“If you have any questions,” Jean Merlin says as he finishes his first trick, causing two small ropes to grow in size like magic, “don’t hesitate to ask.” And he means it, too; as he goes through his lecture, he’s showing his method, first in real-time, then again in slow motion, and if anyone wants to see it again, the crowd need only ask.

Merlin goes over each trick multiple times, showing the deft moves of his hands as a living diagram. He even uses uses smaller colored ropes to show where and how the knots and cuts are made. The crowd is invited to ask questions at any time but they remain in rapt attention, oohing and ahhing at the method behind his magic.

I won’t be spoiling that method for you today, partly because I don’t want to ruin the secret, but also because mere words can’t explain how impressive it is to see Merlin work, and to learn how he makes these difficult tricks look so easy. To watch a legend like Merlin perform his magic is already a show to remember, but to actually get to see how he makes the impossible possible is great opportunity. And GeniiCon makes these living legends accessible to anyone who attends.

Jean Merlin

Jean Merlin teaching a member of the audience the 'Professor's Nightmare'

Accessibility is key, because magic is a global profession. While Merlin’s lecture is in English, he also offers a handbook of pictures and diagrams for sale, made available to anyone at the con who wishes to learn more in a way that anyone of any language can understand.

Merlin even asks if there are any specific rope tricks anyone wants to learn. An audience member pipes up and asks how to do the ‘Professor’s Nightmare’. Merlin obliges, showing it fast, then again in slow motion, then even invites him up on the stage to give him a hands-on lesson.

An audience member asks what kinds of rope he uses: he says cotton, like they use on small sailboats. He then throws a piece of the rope for him to keep. And even while teaching these tricks, he maintains the humor he’d use if he were performing for an everyday audience.

At GeniiCon, you’re here to learn from the world’s greatest magicians. And Jean Merlin’s lecture is as inviting and informative as it is fun to watch.

Keep checking back over the weekend for more reports from the heart of GeniiCon 2017. 

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