Category: Latest Magic News

The very latest in magic news

Derren Brown Brings Magic to NY

Inside Magic Image of Derren BrownGreat 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

Inside Magic Image of Lance Burton, Master MagicianWe 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

Image of Siegfried Tieber
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

Inside Magic Image of Lance Burton, Master MagicianMaster 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
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.

Magicians Flock to Colon

Inside Magic Image of Favorite Melvin the MagicianEvery year for the last 82, Colon (pronounced “Colon”) Michigan is the site of the Midwest’s largest celebration of magic in West Michigan.

Colon is the home for magicians live and dead – their cemetery is incredible.  It is a tracing of magic history with wonderful stories to be told.

The 82nd annual Magic Get Together lasts from Wednesday, August 7th (today), until Saturday, August 10 (a day in the future – herein in identified as “a few days from now”).  The event has been held in Colon, the magic capital of the world, since 1934.

B.J. Mallen, a magician and employee at Abbott’s, says, “We only have 1,100 people or so year long. We get just as many magic enthusiasts that come through on these 4 days.”

It is wonderful festival.  We visited often whilst stationed in Mystic Hollow, Michigan, as part of an elite magical team with one less than elite member – we never figured out who or she was – ready to engage in card throwing, flash paper attacks, and the tearing and restoring of enemy maps.  Of course the enemy and non-magic community denied our existence – as one would expect.

It is one of the most family friendly conventions we have ever attended.  In fact we would bring our family eyery year with or without their consent.  “Every year, Abbotts Magic Shop hosts a long list of family-friendly events for the get together. Street performers, stage shows and lecturers will all be on hand in 2019.”

Our favorite location – other than the Pizza Parlor where all things magical happen or the VFW Hall where all things magical also happen but with more crowded conditions – was the dealers’ room.  There guests can purchase magic tricks and commune (now legal in Michigan) with visiting magicians.  Fox 17 of Western Michigan points out that Inside Magic Favorite Bob Little has been making the trek for more than 50 years.  He is now 87-years-old but still just as spry and inventive.

“Magic has changed tremendously. It’s not the hobby it used to be,” he says. Little says he has noticed people’s attention move away from magic in recent years to electronic devices.”

They’ll come back, they always do.  We had electronic devices back in the 30’s, 40’s and so on.  We predict, and you can write this down – or just take a picture of the screen on one of your new-fangled ePhones:  “Magic will be a part of society as long as there is curiosity and invention.”  We didn’t make up that quote but it seems to fit well right about here and we’re certain the true author, statesman and magic lover Harry Truman wouldn’t mind.  We’ll check our ePowered Ouija board this evening to make sure.  Yes, he was talking about a different thing and he didn’t use the word “Magic” or “curiosity and invention” but it was the midst of the famous coal strike and he didn’t have time for such niceties.  But we knew what he meant.

Where else can you see magicians on the street, the bright sunlight, eating a hot dog from the gas station and filing into the Dealers’ Room to see the latest tricks from the best shops our Art.

“The get together dates back to the 1920’s when two world renowned magicians, Harry Blackstone and Percy Abbott, moved to Colon.  Mallen tells FOX 17, “He (Blackstone) was looking for lakefront property to purchase because he likes to fish.”

The two magicians would form Blackstone Magic Company. After a falling out between the two, Abbott would open what would become Abbott’s Magic Shop.”

See a list of all the performers here.

Magicians Lance Burton and Bette Davis

Inside Magic Image of Lance Burton, Master MagicianMaster 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.

Visit the box office and get your tickets now.  They are going very quickly!

[UPDATED to include correct date for show]

A Trick that Fooled Us

lil fobWe are magicians through and through. The FOB caused serious damage to us. We’re no Penn & Teller although we refer to our self in the third-person.  But we love to be fooled and fooled horribly.  The kind of fooled where we can’t see straight from the headache that comes on almost  instantly, interrupted by the need to catch or absorb our slobber.

We stamp on the ground like a baffled horse — which was our 22:1  the pick in the Oaks Classic at Churchill Downs the day before the 1999 Kentucky Derby.  It was an all filly race and we figured we had the inside track.  We had a dream that day that the Number 7 was rubbing our back with a light oil (scentless), we woke at 7:07 am, we caught the 777 bus to Churchill downs, found Baffled Horse was the 7th horse in the 7th race and put $777 on the nose.  We watch the race with a certain sense of satisfaction to find that our pick game in 7th.  So even though we didn’t win, it was significant to us and taught  us to not sleep or if we do sleep, not to enter into REM states of sleep where dreams can occur.  We have switched to coffee in large amounts.  We go to 12 step meetings just to get the free coffee and cigs.  We never even smoke cigs, we just light them in a cool manner and blow the smoke out through the cigarette and then toss the flaming stick on the ground with the assured throw once would see in 1940s movies.

But we digress.

What’s new?

We love this trick.  It fooled us so badly.  We were sitting with friends outside the Magic Castle one night an a young man asked if he could show us a trick.  He was smoking a cigarette but really smoking it.  It was as if he wanted the smoke to go into his lungs.  He still had the cool toss and the smelly fingers but he was taking smoking to a whole new and likely unsafe level.  We don’t know if there has been any research on the effects of taking tobacco smoke into your lungs but it seems like something they should look at it.  Maybe the big tobacco companies could look into it since they would seem to have the most data.

He performed the trick and I could find no explanation.  None.  Now I learn that it can be bought here at MJM Magic.  Check it out and see if doesn’t make you drool.

Impostor Syndrome and Magicians

Inside Magic Image of Innovative BunnyThere is a wonderful, short essay in Jeff McBride’s newsletter today from a fellow magician by the name of Santiago.  His topic is one that we ponder incessantly – the Impostor Syndrome.

Magicians may face this more than other realms of the variety arts.  After all, our whole job is to be an impostor.  We recall Robert Houdin’s famous saying that a “magician is an actor playing the part of a magician.”  We weren’t around when he said or wrote it but we think it applies in spades to our feeling each time we take the stage or the close-up table.

Part of being a magician is deciding how we represent ourselves to the audience.  Do we claim to have magical powers (or can a psychic truly read minds)?  Or are we simply using skills undetectable by the audience to accomplish what appears to be real magic?  Or are we just presenting puzzles for the audience to guess their method?

Pop Haydn taught in his phenomenal School for Scoundrels that when presenting the Three Shell game, the audience doesn’t see it as true magic because they know there must be some way the invisible movement of the pea is being accomplished.  But that does not diminish the effect.

We are a sucker for charts.  You could tell us that the earth was round, the sky is blue and grass is green, and we would nod knowingly.  But if you showed us in a chart or a graphic, we would say things like “of course, now we see!” and we would say it in a manner that implied an exclamation point at the end of our statement.  Probably by speaking emphatically and nodding like a bobble head and smiling like a fool who is doing brain damage from incessant head nodding.

We mention charts not only because we love them but also because Santiago includes charts in his essay.

If you have pondered the Impostor Syndrome or are suffering from it, you should check out the essay and sign-up for Jeff McBride’s newsletter.  It has yet to disappoint.

Read the essay here.

Sign-up for Jeff McBride’s newsletter here.

Criss Angel Heads to Broadway

Inside Magic Image of Criss AngelMagician Criss Angel is taking his show from Las Vegas to Broadway.

He recently returned to Planet Hollywood, where he began the MINDFREAK television series that brought him and his unique brand of magic into the living rooms of millions.  That led to a long run with the Luxor and his association with Cirque du Soliel.

But now, as he points out in an interview with Fox News, his new show has “more lights than all seven Cirque [du Soleil] shows combined — over 2,000 lights. People are going to come to this show even in the entertainment capital of the world and they are going to see a show that will blow their mind unlike any show in the world of entertainment.”

He will bring his show “RAW – The Mindfreak Unplugged” to Broadway in July.

“The Broadway show is another goal that I’ve had since I was a kid and now I’ll be accomplishing that July 2nd — doing eight shows at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre that once housed Doug Henning, my childhood inspiration,” he said.

What will it be like?  Think of it as a rare, intimate evening with a magician usually only seen in huge venues.

He told Fox, it will be like a “stripped-down version of getting to know Criss Angel, as if I was in your living room hanging out having a beer,” adding that the experience will “make you feel like you can go out and conquer the world, especially after you see me levitate in pure light in a way that no one has ever done in the history of magic.”

The man works nearly around the clock performing, inventing and rehearsing.  It is more than just learning the secret to a trick on the internet.

“I didn’t have the Internet back in the day, I went to the card catalog … Now you know if somebody wants to learn a secret they go online and there’s no real work to understand what that secret really means to make it something valuable and to make it your own,” Mr. Angel said.

He is not just working to perfect his performances at Planet Hollywood or Broadway.  He has dedicated much to bring awareness to childhood cancer.  His son, Johnny Crisstopher, was diagnosed with leukemia at 2 years old. Now, Johnny, who is 5, is in remission.

“It really underscored what it means to really be a voice for these kids. And, so for me, my life’s commitment is these kids. I’ve dedicated a lot of my time, my money and just my focus to using my success which I’ve been blessed with to really raise awareness and be a voice for these kids.”

Read the full Fox interview here.

Check out Mr. Angel’s website here.