Category: Latest Magic News

The very latest in magic news

Magicians and Influenza — 1918 and Now

Chicago Board of Health 1918One of the many inconveniences of the current state of disease and our reaction to disease seems minimal compared with the devastating impact of the pandemic.  But for those of us who perform for our income or even for enjoyment, the lack of access to a real-live audience is tough.  It is not tough enough to seek opportunities to violate good public safety guidelines, but it is tough enough to make us miss the days of performing downstairs at the Magic Castle.  We can imagine it is even worse for those of our profession who depend on appearance fees and meal allowances for their work at the greatest platform for our art we know.

We looked back at the way performers handled the lockdowns in the 1918 Spanish Flu.  We should have guessed that John Cox would have covered Houdini’s involvement with the flu on his wonderful website, Wild About Harry.  Link here.

Houdini actually contracted the flu but apparently was of sufficient strength or granted sufficient protection to survive the flu in 1918.  Interestingly, that flu attacked those who were young, healthy and strong.  It forced the immune system – usually stronger in young – to cause the immune system to over-react and kill the infected.  John quotes information from a David Ben book that points out Houdini was at the time of the flu “middle aged” and thus part of a population that was actually safer from the flu.

We checked the medical journals reviewing entertainment’s response to the flu.

In an article titled “Lessons Learned from the 1918–1919 Influenza Pandemic in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota,” in the journal Public Health Reports in 2007.  To save you the reading of the entire report, it is documented that the closing of theaters in November of 1918 was show to reduce the number of cases.  The Minneapolis Tribune reported that when the closure of theaters was announced, patrons rushed to the venues for one last show, “Downtown theaters were packed last night with patrons who took advantage of their last chance to see a performance until the ban is lifted.” (“Influenza Lid Clamped Tight All Over City,” Minneapolis Tribune 1918 Oct 13).

There is a great summary of how show people handled the sudden closing of the theaters at Circus Talk.  Contracts were cancelled “left and right” and so performers were tossed from the hotels and boarding houses where they were staying.  Some looked for theaters that either were not affected by the shut-down or simply ignored the law and thus risked criminal sanctions.  In those towns without laws or regulations, performers received poor reviews and small audiences.

We have much to learn from the past but the lessons are hard to abide.

Zoom Magic Sought by Inside Magic

Picture of Magician EntertainingWe have seen some wonderful Zoom magic shows recently.  We realized we only knew about them because friends (we’re not bragging but we have some outside our family) sent us links or we read about them on our Twitter timeline (@insidemagic).

So, we got to thinking.  Hey, why not have a collection of Zoom (or any video presentation method) links right here on Inside Magic.

So, if you have a show coming up or know of a show coming up, let us know and we’ll announce it right here on these hallowed pages.   If you have a video of a past performance, you can share it here as well.

We’ll review the submissions and get a menu set up on the site where links can be shared.

We’re excited about this service and hope you are as well.

Yay!

Special Magical Event at Smoke & Mirrors Magic Theater

Magician John CassidyA Special Note From Our Friends at the Smoke & Mirrors Magic Theater:

We hope you and your family are well and that you are staying safe in these uncertain times.

Danny Archer & Marty Martin opened the Smoke & Mirrors Magic Theater in August of 2017. The theater was instantly regarded as a gem, not only by the public but by the many headliners from around the world who played there. With its unique amphitheater seating, there is not a bad seat in the house and the performer has the best possible conditions to share their art with the audience. Until COVID hit, and on Friday, March 13th, the theater was forced to close for almost 6 Go.

They are reopening and we are pleased to announce that they will be donating a portion of their ticket sales to the SAM, along with giving the SAM members a discount when they watch a show. They bring in different acts on a regular basis, and this is a great opportunity to watch some great live performances and help out the SAM as well. Their tickets normally sell for $25, and when you order you save $5 off the ticket price and the SAM receives $5 as well. This offer is for their first two shows David Corsaro on 9/26 and John Cassidy (pictured) on 10/3. If the promotion does well for the SAM, this program will be extended.

To purchase tickets, you would go to https://streamingliveshows.uscreen.io/catalog, start to make your purchase, and enter discount code SAM5 (for the Corsaro show only) and SAM5JC (for the John Cassidy Show)  to get $5 off your purchase. Due to the nature of online tickets, the discounted tickets cannot be purchased on the day of the show. One neat feature is that if you miss the live show, the show will be available for viewing for up to five days afterward. So basically you can watch once either live or as Video on Demand. Since this is a fundraiser, please feel free to share the link and discount code with your friends and family.

For more information on the theater, please visit;  http://www.smokeandmirrorstheater.com

Facebook Page  https://www.facebook.com/smokeandmirrorsmagictheater/

Twitter                @smoke_theater

Instagram          https://www.instagram.com/smokeandmirrorstheater/

 

 

Magicians Making it Work in Unique Times

Image of Balloon SculptureOne of the chief complaints we receive here at the spacious Inside Magic office overlooking Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, California is “Why do you have to be so specific in identifying where your office is?”

The second complaint we are forced to address is “Why don’t you have more articles about Balloon Sculptures?”

We have thought about the two complaints for weeks and cannot find a common link.  We’ll save the first complaint for later and focus on the second one.

We read today in the East Anglian Daily Times of two performers who have innovated a method to stay in business during these trying times.

Steff Evans and Olly Graham are accomplished magicians, balloon and bubble artists in Woodbridge, UK and in an article about their venture titled, “Don’t Pop Me Now,” they have received great publicity for what appears to be a winning business model.

The two entertainers were working steadily before the pandemic and like many of us had to find a way to make ends come close to meeting when business dried up overnight.

Mr Graham told the paper, “We were well-established and successful but absolutely nothing could have prepared us for what happened with corona virus. As soon as lock-down was announced, all of our work died instantly.

“Phones were going crazy cancelling everything and almost overnight we went from having a jam-packed diary to nothing on the horizon at all.

“As full-time professionals in the entertainment business, neither of us had anything to fall back on.”

Ms. Evans recalled how they were asked to use their balloon sculpting skills to “jazz up” a friend’s living room for a birthday party.

“Just because people cannot have big parties or events doesn’t mean they don’t want to mark special occasions, decorate venues or create a magical or memorable experience for someone and balloons are a great way to add colour and beauty and to get a wow factor.”

Ms Evans said: “We now have a whole load of bookings for balloon arches for weddings, gender reveal balloons for baby showers, balloon bouquets and huge numbers to mark special birthdays.”

They are even going so far as to provide bubble equipment to let customers make their own shows.

You can read the full story and see images of their great creations by visiting the East Anglia Daily Times here.

Visit Olly Graham‘s very cool website and Steff Evans home on the net for more information.

As for the first complaint, why we always describe our office location at the outset of our articles even thought such information has nothing to do with the following story.  We are lonely (or as our spell check just wrote, “loony”) and we hope that someone may happen along Santa Monica Boulevard one day, look to the single office window above the place where they make gourmet treats for dogs, and decide to wave.  We don’t need that person or persons to come up to see our spacious office; just a wave will do.

 

Zack King and David Blaine and Social Media

Inside Magic Image of David BlaineThere’s a great article about two great magicians in today’s edition of Broadway World & TV.  David Blaine and Zack King have huge internet followings and for good reason — they are good at magic and very, very savvy.

From the post at BW&TV (we don’t know if that’s their actual acronym but if it isn’t, it should be:

Today, digital superstar and viral illusionist Zach King released a Youtube collaboration with world famous magician David Blaine. In the video, which was uploaded to Zach’s Youtube channel with over 8MM+ subscribers, Zach and David are shown on a video call showing each other some magic tricks. David advises Zach to up the ‘fear factor’ of his tricks by showing some of his infamous tricks – coughing a tarantula out of his mouth and igniting a fire on the palm of his hand. This collaboration comes on the heels of David announcing he will attempt to float over the Hudson River using only helium balloons.

You can check out his promotional video for the stunt aqui.

Can we say this?

We have fear every time David Blaine takes on one of his stunts.  Getting shot in the mouth by a 22 caliber round was scary, being locked in ice, holding one’s breath under water for 18 minutes (but felt like an hour), standing on a narrow pole for more than 24 hours and then jumping into boxes from said pole.  Coughing up spiders and frogs from one’s belly — or the opposite — going without nourishment for 40 days in full public view all scare us.

We know his plans are well considered and he is far from reckless but, golly, he sure does a lot of scary stuff.

We were okay when he would rub ash on his arm to reveal a playing card previously selected by clearly inebriated spring-breakers, or throwing a deck of cards against a window and having the selected, signed card appear on the other side of the glass.

We might be okay with him performing a Finger Chopper effect if it is the kind we grew to love during our years of performing as “The Mini Magician” for our schoolmates in reform school during the 1940s.  Even that could involve risk if you stuck your finger in the wrong hole or didn’t set it right.

Basically, what we are saying is that we are cowards.  We eschew things that could hurt us.  We don’t even like being as tall as we are.  We avoid walking down aisles in darkened movie theaters (back when such things were done) for fear we would fall into the lap of some theater patron with an embarrassing thud — as opposed to the non-embarrassing thud, we suppose.

But there is something in Mr. Blaine that causes him to push the envelope until it contorts into something that looks less like an envelope and more like a coffin.

We cringe at gymnastics of any kind being practiced by anyone — even circus performers.  Escape artists cause us to cringe without recourse.  We can’t get images out of our mind or worry about the people involved and the people watching — all could be effected by a trick gone wrong.

So, once again, Mr. Blaine will try the impossible — to Ascend over the New York skyline by holding onto a group of balloons.  The thing is the does not need to do it.  We would like and respect him regardless — and even irregardless.

Mr. Blaine we worry for you.  Please be careful.

Check out Mr. Blaine’s website and tremble here.

David Blaine Practices for “Ascension”

Balloon Use Over SkiesMagician, illusionist and risk-taker extraordinaire, David Blaine was spotted in Porterville, California this morning.  He was hanging on to a group of balloons — technically called a “lift” of balloons.

We are happy to report that according to other reporters who appeared to be happy to report as well, Mr. Blaine landed safely after his soaring above the California landscape.

He plans to hold onto a lift of balloons to fly over the skies of New York City.

We think he is either fearless and/or the stunt has been well planned in advance.  We asked no one in particular whether we would ever do such a stunt.  We answered in the negative with a shudder.

Some dedicated InsideMagic readers no doubt recall our failed attempt to float over Mystic Hollow, Michigan, by holding on to birds through a special harness set-up.  We barely took off — official records kept by the arresting officers said we lifted one and a half inch from the ground but this may have been accomplished by our “hopping.”

Unlike our attempt, it is doubtful Mr. Blaine will be covered by the waste product of “excited and/or frightened birds,” to use words from the arrest record.

We wish Mr. Blaine the best of luck and we will watch with envy and fear.

What’s a Magician to Do?

Inside Magic Library Cover Page for Happy Hollisters and the Perfect FarosWe have no idea how our fellow magicians are doing during the shut-down, but we do have some awareness of how we are doing.

Again, you may be different, but we live for live audiences.  Without an audience fix at least weekly, we go through withdrawal symptoms.  Our mood suffers, our eyebrows are not timely trimmed (a hazard for Irish-blooded magicians (men and women)), our fingers loose their callouses that were developed over the years.

We have been practicing our sleights almost non-stop.  We do stop for sleep and regular washing of our hands and that only dries them out and makes some of the sleights more difficult to perform.  In that way, it is a good thing that we are forced to perform under more than severe conditions.

Our Second Deals (strike and push-off) are becoming honed to the point that we can fool us — and our  point of view is directly behind our hands.  Perhaps that dependent clause did not need to be written.  Where else would we be in relation to our own hands?

We have started doing Bottom Deals and are starting to get a handle on something that has eluded us for years.  We don’t fool us yet, but we are working on it.

Of course the ultimate would be to learn how to perform a half-pass without detection.  We’re sure there are people in the world can do it.  After all, it was written up in The Royal Road to Card Magic and taught on YouTube.  We’ve been working on the sleight since we were 14 and have only dared it when we have a cover or distraction or both.  We keep trying but like the Pressure Fan, we fail; yet we try.

But any success we enjoy learning or perfecting sleights pale in comparison to our deeply felt need to perform in front of a joyous (maybe also inebriated) crowd in the basement of The Magic Castle.  There is nothing that beats the feeling of working with a small crowd of people, entertaining them (we hope), and using our sleights under the close examination of people up-close.

When we receive applause or laughs, endorphins release their bonds and float smoothly to our little brain.  Our attitude improves and our eyes glisten.  Our eyebrows return to a smooth line without errant strands going off into strange patterns.

Perhaps it is a reflection on our own mental makeup that we need an audience.  If so, we think we share a similar psychological status with many magicians and other performers.

We will now open a new deck (Bee, of course), remove the jokers and advertising cards, practice our fans, Faros, Seconds, Bottoms, Charlier Passes, False Shuffles and, of course, the half-pass.  But our eyes don’t glisten and our eyebrows sit unruly above our unglistening eyes.

Giant in World of Magic Passes

Inside Magic's Famous BunnyHe may not have been known in the Las Vegas cohab and he never performed for a crowd larger than family and friends, but Jim Quinlan was a giant in magic.

He passed away recently but his impact on magic was profound – to us.

Our father was kind, accompanied always with an easy smile and receptive spirit.  He made friends easily and was loyal to those friends to the end.

As a father, he was also a great teacher and inspiration to our magic career.  Our first effect we performed was acquired by him from a magic shop in our hometown of Oak Park, Illinois.  He brought us the Ball and Vase, performed it for us, amazed us, and taught us to perform it.

We brought it to our first grade class the following day and performed it perhaps ten times before our teacher took it and locked it securely in her desk drawer.

We were hooked.  We had drawn crowds of first graders with the trick and felt the special sensations that accompany performing magic.  If there is a magic bug, its sting was felt that day.

We got the trick back and spent hours on the playground after school performing the Ball and Vase for those unfortunate souls who were not in attendance at our morning show.

As we walked home, we performed it for strangers on the sidewalks, the construction workers on the main boulevard leading to our home street, and of course for our mother — it was not our first performance for her of the new trick.  She was instrumental in our beta testing of the effect the night before.

And when our father returned from work, we performed it again and told him of the day’s events.

In the days, weeks, months and years that followed, our father encouraged our pursuit of the art.  We learned that his mother had performed in vaudeville and we took pride in our theatrical lineage.

Our father would provide great insight on the performance of magic, the presentation of our magician personality, and essential rules for taking a stage and exiting gracefully.

A few years later, he purchased Stratospheres for us and launched our career (nascent still) on the real stage.

He was proud of our sleight of hand skills and would often ask us to perform for his friends and co-workers.  We were so proud and delighted that our father would ask us to perform.

As we matured in the art and in life, he was always supportive and interested in what and how we were performing.  He was big on rehearsing one’s act.  We were not.  But, we’ve learned, he was right.

Our father’s passing came quickly and with a devastating impact.  It is still difficult to think about or discuss.  We remember him as young, vibrant and out-going.  He would play basketball with us until there was insufficient light to see the ball being shot or passed.

Time passed so quickly and we knew the time would come that he would no longer be with us in a physical sense.  We miss him terribly.

Naked Magicians Coming to Washington

Washington-Center-for-the-Performing-Arts-The-Naked-Magicians-Backstage.jpgWe have an AI controlled software system that evaluates each article posted here on the often-read InsideMagic.com.

It checks for relevance to magic or the variety arts.  It then looks to see if the story has been posted elsewhere by another magic blog.  And finally, it goes through a very sophisticated algorithm to determine the Joke Per Paragraph (“JPP”) factor.  The JPP rating is one of the more important data points.

The computer looks up all of the potential jokes that can be made about the article from our personal database and assigns a number.  JPPs over 13 are considered excellent.  JPPs under 4 are immediately rejected.

We received a very high JPP for this post but none of the jokes (and these were from our own collection — not randomly selected from the web) were too adult for our intended family audience.

Nonetheless, the article is newsworthy and certainly relevant to magic and those who crave magical news.  So, we’ll offer it without any of the jokes suggested by the computer.  Like a pilot flying without instruments, this one is on our own and we hope to land safely.

Two Australian magicians will be taking to the stage in Olympia, Washington on February 8th at the beautifully appointed Washington Center for the Performing Arts. They will demonstrate their absence of secret pockets or hold-outs by being naked.

Their name fits the act perfectly:  The Naked Magicians, Mike Tyler and Christopher Wayne.  They told the Thurston Talk that “good magicians don’t need sleeves, and great magicians don’t need pants.”

The two have been together since 2014 and originally performed with clothes.

That changed at some point when they hit upon an idea that has apparently worked well around the world.  “We designed The Naked Magicians together as a crazy idea – something we came up with to premier the Brisbane Comedy Festival,” says Mr. Tyler.

They have performed in 250 cities, including theaters in London’s West End and even at the MGM Grand.

We’ve stayed many times at the MGM Grand and could not have maintained our perfectly sculpted Dad Bod due to the buffet and our lack of exercise and genetics and desire to stay in the casino till all hours in the night watching people while appearing to gamble and drinking high caloric fruit drinks with ice cream.  So, their run at the MGM is impressive.  As impressive as our cholesterol count but in the reverse.

Mr. Wayne said the duo loved being in Vegas.  “That was amazing. We both grew up watching and loving Copperfield. That was for me, probably the coolest part – performing under the same roof as the greatest magician/entertainer of all time.”

The show is rated R but apparently they don’t begin naked — like all situations except for birth.  They are dressed and then strip to their performing images.  “In the USA, we generally aren’t allowed to show our ‘magic wands’ so there’s normally props cleverly placed or held in front,” says Mr. Tyler, “but at times there’s just us standing on stage covering up with our hands.”

You can see them perform at Washington Center for the Performing Arts’ Center Mainstage, at 512 Washington Street SE, Olympia, Washington.  We realize we used the word “Washington” often in this post and that was detected by our algorithm.  It suggested a joke about our nation’s first president baring nothing but his wooden teeth.  We need to work on the software — no joke intended.

The Naked Magicians
Saturday, February 8, 2020, 7:30 p.m.
18-years-old and older – Includes male nudity, sexual references and coarse language.

Criss Angel’s Numerology Profile

Inside Magic Image of Criss AngelMagician Criss Angel attracts a ton of attention.

He just celebrated one-year at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino and he got his numerology profile done by someone unrelated to Planet Hollywood or Las Vegas.

The Tallahassee Scene website picked out Mr. Angel for their Astrology Profile today.  We wrote that it was a Numerology Profile because we think it is.  There is very little talk about his stars or where he fits in the orb(s) that surround us and presumably have an irresistible effect on determining our fate.

To be fair, and why wouldn’t we want to be that, the author says this is not scientifically verified and not to be taken too seriously but it seems sensible to us.  Check out the essential formula using today’s date and some other number:

First, for the month, we take the current month of 01 and add the digits together: 0 + 1 = 1 (super simple). Then do the day: from 07 we do 0 + 7 = 7. Now finally, the year of 2020: 2 + 0 + 2 + 0 = 4. Now we have our three numbers, which we can add together: 1 + 7 + 4 = 12. This still isn’t a single-digit number, so we will add its digits together again: 1 + 2 = 3. Now we have a single-digit number: 3 is the path number for 01/07/2020.

The practitioner then works out a single digit number and uses it with a Destiny Chart:

DESTINY NUMBER FOR Criss Angel: The destiny number will consider the sum of all the letters in a name. Each letter is assigned a number per the below chart.

We haven’t posted the Destiny Chart because somethings should be kept secret or at least only available at the original author’s post on a website.

We also haven’t given the final results of the process because we don’t want to convey conclusions that are not scientifically-based.

True, long-time readers of this site will recall that we used to read the bumps on the heads of those who sent in pictures to determine their intelligence and ability to avoid common colds.

And yes, this is the same site that was at one time just an advertisement page for psychics and mind-readers who claimed to tell fortunes for money sent by PayPal.

And of course, we got our start by predicting the outcomes of horse and dog racing in Central America horse and dog racing establishments.

But those days are gone.  We are no longer dependent on income derived from splitting the pot with horse and dog racing winners or psychics or bump-reading patients.

You can read the full analysis here.

You can check out Mr. Angel’s website here.

You can see our latest page where we read the bumps on dogs’ heads to determine their fortune in upcoming races here.