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Nothing In My hands
April 14, 2009 3:03 PM   Subscribe

Dick Cavett conjures up the great Slydini. Part 1., Part 2. "It was like seeing a man walk up a wall. Nothing prepared you for it. Right at the start, a solid, heavy silver dollar, held before my eyes, vanished into thinnest air. And by no method I knew of. Certainly no sleeves. The two hours flew too quickly."
posted by Xurando (20 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nice post. I recommend watching the video on post one. It'll rock your world. Slydini's hand movements are like nothing I have ever seen.
posted by zzazazz at 3:19 PM on April 14, 2009


Obligatory Flydini Link.
posted by autodidact at 3:44 PM on April 14, 2009


Sadly, close up magic loses a lot when displayed at 310 x 175. I can't tell if he's conjuring or catching lint in the air.
posted by bpm140 at 4:04 PM on April 14, 2009


Came up great on full screen for me.
posted by Xurando at 4:06 PM on April 14, 2009


Obligatory Flydini Link (aka Flydini on Carson).

Bit o' trivia: Dick Cavett and Johnny Carson were both midwestern boys (with Lincoln, Nebraska central to their development) whose first experience in entertainment was performing magic.

Around 1952 Cavett met Carson [video | 02:53], eight years his senior, who was doing a magic act at a church in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Both went onto hosting talk shows. "Cavett appeared on a regular basis on nationally-broadcast television in the United States in five consecutive decades, the 1960s through the 2000s, a feat matched only by Johnny Carson.*"
posted by ericb at 4:08 PM on April 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


You can expand the links in Part 1 and 2 to full screen. It's still pretty fuzzy, but better than the postage stamp size.

I am not sure what to say. He cannot possibly be that good. Not possible.
posted by Xoebe at 5:08 PM on April 14, 2009


Thanks so much for that - I love magicians. Slydini just blew my mind. His torn and restored newspaper is sheer artistry.
posted by markjamesmurphy at 5:20 PM on April 14, 2009


Ehhhh... I'm less impressed than Cavett wants me to be.

He seemed to have a somewhat limited repertoire. I mean, first of all, he did each trick two or three times. Or more. Then came the second video, in which he did the same tricks again, two or three times each. Or more. It was almost a rerun (although I admit that I quit the second video halfway through, so maybe I missed something new, but the reason that I quit was because of what I said - up to that point, it was almost a rerun).

And am I wrong in that some of them were pretty obvious? For example the part (in both videos multiple times, of course) with the coin that's supposedly passing through his arm?

Ignoring that, sure, most of his (few) tricks were really neat. But I'm really not sure why I'm supposed to find them more impressive than those done by other skilled sleight of hand artists. I think I might have enjoyed it more if it weren't for the breathless adoration in the leadup making it seem like I have never seen anything like what I was about to see, and never would again.

Finally, I'm sorry, but I was put off by his forced confrontational jerk persona.
posted by Flunkie at 5:52 PM on April 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Confrontational jerk persona? I was watching videos of Slydini, but the ones you saw sound interesting too. Links?
posted by ewagoner at 6:38 PM on April 14, 2009


Yeah, funny, ewagoner. But he kept saying things like "You know why you couldn't follow that? Because you don't watch", and "This one's really simple, if you can't follow this one, you've got to quit, you don't see anything" and blah blah blah.
posted by Flunkie at 6:44 PM on April 14, 2009


He did that for the coins, yeah. But I didn't take that as confrontational, but as an atypical breakdown of the trick. Instead of getting more and more complicated, he pared it down a little more each time while still adding something really cool. It was like saying, "Here, I'll do it in slow motion for you" or like Penn & Teller's transparent boxes. And remember, Cavett was an accomplished magician and was still more than impressed, and he was who Slydini was talking to.
posted by ewagoner at 6:55 PM on April 14, 2009


And it wasn't just to Cavett. I'm not going to go back and watch again, but I'm pretty sure I remember him saying disparaging things to the guy he did the card trick with ("Do I have to explain to you what 'on top' means", or something like that) and the guy he did the rope trick with (some sort of sarcastic "You count very well" or something like that).
posted by Flunkie at 7:00 PM on April 14, 2009


But I didn't take that as confrontational, but as an atypical breakdown of the trick.
Just because he was breaking down the trick doesn't mean that he wasn't being an ass about it. And it's not an isolated incident; he was that way throughout a lot of it.
Instead of getting more and more complicated, he pared it down a little more each time while still adding something really cool.
What did he add, each time through? Maybe for a trick or two, and maybe even for the one being referred to here (again, I'm not going to go back and watch), but most of the time, he just repeated the same trick. Sometimes more than once.
And remember, Cavett was an accomplished magician and was still more than impressed, and he was who Slydini was talking to.
As I just mentioned, it wasn't only Cavett that he was pretending to be a jerk to. (My previous post might have seemed in response to this statement of yours, but it wasn't - I didn't see this statement of yours until after I posted that).
posted by Flunkie at 7:04 PM on April 14, 2009


I horripilated.

I bet you didn't really horripilate.
posted by nzero at 7:45 PM on April 14, 2009


There's a student of Sydini's named Sonny who does street magic up & down the East coast. He also has an abrasive personality, which he may have gotten from his mentor. He's also the only person I've ever seen who could roll 8 coins simultaneously through his hands & fan them out between his fingers. If you're ever wandering around South Street in Philly or Harvard Square in Boston, you might find him doing his act. If he's in a good mood & you're lucky enough that he's brought his coins out that evening, you might be able to persuade him to show you something really special.
posted by scalefree at 10:39 PM on April 14, 2009


Flunkie appears to be a tad sensitive. :)

Slydini adopts a gently mocking persona to very softly chide his audience, it is a jokey thing, and unless you've never seen these kinds of acts before, or been to a proper variety show, you're not going to take it to heart.

Consider: in nearly all situations he as a close up artist is going to be faced with very suspicious audience. By playing on that, chiding the audience for their lack of attention (he's not serious, folks, and you should know it) coupled with his ballet-like hand movements and great technique, he breaks down the suspicion of a cynical viewer into an astonishment and hopefully laughter. The chiding is there for a very specific purpose in the act.

The Italian smoothie character is an archetype which he plays to. Part of that character's schtick is to be a little bit of a wiseacre. Coupled with the heavy accent, it creates a certain vibe. Maybe you can't see, he's smiling? ;)

I've done audio production on a number of magic shows... Plenty of time to stand at the stage edge and watch the acts. I've seen these kinds of tricks before, but not as smooth as this dude.

His technique is brilliant. He appears to not be using sleeves or pockets, appears to not be using wires on those coins out of his jacket (they may or may not be the same heavy prop coins he uses on the table). What this looks like is that everything he is doing is with pure sleight of hand; he is a master of léger de main and distraction. The cigarettes out of the packet is a little obvious, but only if you know what to look for. The work with the coins is beautiful to watch, worth seeing three, four, six times. Nothing in his hands? My friends, everything is in his hands.

He's doing a lot of magical passes - movements with his hands - and he repeats these actions again and again. They may not even have anything to do with how he's concealing or moving the objects, but this builds up a little tension in the audience and distracts you, gives you a lot of things to watch for, looking for what he's doing. He's really really good at that.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 12:37 AM on April 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Flunkie: "He seemed to have a somewhat limited repertoire. I mean, first of all, he did each trick two or three times. Or more."

Ah, but that's the treat! His sleight-of-hand is so deft that you usually can't catch what he's doing even after a threepeat.

Flunkie: "Then came the second video, in which he did the same tricks again, two or three times each. Or more. It was almost a rerun (although I admit that I quit the second video halfway through, so maybe I missed something new, but the reason that I quit was because of what I said - up to that point, it was almost a rerun)."

He did indeed do a lot of new tricks in the second video. There are a couple of repeats, but it's hardly a carbon copy. And there's a very amusing "behind-the-scenes" look at misdirection at the very end.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:47 AM on April 15, 2009


Slydini adopts a gently mocking persona to very softly chide his audience, it is a jokey thing
I know that, of course; that's why I called it "forced" and said that he was "pretending" to be a jerk.
posted by Flunkie at 5:39 AM on April 15, 2009


Good stuff! The second video got borked at the end, right at the climax of the paper napkin routine. But I had seen it before, and let my memory fill in the blanks.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 6:05 PM on April 15, 2009


I don't tend to dwell on Picasso's personality when I view his paintings. Frankly, the guy was phenomenal. If I had been fortunate enough to sit down and have him mesmerize me, he could have called me any damn thing he wanted.

That was beautiful.
posted by bigskyguy at 7:04 PM on April 15, 2009


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