BWW Review: SEE/SAW Magician Siegfried Tieber Amazes Close-Up Audience Conjuring Unbelievable Playing Card Manipulations
Siegfried Tieber is a member and regular performer at the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood, an exclusive private club for the Academy of Magical Arts. Although he has appeared in a few film productions and collaborated with numerous organizations, his heart is in performing close-up magic in front of live audiences - always with his sleeves rolled up. And now, like all the others who have had the opportunity to attend one of his amazing shows, I can share with you how incredible it is to witness his feats of prestidigitation mere inches in front of you during his solo show SEE/SAW, presented by Atlas Obscura at Civic Center Studios in Downtown Los Angeles, directed by Magic Castle/Academy of Magical Arts magician Jon Armstrong.
After finding Civic Center Studios, a secret hideaway whose entrance is within the parking lot at 207 South Broadway inside the historic core of Downtown Los Angeles (and formerly the office of criminal defense attorney Max Solomon, Bugsy Siegel and Mickey Cohen's lawyer), we were met at the door of this brick and steel den cultural center for artists and musicians by one of the mirror, identical twins Dahlia and Dia Taquali. Directed to walk up a flight of candle-lit stairs, we did several double-takes when met by the other twin (before knowing there were twins present) as we entered the performance space. Consisting of a well-stocked bar with friendly bartender and displays of magic items placed on tables around the room, our eyes were drawn to the 24 chairs arranged in two rows around a magician's table at the far end. And mingling with the small crowd was the magician himself, amicably speaking with all 24 people in his nightly audience, getting to know their names so he could call upon any one of us during the performance.
With his unique combination of an Austrian father ("my name") and Colombian mother ("my hair") who raised him in Ecuador ("my accent"), as well as his incredibly animated face which he knows how to use to maximum dramatic effect during each and every trick, Siegfried is a true wonder to behold. During the evening, he shares that "magic is based on a deception that creates an illusion," which did little to explain his amazing prowess with cards, especially when using one deck in plain sight after several audience members shuffle the deck - or predicting which card would be found in the sealed envelope hanging above his head before we even arrived. His type of magic definitely appeals to the emotions with elements of mystery and surprise thrown in to create gasps of wonder throughout his two-hour show.
Siegfried plays host, historian, and illusionist as he guides intimate audiences on an unconventional journey, first meeting his audience members as they arrive, asking questions about us and learning our names to be able to call upon us during the show. The evening becomes more than just a close-up magic show as it becomes an immersion into a magician's mind as Siegfried invites us to take a closer look at the art of conjuring with playing cards as he performs what I can only describe as mind-blowing manipulation of a deck of playing cards, often shuffled by those sitting around the table with him.
Our host's ambition is to share (and infect us with) his passion for a beautiful but often misunderstood art form, a contemporary take on an ancient art form where the important question isn't how, but why. His insider's look made perfect sense, but there is no way I could possibly tell you how or why his hands were able to do what they did. Even I was shocked as my mouth dropped open in wonder and awe after each of his mystical card manipulations, especially as a card he bent in half and placed in the middle of the deck managed to transform into the card on top of the deck right before our eyes!
"In our culture, we are often exposed to film and theatre and music and dance-all these glorious, beautiful, inspiring means of expression," Ecuadorian-born, Los Angeles-based Tieber explains. "However, most people don't often encounter magic performed live. In order to appreciate the enormous potential of this fascinating, deep, complex art form, it has to be experienced up close."
And I so wish someone could explain how that tiny, red plastic car magically stops at the right card on the table as an audience member uses one finger to move it? That bit alone had me thinking that this man has true physic powers - until he admitted to be a non-believer. In my mind, that is exactly how he manages to manipulate the cards as well as our minds!
After six shows per week, over four days each week since September 14, 2017, his final SEE/SAW sold-out performance takes place on Sunday, October 29. So now is the time to follow Siegfried Tieber on Facebook so that you can be sure to experience the wonder he creates at his next scheduled performance. Or perhaps you will be lucky enough to catch him in the Close-Up Room at the Magic Castle the next time you attend. Just the chance to do so is worth finding someone who can issue you an invitation to get in!
• See/Saw event site & tickets - http://www.atlasobscura.com/seesaw
• See/Saw Facebook event page - https://www.facebook.com/events/864972423653104
• Siegfried Tieber official site - http://www.siegfriedtieber.com
• Siegfried Tieber Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/SiegfriedTieberMagic
• Siegfried's personal Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/chacha.sigi