<![CDATA[Mark Mitton - Blog]]>Sun, 21 May 2017 08:01:28 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Magical Night on Broadway]]>Thu, 05 May 2016 06:39:59 GMThttp://markmitton.com/blog/magical-night-on-broadwayLast night, Susanna and I went to see our friend Kevin Chamberlin in Disaster, the musical comedy - a fabulously silly show filled with gags & 70’s music. Kevin and Faith Prince tell a touching love story that made us laugh and cry. After the show, we went out with a gang including Will Swenson (of Hair-fame, and filling in this week for Roger Bart) who was joined by his wife, the fabulous 6-time Tony-award winner Audra McDonald, currently starring in Shuffle Along. Will asked me to do a trick for Audra, as opera singer Richard Troxell looked on. Dan Finnerty caught the moment on his iPhone. 

It was such an honor to do tricks for these Broadway stars who bring their own magic to so many people every day. What an amazing night! Thanks, Kevin!!
L to R: Dan Finnerty, a very surprised Audra McDonald, Will Swenson, Richard Troxell.
<![CDATA[Tribeca Film Festival Commercial]]>Mon, 25 Apr 2016 06:17:53 GMThttp://markmitton.com/blog/tribeca-film-festival-commercialA video I shot for this year's Tribeca Film Festival with comedian Duval Culpepper is now online. It was a delight to work with the whole production team.
<![CDATA[John Conway's Game of Life]]>Mon, 04 Apr 2016 06:35:47 GMThttp://markmitton.com/blog/john-conways-game-of-life
Just got back from the Gathering for Gardner in Atlanta, where I had the pleasure of presenting with legendary mathematicians John Horton Conway and Richard Guy (who at 99 1/2 years of age is still as spry as a 25-year old!), together with Martin Gardner's son James Gardner and University of Oklahoma student Nathan Justus on John Conway's famous Game of Life.

John simplified Von Neumann's algorithm based on the idea of self-replicating robots. He did this by modifying the game of Go over 18 months, playing with five or six people until the rules just felt right. An important part of the game was having "persnickety" participants like Richard to make sure that every piece was put in its proper place. John felt that every key aspect of the Life algorithm was discovered during this period. 

Once the Life algorithm was programmed by Richard Guy and his son Michael Guy (John's close friend at Cambridge), most nerds started playing with Life as a computer program. John felt that the computer program turned Life into "a spectator sport", and Richard Guy thought "it went too fast".

So this session was to encourage people to try Life the way John thinks of it... as a manual game.  If you are interested in learning to play the Game of Life manually, just write to me for the directions or look around online. This 1970 article about the Game of Life was one of the most popular in Martin Gardner's years of columns for Scientific American.

For more information about John Conway, "the world's most charismatic mathematician", read this fantastic article by his biographer, Siobhan Roberts.
<![CDATA[Can you trust your ears?]]>Tue, 02 Feb 2016 08:51:02 GMThttp://markmitton.com/blog/can-you-trust-your-earsA video of the McGurk Effect, which I created with my friend Josh Aviner a while ago, suddenly appeared in the Independent today. The film demonstrates how seeing influences hearing. Ventriloquists have played with many variations of the McGurk Effect for a very long time.
<![CDATA['The World in Play' at the Cloisters]]>Wed, 20 Jan 2016 08:39:10 GMThttp://markmitton.com/blog/the-world-in-play-at-the-cloistersAn extraordinary exhibition of playing cards from the late Middle Ages opened at the Cloisters last night. It was an honor to be invited by curator Timothy B. Husband to perform card magic at the opening reception. I used a facsimile of a deck known as the Cloisters Playing Cards from the Burgundian Netherlands (ca. 1475–80), which is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is the only complete deck from the period, consisting of 52 hand-painted cards with four suits pertaining to the hunt: Collars (for dogs), Tethers (for hounds), Horns (for hunting), and Nooses (for suspending birds or small game from the belt). 

You can read a nice New York Times review of the exhibition here.
With curator Timothy B. Husband, who is holding the 10 of Horns.
<![CDATA[THE MAGIC OF SANTIAGO CALATRAVA]]>Wed, 28 Oct 2015 03:34:04 GMThttp://markmitton.com/blog/the-magic-of-santiago-calatrava
Had a fun time tonight performing in Spanish at the MoMath gala for honoree Santiago Calatrava, the famous Spanish architect of the new WTC transportation hub and projects around the world. It was a splendid night, and over $1 million was raised in about 15 minutes!