Apollo Robbins has pocketed my heart

Rapscallions of a feather, I suppose.

My mind has always been fascinated by magic. Sleight of hand, illusion, trickery, deception, misdirection. If there’s anything more fascinating than the art of the steal, the performance of an illusion, it is the practitioners of these devilish arts that really piques my interest.

Like a clever and wise sage, the magician is always willing to talk about what they know and how they came to learn it, but if your real intent is to understand the trickster rather than the trick, you may inevitably find yourself on the receiving end of such an illusion. A magician never reveals their secrets.

Then again, magic was never as practical (at least financially) as the art of, say, pickpocketing. Until I discovered Apollo Robbins I had never considered that pickpocketing existed as a type of performance art (artful dodging perhaps), but I’m happy to say that having your valuables lifted off your person can qualify as a valid excuse to make people laugh and to sell tickets to a live performance.

Whereas magic is a well understood but still completely mind boggling field, pickpocketing has an air of true obscure homespun ingenuity to it. Though it relies on many of the same performance principals as magic, the art of the steal requires a completely different skill set due to the close proximity of the picker to the pickee. Trust and rapport is crucial to maintaining a frame as is physical contact and dexterity.

Like all of the above, however, knowing how to do it and being able to do it are two completely separate animals. Apollo gives us a little window into his world courtesy of Adam Green and some supplemental video content from his fascinating New Yorker article. Here is how one goes about lifting a watch.