Turning Tricks

By Jeffrey Barg
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 1 | Posted Feb. 20, 2009

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I promised I wouldn't ask about the rape charges.

Or about when the FBI raided his magic lair.

Or about his old marriage to Claudia Schiffer.

But David Copperfield, the world's greatest illusionist, who took magic from a dorky party trick and turned it into a dorky international empire, still won't call me back. For the tour of his show An Intimate Evening of Grand Illusion, the only interviews he's doing are via email.

Crap.

Who cares about Claudia Schiffer anymore anyway? David Copperfield does more than 500 shows a year--five over two days in Philly alone. Think Schiffer's got that much work coming at her these days?

It's just so hard to have a conversation about magic--or anything for that matter--via email.

And it's for his sake, really. When I toss him a softball and ask how he makes magic seem less dorky, his response references his "MTV Unplugged portion of the show--close-up magic with participation from audience." MTV Unplugged? Way to use an equally dorky reference from 1991, which was right around the last time I felt it wasn't dorky to admit I was hugely into David Copperfield.

What could've been cooler back then? Here was a guy with beautiful women draped all over him, performing mind-bending feats to a soundtrack of Phil Collins and Information Society.

The pinnacle of cool.

Then there were the big-ticket items: walking through the Great Wall of China, making the Statue of Liberty disappear, escaping an imploding building, etc. Combine Reagan-era grandiosity with hypersecrecy and supermodels, and to anyone who came of age before David Blaine sat in a box for a week and called it magic, there was nothing better.

"There are still plenty of things left for me to do," he writes now. "I've always wanted to put a woman's face on Mt. Rushmore, straighten the Leaning Tower of Pisa and vanish the moon."

But nothing lasts, right? The mystery of it all made it that much more alluring, but it seems at least one secret's been revealed.

When I asked if he's ever tempted to say to the audience, "Okay guys, this one's really not that tough. Here's how it works ... ", the emailed response came back:

"A TRUE student of the Art NEVER reveals his secrets!"

(Yes, he capitalized "art.")

But some quick Web searching reveals another email Q&A with Copperfield in last week's Daily News Tribune in Waltham, Mass. When they asked if it was really him answering the questions, he replied:

"A TRUE student of the Art NEVER reveals his secrets!"

Mm hmm.

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1. Tara said... on May 25, 2008 at 04:18PM

“I saw the show and It was alot of his old tricks from the 90's but I did get to go up on stage so that was cool.”

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