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Max Maven at CFI

I had a great time seeing Max Maven last night at the Center for Inquiry West.

Maven is one of the rare performing magicians who bills himself as a mentalist, a once common specialty that has vanished in recent decades. An intimidating presence in black suit and goatee, Maven is a master of the eye roll, the raised eyebrow and the withering glare, particularly when his audience members reveal ignorance of the names of Hungarian mathematicians and other obscure references. He performed a series of increasingly baffling mind-reading effects, all as part of a larger narrative in which he stressed the importance of not knowing in making our lives meaningful and wondrous.

You can see Max Maven on Saturday Nights at CFI, in Hollywood for the next three weeks.

2 Responses to “Max Maven at CFI”

  1. Rosenkrantz Says:


    A completeyl off-topic response, but I’m wondering if you ever got any further with your work on the Organum Mathematicum. I’ve been studying this recently, in connection with other contemporary (with Kicher/Habsburg) metords of music generation.

    I’ll be posting my responses to the material shortly on my own blog – – although I really must make a WordPress mirrror, since it’s such an elegant site.

    I was intending to write some LISP routines to emulate Kircher’s rules, but there are some points in his system that seem to require a uniquely human approach (not just the decision to sharpen or flatten notes at a cadence, but also decisions regarding whole flow of the music) – have you been able to accurately replicate these through coding techniques? (My C++ head says “Easy!” but my LISP head says “Hard!”)


  2. jbum Says:

    Hi PL.

    I have not done much finessing via coding – partially because of a lack of expertise in early music, and partially because of a lack of solid information. I haven’t, for example, tweaked the cadences, and I’m pretty sure that some of my pitch choices for some of the modes may be wrong, because they disagree with most written renditions of how those modes are pitched (but they sound worse, to my ear, when pitched ‘correctly’).

    I picked some books on early polyphony to work out the rhythmic notation on the cards, and I suspect that some of my choices there may be problematic as well.

    I’d be happy to share my code with you (there’s a grad student working on a similar project, whom I’ve shared the code with). Contact me at jbum AT jbum DOT com.