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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fish and Ponds

The nice thing about a small pond is how all the fish, big and small, get to know each other. Like other focused and passionate special interest groups, meetings of magicians have the character of a family gathering. Lest you think I exaggerate to justify use of a quaint metaphor, note that the largest organization of magicians is IBM, the International Brotherhood of Magicians (with 15,000 members worldwide).

And so it was last night, when friendly fish gathered at Fantasma Magic to celebrate the 90th birthday of Larry Weeks. The place was abuzz with plenty of nostalgic chatting. Larry was in fine form and astonishing condition for a man his age - lucid and lively.
I say lively, because the world of professional magicians is not populated with what might be considered a normal cross-section of society - this is a world of colorful characters.

Larry Weeks was both a stage and children's show magician (and juggler). He also was a magic dealer and manufacturer, producer of a regular magic convention, and entertainment agent. Since his adolescence, Larry has collected magic, juggling, and vaudeville props, photographs, books, films and other show-business memorabilia. In 1937, Weeks won the Inter-Collegiate Baton Twirling Championship.

Larry Weeks (Lester F. Weeks) was born in Massachusetts on September 24, 1919. His family moved to New York, where he grew up. Inducted into the U.S. Army during World War II, Weeks was seen by Irving Berlin, who had him transferred to the company performing Berlin’s show, This Is the Army, where Larry performed a juggling act. The show toured military bases worldwide and was later made into a film, in which Weeks did a shortened version of his act.

Also attending Larry's party was Jay Green (photo lower right), professional juggler and early pioneer in the development of juggling equipment. Hovey Burgess (photo lower left) is a circus aficionado, performer, juggler, and educator. For over 30 years, Hovey has taught Circus Techniques at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

The evening featured a stage show with magicians, comics, and a juggling act. When it comes to people, I'll take a pond over the ocean any day :)


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Leslie said...

Wow-did Hovey really get as thin as he looks here?!! How wonderful.