If Sadako was a magician this would be her
December 26, 2017 2:55 AM   Subscribe

The winner of the latest Asia's Got Talent, Indonesian magician The Sacred Riana, spooks both audience and judges alike with her horror-themed illusions and quiet, twitchy character - one that she maintains even in interviews.
posted by divabat (19 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
 
Whole NEW meaning to "spooky good". Female illusionists are vastly underappreciated. I remember Melinda Saxe's Drill of Death. Another gobsmacking illusion, IMO.

I really dig Riana "not" playing to the crowd. Good stuff, good stuff. Just the thing to take the edge of excess Christmas cheer.
posted by Samizdata at 3:47 AM on December 26, 2017 [6 favorites]


It's a great act... her tricks are fairly standard but her shtick and presentation are awesome
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:41 AM on December 26, 2017 [6 favorites]


I like her a great deal. Could easily do without the asshole judge on the right hand side though.

How did that get to be such an essential element of the Got Talent franchise? Is is just done to make the odious Cowell seem less so by comparison?
posted by flabdablet at 7:23 AM on December 26, 2017 [3 favorites]


I like her a great deal. Could easily do without the asshole judge on the right hand side though.

Yeah, it's one thing to adopt a spooky ghostly twitch for a performance. Another to mock the person with the twitch as a gag for an audience reaction.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 9:05 AM on December 26, 2017 [4 favorites]


Is the twitch part of the act, or involuntary autonomous neurologic? In either case that judge is shameful. I know someone who has a twitch like that, and it's not a controlled thing, and to see someone make fun of it made me furious.

Her act is gorgeous. As mentioned above, her tricks are not new, but the way they're done is extraordinary.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:36 AM on December 26, 2017


The twitch is def part of the act, I was googling around and found an old interview with her out of character (she does seem super shy though)... she being going for several years and has won/done well in other talent shows (he dad is a magician)

Was watching some reaction videos by other magicians on youtube and they all love her (apart from one who doesn't seem to like horror/spooky stuff - and even he later relented).

Oh and yeah that judge is a total ass.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:59 AM on December 26, 2017


How did that get to be such an essential element of the Got Talent franchise? Is is just done to make the odious Cowell seem less so by comparison?

I comfort myself that pop culture theses of the future will take the "each show must have an asshole white male on the end seat" trope and talk about how it was emblematic just as the dying throes of the sexism of the 20th and early 21st centuries began.

I do love the act. She establishes a world very quickly.
posted by warriorqueen at 10:27 AM on December 26, 2017 [4 favorites]


Loved her act. Hated the show hosts. I guess what I'm saying is less hosts, more ghosts.

"We are happy." 👻
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:07 AM on December 26, 2017 [4 favorites]


If it helps, you can imagine the hosts going back to their hotel rooms and suffering various ghastly fates, probably involving pale faces staring at them.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:47 AM on December 26, 2017 [9 favorites]


The levitating table was pretty good. I've seen various versions of the other tricks, but the table was a new one to me, especially how far around the stage it traveled. I'd love to know how it was accomplished. I mean, if it was wires, that would mean the audience members were plants and the judge was in on the act, which would be a huge letdown.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:55 AM on December 26, 2017


David Copperfield did a very similar floating table trick (that he bought off David Berglas - whose version is amazing). And wikipedia says she was a fan of Copperfield.

Although afaik there's several ways you can do it... I favour Evil Ghosts myself.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:24 PM on December 26, 2017 [3 favorites]


I'm wondering if she uses her hair for some of the card and handwork tricks. It'd be pretty easy to get a single hair between a deck of cards and get it to move/part like that, as well as a way to secretly mark a card position in the deck.

Fine thread and human hair is definitely something that's already used in illusion and slight of hand to make things move or levitate and other tricks, and she might have a major advantage over short haired male illusionists because her hair is right there, and it's part of her distracting/twitchy act.
posted by loquacious at 1:26 PM on December 26, 2017


I was kinda hoping she’d do an act that picks on Asshole White Judge’s sleaziness and spooks him for life. Poor Anggun (the lady judge).
posted by divabat at 1:37 PM on December 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


> divabat:
"I was kinda hoping she’d do an act that picks on Asshole White Judge’s sleaziness and spooks him for life. Poor Anggun (the lady judge)."

The schtick was pretty funny though, especially when she breaks it during the seance trick.
posted by Samizdata at 8:33 PM on December 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm wondering if she uses her hair for some of the card and handwork tricks.

I doubt it. Her hair is black.

One thing I love about her act is it sort of answers a question that much magic doesn't - how/why is the person magical? Demon possession/evil spirits/etc is the answer here, and staying in character constantly is the only way to really sell it.

I could do without the card trick, but that's often the case with me - it doesn't seem to mesh with her overall act that much.

I like to imagine the judge before the show began "Do I have to play the asshole? Yes? I just want to be a nice guy, can't I do that? Oh man, I guess that paycheck is large enough."
posted by el io at 1:11 PM on December 27, 2017


Inspired by her (and by my own foray into magic) I started compiling a thread of non-CisHet-White-Dudes in magic (feel free to take the thread and make it into an FPP if you want, a good number of them came from Metafilter/AskMefi posts & comments anyhow).

It was interesting to see how the Got Talent franchise in particular has been a really good avenue for showcasing diversity in magic - much more so than the traditional professional Magic Circle route. How well do these magicians fare outside the TV show? I don't know. I don't even know how other professional magicians feel about TV talent competition shows - do they share the same disdain as musicians do? But in a world that's often a boys' club, it's refreshing to see avenues that may not be Trad Magic venues but are welcoming to magic in all its forms.
posted by divabat at 5:41 PM on December 27, 2017 [5 favorites]


I never watched anything with Simon Cowell in it before he joined America's Got Talent, and I was actually pleasantly surprised by him. He seems to have gotten away from the asshole behavior I (imagine) he got his reputation for. He seems to be the most "professional" judge, and is honest without being particularly brutal when he doesn't like something. Or is it just that they're not showing as many of the bad acts on AGT than they used to?

At any rate, Cowell is better than some past judges. David Foster on Asia's Got Talent was pretty awful. They could replace Heidi Klum on America's Got Talent with Anggun any time they want.

As for Riana, her performances were amazing. Illusionists and ventriloquists tie for my favorite acts on these shows.
posted by lhauser at 7:54 AM on December 28, 2017


No, Simon’s lost the cattiness! He even jumped up and DEFENDED an act one time when his cojudges were all “uh no”.

The other talent shows tend to have a Token Simon Cowell (usually a white guy), but they hardly give constructive criticism, they just want the trope.
posted by divabat at 3:15 PM on December 28, 2017


That was fun fun fun.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:51 PM on January 10, 2018


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