Category: Latest Magic News

The very latest in magic news

Glenn Close and Derren Brown Share Slap Fight on Social Media

One of the things we rarely see on Twitter is physical violence against prominent magicians.  And usually that is a good thing.

While people may get frustrated with great magicians, like Derren Brown – star of the one-man show Secret now showing on Broadway – we almost never see folks slap, punch or physically attack magicians.

For some reason, both Mr. Brown and Glenn Close each opted to share video of their bout on social media today.  It looks to our untrained and empathy-induced puffy eye that Ms. Close got the best of Mr. Brown with a final slap that sends him reeling into the darkness of the studio.

We have never been slapped with such fury and we have done many a thing worthy of such a slap from a celebrity.

Inside Magic readers will no doubt recall our confrontation with a former president of a prominent anti-magician association in which we said, “hey, why don’t you pick on people who don’t customarily wear hats?”

That was quite a while ago but still the former president of the organization did not accost us.  He merely knocked our opera hat from our pre-toupee wearing head.

No damage was caused to the hat (it still compressed and sprung into place with a mere flick of our spindly wrist).

Or the time we spoke with Mary Pickford about what we thought was an affront to our wonderful art contained on an interstitial card in one of her then hit movies.

The card appeared immediately after the star’s character slumped in a chair and showed a face that conveyed sadness and regret.  “What can I do? I’m not a magician!”

Ms. Pickford, ever the pro, pretended not to hear us at the red carpet premier of the film.

It could be that she didn’t hear us over the din of the other reporters and popping of flash bulbs but we prefer to think she heard us and decided it was best for her career to not physically lift our then lithe body and slam it into the cement bearing the hand imprints of Charlie Chaplin at the Chinese Theatre.

Or the time we were interviewing Lassie on her controversial spat with Rin Tin Tin’s estate over copyright issues.

Or when we featured Topo Gigio in one of our pre-internet editions of this journal and he became exasperated by our inability to understand a single word he was saying.

Or when we likened a certain movie star to Topo Gigio with marbles in her mouth.

Or when we saw Lassie on the streets of Beverly Hills without his trainer and we brought up the then-burning question about her gender.  There were some in the Hollywood press who insisted Lassie was a boy dog playing the part of a girl dog.

But we were never bitten – not even by Mary Pickford who, according to one autobiography we made up for this sentence, bit everyone.

Maybe the slap fight was part of a promotional campaign.  There must be a reason for the slapping.  Dr. Thomas LeTray writes in his seminal treatise on the subject, Slapping: Its Causes and Meaning, “… it is unusual, in fact, statistically unlikely, that rational people will engage in slapping behavior without a cause or meaning.”

We look forward to learning the cause and meaning of the slapping.  If you would like to see the video, you can visit the Onion’s AV Club site here.

Anastasia Synn – Magician and Cyborg

Like many magicians, we have considered getting implants.  Just not the type Anastasia Synn chose.

Mrs. Synn is more than a magician, maybe she is also a walking MRI concern. (We note that Mrs. Synn has shared that the magnet and MRI concern is a myth).

She has 26 microchips implanted in her body.  She discussed her implanting at a recent Biohacker Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

We read about her, and squirmed, in Stat News.  You can do the same here.

Where other biohackers were presenting their latest findings with PowerPoint, Mrs. Synn actually pushed the point of a long needle through her forearm.  On purpose.

Although magic is her thing, she is also a designer of implants for others.

She describes herself as a cyborg and by that means “anyone that wants to add technology or anything that isn’t already in their body to their body to achieve a new sense or a new ability.”

We had an uncle who got an extra spleen even though he did not need one – his God-given spleen was working fine by all accounts – but he felt it gave him super powers over sugar.  It wasn’t until weeks later that he learned that the pancreas was the sugar processor and not the spleen.  He processes old red blood cells like a champ but that’s not really a super power – except to red blood cells that have reached their “best used by date.”  To them, his double spleen is like a Marvel character.

At the time of the interview in Stat News, Mrs. Synn had 26 implants but was getting two more in the next day and was shooting for an even (in non-Euclidian geometry theory) 35.

“I’m a magician, so I use them in my magic act. And I also use them in my day-to-day life — to unlock my door at home, or to let my cat speak. I know that sounds crazy, but my cat’s upgraded even, so I can scan him, and he will tell his story about how I found him behind a grocery store. I love my cat.”

Mrs. Synn was very careful to not reveal magic secrets in her interview.

“I can’t go into too much detail about how the implants are used in magic, but there’s multiple ways that they can be used and even more ways they can be designed to be used.”

She notes that the implantation of magnets and devices into the human body is not literally sanctioned by the medical community.  They are coated but even the coating is not medically sanctioned.  She checks her body, blood levels, liver enzymes and kidney function every three months.

Go to Stat News for the full low down on how she has implanted more than half of the devices herself and her experience with the TSA.

It is an amazing story but we are still afeared of implanting anything in our body.  We won’t even eat sharp cheese.

Visit Mrs. Synn’s website here for pictures and a biography of her amazing work.

Magician Paul “The Trickster” Featured

Paul 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.

Jon Anderson,Taylor Hughes and Shawn Preston Head Steamboat Magic Fest

Steamboat Springs, Colorado is a wonderful and beautiful place in and of itself but every year, it becomes more than that.  It becomes magical.

This is the fifth year of the Steamboat is Magic! Festival and by our calculation that makes it the Fifth Anniversary of the Fest.  The town and folks with in range of the paradise that is Steamboat are encouraged to visit the Chief Theater on Friday, Sept. 13 and Saturday, Sept. 14.  Again, by our calculations, that this this weekend.

“This is one of my favorite events each year,” said Scott Parker, executive director of the Chief Theater.

The theater has hosted magic since 1938 when Marquis, then a “world-renowned magician” entertained the town.

Inside Magic Favorite Jon Armstrong (and fellow Orlando resident) has brought his magic to 40 countries and is a favorite at the Magic Castle here in Hollywood, California (near Los Angeles, under the big “Hollywood” sign).

Here are the details:

When: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13 — Jon Armstrong; 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14 — Magic Workshop; 6 p.m. — Family Show with Taylor Hughes; 8 p.m. — Shawn Preston, Closing Gala

Where: Chief Theater, 813 Lincoln Ave.

Cost: Individual tickets $15 for adults, $10 for children; Magic Pass for access to all four shows and workshop $60 for adults, $40 for children

“The festival in Steamboat is always awesome,” Armstrong said. “I’m so happy to return for another year.”

The festival has been very popular in past years,” he said. “This year, we’re doing cards, mind reading, magic with regular objects, magical story telling and disappearing acts.”

Read the entire article here and be sure to attend if you can.  It will be magical.

 

P.T. Barnum Proven Right Again

We think it was P.T. Barnum that said, “Missing Goats Make Gravy.”  He was likely talking about the type of gravy that one would eat or slurp from a plastic bottle affixed to a fanny pack as one does one’s daily exercise walk through the mall.  But like all great quotes we invent, it applies to more than food or exercise supplements.

Really?  Yes, we have an example.

The Arizona State Fair is a big event and usually a pretty dry experience.  It is, after all, in the Phoenix area and we have it on good authority that it is usually sunny and desert-like.

But for some reason, known only to people who know science and stuff, it rained for six days.  The rain was so heavy, rides had to be shut down.  Things were looking bad.  “Many people deferred their visit because of the rain, which was unusual for Arizona, because we don’t usually get rain this time of year,” said Kristi Walsh, Assistant Executive Director of the Fair.  “Considering the weather, the fact the fair was only down about 5 percent is positive.”

Yes, things were looking bleak for the Fair organizers until GusGus went missing.

GusGus was just three weeks old at the time of his abduction by unknown bad people.  He was taken from the petting zoo on the fairgrounds and was not located for ten days.  The search for this poor little goat brought attention to the moist midway just as P.T. Barnum predicted.

“We made international news, it was one of the biggest stories we’ve ever had the fair,” said Walsh. “We got a lot of extra publicity for the fair that we never had before.

“We had international coverage, reports in France and Canada, we were fielding a lot of calls. There were reports that Gus-Gus misses his mommy,” said Walsh. “The Petting Zoo manager said it was not healthy for the baby goat to be away from his mother and people took it to heart.”

A Good Samaritan walking his or her dog found GusGus about ten miles from the fairgrounds and brought to him PetsMart.  (We did not know that was the protocol for found farm animals but it makes sense to us and will be in the next edition of our Illustrated What to Do Guide).

“It was really great, our media partners covered the story and our Facebook fans were posting about GusGus,” Walsh said. “They really put out the word, and it was refreshing that there were so many people who cared about the goat as opposed to some bad people who would actually steal a goat.”

The publicity not only brought attention to the fair, “but it was promotional too, the social media really got a hold of the story and ran with it. I think it pushed attendance too, people came to the fair to see GusGus,” Walsh said.

Derren Brown Brings Magic to NY

Great news for those who love Magician Derren Brown (that includes us).

If you are a Genii subscriber, you can get tix (a cool way of saying “tickets” in much the same way saying “snax” is a cool way of saying “snacks” but that hasn’t caught on yet.

We are working on it and hope to have our advertisements and influencers ready to go soon.

We are also working on “Diet P” for “Diet Pepsi” but running up against some legal headwinds from the P foundation, ironically.  We would have thought Pepsi would  be upset but they haven’t said a word.  It could be because the beverage consortium likely isn’t one of our fives of readers and not into magic whilst the P foundation is dedicated to all things magic.  They have trademarks on P Vanishing Rabbit, P Illusions, P Close-Up Card Magic, and the letter “P.”  Their shareholders also own some things related to L and K but since we rarely use words that have those letters standing by their lonesome, we’re okay.  But if we had said, “we rarely have words standing by their L some, we’re K,” we’d likely receive a cease and desist (or as we have trademarked, “C & D.”  See, P Foundation v. Inside Magic, 561 F2nd 232, 236 for more info (short for “information” and still available for trademarking – we think).

Here’s the dope on the deal:

If you are a Genii subscriber (and who ain’t (“isn’t), you can:

Get orchestra & mezzanine tickets for as low as $89 to see Derren Brown: Secret this fall.

From stage to screen, two-time Olivier Award winner Derren Brown has mesmerized millions worldwide with his unique brand of mind reading, persuasion, and psychological illusion. Now, for the first time ever, this U.K. phenomenon and Netflix star brings his talents to Broadway.

After a sold-out, critically acclaimed run off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company, Derren Brown: Secret returns with a spellbinding experience that dares us — in the most jaw-dropping way — to take a closer look at the stories and beliefs that guide our lives. Performances begin September 6 at the Cort Theatre.

VALID FOR PERFORMANCES 9/6/19-1/4/20

Discount Front Orchestra/Front Mezzanine $149 (reg. $169)

Discount Orchestra/Mezzanine $89 (reg. $129)

Discount Rear Orchestra/Rear Mezzanine $69 (reg. $99)

Front & Rear Balcony $49-$69

Tickets Regularly ($69-$169). Offer valid on performances 9/6/19-1/4/20. Blackout dates may apply. All prices include a $2 facility fee. All sales are final- no refunds or exchanges. Offer subject to availability and prior sale. Not valid in combination with any other offers. Normal services apply to phone and internet orders. Performance schedule subject to change. Offer may be revoked or modified at any time without notice.

If we’re not mistaken — and we likely are, we frequently err (“make errors, not “sounds that scare people in seasonal haunted houses in church basements”), the Cort Theater was where Doug Henning performed way back in the day (“a while ago.”)  We saw him sitting on the steps of the ironically named “Standing Room Only” section in the balcony.  He was still great.  Even without a seatback.  Much like our current 1972 Comet.  We have four on the steering column so we kind of rock and impress.

Please note that the show is recommended for those over 12 years-of-age because (“cuz”) There is a cerebral nature to the performance and the duration of the show may cause issues with concentration.

Much like this article.

If you’re not a subscriber, be one and be there.

Lance Burton Nails It

We just got back from Indio, California and boy are our arms tired.

That joke doesn’t work unless one has flown back from the location in the first part of the joke but it is applicable in this case because we could not stop applauding like one of those monkeys that crash cymbals together until their battery wears out.

Our battery didn’t wear out until we got to our valet to drop off the car at our spacious Beverly Hills residence.  The valet, known as Officer Mike, always helps us out of our car when we return because he thinks that protects the public in some way.  Perhaps he is right.  Also, perhaps he has the authority of the State of California to enforce his decisions and respect that authority.

Officer Mike said, “Stop clapping.”

We said, “Oh, are we still doing that?”

Officer Mike said, “Stop asking stupid rhetorical questions and get out of the car.”

Officer Mike was concerned because he felt it would be difficult to drive our vehicle while clapping so vociferously or at all.

In hindsight he was probably right.

We were clapping because we went to see the Lance Burton show.  It was fantastic.

But it wasn’t just Lance Burton; it was Lance Burton and Friends.  And what friends he has.  Fielding West and Keith West performed magic as well. They were incredible as one would expect (and we are the “one” in that sentence even though we speak in the third-person).

We have never seen Mr. Burton more relaxed in his presentation and work with the audience.  He is always great with kids and this show was over the top.  He asked for “four or five” kids to join him on stage for the Vanishing Birdcage and was soon sharing the platform with closer to twenty-five kids; many of whom helped to hold the soon to be disappearing bird cage right before their astonished eyes.

There are great magic show and then there are shows that one will never forget.  This was the latter.  As he travels with his friends, make the trip to see him.  You will thank yourself and perhaps think fondly of us for urging you to go.

Magician Siegfried Tieber Brings Limited-Run Red Thread to LA

Siegfried Tieber

[Updated to correct the days per week Siegfried will be performing]

When we first joined the prestigious Magic Castle / Academy of Magical Arts in beautiful Hollywood, California, we were befriended by Siegfried Tieber.

He frequented the lower rooms of the Castle where performers could get time to be in front of real audiences.  He was kind and helpful in helping to shave the rough spots out of our pretty rough act.

But more than a nice and helpful guy, Siegfried showed audience after audience that he was a true magician.  He had skills – of course – but he had charm and charisma to make it appear that the audience and Siegfried were experiencing the miracles together.

He took his act to Downtown LA in his solo show See/Saw and it was consistently sold out.

Before we go any further, check out his website here.  It is one of the prettiest we have ever seen for a magician or any person.

The great news is that he is returning on October 3rd with a new show, Red Thread.

He’ll be performing for no more than 34 audiences members at a time and tickets will go for $74.00.    Siegfried will perform six shows a week in four nights with one show on Thursdays and Fridays; and two shows on Saturdays and Sundays.

Siedgfried has been seen not only by hundreds, nay, thousands at the Castle, but nationwide on Penn & Teller’s Fool Us show where he did in fact fool them.

He told reporters Red Thread is “an exploration of chance and chaos.  Every outcome is the starting point of further possibilities.”

“It doesn’t take long before this starts to look like a labyrinth: some paths converge, some run parallel to each other, some are dead ends. Like the Greek mythological princess, Ariadne — who gave Theseus a thread when he entered the labyrinth — my hope is to take the audience with me and guide them through this journey.”

Do not miss this talented and delightful magician.  Tickets are available at http://atlasobscura.com/events

Master Magician Lance Burton Brings it Closer to Home

Master Magician Lance Burton performed in Las Vegas for 31 years and yet looks to be no older than 30 — so there’s your first mystery.  The second is how this man who has performed more than 15,000 shows for more than five million people can make each show seem like it is all new and fresh.

We know the answer to neither of these two questions but suspect it has to do with good health care and talent.

He will be at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino this Saturday at 8:00 pm in Indio, California, performing his show for a no-doubt sold-out house.  Don’t get left behind or boxed out.  If  you are in the area (and we are) make the trip to Fantasy Springs for his show.  You will be glad you did and won’t regret it and will remember it for the rest of your natural life.

We have seen Mr. Burton perform more times than we can count — that’s due to the tremendous number of shows we have seen – not to our well-documented inability to count.

His show is what you (and by “you” we mean “anyone in the world”) would consider a real magic show.  He is funny, smooth without being hokey, and talented (his sleight of hand is the best we have ever seen — even better than the guys on YouTube that perform one part of an effect with questionable camera angles and techniques).

If you were to ask us who our favorite magician in the world is, we would have to say Mr. Burton.  He puts the “magic” in “magician.”

Check out the ticket availability to this weekend’s show here.  The tickets range from $29.00 to $49.00.  Even if he never appeared on stage but just showed his props, that would be a steal.

Check out Mr. Burton’s website here.

Mental Madness on Display August 24th

Garrett Thomas

Magicians Garrett Thomas, Kozmo and Joe Maxwell will be performing at the Coolidge Theatre in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania on August 24th.   This is a must-see show and not just because it is being shown in a “theatre” and not a “theater” but because of the line-up.

You have everything you could want in a magic show.  Illusions, great comedy and close-up magic to mess with your mind.

In fact, the messing with your mind part is covered in the title of the show.  Magic Beyond Imagination is presenting “The Mental Madness Show.”

We’re pretty sure you can’t say something is a “Mental Madness” show if it is not truly mental madness.  We think that’s the law.  And the cast will bring you incredible magic in addition to messing with your mental madness quotient.  Ours is currently 7 but has been as high as 12.

As a special treat, magic enthusiasts can pay extra for VIP tickets for a 45-minute meet-and-greet with these magicians, including an up close and personal magic session with cards and coins that begins at 6 p.m. VIPs will be admitted early to the theatre and be given their choice of seating.

Kozmo told reporters, “we consider it a work in progress. We are doing material we’ve been doing for 15 years but not in this configuration. We use cameras and screens so people in the audience can see all of the details of our magic.”

As magicians and magic fans know, Mr. Thomas is more than a great performer, he is a fantastic magic inventor.  He has created effects for David Blaine – including the high-profile feats of endurance that make us squirm.

(We do squirm normally so this is additional squirming over and above our natural snake-like involuntary movements we do when watching television magic whilst sitting in our antique bean-bag chair.  The guy on Antique Roadshow said it was worth $1,200 but then he re-examined it and determined it was likely not made for George Washington the first president but someone named George Washington and then he started to re-examine us on how we got it.  It was as if he was implying we stole it.  We didn’t but at that point we didn’t feel like explaining ourselves if the amount was going to drop from $1,200 to “a buck two-eighty.”   Plus the Mark Wahlberg that is the star of the Antique Roadshow isn’t even the real Mark Wahlberg).

Kozmo is a great magician who has taken his craft from Bourbon Street (New Orleans) to China (not New Orleans).  He is a joy to watch because he seems to enjoy what he is doing and he does it well.

We have not met Joe Maxwell but if he is hooked up with Kozmo and Mr. Garrett, he has chops by association.  He will be the master of ceremonies for the Mental Madness Show and, according to the newspaper “is one of the world’s most sought after drummers, having toured the world with Grammy-nominated recording artist, Moby.”

If you are anywhere near Wellsboro on the 24th of August, you have to see this show.  Outside of the Magic Castle, you will never have an opportunity to watch the performers who have entertained Johnny Depp, David Copperfield, Olivia Wilde, Willie Nelson, Scarlett Johansson, Seth Rogan, Jay Leno, Trace Atkins and others.

Purchasing tickets in advance is strongly recommended.  For tickets and more information, visit www.deanecenter.com or call 570-724-6220.

Read the article about the show in the Wellsboro Gazette.