reactions from the audience.

I did a two-part lecture: One, one hour from my Stand-up Card Magic lecture, the another 90 minutes with more tricks, but with a focus on their psychological construction, based on my book Sharing Secrets.

Although I had my doubts about speaking in English to people who were non-native speakers of English, my presentations went over very well. So well, actually, that I got a long standing ovation at the end.

Arsene later told me that in all these years only three people had received this honor: Dani DaOrtiz and David Stone… so I am in good company 🙂

One of the nicest additional benefits of such events is that I get to know a lot of new people, and also get an insight into the magic of a country I had never been to before.

This is one of the main reasons I have never accepted to do those “Lecture Tours” many of my colleagues have done: I make it a point to come in one day earlier, and to stay at least one extra day to see the city/country and meet people.

In the evening, after the event, several came for a traditional Polish dinner; Arsene told me that only rarely do so many attend the dinner, so I take this as another compliment. On the back end you can see Arsene and myself.

Dinner in Lodz 3rd March 2024

In the photo below, which was taken after dinner, I am with a group of very talented magicians who came all the way from Krakow. Michael, on the right in the photo, promised to organize a one- or two-day seminar in his hometown, so I look very much froward to coming back to Poland soon.

The Krakow Magic Group

BTW: Poland’s national beverage is Vodka. As you can see in the photo above, there is a row of empty glasses… guess what was inside.

During the three days of my stay I was able to taste over a dozen different Vodkas, not so bad…

Homage to Juan Tamariz at Teatro Circo Price, Madrid

I came back from Warsaw on Monday evening, and Tuesday morning had my flight to Madrid, taking me there just in time for lunch at Dantxari, one of my (and Tamariz’s!) favorite restaurants.

Whenever you go to Spain and meet up with magicians, you should know that their dinner time is not earlier than 10 pm, rather 11 pm, therefore, when you arrive on the first day, I recommend you get a good lunch so you can survive until dinner…

In Madrid I had been invited, along with Gaetan Bloom, who flew in from Paris, to participate in a two-hour Homage to Juan Tamariz, as part of a three-week Festival of Magic organized by Spain’s magic celebrity Jorge Blass (see The Magic Memories 164 for more info).

We met up at 7 pm at the theatre, which used to be a in-house circus, and set up the session, which was masterfully arranged and organized by Jorge Blass and his team.

preparing for the Homage to Juan Tamariz

With ca. 500 people the theatre was filled to capacity and we found a very enthusiastic audience who came to celebrate the Great Master of Magic, not only of Spain, but of the world.

The people who attended were about 30% magicians, mostly from Madrid, and 70% laypeople, young and old, who had seen Tamariz in one of his many TV-shows or performances in the theatres of Spain.

The lay audience in Spain knows Tamariz mainly as a star magic performer, but only few know about his role in the world of magic. Therefore, the idea of this event was not only to honor Juan Tamariz, who in October of this year will turn eighty-two, but above all to shed light on the many facets that make Tamariz one of the most important and influential magicians of all times.

I like to compare any profession with an iceberg: As an outsider you only see the 10% above the water, and ignore the 90% that are invisible.

In the two hours at our disposal Jorge Blass had arranged an excellent mix of photos, video clips, and personal talks with some surprise guests.

Jorge started out with a lovely introduction showing some amazing film clips of Young Tamariz I had never seen before myself, followed by a thoughtful interview about Juan’s beginnings.

Next Gaetan Bloom came on, and the two chatted about the many TV appearances and theatre projects they had done together. This part of the interview was preceded by a hilarious bit where Gaetan performed in French, and Juan translated in Spanish.

Next I came on and conversed with Juan about him as an author of magic books, lecturer, and founder of the Escuela Magica de Madrid (EMM), along with its mouthpieces, the Escorial Card Conference and the Circular, a printed publication of the EMM, that went on for over thirty years, and where the forty members would publish thousands of essays on the most diverse topics related to magic. This is of great interest to any intelligent practitioner of the art and should be translated into English (maybe one day when we will have a foundation that finances all of this).

Roberto conversing with Juan

And so it went on with Luis Piedrahita, a star magician and stand-up comedian, and Yunke, who won the first prize for Illusions at the recent FISM in Quebec.

At the end Juan did one of his interactive card tricks, with the entire audience joining in and throwing cards into the air, until each is left with a previously selected card; I’ve seen Juan do this many times, once when we worked together on the TV show Carta Blanca , and it is always a hit – in the photo below you can see everyone throwing cards in the air and having a great time, most of all the Maestro himself 🙂

This event will eventually be available on YouTube, and I will let you know through an upcoming The Magic Memories. Although it is in Spanish, of course, you will still be able to enjoy some rare video footage, and see Gaetan and Juan perform.

In the photo below you can see all who joined in the “Dialogo Magico con Juan Tamariz”, a memorable event, if there ever was one.

Yunke, Piedrahita, Tamariz, Bloom, Giobbi, Blass

The icing on the cake of such events, especially in Spain, is that the participants in the adventure, like the Gauls from Asterix and Obelix, will gather around a table in a restaurants for human beings (which is NOT a fast-food restaurant, nor one where you eat sandwiches etc.), and enjoy a copious meal, with great wines, and even greater company – viva la magia!

A quite extraordinary round table!

Forgive today’s accounts, which read a bit disruptive, but I did not have the time to put them in a more elegant form 🙂

Wish you all a successful and happy week,

Roberto Giobbi

1 thought on “The Magic Memories (167)

  1. Thank you Roberto for sharing!

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