Ricky Jay is one of the greatest living magicians of today. His supernatural sleight-of-hand places him light-years ahead of all but very few magicians alive, and when coupled with his vast knowledge and intellectual understanding of magic – makes him unique in any era.
The above video is Ricky’s one-man show from Broadway, ‘Ricky Jay and his 52 Assistants’, and is a masterclass in magic, theatre, sleight-of-hand, scripting, presentation, magical history, and much more.
See the trailer for Ricky’s forthcoming movie here, a wonderful demonstration of his skills here, and Ricky’s website here.
Timothy Doner is a remarkable American teenager. Almost a year ago he uploaded the above video to YouTube – in which he demonstrates incredible proficiency in 20 languages which include English, French, Hausa, Wolof, Russian, German, Yiddish, Hebrew, Arabic, Pashto, Farsi, Chinese, Italian, Turkish, Indonesian, Dutch, Xhosa, Swahili, Hindi and Ojibwe. Today, less than 12 months later, he has added another three langauges to his list. Hear a BBC interview with Timothy here and read a full article on the Daily Mail website here.
The world’s greatest polyglot, Ziad Fazah, claims to speak 58 languages – see him put to the test on Spanish television here.
Chimpanzees may have more smarts than humans, at least regarding short-term memories, new research suggests.
A Japanese researcher presented a video showing the remarkable abilities of a chimpanzee named Ayumu at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in February of this year. When the numbers 1 through 9 appeared randomly on a screen and then disappeared, the chimpanzee was able to recall the exact sequence and location of each number. Ayumu has also learnt numbers 1 through 19 and is able to touch each one in ascending order, which hasn’t been shown before, Tetsuro Matsuzawa, a researcher at Kyoto University’s Primate Research Institute, told LiveScience.
As Matsuzawa showed the video to a room of scientists and journalists, murmurs of amazement were heard. “Don’t worry, nobody can do it,” Matsuzawa said, with an almost mischievous smile. “It’s impossible for you.”
A select few humans have such abilities, but these are typically people with savant syndrome, which is accompanied by severe mental disabilities; it’s simply beyond the powers of an ordinary human, Matsuzawa said. On the other hand, six out of six chimpanzees tested could rapidly remember the location and order of nine digits, he said.
This incredible short-term (or “working”) memory helps chimpanzees survive in the wild, where they often must make rapid and complex decisions. Working memory is an active form of short-term memory, a mental workspace that allows the brain to juggle multiple thoughts simultaneously.
For chimps, the amazing working memory likely helps the animals navigate the branches of huge trees to feed, for example, or decide what to do when competing groups of animals are threatening one another, he said.
In 2012 Yann Frisch took two of the most revered prizes available in the world of magic – “Champion du Monde” at the Beijing International Magic Convention, and Grand Prix in close-up magic at FISM 2012. The above routine was viewed over 1.3 million times in a single week when first released on YouTube, and is a magical masterclass in sleight-of-hand and misdirection.
The above video is of William Polly breaking the world record for a fixed-routine cup stack, at 5.595 seconds. The above video is NOT sped up.
Cup stacking is a sport that involves stacking specialized plastic cups in specific sequences in as little time as possible. The governing body setting the rules is the WSSA (World Sport Stacking Association). Participants of sport stacking stack cups in pre-determined sequences, competing against the clock or another player. Sequences are usually pyramids of three, six, or ten cups. The sport has generated a large YouTube community, with stackers uploading their fastest times to the video sharing website.
The sport received national attention in 1990 on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. The sport was invented by Wayne Godinet, who introduced the first formations and dubbed the sport “Karango Cup Stack”. Physical education teacher Bob Fox later developed the activity into a true sport by formalizing the rules and establishing a governing body, the World Sport Stacking Association (WSSA). He also founded a company named Speed Stacks, and along with his partner Larry Goers, created a line of proprietary Sport Stacking products including the patented timing system known as the StackMat which is also used in speedcubing.
In 2004, the organization changed the name of cup stacking to sport stacking in what it describes as an attempt to give it “immediate identification as a competitive sport.”
See many more phenomenal Speed Stacking videos here.
Steve Forte is widely considered to be the foremost authority in the world on casino game protection and card cheating. His handling, expertise, knowledge and understanding of how to cheat casinos is unrivalled, and although now works to educate and protect people – for many years worked himself as a professional casino cheat throughout America.
Ponta the Smith is without question one of the world’s greatest coin magicians, and the videos below are all the more impressive when you know thatevery SINGLE video below uses real, normal coins. The coins he uses are not tricked or gimmicked in ANY way.
BEAUTIFUL COIN VANISH:
COINS ACROSS ROUTINE:
For those that wish to dedicate YEARS of practice to become anything close to the above level of skill, you can learn from Ponta himself on a DVD he released to the magical community in 2009. See the trailer for Ponta’s DVD here, and buy the DVD here.
Anthony Gatto is without question the greatest living juggler of today.
Born in Manhattan, New York in 1973, Gatto was destine to forever change the face of the juggling world.
Growing up in Maryland, he was a juggling prodigy, made his first television appearance at the age of 8 on the program ‘That’s Incredible!’, and proved himself world-class by the age of nine. At age 10 Gatto secured a contract at the Flamingo Hilton in the show “City Lights” on the famous Las Vegas strip. It was the only time such a young child had been a stand-alone, featured act in one of the great shows of Las Vegas.
Having toured the world his entire life, and continued to win gold medals in competitions right around the globe, in the year 1998 Anthony met his wife Danielle who was then a professional dancer. They were married in 1999 and just six months later Danielle joined the act as Anthony’s assistant. More recently the pair joined Cirque du Soleil, and have now been touring with the “Kooza” show for three years.
One of the highlights of Anthony’s career came in the year 2000 when he competed in the Festival International Du Cirque De Monte Carlo. This is the most acclaimed competition in the circus world and no juggler had ever taken a gold medal. This pressure did not seem to faze Gatto, as he walked away with a gold and to this day is the only juggler in the world to hold such a prestigious prize.
With all of his accomplishments and uncanny ability Gatto has been dubbed as by experts and spectators alike as “The World’s Greatest Juggler.” Many people credit Anthony for bringing juggling to new and undiscovered levels of difficulty and excitement.