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

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

15 November 2019

Scott Hammell on "Shoulders of Giants"

From PodTail:
OELC/CASO: Shoulders of Giants focuses on the extraordinary achievements of OELC alumni. Nathan Adams interviews these “Giants” to discuss the impact their time at the Ontario Educational Leadership Centre had on their journey.

Episode 2 - Scott Hammell (magician, escape artist and leader):
In this episode Nathan interviews Scott Hammell.   Scott shares his unique perspective on leadership and facing fear as well as the impact OELC/CASO has had on his life.

Scott Hammell, the four-time Guinness World Record holder has hung upside down from a hot air balloon while locked in a straitjacket and chains at 7 200 feet (World’s Highest Suspension Straitjacket Escape), dangled by his ankles and juggled for over a minute and a half (Longest Inverted Juggling Duration), successfully completed a card trick while skydiving (World’s Fastest Moving Card Trick) and jumped from an airplane to skydive while blindfolded and handcuffed (Highest Blindfolded Skydive). 









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.

26 October 2019

A(nother) peek behind the curtain with Alex McAleer

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 Alex McAleer 

You may remember the wonderful interview, "A peek behind the curtain with Alex McAleer," from December of last year.  I was delighted to receive an invitation to take a second pass at an email interview with McAleer as part of a Champions of Magic promotion.

If you haven't already, check out his YouTube channel where he hosts his series Mind Games in addition to his Champions of Magic tour vlog.






What do you do to keep your performance fresh for both your audience and you?

Although my act has a solid structure, each show is different as the audience play a big part in deciding what happens, whether they know it or not. So it becomes a bit like improv for me. That helps to keep it fresh, but I always try to keep my energy and enthusiasm up for each and every audience because it might be 1000th time I’ve done the show but for them it’s their first time seeing it.

You've toured a number of countries.  Have you experienced anything specific about Canadian audiences in particular?  
Canadian audience have the North American enthusiasm like crowds in the U.S. but feel a bit more like the audiences back home in the UK in terms of their sense of humour.

Do you have any advice for touring magicians?
Advice for touring magicians...
  • Travel light.
     
  • Don’t use a roller bag. They can never fit them all in the overhead bins on a flight. 
     
  • Save locations like coffee shops, stores, restaurants, whatever, on Google maps so when you go back again for more shows or whatever, you’ve got a list of your favourite locations.
     
  • Take time to see things the town or city is known for. Ask a local, especially Uber drivers.
     
  • If you find good WiFi somewhere, use it wisely - download films, books, podcasts, whatever you need. You’ll regret it later if you don’t.
     
  • Steal all the fee toiletries from hotels. They might come in handy on the road, or make disappointing gifts for people you don’t like very much.
     
  • Have something to do in the downtime. Usually I’m editing a tour vlog, or writing up some new ideas. Kayla and Young both have podcasts.  [Editor's note:  podcasts are Shezam Pod and The Magicians' Podcast respectively.]


What interests do you have outside of magic?
Film. Art. Cooking. Gym. Laughing. Anthropomorphising inanimate objects. Not always in the order.
Do you have any tour or pre-show rituals?

Not really as I’m not at all superstitious. However, I always brush my teeth before a show but that’s more of a courtesy to participants that join me on stage and makes me smile more on stage.

If you were to ask the others what McAleer likes to do pre-show they’d say get ready ridiculously early; costume and mic on, ready to go, long before I need to.


If you could be endowed with the talent to take on any Broadway role past or present, who would you pick?
Something from ‘Into The Woods’ ... maybe doubling up as the Wolf and one of the Princes as they get the songs that would be most fun to perform.

Those are fun parts! You can't go wrong with Sondheim.






Thank you Alex McAleer for making the time to answer 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.




19 October 2019

A peek behind the curtain with Kayla Drescher

Upcoming Champions of Magic Canadian tour dates:
  • 12/8/19     Brandon, MB
  • 12/12/19   Ottawa, ON       <<<  ** recent addition **
  • 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         <<<  ** recent addition **
Read more and buy tickets.


A peek behind the curtain with Kayla Drescher 

I was delighted to receive an invitation to email interview Kayla Drescher, as part of a Champions of Magic promotion.  You may know already know Drescher as the winner of the Today Show's “The Next Great Magician” (judged by David Copperfield), from appearing on season four of Penn and Teller Fool Us, or from lecturing in Toronto last January

(Read on to learn more about Drescher's connection to the Canadian magician known as "The Beauty of Magic.")






Who inspires you magically?

My mentors are a couple from Indianapolis - Christian and Katalina.  They are my biggest inspiration magically.  I enjoy watching magicians that are grounded and “real”, like you want to buy them a beer after the show.  That’s what I aim for as a performer and am inspired by those that do the same.




What is your first memory of magic?
 

My first memories were from seeing magic at a magic shop at 7 years old.  That’s where I caught the “bug.”
Why do you think people are still fascinated by magic, especially live magic? 
Because it’s happening directly in front of you.  When magic is happening with no screen or special CGI, it adds to the impossibility.  Add in magic happening in your hands… well there’s nothing better.


Where do you find non-magical inspiration?
 

I love watching dance and choreographers tell a story through movement, listening to music that motivates something magically, or watching a movie suspend the audience’s disbelief and transport you to another world.  Comedy is also a huge influence, especially improv and character-based sketch comedy.  I’m also super inspired by Celine Dion and basically everything she does, especially her fashion.  My choice for clothing on stage is highly motivated by hers. 
What’s is it about Champions of Magic that has allowed you to draw large audiences on 6 UK tours and 3 North American tours over the past six years?
Champions of Magic features every type of magic you could possibly imagine while keeping it fun for the whole family.  But really what we feature over any other show, TV program, movie, etc, is us.  The 5 performers have strong, enjoyable, and engaging personalities.  You get to know us individually and as a performing “family.”  We truly enjoy touring together and you can see that on stage.  We probably feature more high-fives than any other show has.  Audience members come back show after show because they enjoy “hanging out” with us.  And because the audiences are different, the show is just a little different each time, making each show super memorable.    We work hard to make the show not just magically impressive, but an absolutely fun time.



What surprised you most about performing in different countries?  Have you experienced anything specific about Canadian audiences in particular?
The biggest difference is the style of humor.  Because I’m primarily comedy/improv based, I have to study what each audience would find funny.  What I love most about Canadian audiences is the immediate excitement when the show starts.  The roar of the audience when the lights go down is everything a performer wants to hear.  We LOVE LOVE LOVE performing for Canadian audiences and cannot wait to do it again!

Do you have a favourite touring anecdote and / or any advice for touring magicians?
There are so many stories from tour and we certainly don’t have time for them all.  My favorites come from pranking Sam Strange, like when he leaves his belongings on stage during rehearsals and I hide them in one of the cup holders in a 4,000 seat theater.  That’s always fun.

My biggest advice is to just be open to any adventure the tour can bring.  I’ve tried different foods, seen amazing parts of various countries, and rode my first Bird scooter (which I fell off) with the tour.  It’s like an adventure of no other so make the most of it!


 

With respect to your connection to Canadian magic, most of our readers will be familiar with the podcast you do with Carisa Hendrix (Shezam! the podcast hopes to make itself obsolete), and many will know about your connection with the Toronto magic crew.  Do you have any other connections to Canadian magic?
I was influenced by Greg Frewin at a young age.  And there's also Celeste Evans.
I first met Celeste Evans and her daughter Evanna at a magic convention when I was roughly 15/16 years old.  Celeste was a hero of mine, being such a trailblazer in the community and having created a full stage act in a tight dress and no suit jacket (which I was wearing at the time).  Celeste often offered unprompted advice to young magicians, especially women in the community.  She was an amazing human being and a fantastic magicians.

When she passed away, Evanna kindly sent me some of her magic-themed jewelry. After I finished crying of pure joy and honor, the jewelry quickly made its way into my usual performance attire.  Her necklace charm, in the shape of a hand with 4 multiplying balls, is what I mainly wear every show, although the ring in the same shape is often on my hand.  I’m honored to carry on a piece of Celeste through everything I do.  


Do you have any tour or pre-show rituals?

I lay on the floor a lot. It’s very comfortable.  Then I do a ton of dancing to loosen up and get happy, give Fernando a high-five, and get on with the show!
You sometimes perform extremely dense runs.  What do you do to keep your performance fresh for both your audience and you?
I try to change little things about my show each time I start to feel myself get complacent.  It could be adding in a new joke, doing a different dance, wearing a new jacket or shoes, just anything to change things up a bit.  We also all try to keep things fresh, from playing tag on stage to making each other laugh in the wings.  I’m thankful to be with a group of people that all know how to have fun and keep things fresh.

What interests do you have outside of magic?
I’m a big basketball fan and keep up with the WNBA and women’s college basketball regularly.  I try to read a lot but always just end up watching Harry Potter.  And I have a really great dog that I enjoy snuggling with.


If you could be endowed with the talent to take on any Broadway role past or present, who would you pick?
Elphaba from Wicked.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
California weather. I’d share California weather with all of Canada.

Ohhh... best gift ever! Don't forget to bottle some for yourself though.  You'll need it when you hit SK in January!


Thank you Kayla Drescher for making the time to answer 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       <<<  ** recent addition **
  • 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         <<<  ** recent addition **
Read more and buy tickets.

12 October 2019

A(nother) peek behind the curtain with Richard Young

Upcoming Champions of Magic Canadian tour dates:
  • 12/8/19     Brandon, MB
  • 12/12/19   Ottawa, ON       <<<  ** recent addition **
  • 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         <<<  ** recent addition **
Read more and buy tickets.


A peek behind the curtain with Richard Young 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 Richard Young (one half of Young and Strange) as part of a Champions of Magic promotion.

Many of you already know Young through his podcast, "The Magician's Podcast."  He's interviewed a handful of Canadians including Darcy Oake, Billy Kidd, and Greg Frewin.   Last June, Young aired an epic 100th (and final) episode, where he interviewed his magic idol David Copperfield.  The Magic Circle recently recognized the outstanding contribution to magic made by Young through his podcast.


From the Magicians' Podcast Twitter feed:






You've toured a number of countries.  Have you experienced anything specific about Canadian audiences in particular?
I think the shows we did in Toronto last Christmas were some of the best shows we have ever done in our six year history. We did so many shows back to back and it was really hard work however the enthusiastic audiences kept us going and our spirits high. I think enthusiasm and energy is what I notice specifically about the Canadian audiences.


Do you have any advice for touring magicians?
 
My top tip for other touring magicians is to buy more underwear, washing machines are hard to find on tour sometimes.
Do you have a favourite touring anecdote?
Touring with Champions of Magic has been the greatest adventure of my life. I remember arriving in North America with the show for the first time in September 2017 about to embark on our first US Tour, it was one of the most thrilling times of my life. I couldn’t believe we had finally made it to America, it had been secretly talked about for a couple of years and I was worried it might never happen. Two days after we arrived we threw out the first pitch at a Cleveland Indians game in front of 30000 people to help promote the show. It really felt like we had ‘arrived in that second.’



What interests do you have outside of magic?
 

I am a huge Musical Theatre fan, I saw both Come From Away and Hamilton last week here in the U.K, I can’t get enough of Come From Away it was the 4th time I have seen it, the London cast are extraordinary.

I also have a weird life long obsession with the Titanic Disaster and know an awful lot about it, from design and conception through to the inquiries that followed the sinking and also how the wreck was found in 1985. If you’re ever struggling to sleep, give me a call and I’ll talk you through Lord Mersey’s inquiry, it was an absolute cluster f**k.
What do you do to keep your performance fresh for both your audience and you?
The fact we are facing forward and talking to the audience as opposed to being in scene or play where we pretend the audience isn’t there means the interaction with the audience will help to keep it fresh night after night. There are a few exercises taught to us by our director which we do during long runs to make sure we are still ‘in the room’ while the show is going on. The same sort of techniques they teach to actors and musical theatre performers on Broadway who do the same role every night in the same theatres for sometimes a couple of years in a row.


If you could be endowed with the talent to take on any Broadway role past or present, who would you pick?
I fantasise about being Javert from Les Miserable quite a bit, however I think if I’m being honest with myself I probably suit Thernadier more. I think I would also be a good Monsier Firmin in Phantom too. 
Could Young play Javert?

Listen to Richard Young interview Andy Nyman in episode 85 and you be the judge.  (The whole interview is fabulous, but the Javert part in particular comes shortly after the 1:14 mark.)

Listen to what Irish tenor Killian Donnelly thinks. Donnelly recently appeared in a West End production of Les Mis as Jean Valjean. 
I know all the words to both parts already so if anyone is reading this looking to fill those parts let me know. I would drop Champions of Magic like a sack of s**t to be in either of those two shows,

this may seem in written published form as a kinda bizarre form of career suicide from Champions however I know Alex the producer of our show wouldn’t take offense to my remarks and if anything would encourage me too do it, he loves both shows as much as I do and would completely understand.
[Editor's note: We certainly hope Alex is as understanding as you say he is!]


Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
If you haven’t seen Champions of Magic before, I do really think you’d enjoy spending an evening with us.

If you’re a magician, you won’t like everything you see, however I promise you will love some stuff and have a great time slagging off the stuff you didn’t, so you have nothing to lose, I hope to see you at one of the shows.



 


Thank you Richard Young 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       <<<  ** recent addition **
  • 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         <<<  ** recent addition **
Read more and buy tickets.

05 October 2019

A peek behind the curtain with Fernando Velasco

Upcoming Champions of Magic Canadian tour dates:
  • 12/8/19     Brandon, MB
  • 12/12/19   Ottawa, ON    TD Place    <<<  ** recent addition **
  • 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
Read more and buy tickets.


A peek behind the curtain with Fernando Velasco 

I was delighted to receive an invitation to email interview Fernando Velasco, as part of a Champions of Magic promotion.  You may already know that Velasco was presented with the 2018 Junior Achievement Award at the Magic Castle earlier this year.







What is your first memory of magic?

I must have been around 7, and my dad (who lived in the US while i still lived in Mexico) took me a DVD from the US with a number of magicians on it. there i started to fall in love with magic.

I used to think "THAT is real magic" and would invite all my neighborhood friends to come over and watch this DVD with "REAL magic."

Who inspires you magically?
Mexican magician Joaquin Ayala, along with Copperfield, and naturally HOUDINI.


What would have been in store for you had you not caught the magic bug?  
Maybe if I could sing, a singer



Why do you think audiences are still drawn to escapes, sleight of hand, and illusion?
Magic still gives people a feeling of "wonder."


Who inspires you that is not a magician?
 

Mexican singer Alejandro Fernandez as it feels like he gives it all on stage every time.
What's special about Champions of Magic draws large audiences on 6 UK tours and 3 North American tours over the past 6 years?
There is nothing like a good magic show LIVE. Not on TV or online, BUT LIVE.



You've performed in many different countries. Have you experienced anything specific about Canadian audiences in particular?
They are up for the fun.


Do you have any pre-show rituals?
 
I sing, terribly but I try to sing.  As well as sometimes I watch live performances of my favorite singers/bands. I feel like I take on their energy for the show.
Do you have a favourite touring anecdote and / or advice for touring magicians?
Too many to tell!
 
(Sam) Strange and I often go urban exploring and that's fun.

Advice: Have fun on and off stage!




What interests do you have outside of magic?
 

Sports.
What do you do to keep your performance fresh for both your audience and you?
Doing little things to have fun with the other performers and crew on stage.  Like playing tag on stage (without the audience noticing anything) among other small things.


If you could be endowed with the talent to take on any Broadway role past or present, who would you pick and why? 
Aladdin.  Because I had a dream I played him!






What's your Canadian connection to magic?
I saw Greg Frewin's show last year.

Velasco also experienced, for his very first time, the magic of real snow in Toronto last December!


Thank you Fernando Velasco for making the time to answer 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    TD Place    <<<  ** recent addition **
  • 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
Read more and buy tickets.









21 September 2019

Austin Kaiser interviews Jay Sankey

From the August 12th post "Interview: Jay Sankey, A Magician Who Vanishes Into His Audience" by Austin Kaiser on Medium:

A: What is magic to you, personally?

J: Magic is also the experience in the magician. Fifteen minutes into a gig, I’m starting to flow. I have this wonderful experience of not being anywhere else. I’m in a pure response mode. It’s surreal. I’m inspired by the Dadaists, the Greeks, and Salvador Dali.

A: What is it that people love about magic? What makes them fall in love with it?

J: In this age of Google, we apparently know everything. One hundred years ago there was not that feeling. Magic and people’s love of magic can be a response to the idea of a know-it-all world.


Read more.

16 September 2019

Calgary: Lance Burton Q&A

Friday September 20th, Gwyn Auger (The Magic Assistant) presents a Q&A with Lance Burton at The Vanishing Rabbit Magic Shop!


From The Vanishing Rabbit Magic Shop Facebook page:
Come see Lance Burton master magician & join in a quick friendly Q&A session at The Vanishing Rabbit Magic Shop

Join the I.B.M. - International Brotherhood of Magicians on site and renew your Calgary Magic Club membership.

There is NO COST to this event, but please support the shop and respect the time as he’s staying open late for us.


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.

26 May 2019

Matt DiSero on Comedy Above The Pub

Season 17, episode 16 of the Comedy Above the Pub podcast has Matt DiSero in the hot seat with a bonus anecdote about David Acer.


From Matt DiSero's Facebook page:




08 May 2019

Discourse in Magic with Matt Johnson (plus 60s docs)

Via iTricks, Matt Johnson featured on the web series "60 Second Docs" in the episode "The Bittersweet Ache of Escaping." (embedded at the bottom of this post)


From Discourse in Magic:
On episode 158, Matt Johnson joins Jonah to discuss escapology, adding human elements to your magic, and recreating your brand. You may know Matt for his water tank escape on Penn & Teller: Fool Us or for his semi-place finish on Britain’s Got Talent.

Matt remembers a wind-up box at his grandmother’s house sparking his initial love for magic. While not a magic trick, it still gave him this magical feeling and caused him to want to know how a little box could play music. At the age of twelve, he started learning tricks and, after performing for Matt’s siblings’ birthday, a magician took Matt under his wing. Soon, he was attending his local shop every weekend right through his teen years.

Read more and listen.





From the 60 Second Docs YouTube channel:







23 April 2019

Ryan Joyce on the Darren Walters podcast

From Ryan Joyce's Facebook post:

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.


22 April 2019

Gwyn Auger on Illusionary

From Yeats Magic Co's Facebook post:

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 March 2019

The Perfectly Normal Podcast: Gregory Wilson

Last June, Jeff Newman and Ben Price from Calgary started The Perfectly Normal Podcast.

Recently they sat down to chat with Gregory Wilson.


From Castbox.FM:
Jeff and Ben Sit down to talk with two time FISM award winner, magic creator, performer, lecturer, and all around cool guy, Greg Wilson. Greg shares his take on how to be a performer, what he thinks is important as a performer of magic, and we share a few jokes...Canadian and otherwise.

Read more and listen to podcast.

04 March 2019

Getting to know Gwyn Auger

From the Beyond Fame Podcast:
She is The Magic Assistant! Recently worked with Lance Burton, Gwyn takes time to chat with me on Beyond Fame about her assisting talents. She is beautiful, charming and a lot of fun. She wants us to also know she does professional consulting for magicians, along with being a social media expert. Please contact her for all your magic show needs.

Read more and listen to podcast.







27 February 2019

Michael Rucker interviews Jonah Babins

From Michael Rucker:

That’s not how magic is supposed to be. One of the biggest challenges in magic, one of the hardest things to do for beginners, is to perform magic and have people not hate you, right? Because you’re displaying how much more you know or how you can finagle or twist your knowledge to outsmart them. The challenge is to make that fantastical, and amazing, and enjoyable.

It is a big deal in magic to make sure that you’re not giving the audience a puzzle to be solved, but instead, you’re together going on the journey. I like to refer to it as like a dream guide. Like the magician says, “Take my hand and come with me.”

Read more.

26 January 2019

Listen to Billy Kidd

Billy Kidd is featured on the first episode of Kray Mitchell's "Illusionary Podcast."  The Illusionary Podcast talks to different Canadian magicians about their careers and influences.

You can also listen to Billy with Jonah Babins and Tyler Williams on episode 81 of Discourse in Magic " Episode 81 – Busking for Magicians & Earning Your Chops with Billy Kidd" (October 19th, 2017).

Alternately have a listen to Richard Young on episode 62 of The Magician's Podcast (June 30th, 2016).







18 January 2019

Michael Close Webinar: The Truth about Lying

From Michael Close:
Magic depends on disseminating misinformation – in other words, lying. Learn to use this important tool with rapier-like precision in this informative and fun webinar.

Michael's live webinar will run 60-90 minutes long, you will be able to ask questions, geared for all skill levels, and you can add some tricks to your repertoire right away!

What you will learn:
  • The whole truth and nothing but the truth
  • Conditional (transitional) truth
  • Verbal vs. non-verbal lies
  • Sleight of hand as a non-verbal lie
  • Sustaining a non-verbal lie
  • Lies of omission
  • Lying to distort memory
  • Strategic placement of big lies

Read more and register.


Sign-up at MichaelClose.com to receive Michael's newsletters.  I've got it on good authority that there's an interview with Matt DiSero in the January newsletter!





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:

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.

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!