Category:
Performance Art

Brain Magic

In the video below magician Keith Barry gives a performance at the annual TED conference in Monterey. Speakers at the TED conference are usually leaders in their field, so I don't know how Barry got chosen. I would have thought someone like Ricky Jay would have been a much better choice if they wanted a top-quality magician. Barry tries to spin his tricks as "brain magic." Actually, they're just standard, run-of-the-mill tricks. Still, it's always fun to guess how a magician does his tricks. My hypotheses are below. (I cheated by reading the comment thread at the TED talk site, where many people already left their guesses.)

Note: if the embedded video isn't showing for you, you can see the video at the TED site.



The turning hand trick: At one point during the trick Barry releases his hands to point at someone in the audience. He rotates his arms before bringing his hands back together. Conveniently, the camera cuts away while he's doing this.

Driving a car blindfolded: I'm not sure. Possibly he memorized the route, or he's getting instructions from someone viewing through the camera behind him.

The voodoo experiment: He actually does touch the woman on her back early in the process of waving his hands around her, so it's no mystery when she says she's been touched there. He also moves his hands very close to her arm, so she probably did feel a tickling sensation there.

Synchronicity experiment: In some of the shots you can actually see Barry stepping on the guy's foot in order to indicate to the guy when he should raise or lower his arm. Very amateurish.

Shattered Coke bottle: There are commercially available "trick" bottles that will produce this effect. They're called Bologna Bottles. So it's physics, not magic.

Cup and Stick illusion: I don't know how the trick works, but you can buy this illusion off-the-shelf at many magic stores. And even though Barry claims that the audience member chose all the cups he was going to crush, that's not true. Barry chose the first cup. He only asked the audience member to confirm if his hand was over a cup.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Nov 12, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Performance Art

The Amazing Elvis Mokko

According to the Raffaele De Ritis blog, the performer in this video is Elvis Mokko from Mozambique: "He was a regular feature of european night-clubs in the 70s, then turning to theme park and events in Germany." This video shows a performance in Cirque d'Hiver, Paris, during the late 70s.

The question I have is how he ever dreamed up this performance in the first place. What inspires a person to find out if they can lift a chair in their mouth?

Posted By: Alex - Tue Nov 11, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Human Marvels, Performance Art

Chewing Gum Sculptor

I recently met a woman who could tie a knot in the stem of a maraschino cherry with her tongue. I thought that was pretty impressive. But what this Romanian chewing gum sculptor can do is even more impressive.


Posted By: Alex - Tue Nov 04, 2008 - Comments (4)
Category: Art, Performance Art, Food, Video

Christmas on Mars

Is there a better "mainstream" weird band than the Flaming Lips? Possibly not. And surely their long-awaited feature film Christmas on Mars will be excessively weird as well.

Here's the trailer. Despite the allusion therein to a 2003 release, the delayed film has not yet appeared, although it will have a showing this Halloween in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Oct 26, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Holidays, Movies, Music, Performance Art, Surrealism

Contortionists

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I started thinking about contortionists again when I happened upon a feature on them in an old issue of Life. In my novel Spondulix I had a character who was an "enter-ologist," a great term I found in Ricky Jay's wonderful history of sideshows and freaks, Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women. Enter-ologists get into impossible places, rather than escape from impossible places.

In any case, a short search of the web turned up lots of online contortionist info, including the Contortion Home Page, which is where I found this pic of April Tatro. That's her in the video below as well.



Posted By: Paul - Fri Sep 12, 2008 - Comments (7)
Category: Body Modifications, Entertainment, Human Marvels, Literature, Books, Science Fiction, Performance Art

Slinky Dance

Why do I imagine this is how everyone dances in the universe of Jim Woodring's imagination...?

Posted By: Paul - Tue Aug 26, 2008 - Comments (4)
Category: Aliens, Art, Performance Art, Toys, Dance

The Virtual Museum of Car Crashes

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So many, many incidents in our Weird Universe terminate in car crashes. Yet this Ballardian motif has had to wait until just recently to receive its proper grisly homage, in the form of Car Accidents dot com.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Aug 18, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Crime, Death, Performance Art, Cars

Invest in Literature—and a Piece of the Brooklyn Bridge

Do you have a spare $2000.00 lying around the house? Why not send it to this untested fiction writer and receive a share of his entirely hypothetical profits?

In fact, I'm a relatively penniless writer too!

Thanks to good pal Sandy Pearlman for discovering this one!

Posted By: Paul - Fri Aug 08, 2008 - Comments (4)
Category: Frauds, Cons and Scams, Literature, Books, Writers, Money, Charity, Self-help Schemes, Performance Art

Micronations

The concept of micronations is a fascinating idea. I utilized the notion in one of my recent stories, the title piece from The Emperor of Gondwanaland and Other Stories. But I hardly began to exhaust the narrative possibilities of the idea.










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Here's a recent article on one such place, the Republic of Molossia.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jul 28, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Art, Performance Art, Customs, Foreign Customs, Eccentrics, Government, Officials, Regulations, History, Law, Military, Obsessions, Patriotism, Politics, Travel

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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