How do you define magic?
I don’t even try.
Magic is too large by far to be defined, but I know it when I see it, know it when I feel it, and know enough to let it be. Most importantly, I know enough not to question it, second-guess it, or let my mind convince me that magic is anything but magic.
Some artists are magical, not many, and by that I mean precious few, perhaps a handful of artists are magical each generation. I do know one kind of magic by definition and description, and that is when an artist (or artists) transcend their genres. They do this by revealing their Godhead to us through being deeply in touch with their muses and creative spirits–combined, of course with the hard work and discipline it takes to truly work magic for real magic doesn’t waste itself on idiots, it is far too important for that. Now, how many artists work such transcendent magic? precious few indeed.
A couple nights ago at the CMC I ran our Beatle program, frankly expecting little, in fact, expecting less than little, I was expecting a disastrous lack of interest and enthusiasm. That was not what I got at all. of course, I loaded the deck, I put together a show that I would have dreamed of were I not the hostess, the insider, the obsessive collector with the connections and gumption to track down rarities and obscurities. I put on a great show. These are the bits of film I shared with Gainesvile:
Braverman’s Condensed Cream Of Beatles,
George Harrison’s “Crackerbox Palace” video,
and his “Cloud Nine” live in Japan with Eric Clapton,
John Lennon’s Cold Turkey,
Paul McCartney and the Fireman’s “Appletree Cinnabar Amber,”
Two Ringo videos, “It Don’t Come Easy,” and “Back Off Boogaloo,”
Beatles promo films: Strawberry Fields Forever, Penny Lane, A Day In the Life, All You Need Is Love, and a Hey Jude Rehearsal film.
Paul McCartney’s Secret Web-site concert,
and lastly, the Beatles Live in Paris in 1965, (never seen in America).
Of course a great program does not stir up magic in every room, not when there is the possibility of indifference and cynicism. Nothing dulls magic like indifference and cynicism. One thing I have learned about Beatle people, they are NOT indifferent and rarely cynical. We had a great crowd too, a good turn-out, but even that does not guarantee magic. Miriam came out and set up her lovely display of Beatles collectibles, which really added a festive atmosphere to the event, but none of that, still, guarantees a magical result.
So, perhaps you are thinking that I am about to talk about mundane magic, a use of the word that has cheapened its meaning, but I am not. The mundane element may simply be that the show went great, we had a great crowd, and I had the best night I’ve had since moving to Gainesville. THAT is the mundane magic.
The real magic was in the Beatles, and in how their music, love, spirituality and creative spirits still captivate people. We had an audience of mixed ages, but many of the audience were older, contemporary to when the Beatles happened. What I did not see coming (but had secretly hoped for in my sub-conscious) was that the entire audience would be wholly engaged in experiencing the Beatles, in knowing that what they were seeing was special, rare, and worthy of their full attention. As I looked out into the audience what I saw were a room full of captivated 14 year-olds, people feeling things they may not have felt since the Christmases of their childhoods. They had traveled through time with the Beatles, and found themselves sitting in a room stripped of their cynicism. There was THAT kind of joy in the room. I could see in their faces that they had returned to a state of wonder that adults rarely experience (unless they have learned to cultivate it). All of them. They were slack-jawed, eyes wide, wholly in LOVE with the Beatles, the moment, and each other. They were in the moment, mindful, and wholly and vibrantly alive!
Not once did anyone fuck with their god-damned phones! And you don’t think THAT is magical?
That, my friends is the kind of magic the Beatles (together or apart, it makes no difference) possess. They can transport full grown world-weary adults into immersed and captivated joyous children, and that is no small spell to cast.
John, Paul, George and Ringo… we love you, still.