Geoffrey Latta

Discuss the views of your favorite Genii columnists.

Postby Leonard Hevia » 01/24/09 11:39 PM

Jamy Swiss's tribute to the late great Geoff Latta in the February issue was absolutely stirring. His memorials of Mike Skinner and Derek Dingle were also touching. And I have to admit that Eric Mead's story about the underground Latta Pink Purse tape hooked me. I'd love to see this released someday, like the Larry Jennings: A Private Lesson DVD.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/25/09 01:44 AM

It might be something for Minch to put into his book on Latta. But Minch isn't big on DVD, and he's never put one into a book before. Someone should ask him.
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Postby Terry » 01/25/09 01:11 PM

One would hope the entire tape catalog of Mr. Latta would be preserved on a DVD versus youtube.

His daughter should benefit from his legacy.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/25/09 02:24 PM

Terry, that video should have been included in the genii issue rather than gloated over as a prized bootleg item which was distributed without the permission of its author or subject. Including the DVD (with permission) would have let the reader see "he was that good".

Still gloating over things taken without permission are we? That's a pretty large part of our legacy to date. Probably not news to Geoff's family though IMHO not quite the best legacy to leave or condone.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/25/09 03:31 PM

His daughter is the same age as mine, and unfortunately, based upon my own childhood memories and how they've held up, she'll have few vivid first-hand memories of him by the time she's 25 to 30.
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 01/26/09 11:29 AM

I'm grateful to have some Latta material from the New York Coin Seminar DVDs. Latta's A Trick With Three Coins from the Coins Across volume is a masterpiece of coin magic. It would be wonderful if that Pink Purse video saw commercial release. It could certainly benefit his daughter.
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Postby Bill McFadden » 01/28/09 07:16 PM

My February issue arrived Monday, and I had time to read (among other features) "He Was That Good." Jonathan, what the hell did you read? What "gloating"? I read a heartfelt tribute from one friend to another. I read a capsule summary of the work of a great artist/innovator. I read an eloquent eulogy. I read magic history.

Then I read the side piece by Eric Mead. Again, what gloating?

There's a reason private recordings of any kind are private: they were made privately for the intimates to share privately. What's so difficult to understand about that?

The presumption that those who have been entrusted with Geoffrey Latta's archives should let it all go in a free Genii DVD with accompanying magazine text is patent nonsense! Yeah, like they owe it to us . . .

Wanna know how to get in the inner circle so you end up with access to items such as "The Pink Purse Tape"? Work harder and longer than anyone else while developing professional and personal relationships which complement your long, hard work. That's how. I'm not there yet. Are you?

The implication that any of us likely know what's best for Geoff's legacy, and for Geoff's daughter - that we know better than his closest, most trusted friends and colleagues - reads as both insulting and delusional. Vas you dere, Sharlie?

BTW, it takes a heckuva lot to get my ass up in the air these days!
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/28/09 07:30 PM

"The presumption that those who have been entrusted with Geoffrey Latta's archives should let it all go in a free Genii DVD with accompanying magazine text is patent nonsense!"

yes your presuppositions, interpretation etc is nonsense. Goeff's work is safe with those he trusted. BTW it was not so nice a thing to break the news to him that his Nowhere Palm had been published back a few years ago. And still we have folks gloating over stuff. That community aspect of coveting and gloating is what I found an objectionable legacy (from earlier post). Geoff already knew about that lousy side of magicdom and I hope nobody here will pester his family.

The tape was entrusted to three - and has since become a bootleg item.

"BTW, it takes a heckuva lot to get my ass up in the air these days! "
Thanks, I'm flattered and sorry to say I have no interest in your ass so put it down.
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Postby Glen Guldbeck » 01/28/09 07:32 PM

Wow...I never had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Latta perform. After reading this poignant tribute, I now know I missed one of the great ones.

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Postby Bill McFadden » 01/28/09 07:46 PM

Sorry Jon, but you still come off like one o' them DC lawyers always parsin' stuff to make your perceptions seem like facts.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/28/09 07:52 PM

Bill McFadden wrote:Sorry Jon, but you still come off like one o' them DC lawyers always parsin' stuff to make your perceptions seem like facts.


As it happens perceptions are facts to the person doing the perceiving but not necessarily shared by others.

And yes that is correct I did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinski.
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 01/28/09 08:53 PM

I don't believe anyone presumes what's best for Mr. Latta's legacy or his daughter, Mr. McFadden. When an individual passes away early, society will sometimes set up a charitable fund to assist surviving family members. This often happens when a fireman or police officer dies in the line of duty, and a charitable fund is set up for the surviving spouse and children. The surviving family members who are benefiting from the donations usually decide the best allocation of funds. How is this insulting or delusional?

As for the Pink Purse Tape, it was an instructional video, a pedagogical tool on the correct way to perform beautiful and elegant sleight of hand, and it's already in the hands of many magicians. Magic this good doesn't stay underground and inside the circle indefinitely.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/28/09 09:38 PM

Bill, if Stephen Minch were not doing a book on Latta that I presume will include the Pink Purse tape, I would certainly have attempted to get it onto a DVD in Genii. I see nothing wrong with that: Geoff would have been pleased to see his material disseminated as widely as possible. I knew him very well.
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Postby Mike Rubinstein » 02/07/09 12:12 PM

Geoff made sure that a pristine copy of that video is in the hands of the proper people (not mentioning names, so they won't be bothered), and it will be their right to decide what to do with it. For those who want to see what Geoff was about, you can view him on the COINvention and LVMI DVDs, and the first four DVD's from the New York Coin Magic Seminar group. We show a tribute video of him from 1983 at our Coin Seminars, and have included a small piece of that on the new set of DVD's that will be out in a couple of weeks.
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Postby Matthew Field » 02/07/09 12:59 PM

Geoff Latta's name was not well known in magicdom, and it was stirring to read Jamy Swiss's heartfelt tribute to the man.

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Postby D. Andrus » 03/02/09 01:18 AM

More BS hype in magic. This is nothing against Geoff Latta or Jamy Ian Swiss's heartfelt loss of a friend (I lost my best friend to cancer at age 38....it is terrible to say the least). It is just that nobody can measure up to those first three paragraphs of his tribute....."He was that good. No, he was better--because no story, no book, no photograph, not even any video, will ever truly capture what it was like to see those hands up close." I guess that pretty much covers it all. We are supposed to take his word for it(?) Just consider the source of that comment. I do think it is a bit ironic that apparently one priceless video did capture how good he was and we can't see it. Well, I happened to know somone who does have a copy and have seen it myself......not worth the hype. The only guy that lives up to all the hype and is captured on video for all to see......is Steve Forte.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/02/09 01:51 AM

I knew Latta well during his prime and really was that good. Not in the way Forte is good--Latta didn't handle cards like a card player, and any naturalness in Forte's work is the naturalness of the professional card player, not the magician seeking to handle objects like most other humans. Card players handle cards in a way that seems unnatural to the average person--the handling exists in its own universe. In that universe Steve Forte is a superhuman.

As a magician, Latta was a better sleight of hand artist than Steve (and that's no knock on Steve, it's comparing apples and oranges). Latta handled both cards and coins magnificently well. I haven't seen the Pink Purse Tape--no need to. I remember well how often Latta was able to amaze and fool me with a level of construction and ability that I've seen in few others.
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Postby Max Maven » 03/02/09 07:10 AM

D. Andrus wrote:More BS hype in magic....We are supposed to take [Jamy's] word for it(?) Just consider the source of that comment.


Not sure what your "consider the source" comment is meant to be, but Jamy is hardly alone in extolling the virtues of Geoff Latta. As Richard mentioned, when Geoff was in his fertile period, before things fell apart, he was top tier in both technique and composition.

There were a fair number of people who were around during Geoff's peak phase, and there's pretty much universal agreement among those of us who were fortunate enough to experience what he had to offer. I'm not going to add a list of names, but believe me when I say that if you were to "consider the source(s)" you'd see that it's an impressive list of endorsements.

Comparisons with Steve Forte are pointless, because at this time Steve is in a tier of his own. (Frank Thompson is the only person in the last sixty years or so to have ascended to that height, and he's long gone.)
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Postby D. Andrus » 03/02/09 12:14 PM

I am not trying to compare Geoff Latta to Steve Forte. I agree that would be pointless (gambling moves vs. magic, etc..). The point I was making dealt with the hype that is so overdone in our industry. Just mentioning an "exclusive/underground" video tape brings out "magic dumb" and the suckers who continually thirst for some new holy grail book or dvd.

As for my "source" comment...

While I can feel for what it is like to lose a close friend, Jamy Ian Swiss, in my opinion, is the most guilty of over glorification and hype....in any column he writes. He is on some sort of a mission to prove that he is the most passionate person in the world on the art of magic and therefore makes him an expert on the subject.

He has praised many magicians/friends over the years that I have seen perform and many of them leak moves. The kind of leaks that lay people see. I was an "intruder" to a group of magicians the included Jamy at a World Magic Summit many years ago. I am an intruder because I do not make my living as a magician. This group of magicians were convinced that any slip up that they might of had during their performances would only be caught by magicians...."the lay people never see it." When I mentioned that the lay people I had with me did see the mistakes, Jamy went off on one of his classic rants. Magic isn't about doing magic for magicians only.

I hope that Geoff Latta was truly as great at his peak as you are all saying and I am sorry to have missed it. I just don't think that Jamy is all that qualified to tell me about it.
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Postby Silly Walter » 03/04/09 08:54 AM

D. Andrus wrote:I am not trying to compare Geoff Latta to Steve Forte. I agree that would be pointless (gambling moves vs. magic, etc..). The point I was making dealt with the hype that is so overdone in our industry. Just mentioning an "exclusive/underground" video tape brings out "magic dumb" and the suckers who continually thirst for some new holy grail book or dvd.

As for my "source" comment...

While I can feel for what it is like to lose a close friend, Jamy Ian Swiss, in my opinion, is the most guilty of over glorification and hype....in any column he writes. He is on some sort of a mission to prove that he is the most passionate person in the world on the art of magic and therefore makes him an expert on the subject.

He has praised many magicians/friends over the years that I have seen perform and many of them leak moves. The kind of leaks that lay people see. I was an "intruder" to a group of magicians the included Jamy at a World Magic Summit many years ago. I am an intruder because I do not make my living as a magician. This group of magicians were convinced that any slip up that they might of had during their performances would only be caught by magicians...."the lay people never see it." When I mentioned that the lay people I had with me did see the mistakes, Jamy went off on one of his classic rants. Magic isn't about doing magic for magicians only.

I hope that Geoff Latta was truly as great at his peak as you are all saying and I am sorry to have missed it. I just don't think that Jamy is all that qualified to tell me about it.


Amen !!
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Postby Frank Stickley » 03/04/09 03:51 PM

Max Maven wrote:Comparisons with Steve Forte are pointless, because at this time Steve is in a tier of his own. (Frank Thompson is the only person in the last sixty years or so to have ascended to that height, and he's long gone.)


But in what way are you, someone not known for their expertise in that area, qualified to make that call?

That was a rhetorical question. Your complete post above in many ways mimics Swiss's standard way of constructing a review or tribute, one in which he firmly positions himself inside the exclusive circle and places all others (except the exclusive few) on the outside.
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Postby Darryl Harris » 03/04/09 04:23 PM

All I can say is that, in my opinion, Mr Swiss did not exaggerate Geoff Latta's abilities. Now, I don't know how Geoff comes across on video, but I can tell you that if you stood there and watched him perform, once you got your chin up from the table, and rolled your socks back up, you would smile, and shake your head for a long time. There was an energy, as quiet, and soft spoken as he was, that swept you up, and excited you. If you were lucky enough to see him once, he made a long lasting impression.
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Postby Don Knox » 03/04/09 04:34 PM

Mr. Stickley,

I am a little confused by your post: you refer to the post by Silly Walter - then quote the post by Max Maven - And then your post questions the expertise of one of these gentlemen to make a call on the question at hand.

If you are questioning Silly Walter's expertise - I have no idea as to his qualifications. He might be very qualified.

But if you are questioning Max Maven's qualifications - I believe that there is hardly a magician on this board who would not point you to the last 30+ years of magical history in both scholarly and artistic accomplishment in the art that Mr. Maven's name is not easily found.

Maybe I misread your post though.

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Postby Jeff Eline » 03/04/09 05:11 PM

D. Andrus wrote: The point I was making dealt with the hype that is so overdone in our industry....

Jamy Ian Swiss, in my opinion, is the most guilty of over glorification and hype....in any column he writes. He is on some sort of a mission to prove that he is the most passionate person in the world on the art of magic and therefore makes him an expert on the subject.

He has praised many magicians/friends over the years that I have seen perform and many of them leak moves. The kind of leaks that lay people see.

Really? Is this really the appropriate topic to bitch about your perceived exaggerations and hype by Jamy? Of all the things Jamy writes about (as you said, "in any column he writes") you pick one where he remembers a friend who's died???

So WHAT if he lionizes him or hypes it a bit. Who freekin' cares! We've lost a talented magician and creator under very tragic circumstances. I'd hope a level of respect and class would limit petty grudges for other times. Guess not.

It's a d**k-move on your part Andrus.
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Postby Jeff Haas » 03/04/09 06:14 PM

As someone who had only known Geoff Latta through "Coinmagic", I finally got to see him work for the first time at an LVMI a few years ago.

He really was that good.
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Postby D. Andrus » 03/04/09 06:25 PM

Jeff,

Thank you for your mature response. My messages in here apparently went completely over your head.

Where would I find the "d**k-move"? Is it in some secret appendix of Erdnase?
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 03/04/09 06:58 PM

Alright, lets reel in the d**k references please (thus providing more ammunition to those who think I am the biggest d**k around here).

Mr. Andrus: I understand that you do not like the writings of Jamy Ian Swiss and because of that you would question anything he puts to paper, including questioning this piece on Geoff Latta. But in this case, I hope you can understand that there is plenty of corroboration that Mr. Latta was that good.

If you and Jeff care to discuss the other writings of Mr. Swiss (or his stuff in General), please take it off line or do it civilly in a new thread.

Thanks,
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Postby Pete McCabe » 03/04/09 07:55 PM

Too bad -- guess I can't make my "secret appendicks" joke.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/04/09 09:50 PM

I will ban the next person from the board who uses a slang word for penis, so cut it out you schmucks.
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Postby Jeff Eline » 03/04/09 10:30 PM

Ok Richard.
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Postby Jim Maloney » 03/04/09 11:20 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:I will ban the next person from the board who uses a slang word for penis, so cut it out you schmucks.

Now that's funny.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/05/09 12:18 AM

Jim, you're a putz.
Jeff, you're a schmeckle.
The rest of you are a bunch of pizzles.

(The first two are Yiddish, the third is from Shakespeare.)
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Postby D. Andrus » 03/05/09 12:18 AM

I was just making light of comment directed at me....won't happen again. I actually found the move in Shattering Illusions.

Some people in here took my two earlier comments way too seriously. I thought that I was pretty clear that I was not taking a shot a Geoff Latta, nor making light of the loss of a friend. I also think my assessment of Jamy Ian Swiss is shared by many and I am pretty much done making my point.

One last jab:

It has got to be tough for Jamy each morning when he wakes up. When he first looks into the mirror, he is reminded that he is not Ricky Jay.
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Postby Cugel » 03/05/09 03:49 AM

I get what you're saying about the writer, but maybe this isn't the thread.

You need to adhere to the rulings of the Chief Zoubr.

You have to bear in mind that Swiss is the Boswell to Latta's Johnson.
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Postby Matthew Field » 03/05/09 05:57 AM

If there is one valid reason why I should care one pizzle what Mr. Andrus thinks about Jamy Swiss, or anything else for that matter, it escapes me. His last post was both ill-mannered and off topic.

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Postby Silly Walter » 03/05/09 09:04 AM

Matthew Field wrote:If there is one valid reason why I should care one pizzle what Mr. Andrus thinks about Jamy Swiss, or anything else for that matter, it escapes me. His last post was both ill-mannered and off topic.

Matt Field


From the sounds of it, Mr. Andrus has met Jamy, which is why he doesn't like him.

Speaking of ill-mannered and off topic - remember when Jamy reviewed the Paul Curry book and slammed the Buck Twins?
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Postby Silly Walter » 03/05/09 10:45 AM

Sorry. This has gotten way off topic. Regardless of what people think of Mr. Swiss, Jamy lost a good friend when Geoff Latta passed on and I think Mr. Latta would have been most appreciative of the tribute to him.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/05/09 12:51 PM

I think that piling on Jamy because of an obit he wrote is in quite poor taste. You may not like him, or what he writes, but aren't there more appropriate threads to write about it rather than the one in which he grieves for a dead friend?
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 03/05/09 01:21 PM

Not only did he offer constructive advice when asked and reference to where items were in print, he tended to stay out of this sort of strange pointless griping or gloating.
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Postby Terry » 03/05/09 06:37 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:Jim, you're a putz.
Jeff, you're a schmeckle.
The rest of you are a bunch of pizzles.

(The first two are Yiddish, the third is from Shakespeare.)


You sure the third wasn't from Snoop Dog?
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