We learned the very sad news of Irene Larsen’s sudden passing. She was such a joy to see at The Magic Castle and will be missed. We are reposting a message from Facebook by Archimedes Noctua. You can also visit LA Magazine for a nice article about this treasure in our craft.
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the sudden passing of our beloved matriarch, international ambassador and co-founder of the Academy of Magical Arts, Irene Larsen. Princess Irene passed away peacefully this morning at her home at Brookledge.
Irene, AMA member #1, was the love and the light of the Academy and truly defined our mission statement, serving the Magic Castle in every aspect. A past President of the AMA Board of Directors and member of the Board of Trustees, she served on virtually every committee over the years. She devoted her life to the Magic Castle.
From the Castle’s earliest days, Irene and her husband, AMA President for Life, Bill Larsen Jr., spent each evening greeting guests as they walked through the doors … a practice she frequently continued, right up until her untimely death.
An ardent animal activist, Irene referred to herself as “The Animal Police” within the magic community, ensuring that all performers who included animals in their acts – at the Magic Castle and everywhere -treated them with dignity and respect. In Genii: The International Conjurers Magazine, the monthly publication that she co-edited for many years with Bill, Irene posted tips in nearly every issue on how to correctly care for animals in acts.
Irene was a driving force behind the AMA’s international reputation. She insisted that Genii be referred to as The International Conjurers Magazine to be inclusive of magicians worldwide and attended magic conventions around the globe to promote both the AMA and the magazine.
Irene will live on in our hearts forever. She loved this club and each and every one of us for supporting it.
Please keep Irene’s children in your thoughts and prayers in the coming days … Dante (Blaire), Heidi and Erika Larsen, as well as her four beautiful grandchildren, Liberty, Lily and Liam Larsen and Jessica Hopkins.
All Hail the Queen. We love you Irene.
The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Last Chance for Animals (LCA), or any animal welfare organization of your choice. Irene supported them all.
Very sad news from Maria Ibanez about one of the greats in our business.
It is with great sadness that I share the news of the loss of a magic legend. Tom Mullica passed away on February 18, 2016 after having been disconnected from life support. He had gone in for a hernia operation, blood clots formed and brought with them several strokes and shut down of his kidneys. The decision was made to disconnect the artificial life support and Tom passed away shortly after 7:00 p.m. Las Vegas time. Our thoughts and prayers are with Steve Mullica, his partner of many years and with the family and countless friends around the world who today are mourning his loss. May he rest in peace.
We love Houdini and all things Houdini. So, when we saw the new trailer for Fox Television’s new series Houdini & Doyle, we got giddy – or giddier. We understand Fox purchased ten episodes so far and plans to launch this spring. The trailer looks great even with the obligatory and historically inaccurate axe to the Water Torture Cell scene that has been with us since Tony Curtis.
You can check out the trailer here.
Fox has launched a webpage to promote the series with some great interviews, pretty pictures and a pithy exposition of the series.
Inspired by true events, HOUDINI & DOYLE draws heavily on the rich history of the period. Two great men of the 20th Century – Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – grudgingly join forces with New Scotland Yard to investigate unsolved and inexplicable crimes with a supernatural slant.
Ironically, “Supernatural Slant” was the name of our dance routine that catapulted us to national prominence in 1979-1980. Some no doubt recall our participation in the syndicated television contest series, “Dance Your Booty.” It was through that show that we learned the important lessons of show business:
- Get your money upfront.
- Trust no one, ever.
- Follow “Dry Clean Only” recommendations – especially for tuxedos.
- Stretch before performing.
You can visit the Fox website or for the definitive, straight dope, check out the number one source for all things Houdini, John Cox’ incredible website, Wild About Harry here.
We think it was P.T. Barnum that said, “Missing Goats Make Gravy.” He was likely talking about the type of gravy that one would eat or slurp from a plastic bottle affixed to a fanny pack as one does one’s daily exercise walk through the mall. But like all great quotes we invent, it applies to more than food or exercise supplements.
Really? Yes, we have an example.
The Arizona State Fair is a big event and usually a pretty dry experience. It is, after all, in the Phoenix area and we have it on good authority that it is usually sunny and desert-like.
But for some reason, known only to people who know science and stuff, it rained for six days. The rain was so heavy, rides had to be shut down. Things were looking bad. “Many people deferred their visit because of the rain, which was unusual for Arizona, because we don’t usually get rain this time of year,” said Kristi Walsh, Assistant Executive Director of the Fair. “Considering the weather, the fact the fair was only down about 5 percent is positive.”
Yes, things were looking bleak for the Fair organizers until GusGus went missing.
GusGus was just three weeks old at the time of his abduction by unknown bad people. He was taken from the petting zoo on the fairgrounds and was not located for ten days. The search for this poor little goat brought attention to the moist midway just as P.T. Barnum predicted.
“We made international news, it was one of the biggest stories we’ve ever had the fair,” said Walsh. “We got a lot of extra publicity for the fair that we never had before.
“We had international coverage, reports in France and Canada, we were fielding a lot of calls. There were reports that Gus-Gus misses his mommy,” said Walsh. “The Petting Zoo manager said it was not healthy for the baby goat to be away from his mother and people took it to heart.”
A Good Samaritan walking his or her dog found GusGus about ten miles from the fairgrounds and brought to him PetsMart. (We did not know that was the protocol for found farm animals but it makes sense to us and will be in the next edition of our Illustrated What to Do Guide).
“It was really great, our media partners covered the story and our Facebook fans were posting about GusGus,” Walsh said. “They really put out the word, and it was refreshing that there were so many people who cared about the goat as opposed to some bad people who would actually steal a goat.”
The publicity not only brought attention to the fair, “but it was promotional too, the social media really got a hold of the story and ran with it. I think it pushed attendance too, people came to the fair to see GusGus,” Walsh said.
Last night, the place to be was The Magic Castle at the corner of Franklin and Orange in Hollywood, California. We squeaked in (we are on the waiting list for a hip replacement or a good oiling) just before they closed the parking lot. Phew, we said to no one.
We were dressed in our finest and even polished one of our two shoes (the right – and we always walk with it going first) and wore a tie inherited from our late uncle. Like all families, we had to fight to recover the tie he promised us. Our aunt said he never intended us to have it. Our cousins claimed they were entitled to it. The funeral director said we couldn’t open the casket without a court order. But we have it – most of it – and we were wearing it with the pride of a person who knows how to wear a snap on tie.
Steve Valentine is more than a great magician, he is also a world-famous actor and great guy. When his name is on the bill, there are going to be crowds. Well, last night, his name was on the bill and there were crowds. QED.
Mr. Valentine was hosting a special Castle Perk for members on Street Magic in the beautifully appointed Peller Theatre. Unfortunately, the Peller Theatre seats around 40 guests and there were far more than that looking to learn the ins and outs of performing on boulevards and byways.
We stood solemnly by the door, gazing in with hope and expectation but to no avail. We couldn’t hear a thing. We saw mouths moving and props being displayed but without the language track, the visual was insufficient for us. Dejectedly, we gathered our street performing props and funny hat, and walked away.
After a wonderful meal in the dining room, we were able to see Jeff McBride and Abigail Spinner-McBride in the Palace of Mystery. What a treat. Because of our late arrival and dubious hygiene, we were given a choice seat with lots of room near the front. We have seen Mr. McBride several times and were once again delighted by his creativity and skill. He is a man of many talents and masks. He uses both resources to make for a fantastic show.
We have never seen Ms. Spinner-McBride perform and were equally delighted to see her work. She has a wonderful sense of poise and grace on stage. Her performance of Max Maven’s Brainwave was beautifully done.
The McBrides will be at The Magic Castle through Sunday as part of the Magic and Mystery School Week. If you haven’t seen their show or haven’t seen it in a while, make plans to get there.