Magician Matt Vizio is Different

Matt VizioHow is magician Matt Vizio different than other magicians?

We watched him tonight at the Peller Theatre at the Magic Castle and sensed something was different than others we had seen in the same venue over the years.  Somehow, he was different, better than those we have seen before.

We learned more about what made him different after the show when we discovered the front row consisted of people who did not speak English all that well.  Actually, it appeared they did not speak English beyond a few polite phrases.

Mr. Vizio is an accomplished magician and stand-up comedian and one of those two talent sets require the ability to communicate effectively with the audience generally and with the volunteers specifically.  So what would he do?  How do you do a Confabulation routine if your volunteer doesn’t speak the language of the routine?

If it had been us, we would have just plowed along hoping to get some words we could use.  But then again, we are not Mr. Vizio.

He was able to change his act immediately and present a parlor show using volunteers from the audience (2 out of 3) who didn’t use English as a primary language. He did it with class and kindness and though he knew they could not understand him, he performed with them as perfect partners in a very entertaining act.

It was an act different in content than what he had planned but no one noticed.  Not even our trained eyes saw that he was changing his presentation to meet the situation.

We supposed that all true professionals of our Art could do the same.  But the fact that we have seen it so rarely happen demonstrated how few true professionals there are in our Art.

We have seen alleged professionals lose their temper, curse, and call the audience volunteer a liar as a trick goes wrong. And these performers are the putative top of our pack.

But Mr. Vizio didn’t need to attack the volunteers. He worked with them, silently when necessary, to perform effects he thought or hoped might work in that situation.  And last night, at one particular show, he was correct.  It is a small sample size – one show – but we bet he would succeed in a similar situation virtually every time.  He is focused, polite and clearly involved with his audience.

Mr. Vizio is professional to the core, never embarrassing his volunteers specifically or the audience generally, but always ready to craft the show to meet the audience on their terms.

We could talk about the tricks he performed but they may be different from those you see when you visit the Peller Theatre this week. The magic you will see is all Mr. Vizio.

Inside Magic Rating: Five out of Five. Our Highest.

Check out Mr. Vizio’s website herehttp://mattvizio.com

Magician Matt Vizio Performs this Week

Magicians Matt Vizio and Tom Frank are performing in the Peller Theatre this week at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, California.

One of the questions we are almost never asked is, “Is there really such a person as Matt Vizio?”

We are reluctant to answer questions about true legends for fear that we will leave out a detail or embellish unfairly.  (For an example of this tendency and the reason for our trepidation see our horribly reviewed book Wyatt Earp: The World’s Best Short-Order Cook in the West (1978 Simon and Schuster) – although it was made into a very successful movie franchise (or so we and our lawyers currently claim in a soon to be filed lawsuit) called Guardians of the Galaxy.

We have known Mr. Vizio for going on a long time and have even had the honor of performing with him in a stand-up setting.  He is what we hope to become one day: young, handsome, funny and talented.  Actually, we don’t care about the talented as much as the first three qualities. The ladies love him, the men want to be like him, the dogs sniff him and wonder where he has been.

Mr. Vizio used to perform one or two tricks in his set downstairs in the amateur room wherein performers of our ilk are allowed to work.  But he graduated to upstairs at the Castle – ironically, the “Upstairs at the Castle” was the name of our least successful BBC melodrama Series not featuring human actors.  He has been seen in the Close-Up Gallery and this week will be in the Peller.  His act has expanded dramatically and he performs effects the way they should be performed.  For instance, his Cups and Balls is one of the best we have seen in years.  It is in keeping with Dai Vernon’s school of making all actions appear normal, relaxed and fair.

Matt is not just a great magician in all of the classical realms of Close-Up, Parlor and Stage; but he is also a talented stand-up comedian with the adlib instincts of a veteran.

He was responsible for introducing us to performing stand-up comedy and audiences across the San Fernando Valley damn him daily for this.  Interestingly, “Damn Him Daily” was the name of our 1960s daily puppet show that we pitched to PBS – they went with Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood because of some reason we don’t recall because we were in tears explaining it to the puppets and formed a mental block surrounding that time.

If you have a chance, check out Mr. Vizio this evening through the weekend at the Peller Theatre at the Magic Castle.  He will be performing with Tom Frank.  We have not seen Tom Frank perform before but we know that if he is performing with Mr. Vizio, you will be entertained, amazed and leave laughing.

Mr. Vizio and Mr. Frank will have shows at 8:00, 10:00 and 11:30 Wednesday through Sunday.

Check out Mr. Vizio’s website, Honest Deception here.

The Magic Castle – No Crutch

Joan DuKoreThe Magic Castle should not be a crutch.

These famous words were uttered by Winston Churchill but they were about an actual crutch and his lack of need for them after a car crash whilst touring America.  But it still fits.

We love the Magic Castle and we love reporting on the latest acts that appear in the various rooms but we also fear that we may bore audiences of Inside Magic by reporting only on magic seen there.

Our solution is to talk about the food we had and then work our way into the magic on stage.

We went with a delicious Beef Wellington (speaking of Churchill) and our beloved had the manicotti.  Both meals were expertly cooked and good enough to eat – as we proved.

We performed downstairs in the amateur rooms as permitted by the Man, Matt Vizio.  He runs the joint and if he says you can perform, you’re good to go.  He let us do two shows and we are in his debt for the honor of performing for such wonderful audiences.

The beauty of performing at the Magic Castle is that people are coming to see magic.  They are not hoping for a tribute to Queen or a demonstration of weaving from indigenous folk.  Although, ironically, we do wear a Freddy Mercury leotard woven by indigenous weavers from Scotland.  We chafe and we sweat but we feel we do both sources justice.  We no longer sing because of requests from virtually everyone we have ever met. The New York Times said of our act, “It makes you long for Freddy Mercury in his prime or at any age and true indigenous weavers.” Notably, the review got our name wrong; calling us Tom Quinine, so the review has not hurt our career.

Dana Daniels and Richard Allen brought their world-famous “The No Show” to the Palace of Mystery.  We laughed so hard that we feared we would pass-out.  Seriously.  We could not stop laughing as Mr. Daniels did his escape routine that the air was not getting to our lungs, brain or heart.  We tried to think of unfunny things but it would not work.  We tried to breathe deeply, but our lungs were laughing too hard.  It was a funny situation for our body and we didn’t mind.

Audiences had a chance to see the new Luigi.  His predecessor worked with Mr. Daniels for almost three decades before passing on.  The new Luigi is just as beautiful parrot with a penchant for cheating at mentalism.

The No Show should not be missed.  Let’s assume you have something else to do for some reason, you should not do it.  You should go see The No Show instead.  Water skiing, mountain climbing, any form of fungal removal?  None are sufficient reasons to miss The No Show.  Although if the fungal removal has been delayed for, say, years, it might be a good time to see a specialist and avoid crowds.  Nay, not a single reason can justify missing this show.

Well, except for one reason.

In the Close-Up Gallery, the lovely Ms. Joan DuKore is performing the early shows (7:00 • 7:45 • 8:30 • 9:15) and puts on a great show.  If we had talent, grace and could perform, we would be Ms. DuKore.  She hails from Las Vegas and relates much of her performance to Sin City.  Her card handling is great, she works with bunnies and she performs effects that you have likely never seen before in your sheltered, protected life – but in a good way, not like you were in prison.

The bottom line: Eat the Beef Wellington, Watch The No Show and enjoy Joan DuKore.  Don’t worry about passing out due to hypoxia, it’s a myth.

Magicians Jade and Levit Take the Peller

Inside Magic Image of JadeMagicians Jade and Jonathan Levit take over Pellar Theatre at the Magic Castle this weekend.  They have been friends and colleagues for 30 years – so that means, Mr. Levit first became aware of Jade while she was in utero – and that’s fine by us.

It is no secret that Jade is not only an Inside Magic Favorite but also one of our personal favorite performers.  We have watched her perform in venues across the United States and have always hoped that one day we would be selected to assist in one of her fantastic routines.  Our hope was not rewarded this evening but again, that is fine by us.

In fact there is virtually nothing Jade could do that would not be fine by us.  We consider her three ring routine one of the best we have seen – and we have seen a bunch.  It is truly magic to watch.  Her grace and poise match the beauty of this historical effect.  We also saw a side of Jade we haven’t seen before.  She was working with Mr. Levit to perform “Simultaneous Mentalism™.”  We just made up that term and may seek trademark protection so do not go throwing it around too loosely.

We do not want to spoil the effect and may have already done so by saying the words “simultaneous” and “mentalism” so forget we said those words.  Our point is, Jade and Mr. Levit performed at the same time and did an effect that was truly startling and exciting.

Mr. Levit has a wonderful on-stage personality.  We assume his off-stage is just as wonderful but we did not have a chance to talk to him post-performance.  He is likeable and talented and nimble in thought, words, and deeds.  His twist – see what we did there? – on the now very popular Rubik’s Cube effect was truly original and so well done.  He told a wonderful story to surround what in the hands of other performers is merely a stunt and a short stunt at that.  A stunted stunt.

Jade and Mr. Levit work together so well on stage that it appears they have been doing just that for years.  And yet, we learned this was their first time working together.

The Peller Theatre is always a wonderful venue for great magic just due to the sightlines and proximity to the performers but when the performers are as wonderful as Jade and Mr. Levit, it is truly a magic venue.  If you have a chance to visit the Magic Castle this weekend, be sure to check out the Peller.

But it is late now and time for us to start our night job.  We’ll tell you more about that in later entries.  It’s like Uber or Lyft but with a bicycle.

Inside Magic Review – Five out of Five – Our Highest!

Magicians Laura London and Boris Wild Hurt Our Brain But in a Good Way

Laura LondonMagicians Laura London and Boris Wild are at The Magic Castle this week and are not to be missed.  They both play the Close-Up Gallery (although not at the same time which is easier to understand because they both have beautiful accents, the subtlety and pure lilt of which would be missed if they were shouting over each other).  Some of us old folks recall the close-up rooms of yesteryear’s’ conventions where there would be four or five close-up performers circulating among crowds to perform.  The quiet performers were overwhelmed by the naturally loud and the naturally loud were even more unnaturally louder for fear they would be difficult to hear in the hallow expanse of the local gymnasium library.

Yet, digress we do.

Let us start with Laura London.

She is a daring woman who takes risks in front of crowds not seen since the days of Harry Houdini or any bullet catcher. We are not saying “darling” woman – although we are quite confident she is.  We are saying “daring” woman.

Like the Honey Badger, she don’t care.  By the way, there is allegedly a video on the YouTube showing a honey badger dealing thirds and middles from a volunteer’s deck.  It don’t care.  We haven’t seen it but can imagine it.

We had the distinct pleasure of sitting in the front of the newly refurbished and filled to the rafters Close-Up Gallery.  Because of our vantage point, we could see some of the backstage work that goes into Ms. London’s act and it betrayed no secrets.  We were so close to the action that we thought for sure we could see her work but because her performance is based on turn of the 20th century (the 1900s) card cheats, it made sense that even being close enough to worry about the expiration of our counterfeit breath strips, we saw nothing.  Because of our almost passing understanding of how magic works – especially card magic and especially card magic with a Bee deck, we thought we would be able to pick up something.  Pero, nada, siempre nada.

Ms. London is from England and has appeared on Penn & Teller’s Fool Us.  She is calm, educational and mystifying.  She reads wonderful excerpts from a diary of a female card sharp as she performs.  Understand, she his performing very difficult card magic with both left and right hands; whilst reading a diary.  We can do one of those things at once and it is only the diary part.  Her Ace Location is something to see and puzzle over for days – we know.

Her effects were beautiful to watch for magicians and non-magicians alike.  We cannot wait to see her perform again.  We were hoping the show would last longer but, alas, like all good things, it needed to end so others could see how great a truly imaginative card performance could be.

We began our review with Ms. London under the theory that “Ladies First.”  But also because she performs the first part of the evening and then comes Boris Wild.

The Incredible Boris WildWe need to come clean about Mr. Wild.  We have read his books, bought his tricks, performed with his decks on a regular basis and yet, truthfully, have almost no idea how he performed his magic.  It is not as if we had an inkling.  It is not like we would guess the Kentucky Derby has something to do with horses and betting.  We know there were cards involved in some way but we don’t know nothing more than that.  He used cards in ways we have not seen done as effectively.

We loved being fooled – almost all the time, or at least when watching magic shows at The Magic Castle.  Mr. Wild fooled us with tricks we own or know of.  Howsabout that, now?!

My great, great-grandfather (allegedly – it is tough to tell through Ouija communications) once said, “It is what you know that fools.”  So true.  We think.

His Kiss routine is a classic and we have seen it before and loved it.   We still love it.  It is emotional – and we are not afraid to say that – and it is beautiful.  His effect before the Kiss routine is one we cannot describe without ruining it.  So we won’t.  If you have a chance to see his act this week, take it.  Get in line every early so you can see Laura London – a rising star in our book (an Inner Circle Member to boot) who should have her own show in Vegas immediately.  We need more women in magicians as magicians.  We need more magicians who love card sharping and so she is the perfect combination.

Now after Laura’s last show of the evening, get in line for Boris Wild.  We leave with a smile on your face and a renewed faith in our wonderful craft.

God bless Ms. London and Mr. Wild.  This is a wonderful time to be alive.