Tag: Shawn Farquhar

Shawn Farquhar’s Hidden Wonders

Hidden Wonders LogoWe 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.
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.

Lance Burton Teen Seminar Set for Jacksonville Convention

IBM Jacksonville Convention LogoEugene Burger and Larry Hass will be facilitating the Lance Burton Teen Seminar at the 87th Annual I.B.M. Convention in Jacksonville, FL on July 13-15, 2015. The McBride Magic and Mystery School has been facilitating Lance Burton’s young magician’s events since its inception in 2003.

Along with Eugene and Larry we are expecting participation from I.B.M. International President, Shawn Farquhar and Oscar Munoz.  This event is being sponsored by the I.B.M. Endowment and Development Fund and is open to all magicians ages 13-19 that are registered for the I.B.M. Convention at NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE. Stay tuned for future announcements about the event!

If you haven’t registered yet – don’t wait any longer – register today!! Registration fees increase on March 1, 2015!!!

To register go to http://www.magician.org/convention/upcoming-convention.

Penn & Teller’s Fool Us Television Show Starts Tonight!

Inside Magic Image of Penn & Teller's Fool UsPenn & Teller’s Fool Us appears in the United States starting tonight. We are excited. We usually hate Wednesdays which we call “hump day” because it was when we were usually forced to visit our hunchback great aunt. Now we have a reason to love Wednesdays.

Fool Us was a big hit in the UK last year and it is our understanding its US run will consist of 9 episodes from that series. If folks here enjoy it as much as they did over there, Penn & Teller say the network may launch the show for American audiences with more American magicians.

In an interview with The Chicago Sun-Times, Penn gives fans of the show hope of a US version:

We shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves here, but if U.S. audiences like this, and the ratings justify it, the CW tells us we’ll do a second American season — with American magicians. Although there are wonderful, wonderful magicians in the U.K., there quite simply better ones — and more of them — in the U.S.A. It’s simply that America is a bigger country with more magicians out there. That’s all it is.

Penn, Teller and all real magicians enjoy being fooled. We echo Penn’s declaration except for the part about his mom:

Those that fooled us, fooled the pants off us! It was the exact feeling I had when my mom did the first magic trick for me when I was 6! I got that same feeling with this show. It’s a feeling of your whole world being discombobulated for a moment. It’s just glorious!

The show’s premise is simple. A magician comes on, performs a trick and if he or she fools Penn & Teller then he or she wins. If they can figure out how the trick was done, he or she loses.

We appreciated how Penn & Teller took great care to make sure they did not expose methods but provided just enough information to the contestant to confirm that they knew the secret.

Our favorite performers of the series were Piff the Magic Dragon and Shawn Farquhar. Piff makes us laugh no matter what he says. Shawn blows our mind no matter what he does. We were blown away by his card effect and hope it is in the series shown here in the US.

So now you know where we will be tonight. We have a flat screen television viewable from our kitchen in our apartment next to the bakery for dog treats here in West Hollywood. True, it is not our television but in the apartment across the alley but we bought a remote on eBay that works and know for a fact that the young couple who live there will be out tonight. We will be perched on our kitchen counter watching – and if our neighbors have left their windows open, listening.

Read a great interview with Penn about the show in The Sun-Times here.

Special Message to IBM-SAM Members

IBM SAM FISMGreetings to All I.B.M. & S.A.M. Members!

Click the link below for a special message from the Incoming I.B.M. International President – Shawn Farquhar and Incoming S.A.M. National President – Kenrick “Ice” McDonald.


If you haven’t registered yet, don’t wait!  There are some registrations still available, but the registration price increases $100.00 on June 15th.

The Combined Convention offers a unique opportunity for both of our organizations to come together to celebrate and promote our love for magic. As an added feature the 2014 Combined Convention will host the North American FISM Championships to determine who will represent North America at the 2015 FISM Championships in Rimini, Italy.  You can’t see this at any other convention.

So join us for all the fun, excitement and magic in St. Louis this June 30 – July 5, where It’s All About the Magic.  Register today at:  http://ibmsam.com/registration


Bill Wells & Mark Weidhaas
Co-Chairs – 2014 I.B.M./S.A.M. Combined Convention

Is Penn & Teller’s Fool Us Coming to US TV?

Inside Magic Image of Penn & Teller's Fool UsAccording to reports from the Television Critics Association meeting, the CW just purchased nine episodes of Penn & Teller: Fool Us for U.S. broadcast.

The show is fantastic but previously only available in the UK.

Aspiring magicians perform their best trick and if Penn & Teller cannot figure out the secret, the magician wins a trip to Vegas to perform at the Rio Hotel and Casino.

There have been some great performances including that of Inside Magic Favorite Shawn Farquhar.  Check out the YouTube version of his work here.

It appears the CW deal is to purchase the rights for the nine episodes already filmed.  There was no word on whether the broadcaster would have rights to make a second season for the US.

Here’s hoping.

Magician Shawn Farquhar and Love at First Sight

Inside Magic Image of Couple in LoveIn our discussion of Penn & Teller’s new UK television series Fool Us! earlier this week, we mentioned that Inside Magic favorite Shawn Farquhar thoroughly stumped the duo.  We offered the incident to show how gracious and excited Penn & Teller were to be fooled.

We provided a YouTube link to Mr. Farquhar’s segment to prove the alleged “Bad Boys of Magic” are no different from any of us. They love magic and love to be fooled.

There were three contestants in this year’s International Brotherhood of Magicians Stage Competition who fooled us badly.  It was a wonderful feeling.  Our peanut size and shaped brain instantly switched from “figure it out” mode to “enjoy it” mode.  Once we gave into the reality that the unreal was happening, we felt the same exhilaration experienced at the start of our 43 years in magic.

Back then it was a red plastic ball that appeared and disappeared from an interesting-looking royal blue plastic vase.  We had no clue how it could be done and, as we say at the special meetings we are required to attend, “it’s okay.”

The sesame seed sized portion of our peanut-esque brain responsible for accepting or rejecting visual images based on their conformity some established measure of reality was delighted to take a break and let the impossible flow unhindered into our active consciousness.  The effect is similar to shoving a peanut butter sandwich into a DVD player.

In our experience, most magicians want to be fooled.

They also want to learn secrets or hypothesize methods but that process comes later.  Similar to falling in love at first sight, the experience of being mystified is precious, unique and always unanticipated.  Love may fade immediately after the first sight and the baffled magician may wonder how he or she could have been fooled once the trick’s secret is known.

Most magicians chase the prospect of being truly amazed.  There  may be years between those epiphanies but that’s enough to keep us in the hunt.
Continue reading “Magician Shawn Farquhar and Love at First Sight”

Penn & Teller to UK, “FU!”


First, they were described as “the Bad Boys of Magic” because they allegedly exposed our most sacred secrets; except they didn’t.

Penn & Teller were iconoclastic rebels ready to stick it to The Man with outrageous and non-traditional performance pieces; except that is not accurate either. After all, while they were allegedly engaging in the clasting of icons, they were performing nightly in a posh theater named for them in Las Vegas.

Next, there was hue and cry when they refused to update their act, abandon the trite magic stage show, to accost people on the street and perform endurance stunts. They eschewed standing on the top of a pole on a pole for a week, being frozen, nearly drowning, subjected to static electricity shocks, or being suspended by gossamer threads tied to meat hooks sunk into the fatty tissue between their shoulder blades.{{1}}
Where is this going and whence did it come?

This morning, The Guardian (UK) published a savage review of Penn & Teller’s new show for ITV1, “Penn & Teller: Fool Us!”

It begins with an attack on Penn’s size and proceeds down the low road from there. The review describes the show’s premise as “Magicians do tricks for [Penn & Teller]; they have to say how they’re done. If they can’t work it out, the contestant goes to Las Vegas, which is just about the last place on earth where “magician” is a job title.”

Hence the “Whatever!” as our introduction to this article.

But the reviewer is really cheesed-off because Penn & Teller behave like real magicians – not the “Bad Boys of Magic.” “When they do unlock the mystery, they don’t share it. Instead, they make opaque remarks, to convey to the performer that the games up, without telling the audience how anything’s done.”

He gives one of the “opaque” remarks as “as far as the rope tie, this was used extensively in spirit cabinets.”

We think that is a perfect way of hiding secrets but communicating with a fellow magician.

Nay says the reviewer, “It doesn’t so much impart information as make a noise with some words. When they can’t work out how the trick was done, they look vexed and thwarted, which is sort of against the spirit of feel good mentoring that this is meant to encapsulate. And yet, of course the shady atmosphere is to protect our innocence, otherwise we wouldn’t be amazed.”

That is where this rant started before winding its way from Berlin to Chicago to London and back to Mystic Hollow, Michigan.

In future episodes lucky UK audiences will be able to see Shawn Farquhar, Mathieu Bich, and Manuel Martinez aka Loki.

TV review: Penn and Teller: Fool Us; Law and Order: UK; and Mildred Pierce | Television and radio | The Guardian.

[[1]]The parallels to Louis Sullivan (“Form Forever Follows Function”) and Mies van der Rohe (“Form is Function”) are obvious. The latter architect’s embrace of the former’s approach did not mimic or grossly distort the Chicago School’s essence.  The German immigrant understood the purpose (or “function”) of the Chicago School was to build a “tall building”).  (See  Louis Sullivan’s real article in Lippincott’s Magazine, Volume 57 (1896) pp. 403-9, “The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered.” He continued in the tradition but in an era where modern building materials were readily available.

Louis Sullivan’s Carson, Pierre, Scott and Company building resonates with Mies Van Der Rohe’s posthumously completed IBM Plaza in Chicago and his Toronto-Dominion Centre.

Teller performs silently but nonetheless performs. (See our fake article in Architectural Research Quarterly, 15, pp. 22-39; “Bauhaus or Bologna: The ‘New School’ Phenomenon in Architecture, Magic and Economics – How Followers Miss the Point of their Inspiration”). [[1]]