“You’ll See. You’ll Saw. You’ll Stick Around.”

I suppose one would have to be a magic aficionado or a master of cards to fully appreciate the temperate skills of Magician at Arms, Siegfried Tieber in his current pop-up downtown Los Angeles show, See/Saw: An Immersion into a Magician’s Mind, presented by  Atlas Obscura.

Penn and Teller are quite impressed to say the least. Tieber was invited to perform on stage in Las Vegas as the closing act for his idols’ long-running live show at the Rio last month, after appearing on Penn & Teller: Fool Us (episode: 50/50 Chance on the CW), with a trick that the legendary duo couldn’t figure out.

Magician Siegfried Tieber photograph by Aaron Champion card spread
Magician Siegfried Tieber Card Spread photographed by Aaron Champion.

Tieber is serious about the poetry of magic. According to the sleight of hand magician, “In our culture, we are often exposed to film and theatre and music and dance—all these glorious, beautiful, inspiring means of expression.  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.” For him, it was an intriguing challenge to design an interactive experience with the simplest tool – a deck of cards.

On this night, the LA Times is in the house photographing and video-taping the juxtaposed low-key, high-intensity evening, which made everyone feel a little bit like a superstar. Tieber makes a point of flitting around the room pre-show getting to know every one of his guests, remembering each person by name.  And there’s a reason for that.

During the two-part, fully immersive, unconventional act, you will be called upon to shuffle, choose, question or offer an explanation about what you think you saw.  It doesn’t hurt that a limited bar of hand-crafted libations are available before and during the evening to set the private, back room atmosphere.  The affair is truly intimate and full of conversation not at all meant to distract from the illusion, but rather enhance it.

Card Magic is more than mere printed pieces of paper. This instrument embodies chance, chaos and luck.  No hokey conjuring here. No distractions. Deft skill deployed with a history lesson on the ancient art form is breathtaking enough.  Even up close, it’s almost impossible to decipher Tieber’s palm maneuvers.

There is however, no card-sharking here.  According to Tieber, that’s entirely a different ruse and does not mix with magic.

Directed by Magic Castle/Academy of Magical Arts magician Jon Armstrong.

Impressive and Recommended.

Extended through Sunday, October 15, 2017

Now through Oct. 8:
7:00pm shows on Thu./Fri./Sat./Sun.
Late-shows on Fridays at 10:00pm
Matinées on Saturdays at 4:00pm

Oct. 12 through Oct. 15:
7:00pm shows on Thu./Fri./Sat./Sun.
Matinées on Saturday & Sunday at 4:00pm

Photo (above) by Aaron Champion: Magician Siegfried Tieber