Category: Magic of UK

David Blaine Takes on UK

In an interview on this morning’s Heart Radio from the UK, Magician David Blaine talks about secrets – and how well he keeps them.

Even though that is what a magician does best – keeping secrets – his pals remind him to “not tell anyone” before letting him in on some confidential information.

He is in the United Kingdom for a tour – the first time he has ever toured with a live show.  He was suspended in a Plexiglas (“Perspex” in metric, we think) box near the Tower Bridge back in 2003.  But he didn’t tour in the box.  It remained in one place and was not dragged around the nation for people to peer at him trying to avoid motion sickness.  For that we and he are grateful.

His new show is called “Real or Magic.”  The title is somewhat similar to our tour of the tri-county area, “Really, it’s Magic.”  We had to adopt that title because we were ill-prepared and hardly able to perform the new effects we had inherited just five days before we started the tour of two towns in three counties.  (One of the towns was on the border so it still counts as a “Tri-County Tour” according to the official rules.  See, “Tri-County” entry in the 2nd edition of Black’s Law Dictionary).

The write-up on the Heart Radio page dispels an image of David that is apparently going around in the UK world.

Mr. Blaine, according to the article, has a “reputation for being somewhat of a ‘weirdo’, but in person he’s surprisingly friendly – and normal.”

Phewf!  In our book, being called a ‘weirdo’ is right up there with being called a ‘magician.’   At least that was our experience our whole life up until the typing of this article on our Underwood Portable TypeWriter; being watched by our covey of doves and two rabbits (both female – we think) over by the bed in our studio apartment near the train tracks for which we haven’t paid rent but for which we do little shows performing tricks a/k/a babysit for the building superintendent’s kids while he is out looking for a “better job than living in this dump by the tracks.”

Back to Mr. Blaine.

He loves being a father to his eight-year-old.  “Being a dad is the greatest feeling and the greatest joy and greatest feeling I’ve ever had in my lifetime and I can’t imagine anything ever equaling it.”

Continue reading “David Blaine Takes on UK”

Advertisements

Morgan & West Present Magic for Kids at the Fringe Fest

We are always delighted to receive news about Inside Magic Favorite Magicians. Morgan & West impressed the cheese out of us when we saw their tightly constructed act at the Magic Castle a while back. To be honest, we never really saw them as Kid Performers so we were intrigued to read our email about their entry into this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

If you are going to the festival, do not miss these young men. They are clever, funny and very good magicians. Warning: some of this press release language was written in a different type of English and there are unexpected uses of the letter “u” and curious spellings. Do not let it throw you.

Lee Martin for Gag Reflex Proudly Presents… MORGAN & WEST: MORE MAGIC FOR KIDS! EDINBURGH FRINGE UNDERBELLY COW BARN WEDNESDAY 2ND AUGUST – SUNDAY 27TH AUGUST (NOT 23RD AUGUST) @MorganMagic @WestMagic www.morganandwest.co.uk

Celebrating their 10th anniversary as a duo of deception, time travelling magicians Morgan & West return with their brand new show ‘More Magic For Kids!’ at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year.

Despite their squabbles about the idea of creating a show for children, Mr West has finally resigned himself to the idea that he now does shows for children, although he’s really not best pleased about it. Mr. Morgan, as ever, is thrilled that people are willing and indeed eager to watch him and his magic tricks.

Join in the fun as Mr. West wants to prove that he’s better than Mr. Morgan, and indeed silly children. No doubt his comeuppance will come as More Magic For Kids! prepares to unload another boxful of bewilderment and impossibility.

What could possibly happen next?

More Magic For Kids! sees our favourite magic duo set out to provide entertainment that is delightful for anyone of almost any age (5+), from any time period, and any level of maturity. The result is a marvellous show that is loved by both adults and children alike and will keep you entertained from beginning to end – the perfect family day out!

Morgan & West have performed their outstanding magic shows across the globe to sell-out crowds during two UK tours, at the Edinburgh Fringe, Perth Fringe World, Adelaide Fringe where they were nominated for ‘Best Family Show’, and Buxton Fringe where they were awarded ‘Best Comedy Show’. They have also appeared on Penn and Teller’s Fool Us (ITV), The Slammer (CBBC) and The Next Great Magician (ITV).

“Superbly crafted” The Stage “Hilarious and good for all ages” Primary Times “Hugely talented” Daily Mirror

LISTINGS INFORMATION: WEDNESDAY 23RD AUGUST – SUNDAY 27TH AUGUST (NOT 23RD AUGUST)

Ticket prices: Preview: £6.50 Mon-Thurs: £10.50/9.50 Fri-Sun: £11/10 Family ticket price: Mon-Thurs: £36 Fri-Sun: £40 Venue: Underbelly Cow Barn, Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG Time: 2nd – 11th – 2.40pm 12th – 25th – 1pm 26th – 27th – 2.40pm

Tickets: http://www.underbellyedinburgh.co.uk/whats-on/morgan-west-more-magic-for-kids

Advice: Recommended for children 5 + and families.

Sebastian Walton Wows ‘Em on BGT

What better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than to check out the winner in the latest round of Britain’s Got Talent, Sebastian Walton?

(By the way, it is pronounced “MAY-oh.”  We were corrected on the bus this morning and what the day commemorates has nothing to do with salad dressing, which explains the pronunciation).

To say we are a super fan of Sebastian Walton would be an understatement but certainly a valid defense to criminal charges of stalking in most jurisdictions. (Not that we stalk him but if we did, we would know he has a Facebook page with his upcoming shows listed here: facebook.com/sebastian.j.walton). He wowed us at The Magic Castle last year with a routine that was deserving of our vote for Parlor Magician of the Year.

Mr. Walton is a young man with big boy magic skills.  His Any Card Named effect was killer and had those in the know talking around the bar late into the evening.  None of us were sure how he did it.  As the evening wore on, none of us were sure if he did it and finally, at the end of the evening, two members of our group were not sure where they lived or how to form coherent sentences.  Astounding.

In last night’s qualifying round, Mr. Walton received positive votes from the four judges and moves on to the next level of competition.

We received a link to the authoritative British television website, Telly Mix and read of his awesome performance before some very tough judges.

[Telly means “television” in British.  They have different ways of doing things and saying things there.  We point that out for our US readers who may have confused the website’s name with the under-appreciated cowboy actress, Telly Mix who performed just feet away from where we now write this enthralling article.  Telly’s uncle (by marriage) was Tom Mix, the cowboy star and on whose ranch they later built Fox Studios and later Century City.  She was a delightful gal who made the transition from vaudeville to movies easier than most – thanks to her winning smile and uncle’s connections.  Her career ended tragically when she was arrested in an after-hours cowboy club in Santa Monica with a frozen bullwhip and $623.00 in cash allegedly taken in a fake piñata scheme.  According to police records, she would sell defective piñatas that could not be broken open to unsuspecting consumers.  Although charges were later dropped – thanks to her connections – she never made a return to the movies and ended her days working at a Hot Dog on a Stick stand in Bakersfield, California; never rising above the position of assistant manager.]

Simon Cowell even praised the young performer.  He does not praise anyone, ever.

Mr. Walton performed a great effect with Amanda Holden’s ring.  We do not know Amanda Holden but she seems like a much more likable person than Mr. Cowell and, we think, prettier.  Apparently, the scene was cut from the show wherein Mr. Walton borrowed Ms. Holden’s platinum wedding ring (so that means she is married), made it vanish in a flash of flame and found it later in a walnut somehow hidden inside an orange.

We have seen Mr. Walton perform this effect before – twice.  We can vouch that it is a different ring each time.  For a while, we thought he had just done the old genetically mutated walnut in an orange  trick with a fake ring planted with the hybrid fruit.  But no.  The fact that it is a different ring each time means that he could not have raised the walnut/orange from seed with a ring inside.  To quote one of the victims in Telly Mix’ case, “we cannot crack it.”

Ms. Holden confided in Mr. Walton, “How you did it, I actually want to believe in magic.”

At this point, we would have immediately started a cult and enlisted Ms. Holden to be a high priestess or something but Mr. Walton has far more class and plus he was surrounded by cameras and an audience – or as we like to call the scene, a witness-rich environment.

Mr. Cowell  told  the young miracle worker, “You’re very talented and I don’t know how you did which is the whole point of magic.”

Mr. Walton has a bright future ahead of him.  We saw that he has a new website at sebastianwalton.com and were very impressed by its content and substance.  He is a star – you read it here first.

UK Magician Damien O’Brien: “Old Skool David Blaine”

The Mirror newspaper asked UK Magician Damien O’Brien about his influences and he responded, without irony, “Give me old skool David Blaine any day of the week.”

Mr. O’Brien is one of the stars on BBC Three’s new magic-oriented show Killer Magic.

The six-part series begins tonight at sports a new theme each week.  The young magicians then try to make new effects and impress their colleagues and celebrities.

Mr. O’Brien described himself for The Mirror, “I’m a little bit flashy, a little bit cocky. I like to do visual magic. I like to put magic in people’s hands. I want people to be the stars of the trick. I don’t like to give them any suspicions that let people think that I’m cheating… which I am.”

He describes David Blaine as being one of his major influences.  “I grew up watching David Blaine. I loved his approach doing it close up with regular items. I like the idea of doing things close up and any time with anything.”

We probably will not be able to see the show until it is released on DVD or on the internet but look forward to checking it out.

Restaurant Owner Closes Doors to Follow Magic Dream

Resh Gohel owns an Indian restaurant in Blackburn (UK) but dreams of becoming a professional magician.  He is going to take a step towards making the dream reality by closing his eatery at the end of March and hitting the road.

“I have been doing magic on the side and I want to pursue my career as a magician,” Mr. Gohel said.  “The restaurant will be shutting down and I will be handing the keys back to the landlord.”

He admits it is a big risk but he has been encouraged by magicians who would know.

“I have met the likes of David Blaine and Derren Brown and they have said you have to follow your dream,” he said.  “They all said they had to work wherever before they got to where they are now.”

It isn’t that the restaurant failed and he had no other option.  “My target was to get the restaurant to number one on Trip Advisor and to get my name out there and I have done that. But I have reached the point where I have lost interest in the hospitality industry now.”

He has his first show scheduled for just ten days after the doors close.

We wish him the best of luck.  We have been similarly advised by many in the magic business to seek employment in a restaurant so we’re kind of similar in that regard except the opposite.

Read more at The Blackburn Citizen’s website here.

Jamie Allan Kicks of iMagician Tour with Escape

Magician Jamie Allan received wonderful press in today’s edition of The South Wales Evening Post.

How do we know that?

Our Welsh neighbor does not wake until noon and when he does, he hardly seems interested in the goings-on of his native land.

That is why we are so familiar with the writing in Evening Post newspaper.  He gets it delivered each morning at 5:30.  We are able to read it with leisure, enjoy our morning Diet Coke (without lime, thank you) and low fat generic pastry strudel fresh from the toaster oven.  We re-assemble it and place it back in front of his apartment door and no one is the wiser.

Usually, the paper has little or no magic news.  But today there was a big write-up about magician Jamie Allan and his perilous escape attempt.  We were hooked and were almost caught when our neighbor woke early – likely because his probation officer was doing an announced visit or one of the many cats he has adopted got into a louder than normal hairball expulsion – and opened the door just as we were dropping the paper.  He looked at us with bleary eyes, seemed relieved that we were not who he feared, took the paper and stepped quickly back into his cat harem of mess and disquiet.

Mr. Allan recently appeared on the UK’s television show “Get Your Act Together” and as a treat for the Evening Post‘s readers, agreed to perform a special escape just for them.  The paper described the stunt as a “death-defying version of Harry Houdini’s lethal but rarely seen water tank routine.”  It is to be performed at the beautiful Gwyn Hall in Neath.

We need to check with John Cox on the history of the escape but the paper claims it has been performed by only a handful of top illusionists since it was invented by the legendary Houdini in 1911.  It is now part of Mr. Allan’s new show, iMagician: The Evolution of Magic.

Mr. Allan told the Evening Post that he had a couple of near-misses during rehearsals but is certain that he is ready to perform it live. “For this particular illusion, it has to be dangerous for it to be exciting. That is what Houdini intended and we have to stick by his principles. So I’m afraid there’s no health and safety rules for me in this act.”

His partner is not excited about him performing the effect and worries for his safety.

“But we can’t remove every element of danger completely which is why it’s such a great favourite with audiences.  But it’s also why it’s rarely performed.”

Assuming he survives the escape, it is a great start to his new UK tour in Yorkshire.

His show includes magic and escapes.  He proudly touts his Virtual Assistant routine wherein a woman “passes in and out of a digital world.”

We hope he and his assistant remain safe within this world and wish him the best of luck on the new tour.

For those of you who do not receive the Evening Post in paper form, you can read more about Mr. Allan at their website here.

Be sure to check out Mr. Allan’s very cool website here: http://www.magicjamie.com.

We have imbedded the YouTube video of his escape below:

Magic Waters and Confused Animals in Cheltenham

The Session is billed as the UK’s only close-up magic convention; it is “a conference for serious close-up magicians.”  This year the two-day fete was held in Cheltenham.

We have never been to Cheltenham but it sounds wonderful.  According to the internet, the town “has no fewer than five festivals, devoted to Literature, Music, Science, Jazz and, perhaps most famously, National Hunt racing.”

We are not sure what category close-up magic would occupy although probably not “National Hunt racing.”

The town was made famous by its spas or the ‘waters.’  Visitors to the waters have included Queen Victoria, the Duke of Wellington, Jane Austen and Lord Byron.  We have heard of each of these people and therefore are very impressed.

We were even more impressed by the line-up of magicians in Cheltenham this weekend.  Promoters listed Juan Tamariz, Asi Wind, Michael Weber, Peter Clifford, Luke Jermay, Andi Gladwin, Joshua Jay, Boris Wild, Roberto Giobbi and Daniel Madison.

But we have it on good authority – YouTube and Twitter – that David Blaine and Dynamo were also in the area.

According to the social media authorities, Derren Brown, Dynamo and Mr. Blaine went to Kukui, a nightclub on Bath Road. Danny Valentine is the manager of that establishment and told local media that the “punters” were stunned by Mr. Blaine’s magic.  “He was really great and did tricks for people in his private booth. He was really nice and polite and let one of the customers play with his pack of cards.”

Just below the article about these icons of magic descending on this historic town was a link to an article that may or may not have been related to this weekend’s celebration: “Walter the dog is confused by his squeaky toy – VIDEO.”

It sounds like there was a lot of surprise and fun confusion happening.  We wish we could have been there.

Read more about the event and Walter’s confusion here.

Charlie Frye & Company Bring Masters of Illusion Show to Gibraltar

The all star cast is headlined for the 6th triumphant year by Las Vegas hit show Charlie Frye & Company.  When it comes to combining world class juggling, sleight of hand, and physical comedy, no one does it better.  Charlie Frye & Company are renowned throughout the world and this is their first ever show in Gibraltar helping build on the success of this magical event.

Also starring this year:

YUNKE
A magical innovator whose magic is full of mystery beauty and risk.  He has performed in all five continents and appeared on TV shows across the world including A3s popular “El Hormiguerro”. His state-of-the art illusions are second to none: his magic is different: his working philosophy and approach to magic are unique.

MANU
Manu will take you back to the origins of magic, how did it all start? Showcasing some of the oldest illusions made famous by Harry Houdini and other historical magicians.

NUEL
Nuel is back by popular demand with new mind-blowing acts, he takes magic to new levels and audiences around the world have loved his act. You may have seen him at Masters of Ilusion last year and at the Family Pavilion at the fair. He can’t wait to be back and we’re sure neither are you to see him back!

FASTER THAN MAGIC
Our local illusionists, and organisers of this event, will also be taking to the stage with brand new illusions.  The team will be showcasing some new tricks which will blow your mind.

ALEXANDER G
A young magician with a very creative and different act. This year he has been invited to Le plus cabaret du monde the most important variety in France TV.

A show for all the family with profits donated to the GBC Open Day.  From 4th – 7th December at Ince’s Hall Theatre with matinees on 6th & 7th at 2:30pm  Tickets £12 on sale at Chique Boutique, Ocean Village

UK’s Crisis Needs Magicians this Christmas

Katy Star Stocker sent us news of a wonderful program planned by her organization, Crisis.

Crisis is the UK national charity for single homeless people dedicated to ending homelessness by delivering life-changing services and campaigning for change.  They aim to help the homeless change their lives for good and, simultaneously, change the way society thinks and acts towards homeless people.

This Christmas, more than 4,000 homeless people will spend their festive period with Crisis, the national charity for single homeless people, at one of its temporary Crisis at Christmas centres across London.

Crisis at Christmas centres are positive, bustling places where guests have access to healthcare, podiatry, massage, haircuts and a whole range of activities that they may miss out on the rest of the year. More than 8,000 volunteers will give up their time to provide warmth, shelter and companionship for homeless people this year, along with a range of services designed to help our guests build a better future.

Entertainment is a really important part of what we offer, as the chance to see and participate in performance helps our guests regain confidence, build self-esteem and shake off the depression or frustration homelessness causes.

This year we’re looking for something a little bit… different!

If you’re able to give up some time between 23 – 29 December to make Christmas that bit more magical for our guests then we’d love to hear from you. You can find out more and register on the Crisis Website: http://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/performer-.html

Please watch our film about Crisis at Christmas 2013: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ym1_j…ature=youtu.be

…and spread the word!

Thank you, Katy for your work and for sharing the news with Inside Magic readers.  If you have news you would like to share, click the Submit to Inside Magic button at the top of this page and let us know.

Computer App to Replace Magicians?

Just above the ground-breaking news report, “18 Celebrities Who Clearly Have Fake Teeth,” The UK Daily Mail warns Dynamo that his job may be at risk.
“Watch out Dynamo! Computer uses artificial intelligence to create magic tricks – and now you can download its illusions as an app.”
We were tempted to get to the bottom of the celebrity fake teeth scandal but decided to read about artificial intelligence’s use in the service of magicians.  We don’t think it will replace human magicians like Dynamo, Criss Angel, David Blaine or Pengo the Magic Clown – at least not yet.

Really smart researchers from London’s Queen Mary University used a computer to design a classic puzzle/trick and devise a mentalism app for your Android or iPhone device.  Both still require a real, human (with or without its natural teeth) to perform and both are impressive.

Even more impressive, however, is the work behind the demonstrations.

The two brains behind the effects, Dr. Howard Williams and Professor Peter McOwan found a natural connection between computers and mathematical magic tricks.  They published their findings in Frontiers in Psychology (which we read only for the pictures) and later sold the effects through a magic shop.  You can pick up the phone version of their card trick in the Google Play Store.  It is called Phoney – even more connection to the celebrity fake teeth scandal.

What can a computer do that a well-trained magician cannot?  Dr. Williams notes, “Computer intelligence can process much larger amounts of information and run through all the possible outcomes in a way that is almost impossible for a person to do on their own. So while, a member of the audience might have seen a variation on this trick before, the AI can now use psychological and mathematical principles to create lots of different versions and keep audiences guessing.”

“AI” means “Artificial (or “Fake”) Intelligence.

We bought Phoney and have it on our Android device and are impressed by its method – not what one would think – and the way the creators have it hide on your phone.  To be fair, it is a trick a magician could do without the AI but it is much easier and just as impressive to use one’s phone.

Check out the Computer Science For Fun website for a great survey of neat magic and non-magic things computers can do: www.cs4fn.org/magic.  The site has links to other great sites where you can download free ebooks with neat science-based magic tricks.

By the way, we checked out the fake teeth scandal and were shocked to learn that some of the biggest stars in Hollywood have had dental work – some had whitening, others got caps and one female star apparently had braces to straighten her teeth.  Frankly, we feel faint and need to sit down for a little bit.