Master Magician Lance Burton and All About Eve have one thing in common. They are perfect. We can watch either over-and-over without need for any breaks. But this is a magic blog read by fives to tens of people every day. We are not here to talk about Bette Davis incredible role in her Oscar® winning film, but the incredible magic of Lance Burton.
Watching Lance Burton is, in a word, wonderful. He has the sleight of hand skills to astound magicians, the professional illusionist chops to wow the crowd and he loves animals and is a very nice person.
We know magicians who love animals but fail at meeting the remaining criteria. Lance Burton has it all and always has. His sleight of hand act on Johnny Carson iced the deal for us. He does things that can only be explained as magic. We don’t look for secrets or flaws, we just drink it in like a gerbil immediately after his wheelwork.
We say all this because Lance Burton will be in Modesto August 18th and performing in the perfect environment to see him work. The Mary Stuart Rogers Theater is a fantastic venue and reminds us of the Lance Burton Theater that once held his nightly show at the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas. The sight-lines are great and the place is plush.
If you are anywhere near Modesto, you need to visit the theater and experience the true magic you will see by the Master Magician Lance Burton.
The chances are you have seen magician Nick Lewin before. But then again the chances are you have not. It’s that way with chances – they can go either way. Regardless of the side of the fates you fall, you need to take time to see Mr. Lewin for the first time or again as he begins his Southwestern swing.
Mr. Lewin is to magic what oxygen is to many people; at least us. He is an essential ingredient that keeps life sustained. We have seen him perform many times and each time end up with what feels like a broken rib from our laughing and enjoyment.
Mr. Lewin performs effects that we know well but cannot comprehend how he performs them so effortlessly. He performs magic that we assume must be based on one of the magic principles but we don’t which one or ones and we don’t want to know. But on top of all that, he is funny. Not just funny for a magician, but funny in the real comedic sense. Finally, he is an outstanding actor. When he explains something from the stage, audiences (or we) believe it. He could say the landing on the moon was real, and we would accept it without question.
He has opened for Tony Bennett, Reba McEntire, Charlie Daniels, Paul Anka, Fortune 500 companies, as well as private functions for David Bowie, Steve Forbes, Jimmy Stewart, Lee Iacocca, Tony Curtis, Orson Welles, Steve Wozniak and others. If that wasn’t enough – and it should be for anyone – he starred for five years in his award-winning one-man show in Las Vegas called “Comedy Magic.”
On the 27th, Mr. Lewin will be substituting for Mac King at Harrah’s in Las Vegas, Nevada. He will take the stage at 1:00 and 3:00 pm.
On July 29th, he will be headlining Magic at the Tavern in Austin, Texas. Joining him on the bill will be Rolando Medina (close-up expert) and Little Jewford, musician. You can purchase your tickets here.
At the end of the summer, Mr. Lewin will be at TAOM 2019.
He also offers (for sale) some of his great effects at Nick Lewin Enterprises – of which we have purchased many and been delighted with each one.
Do not miss your chance to see Mr. Lewin. He is a true Inside Magic Favorite.
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.”
We went on an Inside Magic journey and recently returned. We traveled through the heartland of this great country and stopped where we could to see places of magic interest.
One of the places we stopped was Big Guy’s Magic Shop in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. We had a wonderful time meeting the Big Guy and his wife Mary. Their shop is incredible and very much brick and mortar of the classic magic shop design. There are tricks everywhere – in and out of beautiful and refurbished counters with streamers and signs festooning the place. There are chairs to sit and chat and wonderful chats to be had with the Big Guy and Mary.
Local magicians were visiting throughout our time in the shop. We even saw a celebrity magician just as we were entering and will keep his identity from the peering eyes of our tens of readers to protect his privacy. Also to protect our embarrassment because we didn’t recognize him in his everyday dress clothes; complete with a hat – although not a magic hat, so there’s that.
Name a trick and the Big Guy has it. He showed us his backroom and it is filled (as in, there’s no more room for anything) with magic. His eCommerce site boasts – in a modest way – over 17,000 tricks. And that’s not like saying he has 16,000 thumb tips and the rest in sponge rabbits. These are classic effects and the latest. He even has a texting service to let customers pre-order effects before they hit the streets – the tricks not the customers.
We bemoan often the lack of real magic stores and wonder if there is a place for the classic magic store amidst the eCommerce world with its fancy tools. The Big Guy proves it can be done. He has a place to learn, trade stories, work on tricks and just relax in a magician-friendly environment. He holds lectures from some of the big names in our craft and is the hub for magicians available for shows. Check out his About Us page for images of some of the big stars that have visited.
We walked out with new effects and some classics we needed to replace in our collection and we were happy. We didn’t stop smiling until, well, we’re still smiling.
The chances that you will visit Pewaukee, Wisconsin may not be as great as the chances you will turn on your computer, but either way, we hope you visit the Big Guy and his wonderful magic offerings.
We should point out that we received not a dime for this unabashed hagiography of the Big Guy, his wonderful wife, Mary, and his spectacular online and in-life store. It is our pleasure. It was such a wonderful experience, we want to spread the word.
Magician and illusionist goes by the name “The Sorceress” and is excited to be the first female on stage with the fabulously popular The Illusionists – Live from Broadway” tour, scheduled to stop this weekend at the Easton State Theatre.
Sabine Van Diemen has a background as a model and dancer, but this weekend she will perform our art (and include some of her dancing chops)
Ms. Van Diemen told the Morning Call’s reporter it is “really cool” to be the first and only woman on the tour.
She will be working along with An Ha Lim, “The Manipulator,” Jonathan Goodwin, “The Daredevil” Colin Cloud, “The Deductionist,” Paul Debak, “The Trickster,” and Raymond Crowe, “The Unusualist.”
Some have referred to the show as “Magic’s Cirque du Soleil” but we think it is better classified as a Tour de Force of great performers doing what each does best.
Ms. Van Diemen has been at it for about ten years and includes illusions, escapes and an effect you cannot buy online, a trick featuring a bullwhip.
She started as many of us did, as a ballerina when she was just 4 and joined the Holland Show Ballet when she turned 18.
She became focused on magic when “a magician in the show and one of the assistants had an injury one day,” she says. “They put me in the illusion called the fire cage, and I immediately loved it.”
She moved from modeling and dance to studying our wonderful craft.
In 2011 she met famous Dutch illusionist Hans Klok and worked together to create several hit shows. We know Mr. Klok from his high-speed performance of magic and illusions. We imagine working with him would be exhausting. We get out of breath just breathing hard. Ms. Van Diemen said of that partnership, “It was a rush.”
The two toured the globe and she was named the Silver Clown winner at the Circus Festival in Monte Carlo. She started a solo act and was undaunted by being one of the few female performers in a very male dominated craft.
Ms. Van Diemen is able to speak multiple languages, has model looks and a great background in dance. That could be the reason for her success or perhaps it is her daring willingness to take on dangerous escapes and full-scale stage illusions. Whilst in Holland, she was named one of permanent hosts and perfomer at “Amsterdam Magic” and was featured on “Holland’s Got Talent.”
She moved from Holland to London to be one of the cast of the 2015 show “Impossible” and was asked to be one of “four horsemen” featured in the “Now You See Me Live” international magic tour.
Ms. Van Diemen says “Modeling is far behind me, but dancing will always be a part of me, so naturally I incorporate it in my act. Not that I necessarily do full-on choreography, but it’s in the way I move and hold myself on stage. I try to combine speech with movement to music while I do my illusions.”
Yes, but what about the bullwhip trick?
“The bullwhip is fun and exciting. It has a very surprising ending to it for one member of the audience.”
Sabine told reporters she enjoys working along with the other great performers on “The Illusionists” and “loves” the nickname “The Sorceress.”
“It’s cool,” she says. “It really sounds like a power chick, and I always strive to be one.”
It is a wonderful production and plus you get to see a trick with a bullwhip.
Mentalism, Magic and Mystery are three very different things – at least in our tattered book. We have never gotten into trouble with Magic and Mystery but on a couple of occasions have experienced harsh but understandable reactions from Mentalism.
First of all, we are out of the Mentalism biz. It used to be the cool thing around the time of people bending things and using specially patterned cards to read minds. There was a time in our business when everyone claimed they could read minds. Why they did that was always a mystery (little “m” mystery) to us. It gained them some notoriety but it would seem to invite constant challenges.
Slowly the world of Mentalism evolved to not claiming to be capable of reading minds. There were some who continued to make the claims but they were now considered psychics and not Mentalists. We were always in the Mentalism camp – back during our Mentalism days. We would, contrary to psychics, affirmatively tell audiences we cannot read minds. We could influence choices and perhaps pick up tells given by volunteers but never, ever could we read minds.
Except one time.
The following story is an amalgam of two events to protect the innocent and make our point.
We performed what Magicians would call a one-in-a-million shot. Our hole card is the Four of Hearts. We don’t know why but it seems like a good even number and has pretty hearts that can be read from the back of the audience. We were performing for some Boy Scouts and held an over-sized card before us and asked a woman in the far back to name a card. Our intention was to fail to have predicted the card and then go about our act explaining why we do not claim Mentalism power.
She called out in a loud and clear voice, “The Four of Hearts!”
We were far less mature then.
We should have joked it off, not shown the card, and said that was why we did not claim to have special powers. But we couldn’t resist. We milked the moment and when we finally turned the card to face the audience, there was true amazement. Unfortunately, there was also deep concern in the heart of the woman – the mother of one of a young scout.
She asked us almost immediately after finishing our routine, how we could possibly know the card. She had told no one and didn’t even know she was going to be a volunteer. Again, we were immature and in need of validation; even at the cost of someone else’s emotional toil.
“I don’t know for sure, we have a talent to read minds sometimes,” we said proudly.
It wasn’t true and still isn’t. We can’t read minds. We can’t even read fortune cookies without bifocals. We do have a very special talent in reading The Racing Form but our mounting losses over the years have proven that talent does not lead to accurate predictions of horse races.
The scout mom became upset. She asked if we could read her mind at that very moment. We paused as if trying to gather psychic messages and had to admit that we could not. But now she did not believe us. We were lying and reading minds. A very bad combination at a scout meeting.
“The Bible is against false prophets,” she told us as she took her boy behind her back and walked away from us.
We felt terrible. Horrible. We had offended – unnecessarily but for our own self-aggrandizement – a seemingly innocent, concerned mother and likely her son.
That is where the Mystery comes into the equation. Magic, to us, is clean. Things vanish, appear, and change shape or quality. Birds come from places you would least expect and disappear into places far too small for them. Magic is the kind of thing you would do (or we would do) for children, teens, adults and even people our age. Mentalism requires some advanced thinking on the part of the audience and if introduced as a real power can cause real concern.
We don’t want to concern anyone with our act. We do our double-lifts, false shuffles, second deals and what passes for a bottom deal and no one is emotionally concerned. We do a short card divination but never describe it as Mentalism. It is merely a demonstration of influence and picking up “tells.”
There are performers with more experience and ability than us. They would handle the troop mother incident in a far better manner. Perhaps they could even devise a method of proclaiming psychic powers that would cause no concern. We lack those abilities. But we can drink whole milk without having stomach or intestinal upset so we are all blessed in different ways. (We are not saying and would never say all self-proclaimed psychics are lactose intolerant; only that most are and we are not).
The Mystery is why we would do such a thing? Why would we concern a troop mom by persisting in the “gag” and asserting an ability we do not have and have never possessed? We learned our lesson years ago but pass it along for those starting out in our wonderful Art. There are very real consequences to what we do and how we choose to entertain.
Some magic-oriented questions keep us up at night. We toss and turn – our own body, to be clear – and stare at the top of the tent, wondering things, magical things.
Last night (and we’re writing this on our Palm – not the ancient electronic organizer but our own palm – so it is still last night technically) we wondered aloud, “What is the strangest thing David Copperfield has ever packed for a trip?”
We should have kept the question to ourselves and not uttered it aloud. That wasn’t polite to the other campers (we call ourselves “campers” because we’re sly and think that gives us an edge if we are ever taken to the hoosegow by the coppers for setting up a small circus tent in a vacant field near the Ralph’s grocery store over by the Citgo across from the Bumper Bumper auto repair shop).
Nonetheless, we wondered aloud about David Copperfield’s packing for trips and were reminded by one of our fellow campers that David Copperfield was both a fictional character who was fascinated by cake and a magician who has toured the globe. The camper – who will remain nameless because we were never introduced – suggested we be more specific in our wondering.
We knew the David Copperfield about whom we were wondering and so we ignored the camper and went on wondering. We could not wait until the public library opened to have access to the internet and learn the answer to our wondering.
We have seen his show 17 times so far. It is by far one of the best ever. We wouldn’t see something 17 times if it was terrible or even just good. For us to see something more than twice, it has to be great. That’s why we don’t have mirrors.
Magician Adam Trent, known to audiences as “The Futurist” is moving from touring with and Broadway smash THE ILLUSIONISTS to his own tour with his show THE MAGIC OF Adam Trent. The show is a great mixture of magic, comedy and magic with a family focus. He brings his show to the beautiful Balboa Theatre in equally lovely San Diego, California this Saturday, March 24th.
He caught the magic bug as a young ‘un and was inspired by David Copperfield. Unlike many, his magic love turned to obsession and fascination and he moved on to shows for birthday parties and nursing homes. Mr. Trent’s nickname, The Futurist, comes from his desire to bring the latest tech into his magic performances.
Mr. Trent believes he is more than just a magician – not that being a magician isn’t sufficient – but he strives to be an entertainer; hence the comedy and music in his show.
Says Mr. Trent, “I want them to say it was completely different than they expected a magic show to be. I want them to say they laughed harder than they ever have in a theatre, and I want them to have been emotionally moved by the end.”
Reporters forewarn audiences that one of this personal faves in the show is borrowing an audience member’s cell phone to serve as blender-fodder. “I borrow an audience members phone and put it in a blender onstage. I always enjoy seeing how different people react to that.”
Our guess, the reactions probably have a rather small spectrum from surprise, to concern, to more surprise and concern.
“My goal is to make people forget about the tricks. Will they be fooled? Yes. But I want them to not care about being fooled because they are too busy laughing.”
Why do folks like magic? “It’s the closest thing to being a real life superhero. Magicians are people who make the impossible seemingly possible. It’s like being James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, and Superman all in one. I certainly want to be that guy.”
That has kept us from the spacious office suite here on Santa Monica Boulevard where this humble magic news outlet makes its home in West Hollywood, California.
It is good to be busy but bad to be neglecting of the tens of people who read Inside Magic religiously – and by “religiously” we mean by candlelight, copious amounts of incense and chanting.
We have asked one of the least qualified but most available magic writers (so it averages out) to take over for the next few days or until readership drops below the web equivalent of anemic.
Readers of Inside Magic may remember Mr. Panner for his contributions in the past to this and other magic websites. You can read his horrible review of Inside Magic Favorite magician Bob Sheets here.
He is related to us through a complicated story of inter-marriage and bad life-choices but we offer him space here only as a matter of convenience for us, not because it is in the interest of marital bliss.
Mr. Panner has published several books on magic, all self-published and, as we understand it, still unread. He has claimed to have invented several of the greatest effects in our art including:
The Balls and Cups (his take on the classic “The Cups and Balls”), Card to Walet (intentionally misspelled in an effort to avoid litigation and scorn by the creators of “Card to Wallet”), Torn Newspaper (the review in Magic Magazine noted that it was a fine effect but lacked the ending audiences have come to expect from similar routines like “The Torn and Restored Newspaper”), and the now disregarded Paint Ball Catching Trick.
The Paint Ball Catching Trick was marketed as a safe alternative to the deadly Bullet Catch. In the litigation that followed the meager sales of the effect, we learned that while the trick did not risk being shot in the face with a real bullet, the content of the particular brand of paint balls sold with the trick contained enough lead to shave years off the life of even a casual performer and “condemned his or her progeny to a dramatically higher risk of mental disability.”
Mr. Panner decided re-market the effect with instructions discouraging the “chewing of the paintball or rolling it around in the mouth for an extended period of time.”
You can still find the original version with the now discredited instructions on eBay.
Mr. Panner complained to the magic community that he was being undersold by “cheap, Chinese imports.” The magic community apparently did not care.
Mr. Panner has performed shows for hundreds of paying customers and clients throughout the Midwest – but never for the same client twice. He says this practice is due to his “constant, driving forced (sic) to keep things fresh.” He also points out that the Better Business Bureau rating is “probably wrong because people only complaint (sic) and never say good things to the BBB.”
For the record, he denies ripping off Criss Angel’s Believe with his own, limited tour of “Bee Leave.” Also for the record, Criss Angel denies caring at all about Mr. Panner’s two hour illusion show featuring the magician dressed in a costume described by a reporter for the Urbana, Illinois daily as “cross between Criss Angel and a effeminate bumble bee.”
Mr. Panner’s contributions will begin later today (or possibly tomorrow) and, as is our practice, will be unedited. Mr. Panner describes the process as “keeping it real, raw.” We describe it as “being lazy, real lazy.”
We should be back in the office with renewed energy and new stories in the next week or so.
It is entirely likely we will be back sooner if Mr. Panner performs as predicted.
As a dedicated Michigander, it is hard to admit there is any likeable or noteworthy aspect to Ohio. Sure, Josha Jay, William Howard Taft, the Wright Brothers, Jamie Farr (the cross-dressing actor from M*A*S*H!), Thomas Edison, the Amish and the Mennonites, Vulcanized Rubber, the Classic Joke “What’s Round on both Ends and High in the Middle,” Most of the Early Astronauts, Paul Newman, the First Pop-Top Can, Teflon, Beautiful Streams, and the modern version of what we know call the Hot Dog.
It’s just that gosh-derned Woody Hayes Ohio State University and their rivalry with those kind boys who play football in Ann Arbor in a state the true-blue Ohio folks refer to not as Michigan but “that state up north.”
Beyond all that, we have a new reason to think highly of our owl-shaped state perched just below the base of our mitten. The Akron Civic Theatre of Akron Ohio is featuring The Carbonaro Effect, Michael Carbonaro, from truTV.
His show unloads his national tour of his stage show this Friday will have the same feel of the TV show, Mr. Carbonaro says, “where improbable magic tricks fool unsuspecting victims.’
Tickets range from $39.50 to $150 for the 7:30 p.m. performance this Friday at the beautiful Akron Civic. You can choose your seats here at akroncivic.com.
“Magic brought me to my discovery of becoming an entertainer,” he said.
He drew inspiration from another true showman and performer at the time, David Copperfield.
“He was so on point, so precise,” Carbonaro said.
So he spent his teen years performing for family, friends and whatever gigs he could find.
He landed a gig with Jay Leno, where he used a hidden camera in “Magic Clerk” segments on The Tonight Show.He used his old magic tricks and knowledge to fool customers in a convenience store. He moved to nicer stores and multiple years worth of series with The Carbonaro Effect.
We have seen this very young and talented man perform live for cynical, hardened and oft-smelling magicians in prestigious theaters and been delighted by the new waves of illusion his presence brings. He has little reason to be as humble as he appears but he is a joy to watch. Do not miss your chance.