Interlude and Zig Zag

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Jonathan Pendragon
Posts: 394
Joined: July 13th, 2010, 7:33 am

Interlude and Zig Zag

Postby Jonathan Pendragon » September 1st, 2015, 6:56 am

While researching material for my column, I find common misunderstanding and absolute "You just got it wrong" perceptions on the news groups. One that I recently came across involves the Illusions Interlude and the Zig Zag. This one was a "I can make it myself and don't need to send Jim his creative fee because he stole the idea from Harbin." That's just wrong!

Above and beyond the non-sense of trying to make the prop yourself (I have made very few of the illusions I use with the exception of the original Fire Cage (a proof of concept model that was then professionally built by Bill Smith) my broom harness and support (with the help of a tool and die master) and my current Hindu Basket and Metamorphosis, both pieced together from older props) NO, Interlude was not based on the Zig Zag. How do I know, I was there.

The first Interlude was built around me and I was not in a Zig Zag position. The original methodology required an element not found in the Zig Zag at all. This element is critical to a deceptive Interlude. Secondly, Interlude, when done correctly, is much hardier to perform physically for both magician and assistant. I have scar tissue left from trying to work the physical method out 25 years ago. Jim didn't show me a drawing of anything like a Zig Zag, in fact the original drawing superficially resembled a Disembodied Princess, again with none of that illusions methodology in use what so ever. The method was altered slightly and the prop ended up with the A frame look during the "discovery" process which every new illusion idea goes through. At no time did any of us (Jim Steinmeyer, John Gaughan, Charlotte, me) invoke anything that had to do with a Zig Zag.

How did the Zig Zag thing get started? Yes, I was in an illusion where my position was within the rubrics of positions used in several illusions, but in my case, with one big difference, the afore mentioned element. This would be like saying that all illusion that use deceptive bases are the same, every illusion that uses deceptive steps are the same and that's non-sense. You would have to eliminate that part of the method and more to get me in something close to the correct position for Zig Zag. This, of course, overlooks important differences like the amount of my body visible: head, shoulders, arms, upper torso (until the target is added) and legs. In the Zig Zag Girl (Harbin stressed that was the Girl who could Zig Zag, not the box) it's the face, foot and hand only (not counting the small and gimmicked tummy door). The other reason the Zig Zag gets referenced is because several illusionist who came after the original was built tried to eliminate the essential gimmick and go with a different method that was closer to the Harbin's illusion. Those who rip off the prop (and make it monstrously large) tend to go with this second method. But, that's not Jim's work,

The easiest way to state it is: I have done about 40 different illusions in my life including Interlude and Zig Zag. The illusions are DIFFERENT in method, look of the prop, amount of body exposed, physical skill needed and most importantly in the effect. Could I do Interlude and Zig Zag in the same show, absolutely, I have.
Last edited by Jonathan Pendragon on September 1st, 2015, 7:23 am, edited 2 times in total.

Jonathan Pendragon
Posts: 394
Joined: July 13th, 2010, 7:33 am

Re: Interlude and Zig Zag

Postby Jonathan Pendragon » September 1st, 2015, 7:12 am

One last thought, in the Zig Zag it is the intent of the girl to make the audience believe that her mid-section has shifted impossibly. In Interlude, I don't want the audience to think I have moved at all.

Larry Horowitz
Posts: 432
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: L.A.

Re: Interlude and Zig Zag

Postby Larry Horowitz » September 1st, 2015, 11:45 pm

Jonathan,

As I'm sure I've told you, but I'll say it in public. The first time I saw Interlude sent shivers thru me. It was one of the most magical and supernatural effects I have ever seen.


Larry

Terry
Posts: 1304
Joined: January 18th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Kentucky

Re: Interlude and Zig Zag

Postby Terry » September 2nd, 2015, 8:13 pm

Jonathan,

I remember the 1992(?) Salt Lake IBM Convention and your issue with a certain illusion builder who ripped off one of Steinmeyer's illusions and was trying to sell it in the dealers room.

You embarrassed him enough to get it off the floor, but he was still showing it in his hotel room.

Jonathan Pendragon
Posts: 394
Joined: July 13th, 2010, 7:33 am

Re: Interlude and Zig Zag

Postby Jonathan Pendragon » September 3rd, 2015, 7:58 am

I remember it well. It was the first time we presented Clearly Impossible at a National Convention.

It was an unauthorized Origami. His argument involved reducing the prop to the point of being unrecognizable, by the same technique you could argue that anything is only the sum of it's parts. What isn't true is that just anybody could have come with the brilliant (genius brilliant) design that is the modern Origami illusion, it took Jim Steinmeyer. He also wondered why I would care, "it doesn't affect your wallet." I told him it absolutely did, that I had paid for the privilege to present the illusion, but also the protection. Jim's fee pays him for his invention, but also for his scrutiny concerning rip-offs. He was ripping both of us off and that he had a tough time arguing because every unauthorized prop he made was making the effect less special, a concern in booking.

I believed in the illusion and was the first magician to present it in Europe. As for the process, I did it right. I contacted Jim, we went to John's shop so John could indulge in one of his favorite things, seeing what he could stuff Charlotte in to. Charlotte was blessed with great "dimensions" for grand illusion, added to her strength and flexibility, it was amazing to watch a prop being built around her. Which is what happened. Everyone got paid and I got an outstanding prop.

Jonathan Pendragon
Posts: 394
Joined: July 13th, 2010, 7:33 am

Re: Interlude and Zig Zag

Postby Jonathan Pendragon » September 15th, 2015, 7:09 am

Larry,

It was magical. There is a video on youtube of me doing the illusion at Universal Studios with Charlotte, the only person I ever did the illusion with. The camera comes in too close and at times (it was a video made by the company, a tool we used to constantly sharpen the show), but it captures the feel of our performance perfectly. Charlotte and I played magical beings so the "Joining" takes a significance all it's on. The video also demonstrates the physicality of our show at the time (1994). Interlude was the ultimate personification of that performance style. It's not by coincidence that the position of the person in Interlude resembles the Vitruvian Man, David Copperfield's presentation made great use of the visual, I wish I had thought of that, it was really cool. From the moment Charlotte bursts through my chest to the moment she exits the prop (accidentally kicking the target off every show) I believed she was passing right through my body. Because our prop was so tight, weight gain, costumes that create friction and sweat all contributed to the difficulty of the pass. The pain and applause (pleasure) made the illusion real in our minds. The technique became automatic, leaving us to truly "feel" the illusion the audience was seeing. I know the most common illusion associated with me is Metamorphosis, but Interlude will always be special to me and I am pretty certain, Charlotte as well.


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