Worth A Look | May 9, 2014 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - May 9, 2014

Worth A Look


Modern mind reader

Although local magician David Gerard will perform in his largest space yet this Saturday in Mountain View, he doesn't think he'll be quitting his day job as a Google marketer anytime soon.

"A big part of being good at magic is being good with people," Gerard said. His work in the tech industry also has the added benefit of keeping him in touch with his core audience, the Bay Area tech wizards, who work to create a different kind of magic.

The show's props will include little more than a deck of cards, paper, markers and duct tape. With magic that relies on intimate insight into the human psyche, Gerard moves away from"rabbit in a hat" illusions, buoyed by trickery and sleight-of-hand. Gerard wants an audience that lingers on the blurred line between perception and reality.

"It becomes gray, and I think that's a good thing," he said. "The show exists not in fancy props but in people's heads."

Gerard doesn't like the term "trick," because it implies a flatness and predictability, uncolored by a technique's textural nuances. Though he's been called a mentalist, Gerard doesn't like that either. In today's information age, a simple Internet search of the term would shatter its entertainment value.

"If you give people an out, you're doing them a disservice," Gerard said.

Ultimately, Gerard wants to entertain, so he steers clear of easily-dismissible puff-of-smoke illusions in lieu of a mind-bending show that demonstrates his very real abilities.

Gerard will perform at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on May 10 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View. Tickets are $20. For more information, visit gerardmagic.com or call 650-903-6000.

—Lena Pressesky


'Keyboard Conversations'

While pop music has a low barrier of entry by design, other genres of music can be harder to break into.

It was with this in mind that Jeffrey Siegel developed "Keyboard Conversations," the pianist's long-running concert series that aims introduce audiences to classical music through a combination of light conversation and performance.

"I make the listening experience an enriching one for the avid music lover, and perhaps even more important, the remarks provide an accessible introduction to people who may not yet be avid music lovers, but who would like to be," Siegel said of his series, which is coming to the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto on May 15.

Siegel said he believes there are many younger people who are interested in classical music, but who know very little about the genre. In the upcoming performance, titled "Mistresses and Masterpieces," he will play a number of pieces by Brahms, Schumann, Liszt, Chopin and Debussy — all of them written for or about a significant romantic interest in the composers' lives.

He will preface each piece with "brief and nontechnical" remarks, that he said are designed to help the audience better connect with each composition.

"The audience therefore feels they are listening on the inside track," Siegel explained.

"Keyboard Conversations: Mistresses and Masterpieces" is scheduled for May 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Schultz Cultural Arts Hall at the Oshman Family JCC, located at 3921 Fabian Way, in Palo Alto. Tickets range from $25 to $35. For more information call (650)223-8609 or go to paloaltojcc.org/events, or keyboardconversations.com.

—Nick Veronin


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