In and Of Itself – How did he do it? (warning – SPOILERS)

Published / by john3 / Leave a Comment

Last night my wife and I saw “In and of Itself”, Derek DelGaudio’s one man show in NYC.  It was an amazing show, quite entertaining and well staged.  It’s a tough show to describe, a blend of storytelling, magic, and existential commentary that runs about 75 minutes (no intermission).

Two of the magical moments involved audience members, and both were very impressive.  What follows is definitely SPOILERS so you have been warned.

DelGaudio does a trick where he pulls a card and “randomly” calls on an audience member.  He then pulls about ten envelopes from a shelf and asks the audience member to choose one of the envelopes.  The audience member opens the envelope and reads the letter inside.  Amazingly, it’s a personal hand-written letter to that audience member from an old friend.  The audience member on our night did not react as emotionally as DelGaudio expected, and I was also surprised she was so calm about the amazing trick.

So here’s my theory about how the trick is done.  Weeks before each performance the show’s producers research audience members that are attending (they have the purchaser information).  They locate a friend or relative via social media, and ask that friend or relative to write a letter.  They make enough copies of the letter so they can put the same letter in each envelope, and on the night of the show DelGaudio just calls their name as the “random” audience member.

Note that he doesn’t actually call their name, he calls the description from the “I Am” card that the audience member chose.  That leads to the big trick near the end where DelGaudio accurately names the card chosen by each audience member (or at least those that stand up). That trick is accomplished (IMHO) by the staff tracking each audience member as they enter the theater and the cards are collected.  DelGaudio probably is wearing a discrete audio earpiece and someone backstage is directing him and providing the card name for each audience member.   This is similar to what a “psychic” like John Edwards would do when conducting a session with a crowd and using the “hot reading” technique.

These are just my theories about how those two tricks may have been done.  I am certainly not detracting from the trick, the integration into the story, execution, and production value is amazing.  Have you seen the show and if so how do you think the tricks were done?

Family Tree update

Published / by john3

For many years I maintained a family tree on our own servers.  That web site is no longer accessible as there were security concerns with the software.  I now maintain family tree data for the Fix, DelVecchio, Connolly and Lanzetti families at the Ancestry.com Roots Web database which is a public database. I also maintain a family tree as part of the regular Ancestry.com service, but you will need an account with them to access the tree.

 

Old 78’s

Published / by john3

Finally got around to transferring some old recordings of Joseph Lanzetti (Judy’s grandfather) to the computer.  Al from The Loft Recording Studio in Bronxville copied our old 78 RPM records to audio cassette a number of years ago.  I used Audacity and a Tascam US-100 to copy the tape to our PC and then process as MP3.  The recording is a bit scratchy, but amazing to hear this moment in time.  I am hoping to add more as time permits, but the conversion is time-consuming and life is busy.  🙂

 

Stubhub Fail

Published / by john3

Judy and I have a partial season ticket plan with the NY Islanders.  The plan includes all the local rivals, and we had a pair of tickets to see the Isles play the Devils on December 28.  That wound up being a conflict as we were celebrating Christmas that day with some of the family, so I decided to try StubHub to sell my tickets.  The process of listing the tickets was seamless, they even allowed me to scan and upload the tickets as PDF files.  A few days after I listed the tickets they were sold, and the money was deposited into Paypal.  Seemed like it had all worked out well.

About 7:15pm on December 28 I received an email from StubHub telling me the venue had refused entry to the purchaser of my tickets.  They refunded the buyer and charged my credit card for the sale transaction.  When I contacted them they told me that the venue (Nassau Coliseum) doesn’t accept scanned tickets for entry to events.  Not much I can do at this point other than wonder:

1: Why does StubHub allow listing scanned tickets if venues don’t always accept them?

2: Why can’t the Coliseum accept a scanned ticket when they can tell it’s valid via the barcode?

Anyway, just a warning if you are planning to sell tickets on StubHub.  If you have actual tickets (and not the downloaded PDF tickets that Ticketmaster provides) then you need to physically ship tickets to the purchaser.