I wasn’t going to write any more today. I’m tired. Really tired. The holidays wear me out. What’s more, it is new year’s eve and I hate new years eve. I feel like I, as a radical pedestrian, am not allowed to leave the house tonight. I left earlier to pick up some food for dinner. And in that brief time out, someone tried to run me over. It’s no big deal. People are always trying to run me over. I don’t take it personally. I don’t think they know the kind of books I write. I don’t think they know that I am a radical pedestrian who would not only take away their cars, if they complained I would deprive them of life, libertry, and the pursuit of happiness. In that order.
Anyway, stuck at home, I went over to YouTube to check out how many people have viewed my video Tea Party Idiot Rant – Up with Chris Hayes, which is pushing 10,000 views which is a whole lot for a guy who is normally happy with a single thousand. But it offered me some close-up magic to watch, so I clicked. It was a guy doing a close-up linking ring kind of trick and I found it really annoying. But there was a link to The Close Up Magic of Kevin King. Now, I had never even heard of Kevin King but it looked like he did card work, and that’s pretty much the only thing I’m really interested in, so I clicked over.
And glad I was! In addition to everything else, he’s really funny. What’s more, and this cannot be over-stated, he’s charming. I’ve always had this problem with Michael Close. Close is brilliant. He understands all the problems with magic and he does a great job of getting around those and performing magic that is truly entertaining. But here’s the problem: I don’t like Michael Close. I have this feeling that if I ever met him, he would be a total dick. Oh! That’s right: I once corresponded with him. And although it was very pleasant, the man exuded “People don’t appreciate me as much I appreciate me.” And on stage, he isn’t charming. Almost anyone else would be more successful performing his beautifully crafted magic. So that’s what I got from Kevin King.
But before I introduce you to him, we need to talk about another magician: Derek Dingle. Whereas Michael Close is great at taking other people’s ideas and turning them into entertaining routines, Dingle was a true innovator. But he was also, most clearly, a miserable bastard, and I don’t say that just because he was British. Dingle performed with the same level of excitement as the cashier at the gas station: he was putting in his time. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t great and funny as hell. Unlike Michael Close, I would love to have had the opportunity to get drunk with Derek Dingle. (BTW: that appears to be his real name. It sounds like a porn actors name. I’m just saying.) Anyway, watch as he does, one of his simpler tricks, the Fabulous Jumping Card Trick. Watch it, not just because it’s a lot of fun, but because it’s important to what I’m going to say later:
I actually do a couple of Dingle’s card tricks. And by that, I mean that I can do them, I never do them for anyone. The reason is that his personality is so woven into the tricks that it never quite works to do them as myself. And that brings me to Kevin King. In the following video, I think that I see him do at least three Derek Dingle routines: the coin routine, the triumph, and something along the lines of the Fabulous Jumping Card Trick (although the method is different). What I find remarkable is that he makes it all his own. And as I said, he’s charming as hell. You want to spend time with him.
It turns out that Kevin King also does lectures at business conferences about Verbal Perception Manipulation. Basically, he talks to a group and says nothing that makes any sense. There is supposed to be a point to it, “The secret to business success is to communicate clearly.” I, however, have found that this is exactly the opposite of the truth. American business is mostly a bunch of nonsense. So many times, I have seen people get important jobs because they can talk gibberish and convince management that they know what they are talking about when they don’t know a thing. So King’s routine clearly amuses the management types who go to these conferences. But I doubt they learn anything more than they do from his magic shows. And that’s just fine. King is able to make a living. And American business does what all businesses do when they are riding the wave of an empire in decline: through graft and connections and sometimes by buying companies that make money the old fashioned way of producing products that people want to buy. You know, products like Kevin King’s performances.