Eric Colleary, curator of the theater and performing arts collection at the Ransom Center, has a side interest: The history of foodways, how eating habits and culinary practices change through the eras.
“Food hits all the senses,” says Colleary. “Tasting foods made from historic recipes gives you a sense of the labor, the skill, the economy, the geographic and historical influences, and the palate of a person.”
And so when he set out to organize an exhibit in conjunction with the 90th anniversary of Harry Houdini’s death, Colleary culled the Ransom Center’s collection of the magician’s papers and books for any information on what the famous illusionist liked to eat.
Says Colleary: “For a figure like Houdini, (understanding what he ate) cuts through the legend directly to the person, who, like everyone else, has to eat.”
The Houdini exhibit, on view through Nov. 6, dovetails with “Houdini Speaks to the Living,” a new play devised from the Ransom Center’s Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle collections to imagine the two men in a debate about the true nature of magic. Read more….
So… as I mentioned in my last blog post “What’s the Trick to Fooling Penn & Teller? Part One,” I was booked to appear on Penn & Teller: Fool Us on the CW Network to perform my trick Unshuffled. The problem was that Penn and Teller already knew the secret to how the trick works. How was I going to go about fooling Penn and Teller? There was no way I was going to fool them with a trick they already knew… unless I threw in an unexpected twist. That became the plan.
I rehearsed the routine about 50 times and then began to video tape each performance. Once I had a smooth looking performance, I posted it on a private YouTube Channel and sent the video link to about 10 friends. This included some of the top sleight-of-hand magicians in the country. My request to them was that they view the video once and only once then tell me if it fooled them. Read more at: http://gertner.com/whats-trick-fooling-penn-teller-part-two/
What’s the Trick to Fooling Penn & Teller? Part One…
By Paul Gertner… One of the hottest shows this summer has been Penn & Teller: Fool US, which is now in its third season on the CW Network. I had the pleasure of appearing on the show this season. I was assigned the task of fooling Penn & Teller…with a trick they already knew.
If you have not had a chance to view my recent appearance on Fool Us, you can go to my YouTube page and click on the Penn & Teller Video Link to watch that performance video before reading any further. If you do, this Blog Post will make a lot more sense. You can also link to the video from my website.
Back in February I was contacted by Lee Terbosic an excellent magician and good friend from Pittsburgh who said he had an opportunity to appear on the TV show Penn & Teller Fool Us. But the tricky part (pun intended) was that they wanted him to perform my routine Unshuffled and he was contacting me to get my permission to perform that routine on the show. (As a side note to magicians reading this: That was a very professional thing to do. Unshuffled is a published routine and Lee was under no obligation to do that, but he’s a pro.)
I have to admit, I was a bit surprised that Fool Us wanted someone else to do my trick because to me that show is all about original inventions… or at least magicians adding their own unique presentation to a trick and seeing if their performance was clever enough to fool the Bad Boys of Magic: Penn & Teller. Read more at: http://gertner.com/fooling-penn-teller/