Category: Latest Magic News

The very latest in magic news

Magic, Mystery and Houdini in New Play

The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini was a comic book from 2017 and is now set to be a multi-level New York play with three different takes on the story.

According to the website ComicBook.com and The Hollywood  Reporter, detective Minky Woodcock, star of Titan Comics and Hard Case Crime’s graphic novel The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini, is starring on the stage of New York City’s Theater 80.  The show opens today and runs until November 10th and according to our theater critic, “sounds really cool.”

Our theater critic has not seen the show yet and our budget (and certain court obligations) will not allow him to travel to New York City to see the presentation.  But Cyrus (our critic goes by only one name – often the same name on consecutive days) likes that there are essentially three different plays in one show.

The show is presented on three different floors of the Theater 80 and audience members get to pick whether they will take on the roles of spiritualists, pragmatists, or the guests of Houdini himself.   The show will present differently according to the role they select.  We don’t know if the producers thought of this but that could actually make audience members want to see the show two more times.   They probably did think of that but in case they didn’t we think it is an unexpected benefit of staging the play from three different perspectives for audiences.

“Minky was created by artist, author, and playwright Cynthia von Buhler. Minky is a private detective in the 1920s with a fondness for rabbits. She debuted in the four-issue miniseries The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini in 2017, which earned critical praise. The hardcover collection of the series released in August.”

According to ComicBook.com, Minky is played by Pearls Daily who was not only the model for the comic book but also named Miss Coney Island in 2018.

Cyrus says another benefit of the show being shown on three different levels is that audience members will want to see the show again and again.  We couldn’t tell if Cyrus was being sarcastic because he knew we said that earlier in this article or if he didn’t read what we wrote and just happened to mention the exact same thing we had mentioned.

We don’t like Cyrus – the name, not the person.  The name is so old-fashioned and hardly in keeping with the personality Cyrus is trying to pull off using the name.  He is going for sort of a Freddie Mercury meets Ryan Gosling image – neither of which fit the name Cyrus.  When he called himself Aunt Bee (a misspelled version of the co-star from The Andy Griffith Show), he adopted a Robert Redford / Paul Newman / Madam Curie air that frankly scared us.

We are glad that week is over.  Plus he didn’t play Robert Redford and Paul Newman from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid but used Redford from The Natural and Newman from the logo of the popular salad dressing brand.  Madam Curie was played pretty much as we all remember her, riddled with nuclear radiation and speaking French with a decided wheeze.

Cyrus doesn’t speak French, so that was quite a trick.  Of course, we don’t speak French either so he could have been just making up the words he spoke and wrote.  In which case, we apologize in advance to the actors and director of King Lear about which Aunt Bee wrote a several page critique in French soon to be published here even though there was very little magic performed in the show.

Check out the Theater 80’s website for show times and tickets here.

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Magician Matt Vizio Performs this Week

Magicians Matt Vizio and Tom Frank are performing in the Peller Theatre this week at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, California.

One of the questions we are almost never asked is, “Is there really such a person as Matt Vizio?”

We are reluctant to answer questions about true legends for fear that we will leave out a detail or embellish unfairly.  (For an example of this tendency and the reason for our trepidation see our horribly reviewed book Wyatt Earp: The World’s Best Short-Order Cook in the West (1978 Simon and Schuster) – although it was made into a very successful movie franchise (or so we and our lawyers currently claim in a soon to be filed lawsuit) called Guardians of the Galaxy.

We have known Mr. Vizio for going on a long time and have even had the honor of performing with him in a stand-up setting.  He is what we hope to become one day: young, handsome, funny and talented.  Actually, we don’t care about the talented as much as the first three qualities. The ladies love him, the men want to be like him, the dogs sniff him and wonder where he has been.

Mr. Vizio used to perform one or two tricks in his set downstairs in the amateur room wherein performers of our ilk are allowed to work.  But he graduated to upstairs at the Castle – ironically, the “Upstairs at the Castle” was the name of our least successful BBC melodrama Series not featuring human actors.  He has been seen in the Close-Up Gallery and this week will be in the Peller.  His act has expanded dramatically and he performs effects the way they should be performed.  For instance, his Cups and Balls is one of the best we have seen in years.  It is in keeping with Dai Vernon’s school of making all actions appear normal, relaxed and fair.

Matt is not just a great magician in all of the classical realms of Close-Up, Parlor and Stage; but he is also a talented stand-up comedian with the adlib instincts of a veteran.

He was responsible for introducing us to performing stand-up comedy and audiences across the San Fernando Valley damn him daily for this.  Interestingly, “Damn Him Daily” was the name of our 1960s daily puppet show that we pitched to PBS – they went with Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood because of some reason we don’t recall because we were in tears explaining it to the puppets and formed a mental block surrounding that time.

If you have a chance, check out Mr. Vizio this evening through the weekend at the Peller Theatre at the Magic Castle.  He will be performing with Tom Frank.  We have not seen Tom Frank perform before but we know that if he is performing with Mr. Vizio, you will be entertained, amazed and leave laughing.

Mr. Vizio and Mr. Frank will have shows at 8:00, 10:00 and 11:30 Wednesday through Sunday.

Check out Mr. Vizio’s website, Honest Deception here.

Magician Mike Super Bets His House on Prediction

Magician Mike Super is literally betting his house that he can predict The Arizona Republic’s headlines.

He has assured the newspaper that if his prediction – currently locked securely in an Arizona Republic newspaper box at Chandler City Hall – is incorrect, he will refund the ticket price for everyone attending his show on September 22nd at Chandler Center for the Arts.

The predictions for the future were made in August – so, in the past, like last month – and sent by overnight courier to the Chandler City Hall.  The prediction is sealed in an envelope, chains and a padlock in the lobby of the city hall.

Mr. Super is not from Arizona but Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He told the newspaper, “I really love the old days of Houdini and Blackstone. Before they even got to the show, they created a buzz in the community, and I really like that. It’s fun and intriguing, and it creates a buzz before the show because it’s something different.”

He even got the mayor of Chandler, Jay Tibshraeny, to sign the envelope before it was secured in the newsbox.

“I think it would be really cool if he gets them right,” Tibshraeny says. “It’s caught my curiosity doing this. I’m kind of wondering ‘what’s the angle?’ I’m excited for the show to come.”

The Chandler Center for the Arts is a beautiful venue but it also seats a lot of folks.  Whilst he has yet to fail in his headline prediction he admits there is a risk element to it.  “It’s like playing Russian roulette. One day it’s not going to work.”

“There’s two ways to look at it,” Mr. Super told the paper.  “There’s, ‘He’s done it 12 times so he’s likely to do it again.’ But the more you do it, it’s like playing Russian roulette. One day it’s not going to work, and then it will be time to retire it.”

“If it was a huge venue and it didn’t go right, I could lose my house,” he says.

We identified intimately with the final quote of the story.

“I love to be fooled and, of course, the deeper you get into magic, the less you get to experience that feeling,” he says. “I try to live that feeling through other people’s eyes, from seeing them being fooled and enjoying themselves. And in the middle of all that, everyone in a while, somebody does fool you, and I’m like the kid in the candy store.”

If you are in the area check out Mike Super, at 7 p.m. Saturday, September 22 at the wonderful Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler, Arizona.  Ticket prices are $36-$48 and the center seats more than we could afford to refund.  Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com.

Visit Mr. Super’s website here: http://www.mikesuper.com/

Las Vegas magic star Jeff McBride awarded highest honor by London’s Magic Circle

From Tobias Beckwith –

September 3, 2018 Las Vegas, NV – Last night, at their headquarters in London, The Magic Circle presented Jeff McBride with The David Devant Award. Among the highest awards bestowed in the world of magic and illusion, the Devant award is given to those who have made a significant contribution in advancing the art of magic or who have given outstanding service to magic internationally. The trophy is a miniature bust of David Devant, the first President of The Magic Circle. The original life size bronze is on permanent display in the Magic Circle Headquarters.

A 10-year headliner at his popular McBride’s Wonderground, in Las Vegas, Jeff McBride has long been known as a foremost innovator in the world of magic, being among the first to incorporate masks and pantomime with world-class sleight-of-hand skills. His early career saw him as opening act for such superstars as Diana Ross & Tom Jones. Later, his full-evening shows won raves off-Broadway, in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. He is founder of the McBride Magic & Mystery School in Las Vegas,McBride’s Wonderground (magic nightclub) and can be seen regularly on such popular television shows as Masters of Illusion and Penn & Teller’s Fool Us. He is author of the book The Show Doctor and host of the Monday Night Mystery Schoolwebcast, currently with over 350 episodes archived. Earlier this summer, McBride was presented with one of the magic world’s other highest honors, the International Fédération Internationale des Sociétés Magiques’ (FISM) Theory & Philosophy Award.

The Magic Circle, located in London, is the premier magical society in the fascinating world of magic and illusion. They have an international membership of around 1500, all dedicated to promoting and advancing the art of magic, an entertainment as popular today as when the famous club was formed in 1905.

Former recipients of the David Devant Award include:

2018 – Jeff McBride

2017 – Silvan

2016 – Lance Burton

2015 – Johnny Thompson

2014 – David Copperfield

2013 – Luis De Matos

2012 – Jim Steinmeyer

2011 – David Berglas

2009 – Ali Bongo

2008 – Siefried & Roy

2007 – Paul Daniels

2006 – John Fisher2004 – Marvin Roy2005 – John Calvert

2003 – Mark Wilson and Nani

2002 – Dr. Eddie Dawes

2001 – John Gaughan

2000 – Channing Pollock

1999 – Jay Marshall

Be sure to check out Mr. McBride, Mr. Beckwith and the Magic Circle sites here:

http://wow.mcbridemagic.com

https://themagiccircle.co.uk/

http://www.magicalwisdom.com

 

Magician Arthur Trace Comes to Venice California

Arthur Trace is an Inside Magic Favorite Magician from our hometown of Chicago.  That should be enough for this article: a complete endorsement of Mr. Trace and description of his background as well as his particular talent.  But we feel something stirring deep in our soul to share more about him and his upcoming one-man show in Venice, California.

Mr. Trace, as our social media team wrote last night on Twitter (@insidemagic), is to “magic what magic is to life.”  It is so true.  His magic transcends tricks or even sophisticated manipulation – both of which are contained in his act.  To watch Mr. Trace perform is similar to watching a tightrope walker.  As a magician, we worry about other magicians when they perform magic requiring incredible skills – we don’t want them to fail or fall.  We have seen Mr. Trace walk that taut wire many times and he has never fallen to the magic equivalent of a horrible true finale.  He does not even come close.  His skill set is so highly developed that there is no risk of failure; only entertainment and complete entertainment at that.

He is a delightful person and deserving of the fame he has received and continues to receive.  It says quite a lot about someone who is beloved by the public viewers of an act as well as his fellow performers with whom he spends times between shows.

If you are in Southern California or can get here by September 15th, do make reservations to see a true Magic Genius at the cozy Electric Lodge Theater.

Mr. Trace’s advertisement provides some clues as to what you will experience:

What would you do if you could stop time?  Arthur will show you what he would do, and the outcome is funny and surprising.

An “invisible bee” that’s brought to life

Arthur will transform a piece of rope into a magical violin.

A long-distance call via a tin-can phone – the result is unexpected.

An interactive painting that is transformed through sleight of hand.

Mr. Trace is only the eighth magician in the history of magic to be awarded The International Brotherhood of Magicians Gold Medal and has appeared on Masters of Illusion and Penn & Teller: Fool Us.

Tickets are limited and priced well below what we would pay to see this 70-minute show – and we are notoriously cheap.  General Admission is $40.00 and tickets to the Front Row are $55.00.

Please read all the details about the show and Mr. Trace here: https://arthurtrace.com/the-artful-deceiver.

Magician / Clothier Ted Baker gives you a chance to touch magic.

We love magic and people who love magic.  Therefore we love Ted Baker the famous clothier.

So, we’re walking through the new Century City Mall, in the ritzy section of Los Angeles, next to Beverly Hills; where people drive Mercedes and Rolls Royce manufactured vehicles not even to show off but because their more expensive, nicer car is in the shop – or so they’ve been told by their household staff.  And we walk by Ted Baker’s clothing store.

We are not clothing  horses.  We’re not even people who know where our clothes came from.  We don’t know if we bought them first hand, were lent them and forgot to return them, or found them in the laundromat  (Suds-n-Suds on Wilshire where you can have a beer (hence suds) whilst your clothes clean (hence the other suds)).

But we stopped in front of the window of Ted Baker’s storefront and fell in love.  He had rabbits coming out of old opera hats – the kind that really collapse and open with a snap – much like our pants.  He had different exotic decks of cards shown and even had a portrait of a magician that had a 3-D image emerging from it.

But there was something about the shingles.  First of all we are talking about the shingles he used to cover the front of his boutique and not the type we contracted and have never had such pain without relief since our days in that special club we joined by accident when first arriving in Hollywood – “Crunch and Pain” sounds like an exercise club and so we excuse ourselves and never associate with the members of what was decidedly not an exercise club – evident by the lack of movement by the members.

The shingles, we learned, were from The Magic Castle.  After the fire, Mr. Ted Baker purchased the remnants of the saved pieces removed from the burnt structure.  His store has the shingles from the roof on the outside and inside of his store and the front counter has wooden cabinets from the Castle.  It is wonderful.

We were told by the very friendly and helpful staff that Mr. Ted Baker has different stores around the world and chooses different themes for each.  We were lucky that he chose magic as the theme for this store.  We have it on great authority – an employee at the Castle – that Mr. Ted Baker is actually a magician and a member of the Castle.

We’ve never bought clothes for ourselves – not even at Crunch and Pain – but if we were to do so, we would do so at Mr. Ted Baker’s store.  If you are in the Century City / Beverly Hills area of California, please do stop by his shop and see all of the wonderful things he has saved from our art’s history.  By all means feel the shingles both inside and outside the store.  They are loose but they withstand even the most amorous caress.

A Father’s Magic Show Comes to New Jersey

Our father was and is a great magician.

So, when an article starts with a title “Not Your Father’s Magic Show,” we wonder if they knew our father.  In his prime, he was as daring as the next daring person and would wear straitjackets underwater in a locked glass tank.  He pushed rods of steel through his midsection and wore suits that defied the fashion trends of the day.

But we understand why The Two Rivers newspaper began its review of The Champions of Magic with such a line.  Most fathers did not attend shows that showed such daring-do or risked so much before a live audience as did The Champions of Magic in their prior performances in England and as they promise to perform in New Jersey in the coming week.

“Audiences will witness the impossible, including disappearances, levitation, teleportation and a heart-stopping finale, all presented with lighting and special effects to rival the biggest theatrical spectacles.

The five magicians include Kayla Drescher, who was named the Next Great Magician by David Copperfield (whom we love because she is a great performer and we have a serious shoe fetish),  Alex McAleer has the ability to tap into his audiences’ minds and read their thoughts. From straitjackets to water tanks and handcuffs to giant steel traps, Fernando Velasco faces some of the deadliest escape stunts ever performed. Thanks to their spectacular illusions and viral videos, Young & Strange have been featured on television shows around the globe.”

Everything written by The Two Rivers Times’ reporter Mary Ann Bourbeau is accurate except the part about our dad.

It will likely be a sold-out show and so we advise you make your seat selection now.  You will not likely see these magicians all in one show again.  They will be at the spectacular Count Basie Theatre Friday, September 7 through Sunday, September 9th.

Tickets are $29 to $59. For more information, visit http://thebasie.org/.

Why is TV Magic So Unmagical?

Entertainment Weekly writer Brittany Frederick asks why with so much magic on television recently, we are not feeling magical?

She points to the recent spate of shows about our craft such as Criss Angel BeLIEve; Syfy’s Wizard Wars, Close Up Kings, and Troy: Street Magic; The CW’s resurrection of Masters of Illusion and importing of Penn & Teller: Fool Us.   She likes the craft but apparently not the way it is being translated to television sets.  It is tough to disagree with her take.

She points out that Masters of Illusion has been squished from an hour-long show to 30 minutes (including commercials).  The net effect is that “Dean Cain has to go through acts so quickly that you barely have time to let the tricks sink in.”

Ms. Frederick bemoans – again with our wholehearted agreement – the move from logistics of putting on a magic show to the effect in isolation.
“What was so fantastic about Criss Angel BeLIEve when Spike unveiled it in October 2013 was that it was almost about everything but the performance. We got to know Angel a lot better and understand what it was like for him to do these challenging tricks every day. We learned about the history involved with many of his demonstrations. We met his team, and were able to listen in on their discussions about how to make magic happen, whether it was building a prop or finding the perfect location. We saw when things didn’t go according to plan and how they dealt with those situations. These are elements of magic that most TV audiences probably haven’t even thought about.”

Audiences are now taken from appreciating the history of a particular effect and the very real logistical challenges of presenting the trick, to merely asking whether an effect is performed with camera tricks or dodgy editing.

Check out her full article and well-considered opinions here.

Sad News: Brian Gillis Passes

We are devastated to hear of the passing of Master Magician Brian Gillis.

Mr. Gillis was always so kind and supportive of the Magic Arts and Inside Magic.  He was the consummate performer and could hold a room better than anyone we ever saw.  He was famous for his performances on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show and among magicians for his high-energy work at The Magic Castle.  His two-person telepathy act with his partner Sisuepahn was not only baffling but so entertaining, we wanted it to continue all night.

One of our greatest honors was being asked by Mr. Gillis if he could squeeze in to perform ahead of our spot in the cellar of The Magic Castle.  We could not stop smiling and nodding as we took a position to the side of the room and watched how magic should be done.  He was simply amazing.

Our prayers are with Mr. Gillis and Sisuepahn and all who have lost so much in his passing.

The Magic Castle’s Founder, Milt Larsen, has written a special tribute to Mr. Gillis here.

Award-Winning Magician Trigg Watson at Checkered Past Winery

Award-winning magician Trigg Watson will perform at the urban wine pub at 7:00 pm and 9:30 pm on July 14, 2018 and at 7:00 pm and 9:30 pm on the newly announced date of August 11, 2018.

Single tickets are $20. VIP tickets are $80 for four and come with reserved seating and one complimentary appetizer for the table. Guests are invited to enjoy Checkered Past Winery’s signature wines, pizza, charcuterie, appetizers, desserts, and more while watching the captivating magic show. Checkered Past Winery owner Sandro DiSanto is passionate about food and celebrating his Sicilian roots. DiSanto is also a devoted supporter of the Texas wine industry, offering many locally produced wines at Checkered Past Winery. Watson often jokes, “The more wine you drink, the better the magic gets!”

Wine and Magic Saturday, July 14, 2018 Saturday, August 11, 2018 Shows at 7 pm and 9:30 pm Checkered Past Winery (1409 S. Lamar, Suite 008, Dallas, TX 75215) Tickets: $20 Ticket URL: www.wineandmagicdallas.com Come for the magic, stay for the wine! Enjoy signature wines and experience an intimate magic show by award-winning Dallas magician Trigg Watson. Brad Lacour said it best for The Dallas Observer: When the show is over, you don’t leave wondering how he performed his illusions but rather like you just caught up with an old friend from out of town. That might be the best trick of them all.

Mr. Watson is a new breed of magician, preferring his iPad to a classic deck of cards. Originally from Australia, Trigg is known for his quick-witted illusions and offbeat humor. He has appeared on POP TV’s hit reality magic show Don’t Blink, Penn & Teller’s Fool Us, and CW’s Masters of Illusion.

Mr. Trigg was named the 2013 Dallas Performing Artist of the Year and 2015 Dallas Magician of the Year. For show dates and more information, visit triggmagic.com. Connect with Trigg Watson Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube About Checkered Past Winery Checkered Past Winery is an urban Dallas wine pub located in the historic South Side building (1409 South Lamar Street Suite 008) featuring Texas wines, locally brewed beer, and some of the best wines from other parts of country and the world. Co-founder, owner, and winemaker Sandro DiSanto is a first generation American coming from an Italian wine background. Both of his grandfathers made wine in Sicily. His brother-in-law Scott Relyea co-founded and designed the Mods and Rockers pub Checkered Past Winery in 2015. Carolynne Chancellor joined them as owner and grows wine grapes in East Texas.

For hours, menus, and more information, visit checkeredpastwinery.com.