George Saterial is an American Magician who
has the unique distinction of being magic's only winner of
a double gold in 1999. He is magic's only Two-Time Gold Medal
winner. This is the first time in the history of magic that
this has happened. He won the gold medal and the People's
Choice Award at the 1999 SAM convention. He also won the gold
medal and First Place Stage contest Award at the IBM convention
in 1999. At FISM 2000 in Lisbon, he won joint third place
for General Magic. He has had many articles written about
him and he has appeared on the cover of many leading magic
magazines. Articles about him have appeared in many papers
and in Genii, Magic, M-U-M, The Society of American Magicians
monthly magazine and The Linking Ring, The International Brotherhood
of Magicians monthly magazine. He has had a lot of Press coverage
in the USA and other countries and has appeared on Television
Being a Mentalist, I predict that he will
soon star in the next World's Greatest Magic. Many magicians
including Jay Marshall, Gary Hughes, Lance Burton and Channing
Pollock have praised George's act very highly. Hardly surprising,
because George's act flows smoothly and is highly original.
He presents it superbly and confidently. In other words, what
Eugene Burger describes as " creating special experiences".
George's act is all that and more. Richard Kaufman, the Editor
of Genii , wrote an extensive article about George in which
he described him as ' a grand artist, someone who makes you
sit up in your chair and causes your eyes to widen'. John
Moehring of 'Magic ' also wrote a major article on George
in the September 1999 issue. Lionel Ritchie, Robert Duval,
Tony Randall and a whole host of top Hollywood and musical
stars have praised George's magic. George is an experienced
performer and has been involved in magic for almost 30 years.
He got interested in magic when he was 7 years old and at
12 years old he did a birthday party for a neighbor and got
paid the princely sum of $5 Dollars. Today, some 25 years
later, his fees are a little higher. George has done and still
does all kinds of magic, close-up, illusions, cabaret etc.
A full time professional since 1986 he has performed at The
Magic Castle, on cruise ships, Television and at some of the
most prestigious venues of the world. I heard about George
from many Magician friends in the USA. They referred to him
as a magic sensation and described him as " the Guy with the
Grandfather Clock" a description that George quite enjoys.
I had the pleasure of first meeting George
on Monday morning at FISM 2000 where I was part of the competition
backstage team. Later that morning we went for a cup of coffee
and chatted like old friends. We chatted on and off during
FISM and on the 7th July, ( which happened to be my 53rd birthday)
George and his wife Holly, with Torkova, Charles Brook, Dan
& Carol Garrett, Angelo Carbone and Dave & Jann Goodsell joined
me for my birthday lunch. We had a wonderful afternoon. George
and I became friends and he invited me to visit him and Holly
in Boston where they live. I was especially pleased to see
George up on stage to collect a FISM award. Apart from being
a fine magician, George is a very down-to- earth person without
any false airs and graces. Unlike many superstars he is very
humble and possesses a very genuine charm. He is soft spoken
and courteous man and although he confesses to be a shy person
he is very open in conversation and is always willing to share
his experiences and vast knowledge of magic. Even though it
is a year later he still is quite amazed at being magic's
only Two-Time Gold Medal winner. Since FISM we have kept in
touch and before he flew to Japan to appear at The SAM Convention
there in August 2000, I spoke to him about his life and his
thoughts on magic. …
Q. Basically, you are a self-confessed
shy person. So how do you make the transformation to the character
on stage? A. The transformation starts while I set up
the act. There are so many little details (filing the doves
claws, making the match pulls, etc.) to concentrate on, I
become very focused on what I'm doing. The "outside world"
starts to fade. You get tunnel vision. I guess it's like a
basketball player making a free throw. He just focuses on
the basket and not the crowd. Visualization is also very important.
Prior to the show, I would find a quite place, put on a pair
of head-phones, listen to my music, and mentally "perform"
the act. This technique is also very relaxing. Once my mind
is warmed up, I have to warm up physically. Usually by performing
some stretching exercises and jumping jacks. The transformation
is completed while I'll apply my stage makeup, and get into
costume. It's like putting on a second skin. As the saying
goes... "if you dress the part, you become the part."
Q. I know you are an experienced performer
but it has taken you a few years before you developed the
'Guy with the Grandfather Clock' act. Can you share your experiences
and frustrations as to how it came about? A. When I first
starting working with doves, I used the typical bird cage.
I never liked it. I always felt that as soon as the curtain
opened, the audience knew what I was about to do. So I got
rid of the cage and attached a perch to my magic table. Most
of the time the doves would stay, but ever now and then, one
or two would fly off. Several magicians suggested not to feed
the birds and then place seed on their perch so they would
stay. I don't "starve" train my doves. I never have. Personally,
I don't' believe in this training technique. I don't believe
it's healthy for the birds. In addition, I never liked the
"magicians" table. I wanted something to create a theatrical
setting. An atmosphere. Plus, something unique that I could
be identified with. As you said, "the guy with the.grandfather
clock...." I searched around for many months, playing around
with a lot of different ideas. Nothing satisfied me. One day
I walked into a furniture store, and saw the grandfather clocks.
Something clicked. I just stared at them. I could visualize
it on stage. But a clock is a "living" object. How could it
fit in with my act and make sense. I dismissed it as a bad
idea. I kept searching. Over the next few months, I couldn't
find anything else that influenced me. I kept thinking about
the clocks. Finally, I decided to build one out of cardboard
to play around with. Once I had something physical, the ideas
started to flow. Even after I built my working model, it was
still quite awhile before I performed with it. I had many
unsolved problems both mechanically and theatrically that
I could not answer. I felt it wasn't ready. I kept procrastinating.
Finally, I got to a point where I had to just jump in, ready
or not. The only way to learn to swim is to get wet. By performing
and getting audience reactions, the act progressed dramatically.
It has gone into directions that I never could have imagined
by just daydreaming in my workshop. Over the years, I have
rebuilt the clock several times over, incorporating new ideas
and improvements. The only original parts left are the face
frame and base.TOP
Q. How do you feel about being Magic's
only two time Gold Medal winner? 1999 was a great year for
you. Tell us a little about how the SAM and IBM Gold Medals
came about? A. When I think about last summer, it's still
very strange and surreal. I'm still not used to all the attention.
I feel as though it's all a dream. I decided to enter the
contests as an incentive to refine and polish my act. Over
the last several years, the act was placed on the back burner,
and I was focusing on other projects. I became stagnant. My
true passion however was still with my clock act. I had many
ideas I wanted to work on, plus I wanted the act to get recognition.
..2 Contests are a great way to give yourself a deadline.
All I was really after was to showcase the act, and hopefully
place well in the competitions. I never thought that I would
actually be honored with one gold medal, let alone two!
Q. You've always publicly stated that your
wife Holly has been a great supportive influence in your career.
Tell me how you met and how Holly got into magic because of
you? A. I met Holly through my college roommate, Ken.
He had an interest in magic and I'd shown him how to do a
couple of simple tricks with cards, coins or ropes. He'd practice
all week and then show his family when he went home on the
weekends. When he came back to school, he'd always complain
that his cousin would ruin the trick on him. Turns out his
cousin was Holly! She hated magic! (laugh) . A short time
after, I was putting together a new brochure, and I needed
a couple of girls for the photos. Ken suggested his "cute"
cousin Holly, and she worked out great. Later, I needed an
assistant for a variety show Ken and I produced, and once
again Holly worked out great. To thank her for her help, I
took her out for dinner, and the rest as they say is history.
When I was struggling with the decision of becoming a full-time
magician, she was very supportive and believed in me. A lot
of women may have said to stop dreaming and get a real job.
She backed up my dreams and supported me all the way. 100%.
Q. You credit many leading magicians as
being helpful to you on the road to stardom. You often speak
about the Portuguese magician James Rainho , who now lives
in the USA, as being an influence. Can you share some of this
? A. Jimmy has always been a good friend. He was probably
the first professional magician I knew. In addition to performing,
Jim created and sold magic effects. Some how, my father heard
of him, and we went to his home. The special thing about Jim
was that he didn't just sell the tricks. He gave me some pointers,
and made sure I knew how to use the prop. If I had some problem,
he was always willing to help. It wasn't a formal teacher/student
relationship. A few years later, the local IBM ring in Boston
sponsored a youth magic contest, which I entered, and won
first place. Jimmy was there, and I think it was the first
time he saw me perform. He took notes during my act. After
the show, he took the time to sit with me and discuss everything.
I never asked him to do it, he just volunteered. He's very
generous that way. I feel very fortunate, that many of the
local magicians took an interest in me when I was growing
up. Maybe they saw something in me, or maybe it was just my
enthusiasm. They've been just great. TOP
Q. Your most recent major performance was
at FISM 2000 in Portugal. Now that it is all over and you
walked away with an award, what are your recollections?
A. Probably what I'll always remember, and what meant the
most to me, was how many people (yourself and Charles included)
were rooting for me. It was an honor and privilege to be selected
by the Society of American Magicians to represent my country.
In the months prior to the competition, I received many well
wishes. After I finished my set in the competition, many of
the Americans at FISM congratulated me on my performance,
and said that they were proud of me. Knowing that all those
people cared about me, and appreciated what I did, really
made it all worth while. Receiving the actual award was just
the icing on the cake. ..
Q. You are about to leave on a tour of
Japan in August 2000. Before you leave can you offer some
suggestions to young magic performers? A. Follow your
dreams, and they will become reality. Learn all you can about
theatre and performance. There's more to magic than just a
bunch of tricks. Work hard, and always try your best. And
above everything else, stay grounded. To me the sign of a
true professional is one who not only knows his craft, but
more importantly one who respects others. Written by : Tony
Brook for THE MAGIC WEB CHANNEL TOP
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