New Gertner Performance DVD

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New Gertner Performance DVD

Postby NCMarsh » March 23rd, 2004, 11:39 am

Just received Paul Gertner's "Steel and Silver Live!" And its a very well thought out product. The DVD contains footage of Paul performing at:
  • A trade Show
  • A private party
  • On stage at Wednesday Night Wizardry in Baltimore
  • A comedy club (a veryfunny and topical show, I was pleasantly surprised to see Paul doing pieces with a tinge of a political message -- unexpected from my peripheral image of him)
  • doing walkaround at a christmas party
also included are the following "Bonus" items:
  • Ten Fingers Demo: a significant number of interesting excerpts from Paul's one-man show
  • The feather act: a manipulative act from the late 70's...some compelling visuals but lost my interest fairly quickly
  • Paul's performance on Mister Roger's Neighborhood

The "non-bonus" performance footage has an audio commentary from Paul laid over it -- discussing the things that were going through his head during the performance and his reasons for making various choices...The commentary is very interesting -- but it grows old with age and (as far as I can tell) cannot be turned off to listen to the show audio alone...this is unfortunate.

Paul's trade show footage is valuable to anyone curious about that market who doesn't have a sense of what the venue is like and what skills are needed...Paul's commentary goes into the strategies he's using to gain attention and gather a tremendous number of leads...

one of my very favorite segments of the show is the collection of scenes from Ten Fingers in the "Bonus Material" section...I've always had tremendous respect for Paul as a performer, his magic is beautifully constructed and he has a warm and affable presence. Often, however, he has seemed a bit too polished...his material often feels scripted and ungenuine, and in this frame his natural warmth feels patronizingly pasted on...the ten fingers show, from what i've seen on the DVD, is everything i've always loved about Paul's work without the things i found unfortunate...we see Paul standing at the footlights, talking to us and genuinely caring about what he's saying...the first act feels like you're sitting with Paul in the kitchen where he grew up, the second like you're in a victorian drawing room watching elegant sleight of hand...the influence of Ricky Jay on the show is palpable -- but the show is not derivative of Mr. Jay's work, it is genuinely an evening with Paul Gertner where we are being let into his world...great theatre and great magic...

It's nice to see the emergence of close-up magic in the legitimate theatre through the work of folks like Jay, Gertner, the Ortiz/Roth group show, the Nocturnal Trio etc. I hope to see this trend grow and, as it grows, continue to offer work that is genuinely interesting....

Paul's DVD is availible at
he has also re-released his first three Steel and Silver videos onto DVD -- with the addition of showing one of his three appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson on each volume (with overlaid commentary)

Nathan Coe Marsh

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