Tag: derren brown

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.

New York Times Loves Derren Brown’s New Broadway Show

It should come as no surprise that Derren Brown’s new Broadway one-man show, Secret, has received rave reviews from magicians like David Copperfield.  Magicians know what amazing things can come from Mr. Brown’s very fertile mind.  He is, in a word, incredible.

But beyond the common magician or human audience member, there is the critical eye of the critics who with their often very critical pen draft criticism of nearly every new show that hits the Great White Way.

Given that truth as prologue, we were very impressed that the New York Times, the Gray Lady, praised Mr. Brown’s show and Mr. Brown in particular — which makes sense in a one-man show situation.

They wrote:

As a showman, Mr. Brown has none of the smarminess of Las Vegas prestidigitators or carnival hucksters. He feels nonsynthetic in his smoothness, and his jokes directed at the audience stay carefully on the sunny side of insults.

We have long taken a firm stand in favor of smarminess of not only Las Vegas performers and carnival hucksters but we are broad-minded enough to accept non-smarmy presentations of our grand art as well.  It could be that we like smarminess because we are in fact smarmy.  We tried to go to those camps where they sweat the smarminess out of you — we were surprised our insurance company covered the 30 days at Malibu Smart Not Smarmy Treatment Center and Spa, but they did and it didn’t work.

We even wrote an article for the Journal of the American Medical Association, “Smarminess, The New Epidemic?” It was a case study of magicians and hucksters across the US, Canada and parts of Luxembourg.  Yes, the study was later rejected by real doctors but at least we brought the issue to the attention of medical professionals.  And yes, it was removed from the site and replaced by a study on cancer or heart disease or something.  We didn’t read the replacement article — hence proving that we are smarmy by mentioning something that cannot be found to back up our claim. Quod Erat Demonstrandum, amigos.

Mr. Brown is showing his non-smarmy, smart, intriguing and, to some, “life changing” show at the famous prior home of Doug Henning, The Cort Theater in New York.

We look forward to seeing his show as soon as we can get to New York and purchase tickets to this sold-out show.

It is axiomatic that if the New York Times likes the show, the tickets will no longer be available in the short and middle-run.  We are willing to pay scalpers’ prices to see Mr. Brown.  That is saying a lot because we are cheap, very cheap.  We wear the same suit we wore to our baptism (we had to expand the pants a bit because we grew since we were an infant).  Our world-famous father once said, “save your money and you’ll always have money saved.”  He also said other things that have nothing to do with money unless you consider horse race touting as money related.

If you are in the New York area — including bordering states and parts of Canada — we urge you to work against your cheap ways and go to see this show.  It is guaranteed to be a once in a lifetime experience.  Mr. Brown is, in our father’s immortal words, “a sure thing upon which you could bet both lungs.”

Hurry though.  The show is scheduled to close January 2, 2020.

Get tickets for Mr. Brown’s show — when they become available here.

Check out Mr. Brown’s website here.

Read the New York Times review here.

 

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.

Russian Magician, Magu Takes on India

Sharing a sentiment of many magicians, Alexander Magu, tells the Indian newspaper The Pioneer that if it weren’t for  magic, he would be working on Russian Railroads.

He saw a trick at the age of 17 and became hooked.  Now he is performing around the globe and will be in India for a series of shows.  It is his second tour in India.

“It isn’t a profession very highly preferred or chosen. It’s all about ideas, imagination and a story-telling capacity to hold the audience,” he told The Pioneer. The initial years were a struggle for Magu whose parents were reluctant about his career choice. Had it not been for magic, he would “have been working in the Russian Railways.”

He credits Derren Brown, David Blaine and “of course, David Copperfield” as inspiration.  He loves his work in our beloved art.  He gets to travel and “explore the human mind and its numerous possibilities. The beauty of the human mind is that no matter how fearless it might condition itself to be, it is as fearful, unbelievable yet believable. It’s amazing how certain things can amaze the mind.”

His show includes mind-reading, telekinesis, levitation and gravitational illusions and the article is clear that he is performing “illusions” and not “magic.” “An illusionist might leave your eyes wide open and make your jaw drop but a magician can make miracles happen. That’s magic.”

He will be performing in the beautifully appointed Upstage, Roseate House, Aerocity every night at 9 pm from today through November 25th.

Check out the full article in The Pioneer here.

Visit his expertly constructed website here.

List of the Richest Magicians in the World

Who is the richest magician in the world?

We won’t give away the secret but the compilation at The Silver List surprised us.  And we are not easily surprised.  We figured for sure we could correctly identify all persons on the list but we were wrong.  We beat ourselves up when we make a mistake so this was crushing for us.

You can check out the list here.

We thought for sure there would be some mention of Inside Magic editor-in-chief and magician person Tim Quinlan but nary a comment.  We don’t like to brag but between the ad revenue for Inside Magic and our professional appearances, we’re rolling in the dough – plus we’re making a lot of money.  But we spend it on dough to roll in and we like a high-quality dough, not some Pillsbury fake dough that doesn’t give the comfort one expects when one is rolling.  We were going to put up a YouTube video  of us rolling but a woman beat us and she does a much better rolling that we could ever hope to accomplish.

You can see just one of her many dough rolling episodes here. The video shows her rolling in baked dough but she does real, unbaked dough as well.  We cannot compete.

Similarly, we are unable to keep up with the magicians who make millions of dollars every year for performing their magic.  We admire them but don’t envy them.  Envy is or should be one of the deadly sins and does not leave the person feeling the sense of envy in a good place.  It is like when you have a fight with your Uber driver about whether we should worry about fluoride or chem trails and he/she dumps you in a bad neighborhood.  That’s a physical bad place to be but as a metaphor it works.  Envy leaves you wondering what happened to the last few hours and why you can’t remember why you even worried about the success of others.

Check out  the list and see if you agree with the rankings.  But do it with an open mind and heart.  Embrace the success of others and the willingness of others to work very hard at what we all do.

We do find some pleasure (guilty, no doubt) that Inside Magic arch-nemesis Tony Spain is not listed.  He claims millions  per year from his itinerant magic travels around the world, but apparently he didn’t make the list.

Restaurant Owner Closes Doors to Follow Magic Dream

Resh Gohel owns an Indian restaurant in Blackburn (UK) but dreams of becoming a professional magician.  He is going to take a step towards making the dream reality by closing his eatery at the end of March and hitting the road.

“I have been doing magic on the side and I want to pursue my career as a magician,” Mr. Gohel said.  “The restaurant will be shutting down and I will be handing the keys back to the landlord.”

He admits it is a big risk but he has been encouraged by magicians who would know.

“I have met the likes of David Blaine and Derren Brown and they have said you have to follow your dream,” he said.  “They all said they had to work wherever before they got to where they are now.”

It isn’t that the restaurant failed and he had no other option.  “My target was to get the restaurant to number one on Trip Advisor and to get my name out there and I have done that. But I have reached the point where I have lost interest in the hospitality industry now.”

He has his first show scheduled for just ten days after the doors close.

We wish him the best of luck.  We have been similarly advised by many in the magic business to seek employment in a restaurant so we’re kind of similar in that regard except the opposite.

Read more at The Blackburn Citizen’s website here.

Magic Waters and Confused Animals in Cheltenham

The Session is billed as the UK’s only close-up magic convention; it is “a conference for serious close-up magicians.”  This year the two-day fete was held in Cheltenham.

We have never been to Cheltenham but it sounds wonderful.  According to the internet, the town “has no fewer than five festivals, devoted to Literature, Music, Science, Jazz and, perhaps most famously, National Hunt racing.”

We are not sure what category close-up magic would occupy although probably not “National Hunt racing.”

The town was made famous by its spas or the ‘waters.’  Visitors to the waters have included Queen Victoria, the Duke of Wellington, Jane Austen and Lord Byron.  We have heard of each of these people and therefore are very impressed.

We were even more impressed by the line-up of magicians in Cheltenham this weekend.  Promoters listed Juan Tamariz, Asi Wind, Michael Weber, Peter Clifford, Luke Jermay, Andi Gladwin, Joshua Jay, Boris Wild, Roberto Giobbi and Daniel Madison.

But we have it on good authority – YouTube and Twitter – that David Blaine and Dynamo were also in the area.

According to the social media authorities, Derren Brown, Dynamo and Mr. Blaine went to Kukui, a nightclub on Bath Road. Danny Valentine is the manager of that establishment and told local media that the “punters” were stunned by Mr. Blaine’s magic.  “He was really great and did tricks for people in his private booth. He was really nice and polite and let one of the customers play with his pack of cards.”

Just below the article about these icons of magic descending on this historic town was a link to an article that may or may not have been related to this weekend’s celebration: “Walter the dog is confused by his squeaky toy – VIDEO.”

It sounds like there was a lot of surprise and fun confusion happening.  We wish we could have been there.

Read more about the event and Walter’s confusion here.

Mirror Online Asks Readers to Choose Best TV Magician

The Mirror Online (UK), looking to build excitement for the launch of the fourth series of Dynamo: Mission Impossible, is asking readers to vote for their favorite TV magician.

You should head over to the site and make your choice from:
Darcy Oake
David Blaine
Derren Brown
David Copperfield
Dynamo
Paul Daniels
Penn & Teller
Tommy Cooper
Troy

There is no space for a write-in vote but they do have clips from the nominees – including our inspiration, Tommy Cooper. (Unfortunately, the sound goes out near the end of the clip but it is still a joy to watch).

Click here to link to the poling site. We don’t know if it will allow you to vote more than once but perhaps that is a concern for us Chicago natives. The rest of the world likely never considers stuffing the ballot box.

Penn & Teller Dish from London

Penn & Teller are in London and the toast of the town with great press. We read this morning’s Telegraph for a nice interview with the duo. They express their admiration for Derren Brown, “He’s one of the best live performers I’ve ever seen. He really puts a lot of intelligence and thought into it. He’s an artist,” said Teller.

They profess only luke-warm enthusiasm for Dynamo, “Teller says that while they admire his skills, ‘we know people like Johnny Thompson who’s 78 – and by comparison with whom [Dynamo’s] skills are somewhat… minimal. Compared with some of the old masters of this stuff.’”

They respect David Copperfield’s incredible work-ethic but bemoan the otherwise dormant magic scene.

“[Copperfield] does really good tricks, and he’s always doing new ones. But there aren’t many [magicians], you know?” Penn says heavily. Yes, there’s Siegfried and Roy, “but since Roy got his head bit off by a tiger, that slows him down somewhat. David Blaine doesn’t really do anything now. Why not? I don’t know. I don’t think he made that much money.”

We note that this is the latest in their 40 years of giving interviews where they fail to mention Inside Magic. Perhaps they are saving their effusive praise for our dogged coverage for a big presser once they return to Las Vegas. Yes, that is most certainly it. After all, tens of readers over the course of twenty years adds up to a statistical probability that they have heard of us.

We are most fascinated by behind the scenes stuff. We love logistics. So, for us, the key nuggets came at the end of the article wherein we learn the two get together on Tuesdays each week to brainstorm new tricks. That is the kind of geeky, inside information that makes us giddy. We would love to be present during one of those sessions. We wouldn’t say a word or even give some sort of indication of our existence – sort of as if we were a fly or insect in the room – we would just listen and relish the moment.

We learned that they have been working on a new effect that sounds pretty interesting. They are looking for a way to perform the Vanishing Elephant but with a live cow dressed as an elephant. We don’t know why that sounds cool but it does. We cannot imagine it is easy to work with cows and note that very few magicians have used cows in their acts in the last twenty years.

We knew of a former husband and wife act (former because they divorced) in which the husband referred to his wife as a cow on stage but that does not count. She didn’t vanish but did get a lawyer. He is doing close-up now and has “returned to ‘real magic’” with just a deck of cards and a few coins.” We suspect his new emphasis on cards and coins had something to do with the results of his divorce settlement.

Penn & Teller, like David Copperfield, seem to be asked the same questions by all interviewers. They do their best to give interesting answers and some reporters follow-up with interesting questions that lead to new information. Not often, though. That is not their fault. The Telegraph article is one of the better interview pieces we have read and worth your consideration.

Luke Jermay and Champions of Magic in Hastings

The Champions of Magic comes to Hastings’ White Rock Theatre next week, April 12th.

The theatre (apparently the metric spelling of “theater”) is billing the evening as a chance to encounter an “award winning team of liars, swindlers and cheats for a spectacular night of trickery you’ll be trying to work out for a long time to come.”

What a great craft we practice.  There are few professions where an audience could be asked to pay to see “liars, swindlers and cheats.”   Strangely, we work in two of those crafts: the law and magic.  Perhaps it says something about us or perhaps we should avoid introspection because it leads to the spiraling agony of regret and shame.  Either way.

The Champions Of Magic features four of our best doing what they do better than any of us.  

Three veterans of our art will perform: Luke Jermay is well-known to audiences and magicians on both sides of the Atlantic ocean and was most recently headlining in Las Vegas, was the inspiration for the American television series The Mentalist and consults with Derren Brown to produce some of the most stunning effects seen by modern audiences.   

Ali Cook is the star of Sky One’s Secret World Of MagicMonkey Magic and Dirty Tricks.  

Fay Presto, is distinguished member of The Magic Circle, has been personally requested to perform for Queen Elizabeth six times, is a favorite of JK Rowling and appeared on the ITV’s  Heroes Of Magic.

 They are joined by the 2012 Magic Circle Close-up Magician of the Year Edward Hilsum — billed as one of the world’s top young magicians and has received great praise from Derren Brown.

Promoters promise  a combination of elegant classics and cutting edge alternative magic resulting in “a mastery of card manipulation, death defying stunts, sleight of hand and spectacular illusions.”

We wish we had a way of getting to Hastings to attend this amazing collection of amazing talent and can only hope it will be exported to our shores like the other great UK products: fish and chips, The Office, table manners, The Beatles, some seasons of Doctor Who, statistics-based epidemiological public health, the ruler (not the “Ruler”), Benny Hill, English Muffins, Canadian Bacon (indirectly) and the ability to identify non-toxic mushrooms in the wild.