Category: Magician Feature

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.

Magician Paul “The Trickster” Featured

Carreras ltd cards the wandering penPaul Debek is known as “The Trickster” in the current iteration of the deservedly world-famous touring company of The Illusionists.

The Trickster does more than comedy and magic, he essentially works as the emcee for the show.  His work is discussed in today’s edition of Broadway Direct.  You can read about him and The Illusionists – the Marvel or DC comics version of magicians – in the edition yourself by going here.

It is a great piece that discusses how he first got into the Art and then learned to mix in his own brand of comedy.

We were called “The Trickster” for a while also but that was a whole, non-magic situation involving alleged tools appropriate only “in a dentist office” or the “bag of a burglar.”

Long-time Inside Magic readers will no doubt recall our first album’s name was “The Bag of a Burglar.”  We were sued by McDonalds for our use of the term “The Bag of a Burglar” but because we received the title by using the actual description of a police officer in the line of duty, our local court found we bore no resemblance to the McDonalds’ character who stole meat from people.  Plus we didn’t sell many albums.  CDs were all the rage and our vinyl records seemed out-of-place and unplayable on most CD players.  (Of course we recall that Sony had a Walkman edition that could play vinyl records and CDs but we choose to omit that device from our claim because of its horrible safety record of accidental blinding or cornea scratching from out-of-control LP needles and control arms). 

But enough about us.  Let’s talk about you.  If you are in New York, be sure to check out The Illusionists.  You can learn more about the tour here. The show will be in New York at the beautifully appointed Neal Simon Theater just in time for the Holidays.

New York Times Loves Derren Brown’s New Broadway Show

derren-brown-secret-broadway.jpgIt should come as no surprise that Derren Brown’s new Broadway one-man show, Secret, has received rave reviews from magicians like David Copperfield.  Magicians know what amazing things can come from Mr. Brown’s very fertile mind.  He is, in a word, incredible.

But beyond the common magician or human audience member, there is the critical eye of the critics who with their often very critical pen draft criticism of nearly every new show that hits the Great White Way.

Given that truth as prologue, we were very impressed that the New York Times, the Gray Lady, praised Mr. Brown’s show and Mr. Brown in particular — which makes sense in a one-man show situation.

They wrote:

As a showman, Mr. Brown has none of the smarminess of Las Vegas prestidigitators or carnival hucksters. He feels nonsynthetic in his smoothness, and his jokes directed at the audience stay carefully on the sunny side of insults.

We have long taken a firm stand in favor of smarminess of not only Las Vegas performers and carnival hucksters but we are broad-minded enough to accept non-smarmy presentations of our grand art as well.  It could be that we like smarminess because we are in fact smarmy.  We tried to go to those camps where they sweat the smarminess out of you — we were surprised our insurance company covered the 30 days at Malibu Smart Not Smarmy Treatment Center and Spa, but they did and it didn’t work.

We even wrote an article for the Journal of the American Medical Association, “Smarminess, The New Epidemic?” It was a case study of magicians and hucksters across the US, Canada and parts of Luxembourg.  Yes, the study was later rejected by real doctors but at least we brought the issue to the attention of medical professionals.  And yes, it was removed from the site and replaced by a study on cancer or heart disease or something.  We didn’t read the replacement article — hence proving that we are smarmy by mentioning something that cannot be found to back up our claim. Quod Erat Demonstrandum, amigos.

Mr. Brown is showing his non-smarmy, smart, intriguing and, to some, “life changing” show at the famous prior home of Doug Henning, The Cort Theater in New York.

We look forward to seeing his show as soon as we can get to New York and purchase tickets to this sold-out show.

It is axiomatic that if the New York Times likes the show, the tickets will no longer be available in the short and middle-run.  We are willing to pay scalpers’ prices to see Mr. Brown.  That is saying a lot because we are cheap, very cheap.  We wear the same suit we wore to our baptism (we had to expand the pants a bit because we grew since we were an infant).  Our world-famous father once said, “save your money and you’ll always have money saved.”  He also said other things that have nothing to do with money unless you consider horse race touting as money related.

If you are in the New York area — including bordering states and parts of Canada — we urge you to work against your cheap ways and go to see this show.  It is guaranteed to be a once in a lifetime experience.  Mr. Brown is, in our father’s immortal words, “a sure thing upon which you could bet both lungs.”

Hurry though.  The show is scheduled to close January 2, 2020.

Get tickets for Mr. Brown’s show — when they become available here.

Check out Mr. Brown’s website here.

Read the New York Times review here.

 

Rob Zabrecky: From Rocker to Magician

Image of Rob Zabrecky's New Book - Strange Cures
Get it Now – Rob Zabrecky’s New Memoir

If you haven’t seen Rob Zabrecky perform, you should stop reading and find him.  Ask him to perform a trick and then  come back to read the about the latest from this inventive, creative man.

Mr. Zabrecky is famous (in our world and others) for  effortlessly and compellingly performing some of the best magic we’ve seen.

And remember, we have a mirror in our single-wide home parked on the lawn of a generous and unknowing rich family in Beverly Hills.

While we rarely use the mirror — it is cracked, but not by us so the bad luck is on someone else — when we do, we perform some pretty wild effects; some of which could be considered magic.

Most involve puppets we make from our used pot pie pans (our main diet) or … no actually we just have access to pot pie pans, so that’s about it.

The book is titled Strange Cures: A Memoir and is currently available on Amazon (the internet company).   From the press release:

In the book, the Possum Dixon rocker and magician pulls the curtain back on his wild upbringing and coming-of-age story, including everything from an uncle who impersonated an FBI agent to his days as part of the budding music-and-arts scene in L.A.’s Silver Lake neighborhood.

Rob also delves into his struggles with addiction, his recovery and pivot to magic, and his introduction to Hollywood’s Magic Castle.

In addition to being an incredible performer who engages audiences completely, he is an actor on a Delta safety video, on television and in the movies — plus and really nice guy. He has a riveting story to tell.

We cannot wait to read it.

Strange Cures is available now on Amazon.

Harry Houdini Exhibit at Bremen Museum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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