Adrion

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Guest » 10/20/05 03:33 PM

I recently read some books by the german magician Alexander Adrion including the memoirs of Robert-Houdin, which were published by Adrion in german and a book on methods and history of pickpocketing.
I wonder if some of you are able to tell me something about Adrion who seemed to have his stage-prime during the sixties and happened to be a pal of writer Heinrich Bll.
Above all: is Adrion still alive?

Thanks in advance.
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Postby Richard Hatch » 10/20/05 04:38 PM

Adrion is still alive, living at his home in Roesrath, outside Koeln (Cologne), Germany. He'll be 82 next November 17th. I had a chance to visit with him at his home in July 2003 and Clay Shevlin visited him earlier this summer, I believe. Although no longer actively performing, he remains interested in magic and its history and remains in contact with like minded people worldwide. Surprisingly, his book on pickpockets has been his biggest literary success, with translations into several languages, including Japanese (though not English). Adrion was a good friend of Barrows Mussey (Henry Hay), who lived nearby. For those unfamiliar with his work, he is something akin to a German John Mulholland, Milbourne Christopher or Ricky Jay: professional performers who also maintain high public profiles as experts on the history of their unusual art form by publishing books, giving public lectures and coordinating exhibits on related topics. Adrion, like Ricky Jay and one of his idols, Hofzinser, prefered performing for refined, intelligent audiences that were not too large ("klein aber fein".). His first book, ZAUBEREI ZAUBEREI includes an interview of him by his friend, German author Heinrich Boell, who later won the Nobel prize for literature.
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Postby magicam » 10/20/05 06:45 PM

Richard, given our chat earlier today, is this a twilight zone moment or what?

Yes, I did visit Alexander Adrion a few months ago, although this time, alas, for only a far-too-brief period, because my wife and I had to be in London for The Magic Circles centenary celebration (we were running late as it was). Several years ago, I had the privilege of staying with him and lovely wife Anna at their home in Rsrath (RH: I think your s have all turned into oes for Rsrath, Kln and Bll!) for an extended period of time, and had a great time talking magic and philosophy with him. Sadly, as Richard said, none of Adrions books have been translated into English, except for a little piece that he wrote which was published by Sun Dog Press in 2001, titled Antwerp at a Late Hour. As Richard hinted, Adrion has some very definite ideas about how magic should be performed and what it represents artistically, and he has stuck to his principles all his years. Aside from his half-dozen or so books, he has also written many articles and has organized and contributed to several exhibitions in Germany as well. Hint to collectors: the Germans have it when it comes to producing the nicest conjuring exhibition catalogs over the past 35+ years.

Herr Adrion is (and always has been, it seems) an extremely private man, meaning that most of us will only know him through his books. Although he maintains a keen interest in magic history vis-a-vis old friends, he is most happy in his retired years spending time with his wife, children, grandchildren, and those longtime friends. I think the only reason he took me under his wing as a relatively new acquaintance was because of our mutual interest and research in certain aspects of magic history (it certainly wasnt because of my fame in the magic community!). So I feel lucky to call him a friend. I just wish I read German.

So Richard, among the many German translation projects you have, when are you going to pick your favorite Adrion title and treat us to its English translation? You translate, Ill publish, and neither of us will make money but we would have fun!

Clay
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Postby Guest » 10/21/05 03:22 AM

Dear sirs, thank you for your posts.
I enjoyed reading the books by Mr. Adrion immensely and the fact that he is alive and well makes my day.
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