Sebastian Walton Wows ‘Em on BGT

Inside Magic Image of Sebastian WaltonWhat better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than to check out the winner in the latest round of Britain’s Got Talent, Sebastian Walton?

(By the way, it is pronounced “MAY-oh.”  We were corrected on the bus this morning and what the day commemorates has nothing to do with salad dressing, which explains the pronunciation).

To say we are a super fan of Sebastian Walton would be an understatement but certainly a valid defense to criminal charges of stalking in most jurisdictions. (Not that we stalk him but if we did, we would know he has a Facebook page with his upcoming shows listed here: facebook.com/sebastian.j.walton). He wowed us at The Magic Castle last year with a routine that was deserving of our vote for Parlor Magician of the Year.

Mr. Walton is a young man with big boy magic skills.  His Any Card Named effect was killer and had those in the know talking around the bar late into the evening.  None of us were sure how he did it.  As the evening wore on, none of us were sure if he did it and finally, at the end of the evening, two members of our group were not sure where they lived or how to form coherent sentences.  Astounding.

In last night’s qualifying round, Mr. Walton received positive votes from the four judges and moves on to the next level of competition.

We received a link to the authoritative British television website, Telly Mix and read of his awesome performance before some very tough judges.

[Telly means “television” in British.  They have different ways of doing things and saying things there.  We point that out for our US readers who may have confused the website’s name with the under-appreciated cowboy actress, Telly Mix who performed just feet away from where we now write this enthralling article.  Telly’s uncle (by marriage) was Tom Mix, the cowboy star and on whose ranch they later built Fox Studios and later Century City.  She was a delightful gal who made the transition from vaudeville to movies easier than most – thanks to her winning smile and uncle’s connections.  Her career ended tragically when she was arrested in an after-hours cowboy club in Santa Monica with a frozen bullwhip and $623.00 in cash allegedly taken in a fake piñata scheme.  According to police records, she would sell defective piñatas that could not be broken open to unsuspecting consumers.  Although charges were later dropped – thanks to her connections – she never made a return to the movies and ended her days working at a Hot Dog on a Stick stand in Bakersfield, California; never rising above the position of assistant manager.]

Simon Cowell even praised the young performer.  He does not praise anyone, ever.

Mr. Walton performed a great effect with Amanda Holden’s ring.  We do not know Amanda Holden but she seems like a much more likable person than Mr. Cowell and, we think, prettier.  Apparently, the scene was cut from the show wherein Mr. Walton borrowed Ms. Holden’s platinum wedding ring (so that means she is married), made it vanish in a flash of flame and found it later in a walnut somehow hidden inside an orange.

We have seen Mr. Walton perform this effect before – twice.  We can vouch that it is a different ring each time.  For a while, we thought he had just done the old genetically mutated walnut in an orange  trick with a fake ring planted with the hybrid fruit.  But no.  The fact that it is a different ring each time means that he could not have raised the walnut/orange from seed with a ring inside.  To quote one of the victims in Telly Mix’ case, “we cannot crack it.”

Ms. Holden confided in Mr. Walton, “How you did it, I actually want to believe in magic.”

At this point, we would have immediately started a cult and enlisted Ms. Holden to be a high priestess or something but Mr. Walton has far more class and plus he was surrounded by cameras and an audience – or as we like to call the scene, a witness-rich environment.

Mr. Cowell  told  the young miracle worker, “You’re very talented and I don’t know how you did which is the whole point of magic.”

Mr. Walton has a bright future ahead of him.  We saw that he has a new website at sebastianwalton.com and were very impressed by its content and substance.  He is a star – you read it here first.

UK Magician Damien O’Brien: “Old Skool David Blaine”

Damien OBrienThe Mirror newspaper asked UK Magician Damien O’Brien about his influences and he responded, without irony, “Give me old skool David Blaine any day of the week.”

Mr. O’Brien is one of the stars on BBC Three’s new magic-oriented show Killer Magic.

The six-part series begins tonight at sports a new theme each week.  The young magicians then try to make new effects and impress their colleagues and celebrities.

Mr. O’Brien described himself for The Mirror, “I’m a little bit flashy, a little bit cocky. I like to do visual magic. I like to put magic in people’s hands. I want people to be the stars of the trick. I don’t like to give them any suspicions that let people think that I’m cheating… which I am.”

He describes David Blaine as being one of his major influences.  “I grew up watching David Blaine. I loved his approach doing it close up with regular items. I like the idea of doing things close up and any time with anything.”

We probably will not be able to see the show until it is released on DVD or on the internet but look forward to checking it out.

Restaurant Owner Closes Doors to Follow Magic Dream

Inside Magic Image of Magic Iron ChefResh 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.

Jamie Allan Kicks of iMagician Tour with Escape

Inside Magic Image of Jamie AllanMagician Jamie Allan received wonderful press in today’s edition of The South Wales Evening Post.

How do we know that?

Our Welsh neighbor does not wake until noon and when he does, he hardly seems interested in the goings-on of his native land.

That is why we are so familiar with the writing in Evening Post newspaper.  He gets it delivered each morning at 5:30.  We are able to read it with leisure, enjoy our morning Diet Coke (without lime, thank you) and low fat generic pastry strudel fresh from the toaster oven.  We re-assemble it and place it back in front of his apartment door and no one is the wiser.

Usually, the paper has little or no magic news.  But today there was a big write-up about magician Jamie Allan and his perilous escape attempt.  We were hooked and were almost caught when our neighbor woke early – likely because his probation officer was doing an announced visit or one of the many cats he has adopted got into a louder than normal hairball expulsion – and opened the door just as we were dropping the paper.  He looked at us with bleary eyes, seemed relieved that we were not who he feared, took the paper and stepped quickly back into his cat harem of mess and disquiet.

Mr. Allan recently appeared on the UK’s television show “Get Your Act Together” and as a treat for the Evening Post‘s readers, agreed to perform a special escape just for them.  The paper described the stunt as a “death-defying version of Harry Houdini’s lethal but rarely seen water tank routine.”  It is to be performed at the beautiful Gwyn Hall in Neath.

We need to check with John Cox on the history of the escape but the paper claims it has been performed by only a handful of top illusionists since it was invented by the legendary Houdini in 1911.  It is now part of Mr. Allan’s new show, iMagician: The Evolution of Magic.

Mr. Allan told the Evening Post that he had a couple of near-misses during rehearsals but is certain that he is ready to perform it live. “For this particular illusion, it has to be dangerous for it to be exciting. That is what Houdini intended and we have to stick by his principles. So I’m afraid there’s no health and safety rules for me in this act.”

His partner is not excited about him performing the effect and worries for his safety.

“But we can’t remove every element of danger completely which is why it’s such a great favourite with audiences.  But it’s also why it’s rarely performed.”

Assuming he survives the escape, it is a great start to his new UK tour in Yorkshire.

His show includes magic and escapes.  He proudly touts his Virtual Assistant routine wherein a woman “passes in and out of a digital world.”

We hope he and his assistant remain safe within this world and wish him the best of luck on the new tour.

For those of you who do not receive the Evening Post in paper form, you can read more about Mr. Allan at their website here.

Be sure to check out Mr. Allan’s very cool website here: http://www.magicjamie.com.

We have imbedded the YouTube video of his escape below:

Magic Waters and Confused Animals in Cheltenham

Inside Magic Image of DynamoThe 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.