Sad News: Brian Gillis Passes

The Great Brian GillisWe are devastated to hear of the passing of Master Magician Brian Gillis.

Mr. Gillis was always so kind and supportive of the Magic Arts and Inside Magic.  He was the consummate performer and could hold a room better than anyone we ever saw.  He was famous for his performances on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show and among magicians for his high-energy work at The Magic Castle.  His two-person telepathy act with his partner Sisuepahn was not only baffling but so entertaining, we wanted it to continue all night.

One of our greatest honors was being asked by Mr. Gillis if he could squeeze in to perform ahead of our spot in the cellar of The Magic Castle.  We could not stop smiling and nodding as we took a position to the side of the room and watched how magic should be done.  He was simply amazing.

Our prayers are with Mr. Gillis and Sisuepahn and all who have lost so much in his passing.

The Magic Castle’s Founder, Milt Larsen, has written a special tribute to Mr. Gillis here.

Award-Winning Magician Trigg Watson at Checkered Past Winery

Magician Trigg WatsonAward-winning magician Trigg Watson will perform at the urban wine pub at 7:00 pm and 9:30 pm on July 14, 2018 and at 7:00 pm and 9:30 pm on the newly announced date of August 11, 2018.

Single tickets are $20. VIP tickets are $80 for four and come with reserved seating and one complimentary appetizer for the table. Guests are invited to enjoy Checkered Past Winery’s signature wines, pizza, charcuterie, appetizers, desserts, and more while watching the captivating magic show. Checkered Past Winery owner Sandro DiSanto is passionate about food and celebrating his Sicilian roots. DiSanto is also a devoted supporter of the Texas wine industry, offering many locally produced wines at Checkered Past Winery. Watson often jokes, “The more wine you drink, the better the magic gets!”

Wine and Magic Saturday, July 14, 2018 Saturday, August 11, 2018 Shows at 7 pm and 9:30 pm Checkered Past Winery (1409 S. Lamar, Suite 008, Dallas, TX 75215) Tickets: $20 Ticket URL: www.wineandmagicdallas.com Come for the magic, stay for the wine! Enjoy signature wines and experience an intimate magic show by award-winning Dallas magician Trigg Watson. Brad Lacour said it best for The Dallas Observer: When the show is over, you don’t leave wondering how he performed his illusions but rather like you just caught up with an old friend from out of town. That might be the best trick of them all.

Mr. Watson is a new breed of magician, preferring his iPad to a classic deck of cards. Originally from Australia, Trigg is known for his quick-witted illusions and offbeat humor. He has appeared on POP TV’s hit reality magic show Don’t Blink, Penn & Teller’s Fool Us, and CW’s Masters of Illusion.

Mr. Trigg was named the 2013 Dallas Performing Artist of the Year and 2015 Dallas Magician of the Year. For show dates and more information, visit triggmagic.com. Connect with Trigg Watson Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube About Checkered Past Winery Checkered Past Winery is an urban Dallas wine pub located in the historic South Side building (1409 South Lamar Street Suite 008) featuring Texas wines, locally brewed beer, and some of the best wines from other parts of country and the world. Co-founder, owner, and winemaker Sandro DiSanto is a first generation American coming from an Italian wine background. Both of his grandfathers made wine in Sicily. His brother-in-law Scott Relyea co-founded and designed the Mods and Rockers pub Checkered Past Winery in 2015. Carolynne Chancellor joined them as owner and grows wine grapes in East Texas.

For hours, menus, and more information, visit checkeredpastwinery.com.

Illusionist Adam Trent is So Much More!

Image of Adam TrentMagician Adam Trent, known to audiences as “The Futurist” is moving from touring with and Broadway smash THE ILLUSIONISTS to his own tour with his show THE MAGIC OF Adam Trent.  The show is a great mixture of magic, comedy and magic with a family focus.  He brings his show to the beautiful Balboa Theatre in equally lovely San Diego, California this Saturday, March 24th.

He caught the magic bug as a young ‘un and was inspired by David Copperfield.  Unlike many, his magic love turned to obsession and fascination and he moved on to shows for birthday parties and nursing homes.  Mr. Trent’s nickname, The Futurist, comes from his desire to bring the latest tech into his magic performances.

Mr. Trent believes he is more than just a magician – not that being a magician isn’t sufficient – but he strives to be an entertainer; hence the comedy and music in his show.

Says Mr. Trent, “I want them to say it was completely different than they expected a magic show to be. I want them to say they laughed harder than they ever have in a theatre, and I want them to have been emotionally moved by the end.”

Reporters forewarn audiences that one of this personal faves in the show is borrowing an audience member’s cell phone to serve as blender-fodder. “I borrow an audience members phone and put it in a blender onstage. I always enjoy seeing how different people react to that.”

Our guess, the reactions probably have a rather small spectrum from surprise, to concern, to more surprise and concern.

“My goal is to make people forget about the tricks. Will they be fooled? Yes. But I want them to not care about being fooled because they are too busy laughing.”

Why do folks like magic?  “It’s the closest thing to being a real life superhero. Magicians are people who make the impossible seemingly possible. It’s like being James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, and Superman all in one. I certainly want to be that guy.”

You can see Mr. Trent’s show and reading article www.broadwaysd.com for tickets and showtime information.

Check out young Mr. Trent on his tour on Twitter and Facebook @AdamTrent Magic.

We can’t wait for him to sojourn to the Los Angeles area where we will see him and give a full review.  In the meantime, we will watch him on his excellent website here: https://www.adamtrent.com/

Father and Son Native American Magicians bring Wow

[Hey!  If you have news about magic you are doing, have seen or about to see, let Inside Magic know by clicking the Submit Button at the top of the page.  We love to hear what’s going on in the real world of magic.  Today’s story came to us just that way from Bobby Neugin and his son Jeramy — Native American Illusionists.  Check out their website here.]

Lost City Magic Graphic

 

 

 

What’s Happening: Bobby Neugin & his son Jeramy Neugin are father-&-son Native American illusionists who perform as Lost City Magic!

It’s all in the line of duty, but:
Jeramy Neugin has been stung by wasps & bitten by snakes.
He has taken bites of razor blades.
His dad sets him ablaze.

“I put a box on Jeramy’s head,” his father, Bobby, said. “It’s got a little door in the front. You can open the door & see Jeramy’s face. I will stick a napkin over his face & I will shoot the top of that box full of lighter fluid & set it on fire. When I open that door, his face is burnt to a skull. Then the magic is I’ve got to bring his head back.”

Sometimes, Jeramy will slice his father’s arm & scorpions will crawl from the wound.

This is the family business.

Performing as Lost City Magic (named after the Cherokee County community they call home), Bobby & Jeramy are a Native American father-&-son magician team. They strive not just to entertain but to expose people to their heritage.

Their illusions are linked to Cherokee lore (including the “little people”), they perform tricks with wasps & snakes. That means they need live props.

“We can’t go to the pet shop & buy a scorpion or a black snake, but we can go out here in the woods & find them,” Jeramy said.

They can usually find a snake when they need one, according to Bobby. How? “Ask anybody around here that raises chickens,” Jeramy said. “We always make sure to release them back where we found them afterward too”

Bobby has been interested in magic for a long time, dabbling here & there. Magic didn’t become his profession until the past few years — it happened out of necessity.

“Whenever we first started this, we were doing construction work,” he said. “We were out in North Carolina building custom homes. That was paying really well, then that shut off & I realized how easy something like that can be over. When 9/11 happened, it shut down all the investors. It’s like turning the water off on a tap. It shut it off, there wasn’t work anywhere to be had.”

Bobby pitched this challenge to Jeramy: Find us something we can do that doesn’t involve construction.

“He was talking about his age, how he couldn’t do the hard, physical stuff anymore,” Jeramy said. “And while we were doing that we were doing coin tricks.”

So, he said, “Let’s do magic.”

He could have suggested 100 other things. Why magic? “Because the stripping didn’t pan out & we didn’t get a single call as a male escort,” Jeramy said, smiling.

Bobby loved the magic idea. Now they look back and they see “clues” that pushed them down this path. Bobby has made a living as a bootmaker, a creator of horse-drawn buggies & blacksmith. Now he feels like he & his son have found their calling — & their niche in the magic world.

Bobby and Jeramy have staged shows throughout the area. Here’s the problem if you are a couple of Lost City dudes who do magic in the Bible Belt: “Either you are not good enough,” Bobby said, “or, if you are too good, then you are in league with the devil.”

Said Bobby: “We did a school show one night for some high school kids, and Jeramy did a trick for one of the teachers. After the trick was over, it had scared her so bad she left.”

Bobby and Jeramy try to weigh which illusions are appropriate for their audiences.

Among their illusions: bringing live swarms of wasps to life from a handful of dirt, pulling live snakes from drawings and trapping demons in dreamcatchers

Here’s another obstacle: Business was great after they (and a few wasps) auditioned for “America’s Got Talent.” But they billed their act as a “full Indian show” and bookings died.

Jeramy adjusted promotional verbiage to reflect they were doing magic based on “old West” legends, instead of Native American legends. They started getting calls again.

“That’s just here,” he said. “The further we get from here (the more interested people seem to be in the Native American aspect). Just going across the border into Arkansas, they had people from all over come and see us. Over there we weren’t Indian enough. … They wanted the full buckskins and the whole thing.”

“Old Indian legends again, you don’t destroy what has been good to you,” Bobby said.

The Lost City magicians were encouraged by their “America’s Got Talent” audition (“I thought we did a lot better than the acts that were auditioning with us,” Bobby said), and they have ventured to magician-thick cities to see how they compare. They’ve seen the kind of money big-time magicians make, and they wouldn’t mind earning a slice.

“I have never studied so hard in my life,” Bobby said.

The homework is never-ending. They’re always diving into books and videos so they can come up with ways to top themselves. If Bobby sees a great magic trick on TV, he dares Jeramy to figure it out so they can add a variation to their act.

Instead of having a “wow” trick at the end of a show, their goal is to have an act full of “wow” moments — even if it means a father must set his son’s head on fire.

Got some magic news you know readers around the world would love to read, submit to Inside Magic today.

 

Houdini: The Pinball Game. Heaven on Four Legs

Inside Magic Image of Houdini Pinball Back GlassThere are three things we love: Magic, Houdini and Pinball Machines.

Imagine our glee to learn that our triad of triumph has been combined in one device.

The brand new Houdini Pinball machine from American Pinball Inc. in Streamwood, Illinois is a trifecta in our books.   It comes with special Houdini-esque obstacles and features that just makes us smile like a fool in a ball pit.

Consider:

  • Three Magnets to Control Houdini’s Magic (Remember the Thurston one had one magnet)
  • Over 20″ Launch into Houdini’s Steamer Trunk (Three more inches than a normal launch into a steamer trunk in non-pinball games)
  • Animated & Interactive Theatre Marquee (The glass is like a show.  No wooden numbers turning with a clunk and bump)
  • API Theater Stage  (The API Theater was a fine theater on the Bilbox Vaudeville Circuit later taken over by the forerunner of the Keith system)
  • Real Wood Laser Engraved Planchette (Like at the country fair where they carve your family name except this is for disembodied spirits through an Ouija board)
  • Theatre Spotlights (Of course.  Always shining from the front to enhance angles)
  • Custom Padlock & Gear Bumper Tops w/ Chains (Our first movie  made in Hollywood was coincidentally called “Custom Padlock and Gear Bumper Tops and Chains)
  • 6 Balls (because they are related to Houdini, likely larger than other pinballs)
  • 5 Multiballs (This is a quantum anomaly or simply five balls.  We prefer to think the former)
  • 10 Stage Modes including Straight Jacket Multiball (If you have never played pinball in a straitjacket you don’t know what you’re missing – but that’s okay because there are probably few that have so it’s not like you’re being left out of some really cool  group)
  • 3 Magician Modes (What? Who else would they put with Houdini? Kellar, maybe.  Dante, c’mon. Carrot Top, not even a magician)
  • 1 Master Magician Mode (You get to play as the Master Magician plays – includes cape between well-manicured fingers the bumper buttons)
  • 5 Secret Mission Combo Modes (Likely as H.H.)
  • 5 Houdini Silent Movie Modes (We would totally do voice-overs for the silent dialogue to compliment our playing)
  • 5 Jail Escape Hurry Ups (In our book, every Jail Escape is a Hurry Up.  We reviewed Houdini’s notes and found very little evidence that he trifled during any escape, especially a Jail Escape)
  • 1 Video Mode  (As far as we know, there was no video back in Houdini’s time – maybe he did a YouTube that we didn’t see yet)
  • Milk Can Playfield Multiplier

Imagine a game without a Milk Can Multiplier?  You cannot, can you?  It’s impossible.  Houdini wrote to his brother Theo “Dash” Weiss in 1919 “Now that I have the Milk Can and understand it’s multiplying effect, I cannot imagine the world without it.”  We have no word what response Theo provided his brother but likely it was along the lines of “Nope, I sure can’t, brother!”

The device is so pretty and so perfect, we just want to touch it and buy it.  It is more likely that we will touch it one day but not own it so soon.  Our magic friend Keiser got to try it out at the Arcade Expo in beautiful Banning California this weekend.  As he spoke about the Houdini machine and unrolled the special poster he brought us, we smiled beyond capacity; leading to slight tears to the corners of our well-chapsticked lips.  We were so enthralled, we worried that our special anti-enthralling medications were not working or, at best, overwhelmed.  But it was apparent, the medication was just whelmed – not overly or underly.

The machine cost a mere $7,000.00 USD ($6,999).  At $7.50 a show (assuming a complete sell-out of the back of the room Svengali Decks and knock-off Bullet Catch Trick with Nerf Guns), it would only take us a bunch of shows and lots of balloon animals (and we can only do poodles and giraffes (or poodles who look like giraffes or swords), to make enough to buy one.

Consequently, we are hoping one of our readers will decide to contribute the machine to us and perhaps through in some AC Generator wiring so we can play indoors.  We were going to do a Go-Fun-Me page but when we went to the site, it didn’t seem like a place one could raise money.  It seemed a little provocative.  We erased it from the computer and were thankful we didn’t use our own computer to search and find the site.

See or play the game, we would love to hear your experiences – and perhaps touch your hand to get some of your special luck.

We thank Keiser for his poster and his constant ability to fool us and be patient with our bad acting when we pretend to know exactly what he has done.

Check out the Pinball Machine with Everything here: https://www.american-pinball.com/games/houdini/; download the tech details here: https://www.american-pinball.com/games/houdini/docs/Houdini-Service-Manual.pdf; and the promotional materials here: https://www.american-pinball.com/games/houdini/Houdini-Pinball-Flyer.pdf