Mac King Inspires Kids and Adults

Inside Magic Image of Mac KingInside Magic Favorite Mac King received well-deserved, positive press in today’s Las Vegas Review-Journal for his tireless work to promote reading.  This is the fifth year Mac King’s Magical Literacy Tour has visited Las Vegas elementary schools to promote the magic of books.

Beverly Mathis, director of literacy for The Public Education Foundation, praised Mr. King effusively (see how we up our adverb choice when talking about literacy?).

“Mac King is fabulous, and we know how he motivates children to read,” Mathis said. “There’s a little book by Dr. Seuss, and the title is ‘Oh, The Places You’ll Go!’, and just think about that. Children can go anywhere they want, even though they’re right here at Bunker Elementary School. Reading opens up the world.”

Mr. King acknowledges that young audiences can be tough audiences.

“It’s hard doing magic for kindergartners and first-graders, you know?” he said. “They kind of believe it; they believe it’s real.”

“I started doing a few school assemblies when I first started at Harrah’s,” said King, “and I started seeing libraries in Las Vegas and thought, ‘Maybe we can get some more books in there.’  When I was a kid, I checked out a book about magic —Tricks Any Boy Can Do — from my school library, and it literally changed my life.”

Mr. King’s multi-award winning show runs Tuesday through Saturday afternoons at 1pm and 3pm at Harrah’s in Las Vegas.

Each student got a free book, courtesy of a book drive sponsored by local companies and the YMCA of Southern Nevada.

“Some of these kids, it’s the only book they’ve ever owned,” King said. “And that’s just appalling. But, for them, it’s like Christmas.”

Be sure to stop by Mr. King’s website at mackingshow.com

Bill Maher Hates Magicians – So What?

Inside Magic Image of Innovative BunnyIn a Las Vegas Review-Journal column by Doug Elfman this morning, comedian Bill Maher looks to stir up some controversy in advance of his show this Saturday at The Palms Casino.

Mr. Maher is reputed to be a star on HBO and takes pride in attacking people and groups.  Religions are fair game and so are conservatives and liberals.  It works for him so why stop with ideology and spirituality.

Whenever I talk to him, we’ll be talking about President Barack Obama, or weed, or Woody Harrelson, and then he will slip in a side joke that pokes fun at illusionists.  Maher mocks magicians mercilessly.

“When we started back in the old days, before the iWatch, practically before answering machines, in New York, no matter how good you were, you could never do better in the small clubs than the magician guy or a guy with puppets,” Maher said.

Maher goes on to insult Cirque du Soleil, drop names of famous comedians with whom he recently worked and stroke The Palms as a wonderful place to work.

He likes Penn & Teller, though.  They are not typical magicians so they escape his wrath.

We have already given too much space to him but we thought you should know.

Penn Talks Logistics of the Magic Show

Inside Magic Image of Magician and Author Penn JillettePenn’s Sunday School podcast is not for everyone but if you are an adult, into magic and, most importantly, into logistics, it is for you.

To say we love logistics would be an understatement of unwieldy proportions.

If logistics were a woman, we would flirt with it and hold our eye contact for an uncomfortably long period of time.  If it were a child, we would adopt it, put it in special schools to be taught by singing nuns and far from all evil.  If it were a dog, we would also adopt it and send it to special obedience schools with singing nun trainers.  We really love logistics.

We have seen David Copperfield on tour in cities all over America (that makes us a fan not a stalker – the clump of his hair that we bought on eBay makes us a collector, not a stalker either.  We have no innocent explanation for our ownership of a salad fork he once used, however).

The Copperfield show is always great but our favorite part is watching the load-in and load-out from and into the huge semi-tractor trailer bearing Mr. Copperfield’s face.  We cannot see that much because his crew is very discreet in their moving of the big crates and rigging.  Still, it holds our attention for a good hour or so.

When we were very young, we got to work for a day as a roustabout for the Clyde Beatty Cole Brothers Circus during its performance in Vero Beach, Florida.  We spent the morning helping to set up the grandstands, moving chairs, lifting things, pulling things and watching the big tent appear like magic.  We admired how the bosses knew exactly what to do and in what order.  We imagine they learned from experience to put all the stands and chairs into the area before they erected the tent walls; or figured out in advance to get the tent poles up and positioned within the holes before hoisting the canvas up.  They were pros and they knew logistics.  We were in love.

When Penn Jillette describes the behind the scenes of the Las Vegas Penn & Teller show on his weekly podcast, Penn’s Sunday School, we smile involuntarily.

This week’s podcast made us smile like a goof – as our Irish grandmother would say.

We usually listen whilst walking great distances to get our cardiovascular workout and test the range of the court-ordered anklet we wear.  We used to think that people were intolerant and judgmental but now realize that the strange looks we received were likely because of our glowing goofy smile – and probably the anklet (autographed by Lindsay Lohan).

In his latest episode, Penn recounted an experience from a recent show at the Rio Resort and Casino’s Penn & Teller Theater.  We won’t ruin the story for you but it has to do with a specially gimmicked jacket that resulted in him being fooled twice unbeknownst to the audience.  He recounted his internal dialogue as he tried to figure out what was happening whilst he was on stage performing a different effect. An incredible story and if you love logistics, you too will smile with the best of the goofs as you listen.

As we mentioned, his podcast has adult language and themes (whatever an adult theme is) so we do not recommend it for our younger readers or those who are easily offended but for those of us with very thick skin – in our case, from the incessant rubbing of the anklet – it is a wonderful chance to hear about the preparations and logistics of a big time magic show.

You can subscribe to the podcast through Apple’s iTunes store or directly through Penn’s Sunday School here.

Penn & Teller: Fool Us and Masters of Illusion Renewed for 2015

Inside Magic Image of Penn & Teller's Fool UsAccording to Variety, the CW has ordered another season of “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” and “Masters of Illusion” for 2015.

That is great news for magic fans and portends great things for the future of our great art.

Fool Us originally aired ITV in the UK in 2011.  The production team edited those episodes and repackaged the shows for the CW’s US broadcast this year.

The series received consistently great ratings and – if you asked us – it was a no-brainer for the network to order a new season.

That’s good news but even better news is that they will need to shoot new shows to meet the CW’s order. Penn Jillette promised if renewed, they would film in the US and with US magicians. We have no doubt he will keep his promise.

“Masters of Illusion” had some fantastic acts in this year’s episodes. We do not know if they will need to tape additional acts to meet the renewal order but will report as soon as we hear.

This is great news indeed.

Murray SawChuck Wins Twice in One Night

Inside Magic: Murray SawChuckWe learned over the weekend that Murray SawChuck was awarded Career Achievement in the Magic Arts at the beautiful Avalon Theater in Hollywood, California.

Not that everyone visiting Hollywood needs to check in with us.

Inside Magic has never been like some sort of police department where magicians and variety artists need to register before taking up residence (however temporary) here in Hollywood.

Gosh knows we are busy enough listening all night to the various police scanners and searching the ‘net for the latest in magic news.

Still, it would have been nice if we had known.

We would have gone by the Avalon Theater and waived knowingly – even if they would let us in.  Then we would have run back to our spacious studio apartment next to the dog food bakery to listen to the police scanner to hear if anyone noticed.

Nonetheless, Murray did receive the Career Achievement in the Magic Arts award right here in Hollywood.  His lovely wife, Chloe Crawford, joined him at the LA Music Awards and Hollywood FAME Awards.

But as if that was not enough, he was also named the Best Comedy Variety Act for 2014 by LA Comedy Awards for his show at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Mr. SawChuck was gracious in victory, telling reporters “This has been a fun week! I announced my new hotel I’ll be moving my show to and received two new awards to add to my wall, not a bad week for a guy that does magic tricks for a living!”

Word, brother.

Mr. SawChuck’s show MURRAY Celebrity Magician is moving from The Tropicana (or “Trop” in Sinatra-lingo) to The Sin City Comedy Theater at Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino.  His is a wonderful, high-energy show with Ms. Crawford and sleight-of-hand artist Douglas “Lefty” Leferovich that makes you proud to be a magician.  He will open at his new digs on December 10, 2014.

Congratulations to a hard-working performer with mad skills.

Read more about Mr. SawChuck’s work and life on his website here.