A Secret Has Two Faces

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Matthew Field
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A Secret Has Two Faces

Postby Matthew Field » August 26th, 2018, 7:42 am

Having read (devoured is more like it) the article about “In & Of Itself Derek DelGaudio and Glenn Kaino in the August Genii Magazine, I wanted more. Much more.

Because I’m retired and living in England, it was impossible for me to visit my home town of New York City to see Derek’s performance, but the magazine article was excerpted from a book by the shared persona of DelGaudio and Kaino, A.Bandit, titled “A Secret Has Two Faces.”

I found it on Amazon UK and have been reading it, slowly and carefully for the past month. It is one of the finest books about magic I have ever read.

It is not a “magic book.” It is an art book. I know the idea of magic as art does not appeal to all, but to me that is what the goal of magic performance should be. Always. I am well aware that magic is all too often “service entertainment,” a way to amuse audiences and, ultimately, earn a living. Some people (Tommy Wonder, Slydini, Del Ray, Vernon, Hofzinser, Robert-Houdin, Channing Pollock, Norm Nielsen, Tom Stone and Marc Oberon among others) have managed to combine the art with the entertainment. Others aim low.

“A Secret Has Two Faces” refers to the fact that (1) the fact that it’s a secret means that its very existence is unknown and (2) the content of the secret is unknown. It also, to my mind, means that the author, A.Bandit, has two faces – those of DelGaudio and Kaino.

The book chronicles the exhibitions and performances of the two men, with many photos and diagrams, and is fascinating. But what of the deeper questions raised about magic and art and the relation of the two?

For that, I have now begun re-reading a book I first read 45 years ago or thereabouts, “Our Magic” by Nevil Maskelyne and David Devant. It has at its core that very question, and I am reading it in my advanced age (some would say “dotage”) with renewed interest and great enjoyment.

So although this is not a review, per se, it is an invitation to consider some of the questions I’ve mentioned and see what your own answers are.


Matt Field

Mr. Charming

Re: A Secret Has Two Faces

Postby Mr. Charming » August 26th, 2018, 3:26 pm

The book is a marketing stratagem by the authors. What better can be than putting yourself in a situation where you are, seemingly, “equal” to, say, Marina Abramovic? That, for a guy who deals seconds and bottoms, can’t be any better.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: A Secret Has Two Faces

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 26th, 2018, 4:26 pm

That's a pretty jaundiced viewpoint.
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Matthew Field
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Re: A Secret Has Two Faces

Postby Matthew Field » August 27th, 2018, 3:30 am

I understand your scepticism, Mr. Charming. But Kaino and DelGaudio are not "comparing" themselves to Ms. Abramovic; they are citing her as one of their inspirations. What's wrong with that? They are not copying her. They are trying to apply some of the principles of performance art to the Art of Magic.


But, hey, I'm not trying to influence your opinion; simply describing my own, and trying to raise questions in the collective mind of the magic community.

I might suggest, as one who has ample experience in the field of marketing, that tring to influence public opinion by publishing anexpensive art book is about the worst stratagem I can think of.


Matt Field

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Q. Kumber
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Re: A Secret Has Two Faces

Postby Q. Kumber » August 27th, 2018, 5:06 am

Matthew Field wrote:I might suggest, as one who has ample experience in the field of marketing, that tring to influence public opinion by publishing an expensive art book is about the worst stratagem I can think of.


It certainly won't influence public opinion, but it is one heck of a brochure for high-end bookings.


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