02 May 2016

Brainstorming presentation in support of magic as a cultural institution

If you have ideas or feedback for Clive, I encourage you to post them on his Facebook page.  If you don't have a Facebook account, you're welcome to leave a comment on this post.

From Clive Court's Facebook page:
Next year Canada celebrates its 150th Anniversary and the government intends to get us hyped on our own culture with a variety of activities and events. And one of those activities across will be hearings about the future of our cultural institutions including, film, theatre, radio, television, publishing, and the internet . I am interested in putting together a visual presentation (video) for use at various hearings. As I see it at the moment, the video(s) will feature Canada's world champion magicians and others who have appeared on major TV shows around the world. For example, clips of Shawn Farquhar on Penn and Teller, Greg Frewin in The World's Greatest Magic. or Richard Forget on Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde. Each clip would be followed by each magician explaining how he/she is able to make a living in Canada by touring around the world and appearing on international TV specials, etc. Suggestions?

01 May 2016

Toronto: Vitaly - "An Evening of Wonders"

Watch at Breakfast Television, Vitaly perform on April 29th.

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

Rounding the Western rings in May 2016

Confirm details about dates and locations by visiting each club's website.

Calgary, ABRing 66 (Calgary Magic Circle, Les Brocklesby Ring)- Junior club meeting.
- Magic Olympics.
Edmonton, ABEdmonton Magic Club- TBA.
Winnipeg, MBThe Magic Club of Winnipeg- TBA.
Fraser Valley, BCIBM Ring 387 (Fraser Valley Magic Circle, Celeste Evans Ring)- General meeting.
- Third Monday Magic
Vancouver, BCRing 92 (Vancouver Magic Circle)- TBA.
Vancouver, BCSAM 95  (Carl Hemeon Assembly)- TBA.
Victoria, BCRing 183 (Victoria Magic Circle)  - TBA.

Please leave a comment or e-mail me about corrections or omissions.

Rounding the Central rings in May 2016

Confirm details about dates and locations by visiting each club's website.

Montreal, QCRing 62 (20th Century Ring)- Meetup.
- Open house.
Hamilton, ONRing 49 (The Doug Henning Magic Wand Club)- TBA.
London, ONRing 265 (London Magician's Guild)- Round robin.
Kitchener, ONRing 235 (The Caesar Hat & Wand Magic Circle)- Members Perform - special fun awards.
Ottawa, ONRing 151 (Ottawa Society of Magicians)- Martin Cox lecture.
- Executive elections.
- 4F convention sharing.
- Memorial night / classic magic.
Ottawa, ONOttawa / Gatineau magicians- TBA
Toronto, ONRing 17 (Sid Lorraine Hat and Rabbit Club)- Jon Allen lecture and workshop.

Please leave a comment or e-mail me about corrections or omissions.

Rounding the Eastern rings in May 2016

Does anybody have current information to share about the Magic Circle of St. John?

Confirm details about dates and locations by visiting each club's website.

Halifax, NSRing 316 (Conjourer's Court) - Visit their Facebook page
St. John, NBMagic Circle of St. John- TBA

Please leave a comment or e-mail me about corrections or omissions

30 April 2016

Top 5 posts for April 2016

Here are the most viewed posts at Canada's Magic this month:

5. Houdini and Doyle: World of Wonders - Will you be watching?
4. Greg Frewin in the Norfolk News - Great show for a great cause!
3. Shin Lim in the Huffington Post - Magic in mainstream media.  It's in the most viewed list for the second month running.
2. Browser's Magic Bash 2016 recap - A great time was had by all!

and the most viewed post this month  ...

1. Casting: new show for young magicians with Lance Burton - Did any Canadians apply?

Montreal: Jon Allen lecture

From the Montreal Magic Jam:
Monday May 2nd

Jon Allen: “Who cares about magic?”
In this lecture, multi-award winning magician Jon Allen will not only teach you some fantastic, original magic, but how to make your audience CARE about your performance, prviding them with an unforgettable experience. During the lecture, you’ll learn:
  • The Wedding Trick: THE definitive wedding trick for happy couples around the world
  • 1 Trick 2 Names: Jon’s solution to the “Dream Card” effect that makes it even stronger
  • Grabbit Production: A new way to produce any manner of different objects
  • Burning Rubber: A full rubber band routine perfect for walk around or table work, including the restoration of a band around a spectator’s wrist
  • Schrödinger’s Card: Jon’s controversial card effect that leaves people with an impossible object and a memory they will never forget.
There are no knuckle-busting, sleight-heavy routines. Jon is more interested in routines that capture people’s imaginations and makes them care about magic! You will also receive many tips and a lot of advice about performing magic, whatever style you perform.

Read more and buy tickets.

Toronto: Jon Allen workshop

Don't forget about Jon's lecture at the regular club meeting on May 5th.

From IBM Ring 17:
Sat. May 7th

The workshop, it will predominantly be about creativity and changing the way people go about looking at things in general and how they go about creating new magic effects and presentations. There will be exercises and eye-opening examples.

There will be close up and stage effects covered that won’t be in the lecture including a fun way to deal with people who “just want to see something quick” that leads to them getting your business card!

Jon will cover his “chair / padlock stage routine” and his Marked Deck system – and will have and exercise trying to come up with a presentation for the worst trick in magic.

Read more and buy tickets.

29 April 2016

"Discourse in Magic" launching April 30th

From Discourse in Magic:
We are Jonah Babins and Tyler Williams: magicians, teachers, students, artists, and conversationalists. We’re currently working our butts off to make sure that when we launch on April 30th, it’ll be epic.

At Discourse in Magic, we want to help shift the discussion towards the theory and philosophies that go into producing magical experiences. We’re launching a website and podcast that will act as a thinking space, to answer the most difficult questions that face the magic community.
Rather than focusing on tricks, we plan to talk about things like belief and realism, stage characters, viral magic, the influence of theatre and improvisation on magic, and much more.

Read more and get the FREE Theory Resource Guide.

28 April 2016

Random thoughts on Greg Frewin's "Wild Magic"

My first visit to the Greg Frewin Theatre was almost four years ago.  Kidlet and I had an absolutely wonderful time, and I'd been looking for an excuse to go and see Greg's new show, "Wild Magic."  The universe was paying attention, because earlier this year I was gifted tickets to see "Wild Magic" by some wonderful people!  (I guess the cat's out of the bag that I like magic!)

Greg's appearance at this year's Browser's Magic Bash whet my interest enough that earlier this month we made the trek back to Niagara Falls.

We booked our tickets on a beautiful sunny Friday.  (I was determined to break my curse of The Rainy Drive to or from Niagara Falls.  Kidlet's Other Parent (KOP) drove this time though, so I don't know if I broke the curse or it just doesn't apply when KOP is present.)

Our schedules didn't allow us to make a day of Niagara Falls.  We consulted with Google to find out how long the trek might take, and added an additional 30 minutes to the longest estimated time in an attempt to get us to the theatre by 7pm.  If traffic was good, as it should be in nice weather, we'd be in town early enough to take a walk by the Falls and see a sight or two.

Tip: Arrive as early as you can to ensure good seating (the box office will let you know what time is best).  

Apparently, because of the nice weather, everyone was out in their car on our path to the theatre.  In spite of using all the HOV lanes available to us, traffic did not cooperate.  We arrived in the parking lot at 7:22pm, for a 7:30pm show.  (Thank goodness for a spacious parking lot!)  I was frazzled and desperately had to use the bathroom.
Note to parents:  If you can organize yourselves better than we did and get to the theatre with time to spare, there's a nice photo opportunity for your little ones next to lion statues by the front doors.

We piled into the building and the lovely staff at the box office had our tickets waiting for us, calmly showed us to the restrooms, and then showed us to our booth.  We were no sooner seated when the lights went down and the show started.

Here are some random thoughts that came to mind while watching "Wild Magic":
  • The show starts strong and keeps getting bigger and better.
  • There's a smattering of mentalism, juggling, and close-up magic to keep things varied, but make no mistake, Greg's large illusions dominate the show!
  • There were three large video screens making it easy to see the close-up parts from any seat in the house.
  • The show was different enough from the last time we were there, that it felt new to us.
  • It made me happy that some of my favourites from last time (like the one with water and fire) are still in the show. 
  • I was disappointed, that with our late arrival, we ended up sitting as far stage-right as you could.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the view from the seats was still remarkably good!  (The house is deep and narrow and particularly good for viewing magic.)
  • A good pair of theatre binoculars gives you a seat upgrade, no matter where you go!
  • The show involved a sports car, an invisible deck, tigers, talented ladies, candles, fire, doves, a dog, tigers, kids, Chuck the Duck, a macaw, and a little bit of Sting.  (On seeing the red macaw, Kidlet asked where the blue one was that we saw last time.  This show makes quite a lasting impression!)
  • Some of the illusions from 2012 are still in the show, but with very different presentations.  It's fun to see how things get reimagined and repurposed!
  • I was delighted to learn that Boomer, the Siberian tiger who battled cancer, was back in the show.
  • The show is fabulously entertaining! 

All the excitement and entertainment of a Las Vegas show, for a fraction of the cost!
(A deal made even better with the current exchange rate.)

The show is just the tip of the iceberg.

After the show we queued up to have our photo taken with tiger Cashmere.  Even though KOP and I were hamming it up for the camera by looking scared, there was nothing scary about the experience.   The tiger trainer is right there keeping a careful watch at all times.

In the cage with Cashmere.

Part of the profits from the items in the magical gift shop, including the photo sales, are used to support a tiger sanctuary. 

After the show (photo or not) you can queue up for an autograph from, a bring-your-own-camera photo with, and have a quick chat with Greg!

And that's not all!

If you want to experience the "ultimate magical experience" you can opt for the "VIP backstage tour package add-on."  As part of this experience:
  • We had our photo taken with Greg in front of one of the show props.
  • With Greg at the VIP backstage tour.
  • Greg answered any question tossed his way.  (Except for one.)
  • We learned lots about tigers, spent some time with Rocky, and watched some video of Greg's tigers.
  • The group of us got to stand on the stage and watch his blue macaw in action!
  • We met Shira the white Siberian tiger.  Here's a photo of her from 2012:
  • We were lucky and got to pet her!  Have a look at a more recent photo of Shira!
  • Shira was drinking from a baby bottle the whole time, and the staff were lovingly and patiently wiping up anything that spilled.  Hats off to tiger trainer John Ferrara and to all of Greg's animal handlers.  They clearly love the animals and love what they do!
  • Greg entertained a wide variety of questions from the group.

Dare I say it? The post-show experience is almost as exciting as the show itself.  We had an incredible evening!

I pet a tiger!

Thank you to Alex, Kaitlin, Terry, John, Cooper, and everyone else involved in making it such a magical evening for my family.  A special thank you to Greg, for his hospitality and for sharing his magical talent!

Last but not least, thank you to the lovely people who gave me this purrfect gift!

27 April 2016

Winners of the "Best Magician Contest 2016"

Last Saturday, a number of magicians in the greater Toronto area took part in the 2016 Best Magician Contest hosted by A1 Chinese radio.

From James Harrison's Twitter feed:
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From Keith Brown's Twitter feed:

Congratulations James and Keith!

26 April 2016

Diary of a Sorcerers Safari newbie - part 1

The “Diary of a Sorcerers Safari Newbie” is primarily based on the 2015 camp season.  It is an aggregate of many perspectives and at times includes events from previous years.

Thursday August 13, 2015
Tomorrow I go to Sorcerers Safari Magic Camp for the first time! 

I'm nervous.  Mom said, “Alex, it's normal for a ten year old to be anxious about their first time at sleepaway camp.”  That makes me feel a bit better.  I hope I won't get too homesick.  I wish I knew someone else who was going.

I'm worried that I don't know enough magic.  I know how to do the "cups and balls."   But I don't know any card or coin tricks.  I hope no one laughs when I try to shuffle cards. It usually ends in a big mess.

It's getting late.  I should try to sleep.  I feel excited and scared both at the same time. (How weird is that?)

Day 1: Friday August 14, 2015
I'm here! This place is awesome!

We got up early and Mom drove me to camp.  During the drive I kinda wished Dad was driving. Mom drives so slow I thought for sure we'd get here late. Turns out my worry was for nothing.  We got here early and even beat the bus!  Way to go Mom!

Camp is huge!!!!  The staff were waiting for us on a big field when we got here.  Other campers were waiting too.

A bus full of campers just arrived. Kids are laughing and cheering and hugging people as they get off the bus.  People are asking if Eric Leclerc is going to be here this year.  He must be awesome if everyone’s talking about him.

Campers gathered on the field.
Campers gathered on the field.

They’re asking us to take our things to the cabins so I’m going to give Mom a hug goodbye and hope she doesn’t see that I’m sad and a little bit scared to see her go.  If she starts crying I’ll be a mess.  Don’t know when I’ll get a chance to write again.

A camper's notebook. Photo by Rosemary Reid
A camper's notebook.

To be continued ... 

The 2016 season of Sorcerers Safari will run from Sunday August 7th through Friday August 12th, 2016. For more information, or to register, please visit SorcerersSafari.ca

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25 April 2016

The Department of Canadian Heritage Questionnaire

From the Globe and Mail:
Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly says the main goals of her office’s review of Canadian content rules and regulations, announced Sat., April 22, 2016, are to foster creation of Canadian content and increase the international audience for Canadian creators.

Read more.

From Clive Court's Facebook page:
Attention All Canadian Entertainers! Our new government is asking for YOUR views on how they can change the system to develop more Canadian content they can sell around the world to strengthen our currently weak entertainment infrastructure. This is REAL and they do pay attention to what you say. If you don't respond---they spend more time listening to the lobbyists (who do not always have your interests at heart!). DO NOT IGNORE THIS OPPORTUNITY. (PS> No BS...just give them the real facts and examples about how you make a living in Canada. So they can put the right questions to TV network bosses, and industry lobbyists).

From The Department of Canadian Heritage:
In summer 2016, the Minister of Canadian Heritage will lead public, stakeholder and online consultations on Strengthening Canadian Content Creation, Discovery and Export in a Digital World. We invite you, as Canadians and stakeholders, to help us establish the scope of these consultations by answering the questions below. Your answers will be used to better define the themes and questions that will be used to guide the consultations.
The questionnaire will be available until May 20, 2016.
The questionnaire will take 10 to 30 minutes, depending on your answers.
Participation in this questionnaire is voluntary, the anonymity of respondents will be respected and all responses will be kept strictly confidential. Questions are asked for information gathering purposes only and will not be used to identify respondents. To this end, please avoid directly identifying yourself or your organization in any typed answers. All information collected will be handled in accordance with the Privacy Act.

Read more and complete survey.

24 April 2016

Houdini and Doyle: World of Wonders

You may already know that "Houdini and Doyle: World of Wonders" launched earlier this month.  But were you aware of the Canadian connections?

According to Joe, "The goal of the web series was to share some magic history and practical demonstrations inspired by the real-life relationship of Harry Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle."

How well do you think they did?

23 April 2016

Montreal: Loran at "lune de sang"

The event is on April 29th.

From Loran's Facebook page:
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22 April 2016

Greg Frewin in the Norfolk News

From the Norfolk News:
The international grand champion of magic plans to wow Norfolk County with non-stop family friendly illusions. 

Hamilton-born Greg Frewin is bringing his award-winning act to Simcoe Composite School on Friday, April 22, at 7 p.m. with the Imagine Tour: The Ultimate Magic Experience.

“I will say we will leave people amazed,” Frewin said. “The thing I try to do is entertain people and just have fun. It’s a great show, very upbeat and fun for the whole family. There are no barriers – come out, one and all.”

The show will benefit the Breast Cancer Foundation of Canada’s continued work toward their vision of a breast cancer-free Canada.

Read more.

21 April 2016

The mysterious billboard

The Festival de magie de Québec starts today.  I really enjoy their creative, dynamic, and often interactive advertising campaigns.  In 2011 it was this magical billboard. In 2012, it was "la disparition."  In 2013, "pouvoirs magiques."   For 2014, "le balai magique."  This one, "le magicien" (in English: The Magician) was released in August of 2015.

From the  Festival de magie de Québec's YouTube channel, here's the 2016 video (or watch "The Mysterious Billboard" in English):

IncrediBrent and Super Sarah in the Timmins Press

From the Timmins Press:

TIMMINS - IncrediBrent and Super Sarah took to the stage at Timmins Centennial Public School on Friday to wow the elementary school children with magic, comedy and lessons about bullying.
Known off-stage as Sarah and Brent Nicholls, the married comedic duo tours the country doing anti-bullying magic and comedy show for kids.

They did two presentations at Timmins Centennial on April Fool’s Day and it was obvious from the cheering and enthusiastic crowd that all the kids in attendance had a great day.
Jayden Tessier, a nine-year-old at the school, said he learned a lot about bullying and how to deal with it should it happen to himself or one of his friends at school.

“They taught us find your magic, believe in yourself, you aren’t alone and anything is possible,” the young student recalled of the lessons taught by the magicians.

Read more.

20 April 2016

Victoria: 50th Anniversary Magic Spectacular!

The show is on May 29th and includes: Dave Morris, Shayne King, Eric Bedard, Dave Attwood, Jason Verners, Murray Hatfield & Teresa, and Shawn Farquhar.

From the Victoria Magic Circle:
The Victoria Magic Circle

50th Anniversary Magic Spectacular!

What do you get when you take some of BC’s finest practitioners of magic and mystery and put them all together into one incredible show? You get an unbelievable evening of family fun that will have you laughing, cheering and shaking your head in disbelief.

Celebrating their 50th Anniversary in the city, the Victoria Magic Circle invited 8 of the top magicians and magical entertainers in BC to be a part of this very special Magic Spectacular. Many different styles of magic and illusion will be on display from intimate sleight of hand to hilarious comedy magic to stunning large scale .

Read more and buy tickets.

19 April 2016

Hamilton: "Conspiracy" with Nicholas Wallace

From the Hamilton Arts Council:
by Nicholas Wallace & Luke Brown 
April 19, 21, 22 @ 8 PM
Are people being deceived on a massive scale or are people just seeing patterns to suit their own needs? Audiences are invited to attend a free workshop performance of Conspiracy with Nicholas Wallace, a new show by the same creative team behind the acclaimed Seance.

Read more and buy tickets.