Showing posts with label # CM. Show all posts
Showing posts with label # CM. Show all posts

11 December 2020

Random thoughts about Changing Cards by Richard Young

Bob Swadling mentored teenage Richard Young for several years.
 
Bob was a judge in The Magic Circle's "The Young Magician" annual close-up competition the year Richard won.  Bob lived near Richard and offered to tutor Richard for free (as a way for Bob to give back to the magic community).

Regular readers of the blog will know that British magician Richard Young has toured through Canada with Champions of Magic every year since 2017.  You may know that in 2019 he won The John Nevil Maskelyne award presented by The Magic Circle for his excellent work on "The Magician's Podcast."  

But were you aware that he recently acquired the rights to manufacture and sell Bob Swadling's "Swadling Magic Changing Card?"  Enter Richard Young's Changing Cards.

The pitch:


How are these cards made? 
  
Richard spent a significant amount of time with Bob and Val (Bob's wife) to ensure that Changing Cards continue to be made with the high standards of the original. (Val's August 9th Facebook posts suggests that Richard has made improvements from the original!)

Here are some random thoughts about Richard's gorgeous Changing Cards:

  • The official trailer (above) shows Harry De Cruz beautifully demonstrating a multitude of different uses for a card that appears to completely change in mid-air.
  • This summer Kidlet, KOP, and I let our imaginations run wild with speculation as to the method of this effect.
Will they last?

Richard has some sets from Bob which were used for over three years and they never broke.  Richard has used the cards he makes almost daily, for more than year so far!
  • Imagine our delight when the universe saw fit to put one in our mailbox!
  • The cards come handsomely packaged with attention to detail reminiscent of Bobby Motta's lecture notes for "thirteen."
  • It feels like one is opening up something really special.
As advertised
  
"Completely self working beautiful hand crafted gimmicks that look like trick photography that you can perform anywhere. Perfect for Close-Up, Parlour, Instagram and even Zoom shows."

"No elastic thread to break, no lines on the cards, no half flaps or sliding panels. Just simply the best changing card ever conceived. You won’t believe how brilliant these are in the flesh."
Will it play big?

Watch Stephen Mulhern perform the Changing Card earlier this month at The Royal Variety Performance.

 

Richard Young’s Changing Cards are practically real magic.

 

Get yours before they disappear!

A thread at The Magic Café suggests that these cards may only be available for a limited time. 

Look for our formal review of Changing Cards in an upcoming issue of Vanish Magazine.

 

 

 

Disclosure:  We received a complimentary Changing CardThe opinions expressed above are entirely our own. We did not receive compensation for the writing or the publishing of this article.


01 December 2020

Mail as Medicine: Request for Katie (The Great) Hunt

You may know Katie (Katie The Great - Face and Body Artist) as a face and body artist who also acted as an entertainment booking agent.  She wrote for Laugh Makers, Funny Bone, Face International, and other family entertainment and face paint magazines.  Additionally, she presented many workshops on marketing for Face Painter entertainers.  Katie also presented at the Face and Body Art International Conference at their Orlando USA conference for years. 

Many of you know Katie as Doug (The Great) Hunt's wife for over 40 years.

Katie is diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia.  She still remembers her past friendships and asks about her old friends in the business.  Doug is Katie's primary caregiver while they wait for a spot to open up in long term care.

Katie (and Doug) would both benefit from hearing from their friends.

That's where you come in.

If you have a few minutes, please send Katie and Doug a quick email smile or share a memory to brighten their day!

Doug's email address is:  stiltrecord at yahoo dot ca


A handwritten note, an uplifting card, or a "thinking of you" postcard can be sent to:

Doug and Katie Hunt
264 Memorial Drive
Brantford, Ontario, N3R 7H3


Sending sunshine and best wishes to both Katie and Doug.












29 November 2020

Random thoughts about "The Deadly Doom of the Dungeons of Duodenum"

My family and I were invited to spectate "The Deadly Doom of the Dungeons of Duodenum" last night.  Quite frankly, we had no idea what to expect.


It's been a long time since my D&D days so we attended as spectators.


Here are some random thoughts that came to mind while watching "The Deadly Doom of the Dungeons of Duodenum":

  • No experience playing D&D?  No need to worry!  The talented Michael Ripley guided (DM'd) the adventure giving generous guidance to the novice adventurers who rose beautifully to the occasion! 
  • Have D&D experience?  Help lead your adventurer party and be suitably challenged by the DM.
  • It is exactly as advertised by Eric Woolfe:
    • It is a live play with puppets.  
    • The adventurers choose the direction of the adventure.
    • Many of the outcomes are driven by the randomness of the roll of the dice.
  • There are prerecorded video vignettes by such notables as Doctor Pretorious Wuthergloom and Kenneth Welsh!

  • Every show is different.  (Even with the same adventurers, making the same choices, the randomness of the dice will lead to different outcomes.)
  • For long time fans of Eric Woolfe and Eldritch Theatre, there are some well placed Easter eggs.   We caught throwbacks to "The Harrowing of Brimstone McReedy," "Buster Canfield and his Amazing Fleas!" and of course "Doc Wuthergloom's Haunted Medicine Show."  There were likely many, many more.)
  • We witnessed a show with brave and entertaining adventurers!  (You don't need to be an actor to play.)
    Thank you Perdon, Scritch-Scratch, Al, Gormunga, and Sparkletastic!  (You want Sparkletastic on your campaigns.  The dice-gods were clearly in their favour!)
  • Thank you talented DM Michael Ripley, puppeteers Kimwun Perehinec and Eric Woolfe, and the staff of the Eldritch Theatre (Melanie McNeil, Sandi Becker, Adrianna Prosser et al) for hosting an captivating evening's escape from reality.

 

Don't just take our word for it, here's what TV writer Mike McPhaden has to say:





The "The Deadly Doom of the Dungeons of Duodenum" runs until December 5th.  

Details at EldritchTheatre.ca/dungeons



Disclosure:  My family 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.

 

 

13 October 2020

A clear solution for face coverings?

Recently on social media, I’ve seen it suggested that clear plastic "mouth shields" are ideal cloth mask substitutes for performers because they allow the audience to see your facial expressions.


Before you throw away your cloth face masks, be sure to ask yourself (or the mouth shield manufacturer):

Is there scientific evidence to suggest their mouth shield is as good as cloth masks in preventing the spread of COVID-19?

If the manufacturer says that their mouth shields are just as effective as face shields in preventing the spread of COVID-19, consider that the health care community does not support the use of face shields alone as source control (not sharing your germs) or as protection (not getting other people's germs). [1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10]

 


Cheryl Brown of CBC News, published the following on August 29, 2020 in the article "Can I use a mouth shield instead of a mask? Your COVID-19 questions answered" [emphasis mine]:

  • "The experts say no."
  • "'I don't think they're a really good alternative at all,' said Dr. Susy Hota, medical director for infection prevention and control at the University Health Network in Toronto, in a recent interview on The National." and
  • "Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto, also said he's 'not a fan' because mouth shields don't collect droplets like a mask would."

 

As you make your decision, please consider your health and the especially the health of those with whom you'll be spending your time.



 

 

 

--------------------

References:

[1] “Focus on: Face Shields for Source Control of COVID-19.” Public Health Ontario, 16 July 2020, www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/main/2020/07/covid-19-face-shields-source-control.pdf?la=en.
 
[2] Gray, Richard. “Why a Face Shield Alone May Not Protect You from Coronavirus.BBC News, BBC, 6 Aug. 2020, www.bbc.com/future/article/20200806-are-face-shields-effective-against-covid-19.
 
[3] Roberge, Raymond J. “Face Shields for Infection Control: A Review.Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, Taylor & Francis, 2016; 13(4): 235–242 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5015006/.
 
[4] Woods, Michael. “Face Shields vs. Face Masks: Which Is Better?CTV News, CTV, 14 July 2020, ottawa.ctvnews.ca/face-shields-vs-face-masks-which-is-better-1.5023909.
 
[5] Hensley, Laura. “Face Shields Are Easier to Talk in, but Are They Safer than Masks?Global News, Global News, 18 June 2020, globalnews.ca/news/7075262/face-shields-covid-19-coronavirus/.
 
[6] “Can a Face Shield Be Used as a Substitute or a Replacement for a Mask?” Ottawa Public Health, www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/public-health-topics/masks.aspx.
 
[7] Duong, Diana. “Masks vs. Face Shields: Which One Is Safer?Healthing.ca, PostMedia, 27 July 2020, www.healthing.ca/diseases-and-conditions/coronavirus/face-shields-vs-masks-guess-which-one-is-safer.
 
[8] Schimelpfening, Nancy. “Why Plastic Face Shields Aren't a Safe Alternative to Cloth Masks.Healthline, Healthline Media, 1 Sept. 2020, www.healthline.com/health-news/why-plastic-face-shields-arent-a-safe-alternative-to-cloth-masks.
 
[9] “COVID-19: Considerations for Wearing Masks.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7 Aug. 2020, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html.
 
[10] “Face Shield or Face Mask to Stop the Spread of COVID-19?ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 1 Sept. 2020, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/09/200901112231.htm.

21 September 2020

Random thoughts about "Piff Live from Las Vegas"

Last Saturday, my family participated in "Piff Live from Las Vegas."  I say "participated in" because it is a truly interactive experience!

Piff with A, a very happy volunteer.
I think I heard A say,
"This is so cool, he picked me!"
Photo credit: Piff






Here are some random thoughts that came to mind while watching "Piff Live from Las Vegas":
  • It is an unexpected treat to see Piff perform live from Vegas, without having to shell out for airfare and accommodations.
  • Great view of the show, no one kicking my seat from behind, adjustable audio, no traffic, and free parking!
  • The show is suitable for the whole family.
  • It is packed with comedy, mentalism, and magic!
  • Jade works really, really hard!  
  • So do Francis, Alex, and of course Mr. Piffles.
      
  • The show takes audience interaction to a whole new level!  
    • There's an increased likelihood of spending time on the big screen if:
      -
      your preschoolers / puppets / stuffies / dragons / pets like dancing to Funky Town!
      - you choose to participate in the scavenger hunts
    • There's the standard interaction of volunteers to assist with tricks.  
    • Combined with the excitement of a scavenger hunt.  
    • Plus trivia (for iPhone users).  
    • Top it all off with the roving fan camera concept done at sporting events, where anyone with their camera on can be featured on the "big screen!"
       
  • Never fear, no one is forced to participate.
  • There are sometimes prizes for volunteers!
  • Volunteer selection is done very creatively.
  • Volunteers appear "up on stage" with the dragon himself.
  • For the magicians:
    • Piff weighed in on "art vs craft".
    • Quick demo of a recent release by Richard Young. 
    • Increased shot at prizes if you know your David Copperfield and / or Piff trivia.

  


Here's what others had to say about the show:




 

 

 

Disclosure:  My family 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.

 

 

 

 

24 February 2020

Random thoughts about the Carisa Hendrix Ring 17 lecture

After the many hours I've spent with Carisa's voice in my head (via Shezam, the podcast that hopes to make itself obsolete), it is delightful to know she's as wonderful in person as she sounds in the podcast!

Those of you who know me, know that I arrive early to magic lectures with the specific intent of securing a back row seat.  Imagine my surprise when, just before the lecture started, we all shifted 180 degrees and I found myself in the front row!  I'm delighted it happened.  It was great to have a clear view for such an inspiring lecture!
  • Generally speaking, men seem less patient listening to magical ideas they can't directly apply, than women are.  
  • Carisa created an effect that may make it worth getting one's ears pierced.
  • Her "pickpocketing" coin routine is fabulous.
  • Her insights around creating a fool proof structure for an effect (and a performance) were well thought out and supported by extensive field testing.
  • She has put a tremendous amount of thought and effort towards developing concrete metrics by which to measure the success of her performances.  ("What gets measured, gets managed." -- Peter Drucker)
It will come as a surprise to no one, what the potato chip flavour or choice was for the pseudo-ex-pat lecturer:
  • To borrow a phrase from the medical community, this data-driven approach clearly makes her an "evidence-based" performer.  This approach serves her well.
  • She personifies the advice she gives in the podcast with respect to audience volunteer interaction.  I look forward to a day when every performer treats their volunteers with this level of respect.
  • She had excellent thoughts on the parallels of comedy and magic.
  • It was wonderful to learn about the evolution of the book production that made its way to Penn and Teller: Fool Us!
  • We were treated to the distillation of $32K worth of art school into ~30 minutes with a crash course in Meta-Modernity.  Lots of food for thought.







    A post shared by James Alan (@jamesalanmagician) on

  • And of course no magic lecture is complete without a deck of cards. Nothing like a variation of a Tommy Wonder routine by Carisa and Kayla Drescher to end the night!

Thank you for an excellent lecture Carisa!

Congratulations to Bob Taylor, who was awarded honourary lifetime membership!



The Sid Lorraine Hat and Rabbit Club has posted some photos on Facebook.  Canada's Magic has some photos on Instagram.


Here's what James Harrison thought about the lecture:




20 February 2020

Random thoughts about "Illusions: The Art of Magic"

Visit "Illusions: The Art of Magic" February 22nd to May 18, in the AGO’s Sam & Ayala Zacks Pavillion.

The exhibition is free for AGO Members, AGO Annual Pass holders and visitors 25 years and under.
I participated in the recent media preview of the upcoming AGO exhibition, "Illusions: The Art of Magic," which features more than 55 colourful vintage posters from the Allan Slaight Collection.*  The collection is guest curated by Magicana’s artistic director and historian David Ben.



Adolph Friedländer, Comedians de Mephisto Co.
Adolph Friedländer, Comedians de Mephisto Co. Allied with Le Roy-Talma-Bosco, 1905. 186.5 × 266.5 cm. M2014.128.318. ©McCord Museum



The exhibition is a journey back to the Golden Age of Magic.  During this time magicians of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were among the first artists to embark on international tours.  Promotional posters portrayed magician's magical powers through illustrated advertisements ranging in size from postcards to wall-sized posters.

“These posters tell us so much about that time – the public’s fascination with Asia, with spiritualism, the occult and the changing role of women in society,” says Julian Cox, the AGO’s Deputy Director and Chief Curator. “Toronto was a popular stop on the international touring circuit for magicians, and Houdini performed here numerous times over his career. These works and the stories behind them remain as captivating today as they were one hundred years ago.”

The Metropolitan Printing Company, Adelaide Herrmann and Company, About 1905, 20th century, 76.7 x 50.2 cm. Purchase, funds graciously donated by La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso. M2014.128.207. © McCord Museum



Listen to the February 18th interview with Julie Eng in the CBC q studio where she talks about the exhibit, cultural appropriation, the role of women in magic, and how many of their stories have been overshadowed and forgotten.
There are many focal points within the exhibition, such as: women in magic, spiritualism, cultural appropriation, and the symbolism of devils, skulls, & demons.



More than posters.

In addition to the beautiful posters, there are wonderful video clips too.  For example:

A still shot from video of Harry Blackstone and his dancing handkerchief

A still shot from an interview with Julie Eng talking about her life in magic.

A still shot from video of Houdini's variation of a forearm riffle.




Keep an eye open for these "hole in the wall" viewing portals to catch a peek of more video!



Make your own magic poster
There's a station where you can digitally create your own magic poster!  (Complete with a legend that explains what all the animals and other objects on the posters represent.)



The exhibition also features other magcially historical items such as:
  • wonderful selections from David Ben's collection, including Hofzinser cards and items particular to magic in Toronto (including a vistors' book from Arcade Magic!)
  • handcuffs used by Houdini, and
  • Houdini's straitjacket

Hofzinser cards from David Ben's collection

Visitor book from Arcade Magic.  From David Ben's collection.

Houdini's straitjacket.


Av Yaga, Alexander, the Man Who Knows, 1915, 20th century
207.9 x 107.7 cm. Purchase, funds graciously donated by La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso. M2014.128.3. © McCord Museum

But wait!  There's more!

There will be daily live performances at the exhibition provided by the Toronto Magic Company.  Confirmed performers include:

- James Alan (Classics of Magic)
- Jonah  Babins (Interactive Impossibilities)
- Harry Zimmerman and Chris Mayhew (Close-Up Magic)
- Toronto Magic Showcase
- Toronto Magic Company (Making Magic)
- Ben Train (Mental Mysteries)

Check the Toronto Magic Company website for the performance schedule.






Visit "Illusions: The Art of Magic" February 22nd to May 18, in the AGO’s Sam & Ayala Zacks Pavillion.   The exhibition is free for AGO Members, AGO Annual Pass holders and visitors 25 years and under.


--
* ABOUT THE ALLAN SLAIGHT COLLECTION
Acquired by the McCord Museum thanks to La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso, the Allan Slaight Collection is one of the world’s largest collections of rare magic posters comprising more than 600 posters and more 1,000 documents and rare books. The collection was named in honour of the Canadian businessman and magic enthusiast Allan Slaight.

20 December 2019

Random thoughts about "Champions of Magic" 2019

A quick reminder that the Champions of Magic are half-way through their Canadian tour.  Remaining dates:  Saskatoon (January 16), Regina (January 17), Prince George (January 26), and Rama (February 29).


Champions of Magic. 
Photo credit: Champions of Magic.



Last Saturday Kidlet, Kidlet's Friend (KF), Kidlet's Other Parent (KOP), and I made the trek in the wet snow, to Oshawa's Tribute Communities Centre (TCC).  We arrived early and had a chance to get the feel of the arena. 
  • This was my first time attending a show at the TCC.   (My first arena show too.  Thank goodness McAleer posted that arena shows are cold.  We were dressed accordingly!)
  • All of the arena staff were super helpful, professional, and generally fabulous!  Special thanks to (TCC's) Kayla for her time spent with Kidlet. 
  • The show is about an hour for the first half, 15 minutes intermission, and about an hour in the second half.
  • Again I am genuinely afraid of posting spoilers.  The less you know going in, the more you'll enjoy it.

 

On with the show...

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.



I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

So. Much. Fun!

 

KOP's review: A great cast puts on a great performance!
  • While the show has the same overall structure as the one at The Bluma Appel Theatre that I saw last year, there are many new wonderful moments.  (Sadly, there were fewer Chimpions.  Also missing: a dinosaur and two folding chairs.) 
  • They've refined their scripting and introduced some brilliant new lines.
  • The audience came ready to have a good time!  They were all very friendly and primed to be entertained.  (It seemed like everyone in the audience knew each other, at least where we were sitting.)
  • The four magic acts are interwoven through the show, which works really well at keeping each of the disciplines fresh and reduces down time.
  • KF had this to say: They did a really good job of making a coherent show while preserving each magician's unique style.
  • Kayla Drescher, Alex McAleer, Fernando Velasco, and Young & Strange all do what they do very well!
  • The cast seem to genuinely get along amazingly well both on and off stage.
  • The show starts strong with Young and Strange and keeps up an astonishing pace.  It's refreshing to see a man get put into boxes to be squished and skewered!  
  • Even after having seen them perform a similar set before, Young and Strange are remarkably entertaining to watch.  One can't help but get caught up in the fun they are having on stage!
  • They sure know how to play to the crowd!

    Young (sporting the jersey of the Oshawa Generals) and Strange.
    Photo credit: William Balfour, Spectra Experiences.

  • There's LOTS audience participation with both children and adults!
  • McAleer does impressive mind reading.  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. 
  • He masterfully handles the subject of geography from a unique frame of reference.
  • Should I ever be in a position to interview McAleer live, I'm going to need to wear an aluminum foil hat to keep him out of my thoughts!

  • Kelly and Dave help out Alex McAleer. 
    Photo credit: William Balfour, Spectra Experiences.

  • Velasco succeeds in breathtaking, heart-stopping escapes and then some.  Even though I've seen him do many of these things before, everything he does makes me nervous!  He made some else in the audience nervous too.  About the same time the photo below was taken, I could hear someone shout "Common! GET OUTTA THERE!"

    Fernando Velasco in danger.
    Photo credit: William Balfour, Spectra Experiences.

  • During intermission, the audience was amazed and energized from the first half.  I heard many people wondering out loud, "How on earth did they do that?"
  • The second half opened with a "new to me" segment that is very engaging.  It gave us a chance to connect with each of the performers in a simple but meaningful way. 
  • Drescher did some fabulous close-up in the audience, and a couple of types of "arts and crafts."  (Also of note, Drescher's volunteer Sean, was reluctant to break her heart.)
  • I need to mention that Drescher's handling of volunteers, especially young Mason, was EXCELLENT!  Things were explained in advance.  Consent was obtained.  Respect was given.   As it should be.  (This should come as no surprise to anyone who listens to  "Shezam," the podcast she co-hosts, which has touched on the topic of volunteer handling on more than one occasion.)

    Kayla Drescher with Mason and Brian.
    Photo credit:  William Balfour, Spectra Experiences.

  • Canadian trivia: Gerry Frenette's original illusion is still in the show!
     
  • Note to performers: Always be extra nice to the sound techs.  You never know when they WILL exact their revenge!
  • I'll never get tired of watching Young and Strange channel their inner SARMOTI in their high energy illusion medley!  
  • Marissa Maiorana, the aerialist was fabulous!

    Marissa Maiorana flying high.
    Photo credit: William Balfour, Spectra Experiences.

  • Also fabulous:  Kaylan, Brendon, Brandon, Will, Matt, and the rest of the stage crew and theatre crew.  Especially Alex J.  These folks hustle to keep the pace going!
  • The show felt lighter and more playful this year.  Everyone was on board with it! 
  • Drescher said in her interview: "We work hard to make the show not just magically impressive, but an absolutely fun time.

    Achievement unlocked.
     
  • Kidlet really enjoyed the show.  Even knowing what it was going to be, Kidlet still really loved the ending!
  • Although this was the second time seeing the show, I was again thoroughly entertained!  There are so many moments of joyous laughter, and periods of being completely enthralled in the spectacle. 
  • Bonus post-show magic: three primary school aged girls in adorable dresses, created piles of golden confetti, threw the shiny pieces up in the air and danced and sang "red light, green light" as it showered down over them.  Repeatedly.


While excellent magic is at the core of this experience, it's clear that the focus is providing a fabulously entertaining evening.

They definitely hit their mark!


Don't just take my word for it, have a read of TCC Reviewer Sherri Norton's December 15th post "#TCCreviewer: CHAMPIONS OF MAGIC."  Here's part of her review: "The memories? Priceless - a must see show!"


Catch the Champions of Magic in Saskatoon (January 16), Regina (January 17), Prince George (January 26), and Rama (February 29).




Disclosure:  My family 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.


For more photos, read Sherri's review "#TCCreviewer: CHAMPIONS OF MAGIC" or visit the Tribute Communities Centre Instagram.


















02 November 2019

A(nother) peek behind the curtain with Sam Strange

Upcoming Champions of Magic Canadian tour dates:
  • 12/8/19     Brandon, MB
  • 12/12/19   Ottawa, ON      
  • 12/14/19   Oshawa, ON
  • 12/15/19   Laval, QC
  • 1/16/20     Saskatoon, SK    SaskTel Centre
  • 1/17/20     Regina, SK    Conexus Arts Centre
  • 1/26/20     Prince George, BC
  • 2/29/20    Rama, ON        
Read more and buy tickets.


A peek behind the curtain with Sam Strange border= 

You may remember the fabulous interview, "A peek behind the curtain with Young and Strange," from December of last year.  I was delighted to receive an invitation to take a second pass at an email interview with Sam Strange (the taller half of Young and Strange) as part of a Champions of Magic promotion.

Many of you know that Strange orchestrated a most wonderful surprise last June for Richard Young and The Magicians' Podcast.  






You've toured a number of countries.  Have you experienced anything specific about Canadian audiences in particular?
That run of shows we did in Toronto (in December 2018) is generally considered by the cast to be some of the best shows we have ever done, with some of the best audiences we have ever performed to. That maybe in part due to the perfect theatre for the show and at Christmas time when everyone is in a great mood anyway. Young and I did have to evolve the humour and delivery for our act for American audiences, but it does seem that the Canadian audiences sense of humour is a little more aligned with the British.


What interests do you have outside of magic?
 

The 2 interests I’m about to list don’t do my reputation any favours.

Manmade underground structures.
Included in that are tunnels, bunkers and mines. Specifically NOT caves. As we all know, caves are dull.

Prisons. Difficult to articulate why or how those interests have come about it. If I were a betting man (which Young will testify is the case) I would say it’s the human history and sinister nature of both. Prisons are renowned for the evil held within and most places built underground are not for the living.

I am mindful that this answer has given good ammunition in the next round of off stage ribbing from other cast members.

What are your thoughts on touring life?
If you ever get the chance to be a part of a touring show on the scale of Champions of Magic, take it.

It’s an insane experience when I reflect on it. There's a cast and crew of 14 people all travelling together, who are all passionate about magic, who are all decent people and who are all as invested in the show as anyone else  It’s constantly peppered with euphoric highs. As you can imagine, the show is the focus and pretty much all conversations outside of the theatre relate in someway back to the show. I think it’s important to have a bit of escapism from time to time and respect other peoples space when they need it.




Do you have any pre-show rituals?
 
As it’s a mixed bill of magicians, it’s always important to get the best response from the audience. I often perform a routine of sabotage on the other magicians props. It’s enormously helpful to making our act peacock ahead of the others and subsequently helps to prop up my misplaced ego.

What do you do to keep your performance fresh for both your audience and you?
As a double act we are fortunate because we can be a catalyst for each other during the performance. If I feel Young’s delivery or energy dip during the performance (or vice versa) we can pick each other up, feeding from each others enthusiasm. I also find that putting the ‘work’ into perspective really helps. [Last December's 17 day run of] 41 shows sounds impressive and tiring, but I’m not at a coalface and I am living my dream. The least I can do to sustain that is to look engaged and interested while on stage.


If you could be endowed with the talent to take on any Broadway role past or present, who would you pick?
My hands are tied. This is an interview for Canada's Magic and it’s important to do everything I can to win you round.
Therefore my answer can only be Doug Henning.

Fortunately not only is that a politically astute answer, but it’s also pretty true. The vibrancy, colour and pure joy of his act would be so much fun to do.
[Editor's note: Truly a terrific answer.  AND it shares internal consistency with last December's interview.  Well done!]



Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
On a personal level, I love being a part of the Champions of Magic show. In buying a ticket and coming to support the show you are allowing me, and many other people I tour with, to live their childhood dreams. Think of it as a charity and spread the word for the next run of Canadian shows.



 


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

Catch the Champions of Magic on tour in Canada!


Upcoming Champions of Magic Canadian tour dates:
  • 12/8/19     Brandon, MB
  • 12/12/19   Ottawa, ON      
  • 12/14/19   Oshawa, ON
  • 12/15/19   Laval, QC
  • 1/16/20     Saskatoon, SK    SaskTel Centre
  • 1/17/20     Regina, SK    Conexus Arts Centre
  • 1/26/20     Prince George, BC
  • 2/29/20    Rama, ON         
Read more and buy tickets.