The Montréal Magic Jam: David Kaplan and Buster Keaton

Last night I attended my first magic lecture since moving to Montréal. David Kaplan, also known as The Great Kaplan, shared some tips, tricks, and stunts from his professional repertoire. A recent clip of the act that he tours with can be seen here:

Since I’m in this city to research the relationship between magic and other circus disciplines, I enjoyed hearing Kaplan’s thoughts on variety material. He performed a version of the torn and restored newspaper for us that ends with a giant, over-sized newspaper that he gets tangled up in. The inspiration for this piece came from a Buster Keaton film. After some searching, I found this gag in one of Keaton’s films. Here is the relevant clip from the first few minutes of The High Sign:

The shared history of clown, silent film, and magic is important.

This is true for the relationship between juggling and magic as well. I’m interested in hat juggling, so I brought the one that I use to the lecture. Mr. Kaplan kindly taught me a couple new moves. So did actor, director and magician, Bob Fitch, who happened to be sitting right next to me.

I’d like to thank Grant McSorely, Marc Trudel and the rest of the Montréal Magic Jam team for putting this event together. Thanks also go out to David Kaplan, for ending his lecture by playing “When You Wish Upon a Star” using only a turkey baster.

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