Saturday, April 21, 2012

Winner Michael Ammar

It is April. In celebration of this blogs three year existence, the whole month will be winner time. Only the coolest and best members of our elite circle of nerds will be featured.

Today: Michael Ammar

There are those who are born performers and then there are those who are born teachers. The later are seldom.

Michael Ammar has been around for ages. And you can tell. Watch his looks, as he teaches his Encore stuff and compare it to today. You can see time at work there.

Watching him perform makes me think of better performers. His girlish laugh which doesn't stop his grinning. All too much for my taste. But I do appreciate his perverse ability to teach magic. He somehow seems to know what the core things are that need to be taught and what doesn't. I have seen magic teachers who go way too much into detail and those who don't teach you at all.

Another great thing is his choice of material. There is always a little stroke of brilliance in there. One moment you think, what the hell? Really? A grown man with a balloon. But then it turns into a magic fest. Two years ago David Letterman had a "magic week". Michael Ammar was one of the guests. Somehow Michael Ammar chose exactly the right material for that very special gig. Observe:



There you can see it all. His laughter, the grinning but also a freaking good choice of material for that event. Not over the top, but also some risky things to keep oneself alert and "present".

Being a good magic teacher also has some risks. That being the many clones of Ammar. You can tell who learned mostly from him. They move the same and their way of relaxing is the same. Ammar's performing character is nothing to strive for. But his own material and the ones he chooses to teach are  top notch. Bravo.


41 comments:

The Smiling Mule said...

what an awful performance.

Admin said...

His laughter is gay.

Derek's Dingle said...

Gay? What are you, 12?

The Smiling Mule said...

Magic should be either dignified or cool. This, like 99% of magicians, is just cheesy.

The Smiling Mule said...

and what's with the verification codes, I need to refresh about 20 times before I get one I can actually read!

Derek's Dingle said...

That's the problem with guys like Ammar. They can't seem to differentiate geniality from cheesiness.

Mike said...

Yep, very cheesy but technically good --love his Top-It teaching.

Main question though is why anyone would go on Lettermans show -- the guy obviously despises magic with a passion and he's a complete arse to magicians

The Smiling Mule said...

Letterman's comment tells you all you need to know about the topit.

About hating magicians, seems to me he hates a certain kind of magician, as we all do.

As far as I can see it, he treats his magician guests with the respect they deserve. Very little.

I'd imagine a different situation were he to have Ricky Jay on. Or anyone else who can actually have some discourse like a mature adult.

Roland said...

Technically it should be that the comments are just plain readable. But there is this spam filter that I cannot turn off. The result: I need to approve them by hand, that might take a while as I'm not always on my PC

Admin said...

His laughter IS gay. That's not MY fault now, is it ?

Derek's Dingle said...

Grating? Sure. Homosexual? No. Unless one's laughter is capable of orally pleasing another man's wang.

My point was that it's 2012. Unless you're in middle school, calling something or someone gay as an insult simply makes you look intellectually bankrupt. Try to get more creative/with the times.

Also, you're spot on about Letterman, Mule. He's the host of a talk show. He was merely doing his hosting duties by reacting as any intelligent adult should react to a performance like Ammar's.

Tensai said...

"Intellectually bankrupt"?

HAH. I guffaw at you, very loudly and with much conviction.

Admin said...

Okay, let's spell it woed for word. I - am - not - saying - that - HE - is - gay FULLSTOP His - L-A-U-G-H-T-E-R is.

Haha.

Justin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trickster said...

So his male laugh dates other male laughs?
Or is his laugh happy and carefree?

Spelling it out didn't help "Admin", it just reinforced the childishness of your original statement.

Tensai said...

Lol Trickster, silly boy. He didn't literally mean 'gay', he was using the slang term.

See, words sometimes have more than one meaning. In this case, the word 'gay' takes on a different meaning:

Gay (adj): Slang: Often Disparaging and Offensive . awkward, stupid, or bad; lame: 'This game is really gay.'

So in this case, when Admin said "His laugh is gay" it didn't mean his laugh was homosexual, it meant his laugh was 'awkward, stupid, or bad'.

Does that make sense? I know it's hard, trying to wrap your head around the concept of words having more than one meaning, depending on the context in which they are used ('Context' means "Where it the word is being used", by the way)

Derek's Dingle said...

I know that he didn't literally mean homosexual. In fact, that's why I made it a point to use the word "something" in conjunction with calling him out on his juvenile lack of articulation.

Who knows, maybe Admin isn't from either America or the UK, where the insult is considered both offensive AND childishly passe (a very unfortunate combination). It's a big world out there.

Tensai said...

An insult? Considered offensive? PARISH THE THOUGHT!

But in all seriousness: Do you understand how you sound? Were you the kid who ran home to his mom every time someone called him a name on the playground?

As the say: It's a big world. Some people are gonna say things you don't like and you are gonna say things they don't like. That's how the world is, not everyone is gonna be nice and tell you how special ya are. So grow up and grow a pair.

I swear, ya all wonder why I call ya kids, then ya go and do stuff like this. "Mommy, mommy! Admin said a bad word! He said the 'G' word!"

Derek's Dingle said...

I guess I was more concerned with the "childishly passe" portion of my post. Ya know, just trying to get the li'l dude to realize how, uh, not smart using a term like that makes people look nowadays.

Oh well.

Admin said...

Yes, correct, I'm not from UK ou US but from France.

Of course, gay did not mean homosexual as Tensai explained, it meant 'inappropriate' or 'lame'.

Now keep fighting over this (but this won't change the fact that his laughter is so ... GAY.) Haha ! ;)

AmmarMagic.com said...

Roland, thanks for your comments about Michael's teaching. He is great at it, I hear that nearly everyday.

Regarding other comments:

David Letterman liked the performance. He made it clear he respected Michael on a variety of levels. Ashton Kutcher, also a guest on the show, loved it too. He commented on the air, "Did you see that guy? He was amazing!" The producers comments were the best.

Cheesy means inauthentic. If there is anything Michael is NOT - it's inauthentic. He is who he is, his laughter is what it is.

- Hannah

Admin said...

Yes ! Totally agreed. His laughter is what makes him himself ! And if he is comfortable with it, why all the fuss ? I was just 'pointing out' an obvious peculiarity (I think).

Trickster said...

"childishly passe"
A great start to explaining why Admin sounded like a fool using it.

Tensai, check the history of the insult usage of Gay and you might wonder why any self respecting or mature person would use it. I think you'll find that the 2 meanings of the word I referred to are pretty much it, the insulting slang usage is based on one of them.


1xTS

The Smiling Mule said...

"Good enough for my audience" has always seemed to me to be a lazy form of the classic argument from authority. Although it comes across more as an argument from ignorance. Maskelyne said it better than I ever could.

Face it, we all know how easy it is to get said reaction when you merely know a secret that some one else doesn't. The fact that this celebrity or another thought it was "amazing" says absolutely nothing.

I would define "cheesy" slightly differently. In hearing the word magic, an audience is conditioned to expect a clown, and invariably they get one.

'Guile", "Penetration"? Maybe 40 years ago!

I could be wrong, but to me magicians are stuck in some sort of protective bubble, it always comes across as if the host is humouring a child whilst he does his "little bit."

Admin said...

Oh ! The battle is not over yet ? Alright then. Reply to Trickster :

You know what immaturity is ? It is what you just said. That mature people only use certain words and NOT others (like the word GAY). This is what immaturity is about. About believing that maturity comes from what word you employ to describe something. Huh, so gay.

The Smiling Mule said...

I would say that a definition of maturity should also include the ability to communicate your point clearly to others.

I'm a big fan of using all the words at our disposal regardless of who may be offended, but when you say Ammar's laughter is gay I honestly have no idea what you are getting at.

Michael Jay said...

I believe that choosing to do the little hand on David Letterman was a stroke of genius because Letterman chews magicians up and spits them out. I tend to side with Letterman because he openly states that which people are thinking to themselves.

The perfect example is the Jason Randal clip. Letterman calls him out on everything and states that his handling of the cards is "tactile." Randal immediately states, "Yes, it's tactics..." Letterman looks up at the audience with a bemused look in his face and about half of the audience catches this - spectators are not stupid. When he places the card in that wonky sleeve thing, Letterman states, "This is going to be some kind of optical thing."

Later on the show, an actor comes out and does an impromptu card trick (and not an altogether bad one, at that). Letterman, upon watching and enjoying the trick, says, "And you didn't even need one of those special sleeves."

When Ammar throws in that little hand, of course Letterman thinks it's stupid. It completely takes away any possibility of him making fun of Ammar - you cannot make fun of something that is making fun of itself. To wit: have you ever heard of Elvira? She used to host late night horror films on the television. Her whole schtick was to make fun of the genre and specifically make fun of the show that was featured. In an interview, she stated how much she hated showing, "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes." Her reasoning was simple...You cannot parody a parody.

Ammar can be classed as cheesy, but he's the real thing - just one hell of a nice guy.

The Smiling Mule said...

So, in short, by purposely making himself look like a fucking idiot, he really sidestepped that potential pitfall of having Letterman make him look like a fucking idiot?

Genius.

Michael Jay said...

I don't think he looked like an idiot, but you are certainly entitled to your opinion.

The Smiling Mule said...

Not MY opinion.

You said "of course Letterman thinks it's stupid" and the whole thrust of your point was that Ammar was purposely making HIMSELF look stupid so as to avoid Letterman making him look stupid.

I was just reiterating your own point back to you but in simpler terms.

I certainly do not need anybody to inform me that I am entitled to my opinion thank you very much.

The Smiling Mule said...

You even went so far as to call it "genius" simply because Ammar managed to avoid being mocked by Letterman... if this is what magic is reduced to then I rest my case.

Admin said...

Just smile sometimes Mr. Mule ...

The Smiling Mule said...

I have a gay grin on my face as I type.

The Smiling Mule said...

Dear god I just saw the Jason Randal spot. Goes some way to explaining the enthusiasm for Ammar's performance I suppose.

Justin said...

I've avoided watching it. I'm not a masochist.

石榮狼 said...

As much as I have found myself in frequent opposition to Admin's views, I'm with him on this one.

Not that I agree nor disagree with him regarding the annoying/silly nature of Michael Ammar's laugh; that's a matter of personal taste and hardly relevant to the debate.

But I very strongly support Admin's right to call it whatever he wants to call it without being called out on the un-PC-ness of his choice of words. I'm tired of the thought and speech policing that we Westerners have got into the habit of enforcing ruthlessly upon one another.

In the PRC, generally viewed as an awful dictatorship by most westerners, the citizen's alleged absence of freedom of speech comes down to two things: no public display of pornography (who consumes that kind of goods in public anyway?), and no questioning the government's legitimacy (which would be useless anyway since they can't change it... A bit like when Americans question the legitimacy of their congress: maybe fun to do but utterly useless).
Over here, on the other hand, one week never goes by without me reading at least one article about how some advertisement campaign was pulled out, or how some sportsman's "offensive" comment got him kicked out of his team, etc. after causing a "public outcry" (read: being attacked by lobby "X") for having upset one of the hundreds of touchy chords we must now navigate through when making any remotely-public (or even private, in many cases) statement.
When you feel more free to say whatever you want to say in a dictatorship than you do in you own country, you know something's gone awfully wrong.

Besides, in this particular case, Admin criticized M.Ammar's laugh by calling it "gay" (understood here as "silly"), which Admin claims was by no means an attack against actual gays. Trickster then criticized Admin by calling him "childish", which I assume is no attack against actual children either. To use magician talk, I'd say that's "the same principle used in a different effect". ;)
Making the whole argument even more worthless...

End of my rant. Sorry, I've had a rough week and freedom is one of those things that press my buttons...

Unknown said...

Interesting how opinions about magic quickly turn into hockey games.

Barry Solayme said...

I think it's clear that the only gay in this particular village is ADMIN.

BS

Admin said...

Haha, look at your name first : BS = Bull Shit. :)

Justin said...

Ladies and gentlemen, Admin's gotten the joke. Let's give him a round of applause.

Admin said...

T'is not a joke.