Nominations are open for the 2019
"Readers' Choice Inspirational Canadian Magician of the Year" award

31 December 2018

In memoriam 2018



Please e-mail additions or corrections to "canadasmagic at gmail dot com" 

30 December 2018

Thank you for a great 2018!

We couldn't have done it without you!

Thank you to our readers, our fans, our followers, our wonderful guest posters (Dennis Schick and The Magic Demon), Starvox Entertainment who offered up prizes for contests, those who sent news our way, and last but not least, thank you to all of this year's friends (John Smithman, John Harrison, Richard Lyn, Joan Caesar, The Outerbridges, Ian Crawford, Owen Anderson, Ryan Pilling, and Matt DiSero) and sponsors (be sure to support them!):








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Donations of any size are always welcome.

The top 5 posts in December 2018

There were 35+ posts at Canada's Magic this month.  Here are the 5 most viewed posts in the past 30 days:

5. Random thoughts on "Champions of Magic" - So. Much. Fun!  Catch the Champions of Magic at The Bluma Appel Theatre through to January 6, 2019.  Tickets through Ticketmaster.
4. Toronto: Kayla Drescher lecture - Looking forward to this!
3. Jeff Pinsky - honourary life member of Ring 17 - Thank you Jeff, for your support of the magic community!
2. Toronto: Win tickets to see "Champions of Magic" - Thank you for playing and a special thank you to Starvox Entertainment for making the prize available!

and the most viewed post this month  ...






1. Vote now for the 2018 Readers' Choice award - View the results now!

29 December 2018

2018 Readers' Choice award results

Thank you all for participating in the spirit in which the awards were intended:  a fun way to recognize and celebrate all of the wonderful things being done by the fabulous talent in our country.

Over 2380 votes were cast in this "bragging rights" only contest.  You all have a lot of devoted fans!

Here are the results of our third annual "Readers' Choice Inspirational Canadian Magician of the Year" award!


Beacons of Inspiration (in alphabetical order by surname)

2018 Beacon of Inspiration: James Alan

James Alan
Nominated by Ben Train.
Thank you for lecturing, coaching, and participating fully with organizations like Toronto Magic Company, Ring 17 Hat and Rabbit, and Magicana).


Website: JamesAlan.ca


2018 Beacon of Inspiration: Jonah Babins


Jonah Babins 
Nominated by James Alan.
One of two podcasters in this year's field, which has now enticed me into the realm of podcasts!  Keep up your great work with the Discourse In Magic Podcast, and The Newest Trick in the Book, Canada’s only open mic magic show.


Website: JonahBabins.com





2018 Beacon of Inspiration: Ryan Brown

Ryan Brown
Nominated by Taylor Martin.
Ryan is an inspiration to the students at his alma mater.  Ryan continues to stretch himself by seeking opportunities to learn with and from world class magicians.  Go Ryan, go!


Website: RyanBrownMagic.com



2018 Beacon of Inspiration: Greg Frewin


Greg Frewin
Nominated by Ryan Pilling.
It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Greg! I've seen his show on a number of occasions and seen him donate his time to the kids at Sorcerers Safari, lending a hand to the magic community (remember the CAM-JAM and the Browser's Bash?), and supporting his local community too.  Thank you Greg!

And as Ryan stated,
"... what I got was a wonderful show with a performer who shared his passion for magic, and playing to a very full house! It was an inspiration to see one of Canada's best magicians still being amazing two decades after I first saw him, and a testament to the hard work and dedication of Greg and his team to have such a well running theatre."


Website: GregFrewinTheatre.com




2018 Beacon of Inspiration: Carisa Hendrix

Carisa Hendrix  (aka Lucy Darling)
Nominated by James Alan.
Carisa is an in demand, multifaceted performer.  In addition to magic, she does beautiful bubble, entertaining sideshow performances, and is a multiple Guinness World Record holder, while also running her own entertainment company.


Carisa is the other reason I've ventured into the world of podcasts.  She (with Kayla Drescher) is breaking ground with Shezam, "the feminist magic podcast that hopes to make itself obsolete."  They are taking on some pretty big issues in the magic world and I look forward to hearing what else they've got to say.

How big a deal is this podcast?  "This podcast is now funded, in part, through support from the Endowment and Development Fund of the International Brotherhood of Magicians."   Well done Carisa!  That's a big deal!


Website: CarisaHendrix.com





2018 Beacon of Inspiration: Kent Wong

Kent Wong
Nominated by Unknown.
I can't improve on the submitted nomination:

"I nominate KENT WONG from Edmonton. He is one of the most giving an talented magicians in Canada and his shows are extremely well written, rehearsed and thought out. His unbelievable attitude to help magicians and people in general is un heard of and he never asks for anything in return. His door is always open for anyone to use. He uses his magic to raise money for charities, feed the homeless, gloves and coffee for the homeless all through magic shows and when he is not doing that he is performing for children at the hospitals. Kent does this while having a family, and a very busy full time job. He knows all aspects of magic, psychology, timing, misdirection and history. I'm glad he is my friend in magic."

Keep up the great work Kent!

Website: KentWongMagic.com



Editor's Choice


2018 Editor's Choice: Mike Segal
Mike Segal   
Nominated by Sam.
That Mike, through Sorcerers Safari Magic Camp, runs the ONLY magical instructional program certified by the Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Public Library is a source of inspiration all on it's own ... there are a lot of hoops to jump through to earn your certification!

But wait! There's more!

Through Sorcerers Safari, Mike has enriched the lives of so many magicians!  Camp alumni include: Nathaniel Rankin, Scott Hammel, Daniel Steep, Sheldon Casavant, Rosemary Reid, Keith Brown, Brad Bond, Ben Train, Alex Seaman, Mark Correia, Chad Juros and the list goes on.  Now think of all of the lives that those people have touched.  That's not counting the army of devoted volunteers he created whose lives were also deeply influenced from the camp experience!  Thank you Mike and keep on keeping on!

From his nomination:
"He inspired a generation of young magicians to turn their hobbies into careers. Magic Mike gave us a space, a special club and to some, a family where we could explore our creativity and expand our knowledge with like-minded people. Magic Mike is not only an amazing mentor but he is also a fantastic performer. Whether he’s teaching a class or performing in front of a huge crowd, he’s always giving 100%. He is known in the magic community for his positive attitude and he will stop at nothing to lend a helping hand. If that doesn’t deserve recognition, I don’t know what does!"


Website: Magic-Mike.com



Readers' Choice

2018 Winner: Jeff Christensen

Jeff Christensen
Nominated by Cyril May.

Congratulations to Jeff for winning the 2018 Readers' Choice award!

Keep up your great work with the Celebrate the Child foundation.


Website: MagicalEducator.com





28 December 2018

Review: The Illusionists

From the November 28th article "'The Illusionists — Magic of the Holidays': Theater Review" by Frank Scheck in the Hollywood Reporter:
Shin Lim, who pocketed a cool $1 million as an America's Got Talent champion, performs sleight-of-hand card tricks. While close-up magic inevitably loses something in a large auditorium (even if you're sitting down front, you inevitably wind up looking at the video screens), the young magician is such a master of his craft that it doesn't matter. His fluid movements are beautifully choreographed and executed, achieving a near poeticism enhanced by his slyly confident manner.

Oake delivers some of the evening's most lavish illusions, including several in which he miraculously appears and disappears. His muscled, tattooed physique and shaved head make him appear far more threatening than he actually is. Plenty of magicians perform a bit in which they make doves appear out of thin air, for instance, but not many seem fond enough of the birds to kiss them.

Read more.

27 December 2018

Windsor and Kitchener: Masters of Illusion

From the December 19th article "MASTERS OF ILLUSION, America's Largest Touring Magic Show, Announces 2019 U.S.A. And Canada Tour" by BWW News Desk at Broadway World:
Masters of Illusion, America's largest touring magic show featuring the greatest magicians of our time will tour the U.S.A. and Canada in January and February 2019 making stops at theatres in North Carolina, Florida, Canada, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. It stars magicians from The CW Network's hit primetime television series of the same name.

Magicians appearing in the January 2019 leg of the tour will include: Ed Alonzo, Naathan Phan, Michael Turco and Tommy Wind. Click here to see some performance highlights of magicians appearing on January 14 - 21, 2019 tour dates: https://vimeo.com/user4830612/review/301716874/19b98d5c64

Magicians appearing in the February 2019 leg of the tour will include: Chipper Lowell, Naathan Phan, Michael Turco and Tommy Wind. Click here to see some performance highlights of magicians appearing on February 2 - 17, 2019 tour dates: https://vimeo.com/user4830612/review/301715723/9f169c234f

Read more.

Canadian dates include:
Saturday, February 2, 2019: Caesars Windsor Hotel & Casino, 377 Riverside Drive East (Hotel, Casino and Valet Entrance): McDougall Avenue and Pitt Street, Windsor, ON, CA N9A 7H7, https://www.caesars.com/caesars-windsor

and


Wednesday, February 13, 2019: Centre In The Square, 101 Queen Street North, Kitchener, ON N2H 6P7, Canada, https://centreinthesquare.com

26 December 2018

Shelby Craigen recently featured by the IBM

From the Facebook page of the International Brotherhood of Magicians:

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25 December 2018

Gambit "Smiles Across India"

From Gambit's Facebook page:

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24 December 2018

The Sentimentalists to make predictions for the New Year

I hope they have some good news to share!

You can also catch them in Sentimentalists: Mentalism At The Museum on December 28th.


From The Sentimentalists' Facebook page:

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23 December 2018

Broken wand: Perley Palmer

Our thoughts go out to Perley's family and friends.


From the December 22nd article "'He just loved the kids:' Fredericton's magic man dies at 75" by Philip Drost at CBC News:
After decades of mesmerizing crowds and making people laugh and smile, Fredericton magician Perley Palmer has died.

The famed entertainer, known simply as Perley the Magician, died at the age of 75 on Friday.

He was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in April 2015, but it didn't stop him from making people smile with his tricks, even in his last days.


Read more.

22 December 2018

Random thoughts on "Champions of Magic"

Before I begin, have a peek at a snippet of the most recent Champions of Magic press release:
TORONTO, ON, December 21, 2018: Last night, the UK’s biggest large-scale illusion spectacle Champions Of Magic left Toronto spellbound after its spectacular opening night performance. Running for a limited-time engagement at The Bluma Appel Theatre (St Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front St E.), with an unprecedented three shows a day, the popular production has to be seen to be believed.

As The Bluma Appel Theatre’s highest selling holiday extravaganza ever, ​Starvox Entertainment is proud to announce the addition of five new performances across the following dates, including a death-defying fourth show on January 5, for a total of 40 performances over 18 days!
  • Wednesday, December 26, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. EST
  • Thursday, December 27, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. EST
  • Friday, December 28, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. EST
  • Wednesday January 2, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. EST
  • Saturday January 5, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. EST

A four show day, 17 days into the run?  Death-defying indeed!


 

On with the show...


After missing out on the opportunity to interview Alex McAleer and Young & Strange live, I knew I had to jump on the chance when I was invited to attend Champions of Magic (especially after what Strange told me I missed by not making it to interview day).

We arrived early and had a chance to get the feel of the theatre.  The Bluma Appel Theatre seats just under 900 guests and is a cozy theatre.  I'd venture that there are no truly bad seats in the house.
  • I experienced my first feat of astonishment when the usher read my mind and gave me directions to the rest room before I'd even asked the question!
  • Kidlet observed that there were a lot of children in the audience and was surprised by the number of girls in attendance.
  • If not a sold out show, the theatre looked very close to capacity.
  • If you're chatting with Brendan at the merchandise table, tell him to visit the Browser's Den of Magic if he gets any off-time.  
  • The show is about an hour for the first half, 15 minutes intermission, and about an hour in the second half.
  • I am genuinely afraid of posting spoilers.  The less you know going in, the more you'll enjoy it.

Note to parents of young children:  The music can be very loud at times throughout the show.  There's also a smoke machine involved.  Forewarned is forearmed.

So. Much. Fun.

  • The show starts strong with Young and Strange and keeps up an astonishing pace.
  • As with Starvox Entertainment's Potted Potter, Champions of Magic is absolutely D'liteful!
  • The four acts are interwoven through out the night, which works really well at keeping each of the disciplines fresh.
  • Kayla Drescher, Alex McAleer, Fernando Velasco, and Young & Strange all do what they do very well indeed!
  • There's a tangible camaraderie among the cast.  Kidlet likened the feeling of the group to the team of illusionists in Now You See Me (but without the audience payout at the end of the show).
  • There's a tonne of audience participation with both children and adults!
  • One of the pieces performed was something submitted in the contest from earlier this month.  Can you guess what it was?
  • McAleer does impressive mind reading.  He even offers a wager with an audience member for a substantial amount of money. (And he knew how to pronounce "Toronto" like a local!)  If he asks you how you are, be sure to ask him how he's doing too, so he knows that Canadians are a caring bunch.
  • Velasco does more than impressive breathtaking, heart-stopping escapes.
  • Drescher did some mind-boggling close-up in the audience, a couple of types of "arts and crafts," and made her young volunteer, Malia, feel very special. (Also of note, Drescher's volunteer Andy, was very reluctant to break her heart.)
  • Young and Strange performed a super tight, high energy set while channeling their inner SARMOTI.  It's refreshing to see a man get put into boxes to be squished and skewered!  On a personal note, it was fun to see them perform an original illusion by Canadian magician Gerry Frenette.
  • Annalisa, the aerialist was fabulous! As were Brendan, Brandon and the rest of the stage crew and theatre crew.  Those folks hustled to keep the pace going.
  • I had many "how'd they do that?" thoughts, along with so many moments of joyous laughter, and periods of being completely enthralled in the spectacle.
  • Kidlet can't stop talking about the ending.  It caught us both completely by surprise!

Don't just take my word for it, have a read of Wayne Leung's post "Review: Champions of Magic (Starvox Entertainment)" from December 21, over at Mooney on Theatre.





Catch the Champions of Magic at The Bluma Appel Theatre through to January 6, 2019.  Tickets through Ticketmaster.

(Don't forget about Drescher's Toronto lecture in the New Year!) 



Disclosure:  Kidlet and I were guests at this show. The opinions expressed above are entirely my own. I did not receive compensation for the writing or the publishing of this article.


21 December 2018

The Outerbridges in go/be Weekly

Catch them in Niagara on December 29th!


From the article "Ted Outerbridge: Clockwork Mysteries Tour Delivers Holiday Magic" by David DeRocoo:
“I was in a restaurant eating a bowl of spaghetti when this guy pulled an egg out of my ear and it blew my mind,” remembers Outerbridge, who shares the stage with his wife and partner, Marion Outerbridge. “From that moment on I wanted to be able to create a sense of wonder for others.”

By the time he was 12, Outerbridge was already being paid to perform magic at neighbourhood birthday parties, delivering 15-minute sets of slight-of-hand tricks and small-scale illusions. At 19 he was earning his living as a professional magician, developing illusions that would eventually be used in such sold-out tours as Magical Moments In Time and the Time Capsule Tour.

Read more.

From Marion Outerbridge's Facebook page:

20 December 2018

Oshawa: The Amazing Kreskin

From the Regent Theatre:
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2019 

Presented by:  Punchline Productions Inc.

With a showman’s flair, a comedian’s wit, and the capacities of a bona fide Mentalist or thought reader, The Amazing Kreskin has, for six decades, dramatized the unique facets of the human mind…his own. His very name has become an integral part of pop culture throughout the world. During the past fifty years Kreskin has had a television series, his own board game by Milton Bradley, twenty published books, and a major motion picture inspired by his work.

In the 1970’s Kreskin headlined his own television series for five and a half seasons called, ‘The Amazing World of Kreskin’. The airline industry estimates that Kreskin has flown over 3 million miles, to reach a vast international audience with his unique brand of Mentalism.

At 83 years of age, Kreskin shows no signs of slowing down. He continues to perform his legendary live shows in front of packed audiences around the world, playing over 200+ dates yearly.

Recommended Age:  10+
Age Restriction:  7+

Read more and buy tickets.


Click over to Canada's Magic Facebook page for a discount code.

19 December 2018

Holland America: Matt DiSero

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18 December 2018

Alberta: Matt Johnson's "Magic Show 2 Go"

From Matt Johnson's Facebook page:
I am proud to announce my upcoming theater tour of Alberta in January 2019. Dates and theaters are listed below with links for tickets.

 If you are in the province of Alberta and have always wanted to see my full evening theater show now is your only chance for the next couple of years!

 I will be including the underwater escape that was made famous on my Britain's Got Talent appearance this year and the one that has got me well over 40 Million views on YouTube.

 If you have friends and family in Alberta share this link so they can see the show. Looking forward to this exclusive tour with limited dates. Alberta, here I come!

Friday January 11th 2019 - Eleanor Pickup Arts Centre, Drayton Valley, AB

Sunday January 13th 2019 - The Performing Arts Centre, Stettler, AB

Thursday January 17th - Griffin Park Theater, Brooks, AB

Friday January 18th - Maclab Centre for the Performing Arts, Leduc, AB
 Sunday January 20th - Bonnyville and District Centennial Centre, Bonnyville, AB


17 December 2018

Oshawa: Richard Forget and Craig Douglas

From the December 11th article "Whitby magician has a box of tricks" by Mike Ruta in the Durham Region:
When is a box not just a box? When it’s a metaphor in Richard Forget’s show, The Magic Box.

“It suggests a whole bunch of things,” says the Whitby magician. “It can mean so much.”

Forget notes that the history of magic is full of them: people disappearing from a box, a magician sawing his assistant in half as she lays in a box. And a theatre itself is a box, he says.

Forget, the Canadian Magician of the Year in 2011, is encouraging Durham residents to come and see his show on Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. at Oshawa’s Regent Theatre. After all, he isn’t around much.

“I don’t get to perform this show in the Durham area a lot because I travel a lot,” he says.

Read more.

16 December 2018

Toronto: American Sign Language interpreted magic show

From the Champions of Magic Press release:
TORONTO, ON, DECEMBER 13, 2018: The holiday season just got a little more magical as ​Starvox Entertainment announces a very special performance of Champions Of Magic accompanied by American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation. On December 29 at 5:00 p.m. at Toronto’s​ Bluma Appel Theatre ​ (​St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front St E), the UK’s mind-bending magical troop, will deliver their jaw-dropping, mind-bending performance and mesmerising illusions with ASL interpretation to Toronto for the first time ever.

Fully immersing deaf audience members into a grand scale illusion show, such as Champions of Magic, is no easy task, and is rarely done,” stated Corey Ross President and Founder of Starvox Entertainment. “While magic is very visual, the sleight of hand often involves distracting the audience through audio cues and the traditional magician’s patter.  The Champions are preparing themselves for the challenge of performing for this new audience without giving away the secrets of the illusions. It will be incredibly suspenseful to see if this works.”   
It was really important to us that the show to be fully inclusive of the diverse Toronto audience,” says Kayla Drescher, the show’s close up Magician. “Having a performance with American Sign Language interpretation allows the entire audience to be totally immersed in the magic and enjoy the camaraderie that is an integral part of the performance.

Champions Of Magic’s five world-class illusionists deliver a mesmerizing experience that’s entertaining for the entire family. Featuring incredible illusions with sports cars, an impossible escape from Houdini’s water torture cell, mind-blowing predictions that must be witnessed to be believed, levitation from wonderous heights and a finale beyond explanation, Champions of Magic showcases original magic that can’t be seen anywhere else.
To reserve seats for the December 29th ASL performance, please use code “ASL” when purchasing tickets through ​www.ticketmaster.ca to ensure assigned seating. For assistance, contact the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts box office via tquinlan@stlc.com or call 416-366-7723.


Winner of tickets to see "Champions of Magic"

The contest to win a family prize pack of tickets to attend the Champions of Magic at The Bluma Appel Theatre is closed.  Thank you to everyone who played!

If you didn't win, tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.ca

There were some fabulous suggestions made about what you think the most difficult magical effect to take on tour and perform in front of a large audience night after night.  Of note:
  1. The Million Dollar Mystery Illusion
  2. More than one of you picked Devant's Mascot Moth 
  3. More than one of you picked Vanishing the Statue of Liberty
  4. More than one of you picked Vanishing Elephant
  5. Coin effects. You have a small object that can play big if done correctly. Additionally, you're dealing with difficult sleights often to achieve the effect and there is always the fear of dropping or flashing the coin.
  6. Must be David Copperfield's vanishing audience act.  Danger of being sued!!!
  7. Any drowning escape
  8. Up close sleight of hand magic
  9. Making a large object disappear such as a car helicopter or elephant or any other large object
  10. The Gypsy's Thread. Worst stage trick ever. No one can see it!
  11. More than one of you were non-magicians


Random draw results from Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations James!


With thanks to Starvox Entertainment for generously making these tickets available to you!

15 December 2018

Ottawa: Potted Potter

From the ACT Twitter feed:
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14 December 2018

Toronto: Kayla Drescher lecture

From the Ring 17 Facebook event:

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13 December 2018

Carisa Hendrix at the Magic Castle

From Carisa Hendrix's Twitter feed:
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12 December 2018

A peek behind the curtain with Young and Strange

I was delighted to receive an invitation to interview Richard Young and Sam Strange earlier this month, as part of a Champions of Magic promotional event.  You may have seen Young and Strange on The Next Great Magician, Penn & Teller: Fool Us (2014 and 2017), or “photobombing” the Live News Report.




Although I was unable to attend, they kindly agreed to answer a few questions by email.  Which of course meant that I wasn’t able to witness any of their magic up close and personal.  And so my first question …


What wondrous and extraordinary magical effect would you have shown me had I been there to interview you in person?
As I’m sure all your readers can empathise with, when asked about your profession/hobby, it’s quickly followed up with “show us a trick mate.” That can be repetitive at times and more often than not the environment in which you’re asked to perform isn’t favourable, meaning a cobbled together performance.
What is your first memory of magic?
 

My first experience of the magic we know and love was probably seeing Lance Burton performing his dove act on a TV special. What an incredible piece of magic that was/is.
The beauty of being stage illusionists is that it immediately takes you out of the “performing on demand” predicament and we often say “unfortunately, all of the magic we do is simply too big to do for you right now!” Having said all of that,
we would have definitely made the effort for you and would have probably set up our full illusion show complete with lighting, music and pyro.


Aww, shucks.  I am gutted that I wasn’t able to make the live interview!



Where do you find non-magical inspiration?
 

The reality is that we take inspiration from all sorts of things outside of magic. There has always been a comedic thread in our performances so we are interested in all forms of comedy. Young has had a lifelong passion for WWE wrestling which draws many parallels with stage magic (the production, characters, humour).
Who inspires you magically?

We have always absolutely loved David Copperfield and seeing his TV specials as children was probably the biggest inspiration to our act today.  We have a passion for stage illusions and no-one does it better than him. We recently saw his show in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand and he’s still at the very top of his game. Lance Burton, along with Siegfried and Roy were also hugely inspirational. We have always loved the magic of 1980’s and 90’s.


Why do you think people are still fascinated by magic, especially live magic? 
Despite having all of this magic at our fingertips in the age of smartphones, we think that people are still looking for that momentary escapism where they can feel like a kid again, even if only for a few seconds. Magic and certainly stage illusion can absolutely do that.


What’s is it about Champions of Magic that has allowed you to draw large audiences on 6 UK tours and 2 North American tours over the past five years?
I think there are a number of reasons why it’s been successful. There’s no doubt about it, live magic is popular at the moment.. Talking specifically about the show, we think the name is brilliant. Champions of Magic; it’s about as clear a show title as it can be. It feels like a safe, solid bet for an evening’s entertainment. 
It has a multi-magician line-up with different styles of magic-- if you don’t like one performer or style, you’ll like one of the others. 
The varied line up also allows for much more flexibility within the show, therefore broadening its appeal. The show is constantly evolving both on and off stage. The branding and marketing changes as the producer (an incredibly hardworking, dynamic man called Alex Jarrett) learns from each run of the shows we do.  


What surprised you most about performing in different countries?  Have you experienced anything specific about Canadian audiences in particular?
I think if you chat to most magicians who have developed their acts for British audiences and then transitioned to North America, they will say the same thing: audiences over your side of the Atlantic are SO much better. They are less cynical and more vocal in their praise. Why that is we're not sure, it could be because magic has a great reputation or they are more conditioned to ‘join in’ with sports games being such a huge feature of the culture. We’ve only done a handful of shows in Canada probably not enough to distinguish between American and Canadian audiences. Maybe you can give us some pointers?! The shows we are doing in Toronto are over the holiday season so it should be a fantastic run of shows with everyone in good spirits.

Life on the road isn’t all glory and glamour.  There are tight schedules, never-ending bus rides, questionable accommodations, missed connections, and broken or disappearing props.
I’m glad you recognise that. It’s all too easy to look at the touring life (especially through the lens of magician’s social media) and think “that looks like the absolute dream lifestyle.”  It is amazing but does have a equal amounts of highs and lows.


Tell us about your most memorable touring misadventure.
One of the biggest benefits of being in a large scale touring show is that you end up with a lot of interesting stories, so to pin it on a single anecdote is difficult. However we did a show recently at a casino near Seattle and flew out the night before. When we landed, we had a message from the trucking company saying the truck had been caught in heavy weather and simply wouldn’t make it to the event. I should say that if you have seen any of the advertisements for Champions of Magic or seen the show itself you’ll understand that it is a large scale show. In our set alone there are nine illusions framed with top level production. So to have no truck is an absolute disaster.

No truck?  No props?  Oh no!
Fortunately, the event we had been booked for was a little unusual with a theatre at one end of the room and dining tables tightly packed into the floor space. It allowed for the guests to enjoy a three course meal followed by the evening show. We took a taxi to the local magic shop in Seattle, while the rest of the cast and crew brainstormed what they could do in order to make the show happen. It’s amazing how resourceful five magicians can be when the chips are down. We also gave extra value by performing close up magic around the tables prior to the show, which kicked the whole thing off on the right foot.
One of the things we did was have a crew member dress and [Editor's note: The content that followed contained super secret secrets and has been redacted.  Hey.  I said it was super secret.  Did you think I was just going to leave it here for you in plain text?] Of course a little rehearsal before, the use of a devil’s handkerchief (courtesy of the Seattle Magic Shop) and an audio track that is as well known to the magic community as David Copperfield himself, created one of the best reactions of the night.
Alex McAleer the Mind Reader did an extended performance, along with Kayla Drescher (the specialist close up magician in the show). Young and I were forced to resurrect a card production/manipulation act we used to do, along with a comedy routine we had for silk in Egg. Fernando Velasco (the escapologist in the show) did a variation on Smash and Stab and by the time the show had finished the audience went crazy.
It seems no level of production can compete with confusing a bandana for a banana.


So as to not scare off any aspiring performers, please share with us your favourite touring experience and / or strategies you use to maintain your sanity on tour.
Without sounding like PR spin, we are like a big family off stage. We all get on well and look after each other. We go to the gym together, share apartments together and spend most of our time hanging out. We are fortunate to have an excellent producer, Alex Jarrett, who is laid back, very funny and incredibly hard working. He strikes the perfect balance as a boss and allowing us to have fun. He’s been incredibly selective in which magicians are in the show, not only for their acts but also for their attitudes off stage. Magicians are well known for their ballooned ego’s and ensuring everyone gets on with each other is just as important as the show itself. We joke around all the time and every show has something that makes us laugh.
 

Had your families not been friends (meaning that you wouldn’t have met each other in childhood and become friends), what kind of magic do you think each of you would be doing today?  (Or would you be back to filling jam donuts?)
We often talk about what we would all be doing if we hadn’t have discovered our early passion for magic. There is no doubt about it that Young and I have always loved large scale stage illusions. Although we have been close up magicians for many years, our passion has always been rooted in stage magic. I suspect that passion would have come through regardless of whether we knew each other. Whether that would have translated into us both being stage performers is another matter and probably unlikely. The beauty of a double act is that you both bring different things to the table, pooling the little talents we did have together. Obviously learning magic together was a great catalyst and our friendship is what makes performing our act so much fun. Some double acts are known for not getting along well, but we are very fortunate that’s not the case for us, and our deep rooted friendship is the biggest asset to our act.

What's your connection to Canadian magic?

How can you not be absolutely in love with Doug Henning's vibrancy and positivity? His shows were incredible. We also love Darcy Oake, a great performer and an incredible stage magician. He is one of the very few magicians who is genuinely cool, rather than most illusionists who try, but can’t quite pull it off.

How have your numerous television appearances, including Penn & Teller: Fool Us, The Next Great Magician, and NBC’s Access Hollywood (USA) impacted your career?
Penn and Teller: Fool Us has always been a fantastic show with nothing but good intentions to showcase magic at it’s best. That’s been really helpful in getting our name out there, along with a viral video we created of us photobombing a Live News Report.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
We’ve been in the show Champions of Magic for a number of years and the show is the best it’s ever been. By the time it reaches the St. Lawrence Centre in Toronto we will have been out in North America for nearly eight weeks performing in venues all over the US. The theatre in Toronto has a capacity of about 900 so it’ll feel like an intimate venue for such a large scale show. With all this in mind it’s worth making the effort to come and see the show and the four acts in it, as everything is pointed to it being the best run of shows we have ever done.

Thank you Sam Strange of Young and Strange for making the time to answer our questions!

Catch the Champions of Magic at The Bluma Appel Theatre December 19 to January 6, 2019.  Tickets through Ticketmaster or enter our contest!



11 December 2018

Phil Matlin's 2018 Ragtime Tour

Phil Matlin - owner of Montréal's magic shop Perfect Magic, will be playing ragtime and touring through Ontario (Cambridge, Elmira, Kitchener, and Waterloo) at the end of December.

If you missed our previous post about the many talents of Phil, have a look at him playing Carolina in the Morning.


Phil Matlin's 2018 Ragtime Tour 


Thursday Dec. 27 2:00 PM    

  • Chateau Gardens    11 Herbert Street    Elmira ON


Thursday Dec-27    6:30 PM    

  • St. Joseph's Health Center    80 Westmount Road     Guelph ON


Friday    Dec-28    4:00 PM    

  • Waterloo Heights Retirement Home    170 Erb St.     Waterloo ON


Saturday Dec. 29    1:30 PM    

  • Park Lane Terrace    275 Grand River    North Paris ON


Sunday    Dec-30    1:00 PM    

  • Cambridge Country Manoir    3680 Speedsville Road     Cambridge ON


Monday    Dec-31    2:00 PM    

  • Lanark Heights Long Term Care    46 Lanark Cres.    Kitchener ON


 

 


 

10 December 2018

A peek behind the curtain with Alex McAleer

I was delighted to receive an invitation to interview Alex McAleer earlier this month, as part of a Champions of Magic promotional event.  You may have seen McAleer on international television shows such as ITV’s Good Morning Britain (UK), and NBC’s Access Hollywood (USA).





I was unable to attend, but lucky for me (and you) he kindly agreed to answer a few questions by email.

What is your first memory of magic?

I remember seeing a magician at a friend’s birthday party when I was maybe six years old. He wore a cape and a pointy hat with stars on and made a roast chicken appear in a child’s toy microwave. Describing it now, it could have all been a very odd dream but I’m pretty sure it happened.
and in his first show channeled his inner Derren Brown.  


What would have been in store for you had you not caught the mentalism bug?  
I think I would have developed a silent act very much in the style of Teller (from Penn & Teller). I like the challenge of communicating without words and letting the magic do the talking.


How do you create new effects?
When I’m thinking of new routines or material for a show, my first starting point is always what I want the audience to experience: what do I want them to see, think and feel. Sometimes it’s just a cool idea - a way to reveal something someone is thinking of in an unexpected or surprising way. Then I start to think about how it should look, and feel. Then I start to think about how I can achieve whatever it is I’ve dreamt up.


Who inspires you that is not a magician?
I’ve always been a fan of comedians such as Billy Connolly and Eddie Izzard; their ability to just stand on stage and entertain a thousand people with just their words. I’m also a fan of silent film stars, especially Buster Keaton (who is much funnier than Chaplin). I guess what inspires me about Keaton is that as a silent film star he had to rely on his physicality to tell the story.
Why do you think people are still fascinated by magic, especially live magic?
When you watch a magic trick, you are being shown something that shouldn’t be possible but somehow it’s still happening. Magic relies on taking something you know to be a fact, an object is solid, your thoughts are yours and yours alone, and breaks the rules. It’s fun for people to not understand the world for a few moments.
Magic is and always had been at its best when experienced live. Seeing someone vanish before your very eyes is always going to be enticing.


What surprised you most about performing in different countries?
This show started in the UK so when we first started touring North America we were initially shocked by the audiences’ enthusiasm this side of the pond. It’s a cliché, but in the UK we are more reserved and skeptical as a people, but across the Atlantic, people are eager to see a magic show and happy to just enjoy the experience. I’ve always found Canadians to have a pleasant mix between American optimism and European sensibilities so I’m looking forward to performing here and seeing the response we get.


McAleer’s connection to Canadian magic?
His fellow Champions of Magic performer, Kayla Drescher hosts the Shezam podcast with our very own Carisa Hendrix!
Life on the road isn’t all glory and glamour.  There are tight schedules, never-ending bus rides, questionable accommodations, missed connections, and broken or disappearing props.  Tell us about your most memorable touring misadventure.
All of the above is true! This show has been touring in the UK and US over the past 5 years so we’ve had all sorts happen. We have had the truck containing all the props, lights, and set turning up 2 hours before the show starts, and once not turning up at all! Thankfully we have an amazing cast and crew, especially the crew who can also pull-off miracles.




So as to not scare off any aspiring performers, please share with us your favourite thing about touring.
It’s always exciting to travel and meet new people, and we’ve visited places I might never have had the chance to if I wasn’t touring with this show. The best part is getting to do it with the cast and crew of Champions of Magic, the best tour family there is!

Thank you Alex McAleer for making the time to answer our questions!

Catch the Champions of Magic at The Bluma Appel Theatre December 19 to January 6, 2019.  Tickets through Ticketmaster or enter our contest

09 December 2018

Vote now for the 2018 Readers' Choice award

Reader's Choice logo 
The nominations are closed and voting is now open for the 2018 "Readers' Choice Inspirational Canadian Magician of the Year" award!  Voting will close on Sunday, December the 23rd at 11:59pm EST.

To vote, scroll down to the bottom of this post and participate in the poll.  (Unfortunately, the poll does not appear in the mobile version of the site.)

Let's have a look at the nominees (in no particular order):


2018 Nominee: James Alan

James Alan
Nominated by Ben Train.
"In the past year he's helped numerous performers make their acts better, has participated in leadership roles on several major magic projects (including Toronto Magic Company, Ring 17 Hat and Rabbit, Magicana, etc). He's lectured on his original magic, he's supported the community..."

"I could keep going on."


Website: JamesAlan.ca




2018 Nominee: Jonah Babins

Jonah Babins 
Nominated by James Alan.
"Magician, podcast host, and neologist. Cofounded the Discourse In Magic Podcast, now with over 130 episodes. Host of The Newest Trick in the Book, Canada’s only open mic magic show."


Website: JonahBabins.com





2018 Nominee: Ryan Brown

Ryan Brown
Nominated by Taylor Martin.
"Ryan Wonder Brown is a rising star of magic from the Toronto area. He should be considered for these bragging rites."


Website: RyanBrownMagic.com





2018 Nominee: Jeff Christensen

Jeff Christensen
Nominated by Cyril May.
"I would like to nominate Vancouver magician Jeff Christensen for using his magic to conjure up a better world.  Jeff has faced loss in his life* but has turned the darkness into light for so many others through his magic and fundraising.  He has raised more than $100,000 for a variety of local and international causes.  He has done this in a variety of ways such as through the sold out charity show “”A Magical Evening” and his foundation, Celebrate the Child (CtC).  CtC has built a school in Kenya, and worked on freshwater in Ecuador. Jeff has gone further to raise money through performances for a health centre in India.  His heart is good and so is his magic.  He received an invitation to attend the very exclusive 4F Close-up Convention….a sort of “Willy Wonka” ticket that every magician would love to get.  Invitation is not random, however, and is generally given in recognition of expert magical skill.  I know Jeff from our learning and work at the McBride Magic & Mystery School.  Jeff received the title of Ambassador from the School this fall at our annual gathering in recognition of his work to further meaningful magic.  Please give him your fullest consideration!"

--
* Jeff lost his six-year old sun, Jonah suddenly and unexpectedly.   In response to this tragedy he created the charity foundation Celebrate the Child and produces/performs an annual show A Magical Evening which has sold out for the past 10 years!  Through these charity shows he has raised more than $100,000 for a variety of local and international causes.

Jeff also also gives back to the magic community through his monthly column Magic is Education which can be found in Vanish Magazine.

In November Jeff was honoured by being invited to share his magical story for 20,000 people at Rogers Arena for WE Day Vancouver!

Website: MagicalEducator.com




2018 Nominee: Greg Frewin

Greg Frewin
Nominated by Ryan Pilling.
"In 2018 I was inspired when I saw Greg Frewin at his theatre in Niagara Falls. I was there on a cold day in the off-season. My first visit to Niagara and all I saw was empty streets and mostly closed attractions. On top of it all it was a Wednesday night. I had tickets to the show that night and was expecting the worst... an awkwardly empty house, and a lackluster performance."

"Instead, what I got was a wonderful show with a performer who shared his passion for magic, and playing to a very full house! It was an inspiration to see one of Canada's best magicians still being amazing two decades after I first saw him, and a testament to the hard work and dedication of Greg and his team to have such a well running theatre."

--
Greg also provides support for his local community.  For example, last week he hosted the Good News Breakfast in his theatre.  From Facebook:
"Don't forget that this Friday is the Good News Breakfast. Join us at Greg Frewin Theatre from 7-10am. Come enjoy a free breakfast, world-class entertainment and good news from the community. Donations will be accepted. YourTV will be broadcasting live and streaming it online. Don't miss out on the fun!"


Website: GregFrewinTheatre.com





2018 Nominee: Carisa Hendrix

Carisa Hendrix  (aka Lucy Darling)
Nominated by James Alan.
"Multifaceted magic, bubble and sideshow performer. Co-founder in 2018 of Shezam, the feminist magic podcast* that hopes to make itself obsolete."

--
* Announced on Facebook on November 26th, "This podcast is now funded, in part, through support from the Endowment and Development Fund of the International Brotherhood of Magicians."

Website: CarisaHendrix.com




2018 Nominee: Mike Segal

Mike Segal 
Nominated by Sam.
"He inspired a generation of young magicians to turn their hobbies into careers. Magic Mike gave us a space, a special club and to some, a family where we could explore our creativity and expand our knowledge with like-minded people. Magic Mike is not only an amazing mentor but he is also a fantastic performer. Whether he’s teaching a class or performing in front of a huge crowd, he’s always giving 100%. He is known in the magic community for his positive attitude and he will stop at nothing to lend a helping hand. If that doesn’t deserve recognition, I don’t know what does!"

--
Did you know that now in his post-magic camp days Mike runs the ONLY magical instructional program certified by the Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Public Library?  From Facebook:
"Sorcerers Safari Magic Camp is NOW offering The ART of MAGIC in all school programs (After 4, Artist in Residence, Lunch and Team Building). Sorcerers Safari Magic Camp is THE ONLY magic instructional program certified by the TDSB and TPL. Bring a little MAGIC to your school."

Website: Magic-Mike.com





2018 Nominee: Kent Wong

Kent Wong
Nominated by Unknown.
"I nominate KENT WONG from Edmonton. He is one of the most giving an talented magicians in Canada and his shows are extremely well written, rehearsed and thought out. His unbelievable attitude to help magicians and people in general is un heard of and he never asks for anything in return. His door is always open for anyone to use. He uses his magic to raise money for charities, feed the homeless, gloves and coffee for the homeless all through magic shows and when he is not doing that he is performing for children at the hospitals. Kent does this while having a family, and a very busy full time job. He knows all aspects of magic, psychology, timing, misdirection and history. Im glad he is my friend in magic."

and from another Unknown:
"I too nominate KENT WONG from Edmonton. Kent had a fundraiser for the non profit organization Adarius 4 Autism. He took the time to set it up, and spent the whole day doing shows and donated all the profits. The event raised $1300. All the attendees were very entertained."


Website: KentWongMagic.com


Cast your vote now at Poll Junkie!





08 December 2018

Jeff Pinsky - honourary life member of Ring 17

From the Canada's Magic Twitter feed: A note to subscribers: the content of this post is embedded from another website and is not available to preview. To view the content of the post, please visit http://CanadasMagic.blogspot.com. Some of the embedded code may be visible in this notification.

07 December 2018

Shawn Farquhar's PB&J European tour

From Shawn Farquhar's Facebook page:

A note to subscribers: the content of this post is embedded from another website and is not available to preview. To view the content of the post, please visit http://CanadasMagic.blogspot.com. Some of the embedded code may be visible in this notification.

06 December 2018

Toronto: Win tickets to see "Champions of Magic"

Great news folks! I have been offered a family prize pack of four (4) tickets to give away to my readers, to attend the Champions of Magic at The Bluma Appel Theatre December 23, 2018 at 5:00 pm, Toronto, Canada. 
Champions Of Magic’s five world-class illusionists deliver an action-packed show to entertain the entire family featuring; incredible illusions with sports cars, an impossible escape from Houdini’s water torture cell, mind-blowing predictions that have to be seen to be believed, levitation from wonderous heights and a finale beyond explanation. The tour features original magic that can’t be seen anywhere else, in an explosive show that will delight audiences of all ages.


Five magicians make up this mind-bending magical troop, including:
  • Kayla Drescher, named the Next Great Magician by David Copperfield.
  • Alex McAleer has the ability to tap into his audience's’ minds and read their thoughts.
  • Fernando Velasco who has triumphed over it all, from straitjackets to water tanks and handcuffs to giant steel traps, he has faced some of the deadliest escape stunts ever performed.
  • Young and Strange have been featured on television shows around the globe thanks to their spectacular illusions and viral videos.

The cast will be in the lobby after the performance for photos at no cost.

If you don't want to leave tickets to chance, you can purchase them at ticketmaster.ca


I will be holding a random draw for the family pack of tickets (minimum retail value $516 CAD).  (There will be one winner.)  The draw results will be posted by Sunday December the 16th.


To enter:
  1. Log into the RaffleCopter widget below, using Facebook or a valid e-mail address.
  2. Mandatory: Leave a comment in the widget, telling me what you think is the most difficult magical effect to take on tour and perform in front of a large audience night after night (from a personal experience, stories from peers, personal opinion etc).  (You do not need to be a magician to enter the contest.  You could simply say “All of them, I’m not a magician!”)
  3. Optional: For an additional entry
    a) Sign in to your Twitter account
    b) Use the RaffleCopter widget to send this message to your Twitter followers:
    "Enter by Dec 13 to win a family pack of tickets to see Champions of Magic at the Bluma Appel Theatre via @canadasmagic https://canadasmagic.blogspot.com/2018/12/toronto-win-tickets-to-see-champions-of.html"

    c) Enter the URL of your Tweet into the RaffleCopter widget to validate your entry.
    (The optional entry is only valid if the Tweet URL is included.)
  4. If you win, you must be willing to provide your full name and contact information so that a representative from Champions of Magic can coordinate with the Bluma Appel Theatre box office.


The fine print:
  • To participate in the contest, you must be 18 years of age or older.
  • One entry (and one optional entry) per person.
  • This giveaway is open to Canadian residents, excluding residents of Quebec. (Je m'excuse!)
  • This giveaway is void where prohibited by law.
  • If you experience difficulties leaving a comment, you may e-mail it to me for posting.  (I am not responsible if your e-mail is misdirected or gets stuck in my Spam folder.)
  • This giveaway may be terminated or withdrawn at any time.
  • Entries my be disqualified at any time (reasons for disqualification include but are not limited to the provision of information that is untruthful, inaccurate, incomplete, or suspected fraudulent behavour).
  • You must be able to use the tickets as offered.  (No cash value will be offered if you cannot use the tickets.)
  • Transportation to/from Toronto and accommodations will not be provided.
  • Photo ID will be required to claim the tickets at the the Bluma Appel Theatre box office prior to the show on your way into the theatre.
  • The odds of winning depend on how many people enter the contest.
  • Contest closes on Thursday December the 13th, 2018 at 11:59pm ET.


With thanks to Starvox Entertainment for generously making these tickets available to you!



a Rafflecopter giveaway