Magician Ariann Black Profiled

Inside Magic Image of Ariann BlackMagician Ariann Black received a great write-up and interview in today’s Westword in advance of her upcoming shows this weekend at Theatre of Dreams in Castle Rock, Colorado.

Ms. Black is well-known to Vegas audiences and is now taking the craft she began at the age of four to Colorado.  She took inspiration from Doug Henning and his non-traditional appearance.

“At four, you don’t realize that there is more than one magic trick out there. I was fascinated with the idea that there was more than one magic trick and you could do all sorts of things. When I was twelve, I saw Doug Henning on television, and prior to that I had been told that girls couldn’t be magicians. But when I saw Doug Henning and I saw him with his look — he didn’t look like that stereotypical magician — I thought, yeah, I can be a magician, too. He really inspired me.”

The road has not been easy and she points out that within our predominantly male ranks, “women are just an oddity.” She has a small group of female magicians with whom she attends conventions and share.  Ms. Black is “always on the lookout for female magicians, especially the younger ones, to make sure that they know that kind of behavior (toward them) is not okay, it’s not acceptable and that they need to stand up for who they are and be respected. It doesn’t just happen in magic — it happens everywhere.”

Be sure to check out the full interview for her thoughts on animal acts, David Copperfield, Criss Angel and why magic still works with today’s modern audiences.

Ariann Black performs this Friday, March 20 and Saturday, March 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Theatre of Dreams in Castle Rock. For more information on the shows and to buy tickets, visit the Theatre of Dreams website. Check out Ms. Black’s website here.

Kevin & Cindy Spencer Hit the Heartland

The SpencersInside Magic Favorites Kevin and Cindy Spencer will bring their incredible show, “Spencers: Theatre of Illusion” to Elgin, Illinois’ beautiful ECC Arts Center Saturday on April 11.

The Theatre of Illusion is an incredible event with high-tech effects, drama, comedy, romance, and suspense.  Blending the theatrical elements of a Broadway-style production with the energy of a rock concert, Kevin and Cindy Spencer take audiences on a journey to the impossible. The Spencers won the International Magic Society’s “Magician of the Year Award” in 2009, joining the likes of David Copperfield, Criss Angel, and Penn & Teller, and have been described as “modern day Houdinis” by critics.

The Spencers’ production is a unique fusion of magic and illusion, humor and mystery, and persona and personality. With a background in clinical psychology, Kevin likes to say, “I was going to help people’s minds, but now I just mess with them.”

“Theatre of Illusion” stands in stark contrast to the traditional magic show. Kevin Spencer sees it not as a stage full of tricks used to fool people, but as a way to inspire viewers with a sense of wonder. Audience members don’t simply watch the show, but are also invited to participate in the magic. Using magic much like a storyteller uses words, Kevin fuses this family-friendly production with a gamut of emotions. And with the skills of a master showman, he creates a world where nothing is impossible and anything can happen.

Tickets to Spencers: Theatre of Illusion are $20 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under. Tickets for all performances in the ECC Arts Center are available online at tickets.elgin.edu or at the ECC Arts Center box office. Box office hours are noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and noon to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. To purchase tickets by phone, call 847-622-0300. All major credit cards are accepted.

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.

Steinmeyer to Set Sail on ‘Magic to Do’ Show

magic-to-do logoMagician, inventor and Inside Magic Favorite writer, Jim Steinmeyer has signed with Princess Cruises to create the magical effects in a new show, Magic to Do.

Mr. Steinmeyer is famous for so many things, including his work with Doug Henning, Siegfried & Roy and David Copperfield, his books on the history of magic and his own performances.

If the title of the show sounds familiar, it is likely because you recall the opening number from Stephen Schwartz’ Broadway smash, Pippin.  We recall it fondly for the great music and use of Grant’s Flying Carpet illusion.  Mr. Schwartz was also responsible for the music in our favorite Broadway play of all time, The Magic Show starring Doug Henning.

Mr. Schwartz is slated to create four shows for the cruise line and has assembled coterie of top talent to help including producers, writers and lighting folks with multiple awards and great shows to their credit.

We need no encouragement to go on a cruise or to see anything Mr. Steinmeyer so if you put the two factors together, we should be on the next boat out of West Hollywood.

Learn more from Princess Cruises here.

Copperfield Tugs Our Heart Strings – Again

Inside Magic Image of David CopperfieldJust in case you needed one more reason to love magician David Copperfield.  We read today of his efforts to make a terminally ill child’s wish come true.

According to a post this afternoon on IJR’s website, Aiden Davis is only 10-year-old but has been fighting cancer since he was three.  His wish was to see to see David Copperfield perform.

Mr. Copperfield apparently heard about the young man and his wish through a social media campaign.  He granted it and then some.  He flew Aiden and his family to Las Vegas and dropped in on them once they checked into their hotel room.

They traveled by limo (Aiden’s first) to the iconic Welcome to Las Vegas sign where the two posed for a memorable photograph and then headed out for sightseeing and finally a visit to Mr. Copperfield’s hidden warehouse/museum of magic.

They finished off the visit with Aiden getting the best seat in the theater, in a perfect position to see Mr. Copperfield perform.

Mr. Copperfield expressed thanks to Aiden and his family for the opportunity to meet and spend time with “an example of strength and courage for him and all who have been fortunate enough to meet him.”

Like we said, in case you needed another reason to love Mr. Copperfield.  We’re going to get some tissues and be thankful.