Magician Siegfried Tieber Brings Limited-Run Red Thread to LA

Siegfried Tieber

When we first joined the prestigious Magic Castle / Academy of Magical Arts in beautiful Hollywood, California, we were befriended by Siegfried Tieber.

He frequented the lower rooms of the Castle where performers could get time to be in front of real audiences.  He was kind and helpful in helping to shave the rough spots out of our pretty rough act.

But more than a nice and helpful guy, Siegfried showed audience after audience that he was a true magician.  He had skills – of course – but he had charm and charisma to make it appear that the audience and Siegfried were experiencing the miracles together.

He took his act to Downtown LA in his solo show See/Saw and it was consistently sold out.

Before we go any further, check out his website here.  It is one of the prettiest we have ever seen for a magician or any person.

The great news is that he is returning on October 3rd with a new show, Red Thread.

He’ll be performing for no more than 34 audiences members at a time and tickets will go for $74.00.  The show will run six nights a week until November 10th.

Siedgfried has been seen not only by hundreds, nay, thousands at the Castle, but nationwide on Penn & Teller’s Fool Us show where he did in fact fool them.

He told reporters Red Thread is “an exploration of chance and chaos.  Every outcome is the starting point of further possibilities.”

“It doesn’t take long before this starts to look like a labyrinth: some paths converge, some run parallel to each other, some are dead ends. Like the Greek mythological princess, Ariadne — who gave Theseus a thread when he entered the labyrinth — my hope is to take the audience with me and guide them through this journey.”

Do not miss this talented and delightful magician.  Tickets are available at http://atlasobscura.com/events

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Master Magician Lance Burton Brings it Closer to Home

Master Magician Lance Burton performed in Las Vegas for 31 years and yet looks to be no older than 30 — so there’s your first mystery.  The second is how this man who has performed more than 15,000 shows for more than five million people can make each show seem like it is all new and fresh.

We know the answer to neither of these two questions but suspect it has to do with good health care and talent.

He will be at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino this Saturday at 8:00 pm in Indio, California, performing his show for a no-doubt sold-out house.  Don’t get left behind or boxed out.  If  you are in the area (and we are) make the trip to Fantasy Springs for his show.  You will be glad you did and won’t regret it and will remember it for the rest of your natural life.

We have seen Mr. Burton perform more times than we can count — that’s due to the tremendous number of shows we have seen – not to our well-documented inability to count.

His show is what you (and by “you” we mean “anyone in the world”) would consider a real magic show.  He is funny, smooth without being hokey, and talented (his sleight of hand is the best we have ever seen — even better than the guys on YouTube that perform one part of an effect with questionable camera angles and techniques).

If you were to ask us who our favorite magician in the world is, we would have to say Mr. Burton.  He puts the “magic” in “magician.”

Check out the ticket availability to this weekend’s show here.  The tickets range from $29.00 to $49.00.  Even if he never appeared on stage but just showed his props, that would be a steal.

Check out Mr. Burton’s website here.

Magical Guinness World Record

We have an inappropriate love for the Piddingtons.

Actually just the late Lesley Piddington.

They were a psychic team from a few decades ago but, boy howdy, did they do it up.  Ms. Piddington, our no-longer secret crush, once received a psychic transmission whilst flying on a Stratocruiser plane high above the military base at which her husband, Sidney, and other judges broadcast their thoughts psychically to his beloved.  You can read more about the dynamic couple here.

The Piddingtons never claimed to have psychic powers but for our money, they were the best (and our money isn’t much, we just invested in a company that is like 23 and Me but is just for people who like to send their DNA to people.  They don’t get results back but we figure there is a niche market for this service and we emptied our 401(k) to get behind it.  There are very little overhead costs since we don’t keep the DNA or even handle it but write back (in form letters) that their DNA is “pretty” or “handsome” or “smart” or “honest”.  We are starting a new affiliate for people who want to send DNA (salvia only) for their pets.  We write back that the DNA is “pretty” or “handsome” or “smart” or “honest.”  We’re thinking of opening a third affiliate to reach people who don’t want to send DNA but can send toenail clippings — personally, we want no part of that because 1) it is gross; 2) who is going to open the packages; 3) the smell; 4) how do we know they are not just sending random toenail clippings found at the gym or in a back alley where toenail clippers are alleged to “hang” and practice their art?)

Well, a long distance transference of information is one thing, but the transference of a person is something quite different.  The magician Scott Tokar  broke the world record according to our favorite beer company (it is a medical fact that one glass of Guinness has all the nutrients and protein needed for a day in Ireland and some islands off of Ireland) was just accomplished by Corteva Agriscience, A Division of DowDuPont & Tradeshow Magician, Scott Tokar (both USA) in Boone, Iowa, at the Farm Progress Tradeshow on 28 August 2018. By the way, we are well aware that the records book and the beer are not connected – but we can dream, n’est-ce pas?

“Magician Scott Tokar highlighted the many record yields achieved by customers of Pioneer by setting another record at the show – the Farthest Teleportation Illusion. Tokar wowed show-goers by transporting his assistant more than 936 feet from the Corteva Agriscience tent to the Pioneer tent. Michael Empric, Adjudicator with Guinness World Records, authenticated the record as did representatives of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.”

You can check out the very impressive information here.

Visit Mr. Tokar’s very impressive website here.

Mental Madness on Display August 24th

Garrett Thomas

Magicians Garrett Thomas, Kozmo and Joe Maxwell will be performing at the Coolidge Theatre in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania on August 24th.   This is a must-see show and not just because it is being shown in a “theatre” and not a “theater” but because of the line-up.

You have everything you could want in a magic show.  Illusions, great comedy and close-up magic to mess with your mind.

In fact, the messing with your mind part is covered in the title of the show.  Magic Beyond Imagination is presenting “The Mental Madness Show.”

We’re pretty sure you can’t say something is a “Mental Madness” show if it is not truly mental madness.  We think that’s the law.  And the cast will bring you incredible magic in addition to messing with your mental madness quotient.  Ours is currently 7 but has been as high as 12.

As a special treat, magic enthusiasts can pay extra for VIP tickets for a 45-minute meet-and-greet with these magicians, including an up close and personal magic session with cards and coins that begins at 6 p.m. VIPs will be admitted early to the theatre and be given their choice of seating.

Kozmo told reporters, “we consider it a work in progress. We are doing material we’ve been doing for 15 years but not in this configuration. We use cameras and screens so people in the audience can see all of the details of our magic.”

As magicians and magic fans know, Mr. Thomas is more than a great performer, he is a fantastic magic inventor.  He has created effects for David Blaine – including the high-profile feats of endurance that make us squirm.

(We do squirm normally so this is additional squirming over and above our natural snake-like involuntary movements we do when watching television magic whilst sitting in our antique bean-bag chair.  The guy on Antique Roadshow said it was worth $1,200 but then he re-examined it and determined it was likely not made for George Washington the first president but someone named George Washington and then he started to re-examine us on how we got it.  It was as if he was implying we stole it.  We didn’t but at that point we didn’t feel like explaining ourselves if the amount was going to drop from $1,200 to “a buck two-eighty.”   Plus the Mark Wahlberg that is the star of the Antique Roadshow isn’t even the real Mark Wahlberg).

Kozmo is a great magician who has taken his craft from Bourbon Street (New Orleans) to China (not New Orleans).  He is a joy to watch because he seems to enjoy what he is doing and he does it well.

We have not met Joe Maxwell but if he is hooked up with Kozmo and Mr. Garrett, he has chops by association.  He will be the master of ceremonies for the Mental Madness Show and, according to the newspaper “is one of the world’s most sought after drummers, having toured the world with Grammy-nominated recording artist, Moby.”

If you are anywhere near Wellsboro on the 24th of August, you have to see this show.  Outside of the Magic Castle, you will never have an opportunity to watch the performers who have entertained Johnny Depp, David Copperfield, Olivia Wilde, Willie Nelson, Scarlett Johansson, Seth Rogan, Jay Leno, Trace Atkins and others.

Purchasing tickets in advance is strongly recommended.  For tickets and more information, visit www.deanecenter.com or call 570-724-6220.

Read the article about the show in the Wellsboro Gazette.

Magicians Flock to Colon

Every year for the last 82, Colon (pronounced “Colon”) Michigan is the site of the Midwest’s largest celebration of magic in West Michigan.

Colon is the home for magicians live and dead – their cemetery is incredible.  It is a tracing of magic history with wonderful stories to be told.

The 82nd annual Magic Get Together lasts from Wednesday, August 7th (today), until Saturday, August 10 (a day in the future – herein in identified as “a few days from now”).  The event has been held in Colon, the magic capital of the world, since 1934.

B.J. Mallen, a magician and employee at Abbott’s, says, “We only have 1,100 people or so year long. We get just as many magic enthusiasts that come through on these 4 days.”

It is wonderful festival.  We visited often whilst stationed in Mystic Hollow, Michigan, as part of an elite magical team with one less than elite member – we never figured out who or she was – ready to engage in card throwing, flash paper attacks, and the tearing and restoring of enemy maps.  Of course the enemy and non-magic community denied our existence – as one would expect.

It is one of the most family friendly conventions we have ever attended.  In fact we would bring our family eyery year with or without their consent.  “Every year, Abbotts Magic Shop hosts a long list of family-friendly events for the get together. Street performers, stage shows and lecturers will all be on hand in 2019.”

Our favorite location – other than the Pizza Parlor where all things magical happen or the VFW Hall where all things magical also happen but with more crowded conditions – was the dealers’ room.  There guests can purchase magic tricks and commune (now legal in Michigan) with visiting magicians.  Fox 17 of Western Michigan points out that Inside Magic Favorite Bob Little has been making the trek for more than 50 years.  He is now 87-years-old but still just as spry and inventive.

“Magic has changed tremendously. It’s not the hobby it used to be,” he says. Little says he has noticed people’s attention move away from magic in recent years to electronic devices.”

They’ll come back, they always do.  We had electronic devices back in the 30’s, 40’s and so on.  We predict, and you can write this down – or just take a picture of the screen on one of your new-fangled ePhones:  “Magic will be a part of society as long as there is curiosity and invention.”  We didn’t make up that quote but it seems to fit well right about here and we’re certain the true author, statesman and magic lover Harry Truman wouldn’t mind.  We’ll check our ePowered Ouija board this evening to make sure.  Yes, he was talking about a different thing and he didn’t use the word “Magic” or “curiosity and invention” but it was the midst of the famous coal strike and he didn’t have time for such niceties.  But we knew what he meant.

Where else can you see magicians on the street, the bright sunlight, eating a hot dog from the gas station and filing into the Dealers’ Room to see the latest tricks from the best shops our Art.

“The get together dates back to the 1920’s when two world renowned magicians, Harry Blackstone and Percy Abbott, moved to Colon.  Mallen tells FOX 17, “He (Blackstone) was looking for lakefront property to purchase because he likes to fish.”

The two magicians would form Blackstone Magic Company. After a falling out between the two, Abbott would open what would become Abbott’s Magic Shop.”

See a list of all the performers here.

Harry Houdini Exhibit at Bremen Museum

There are two things we cannot get enough of: Harry Houdini and anything related to Harry Houdini.

So, if you have an exhibit that features images of Harry Houdini and takes attendees through the life of Harry Houdini, you win the golden ticket in our book.

Just to be clear, we have neither golden tickets or a book in which to collect said tickets, but we will remember you fondly until the day we pass to join the great card table session in the heavens.  We’ll tell  Dai Vernon and Ed Marlo about you and your organization and they will both likely teach us moves that will take an eternity to perform – but that will be okay because we will have an eternity to learn.

The Breman Museum (William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum) is based in the Atlanta area (likely within a mile of a street with the word “peach” in it).  We see that Inside Magic Favorite Joe Turner is assisting in the presentation so you know it will be without flaw and have integrity.

The museum tells visitors that the world’s most famous magician and escape artist wasn’t born but invented by the talented mind of Erik Weisz (later translated into Erich Weiss when he and his family immigrated to the United States).

The exhibit it curated by magician David London and shares the story of how this immigrant, growing up in Wisconsin became Harry Houdini – the world’s first international superstar.

Continue reading “Harry Houdini Exhibit at Bremen Museum”

Inside Magic Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor are published on an infrequent basis due to the infrequent receipt of correspondence we receive requiring a response.  We think the issues regarding our weight, loss of hair, inability to speak without a noticeable slur after five in the afternoon have been well-debated and do not warrant further exploration in this semi-public forum.  The tens of readers of Inside Magic have spoken and we have listened.  They want letters to the editor that are about substantive issues of the day in the world of magic.  And so, we turn now to those letters received in the very recent past.

Dear Tim:

You were in West Hollywood, before that in Mystic Hollow, Michigan and now you say you are in a town called Mystic Hollow, California.  Is it possible that you are making this all up or are you in some kind of witness protection program for magicians?  Also, is Mac King’s name short for something?

— A concerned reader

Dear Concerned:

Thank you for your close attention to our peripatetic nature and concern for our alleged involvement in bringing down one of the biggest cartels in fanning powder and roughing liquid black market history.  We do not consider ourselves to be heroes; although that title has been bandied about where things are normally bandied.  Despite the offer of witness protection from the federal and state authorities, we elected to remain in the public eye.  Now that those who perpetrated the horrible acts that resulted from poorly constituted fanning powder or inconsistently mixed roughing fluid have been locked up, we can again emerge to accept the accolades normally accorded folks of our ilk.  Of course, that was about ten years ago and we’re still waiting.  In fact, we’re starting to think the accolades are not going to come other than some random bandying in the bandy parlors that still exist (virtual and otherwise).

To be honest, we are beginning to doubt the praise for our heroism will ever arrive at the front door of our double-wide here in Mystic Hollow, California.  We have more information we are willing to share about Magician’s Wax being illegally imported from farms that abuse the poor magicians from whom the cultivated ear wax is extracted.  Tales of generic Q-Tips and over-farming will leave juries in abject horror but will remain in our vaults until we can be assured that the nation’s law enforcement officials will be ready to take on this anathema.

As for Mac King’s name, we think that’s his name.  Maybe Mac is short for something or a nickname.  Like how people call Santa Claus, “Santa” but it was “St. Nicholas.”

 

Dear Timmy:

How much does it cost to get into magic?

—  Earnest Questioner

 

Dear Ernie:

The best thing about Magic is that it costs nothing to start.  You can do magic with cards, coins, toilet paper tubes, paper towel tubes, other peoples’ cards, coins or tubes.  We heard a story of a magician who started with literally nothing and ended up with a full evening show by learning the magic he could do with borrowed items and doing them well.  He was tipped for his work, saved his money and bought props; eventually hired an assistant (and later married her) and found an agent to book him into shows around the Midwest. True, his agent ended up marrying his assistant and left him destitute but he still had his skills.  We heard from him last week.  He worked his way back up and will be doing shows again.

So Magic costs nothing but time and perhaps your livelihood and personal happiness (but that is a worse case scenario) and it is something you will always have with you.  In many ways it is like riding a bike.  You never forget the skills you learned.  The ability to perform sleights of hand or how to engage and entertain an audience remain forever.  And unlike riding a bike, you don’t need a bike.  People will lend you a bike to watch you do tricks with their bike and pay you money for the pleasure of watching you do things with their property.  Harry Houdini once said – in quote we are now making up – “Magic is the one art that rewards the artist’s practice and preparation by making his work invisible.”

 

Dear Tim:

What is your favorite Magic-film to watch?

—  D. Dugger

Dear Addy:

We love the movie Houdini starring Tony Curtis.  It was the film that really got us hooked on the Houdini myth and later Houdini history.  We weren’t disillusioned to learn that the film took liberties with the true story but more intrigued about the man that lived a life so large that films would be made about him.

It is interesting that you qualified your question by asking our favorite film “to watch.”  We have several favorite magic films that we do not like to watch.  We like to look at the posters, read about them on IMDB and dream about what they could have been.  Most of the recent magician-oriented films fit that bill.  The posters and promotion looked so wonderful that we just knew a great movie could be made.  It was a pity in almost every case that the producers, writers and directors did not agree with us and decided to make movies that seemed to stray from the magic theme that made them enticing.

We also like movies based on the life of Topo Gigio; focusing on his time after his success on the Ed Sullivan show.  He went on to open two nightclubs in Miami (one is still standing) and had an infamous running feud with former boxing great Jake LaMotta – although they were very good friends in real life.  Many people still don’t know that he was a great inventor and developed a way of making more predictable kidney dialysis protocols.  He received a patent in 1974 for his work on the modern milling of whole grain.  He was a prolific writer and many credit him for the Harry Potter story idea first penned for a literary quarterly published by the University of Mississippi.

Trying to Like Magic Card Decks

We are warming to tattoos and body piercing (other than earrings) but we are having a hard time with deck collectors. 

Admittedly we have no place from which to speak on this topic.

People like different things.

We love The Ball and Vase and have bought maybe a hundred in this short shuffle up on the mortal coil from which we will all be called up one day to justify our choices, decisions and purchases.  We figure we can defend the first 20 Ball and Vase tricks.  We were young, we didn’t know, others were doing it, we were raised by doting parents that would indulge our every whim as long as it had to do with schoolwork or applications to go to another school to do school work.  We had thousands of pencils (mechanical and wood), pens a plenty (the name of our first writing instrument internet shoppe.

It failed due to a horrible spate of product liability suits brought allegedly due to springs that were too tight.  When you would open the container to refill the pen, the old refill would shoot from the pen body with the force of Titan rocket (first stage).  The good news, we sold very few of them and the even better news, we sold even fewer refills.  The bad news, enough people bought the pens to narrowly miss horrific physical injuries.  No one was injured or claimed to be.  We took the pen off the market and went broke.  Ironically, we wrote the bankruptcy papers with one of the killer pens.

But let us return to the subject at hand.  Card decks.

In our limited and noisy world (tinnitus is a pain and real.  We know, we sit next to someone who has it and they complain all day – they never shut up (© Run DMC)) we have two choices of decks with which we will perform – a red Bee deck and a blue Bee deck – both Jumbo Index.  That’s it.  No others make the cut.

“Hey, Tim,” you ask.  “How about that new deck made on USPC stock that has the clown from IT?

Nope.

“What about the ones that have the wacky numbering?

No can do.

“What about your conviction in 1969 on your way to Woodstock?”

Wasn’t me.  Wasn’t a conviction.  My judgment was practically expunged.  Plus I wasn’t born or I was too old at the time. Continue reading “Trying to Like Magic Card Decks”

Magicians Lance Burton and Bette Davis

Master Magician Lance Burton and All About Eve have one thing in common.  They are perfect.  We can watch either over-and-over without need for any breaks.  But this is a magic blog read by fives to tens of people every day.  We are not here to talk about Bette Davis incredible role in her Oscar® winning film, but the incredible magic of Lance Burton.

Watching Lance Burton is, in a word, wonderful. He has the sleight of hand skills to astound magicians, the professional illusionist chops to wow the crowd and he loves animals and is a very nice person.

We know magicians who love animals but fail at meeting the remaining criteria.  Lance Burton has it all and always has.  His sleight of hand act on Johnny Carson iced the deal for us.  He does things that can only be explained as magic.  We don’t look for secrets or flaws, we just drink it in like a gerbil immediately after his wheelwork.

We say all this because Lance Burton will be in Modesto August 18th and performing in the perfect environment to see him work.   The Mary Stuart Rogers Theater is a fantastic venue and reminds us of the Lance Burton Theater that once held his nightly show at the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas.  The sight-lines are great and the place is plush.

If you are anywhere near Modesto, you need to visit the theater and experience the true magic you will see by the Master Magician Lance Burton.

Visit the box office and get your tickets now.  They are going very quickly!

[UPDATED to include correct date for show]

Magician Nick Lewin’s Western Swing

The chances are you have seen magician Nick Lewin before.  But then again the chances are you have not.  It’s that way with chances – they can go either way.  Regardless of the side of the fates you fall, you need to take time to see Mr. Lewin for the first time or again as he begins his Southwestern swing.

Mr. Lewin is to magic what oxygen is to many people; at least us.  He is an essential ingredient that keeps life sustained.  We have seen him perform many times and each time end up with what feels like a broken rib from our laughing and enjoyment.

Mr. Lewin performs effects that we know well but cannot comprehend how he performs them so effortlessly.  He performs magic that we assume must be based on one of the magic principles but we don’t which one or ones and we don’t want to know.  But on top of all that, he is funny.  Not just funny for a magician, but funny in the real comedic sense.  Finally, he is an outstanding actor.  When he explains something from the stage, audiences (or we) believe it.  He could say the landing on the moon was real, and we would accept it without question.

He has opened for Tony Bennett, Reba McEntire, Charlie Daniels, Paul Anka, Fortune 500 companies, as well as private functions for David Bowie, Steve Forbes, Jimmy Stewart, Lee Iacocca, Tony Curtis, Orson Welles, Steve Wozniak and others.  If that wasn’t enough – and it should be for anyone – he starred for five years in his award-winning one-man show in Las Vegas called “Comedy Magic.”

On the 27th, Mr. Lewin will be substituting for Mac King at Harrah’s in Las Vegas, Nevada.  He will take the stage at 1:00 and 3:00 pm.

On July 29th, he will be headlining Magic at the Tavern in Austin, Texas.  Joining him on the bill will be Rolando Medina (close-up expert) and Little Jewford, musician.  You can purchase your tickets here.

At the end of the summer, Mr. Lewin will be at TAOM 2019.

He also offers (for sale) some of his great effects at Nick Lewin Enterprises – of which we have purchased many and been delighted with each one.

 

Do not miss your chance to see Mr. Lewin.  He is a true Inside Magic Favorite.