Jan Logemann Lecture
The Fylde Mystics
June 18th 2013
Reviewed by Allan Clarke MMC
Having enjoyed lectures from an unprecedented FOUR FISM champions in the last 18 months the Fylde Mystics were again in the news for hosting the latest World Card Magic Champion, Jan Logemann from Germany.
Jan competed in the FISM Championships last year and added the Card Magic trophy to an already impressive array of awards. His style is very different and his relaxed presentation belies the sheer inventiveness and tremendous planning that goes into his work. He is an undisputed card mechanic with plenty of skills on display, or rather not on display if you get my meaning. Impossible climaxes build from very small and almost 'throw away' beginnings to astound the audience or rather 'guests' as he likes to refer to them.
There is nothing 'standard' about his effects, certainly in the sense that you will see lots of other magicians performing them. This said, he has taken a number of 'classics' and pushed them in an entirely new direction and in some cases they become barely recognisable. 'Ring vanish to impossible location' or 'Bill switch' do not adequately describe the effects that his audience will see although their genesis does lie here.
The first thing the strikes you is the pace of the delivery, slow, almost haphazard but imperceptibly building on a mastery of misdirection to the point that the re-telling of what the audience saw can only be described in ever growing terms of impossibility. The next difference is the lengths he will go to in achieving the desired effects. The lecture described an incredible amount of fine detail in the planning and preparation and he has developed some brilliant devices, some physical, some temporal, to allow the 'dirty work' to be achieved. Lastly is the 'layering' that underpins his presentation. Nothing is left to chance, almost! For those that have seen him, you will know what I mean. You have to admire his tenacity in not sacrificing the strength of an effect just to make it easier to perform.
He's also very funny, self deprecating with an easy manner when handling the audience, but if anything, this lecture was an object lesson in artistic fervour. Indeed, Jan openly credits his 'Artistic Director' as fundamental to his success and I think it says a lot about the majority of magicians do not see the relevance of seeking the advice of an impartial critic who understands the theatrical aspects of presentation. Some observers might say his approach is 'ballsy' or 'gutsy' but I think they are overlooking the level of effort and risk mitigation employed in producing an absolute stunner of an effect. Yes, the methods can seem to be 'ballsy' but he relies on misdirection and clever verbalisation to guide the audience away from the methods or to reinforce the impossibility and at the end of it, the effort he puts into the planning and the finely scripted presentation are a small price to pay for the unbelievable strength of the effects as they play out.
Even in a room full of magicians there were more than a few gasps of surprise. It would be easy to list out the effects we saw on the night but I think it is better to let those who have yet to see him, enjoy the full power of the experience. If you haven't seen him, go and seek him out, you will learn a lot more than 'tricks'. Another feather in the Fylde Mystics cap.
© Allan Clarke MMC, June 2013