Jonathan Pendragon – Penguin Live Lecture (December 6th, 2015)


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“When the history of magic is written, Jonathan Pendragon will be remembered as one of its most creative performers.” David Copperfield

“Genius.” Siegfried

“Jonathan Pendragon is the Poet/Wizard.” Rob Zabrecky

What will he teach?

Sands of the Desert The classic effect, in which three different colors of sand are poured into a bowl of water, mixed, and then extracted one color at a time. Jonathan has done extensive work on this piece, including his invention in which the water is left clear throughout.

Canary Cage Another classic effect which Jonathan has updated and improved upon. As seen on Masters of Illusion this season, this is a faster, cleaner method with a seemingly effortless vanish.

Cigarette Paper Tear A beautiful and delicate version of the Torn and Restored Paper trick, done with a cigarette paper. Intimate enough for a Close-Up show, yet also plays big enough for a Parlor or Stage show. The French like it better than his Metamorphosis!

Capentro Jr. Two glasses and a coin are all completely examinable. One glass is used to cover the other, held by the spectator, then the coin penetrates the glass into the interior. A completely portable and immediately examinable Coin in a Bottle trick done with everyday objects.

Infinite Improbability Thirty years of work and study have led to this seemingly impossible card trick. Seen on Don’t Blink this season, it is the most requested trick in Jonathan’s current Close-Up show. He will be revealing the methodology here for the very first time.

Making your own card sword Jonathan has used many of the best card swords available, but was never felt that any of them looked like a real sword. So he designed his own, more “practical” looking sword which he uses regularly.

Cyrano A card sword routine incorporating card manipulation, theater, and rousing audience participation. With a deck of playing cards, a card sword, and this routine you can fill a stage — the ultimate in “packs small, plays large.”

Helicopter cards Jonathan approaches the Slydini classic with a new methodology that doesn’t demand the original eccentric performing style.

World’s Greatest Feat of Magic Jonathan’s most famous card trick, presented as a closer by numerous big-name card men and was featured on this season’s Don’t Blink. This piece blends prestiDIGITation, strong visual magic, and bad puns.

Who is he?

Jonathan Pendragon has performed at three Presidential Galas in Washington D.C., for the Queen of England, the Prince of Wales and the Royal Family of Monaco. He is the youngest performer to ever receive a Performing Fellowship from the Academy of Magical Arts (the governing body of the Magic Castle). He is the Grand Master of Grand Illusion: Jonathan Pendragon.

At the turn of the millennium, MAGIC magazine created a list of the 100 most influential people in the history of 20th Century magic. The list included Harry Houdini as well as more contemporary artists. Jonathan was one of only a handful of current performers named. David Copperfield said that “When the history of magic is written, Jonathan Pendragon will be remembered as one of its most creative performers.” Siegfried (of Siegfried and Roy) declared him a “Genius!” International magicians from Hans Klok to Criss Angel have identified Jonathan as one of their greatest influences.

Jonathan is a graduate of the University of California at Irvine with a degree in Theater, and it was there that he began to develop his trademark highly-physical performance style. Immediately following graduation, he found work in the film industry as both an actor and a stuntman. Jonathan’s gift for Illusion put him both in front of and behind the camera. Creating the famous “back handsprings down the church aisle” scene in THE BLUES BROTHERS, Jonathan worked with director John Landis and actor John Belushi to create the illusion that it was actually Belushi doing the tumbling. He worked several years for CIRCUS OF THE STARS, teaching and performing with actors like William Shatner.

Beginning in the early 80s, Jonathan began to develop a wholly unique form of magic, “Physical Grand Illusion.” This style of Illusion put the emphasis on the physical performance instead of the prop. At a time when magician after magician presented larger and larger illusions on television, some of which were elaborate camera tricks, Jonathan wowed international audiences with illusions based on years of physical training, including dance, gymnastics, and martial arts. He created The Pendragons, an illusion team who were as spectacular in their appearance and movement as anything they presented. Metamorphosis, their most famous illusion, involved a split-second transposition that would have fooled Houdini (the illusion’s inventor), according to the 2005 50th Anniversary Edition of the GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS.

Many of today’s most popular illusions were invented by Jonathan Pendragon: including Clearly Impossible, the most deceptive “sawing a woman in half” illusion ever invented, and the Fire Cage, the most popular assistant production in the world. He created and staged the opening illusion for Norman Jewison’s film BOGUS, and designed effects presented by the most famous names in magic.

Jonathan Pendragon’s work in the field of magic has encompassed everything from street magic to the largest illusion ever presented on stage (vanishing 25 showgirls for the TV special WORLD’S GREATEST MAGIC). He has written books on the philosophy of the art, and lectured internationally. He was twice named Magician of the Year by the Academy of Magical Arts, and has won the Grand Prix de Magique de Monte Carlo. The World Magic Awards has twice named him Best Illusionist and, in 2000, Magician of the Year.

Jonathan appeared in at least 14 prime time network television specials in the United States, and starred in the most elaborate magic special ever filmed: DISNEY’S NIGHT OF MAGIC, shot in Disneyland Paris. He has performed on television in approximately 50 countries around the world, and graced the stages of the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, the Palladium in London, the Olympia in Paris, the Wintergarten in Berlin, the Theater an der Wein in Vienna, the Toledo Opera in Spain, the Beijing Opera House in China, and the Music Hall in Cincinnati, where he created an evening of illusion presented in front of a symphony orchestra conducted by Erich Kunzel (a performance which was repeated at the Detroit Opera House). He gave a special performance at the foot of Mt. Fuji, in Japan, which was broadcast all over the country. Recently he appears regularly on three different magic television series, showcasing his versatility and skill in multiple styles: MASTERS OF ILLUSION on the CW network, DON’T BLINK on the Pop Channel, and EXTREME ESCAPES, on Reelz.

Today Jonathan Pendragon is revered in the art of Grand Illusion. He continues to travel the world, often touring with MASTERS OF ILLUSION LIVE, creating new magic as well as performing many of his classic effects, his performances garnering praise from a wide spectrum of luminaries outside of the magic world, including Stephen Hawking, Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes, and Neil Gaiman (who described him as a “magical person”). Once Ray Bradbury, after witnessing a performance by Jonathan, exclaimed “Remarkable!” Jonathan has transcended the line between art and life, between illusion and reality. When asked by USA TODAY how he wished to be remembered, Jonathan replied “As a myth.”