Allan Kronzek, an author and magician from Sag Harbor, will be performing the new version of his show “The Art of Fooling” at the Rogers Memorial Library on Monday, August 13 at 7 p.m. It will be a 60 to 80 minute show illustrated with paintings and posters of magicians past, and is intended for adults and teens.
Kronzek has “been fascinated by magic since the age of 10” and has shared this fascination with readers and viewers in his various performances and books for the past 20 years. He is the author of many books, such as The Sorcerer’s Companion – A Guide to the World of Harry Potter, which was a New York Times Bestseller. His next book, The Book of Powers – Lessons in the Art of Magic is going to be the teaching manual for the Hocus Pocus Project, which is a non-profit outreach program that uses magic to empower veterans, at-risk youth, and children in hospitals.
When he is not at home in Sag Harbor, Kronzek travels to schools and libraries in the New York area to perform programs that teach about the origins of “magic.” He performs close-up and strolling magic at private parties, has performed at Monday Night Magic in New York and has been featured on CNN.
Kronzek’s performances are not only magic shows, but also educational experiences that include a lot of historical information. “The Art of Fooling” is a presentation that allows its viewers to experience magic as it was performed at various times in the past. Kronzek teaches many concepts about the history of magic, such as why performers were feared as sorcerers and how the scientific revolution changed the perception of magic. The version of “The Art of Fooling” that Kronzek will be performing is “a mix of mystery, history, and trickery revolving around the ancient art of conjuring.” Kronzek calls it “a combination of performance and a condensed history of magic as a performing art,” the beginning of which, he believes, was in ancient Greece.
Kronzek’s interest in magic began when he was a child. He began as most enthusiasts do, by seeing a magician’s performance and “just being enthralled.” He questioned the magician immediately after the performance, asking for secrets, but when that didn’t work, his father drove him to Regow’s House of Enchantment, a magic shop in Pittsburg, which heightened his interest. By the time he was in high school, Kronzek had read all of the magic books in the library, so he began to look through bookstores, where he would sometimes be misdirected to anthropology and history sections. Reading the books about magic in these sections fostered an interest in “everything that relates to and intersects with magic” from its history to the psychology involved.
Psychology is very important in respect to “magic,” and most importantly, perception, or the way that people take in information and process it. An understanding of perception, according to Kronzek, allows the magician to “mess with” minds and induce perceptual error. Perhaps magic really is only a psychological phenomenon then, created when our minds see something differently than how it really is. Viewers who attend Kronzek’s performance on the August 13 will be able to see for themselves how their minds interpret what they see, and hopefully, as Kronzek says, the experience will “resonate on a deeper level” and they will see how “the impossible is actually strangely familiar.”
Allan Kronzek, “The Art of Fooling,” Monday, August 13, 7 p.m., Rogers Memorial Library, 91 Coopers Farm Road, Southampton. Reservations 631-283-0774 ext. 6, www.myrml.org.