Palingenesia

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Postby Guest » 08/29/06 10:27 AM

Terrific article on the history of this effect, and of its performance at the History Weekend. And that DVD! It was probably one of the best filmed performances Neil Patrick Harris had done -- he did a helluva job on that monologue.

My only quibble: those darned mylar streamers. Not only were they the sole jarring anachronism in an otherwise period-looking presentation, but they undercut the effectiveness of the illusion on film. Every time Jonathan had an appendage apparently hacked off, it appeared that he was simply hiding them behind the streamers (which would be even less convincing than the comedic Lynn version). I have to imagine that the lens flattened the depth of the cabinet and that it appeared far more convincing in person.

With that said, it was still a privilege to get a glimpse of something I never would have had the opportunity to view otherwise. Thank you, Jim Steinmeyer et al for your hard work.

Best,
Neil Tobin
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Postby Guest » 08/29/06 10:33 AM

I completely agree with your comments on the streamers. Viewing professional actors performing magic effects live is an invaluable lesson to learn from. This dvd is of tremendous value. btw: Was it just me, or did I hear cards shuffling during the taping of the performance?
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Postby Pete Biro » 08/29/06 10:55 AM

Profesional actors... haha... good example too was Jason Alexander at the Magic Castle, and good old Orson Welles, who's presentations were priceless lessons.
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Postby Guest » 08/29/06 11:33 AM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
Profesional actors... haha... good example too was Jason Alexander at the Magic Castle, and good old Orson Welles, who's presentations were priceless lessons.
Having heard about it for years I lept at the oportunity to see Orson's filmed magic, even though it required a long drive through crazy traffic. Sadly, it was a massive disappointment.

The ONLY time he was any good was at the beginning, when he was assisted by John and Cathy Daniel, and at the end, when he did the Hindu Yarn as taught to him by Mike Caveney.

Caveney was there and explained how they worked on it into the wee hours of the morning with Orson doing take after take because he wanted to ditch the torn pieces with his hand in the air, just out of frame. Somehow he thought that an "improvement." It was only good because Mike showed him what to do.

When Orson was on his own the material was boring, self-absorbed nonsense....shot at various times, here and there by someone who had little to no clue what he was doing. Orson wasn't even playing himself well.

Just because it was Orson Welles, with his perfected gravitas and trained voice, does not excuse him from performing badly. If there was a lesson in watching Orson, it was how not to perform magic.
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Postby Guest » 08/29/06 05:42 PM

Has anyone else had a problem with the DVD not playing on some equipment? Mine doesn't work on a PowerMac G5, an iMac, a 5 year old DVD player or the PlayStation 2. I finally got it to work on an HD TV that has a built in DVD player that was purchased late last year.

Just curious.

JMD
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Postby Steve Bryant » 08/29/06 05:59 PM

Just about nothing plays on my four year-old iMac anymore. The Superdrive in it is just too old for most of the new media. I bought a Lacie external drive for my iMac and everything plays beautifully on it, copies well, etc.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/29/06 07:04 PM

The DVD was replicated by the company who does all the DVDs for Murphy's Magic. It should certainly play on your G5.
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Postby Guest » 08/29/06 10:12 PM

Ok, not to turn this into a computer column...

Repaired permissions & restarted the iMac G5 & the DVD works fine.

Thanx for the info that it should have worked on the G5 in the first place, Richard.

JMD
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Postby Guest » 08/30/06 10:32 AM

The DVD should also play on the older iMac as well.
Last night I tested the disk on ten different Macs including an old PowerMac G4 733 (first Mac with a SuperDrive), an old iBook G3 with a Combo drive, and an Xserve G5 (because it was there). It played fine on all of them.
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Postby Guest » 08/30/06 12:36 PM

I've played it on several different Mac models, too.

The DVD was interesting, perhaps mostly because of the glaring contrast between Neil Patrick Harris' performance and those of the magi that followed in the Murphy's promo spots.

Like Necromancer, I didn't find the illusion very convincing, especially with the mylar curtain, but even given that problem its performance was so much better than the dreck that followed it. I felt obligated to watch a few of the ads but couldn't stand very many, most seemed very amateurish in comparison.
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Postby Guest » 08/30/06 02:06 PM

Plays on my iBook G4 just fine.

Don B
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Postby Guest » 08/30/06 04:12 PM

Another satisfied Mac user reporting in:

The Genii DVD "Paligenesia" plays fine on my eMac (G4) and my iBook (G4) laptop.

I really appreciated this DVD with the glimpse inside the Magic History Conference. I hope these
DVD's become a regular feature in Genii (I even enjoyed watching the dealer advertisments.)
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Postby Guest » 08/30/06 09:43 PM

Seen live and in person, despite the mylar, the illusion was convincing. As noted, the depth of the cabinet does not read as well on the video.

- entity
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Postby Guest » 08/31/06 12:56 PM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
Profesional actors... haha...
It's so sad with amateur magicians who can't even recognize a good performance when they see one...

For those of you who did enjoy this superb little playlet I can highly recommend Sweeney Todd in Concert from 2001 with Georg Hearn as Sweeney Todd, Patti LuPone as Mrs. Lovitt and Neal Patrick Harris as Tobias Ragg. It's a available on DVD and it's a real gem.
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Postby Guest » 08/31/06 01:00 PM

Originally posted by Stefan Nilsson:
Originally posted by Pete Biro:
[b] Profesional actors... haha...
It's so sad with amateur magicians who can't even recognize a good performance when they see one...

For those of you who did enjoy this superb little playlet I can highly recommend Sweeney Todd in Concert from 2001 with Georg Hearn as Sweeney Todd, Patti LuPone as Mrs. Lovitt and Neal Patrick Harris as Tobias Ragg. It's a available on DVD and it's a real gem. [/b]
I don't think Pete was laughing at the idea of the performers in the DVD being professional actors. At least, it didn't read that way to me.

And I hope also that you weren't referring to Pete as an "amateur magician".
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Postby Pete Biro » 08/31/06 02:05 PM

Wan't laughing... haha should have been AHA... :D
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Postby Guest » 08/31/06 02:19 PM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
Wan't laughing... haha should have been AHA... :D
Glad to hear that! :)
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Postby Guest » 08/31/06 04:21 PM

Originally posted by Bill Mullins:


For those of you who did enjoy this superb little playlet I can highly recommend Sweeney Todd in Concert from 2001 with Georg Hearn as Sweeney Todd, Patti LuPone as Mrs. Lovitt and Neal Patrick Harris as Tobias Ragg. It's a available on DVD and it's a real gem. [/qb]
,

Or if you can wait Tim Burton is shooting a

version staring Johnny Depp as Todd!.....Mike
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Postby Guest » 08/31/06 05:06 PM

Would just like to add to comments already taken, that being there and seeing it, the Mylar wasn't all that distracting. I think, and this is not to criticize the chap who filmed it as I can appreciate the problems the Mylar caused him, that as interesting as the DVD is, it really didn't do the presentation justice. The real McCoy was really nifty!
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Postby Jeff Haas » 08/31/06 05:23 PM

A Tim Burton version of Sweeney Todd? Wait...let me guess...Sweeney reconciles with his father at the end.
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Postby Guest » 09/05/06 10:39 AM

I've just now caught up with the article in the magazine. (Hey, I watched the DVD first -- instant gratification, what can I say?)

It's a nice piece, one of the best in recent memory. The lighting and angle challenges that Steinmeyer et al had to overcome are daunting, it's no wonder that the video doesn't do it justice.

It seems like this DVD might be a part of the puzzle when people criticize certain magicians for doing illusions that only look good on television. Here's an example that looked great (as evidenced by others in this thread) in person but does suffer on video--just the opposite problem.
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Postby Guest » 09/05/06 01:54 PM

I especially liked the still shots interspersed with the video. It really brought out the critical parts of the illusion for those of us not fortuante enough to see this in person. Well done.

Frank Tougas
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Postby Guest » 09/07/06 03:25 AM

Yes, the still shots were nice. However, I would have preferred to see the complete performance without cuts and interruptions. In the best of all possible worlds - the one were I get to decide ;) - the still shots would have been at the end, perhaps during the credits.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 09/07/06 06:29 AM

Am I the only one who hasn't received this yet? My copy usually arrives around the 22nd, but here we are on the 7th, and it hasn't come yet. It's killing me because I'm really looking forward to seeing this DVD (as well as the articles on this and Jon Townsend's Fingertip Coins Across)!

-Jim
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/07/06 07:45 AM

Don't you just hate the Post Office?
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 09/07/06 07:52 AM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
Don't you just hate the Post Office?
Yup! And actually, now that I think about it, the 22nd isn't so much the norm anymore...I've noticed it creeping later and later, though this is the first time I haven't gotten it before the first of the month.

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Postby Guest » 09/07/06 12:33 PM

Yikes! Shades of the old Larsen days "Genii the Conjuror's Magazine, always great, always late! Seriously, Richard is too much a professional for those kinds of shenanagins - the postal system can be cruel at times, but think how much more you will enjoy it due to anticipation. :)

Frank Tougas
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 09/07/06 12:45 PM

Originally posted by Frank Tougas:
Yikes! Shades of the old Larsen days "Genii the Conjuror's Magazine, always great, always late! Seriously, Richard is too much a professional for those kinds of shenanagins - the postal system can be cruel at times, but think how much more you will enjoy it due to anticipation. :)
Definitely not the fault of Richard or anyone on the Genii staff -- the issue went out on schedule. The post office just seems to want to screw with me this month. ;)

I'm sure that once it actually arrives, I will be very pleased with the issue & DVD. As Barney Stinson might say, it'll be legendary!

-Jim
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Postby Guest » 09/08/06 08:53 PM

It was PHENOMINAL. Absolutely compelling and arresting. An excellent example of why the cript for a magic effect is ABSOLUTELY as important as the technical aspects.

I'd rater watch this every Wed night again and again than watch one more, "I wanna try this demonshtration" (sibilant 's' intended) from You-Know-Who. (Or, goddess forbid, one more repetition of "I always wanted to experience being...(insert lie here))

P&L
D
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 09/08/06 11:20 PM

Jim Steinmeyer is a great scriptwriter. He worked quite a bit on Kalin & Jingers fantastic show, Real Magic (which can be seen at their Magic Underground theater in Reno). And the scripts included with the effects he has published can (if you are so inclined) be used as is, or, better yet, they offer great foundations from which you can shape your own.

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