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!

17 July 2012

Magic for healing

From Sharing Wonder:
We currently have two specially focused sessions with Holland Bloorview called, Helping Hands and Hand 2 Hand.

These summer programs focus on strengthening the client’s less dominant hand by restraining the dominant hand, on and off throughout the camp. Naturally in this conditions, magic becomes increasingly difficult to perform – especially when clients naturally want to use their dominant hand for fine motor tasks, such as shuffling a deck of cards.

Read more.

16 July 2012

Teller to debut "Play Dead" in Montréal

From Fear Net:
That funny silent magic man Teller (of Penn & Teller) has just announced he'll debuts his horror Film Play Dead, based on the hit stage play, at this year's Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal. Check out the press release below.
Teller, the smaller, quieter half of Penn & Teller, will have the world premiere of his performance film of PLAY DEAD, the Off-Broadway horror hit starring Todd Robbins, on Friday, July 27th at Montreal’s 2012 Fantasia International Festival. Teller and Robbins will both attend.
Read more.
[h/t: iTricks]

15 July 2012

Winners and awards of FISM 2012

The results of the FISM 2012 competitions are posted at the Magic Convention Guide.  Please note the following addendum by Shawn Farquhar:

Children's show at the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth's Pediatrics Ward

From America's Navy:
"Every year, we try to go to a children's hospital or a hospital with a children's ward and do a quick show for the kids, to take away some of the normal hospital routine," said Scott Hood, one of the Canadian magicians and the I.B.M. director of hospital shows.

"It takes their mind off what they're going through. It's something different; they get a bit of a laugh, a bit of a giggle. They get to see something they may have not seen before or may have only seen on television. And we have fun doing it."

"I love doing magic," said Joan Caesar, the other magician from Canada. "I especially love doing magic for children, and this was perfect - to perform for kids who are in the hospital and maybe need a little smile on their face."

Read more.

14 July 2012

Amber Waves interviews James Alan

From Open 'Til Midnight's post The Truth Behind The (Damn) Lies And Magic Of James Alan:
It is upon this foundation that James Alan has constructed his new one-man show, Lies, Damn Lies & Magic Tricks.  As Alan explains, “There’s something very satisfying about knowing you’re being deceived and believing it anyway.  Over and over again, the audience gets to feel these astonishing moments as they realize what’s really going on is completely different from what they thought. And that’s really what magic is about; realizing that the world around us is more than what it seems.”

Read more.

13 July 2012

Jay Sankey: Penguin Magic lecture

Did you miss Jay Sankey's live online lecture at Penguin Magic last Saturday? Have no fear, you can download it (for a fee) from Penguin Magic.

12 July 2012

Shin Lim reviewed in FISM day three report

Shin Lim's performance is reviewed in  mentioned in Craig Mitchell's day three report on Blackpool FISM 2012, posted at The Magic Newswire.

An interview with Mike D'Urzo

From Corriere Tandem:
For the past three years, he has been in the running to become Entertainer of the Year at the Canadian Event Industry Awards. Mike D’Urzo, the founder and creative director of Mega Magic (www.megamagic.ca), is a successful magician. The 28-year-old Italian-Canadian performs hundreds of shows each year across Canada and abroad. His tour in China was memorable, where he performed to an audience of half a million. Recently he did a show at Isabel Bader Theatre, with Z103.5 FM. His father Dominic hails from Sant’Onofrio in Vibo Valentia province, while his mother Millie is Canadian. He has one brother, Jerry.

Read more.

11 July 2012

Joan and Obie at FISM day two

Joan Caesar and Obie O’Brien are mentioned in Craig Mitchell's report on Blackpool FISM 2012, posted at The Magic Newswire.

Durgy Spade: Standing tall for Canada

From page 16 of the e-DESI News:
He made a woman's engagement ring disappear.  And then said the party was over, that he'd be leaving.

"That drew some gasps, I can tell you!" says the man who goes by the professional name of Durgy Spade.  A professional magicican, that is.  Possibly the only professional desi magician in the GTA.

Read more.

10 July 2012

Halifax: Joshua Jay lecture

A teaser from the Conjurers Court website:
And now … the surprise: Well, to be honest, just a teaser for the surprise. I’ve been “in talks”, as they say, to bring another lecturer to the club in either August or September. I won’t let you in on his name until I can get a definite OK from him, but I absolutely, positively, guarantee you that it will be a fantastic lecture.

I’m going to try to get him on a weekend so that out-of-town magicians and our friends in the New Brunswick club would have an opportunity to attend.

Then this Tweet came through ....

Magic Information Canada has the date set for August 11.  Contact Rod Doiron for details.

09 July 2012

Are magicians trustworthy?

From Twitter:

This is right on the heals of this announcement from the MCA blog:
We regret to report that Mario Carrandi, one of the most respected dealers of rare and antiquarian magic, reports the loss of his collection of The Great Raymond lapel stick pins, last seen on display at his dealer booth last week at our 43rd Magic Collectors Weekend in Chicago.  
What makes this particularly upsetting is not only that it took place at a conference of peers and in a room in where the security and access were controlled, but also that these objects were of great sentimental value to Mr. Carrandi.

Read more.

If anyone has any information with respect to these missing items, please contact the appropriate organization as soon as possible.

08 July 2012

An interview with Ben Train

From The Daily Deception a Q and Eh with Ben Train:
Chris Williams - Scotland, UK asks our first question for Q and Eh with Ben Train: What makes magic special to you?

Ben Train:When I was much younger I really struggled just trying to get through life. I had serious trouble making friends, was doing terribly in school, and since I didn’t have an outlet to deal with the frustration I was feeling, I acted out. It was a pretty crappy time for me.Then I found magic.  

Read more.

07 July 2012

Review: Banachek’s The Alpha Project

From The Toronto Review of Books:
Do certain individuals have the ability to see the future, to read the thoughts of others, or to communicate with the spirit world? Whatever your answers to these questions might be, in his show The Alpha Project an extraordinary performer named Banachek invites spectators into a universe where such superhuman feats are possible. At least, this is true for the first half of his one-man performance, which recently finished its world premiere.

Read more.

06 July 2012

A question of insurance

James Jordan is looking for an insurance carrier that covers magicians. 

Does anyone out there have some advice for James?

Halifax: End-of-year show

From the Conjurers Court:
The End-of-Year Show will be on Sunday, July 8 at the Company House on Gottingen Street. Time to be announced.

The inimitable Bill Wood hosts a comedy/variety act there on Sundays, and he’s been kind enough to offer us the venue for that night. An extra benefit for us is that there will be “strangers” in the audience coming to see Bill and getting us as well.

So club performers will have the opportunity to perform in front of friends and enemies … I mean, friends we haven’t met yet. Such glee.

If you’d like to perform (And why wouldn’t you?) put together a routine or act running up to 12 to 15 minutes. You can, of course, do less if you’d like.

I would need to know in advance what effect(s) you want to perform so that we don’t have duplicate effects. One Professor’s Nightmare is enough....

Read more

05 July 2012

Meta: What brought you here?

Some of the search terms, for people passing through here:
  • "volodymyr martyniuk" - I have no current information on how Volodymyr Martyniuk (aka Vladimir the Great) is recovering following treatment for a brain aneurysm.  The most recent post on the CGT website suggested that 42 days ago, he was doing well and in rehab.  Does anyone have an update on how he's doing?

04 July 2012

Toronto: Summer Soirée

From SummerWorks eventbrite listing:
The meal will be served with wine, music, and an assortment of short performances and happenings from SummerWorks artists including Bob Wiseman, the Brick Lane Advice Booth and magic from James Alan, whose new one man show, Lies Damn Lies & Magic Tricks, will be featured in the Festival this year.

Read more.

03 July 2012

London: AbraKIDabra

From Peter Mennie's Facebook event:
Tuesday, 24 July 2012
Come and be in the audience of AbraKIDabra! and be part of a LIVE taping of a new fall series on RogersTV.

Tickets $5 at the Palace Theatre Box Office www.palacetheatre.ca or 519-432-1029

Read more.

02 July 2012

Toronto: Magicana casting call

From Sharing Wonder:
Magicana is looking for experienced entertainers, specializing in magic, dance and music for a variety of community programs to be conducted in the Greater Toronto Area. If interested, please contact us along with your theatre and entertainment experience.

Read more.
They are looking for instructors and instructor assistants for children's programming as well as entertainers for senior's programming.

I have had the privilege of participating with children in Magicana's My Magic Hands program.  They do great work!

01 July 2012

Happy Canada Day!

Happy 145th birthday Canada! 

Whether you're performing at a celebration, or marking the day in your own special way, have a safe and happy Canada Day!

I feel very lucky to live in this wonderful country.