Category: Magician Feature

Carisa Hendrix Featured

Carissa HendrixCarisa Hendrix is more than an accomplished magician and world-record fire-eater, she is also a Persuasive Calgarians according to a great profile in today’s Calgary Herald newspaper.  But magic was not her first choice.  She was “seduced by the ‘glamor of magic.'”

Like many of us, she watched David Copperfield on television with her family.  She was able to “think outside the box” and correctly guess how the illusions were being performed.

Her intended career was to be a teacher.  But the lure of fire-eating and card magic proved strong.

“It’s never had to be a career; just what I did to survive. “

“The 32-year-old Calgary-born wizard is at the top of her game today, performing in iconic clubs – in her sexy personality Lucy Darling – setting a Guinness World Record for Eating Fire, inviting Penn and the TV show Teller and co-hosting Shezam, a popular feminist podcast on magic.”

Her abilities have been noted not only by her peers in the magic community (a tough crowd) but also magic clubs.  She  no longer needs to send audition videos.

“I wouldn’t exist if not for the other magicians who encouraged me, paid me to be their assistant when I was 16 and 17. It was money between hunger and no.”

Three years later, “I did everything – fire, acrobatics, chair dance, magic – whatever he wanted. I was making money until it was no longer scary.”

Ms. Hendrix is looking forward to a possible Canadian television tour to her North American club appearances.

“The magic has to be proven directly,” she says. “It’s just so powerful.”

Check out the full article in the Calgary Herald here.

Check out her great website here.

The New Face of Magic

Ace Hotel.jpgYou know the Ace Hotel New York even if you have never been there.  Check out their website to see the iconic building with tons of history and literary connections.  If we are not mistaken (and their is a very good chance we are), our very favorite short story writer, O. Henry lived in one of the rooms of the building way back in the day.

Zach Alexander, Michael Karas and RJ The Magician will be appearing in their show The New Face of Magic tomorrow, December 14th in Liberty Hall at Ace Hotel New York.

So there is a fine mixture of the past and future awaiting  you.  Once you are seated and watching the show, it will then be the past, present and future.  We suppose that goes without saying and so . . .

The title of the show is fitting for performances by new magicians that push the art of the craft forward.

Mr. Alexander has been featured on ABC Morning News and is a member of our art’s very secret society, The International Brotherhood of Magicians.

New Face.jpgJoining Mr. Alexander will be RJ the Magician.  He truly is part of the coming generation of magicians.  His objective is not only to entertain but also “prove that magic and civic engagement can help contribute to modern society.”  He is a member of the International Association of Black Magical Artists; and was the winner of their 2018 “Rising Star” Award.

Mr. Karas is an international award-winning juggler.  He has toured the world for more than a decade with his very unique and comedic juggling routine.

If we were in New York, we’d stay at the Ace Hotel if only for the history and O. Henry’s legacy (assuming we’re correct about his residence there) but if we had a choice of nights to stay, it would be tonight and tomorrow to catch The New Face of Magic show.

If you are anywhere in the vicinity of New York city, you should check out the show and see these three amazing performers.

You can read more about the show and the performers here.

 

Magician Robert Ramirez is Much More

Robert RamirezRobert Ramirez is a magician amongst many things and is featured in The Pittsburgh Current today for those talents that are not within the sphere of magic.

Proof of his multi-talented skills is evidenced by his new show Robert Ramirez: The Musical Theater Magician live through Jan. 5, 2020, at Pittsburgh’s Downtown’s Liberty Magic.

By the way, Downtown’s Liberty Magic has a great website.  We don’t normally comment on the quality of websites because we feel inadequate about the layout of InsideMagic.com — and we didn’t just mention InsideMagic.com to boost our position in Google ratings — and we didn’t just mention Google to associate Google and its Google Search Engine with InsideMagic.com.  We were just making a point why we point out great websites when we see ’em and instantly compare them with our site dedicated to providing the latest magic news for the professional performer here on InsideMagic.com.

Mr. Ramirez’s musical abilities including the ability to play the piano and tap dance; plus perform magic tricks at a level that brings unsolicited praise from fellow magicians.

He became interested in our art when he was merely 8-years-old, after his parents divorced. He then branched into playing the flute, being involved in musical theater in high school and college and even took classes at the very prestigious L.A. based Upright Citizens Brigade.  As if that wasn’t enough, he found time to promote creative writing for children in California’s elementary schools through a program called the Imagination Machine.

We would posit that this was sufficient; but no.  He went on to star in the touring company of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical, In the Heights from 2011 to 2012.

Holy cow.  We can only do magic and really only with cards and really only with cards that we have prepared before performing and really only with one type of a deck in one color and whilst seated and without any potential bad angles and with special sticky stuff on our fingers.  Forget doing music or dancing.

Now here’s the strange part.  Once he finished the tour, he found it tough to get auditions. He hit a dry spell — like our hands and that is why we need the sticky stuff on our fingers but he was using the term “dry spell” as a metaphor not a physical sign of aging and dry fingers.

“I had realized I’m going to have to create my own work if I want to get out of this little rut,” he says. “So I started doing more magic and I started doing weddings or I started doing strolling gigs when I could.”

He served as a magic consultant on “America’s Got Talent” and appeared at the world-famous Magic Castle in Los Angeles and the Chicago Magic Lounge.  Soon his unique combination of skills brought him to the forefront.

“Now in the last two years, I got to a point where now I have to set time aside to do a theater show, do a musical, and then audition for that show,” he says.

Did we mention he also  has a comedy background and uses comedy in his performance?  We realize we shouldn’t ask readers to go back through this post to determine whether we mentioned it when we clearly could do it if our Tandy X1000 running WordStar 1.25 had an easy way to scroll back up.

“I don’t want to set that expectation because you may not get my brand of humor. Everybody loves magic, and there’s kind of not a ‘brand’ of magic. Either it’s going to feel whimsical and feel like magic or it’s not,” he says.

He is in to magic history and history in general   “Magic’s been popular for hundreds of years,” he says. “I think, when all of these historical events were happening in the world, what was happening in magic?”

Following the lead of Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the show, In The Heights, to construct a show that he wanted to see, Mr. Ramirez put together an act that he would want to attend.  “Now all I do is I create magic that I want to see, something that I wish I was in the audience to laugh at.”

If you are in the Pittsburgh area, check out “Robert Ramirez: The Musical Theater Magician.” Various times. Now through Jan. 5. 811 Liberty Ave., Downtown. 412-456-6666 or www.trustarts.org

You’ll see it all in one place.  Visit Mr. Ramirez’  website here.

The Inside Story of Penn & Teller’s Fool Us

Alyson Harrigan
Alyson Hannigan wearing the same dress all season

We don’t know the website “Looper” but it caught our eye today with a story on the behind the scenes of the wildly popular magic-oriented television show, Penn & Teller’s Fool Us.

We love logistics.  Perhaps our love is in the extreme.  We love to be at the back of the theater to see how props are packed and unpacked.  The huge trucks and the many workers who move the props into their show-ready position.  We really love it.  Ask anyone who knows us — that’s about three people (or 2.2 people in metric, we think).

Looper takes readers inside and behind the filming of Fool Us and the time expended to film a season’s worth of shows in just a couple of days in front of an audience that could  understandably be less enthusiastic as the taping goes on for hours.

One of the burning (literally — but that’s due to a Voodoo curse we received in New Orleans when we refused to pay for what we considered inadequate Voodoo practice — guess Madam Etouffee proved us wrong.  We know experience physical burning sensations each time we obsess on some random thought.  But that’s our problem, not yours, we hope) — trying to figure out why the delightful Alyson Hannigan wore the same lovely but repetitive dress for each show.

The Looper knows and explains.

We also wondered why there were many more female magicians fooling Penn & Teller — again, The Looper knows.  It is an encouraging reason and promises good things for our beloved art.  (“Beloved Art” was also the name of our sister’s fake lover — according to some court documents detailing the catfishing efforts of someone who wasn’t really name “Art” and certainly shouldn’t have been beloved by our innocent little sister).  Louise took it stride — meaning she ran and kicked the fake Art to break off their relationship.  Louise is now working in Hollywood as a freelance conjoined twin for some of the biggest stars in the business.  She has beautiful red hair all down her back — unfortunately, none on her head, just down her back.

So our sister Louise shares the redhead / red-hairy back trait with Ms. Hannigan.

The story goes even further behind the scenes to reveal how Penn & Teller’s guess at the method of the trick is checked by a magician who knows the secret.  There have been times when Penn & Teller disagreed with the off-stage judge but the judge’s ruling is final.  How many times have we heard that phrase in our errant attempts to become Mr. California, Mr. Hollywood, Mr. North Hollywood, Mr. single block between Melrose and Santa Monica, Mr. Living Room in an apartment over a dog food bakery on Santa Monica?  Many times, that’s how many.  We still have our sash for third prize (“Mr. Congenital”) but it doesn’t mean so much to us now that we know what “congenital” means.

Check out The Looper article and keep scrolling because they have a behind the scenes of Michael Carbonaro’s The Carbonaro Effect just below the Penn & Teller story.

Both are puff-pieces but in a good way.

Thanksgivings Past: Grandfather Hardy and Tasha

Astounded.jpgLong-time readers of Inside Magic are already familiar with this story.  Almost all of it nearly true.

It was Thanksgiving dinner years ago.  The family was gathered around the table.  We have a large family both in girth and number.  Our now departed grandfather and the magician scion of the Hardy clan (our family’s stage name) was seated at the head of the elongated table created by pushing three wooden tables and one card table into a long row.

Grandfather Hardy (his real last name from which we took our stage name) clutched the family bible in his liver-spotted hands and gazed over his progeny with pride.  Assembled were five magicians and their families as well as non-magicians and their families.  He was waiting for all to cease their conversations, the passing of plates and the taking of places.

Once all were quiet, Grandfather Hardy turned to his favorite passage from the holy book on Thanksgiving day, John 10:10 “I have come to give you life and life more abundantly.”  He spoke for a few minutes about the abundant life God had provided and a tear formed in his right eye, his voice cracked and he looked down at his amply filled plate.  “We have much abundance and for that we should always be thankful.”

He crossed himself and we all followed – even those around the table who did not customarily cross themselves in their faith.

We began to eat.

There was clanging of forks and knives on Grandmother Hardy’s prized china and the occasional sounds of chomping from those in our family who had no manners and could not close their mouths whilst eating.  We thought nothing of it, though.  This was a time of family dedicated to giving thanks.

Then Grandfather Hardy brought out a deck of cards.

The mood around the table changed.

Some of us were excited.  Some showed signs of ennui and others just averted their glance from the old man and his preparation to show a card trick.

There are people who eat with their mouths open and people who don’t like card tricks.  If you were to draw a Ven Diagram describing those two groups, they would not only connect, they would likely match  up exactly in one circle with no evidence of outliers.

Grandfather Hardy asked the youngest of the families to select a card from the deck.

Young Natasha was just four but knew how to select a card and was excited about the attention she was now receiving from not only her Great Grandfather but also the entire crowded table.  She pondered the perfect fan of cards before her and made a selection.

“Show it to everyone but not me,” Grandfather Hardy said.

Natasha did as she was told.  Our memory may be fading but we think it was the two of clubs.

“Now, Tasha, Grandfather Hardy said with a smile, “sign the card so we’ll know it is yours if we see it again.”

She joined in the smile and looked to her mother, our aunt, as she took the pen she was handed and slowly, very slowly wrote her name on the card.  It said, “Tasha.”

Without urging from Grandfather Hardy, she placed the card back in the deck, still spread in a perfect fan.  She knew the elements of such a trick.

Grandfather Hardy handed the deck to Tasha’s mother and asked her to help her daughter shuffle it thoroughly.  The two shuffled for quite a while – or so it seemed to the magicians around the table.  It is difficult to say what the non-magicians thought.

Tasha’s mother returned the deck to her father and he held it fairly in his left hand.

“Tasha,” he said. “Do you remember what your card looked like?”

Tasha turned to her mother with a smile.  Her mother whispered something in her ear and Tasha turned back to greet the gaze of her Great Grandfather.  “Two of cubs,” she said.

“Indeed?” asked Grandfather Hardy.  “And it has your signature on it too.”

Tasha nodded and looked back at her mother for approval.  Her mother again whispered something in her ear and she turned again towards the table and nodded with a smile.

“Take a look at the cards and tell me if you see yours,” Grandfather Hardy instructed with a kind smile.

As he turned the deck face up and began to spread them across the tablecloth – one of four covering the assembly of tables – everyone could see that all of the cards were blank.  Tasha’s card was gone but so were the faces of all others.

Tasha’s eyes grew wide.  She had never seen this trick before.  She had been the volunteer for many of the old man’s tricks but this was a new one.  She turned to her mother again as if to verify that what she was seeing was not only amazing to her but to others.  She saw her mother’s proud smile and her smile increased accordingly.

“Where did it go?” Grandfather Hardy asked.

Tasha shook her head, still smiling.

“Look under your plate, Tasha,” Grandfather Hardy said softly.

Tasha lifted her plate and taking the instructions very literally looked at the bottom of the plate, not the table beneath.  Her mother pointed down to the table and drew her daughter’s attention to a single face down card.

Tasha seemed to accept that the trick was over.  She was impressed, delighted, amused, and very, very happy.  She had no need to turn over the card, she knew it had to be the one she selected and signed.

“Turn it over,” said several of the non-magician family members almost in unison.

Tasha did as she was urged and indeed the card was the same one she had selected and signed.

Her smile grew wider, she looked to her mother and now back to Grandfather Hardy and then her mother again.

She leapt from her chair to give the old man a hug and a kiss.  He accepted both and hugged her tightly.

His eyes were filled with tears now.

“Abundantly,” he said with cracking voice.  “We have been blessed with abundance.”

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.