Luke Jermay and Champions of Magic in Hastings

Inside Magic Image of a Magic FanThe 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.

Carrot Top to Lead Houdini Previews in Vegas

Carrot Top - Scott ThompsonWe were as shocked as anyone to read the news today in the Las Vegas papers that Houdini, the musical biography slated for the 2015 Broadway season will preview in Sin City starring Scott Thompson a/k/a Carrot Top.

The more we considered the choice, however, the more we were able to see the logic.

It is a brilliant move for Carrot Top and the producers.  Carrot Top brings great name recognition to the project and Las Vegas is a perfect location to ready the show before bringing it to New York.  Plus, the show’s backers needed to do something to counteract the negative press it has received as of late.

We have been following the show’s progress over the last few years and were disappointed to read that Hugh Jackman had to bow out of the lead role due to “scheduling conflicts” and that its original book writer, Aaron Sorkin has also left the show.  Still with music from Stephen Schwartz and our favorite magician providing the story, we know the show will be a hit.

It is not clear whether Carrot Top will star only in the Las Vegas previews of the show or if there are plans to have him follow the role to the Broadway stage.

Carrot Top observed that in many ways, Houdini was a “prop guy too.”

We suppose Houdini did use props in his shows (but then again, most magicians do) and Carrot Top has a well-deserved reputation for being the best Prop Comic ever, so the reference makes sense.

Carrot Top is currently doing capacity shows at the Luxor in Las Vegas and has been honored as Entertainer of the Year and Comedian of the Year on several occasions.  We have no reason to believe he will have any trouble adopting the role of Harry Houdini and singing his way into yet more awards.

Brad Ross Takes Centenary Stage Again

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After a sold out performance last year, the Merlin Award Winner for “Best International Family Entertainer” returns to the Centenary Stage. The Illusionary Magic of Brad Ross is back with some brand new tricks on Sunday, April 13 at 2 p.m. in the Lackland Center.

This International Star Illusionist combines magic, illusion, theatricality, comedy and fun into a family friendly experience for kids, parents and grandparents.

Ross has made more than 500 television appearances, with ABC television hailing him as the “Illusionist Extraordinaire,” and has impressed talk-show host Rosie O’Donnell, who exclaimed, “Brad Ross, you rock.”

Mr. Ross is also the founder of New Jersey’s local chapter of Project Magic, a charity program started by David Copperfield.

The International Magicians’ Society recognized Ross with the “Oscar of the magic industry,” the Merlin Award, for his work entertaining children and their families the world over.

To purchase tickets or to find more information on other CSC events, visit www.centenarystageco.org or call the CSC box office at 908-979-0900. Tickets for the Family Fun Series’ shows range from $17.50 to $20 in advance and $22.50 to $25 on the day of. Workshops are available for an additional $18.50 a person, limit of 50 people.

David Kwong Puzzles and Mystifies

Inside-Magic-BenefactorThere are some clever people in the world – we think we read that the current percentage of clever people (under the applicable ISO standard definition) is 17 percent.  We do not have actual data to support our belief that the percentage of similarly defined clever people in magic is much higher.  We have made up some estimates as high as 27 percent.

Magicians, by their nature, are clever people.  We marvel at ordinary things.  Trips to the hardware, crafts or electronic stores become wonderful adventures in imagination and exploration.  Anything written, said or shown can be analyzed by the naturally curious magician in an attempt to create magic.

So magicians are clever and constantly raise the bar on cleverness.  It is a wonderful source of inspiration and poor self-esteem to be around creative-types.

It is in that sense that we read with great admiration and instant self-condemnation that we did not think of the brilliant innovation designed by magician David Kwong.

We read this morning of his brilliant coup and association with our favorite Puzzle-Master Will Shortz  of The New York Times:

Today on stage at TED2014 magician and puzzler David Kwong blew minds when he pulled an audience member onstage, asked her to color in a few animals, and then revealed he was so sure he could predict her behavior that he had her choices written into the day’s New York Times crossword.

We loathe to give away secrets on Inside Magic and so we will only say that Mr. Kwong performed his miracle prediction through cooperation with Mr. Shortz and the crossword puzzle he edits for the Times.  You can read more about the arrangement here.

Mr. Shortz and Mr. Kwong have worked together in the realm of crossword puzzle creation.  Mr. Kwong is a master at designing the puzzles and has had several published by the Times.  This was their first magic trick.

Mr. Shortz loves being mystified and, interestingly, does not try to puzzle out a solution to the mystery.

“I’m fascinated by it, but I’m always fooled. I watch, and I look, and I say, ‘I have no idea how that was done.’ That’s how it is with David. I am so easily fooled.”

John Carney Announces Lecture Workshop Dates

John Carney Magic PosterInside Magic Favorite John Carney sent us a note dates, places and times for his upcoming Lecture Workshops.
If you are in or near any of the cities below, you should plan on attending.

Vancouver, BC Tues, March 25, 2014
7:00pm $25 CAD at the door
Douglas College
New  Westminster Campus
700 Royal Avenue, New Westminster, BC
Canadian programs are sponsored by 
Magicana, the Canadian magic arts organization.
Canadian tickets may purchased with cash at the door,
or secured in advance from Magicana’s web site:
 Seattle, WA Mon, March 31, 2014
7:00pm $25 US (No advance tickets)
Hale’s Palladium
4301 Leary Way NW
Seattle, WA 98107
Portland, OR Tues, April 1, 2014
7:00pm $25 US (No advance tickets)
Zimmermand Community Center
(Entrance on 14th ave, between Quimby and Raleigh)
1542 NW 14th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209