Shawn Farquhar’s Hidden Wonders

We received a great note from award winning magician and great (and funny) guy, Shawn Farquhar.  He wrote to tell us about his new 75 minute show (which is about an hour an 15 minutes if our Casio watch / Calculator is correct).  Check out the very well-produced website here and visit this once in a lifetime experience with demonstrably one of the best in our humble art.
During the whole month of October I’ve opened a speakeasy style magic experience in a fake business front in Chinatown in Vancouver, Canada.  If anyone is coming through Vancouver let me know.
Hidden Wonders is a speakeasy-style performance venue hidden behind a fake business facade in Vancouver’s Chinatown and is the brainchild of two-time world champion of magic, Shawn Farquhar. The idea is part of a new trend in magic entertainment that focuses less on grand-scale illusions and more on intimate experiences that leave the audience awestruck and moved. Similar venues can be found in such cities as New York, Chicago and San Diego where they have become hugely popular.
The seventy-five-minute magic experience will feature effects exclusively designed for the venue as well as several of the effects Shawn created to impress Ellen, win the world championship and to fool Vegas’s Penn & Teller twice on their hit television show Fool Us.
Cheers,
Shawn Farquhar
Editor’s note:  If you were to ask, “Hey, what’s one of your greatest weaknesses?” We would respond that we are easily star-struck.  Even at the Magic Castle or at magic conventions, we lack the ability to walk up to stars of our art and start a conversation.
We stumble, smile uncontrollably and remain mum.  (Ironically, “Remain Mum” was the name of our script for an un-produced project about a mom who doesn’t change in any way but raises her children without incident, accident or trauma.  The script ran 3 hours but needed no special effects budget so we thought it was a sure sale.
Hollywood, according to all the major studios, the indie studios and guys and gals that have access to the latest iPhones and apps to make movies, needs some kind of character development or “incident” or “something” to happen that affects someone in the script.
Examples given by the studios were: Rocky (he develops his body and fights someone and hits meat and gets a dog); Spider Man (he develops his super powers, fights people, eats meat and gets a girlfriend); Snow White (she develops friendships with dwarfs who own a diamond mine, eats an apple and gets married).  The guy we approached who owns the iPhone and special app that lets him make movies cited Citizen Kane (he develops the power to name snow globes, makes a newspaper, eats meat and gets married).  But that’s Hollywood.
We’re hoping someone will pick up the script or we’ll have to add meat eating and super powers.  Mom could have web strands that catch meat and feed her dog with it).  Our point — and this time we have one — is that we are so honored that Mr. Farquhar contacted us.  We’ve met him on several occasions and each time acted like a statue.
We’re sure he was impressed by our inability to speak — even after we just performed our act in the basement of the Magic Castle where we speak a lot — and that’s why he wrote us.  Plus, despite his fame, he is truly a nice person with talents that would be great for a movie script — assuming he eats  meat and/or has a dog.

Mac King is Hitting the Road

Inside Magic Favorite Mac King wrote today that he’s “pretty darn excited to be be taking a weekend away from Las Vegas to do some rare east coast shows. If you live in Connecticut or Massachusetts, I’d love to see you!”

Click HERE for tickets to the Foxborough, MA show.

Click HERE for tickets to the New Britain, CT show.

Click HERE for tickets to the Southport, CT show.

He promises to be announcing more dates soon.

These excursions are not at the expense of his day job.  He is performing in Las Vegas in his beautiful theater at Harrah’s.  If you haven’t seen his show, you’ve missed a lot and while life is short, it isn’t so short that you don’t have time to see him either on the road or at his home in Harrah’s.

You’ll laugh, you’ll be amazed, and you may cry — we cry at supermarket openings so we’re no judge but if we were, we’d say you’re certain to cry when you see the audience interaction.   Very touching and special.

Bottom line: Do Not Miss Him.

Eric Knaus is the Great Zucchini

Eric Knaus, known by the stage name “The Great Zucchini,” performs “900 shows a year and has been flown around the world to different conventions to be keynote speaker to other entertainers.”  He is beloved by kids and one funny guy.  He will be performing during Magic Month at Vienna’s 2019 Oktoberfest on Saturday, Oct. 5 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 131 Church St. NE. in Vienna.

He got his start performing when he “was working at a kids’ party place as one of their hosts and realized that lots of parents were requesting me to host their kids’ parties, because of my ability to make kids laugh.

‘Then, I realized I could do it on my own and 30 years later, I still enjoy performing, as when I first started.”

Mr. Knaus says the key to being successful in the very competitive market of Kid Show work is reliability and trust.

“I had a mom book me for her kid’s 4th birthday party and I did the mom’s party when she was 4. I care about each and every performance, and my success is based on reliability, and the trust that parents have in me. For instance, my show is geared for 2-7-year-olds. Most people know that, but if they don’t and I get a call from a mom that has a child turning 8, I’ll recommend her to a friend that gears shows for older kids.”

He derived his unique name from a suggestion from his father.  “My dad was just rattling off names and he said, “The Great Zucchini,” and it rhymes with Houdini, so I liked it right away.”  He credits his mom as his inspiration. “She is the most positive person I know, and at age 74, is still learning new things and living every day to the fullest.”

Learn more about the event here.

Check out Mr. Knaus’ website here.

Magic Month is Nigh

TLDR: Send your Magic Month Events to events@insidemagic.com.

We are so close to Magic Month we can taste it.

Or that could be something else but we will consider it the taste of Magic Month approaching in just a few days.  Maybe it is tuna.

There are so many great shows, workshops and things other than workshops or shows scheduled for this month.  It is, as someone we once knew would say, “like Christmas for Magicians.”  We stopped knowing him because he went to the dark side and started exposing magic tricks on a YouTube channel.  He has many viewers and so by that standard he is a star and probably richly rewarded for his betrayal of his IBM and SAM oath to never expose a magic secret.  Especially one that does not belong to him.

But enough about the downers related to Magic Month.  Let’s discuss the great things that are about to happen.

In these pages of what some have called The Magic Periodical for the 1980s, we will feature (hopefully in advance of their happening) magic shows and lectures by people who love magic and respect its most sacred rules.  And there will be a ton of them.  That is likely because they will be multiple in number and not because any one of them is grossly over-weight.

Pop Haydn will be at Santa Monica’s Magicopolis as we have detailed in an earlier post.  We understand that particular post was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature (by us – hence our understanding) and if there is nothing published between then and the end of the year, we have a shot at bringing home whatever one gets when one wins the prize.  We think you get money and a statue of Alfred Nobel.  He was famous for inventing dynamite and without him there would be no flash paper, flash string, or flash bangs.

We owe a debt of gratitude to him and certainly as one who has been burned, scarred, and scared of flash devices, we owe him a debt of thanks for the very practical education we received.  We used to manufacture flash devices you could use apparently to shoot fire from your fingertips.  We can still make one in 15 minutes if pressed – and if you don’t press us, we can make it in 10 minutes but when pressed, our breathing becomes more desperate and we start to panic although we do like a good hug as much as the next guy.

We’re on a bus (not our own – it belongs to the city) as we write this and the next guy looks like he needs a hug.  We’ve learned from court-ordered classes, however, that just because someone looks like they need a hug, doesn’t mean we have a right to give that person a hug.  Lesson learned.  Just like don’t look down the tube of a flash device to see if the coil is working if that tube is jam packed with a flash wad and a bit of gunpowder.

We were proud that two of our flash devices were used by Doug Henning on one of his television specials but not proud that but for our very heavy framed glasses, we would have been blinded by the ball of fire and gunpowder that bounced off our glass and scared the dog and our foster parents.  They weren’t foster parents at the time but claimed to be later, after a couple more of those types of events.

We digress, as one does during Magic Month.

Come back often to get an update on shows, workshops and what-nots happening during this upcoming month.  If you have an event you’d like to publicize, please send the details to us at events@insidemagic.com.  We’ll be sure to publicize the heck out of it.

Magic Month here we come.  We can’t wait.

David Copperfield Has to Live Somewhere

We were reading The Los Angeles Times this morning.  Our neighbor is a late sleeper.  And came across a story about a very wealthy casino person buying or building a $16 million home just outside of Las Vegas.

We were amazed to read that his neighbors would include casino person Steve Wynn and David Copperfield.

It never occurred to us — because we are very shallow and you could break your fool neck diving into our intellect — that David Copperfield had a house.

Yes, we know he has an Island and has done wonderful work for the people devastated by the recent hurricane by helping provide food and necessities and being physically on the ground serving people who were in desperate need.

But those stories did not trigger the thought in our pea sized (and shaped) brain that Mr. Copperfield has an actual home some place where he lives, and has non-hotel-type keys with logos on both sides and a magnetic strip that must be inserted the correct way to enter a room or a suite.

We assumed — and we learned from our world-famous magician father to never “assume” because something, something, bad (learning is not the same as remembering but we know not to use “assume” — that he lived backstage of his constantly sold out Las Vegas show or in one of the hotel rooms at the MGM Grand where his constantly sold out show happens.

We figured that while he was on the road, he stayed in the tour bus, backstage or maybe a nearby motel.  Actually, we didn’t really think about it that much and just presumed — we assume that’s a better replacement for the term “assume” — that he lived on the big tour bus like a country music star but without the country music accouterments.  Our dad said to never use the word “accouterments” but there was some other reason and it could be that we were using it incorrectly or didn’t seem to understand its meaning or were saying it in a non-French accent.

Now we know that Mr. Copperfield has an actual home.  He likely has more than one.  Maybe on his island in the Bahamas — in which case, we hope the damage from the hurricane was not horrible.  If it did sustain horrible damage, then we are even more impressed that he took time out his life to work in soup kitchens and hurricane relief centers for the people of the Bahamas.

We’ve said it before but we will repeat it because it bears repeating, David Copperfield is not only an Inside Magic Favorite and Magician of the Millennium but a great guy who cares.

We are happy he has an actual home and hope he likes his new neighbors.  He probably will  because he is a good guy.

Siegfried & Roy Talk About the Incident

It was almost 16 years ago that Roy Horn of the incredible magic duo Siegfried & Roy was bitten by a tiger during their show in Las Vegas.  It was a black day for magic and us particularly.  We loved their show and thought they were always gracious with fans —  like us.

Now the two are sitting down with ABC to discuss what happened: their understanding and apparently ABC’s understanding of the event.

ABC’s press release celebrating their 42nd season of the 20/20 show is filled with verbs like “attacked” “nearly killed by a tiger” and others indicating their belief that Roy and Siegfried are wrong in their understanding of the injury.

The conversation will, according to ABC, “address the career-ending tiger attack and recent allegations that the accident resulted from Horn’s own onstage mistake, which the pair denies; they maintain that the tiger was trying to help Roy after he suffered a stroke.”

On the positive side, the 2 hour special will also look at their long career and “the legacy of their Las Vegas residency.”

But the draw for ABC is apparently the injury:

In the exclusive trailer for the special, above, ABC correspondent Deborah Roberts asks Fischbacher about the new claims made by one of their former animal trainers, who says Horn was to blame for the incident. “No way,” Fischbacher says. “If I would have to do it again, I would do everything again the same way. I regret nothing,” he later tells Roberts.

We wonder — and we’re not being critical of ABC or those who revisit that horrible night  — when the story can be left to the memory of the two men who were physically present when Mantacore either helped save Roy’s life or attacked him.  Why does it matter that there is a controversy over the cause?  What will it change?  Even Mantacore, who Roy sought to protect with his last breaths by saying to the crew that it was not his fault, has passed away.

The show will also feature interviews with the stagehand who helped to save Roy on stage, the producer Kenneth Feld; and other Las Vegas magicians Criss Angel, Lance Burton, and Penn & Teller.

The 20/20 season premiere airs Friday, Sept. 27 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

Magicians, Spaghetti and Secrets Exposed

One of the magic questions we are never asked is when will there be a dinner featuring renowned Magician Méliès with a real magician (meaning live) for a Fireman’s Spaghetti Supper.  We’ve been asked about dinners with spaghetti (or pasta – to be accurate) with magicians.  We’ve been asked about Méliès, the great filmmaker and magician from the turn of the last century and even about Fire people doing magic.

But now, we have ticked the box.  According to Wicketlocal from Wareham, there will be “a Spaghetti Supper featuring the renowned Magician Méliès, who will perform a 90-minute program recommended for adult audiences. The program will consist of classic sleight of hand, illusion, and mind-reading.”

The show is scheduled to take place on October 26 at 6 p.m. at the beautifully appointed Redmen Hall.  The ticket will cost you a mere $20 but look at what you get: spaghetti  meatballs, salad, bread, and dessert. The magic and mentalism program follows the meal.  So if you just like magic, you’re set.  If you’re into meatballs, bingo.  If you are a garlic bread lover – we can’t be sure because the menu just says bread. 

We did a Blue / Gold dinner for the Boy Scouts of America once and had so much garlic bread that we almost didn’t get our check at the end.  We wreaked of garlic and the Scout Leader didn’t want to stand near us.  Being ever ready, he pulled up his kerchief over his mouth and nose and handed us the check.  We were enthused to be paid but more impressed that he lived the Boy Scout spirit.  We also performed for Girl Scouts but there was no garlic bread just thin mints in the ad-hoc green room.  We ate about six rows (maybe just two – we started to lose consciousness once the second row kicked in).  We did our show with such enthusiasm that we were never invited back.  We assume we weren’t invited back because we were on a sugar rush but it could have been that the cookies were not for us – we didn’t have a rider in our contract.

Continue reading “Magicians, Spaghetti and Secrets Exposed”

Pop Haydn Coming to Town

How excited we were to see that Pop Haydn will be appearing at Magicopolis on October 4, 5, and 6.

It is our intention to be there for all shows.

We were walking down the streets of Santa Monica minding other peoples’ business when we ran right into the sign giving us the great news.  Inside Magic Favorite Pop Hadyn (nee Whit Haydn) will be appearing in the flesh (his own) at the start of Magic Month.

We took pictures using our Kodak Instamatic and just got them back from the one film center that still processes such images.  Oh boy were we impressed by our photography ability and the subject of the photographs.

We also took pictures to use up the roll — as one does or used to do — of a man with a snake or long hair — either way it looked dangerous.  We took pictures of the Santa Monica Pier and even some of the ground (it said we had 28 frames left in the camera but it was really 29).  The ground pictures were notable because you can see our new shoes that we bought a year ago and they still look like they did when we bought them used from a man on that very street in Santa Monica.  He was a kind man with kind eyes and a wide variety of great tennis shoes in different sizes and lace configurations.  We went with the Stan Smith and found a size into which we could fit on both feet.  Such luxury.  But usual, we digress.

Let’s talk about Pop Haydn.  There is no one better in entertaining a crowd and engaging them into his mysterious world.  His character is so complete and accurate that one cannot help but believe he is from another century.

His magic skills are among the best we have ever seen.  His  philosophy on entertaining is similarly inspiring.  To say he is our favorite would be an understatement.  Like saying buying used shoes is always a good idea or Santa Monica is a great place for people watching.  Or Lemonade that is “hard” should come with warnings.  All understatements and all equally true.

Pop’s color changing handkerchief alone makes us feel at once inadequate and entertained.  We all have the effect in our drawers at home but Pop performs it the way you imagined it could be performed when you bought it a convention or from Tannen’s a long time ago — perhaps in a different century.

If you are in Santa Monica or California or even western Arizona, come to see Pop perform.  He will inspire you to be a better magician and entertain you at the same time.  Pop is Top in our book.

Visit Pop’s website and store here.

Check out Magicopolis here.

 

Inside Magic Letters to the Editer

It is the stated and occasionally followed policy of Inside Magic to publish letters to the editor.  If you have a question for the editor of this esteemed virtual news outlet, please send your comments or questions to editor@insidemagic.com.  While the editor is not always available or conscious, when he is, he is really on his game. 

Dear Sir or Madam:

In your most recent blog post, you commented that Harry Houdini was dead.  I wondered why you would mention this well-known factoid.  Were you just in need of space to be taken up or was this supposed to be real news for the “professional” magician?  What was the point?  Are there people who think Harry Houdini is not dead?  Or were you being metaphorical and saying his legacy is dead? Or, maybe you were saying his spirit lives on but his body is dead and buried?  Again, what was the point?  Who else is dead that you should tell us about?  I subscribe to Inside Magic to get the latest news not the late news.  Did you hear that Lindbergh made it to Paris?  He did, he flew solo across the Atlantic.  That’s all. Pick it up, please.

Editor’s Response:

It has been a while since we commented on the living or non-living status of Harry Houdini but your email reminds us that it is about time to again remind readers that Harry Houdini died at 1:26 on October 31, 1926 at Grace Receiving Hospital in Detroit, Michigan.  The cause of his death was ruled an accident resulting from a blow received several days earlier in Montreal whilst reclining in his dressing room.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his widow and surviving family.  There is discussion of having yearly séances in honor of Houdini and to test the theories of spiritualism against which he fought so valiantly.

The Lindbergh news is not really magic related and so that was probably why we didn’t pick up on it – that is our bad and we accept the blame.  Good for him.  We hope his experience will be positive for all interested in flying.

Ironically, “Pick it Up, Please” was the title of our first top 100 hit in 1972.  It was actually the B-side of “Don’t Litter, Bug!” but got much more radio play thanks to our great A&R man, Zanzo O’Hara.  We peaked at 47 with the 45 RPM record and still receive royalties from it.  It was sampled on Eminem’s Marshal Mather’s “The Way I Am” track on his groundbreaking “The Marshal Mathers’ LP.”  Eminem said he loved the “funk and instructive tone to the bridge on our 45.”  That was good enough for us.  It was also used as the background sound for a movie about a carnival funhouse that is haunted by bad people.  We don’t know why they used it.  There was nothing funky or instructive about the scene in which it was used.  A woman and man, each younger than 21, get on the ride and look at each other before the cart in which they are riding goes through the front “gate” of the fun house.  They never return but part of their clothes return, albeit blood stained.

Continue reading “Inside Magic Letters to the Editer”

Magicians, History and Corn Dogs

You can ask anyone, what does Inside Magic like?

Those in the know will say, usually with a chirpy tone, cool magic stuff from magic history and corn dogs.

Taking the list in order, we look constantly for cool magic stuff from magic history.  We have a key to the city given to Harry Blackstone Jr. given by the mayor of Dearborn, Michigan.  We have posters and pictures of great magicians through the years.  Some of our fondest memories have been eating corn dogs.

Other great memories have been talking to older magicians about the magicians they have seen or with whom they worked.

We recalled a wonderful conversation about Harry Blackstone, Jr. (the impetus for our mention of my souvenir) and how compassionate he was for his staff and assistants.  He certainly did not need to be – he was the star and his show was a hit.  But he was.

We have a multi-page letter handwritten by Doug Henning in response to our question, “how can a magician who is only 12 make it as a professional.”

Not surprisingly, he did not tell us to get an agent, make posters, berate theater managers; but to practice the art, learn the rules of being a magician and have fun.

We work in a wonderful art.  People genuinely love to be entertained and fooled and corn dogs.

We provide two out of the three and the more we do it, the more entertaining it becomes for us and our audience.

We wonder how the younger generation learns about our grand history.  Perhaps there are still meetings over an occasional corn dog where mustard-stained young performers can hear stories of Willard the Wizard, Thurston, Houdini, Kellar, Dante and our favorite, Harry Blackstone, Jr.

Although the image is not of Harry Blackstone, Jr. or any deep-fried hot dog, we think the poster used by Kellar displaying his “latest” illusion of “self-decapitation” is illustrative of our wonderful history.  No one – at least no one we have seen in the last 20-years has performed “self-decapitation” and even decapitation of others has fallen into disfavor (correctly in our humble opinion) due to world events.  But his poster was drawn in sketch form, colored in, placed on lithographic machinery and literally inked with several different passes – one for each color – leaving a space to make the poster applicable to the town or setting where Kellar would soon perform.  How wonderful.

You can find wonderful posters of magicians and non-magicians throughout history at the Library of Congress for your viewing and enjoyment.  We hope you do.