Magical Life: An Evening with Lawrence Hass at Beth Shalom Synagogue 

"Let me tell you, it almost never goes up the sleeve": Veteran educator and practicing sleight-of-hand artist Lawrence Hass drops some information on the audience in a TEDx talk. The PhD and former professor is working toward a philosophical understanding of stage magic. He wonders how magic performance can be so ancient and universal without having ever been seriously addressed by Western philosophy.

Hass was professor of humanities at Austin College before moving to Memphis with his wife, Rhodes College President Dr. Marjorie Hass. In addition to academic duties, he's been known to teach magic to magicians at Jeff McBride's Magic & Mystery School in Las Vegas. In his TED talk, he works toward a sturdy definition that separates magic from the the idea of "tricks." He asks if techniques developed by magicians are somehow more manipulative, deceptive, or dishonest than any other kind of art or stagecraft. Magic, he ultimately determines, is "The artful performance of impossible things that generates energy, delight, and wonder."

click to enlarge Lawrence Hass
  • Lawrence Hass

For Hass, who makes his Memphis debut at Beth Sholom Synagogue Saturday, December 1st, the live performance of stage magic constitutes a message of hope and transcendence. "As we live our lives, we constantly confront limits," he says, listing the usual suspects: sickness, loss, death, and transition, things we want but can't have, and things we wish were true but aren't. Then performers like Harry Houdini come along and show us we can escape. Illusionists like David Copperfield defy gravity and levitate. Magicians get their audience thinking big while working on a smaller scale. He's a prestidigitator, a card manipulator, and a conjurer able to bring inanimate objects to life in his hand.

Impossible, you say? That's the point."When everybody wins in the world, that's real magic," Hass concludes at the end of one of his online card tricks. It's a good line. It also seems to be a reasonable summation of this newly minted Memphian's performance philosophy.

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.


Favorite

Tags:

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

Beyond the Arc

Can It Be That It Was All So Simple Then?

Fly On The Wall Blog

Memphis Comedy Show "You Look Like" Begins Airing on LOL Network

Politics Beat Blog

Mulroy to Read from New Book on Election Reform

News Blog

OUTMemphis Starts Building New Youth Center

From My Seat

Bridge ’Birds

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Stephen Chopek

Blurb

Bill Morris' Legendary Life

ADVERTISEMENT

Readers also liked…

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2019

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation