04 August 2012

A little bit about Edwin Empinado

From Sun Star:
LONG before he became a nurse and a councilor of the municipality of Kitimat in British Columbia in Canada, Edwin Empinado was a magician. He lugged a suitcase that contained the secrets to the vanishing coin, the chick in a hat and other tricks that teased the mind and pleased the eyes.

Read more.

03 August 2012

Shawn Farquhar: International Vice-President

From Shawn Farquhar's Facebook page:
Proud to announce I have been elected the International Vice-President of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. The biggest and best magic organization in the world...
Congratulations Shawn!

02 August 2012

Wishing Guy Camirand a speedy recovery

Edited on August 28 to include this update from Evelyn at Perfect Magic's Facebook Page:
You can't keep a good man down! Was it last week or the week before that Guy Camirand had his triple by-pass surgery? Although we did not speak to Guy, we did get an eMail and he is doing fine. He is still in the hospital and did a 15 minute Magic Show for the nurses.

According to Evelyn Matlin over at Pefect Magic, Guy Camirand is in a Quebec hospital waiting for triple by-pass surgery.  According to Evelyn, "He’s in good spirits and is being well taken care of."

Read more about Guy's experience at a walk-in-clinic over at Perfect Magic's blog.

Join us in wishing Guy a speedy recovery.

James Biss interviewed by Larry Smith

Watch James Biss be interviewed on Larry Smith's imaginary talk show at the Hamilton Fringe:

James (and James) just completed the run of "Lies, Damn Lies and Magic Tricks" at the Hamilton Fringe and will be bringing his show to Toronto's Summerworks Festival this month.  For show and ticket information, visit the Abracadabaret website.

31 July 2012

Paul Pacific in MUM magazine

Paul Pacific is in the August edition of MUM magazine!  Read about "The Day It Went Horribly Wrong" on page 52 in James Munton's "Pro File:  True Stories from the Files of Working Pros."  That was quick thinking and a great solution to the problem Paul!

30 July 2012

Michael Picard nominated for the LA Comedy Awards

From the Thunder Bay Netnews Ledger:
Thunder Bay’s Michael Picard is the first Canadian performer to be nominated for the LA Comedy Awards. He is also the first to be nominated for more than one category in the same year, one in the area of stand-up comedy and also for best variety act. Max Worthington, executive producer of The LA Comedy Awards said “Michael’s stand-up comedy was spectacular!”

Read more.

29 July 2012

Trevor Moore in Golf West magazine

28 July 2012

James Alan's in a music video!

Watch James Alan in the Summerworks Song music video:

James is just finishing up his run of "Lies, Damn Lies and Magic Tricks" at the Hamilton Fringe and will be bringing his show to Toronto's Summerworks Festival in August.  For show and ticket information, visit the Abracadabaret website.

27 July 2012

Montreal Gazette on "Play Dead"

From the Montreal Gazette:
Teller will be back in Vegas on Saturday to perform with Penn in their residency at the Rio Hotel and Casino; but on Friday, he is in Montreal with pal Todd Robbins to present the world premiere of their movie Play Dead at the Fantasia International Film Festival.

It’s a document of the one-man, off-Broadway spook show directed by Teller, starring Todd Robbins, and written by both. Therein, Robbins leads a rapt room on a journey into darkness. True stories of serial killers, sexy spiritual hucksters and carnival freaks are recounted in gripping fashion, bringing the dead to life between jokes and magic tricks.

Read more.

Murray SawChuck and mentors

Visit iTricks to see a photo of Murray SawChuck backstage at his Laugh Factory show, with Shawn Farquhar and Marvin Roy.

26 July 2012

Toronto: Bobby Motta mind reader

From @bobbymotta:

24 July 2012

Just married: Murray SawChuck

Murray SawChuck ("Celebrity Magician") married his assistant Chloe Crawford last weekend.

For details and photos, check out:

Congratulations to the happy couple!

23 July 2012

Peter Mennie in the London Free Press

From the London Free Press:
Peter Mennie expects his return to television to be magical.

The London-based illusionist is shooting AbraKIDabra! - a mix of physical gags, banter and magic - in front of a live audience Tuesday at the Palace Theatre for a Rogers TV special to air in the fall.

Read more.

22 July 2012

Lies, Damn Lies and Media Coverage

Edited Aug 26th to add link to Ontario Arts Review.
Edited July 23rd to add information about the review by Patti Cannon.

From the moment the news of James Alan's "front page challenge" with the Hamilton Spectator broke, it was very clear to me that James had won the media over.  (The front page challenge was even reported in Buffalo's Business First.)  Prior to the opening of Lies, Damn Lies and Magic Tricks in Hamilton's Fringe Festival, he was also interviewed by CBC Hamilton.

Having already received a glowing review from Amber Waves for his opening performance for the band Garbage, all James had to do was deliver a solid performance.

As for his opening night performance, Victoria Murdoch had this to say:
WHAT A SHOW!!! Seriously people, we've all seen people do silly little tricks at parties, but this guy's the real deal!

Read more.

Tom Mackan wrote:
Did you see Friday morning’s Spectator and the follow-up to Jeff Mahoney’s story on the mysterious envelope? Even if not, it’s a bit of the big buzz on this production that’ll be circulating around this year’s Fringe Festival and it has to do with James Allan [sic], self-styled Liar, Damn Liar, and Magician. Allan flew down the QEW from Toronto this weekend on his Harry Potter special broomstick brimming with wicked wit and calculated comedy to confound and amaze unwary Hamiltonians. Do.Not.Miss.This.Show. It will find you out, I dearly fear.

Read more.

From Patti Cannon:
Written and performed by James himself, this Fringe entry is fascinating. James is able to hold your attention not only with his magic but with his witty banter throughout the performance. Just when you think you may have figured out what he is doing, he makes the illusion larger than your logical mind can imagine. Even when you know it’s a trick, he is so accomplished that it amazes and you have no doubt that it’s magic.

Read more.

From Tony Kilgannon:
The performance was everything I hoped it would be; thought-provoking, funny, astonishing, and thoroughly entertaining. There would be no point describing the deceptions that this wonderful, sly young man perpetrates.

Read more.

Congratulations James!  Keep up the great work!

To find out more about his show, read his answers to the Summerworks Questionnaire.  For show and ticket information, visit the Abracadabaret website.

21 July 2012

Ryan Joyce's $12,000 question mark

Updated at 06:47 to add the link to the prediction.

Almost one year ago, Ryan Joyce sent out a press release stating he predicted the winner of Canada's Got Talent.  The series ended months ago.  What about his prediction?

From Ryan's blog:
Yes, there was a series of unfortunate events that led to a very sudden demise. Surprisingly it wasn’t the 18 or so page Canada’s Got Talent agreement, producers were aware of the stunt and raised no concern. The circumstances that ended it were much more disappointing.

Read more.
Want to see the actual prediction?  Visit Ryan's blog.  How many Ks do you see in the photo?

20 July 2012

[Guest post] A magical childhood memory of summer

The following is a guest post from an author who wishes to be known as The Magic Demon.

A Magical Childhood Memory of Summer
by "The Magic Demon"

Whenever I drop by The Browser's Den of Magic in Toronto these days I always spend a few minutes looking through their well-stocked collection of joke or gag items before moving on to the more serious magic in the rest of the shop. Joke buyers usually tend to be a very different breed of customer than magic fans, Jeff Pinsky (the shop's owner) once told me, although some of us started buying gags when we were very young and eventually moved into more serious magic.

Perhaps the most famous, classic gag item is the old "snake in a jar" or "snake in a can". It has been around forever and never fails to get a laugh. I haven't bought one in decades, however, since I was a kid. But in my home, high atop a bookshelf I rarely visit, lies a dusty unused mini-jar of what appears to be Colman's French mustard. Whenever I look at it I always feel a combination of great affection and nostalgia.

I should explain, although most of you have already figured it out, that this is not just any jar of Colman's French mustard. It is, in fact, a jar from Davenports Magic in London, England bought during a childhood-era visit overseas. Whenever you open it, a coiled yellow and orange snake will still jump up and obligingly scream out "SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAK!"

Like I said. Classic.

And still inexplicably funny (provided the target - I mean subject - doesn't suffer from a weak heart.)

But this is not just any snake in a jar - it is an exact duplicate of a snake in a jar over in England that is memorably bound up in my family's personal history over there. Let me explain.

Imagine it is summer - perhaps very much like this one but many, many years ago. I am visiting my then equally young cousins in the UK. We have just come home from London to one of its sprawling suburbs and have placed a seemingly innocent jar casually near the dinner table. A special jar we had longingly coveted, extensively planned around and eventually bought with the remains of our hard-earned allowances. My aunt, my mother, my sister and of course my cousins and I are all painfully aware of its contents. My uncle, the chosen target - I mean subject - of this evening's scheduled entertainment, is not.

We (who know) are already bursting with anticipation. But we are doing everything young kids can do to contain themselves and appear normal - assuming kids can ever do that in the eyes of any adult. My uncle continues to be blissfully unaware of our emotional straight-jacketedness. (Or was he?)

My uncle was always very keen on his mustard. And so the jar was eventually set down centre-stage on the dining room table. But during the subsequent dinner he made not a single motion towards it. Had he gone off mustard? Was it somehow invisible to his eyes? Would our elaborate gag never be sprung? It was then my ever-resourceful aunt had the brilliant idea to ask him to pass her the mustard. Feigning inability to open it worthy of an Academy Award, she passed it back to him with the casual request to loosen it.

The rest of us held our collective breaths ready to explode, our little bodies literally quivering with barely concealed excitement...

My uncle calmly took the jar, twisted the top a little more open and... immediately returned it to the table.

... It had completely failed to open!

... ... The snake was still nestled inside the jar!!

... ... ... We were all ready to bust a gut!!!

Whether my uncle knew something was up and was merely playing with us by now - no fool, he - or whether his actions were entirely genuine - we shall never know.

All we do know for sure is that agonizing decades and decades seemed to pass until at long last he absent-mindedly picked up the mustard and - SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAK! - the snake satisfyingly jumped out of its jar and we all screamed appreciatively.

No audience for any professional performance has ever laughed so much nor felt such intense relief. My uncle happily laughed along too but with what was a possibly mischievous twinkle in his eyes.

Today that original jar sits undisturbed in a glass cabinet in my aunt's kitchen, largely untouched since that special family dinner. Like my duplicate of it back here in Canada, it is a poignant reminder of the innocent pleasures of childhood. That long ago and far away dinner remains one of the most joyous of my childhood memories of summer - thanks to a classic gag - and a very magical uncle.


There's nothing quite like the combination of a young soul and a snake in a can!  I know I've gotten good value from the one in my home.  (It helps to have an obliging audience.)

Thank you The Magic Demon for guest posting at Canada's Magic!

What are your childhood memories of magic?

19 July 2012

James Alan’s front page challenge

Updated at 13:54 to add this from the Hamilton Spectator:
He did it.

Magician James Alan successfully and quite accurately predicted the contents of The Hamilton Spectator’s front page for Thursday, July 19, 2012. How did he do it? That’s for you to decide.

When I tore open the signed and sealed envelope that I received from magician James Alan on Tuesday (July 17) and withdrew from it the sheet of 8X11 letter stock paper contained therein, I did not know what to expect.
Read more.

From the Hamilton Spectator:
There’s a mysterious envelope on my desk, which arrived on Tuesday. There’s a big question mark written on the front of it and in the return address corner is James Alan’s letterhead logo.

It says James Alan, Magician.

At 10:30 Thursday morning, if all goes according to plan, I’m going to open it, in the presence of James Alan and several others.
It contains a prediction about the front page of today’s newspaper.

Read more.
James is in Hamilton for his Fringe run of "Lies, Damn Lies and Magic Tricks."

Shows, shows, shows now at Magic Information Canada!

Magic Information Canada, an up to date repository of Canadian magic links has added a new feature to its shops, clubs, tutors, and events crunchy goodness.

The site is now offering, on a trial basis, a listing of performances and shows. The shows are listed in chronological order and you can filter by hosting city.  (This section has its own tab just to the right of the "about" tab.)

Contact Doug Cuff, the owner and operator of Magic Information Canada, to have your show included in his listing of performances.  During the trial, your listing must have an associated URL, which will usually be the page on the venue's website that lists your show.

Thank you Doug, for your continued contributions to Canada's magic community!

18 July 2012

On the cover of Northern Peeks

Congratulations to Trevor and Lorena Watters who are gracing the cover of, and are featured in, the most recent issue of Northern Peeks, the publication of the Canadian Association of Magicians!