Category: Magician Feature

The Man Behind the Carbonaro Effect

Derrin Berger.pngSo, we were reading through the on-line version of The Poughkeepsie Journal and came across a great story about Derrin Berger, the man behind the wondrous magic performed some of the Carbonaro Effects.

In case you are not aware of the Carbonaro Effect, you need to get a television, stat.  It is one of our favorite shows  on cable television next to 90-Day Fiance but for different reasons.  Although both deal with deception and trickery but we are rather sure that Mr. Berger does not create the effects for 90-Day Fiance unless he practices in that very niche area of our art entitled “Catfishing Magic.”

Back to our story, though.

Mr. Berger has been interested in magic since he was just six and shared his joy of the art with his dad.  He performed for parties and attended a magic camp with his dad.

He decided as he grew in age to pursue magic full-time.  His father was supportive but very father-like in his questioning of the move.

“I asked him, ‘Are you sure you know what you’re doing?'” Marc Berger said, noting his son has a master’s degree in engineering and computer science. “He told me, ‘I’ve been doing magic all my life.’”

He is 40-years-old now and has performed in some of the greatest venues for a magician including The Magic Castle here in Hollywood and the Chicago Magic Lounge, in Chicago, we believe.

As if that was not enough — and by our standards it would be — he has also become a contributor and part of the consulting team for truTv’s “The Carbonaro Effect.”

He’s been with the team for five years which coincides with the five years Mr. Carbonaro’s show has been on the air.  He estimates he has created more than 700 effects.

“I tell people all the time, the 12-year-old me could not even comprehend doing what I’ve been doing,” Derrin Berger said. “When I was 12, TV magic was mostly David Copperfield, David Blaine and as a kid and teen, you think ‘I absolutely want to do that when I grow up.’ And, cut to 20 years later when I’m actually doing it, it’s pretty amazing.”

And his dad is a proud watcher of the show — he claim to have never missed a single episode.

“He knows so much magic and people will come to him to ask about tricks,” His father told the reporter. “He rattles the answers without thinking twice. He is more knowledgeable than I ever know.”

The #CarbonaroEffect begins its new season tomorrow (Thursday, November 7th) on truTV at 10 p.m. 

Make sure you check out the full interview and article at The Poughkeepsie Journal here

You can visit Mr. Berger’s website here.

Check out the Carbonaro Effect’s page here.

Magician’s Equipment Gets Swiped But You Can Help Him

Tall Paul and Vern the Bird.jpegAlbuquerque’s KOB-TV reports that magician Paul Cochrell a/k/a “Tall Paul” has been in the birthday party biz for more than 20 years.  Usually the birthday party is a cause for celebration and fun.  Nice people hiring magicians for a nice gift for a son or daughter.  We never performed for an angry crowd at birthday parties.

Mr. Cochrell saw  the other side of humanity when someone broke into his car and swiped his props.

“It’d be nice if people weren’t terrible. I mean I guess the weirdest part is they don’t know what they took,” Cochrell said. “Yeah there’s some puppets and some sound equipment they may recognize but the rest of it—they don’t know what to do with.”

The good news is that he has found the car and replaced the window shattered in the break-in but was not able to recover the stolen items.

He particularly misses his puppet, Vern the Bird. “He’s like family. I’ve been using him for over 20 years,” he said.

He hasn’t given up on people though.  He sees this incident as an aberration rather than the rule.

“Bad things happen, but people are good so you know I haven’t lost faith in humanity,” he said. “Just bad things happen occasionally so just gotta pick yourself up and keep moving forward.”

Mr. Cochrell set up a Go Fund Me page to seek help from fellow magicians and fans and anyone who cares about helping with the victim of crime.  You can visit the page here.

You’ll even have a chance to see Vern the Bird right at the top of the page.  He has a goal of $3,400 and has already raised close to $2,000.

There really are good people amongst us – even non-magicians.

You can read the full article on Mr. Cochrell and even see a video of him performing on the KOB Channel 4 website here.

And be sure to visit Mr. Cochrell’s website here.

Magician Tourshis Azad Works the Stars

Toushis Azad
Toushis Azad from website

Magician and Social Media Star Toushis Azad, the “Lyrical Magician” brought a deck of cards to a rap concert.  You never know when you’ll need to perform a trick.  And it’s a good thing he did.

He was at the concert to see Miami rapper Lil Pump perform – at this point he was not part of the show or even Mr. Pump’s entourage.

He went back stage for kicks and showed his card magic for a concert photographer.  The photographer was stunned.

“He was baffled by it … next thing you know I’m on the tour bus with Lil Pump doing magic for him,” Mr. Azad said. “It was so unexpected.”  His video of the bus show was posted to his Instagram account – like a TV but not really – and it how has over 15,000 views.

This wasn’t his first rodeo with stars.

In  addition to Mr. Pump, he has performed for wrestler and movie star John Cena, actress Bella Thorne, Marlon Wayans, Michael Strahan, and even DJ Khaled.

Mr. Azad says a magician doesn’t have to don the cape and carry a wand anymore.  He told the reporter for Torch Online that a magi is “someone who practices their craft for a number of years, someone who perfected the art of a craft. A magician could be anyone.”

He’s been doing it for more than 10 years and his first shot in the spotlight was a performance for his third grade talent show.

His first magic set was none other than the Criss Angel MINDFREAK Professional Magic Kit which contained over 400 magic tricks and video downloads of instruction from Mr. Angel.

“It helped me start somewhere,” Mr. Azad said.

He has an Instagram account, with about 7,000 followers and a TikTok account (his id is @toushis_54) with nearly 19,000 followers.

We have two followers.

One is a cat and the other is a man we assume owns the cat.  The cat follows us and the man follows the cat.  The cat takes non-linear or flat routes and the man will occasionally follow the cat’s route over trash bins, boxes, disposed of rugs, pizza boxes, crates and the top of our 2007 Nissan Eczema.  We don’t mind the cat but the man, he is heavier, and leaves marks on our car and stomps on our pizza left at our door – even before the cat can open the box.

You can visit his website here.

Read the full article in the Torch Online (St. John’s University)

Magician Chase Ellsworth Featured

Chase Ellsworth.jpgThe 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 31st. Visit the Dwell Hotel.com for tickets.

Read the full profile in the Pulse here.

Piff the Magic Dragon Wins Big!

Inside Magic Image of Piff the Magic Dragon doing a One-Handed Card SpringThe 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.

Ad for an Amazing Magician

unnamed(2)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.

Shawn Farquhar’s Hidden Wonders

Hidden Wonders LogoWe 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

060211_1853_MacKingCele1.jpgInside 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.

Eric Knaus is the Great Zucchini

eric knausEric Knaus, known by the stage name “The Great Zucchini,” performs “900 shows a year and has been flown around the world to different conventions to be keynote speaker to other entertainers.”  He is beloved by kids and one funny guy.  He will be performing during Magic Month at Vienna’s 2019 Oktoberfest on Saturday, Oct. 5 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 131 Church St. NE. in Vienna.

He got his start performing when he “was working at a kids’ party place as one of their hosts and realized that lots of parents were requesting me to host their kids’ parties, because of my ability to make kids laugh.

‘Then, I realized I could do it on my own and 30 years later, I still enjoy performing, as when I first started.”

Mr. Knaus says the key to being successful in the very competitive market of Kid Show work is reliability and trust.

“I had a mom book me for her kid’s 4th birthday party and I did the mom’s party when she was 4. I care about each and every performance, and my success is based on reliability, and the trust that parents have in me. For instance, my show is geared for 2-7-year-olds. Most people know that, but if they don’t and I get a call from a mom that has a child turning 8, I’ll recommend her to a friend that gears shows for older kids.”

He derived his unique name from a suggestion from his father.  “My dad was just rattling off names and he said, “The Great Zucchini,” and it rhymes with Houdini, so I liked it right away.”  He credits his mom as his inspiration. “She is the most positive person I know, and at age 74, is still learning new things and living every day to the fullest.”

Learn more about the event here.

Check out Mr. Knaus’ website here.

Siegfried & Roy Talk About the Incident

122211_0013_SiegfriedRo1.pngIt was almost 16 years ago that Roy Horn of the incredible magic duo Siegfried & Roy was bitten by a tiger during their show in Las Vegas.  It was a black day for magic and us particularly.  We loved their show and thought they were always gracious with fans —  like us.

Now the two are sitting down with ABC to discuss what happened: their understanding and apparently ABC’s understanding of the event.

ABC’s press release celebrating their 42nd season of the 20/20 show is filled with verbs like “attacked” “nearly killed by a tiger” and others indicating their belief that Roy and Siegfried are wrong in their understanding of the injury.

The conversation will, according to ABC, “address the career-ending tiger attack and recent allegations that the accident resulted from Horn’s own onstage mistake, which the pair denies; they maintain that the tiger was trying to help Roy after he suffered a stroke.”

On the positive side, the 2 hour special will also look at their long career and “the legacy of their Las Vegas residency.”

But the draw for ABC is apparently the injury:

In the exclusive trailer for the special, above, ABC correspondent Deborah Roberts asks Fischbacher about the new claims made by one of their former animal trainers, who says Horn was to blame for the incident. “No way,” Fischbacher says. “If I would have to do it again, I would do everything again the same way. I regret nothing,” he later tells Roberts.

We wonder — and we’re not being critical of ABC or those who revisit that horrible night  — when the story can be left to the memory of the two men who were physically present when Mantacore either helped save Roy’s life or attacked him.  Why does it matter that there is a controversy over the cause?  What will it change?  Even Mantacore, who Roy sought to protect with his last breaths by saying to the crew that it was not his fault, has passed away.

The show will also feature interviews with the stagehand who helped to save Roy on stage, the producer Kenneth Feld; and other Las Vegas magicians Criss Angel, Lance Burton, and Penn & Teller.

The 20/20 season premiere airs Friday, Sept. 27 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.