There are two kinds of people in this world. But both kinds would feel likely feel sad watching blue people occupy the only "legitimate theatre" in Las Vegas and former home Master Magician Lance Burton.
Those who cherish magic for magic's sake would be dismayed to see the stage once graced by lovely assistants, ever-changing illusions and one of the finest magicians of our era replaced by non-magicians.
The other group of people would be those who didn't really care about Lance Burton and had hoped that his award-winning show would be scrapped in favor or anoxic-complected, bald men who hit things and acted surprised but hate the idea that such an avant guard show would appear in such a magnificent and decidedly un-trendy theatre.
We are of the first group and would hope to avoid those of the second.
The Blue Men parachuted onto the plaza outside the Monte Carlo hotel today to announce their presence with authority while not speaking. They don't talk. They are just blue and they do funny things. Kind of like big drunk Smurfs with shaved heads.
For those hoping to have a blue themed evening, $179.00 buys a three-course meal and tickets to their show. You can order from the special Blue Man Menu and even get après–theatre cocktails for that price. Considering the regular tickets are priced at $125.00, this is either a great deal or a way to sell really cheap food and watered down blue drinks.
The Blue Men are returning to the Monte Carlo from the Venetian Hotel and replacing the dance group The Jabbawockeez. The Jabbawockeez are temporarily performing down-under at the Jupiters Casino on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia awaiting their new theatre's construction at the Luxor.
Penn & Teller joined the select few included in the UNLV Entertainer & Artist Hall of Fame this weekend. Siegfried Fischbacher and Lance Burton attended, showing their support for the magic duo.
Former Nevada Lieutenant Governor, lounge singer and hall of fame member Lorraine Hunt-Bono presented the team their beautiful and pointy crystal trophies. Teller broke his silence to say "thanks" to the attendees.
I'd joked that 2012 was shaping up as the Year of Penn, given his ubiquitous-ness in the first 4 months of this year. Jillette even showed up at Marty Allen's 90th birthday party celebration at Palace Station on Saturday afternoon, joining a similarly odd collection of celebs and newsmakers onstage at Louie Anderson Theater that included Allen, Mayor Carolyn Goodman (presenting Allen with a key to the city), former mayor Oscar Goodman, Anderson and Allen's wife, Karon Kate Blackwell.
It does seem Penn is appearing in more places and garnering more television time. We have seen him on political talk shows, British stump the magician series and of course The Celebrity Apprentice. He survived last night's episode and thus continues his fund-raising for Opportunity Village, a Las Vegas foundation providing vocational training for our fellow citizens with intellectual disabilities.
"If I worked all the time I was on 'Celebrity Apprentice,' and gave all that money instead to Opportunity Village (laughs), they would do better," he says. "But I give them a lot of attention, no question about that, I have raised awareness. So you can't be too cynical about it."
Penn & Teller continue to entertain capacity crowds at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and offer the best magic per dollar spent in town.
Mark Panner is not exactly a friend of Inside Magic but he did lend us money to pay the server bill two months ago. In return for his kindness, we said he could write an opinion piece for the web site. This is that piece. He tries to find parallels between the 99 percent movement and magic secrets. We do not agree with his logic, argument or conclusions but a deal is a deal. We note that while we do not edit Mark's writing, we had to change the title from its original, "99 Percent in Magic Untie."
As I was watching the occupy movement do their thing, I thought about inequity and how unfair it is. One of the questions that kept crossing my mind was, how come the Vegas Headliners get the best secrets and technology and we are all stuck with the turn of the century – Last Century! –boxes and mirrors. It's not fair at all.
There is no other word for it other than inequity and unfairness (okay so maybe two words) but it expresses the vas deference between the 99% of magicians who need to use boxes screens or assistants (if you can afford them or are able to even go to where they congregate to ask if they would like to work for you). The elite one percent get to make things vanish, float, change, appear, grow or shrink without anything at all.
I have been looking into this question for a long time. It's been six months so far and I think I have some answers but they are not good ones.
When magic began, there was relative parity among all magicians. Magicians could make things vanish, float, appear, disappear, change or multiply with equal ability. They all used the same skills and tools. In the Iron Age, everyone used Irons and in the Bronze Age they did the same and no one had better tools than their neighbor. One caveman's Iron thing was the same size and shape and substance as the caveman next door and that did not change until the end of the "Ages" part of history ("Iron," "Bronze," "Dinosaur," "Bird," and "Trains") and the start of the Jet Age (around the time of the Wright Brothers).
Until the Jet Age, people entertained people in their villages and huts with essentially the same tricks either bought from a central store or made from common instructions. All magic plans used to be printed in blue ink and sold in rolls to magicians who wanted to build their own tricks from supplies they had around their cave or hut.
It took a while for this to die out. As late as the 1940s, for instance, Harry Blackstone used the same equipment as all magicians to make the standard "magic rabbit" appear or disappear. Magic rabbits were raised to be genetically identical so that all magicians could interchangeably use their props to do the rabbit tricks regardless of their location. A Boston rabbit would fit a Chicago rabbit gimmick and vice-a-versa. But there was a war on and many of the rabbits were actually made in the equivalent of factory farms where they were grown by strict military specifications to fit standard government issue magic props as used by the professionals (such as Blackstone) or the amateur at home or the magicians who entertained the troops during the battles around the world.
With the advent of the space race, the "elite" magicians began to insist on using "different" methods to accomplish the effects performed by so many. "Good enough for government work" was an expression first used to denigrate the magicians who were forced to use surplus magic tricks left over from the war effort. The elite used bigger bunnies (or with different colored ears or faces) and insisted on different methods to make tricks happen.
There is one thing we stand firmly against here at Inside Magic and that is exposure of magic secrets. We don't like it, won't eat near it, won't let our kids go to school with it, and certainly would never let it kiss us full on the mouth, ever. Given our distaste for this abominable practice, a casual reader of this magic news outlet might be forgiven for thinking that all of our loathing was used up and that we loved every other thing in large quantities. Nope, we dislike people who incompetently expose magic almost as much as we dislike the more proficient secret leakers.
There are several programs on the internets that allow a very lazy web master or mistress to publish articles about any topic in seconds. Better yet, these programs can write the articles to neatly incorporate trending Google search terms to suck traffic to their owners' website to generate the all-important pay-per-click revenue. The programs are not smart but quick. They search the webs for real content about any given subject and then steal from the articles located to generate or "spin" an allegedly unique bit of content.
Fresh content is essential to making one's website appealing to Google. Fresh content that contains key words used in searches moves the site up the Google Page Rank chart. But there is apparently no requirement that the fresh content containing key words make any sense at all.
We received a Google Alert this hour for an article meeting our pre-set search terms. We try to search for magic news constantly and have layers of filters to get breaking stories about "Harry Houdini" rather than a professional athlete surviving a close game with "an escape worthy of Houdini." The notice we just received met up with several of our Google Alert terms and so the automated sms notification system alerted us to possible breaking news.
Here is the article in part. It ostensibly exposes the Svengali Deck. Perhaps it does, we cannot tell.
The Svengali deck is made up of 47 business cards, 23 that are most of duplicate and are also slightly shorter as opposed to 23 which are all distinct and slightly longer. There are actually coin tips, card tips, mind-reading tips, rope tips, all different types of tricks easily together with objects that you’ve in the pockets as well as lying savings around your house. If you need a number of really straightforward magic tricks to master which you can try in your own friends the two observing ones is going to be perfect in your case.
We are not trying to be harsh. Maybe this is one author's earnest attempt to expose a very commercial trick and it falls short because the author has yet to master the English language. Or, maybe there is a different Svengali deck — one made with 47 business cards, 23 of which are most of duplicate of something. We have checked with all of our reliable sources and no one is familiar with a Svengali deck made of business cards that are either most of or not most of duplicate of anything. Yes, we recall that Burling Hull claimed to have created a deck that was part Mene-Tekel, part Two-Way Forcing and part Brainwave but to the best of knowledge Mr. Hull never released the deck and even if he did, it wouldn't be one of those "really straightforward magic tricks to master which you can try in your own friends the observing ones is going to be perfect in" anyone's case.
We have a GAF View-Master Fetish and we are obsessed with magic. It is rare (and slightly dangerous) when those two passions collide in one story. Today is one of those very rare days.
Lawrence Leung serves the good people of Australia as skeptic par excellence. His new six-part series Unbelievable! has been described as “Mythbusters meets Ghostbusters.”
In this weeks episode, the curious host looks to “fool a master magician.” The advertisement claims he will learn the tricks of the trade from Las Vegas magicians, pickpockets and neuroscientists to create an effect that will fool magicians.
The theme of the show and this week’s episode are sufficiently magic-related to evoke our interest and coverage on this august magic news site. But what of the GAF View-Master angle, you ask.
Mr. Leung has the ultimate web site design for those of us who could spend hours studying, playing with, and talking about the stereoscopic viewing wonder that we keep in a well-worn leather holster attached to our belt as we type. Continue reading “View-Master, Magic & Lance Burton”→
There is one thing we can say for Criss Angel, he never does thing halfway. Many a magi have performed levitations but only one did it on top of a Las Vegas Casino. Criss Angel is taking the same philosophy to the web and broadcast world.
The illusionist leaked word of the August 2011 launch of MagicPlace.com to Robin Leach. Robin, in turn, shared the news with about a few million readers of his Luxe Life column in the Las Vegas blog, VegasDeluxe.com. Criss Angel told the cigar-chomping reporter of all things rich, famous, and glittery the site will be a combination of a broadcast network, magic portal, magic store, and magician school and talent agency.
Criss Angel intends on having 14 magic shows produced and “aired” each week. He will handle the hosting duty for four and enlist additional talent for the remaining ten shows.
The Pierced One told Robin Leach, “It’s completely different from anything ever attempted before on or off the Internet. I’m insanely passionate about it. I believe it will ultimately revolutionize the way people experience everything magic. There’s nothing in the world like it.” Continue reading “Criss Angel’s Plans for MagicPlace.Com Portal”→
We are looking forward to this Friday, May 13th’s opening of the new magic documentary Make Believe.
There hasn’t been nearly the buzz we expected but that buzz that wuz is good.
IFC reviewed the film in today’s edition and loved it.
Make Believe is entertaining enough purely from sharing in the joy of its stars, making sure that something permanent and good remains even in a medium where most everything is meant to disappear.
The documentary follows the teen competition at The World Magic Seminar and introduces the “real world” to our little realm where talent shines and practice pays off.
Krystyn Lambert is one of the six teens featured in J. Clay Tweel’s documentary and her mother provides a great, pithy description of the world of magic and magicians: “a little world of oddballs.”
Despite her movie star looks, outstanding talent, and academic success, Krystyn Lambert seems to agree with her mother’s assessment. She confided in a 2010 Los Angeles Times article that she had not yet seen the film and “is well-aware she may come across to some as a ‘psychotic overachiever.’ But she doesn’t mind. She’s changed a lot since the film began shooting in October 2008, she said. And for the first time in her life, she said, she’s found a place outside of the magic world where she fits in – college.”
Forget Alexander! Robin Leach is the man who knows.
Mr. Leach reports on the Las Vegas version of the Hollywood Oscar Show. 127 Hours star Rebecca C. Olson served as the female equivalent of a Master of Ceremonies. “Mistress of Ceremonies” sounds obtuse or maybe inappropriate but we don’t know why.
Her date for the evening was Lance Burton, Master Magician.
For an unemployed magician, he was looking pretty good.
Lance Burton was more than serving as eye candy for a Hollywood Starlet. He announced his move from the very legitimate theatre to the silver screen.
“Lance told me that his entertainment partner, juggler Michael Goudeau, and he are now one-third of the way through shooting their indie magic film. ‘We have a 100-page script, and we’ve completed about 30 pages so far,’ Lance said. ‘We’re really pleased with the way it’s coming along, and I’m having great fun taking on an acting role.'” Continue reading “Lance Burton VIP at Oscar Party – Writing Script”→
From Vegas to New York City to Bryn Mawr, PA, this young magician has been just about all over in the last few months.
The Central Jersey news site has a big write-up this morning about the young but already very successful, Conrad Colon.
Conrad Colon, local teenage magician, was one of over a hundred student selected to attend a summer magic camp, sponsored by the Louis Tannen Magic Company of New York City and held at Bryn Mawr College located in the village of Bryn Mawr, PA.
Through out the week, Conrad attended lectures, show, and classes in advanced stage magic.
Conrad has been a magician for 7 years. He first began performing after viewing great magicians such as Lance Burton and Jeff McBride on television. While Conrad’s favorite trick is signed bill in lemon, his repertoire includes effects such as card manipulation, rope tricks, and a floating metal ball.
When asked how the tricks are done, Conrad simply replied, “Very Well.”
Conrad’s recent performances have included the 6th annual Somerville Sample day and upcoming shows include the Somerset County 4-H fair, where Conrad will be performing all three days August 11,12,and 13.
Early this morning, we received word from Inside Magic Favorite Dean Gunnarson, that things did not go as planned in his planned escape from the tracks of a speeding roller-coaster in Beijing.
The Toronto Sun had coverage this afternoon filling in the details of what must have been a horrific event.
Dean Gunnarson is insane but also very safe. That is to say, when he hangs by his toes over the Hoover Dam, he makes sure the wind speed is in the single digits and he has no butter or slippery goo on his boots. Despite his devotion to safety, he has had several near catastrophes over his career.
He began with hypothermia and near drowning in the frigid waters of Canada where the water and cold robbed him of a chance to escape from his shackles or the locked wooden casket. He's pulled, broken, snapped, and twisted body parts with verve much to the delight of fans and his medical professionals.
Still, as we have admitted on this magic news outlet and to professional mental health workers, his stuff scares us silly.
He had freed himself and was attempting to dive to safety when the roller-coaster car, which was travelling at nearly 100 km/h, clipped his right foot.
He sustained a broken bone in his foot and some internal bleeding.
He was in hospital Tuesday in Beijing but was hoping to return to Canada by Wednesday.
In his news release, Gunnarson said he believed hot and humid conditions, with a temperature of 36 C, contributed to him losing the extra split second he needed to completely avoid the bullet roller-coaster car.
The 46-year-old Manitoba resident – who has performed death-defying escapes around the world since he was in his teens – said this escape was a little too close for comfort.
"I have always said I don't do card tricks or pull bunnies out of a hat," Gunnarson said in his news release. "I push the envelope in an extreme way that tries to do the impossible with every great escape I have ever attempted. I like to keep things close but this was beyond close. It was near death."
The escape was part of Gunnarson's Bound for Danger world tour and was being shot for inclusion in a magic special on Chinese television.
This autumn, Gunnarson is planning an escape in which he will be locked inside a steel coffin and buried six feet underground for 48 hours.
After two days, he will attempt to escape on Halloween, the anniversary of the death in 1926 of legendary magician and escape artist Harry Houdini.
Houdini wrote, "No one wants to see a man die, but they want to be there when it happens."