Tricks by Bedros 'Spidey' Akkelian
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Referred to as the "smooth talking stud of magic" by the Montreal Mirror. Spidey has been making a mark in the magic community since his early teenage years. As a performer he has toured Canada, the U.S and the Caribbean, made the finals of Canada's Got Talent and landed his own on screen show in his hometown. As a creator he has released several top selling DVD's and collaborated with some of the biggest names in magic such as Richard Sanders, Wayne Houchin and now; theory11. As a licensed hypnotist with a degree in social psychology, Spidey's biggest ambition is to combine mentalism, hypnosis, and psychology in order to advance his own form of magic which he refers to as social magic. He is also potentially the worst flourisher on the face of the earth and makes cardistry experts wear oven mitts when they hang out.
Q&A with Bedros 'Spidey' Akkelian
What first attracted you to mentalism specifically - what about mentalism inspired your passion?
As much as I have always loved magic and still do, my passion for the bizarre comes from the fact that I have always wanted to have super powers. The problem with magic is that sometimes; it's clearly a trick. Don't get me wrong, the audience is completely blown away and mystified, however; most people intuitively know that nobody can REALLY make coins teleport or cards regenerate, therefore, they have an intuitive feeling that they are witnessing a beautifully executed "trick." Mentalism is different, even the most intelligent audiences believe, with reason, that there is something slightly real taking place, some audiences believe it is entirely real! I never claim to have supernatural abilities, I am against that practice,but I love the idea that when they watch me go, people truly believe I have developed an actual skill that is different than a "trick". I love connecting with my audience on that level. I also find mentalism to be extremely elegant.
Who are some of your inspirations?
Every single magician, mentalist, hypnotist, juggler, singer, dancer, circus performer and bearded lady I have ever seen have inspired me. I get inspired by performance in general and I can learn something from every performer I see, even if that something is to see what it is I DON'T want to be doing. It would be unfair to all my mentors and inspirations over the years to narrow it down to a list. That being said; Tommy Wonder was a God amongst mortals!
Do you think technology (internet) has helped or hurt the art of magic?
Both! I believe that technology has hurt magic by making it accessible. Laymen can go on YouTube type "bending a spoon" and half an hour later, they'll have a very good idea as to how it was done. At the very least the internet will confirm for them that it CAN be done by trickery. Furthermore, it makes us less unique. For example, without the internet, our audiences wouldn't know that there are literally a hundred other guys out there doing very similar stuff to us. Sure we are all unique in our own way but I kind of liked it when my spectators believed I was one of a kind (tear). That being said I believe that internet helps us connect as magicians, I am in touch with magicians in Europe that I would have never been friends with had it not been for the internet. So I guess it's really a two sided coin.
What is your favorite effect?
This question is a trap! I'm not doing it! I am not answering! YOU CAN'T MAKE ME! The reason I am saying this is because I might answer this question now, and then you can ask me again in five minutes and my answer will be completely different. It depends, it totally depends on mood, audience, space, moment, so many things come into play. I normally test the waters with a half visual/ half mental effect and see which of the two the person in front of me responds to more, based on that I will design a close up show specifically for that person, on the spot. I guess the answer is; who cares what my favorite effect is! I'm not the audience, I'm the performer, my job is to figure out what THEIR favorite effect might be and hit them with it. That being said (insert name of my latest release here) is REALLY good!
What advice would you give to someone starting out in magic?
Learn to crawl before you try to breakdance. I know the advance stuff looks cool but go back and study the basics, read the old books; and get DVDs that cover a wide range of beginner material. Put in the practice time, get it right, then move on to something a little more challenging. Make sure you've completely mastered an effect before showing it to people and respect the voice of experience. And most importantly... have fun!