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.

Charlie Frye & Company Bring Masters of Illusion Show to Gibraltar

Charlie Frye & CompanyThe all star cast is headlined for the 6th triumphant year by Las Vegas hit show Charlie Frye & Company.  When it comes to combining world class juggling, sleight of hand, and physical comedy, no one does it better.  Charlie Frye & Company are renowned throughout the world and this is their first ever show in Gibraltar helping build on the success of this magical event.

Also starring this year:

YUNKE
A magical innovator whose magic is full of mystery beauty and risk.  He has performed in all five continents and appeared on TV shows across the world including A3s popular “El Hormiguerro”. His state-of-the art illusions are second to none: his magic is different: his working philosophy and approach to magic are unique.

MANU
Manu will take you back to the origins of magic, how did it all start? Showcasing some of the oldest illusions made famous by Harry Houdini and other historical magicians.

NUEL
Nuel is back by popular demand with new mind-blowing acts, he takes magic to new levels and audiences around the world have loved his act. You may have seen him at Masters of Ilusion last year and at the Family Pavilion at the fair. He can’t wait to be back and we’re sure neither are you to see him back!

FASTER THAN MAGIC
Our local illusionists, and organisers of this event, will also be taking to the stage with brand new illusions.  The team will be showcasing some new tricks which will blow your mind.

ALEXANDER G
A young magician with a very creative and different act. This year he has been invited to Le plus cabaret du monde the most important variety in France TV.

A show for all the family with profits donated to the GBC Open Day.  From 4th – 7th December at Ince’s Hall Theatre with matinees on 6th & 7th at 2:30pm  Tickets £12 on sale at Chique Boutique, Ocean Village

UK’s Crisis Needs Magicians this Christmas

Inside Magic Image of Crisis LogoKaty Star Stocker sent us news of a wonderful program planned by her organization, Crisis.

Crisis is the UK national charity for single homeless people dedicated to ending homelessness by delivering life-changing services and campaigning for change.  They aim to help the homeless change their lives for good and, simultaneously, change the way society thinks and acts towards homeless people.

This Christmas, more than 4,000 homeless people will spend their festive period with Crisis, the national charity for single homeless people, at one of its temporary Crisis at Christmas centres across London.

Crisis at Christmas centres are positive, bustling places where guests have access to healthcare, podiatry, massage, haircuts and a whole range of activities that they may miss out on the rest of the year. More than 8,000 volunteers will give up their time to provide warmth, shelter and companionship for homeless people this year, along with a range of services designed to help our guests build a better future.

Entertainment is a really important part of what we offer, as the chance to see and participate in performance helps our guests regain confidence, build self-esteem and shake off the depression or frustration homelessness causes.

This year we’re looking for something a little bit… different!

If you’re able to give up some time between 23 – 29 December to make Christmas that bit more magical for our guests then we’d love to hear from you. You can find out more and register on the Crisis Website: http://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/performer-.html

Please watch our film about Crisis at Christmas 2013: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ym1_j…ature=youtu.be

…and spread the word!

Thank you, Katy for your work and for sharing the news with Inside Magic readers.  If you have news you would like to share, click the Submit to Inside Magic button at the top of this page and let us know.

Computer App to Replace Magicians?

Inside Magic Library Cover Page for Happy Hollisters and the Perfect FarosJust above the ground-breaking news report, “18 Celebrities Who Clearly Have Fake Teeth,” The UK Daily Mail warns Dynamo that his job may be at risk.
“Watch out Dynamo! Computer uses artificial intelligence to create magic tricks – and now you can download its illusions as an app.”
We were tempted to get to the bottom of the celebrity fake teeth scandal but decided to read about artificial intelligence’s use in the service of magicians.  We don’t think it will replace human magicians like Dynamo, Criss Angel, David Blaine or Pengo the Magic Clown – at least not yet.

Really smart researchers from London’s Queen Mary University used a computer to design a classic puzzle/trick and devise a mentalism app for your Android or iPhone device.  Both still require a real, human (with or without its natural teeth) to perform and both are impressive.

Even more impressive, however, is the work behind the demonstrations.

The two brains behind the effects, Dr. Howard Williams and Professor Peter McOwan found a natural connection between computers and mathematical magic tricks.  They published their findings in Frontiers in Psychology (which we read only for the pictures) and later sold the effects through a magic shop.  You can pick up the phone version of their card trick in the Google Play Store.  It is called Phoney – even more connection to the celebrity fake teeth scandal.

What can a computer do that a well-trained magician cannot?  Dr. Williams notes, “Computer intelligence can process much larger amounts of information and run through all the possible outcomes in a way that is almost impossible for a person to do on their own. So while, a member of the audience might have seen a variation on this trick before, the AI can now use psychological and mathematical principles to create lots of different versions and keep audiences guessing.”

“AI” means “Artificial (or “Fake”) Intelligence.

We bought Phoney and have it on our Android device and are impressed by its method – not what one would think – and the way the creators have it hide on your phone.  To be fair, it is a trick a magician could do without the AI but it is much easier and just as impressive to use one’s phone.

Check out the Computer Science For Fun website for a great survey of neat magic and non-magic things computers can do: www.cs4fn.org/magic.  The site has links to other great sites where you can download free ebooks with neat science-based magic tricks.

By the way, we checked out the fake teeth scandal and were shocked to learn that some of the biggest stars in Hollywood have had dental work – some had whitening, others got caps and one female star apparently had braces to straighten her teeth.  Frankly, we feel faint and need to sit down for a little bit.

Magic Megs is Magic Circle Officer and Female!

Megan Knowles-BaconMegan Knowles-Bacon is 22-years-old and a female and, according to the UK Telegraph, is the only “female magician to be elected to the upper echelons of The Magic Circle.”

The Magic Circle just began accepting female members 23 years ago and has less than 100 total (compared with 1400 total membership).  But the 109-year-old magic organization has made huge strides towards gender parity by electing Ms. Knowles-Bacon to Secretary.  She is used to the gender ratio being so skewed.  She was elected on November 7th.

“When I was first into magic I didn’t realise girls didn’t do it. It was normal for me. It was only when I joined the Young Magician’s Club aged 10 and there were about 70 boys, it was this sudden realisation of: ‘Where are all the girls?'”

Ironically, we had exactly the same “realization” when we joined magic clubs in junior high school.  We wondered where all the girls were and if we had chosen the right hobby to pursue.  We spelled “realization” differently than Ms. Knowles-Bacon though.

Ms. Knowles-Bacon sounds like our kind of enthusiast:

“I can talk about it for hours and hours,” she cries. “I just love entertaining people and giving them happiness. It’s watching their faces light up in shock, or wonder. Magic shows you can create the impossible.”

Her pals call her “Magic Megs” and she adopted the name for her web presence: magicmegs.com.

“There’s quite a few tricks that I wouldn’t be able to do,” explains Knowles-Bacon. “Like the ‘card on tie’ or wallet tricks, because they’re designed for men. If there were more women in magic, maybe they’d make more women’s parts.

“But it makes you more creative. Women can bring a different character. I demonstrate that with my ballet. I used to do tricks with make-up as well. I really played on being a girl and it went down well. You get some real comedy out of it, like asking a man [in the audience] to unscrew an eye shadow lid.”

Read the rest of the profile at The Telegraph.   We were very impressed and wish her the best of luck!