Articles about Ben Robinson
Ben Robinson at Circa Tabac
AT CIRCA TABAC,
By Gary Michaels
New York City – I wanted to go to New York to do two things specifically. I wanted to see the Yankees play (and win!) in the old Yankee stadium before they tore it down to build a new stadium, and, I wanted to see one of my favorite magicians do his thing at a club he works at. The magician is Ben Robinson, whom I found on the Internet sometime in 2003, and wrote to him, impressed by his website, but feeling I could make it a bit better through my skills as an editor. He agreed.
We struck up an email correspondence which was always done in the time I had away from work, and his life traveling doing shows. The more I became immersed in his world, the more I respected him as a “working magician,” and as I came to know, one of the best.
We met at our hotel around 9pm. My gang of 8 were excited to travel downtown in two cabs to an old fashioned deco smoking lounge that served delightful light delicacies in the low light swept, by an air filtration system for the smoking of cigars and cigarettes – this is one of the very few places in all of Manhattan that you can raise a drink to your mouth and a smoke at the same time.
We were greeted by the owner, a jolly fellow dressed in black who embraced Robinson, and made sure we had the best seats in the house – a booth normally reserved for celebrities. We settled in, ordered drinks and something to eat, and wondered where the stage was, where Robinson would ply his trade. He assured us that we’d “get it” once he began. He was right. He stood between our tables and conjured to special music he had piped to our corner – a light jazz that accompanied his finger movements making his finger ring dance in his fingers and then multiply to every finger bearing one silver ring. It was a great way to introduce original magic of the hands – something I know through my own professional performance of magic for decades.
He moved on to making a deck of cards change colors, bills change in front of our eyes, and then a feat of “eyeless sight” (or was it sleight?) that was truly incredible when a signed card was found impaled on a very impressive knife blade. Other tables joined in our healthy applause.
Then he removed a wallet and performed four feats of mind reading-mentalism-clairvoyance…call it what you will. He predicted things that would happen, deftly stole thoughts from our minds, surprised our guests with an uncanny feat with a wrist watch, and all with the fewest of props, all done, as he was surrounded in the low light.
I had come to see a particular feat of magic Robinson developed with now late illusion designer and writer, Larry White. While an old feat, their version of it sky rocketed in the magic world and was a rare sight to see. I hunted this white whale and my harpoon found its target when Robinson removed a silver case of cigarette papers. One single piece of paper, torn by one of our party was held on to. She impaled it on a small hatpin; she held the pin in her hands. Robinson apparently did nothing except offer the paper and the pin. Then, with a gesture and a wave of the fingers, the torn paper was rendered whole again! While held in our friend’s hands, the miracle was made. It was eerie and very cool. It was worth what I had heard – smart clever mystery.
The evening ended with the magician joining us for drinks with his lovely wife and then doing the classic show stopper, called The Anniversary Waltz, which normally cannot be followed, it being a master mystery. But, Robinson prevailed. He showed us a wonder seldom seen, simply because he is the inventor, and as he says, “keeps this one very close.” All I can say without ruining the surprise, is that it was one of the oddest things I have ever seen, and I was doubly surprised when the magician said we could keep the cards involved…surely they were somehow part of the trick, and by handing us these souvenirs, we were assured to never forget him.
Robinson dressed in a smart seersucker summer suit topped off with a straw fedora, he told us, he bought just for our show and night out. He surely pulled a great show and night out of that hat!