Magician Chase Ellsworth Featured

The Pulse of Chattanooga has a great feature on a magician we have yet to meet but hope to one day.  Chase Ellsworth sounds like a very interesting young man.

He became infected with the Magic Bug as a child when his uncle bought him an encyclopedia of magic with tricks a plenty to read about and learn.

He had time to practice under unfortunate conditions.  Coming from a dysfunctional home and spending time in a juvenile detention center, he was away from the distractions that many of us face – like TV and video games.

“I wasn’t even able to see my friends so I buried my nose in this magic book and it took hold,” he says. “For me, I wasn’t influenced so much by David Copperfield as I was David Blaine.”

He credits David Blaine as being his inspiration over David Copperfield.  In part, it is Blaine’s stunts and death-defying approach to magic that made him special.

Now, 13 years later, he has the tricks down so well that he can fool himself.  “A magician practices sleight of hand like a musician practices chord progressions,” explains Ellsworth. “I practice in front of a mirror, up close, to where I’m confident enough to perform.”

He eschews the title “magician” and prefers to refer to himself as a mentalist or illusionist.  He has adopted the name Artifice the Mentalist. Despite the intimidating name, he assured the reporter that his shows are fun and involve a deck of cards.

“There is definitely a disparity and diversity when it comes to performing magic,” he says. “That’s why people have a certain cheesy or gimmicky view of it.”

He uses his powers of discernment to help in his audience selection.  “You want to bring up people who like magic and are not trying to figure out every move,” he says. “You want excitable people instead of skeptical people.”

Amen, brother.

“Sometimes people don’t know how to react and even look to me to show astonishment and amazement,” he observes. “But I love to see the reactions of people in that moment where I reel them in.”

He is currently performing his magic at several restaurants in the area and you can catch-up with his very busy schedule by visiting his website artificefx.com.  Word has it he will also be performing at the Creepy Carnival Halloween festival at the Dwell Hotel October 31th. Visit the Dwell Hotel.com for tickets.

Read the full profile in the Pulse here.

Piff the Magic Dragon Wins Big!

The following is from a press release about one of our favorite magicians and entertainers.  His awards are well-deserved.  Congratulations to Piff and Mr. Piffles.

This weekend the Las Vegas Review-Journal handed out its annual Best of Las Vegas Awards and Piff the Magic Dragon was honored with three gold medals including “Best Comedian,” “Best Magician” and “Best Headliner.” To celebrate being the first to win all three awards, Piff along with his trusty sidekick Mr Piffles, The World’s Only Magic Performing Chihuahua, and Las Vegas Showgirl, Jade Simone, performed a special free show to thank fans for their support.

The celebration kicked off with a proclamation by Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom, who declared Oct. 13 “Piff the Magic Dragon Day.” Following the proclamation, the celebration continued with the show, featuring special congratulatory videos made by Piff’s good friends, Penn Jillette, Terry Fator, and John Bizarre, an unofficial award ceremony where Piff was presented three trophy’s to commemorate his win and a meet & greet with all those who attended.

This news follows the recent announcement of Piff being named one of the 10 Comics to Watch in 2019 by Variety. Recognized and respected throughout the world as the definitive voice of the entertainment industry, Variety’s unveiling of their annual “10 Comics to Watch” feature is considered one of the biggest events in the comedy world each year. With past honorees including Zach Galifianakis, Rebel Wilson, Patton Oswalt, Tiffany Haddish, Aziz Ansari, Amy Schumer and Donald Glover, Piff now joins the prominent list of stand-ups and comedy creatives.

For more information of Piff the Magic Dragon, visit www.piffthemagicdragon.com.

Magician Joshua Jay Profiled in Forbes

Award-winning magician and Inside Magic Favorite Joshua Jay is on the Forbes website today discussing . . . economics.  The article is an enlightening look at what to do to prepare for the next recession.  Mr. Jay would know as a businessman and magician.  He and Andi Gladwin began the very popular online magic store, Vanishing Inc. in 2009 and has done well.  According to Forbes, it is one of the largest such stores in the United States.

He doesn’t need magic powers to see that a recession may be on the way, “The things I observe happening now are things that happened before the last recession.”

Mr. Jay says you get a feeling for a tightening economy by how event planners work with you.  “Now the company event planners have to tell me as a magician, ‘I’m sorry we can’t have you this year,’ or, ‘Last year we had you do two shows and walk-around magic. This year, we only need you to do walk-around magic.'”

But also magic hobbyists and amateurs are slowing their spending.

“Secondly, we have seen a slowdown in magic sales because, for most of the amateurs and hobbyists that make up a large portion of the magic community, magic is purchased with disposable income. So we aren’t seeing a total overall slowdown in numbers, but we’re seeing ramped-up marketing efforts result in the same sales numbers. And to me, that spells, not doom, but certainly a potential slowdown.”

But Mr. Jay survived the 2008 recession by diversifying and exploring new avenues for his business.

“I had outlets that were under my control,” Mr. Jay said. “The guys that really suffered in the last recession were the guys that relied on calls from clients. They relied on work to come into their phone and their inbox, and those people really suffered because those things dried up.”

Check out the full article to get some very helpful hints and advice from someone of our ilk who has survived downturns and came out even better on the other side by visiting the Forbes site here.

Visit Vanishing Inc. here.

Check out Mr. Jay’s website here.

Marvyn’s Magic Theater Opens

There are certain names in Magic that immediately grab your attention.  Marvyn’s Magic is just one such name.   Now Marvyn’s Magic is the namesake for a newly launched Magic Theater in La Quinta, California. “From the moment you step inside expect to be dazzled by a magical experience.”

Jeff Hobson is the Producer and Director of Entertainment for Marvyn’s Magic Theater.

Who will you see at Marvyn’s Magic Theater?

How about Marvyn Roy,  “Mr. Electric.”  Now 94 years old and the draw that brought many of us into the world of Magic.  He is the reason the theater was named for him.

“Mr. Hobson is is own inimitable self as he emcees the show dedicated to be a place he would’ve wanted to perform in if he were still traveling on the road as a magician.

Mr. Dobson told the local news outlet, Channel 3, “I traveled around the world,” he said. “I Spent 14 years on the strip of Las Vegas and I didn’t know what my home looked like and I had a friend, a local resident, Gary Bueller say if you ever want to open a place let me know. I turned him down for 12 years and finally he showed me La Quinta, feel in love with it and I said okay, time to get off the road, time to settle down and open up my own place.”

It is not an ordinary place.

“At Marvyn’s Magic Theater we want you to be unsure of yourself,” he said. “This quaint theater seats 129 people and is only for those 21 and older.  There are mysteries to behold beyond the entertainment on stage.

Entertainers from Las Vegas, Broadway and all over the world will perform magic, grand illusion, escape magic, mentalism magic, close-up magic, hilarious comedy, prop comedy, joggling, ventriloquism and other kinds of performance art.

“You’ll never know what you’re going to get but it’s always going to be a great show,” Hobson said.

Showtimes are Wednesdays through Thursdays at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.

Tickets cost $65 on regular nights and $45 on Sundays. You can buy them online at marvynsmagictheater.com or their box office.

Marvyn’s is located in La Quinta at 46630 Washington St, La Quinta, CA 92253.

Ad for an Amazing Magician

We Have spent untold funds on Nick Lewin’s effects over the years.  His routines are tested before real audiences — he often shows performance videos — he sends a DVD and all the props you need to perform wonderful effects.  

But now we are psyched in the most psychic manner a young psychic can be psyched.

Mr. Lewin performs in a carefree and entertaining way with great humor and a relaxed manner that puts his audience at ease.  There are no bullet catches that we know of, not a single slamming your hand onto a cup that may or may not have a sharp (and likely tetanus teaming nail) through your magic hand or even crude asides at those who have gathered in the ship’s theater or on a Las Vegas stage.  To say that we are a fan-boy is accurate except we are no longer a boy — except at heart.  By the way, his Gypsy Yarn is the best ever.  It is not the Gypsy Thread of your grandparents or even the dental floss version we used to do.  No, it takes the game up to new heights.  Dizzying heights.  It is expensive but worth every farthing.

We have never been disappointed by Mr. Lewin‘s offerings — not once.  You know the feeling of disappointment and no doubt have a drawer full of tricks that looked great but once you tried them or even just read the instructions, you were disenchanted or even felt your good money hath gone to the darkside.  Not so with Mr. Lewin’s effects.

He has tried the pieces before real audiences for years.  They work.  And they are not difficult to learn — especially with his wonderful instruction.  Just check out this beauty.

By the way, we are receiving zip, nada, zilch for this endorsement.  It is written only out of appreciation.

Now he has agreed to release one of this best, time-tested psychic effects ever presented and we are honored that we were among his followers (in the cult sense) to receive the early notice of this offering.

Please click this link to see the offering.  The price is clearly too low.  At $25.00 you receive an act, not just a trick.  And it is a funny, wonderful act that packs very small and plays huge.  This is a steal but will not be available forever.  Click the link and have something that will never be in your magic drawer but in your magic case — ready to wow people who have never seen anything like it.

We have to go light candles at our altar for Mr. Lewin and his contribution to our great art.

How Magic Can Help Teachers

We read a great article on a website dedicated to helping teachers be more effective.  It was about magic naturally.  It began with the question, “What do Derren Brown, David Blaine and the like have to teach us about managing our classrooms?”

The answer according to teacher and magician William Lismore is a lot.

For instance, with the four words, “Are you watching closely?” the audience — a packed house or a classroom — will very likely focus and their attention will be directed at the speaker of those magic words.

We recall seeing Harry Blackstone Jr. perform live and he said, “Watch closely.  What you are about to see you will remember for the rest of your life.”

Man did we watch closely and man do we remember.  He floated a lit lightbulb over the audience and back to the stage.  It went right over us and we could see nothing to support its flight.  That memory is locked in our peanut-sized and shaped brain.  Mr. Lismore provides three areas where magicians can use their skills to enrapt a classroom.

The three skills are Misdirection, Showmanship and Suggestion.

We don’t want to take away his thunder and suggest you read his essay — even if you aren’t a teacher.  Magicians can learn from teachers as well.

We had a teacher in the fifth grade who could perform magic.  He was fantastic.  He could pull coins from the air, from behind some kids’ ears and out of their noses.  Kids would pass him in the hall and ask him to pull a coin from their nose.

We think he taught home economics or physics.  We don’t remember but he could do things with tissue paper and sponge balls that would blow away even an adult audience.  It may have been creative writing he taught except we didn’t take creative writing in the fifth grade so it probably wasn’t that.  Still, we remember him once making a kid’s head seem to disappear in a cardboard box.  Everyone screamed and then he returned the head and all was fine.  But you know what it is like in school, if one person gets sick, everyone gets sick and there’s a mess and an investigation.

We think it was geometry he taught.  We know he used the blackboard and could make it look like he could shove the chalk up his nose and pull it out of his ear.  He was a heck of a teacher.

Continue reading “How Magic Can Help Teachers”

A New Magic Niche: Oldsters

There are a lot of innovative magicians out there.  They invent magic tricks we could never conceive.  But as we were told at a bus stop in West Hollywood, “Invent what you know.”

We have no idea what its real purpose was but it inspired us.  We should create tricks that are based on the things we handle every day.  Then we should find an audience of similarly minded (and aged) people to whom we can perform and sell the tricks.

The CPAP of Mystery:

This is a trick involving a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine.  It is a staple of those afflicted with sleep apnea – one of the few disorders that affect the entire family except for the person with the disorder.  It stops obnoxious and annoying snoring.

(Ironically, Obnoxious and Annoying was the name of our first duo act.  We played the mischievous character Annoying (despite being underweight for the part) and a current star of stage and screen played Mr. Obnoxious.  We were true to the script as written by Shakespeare and even wore period costumes.  Few playgoers have read the original text and, to be honest, it is a play often over-looked by Shakespearean scholars.  Additionally it is four hours long.  And we performed it without scenery or props.  And we could not afford stage lights so we used flashlights to shine on each other. And our make-up was overdone due to a product placement deal we had with L’Oréal.  Nonetheless, it was up for a Tony® award but it was a tough year and we lost to A Chorus Line.  Our agent’s protests that we should be in the category for dramatic performance fell on deaf ears and we were pitted against one of the most popular Broadway musicals of all time.  As most English majors can recall, Obnoxious and Annoying does have some singing and dancing in the seventh act when Annoying pretends to be dancing with the love of his life, Spiteful.  The New York Times gave it a middling review, “There is a good reason this play is overlooked when one considers the full range of Shakespearean plays, it is terrible.  But here we have two men willing to perform a play that should have been burned or used as scrap-paper acting without any accoutrements on a stage too small in a room too large for its pitiful audience size.”  The New Yorker was not as kind, “Obnoxious and Annoying and Too Long” should have been the title for this forgettable foray into a play the Great Bard himself said was “not worthy of his cheapest ink.”)

But back to the illusion of the CPAP machine.  An audience member selects a card from a freely shuffled deck, signs it, returns it to the deck.  And then she throws the deck directly at the performer wearing a CPAP mask.  The card instantly appears in the mask and when turned around (with either the performer’s fingers or tongue), it is shown to be the signed card.  With a CPAP machine, we could sell it for $1,700.  Without the CPAP machine – in case the performer already has one – it would cost $3.00.  We think it would be a big hit. Continue reading “A New Magic Niche: Oldsters”

Another Magic Podcast?

We are considering launching a magic podcast with an emphasis on some of the older magicians who can provide a narrative history of our wonderful art.  From our review of the current world of magic podcasts, it appears the topic of young and innovative magicians is covered.

We find great joy in hearing stories of those that worked the same roads and rooms (and roads and rooms no longer in existence) and imagine podcast audiences will feel the same way.

When we say older magicians, we don’t mean old in age but in experience.  If you are aware of or are a magician with a great story, we’d love to talk to you.  No need to come to our posh studio apartment on top of the dog food store in West Hollywood.  We can set up a Skype session or even use the telephone to talk.

Send your nominations to podcast@insidemagic.com and let’s set it up.  It would be helpful to give us a little of your background and then our research staff will dig to create questions designed to let you tell your story.

The podcast will not just be for magicians, but everyone in the variety arts — including agents and managers.

Send us your suggestions to podcast@insidemagic.com and we’ll get right back to you.

 

Shawn Farquhar’s Hidden Wonders

We received a great note from award winning magician and great (and funny) guy, Shawn Farquhar.  He wrote to tell us about his new 75 minute show (which is about an hour an 15 minutes if our Casio watch / Calculator is correct).  Check out the very well-produced website here and visit this once in a lifetime experience with demonstrably one of the best in our humble art.
During the whole month of October I’ve opened a speakeasy style magic experience in a fake business front in Chinatown in Vancouver, Canada.  If anyone is coming through Vancouver let me know.
Hidden Wonders is a speakeasy-style performance venue hidden behind a fake business facade in Vancouver’s Chinatown and is the brainchild of two-time world champion of magic, Shawn Farquhar. The idea is part of a new trend in magic entertainment that focuses less on grand-scale illusions and more on intimate experiences that leave the audience awestruck and moved. Similar venues can be found in such cities as New York, Chicago and San Diego where they have become hugely popular.
The seventy-five-minute magic experience will feature effects exclusively designed for the venue as well as several of the effects Shawn created to impress Ellen, win the world championship and to fool Vegas’s Penn & Teller twice on their hit television show Fool Us.
Cheers,
Shawn Farquhar
Editor’s note:  If you were to ask, “Hey, what’s one of your greatest weaknesses?” We would respond that we are easily star-struck.  Even at the Magic Castle or at magic conventions, we lack the ability to walk up to stars of our art and start a conversation.
We stumble, smile uncontrollably and remain mum.  (Ironically, “Remain Mum” was the name of our script for an un-produced project about a mom who doesn’t change in any way but raises her children without incident, accident or trauma.  The script ran 3 hours but needed no special effects budget so we thought it was a sure sale.
Hollywood, according to all the major studios, the indie studios and guys and gals that have access to the latest iPhones and apps to make movies, needs some kind of character development or “incident” or “something” to happen that affects someone in the script.
Examples given by the studios were: Rocky (he develops his body and fights someone and hits meat and gets a dog); Spider Man (he develops his super powers, fights people, eats meat and gets a girlfriend); Snow White (she develops friendships with dwarfs who own a diamond mine, eats an apple and gets married).  The guy we approached who owns the iPhone and special app that lets him make movies cited Citizen Kane (he develops the power to name snow globes, makes a newspaper, eats meat and gets married).  But that’s Hollywood.
We’re hoping someone will pick up the script or we’ll have to add meat eating and super powers.  Mom could have web strands that catch meat and feed her dog with it).  Our point — and this time we have one — is that we are so honored that Mr. Farquhar contacted us.  We’ve met him on several occasions and each time acted like a statue.
We’re sure he was impressed by our inability to speak — even after we just performed our act in the basement of the Magic Castle where we speak a lot — and that’s why he wrote us.  Plus, despite his fame, he is truly a nice person with talents that would be great for a movie script — assuming he eats  meat and/or has a dog.

Mac King is Hitting the Road

Inside Magic Favorite Mac King wrote today that he’s “pretty darn excited to be be taking a weekend away from Las Vegas to do some rare east coast shows. If you live in Connecticut or Massachusetts, I’d love to see you!”

Click HERE for tickets to the Foxborough, MA show.

Click HERE for tickets to the New Britain, CT show.

Click HERE for tickets to the Southport, CT show.

He promises to be announcing more dates soon.

These excursions are not at the expense of his day job.  He is performing in Las Vegas in his beautiful theater at Harrah’s.  If you haven’t seen his show, you’ve missed a lot and while life is short, it isn’t so short that you don’t have time to see him either on the road or at his home in Harrah’s.

You’ll laugh, you’ll be amazed, and you may cry — we cry at supermarket openings so we’re no judge but if we were, we’d say you’re certain to cry when you see the audience interaction.   Very touching and special.

Bottom line: Do Not Miss Him.