30 November 2014

Rounding the Western rings in December

From Carey Lauder's Facebook page:

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

Calgary, ABRing 66 (Calgary Magic Circle, Les Brocklesby Ring)- No meeting.
Edmonton, ABEdmonton Magic Club- n/a
Winnipeg, MBThe Magic Club of Winnipeg- n/a
Fraser Valley, BCIBM Ring 387 (Fraser Valley Magic Circle, Celeste Evans Ring)- Third Monday Magic
Vancouver, BCRing 92 (Vancouver Magic Circle)- n/a
Vancouver, BCSAM 95  (Carl Hemeon Assembly)- n/a
Victoria, BCRing 183 (Victoria Magic Circle)   - n/a
Please leave a comment or e-mail me about corrections or omissions.

Rounding the Ontario rings in December

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

Hamilton, ONRing 49 (The Doug Henning Magic Wand Club) - n/a
London, ONRing 265 (London Magician's Guild)- n/a
Kitchener, ONRing 235 (The Caesar Hat & Wand Magic Circle)- Christmas Dinner.
Ottawa, ONRing 151 (Ottawa Society of Magicians) Michael Close lecture
- Christmas Party Pot-luck dinner 
Ottawa, ONOttawa / Gatineau magicians- n/a
Toronto, ONRing 17 (Sid Lorraine Hat and Rabbit Club) - David Regal workshop
- David Regal lecture  

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

Rounding the Eastern rings in December

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

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

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

Top 5 posts in November 2014

It's been a busy month for news with 50 posts! Here are the most viewed posts at Canada's Magic this month:

5. Who's where November 2014 - Don't forget to add your appearance to our December "Who's  where" post!
4. [Guest post] Watching the Magic Unfold - Thank you Erin for your guest post!
3. Keith Brown at TEDx University of Windsor - This young man is making great strides.
2. A Q&A with Erin Thomas - It's not often I get to ask questions of an author.

and the most viewed post this month  ...

1. Win a copy of Forcing the Ace - Thanks to everyone who played!  A special thanks to Amy Collins from Orca Book Publishers for generously making this book available to you!

29 November 2014

Toronto: Kainoa Harbottle lecture

Sunday, December 21

Currently known by most magicians as the coin guru for Reel Magic Magazine and Sleight School, Kainoa just wowed the audiences at the Magic Castle with his all coin close-up act. You may have seen him on Curtis Kam's Palms of Steel series, on the New York Coin Magic DVDs, or even read his many publications on close-up magic. Seeing him live is an entirely different experience.

Kainoa’s lecture will feature magic designed with visual impact, cleanliness of method, and modular climaxes. The material and techniques were developed in the strolling and table-hopping environments of Waikiki. He will also be discussing how to transform your close-up pieces into stand-up material using before and after examples from his repertoire. 

Read more and buy tickets.

Montreal: Michael Close and Kainoa Harbottle

We are excited to announce that we have two amazing magicians coming to Montreal in December. Michael Close, author of the Workers series and one of the top close-up magicians in the world, will be presenting both classic and brand new material in his Dec 10 lecture. The next week, Kainoa Harbottle, one of the most skilled and innovative coin magicians around, will present both a lecture and a workshop. As a thank you for making this an incredible year for the Montreal Magic Jam, we have an ealry Christmas present for you. While individual tickets will be available at the usual price, we’re offering the following specials:

Read more and buy tickets.

[via Magic Information Canada

28 November 2014

11/2014 update to the Johnny Giordmaine tribute site

From the curator of the Johnny Giordmaine tribute site:
John Giordmaine tribute news. 
JohnGiordmaine.com, the online tribute to Canada's most beloved children's magician (1898-1974), has posted an interim update to welcome new visitors from the Society of American Magicians who have read the featured article about Johnny in MUM's December 2014 issue.

All other visitors are also very welcome!

This update features Doug Henning's 1989 "retirement from magic " letter published in GENII. Visitors may be surprised to read that Doug thanked "the late John Giordmaine" first and foremost for helping him "so much over the years" - even before Dai Vernon, Slydini or Jay Marshall!

There are now over 50 pages about Johnny and his inspiring legacy in magic. Remembrances are always very welcome; contact information is on the site, which is:


Murray SawChuck on "Extreme Escapes”

Updated at 6:45am to include the link to the Las Vegas Sun article which mentions his recently received Career Achievement Award in the Magic Arts and his Best Comedy Variety Act of 2014 award.  Congratulations Murray!

From Vegas News:
“Extreme Escapes” is a new original reality series with death-defying stunts premiering on REELZ, Saturday, November 29 

Each one-hour episode of “Extreme Escapes” brings the shock, wonder and danger of escapology to television with astonishing performances by artists including Las Vegas headlining comic magician Murray SawChuckAmerica’s Got Talent contestant Spencer Horsman, Masters of Illusion LIVE! performer Farrell Dillon, Las Vegas Illusionist Jan Rouven and Hungarian escape artist David Merlini.

Read more.

More on "Extreme Escapes" from the Las Vegas Sun:
There’s no denying that magician Murray Sawchuck is on a roll as he gets ready to take on a new run at Sin City Theater in Planet Hollywood after nearly three years at the Tropicana’s Laugh Factory.

He’s just completed four months of filming “Extreme Escapes,” which starts broadcasting on Reelz for 26 weeks as of this Saturday. He was asked to do the “Blind Drive” illusion and wound up being invited to do more than 21 “escapes” for the series.

Read more.

[via iTricks

27 November 2014

Phil Matlin's ragtime tour 2014

Phil Matlin, owner of Perfect Magic, will be playing ragtime and touring through Ontario (Elmira, Kitchener, New Hamburg, and Waterloo) at the end of December.
  • Dec. 26 - Lanark Place 44 Lanark Place, Kitchener
  • Dec. 29 - Chateau Gardens 11 Herbert St., Elmira 
  • Dec. 30 - Nithview Home 200 Boullee, New Hamburg
  • Dec. 31 - Parkwood Mennonite Homes, 726 New Hampshire, Waterloo
  • Dec. 31 - Bankside Terrace 71 Bankside Drive, Kitchener 

Watch Phil play Carolina in the Morning below:

26 November 2014

Toronto: Bill Abbott at "Magic Tonight"

From Reality Based Magic:
This week on the show we have Canadian Magician of the Year Bill Abbott. He’s been on the show many times (as evidenced below). Normally you have to go all the way up to Vaughan to see his show Every Trick in the Book at Dave & Busters. But he’s here downtown Sunday, November 30!

Read more and buy tickets.  

Receive a 20% discount* at Magic Tonight with coupon code cmagic 

* Offer is subject to change without notice.  Canada's Magic earns a commission when you use the coupon code cmagic.

Mark Correia: World record holder

From Mark Correia's Twitter feed:

From the Record Setter Twitter feed:

By my count, that puts the total of Canadian World Record holding magicians to five! 

  • Doug The Great:  Heaviest Stilts Mastered.  [Guinness World Record]
  • Scott Hammell:  Highest Suspension Straitjacket Escape. [Guinness World Record]
  • Lucas Wilson:  Fastest Suspension Straitjacket Escape. [Guinness World Record]
  • Michael Francis:  Most one-handed coin rolls in a minute. [Guinness World Record]

Toronto: David Regal workshop

From the Sid Lorraine Hat and Rabbit Club Facebook page:
The day before his lecture (Wednesday, December 3) David Regal is doing a performance workshop at the Browser's Den Of Magic. It's limited to a very small group - you get the chance to perform a piece you're working on and get feedback and help. An extremely rare opportunity for that kind of one-on-one attention. Information and tickets are on the club page www.ibmring17.com

25 November 2014

Happy fourth blogiversary to me!

Four years ago today, this blog was born!

Thanks to you wonderful people who have supported this project!  More than 1,770 posts have been published, and well over 67,000 page loads have been served.  Ninety-two of you have given us your thumbs-up on Facebook, more than 680 of you are following along on Twitter (8800 tweets and counting!), and approximately 80 of you have subscribed to this site's feed.  The bulk of you are Canadian, and I'm delighted to see visitors from United States, Ireland,United Kingdom, France, Japan, Germany, and the list goes on.

There are so many of you doing such a fabulous job of making magic a priority in this great country!

A special thanks to:
  • All of my early supporters.  Special shout outs to Ariel, Doug, James, and John for your continued  encouragement.
  • All of you readers, Likers, RTers, submitters, guest posters, contest prize providers and all other manners of promoters of this site.
  • All of my sponsors, past and present.  That means you: Magic Information CanadaRyan PillingClive CourtPerfect Magic, and The Browser's Den of Magic!
  • My family for their support of this bloggy experiment.

My continued thanks to all of you!

24 November 2014

Watch Keith Brown's TEDx lecture

Missed Keith's talk at the TEDx University of Windsor earlier this month?  Not to worry, you can watch it online.

From Keith Brown's Facebook page:

23 November 2014

BT Calgary interviews James Randi

Watch the BT Calgary interview of James Randi from November 21.

Broken wand: Kevin George

We were notified by Dennis Schick, the editor of the Broken Wand in the International Brotherhood of Magician's magazine, The Linking Ring, of the passing of Kevin George.

From Legacy:
GEORGE, Kevin William
1946 ~ 2014
GEORGE, Kevin William
GEORGE, Kevin William
1946 ~ 2014 
It is with great sadness that the family of Kevin George announce his passing on May 4, 2014. Leaving behind is his mother Henrietta, son Ryan and his family, brother Kerry and his family.  
Read more.

From the Edmonton Journal:
EDMONTON - Wanda Karstens met Kevin George when she was a mall rat at Bonnie Doon and he, the head of security and the object of Karstens’ teenage crush.
George was a compassionate man, even at age 23, Karstens said: hard on shoplifters and drug dealers, but fair and friendly to mall rats like herself, arranging for an empty store front to become a teen centre.

George remained in the security world, eventually opening his own security firm and training guards, correctional officers and jail riot squads, but also training dogs to track criminals, and to find missing people as part of Alberta’s first Search and Rescue team.

Read more

The following will run in the December issue of the Linking Ring:

Recently the I.B.M. headquarters learned that Kevin William George, 67, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, died May 4, 2014 from a massive stroke, after several heart attacks and problems with diabetes. He was a former member of the I.B.M. (1994-2013). He was a member of Ring 28 (Edmonton). He developed a love for dogs and helping other people in his youth, which led to his life’s work. He opened his own security firm, training guards, correctional officers, and jail riot squads, as well as training dogs to track criminals and search and rescue dogs to find missing persons in storm-damaged sites. His animal-training skills even led him to train the elephant at the Edmonton Zoo. He used magic throughout his life, both to teach and to lighten tense situations. In addition to magic, other interests and skills included ju-jitsu (including teaching self-defense classes for women), conga drums (in bands), and rodeo clowning. Survivors include his mother, Henrietta; brother, Kerry; son, Ryan and his family; and granddaughter, Carmen.    

22 November 2014

Luc Langevin: spokesperson for la fondation sur les leucodystrophies

Congratulations Luc on the fundraising success!

From Luc Langevin's Twitter feed:

Watch the video Luc made with St. Hubert to raise awareness:

21 November 2014

Fundraising for Breath is Alive

I know I'm not the only one in this community who has had the pleasure of instruction from David Smukler ....

From Equity Showcase Theatre:
This documentary project chronicles the important work of Canadian theatre artist and master voice practitioner David Smukler. It is intended as a moving archive of the voice and David’s remarkable ability to see into the soul of the artist. The film follows him into the studio where humanity is revealed through the process of voice work, a process to which the audience is rarely privy. Studio scenes are woven together with intimate interviews with David, artists and colleagues from across the country and framed within a natural environment. External shots of trees, water and sky contrast the subjective internal world or the artist with a more objective, natural environment. The natural world fuels David’s practice and reflects the organic process of the work emphasizing David’s connection to earth, breath, heartbeat and light. Too often we allow the contribution of our senior artists in Canada to go undocumented. The directors Laurel Paetz and LJ Nelles, both trained as voice teachers with David and offer this film as a legacy to his enormous and lasting contribution to the artistic community in Canada.

Read more and donate.

20 November 2014

Peter Marucci wins second Howard Bamman trophy

Congratulations Peter!  

FERGUS - Retired Fergus “magicomedian” Peter Marucci has been awarded the Howard Bamman trophy for the second time by the International Brotherhood of Magicians, in recognition of his 28-year contribution to the organization’s magazine The Linking Ring.

The Fergus resident is the only Canadian ever to receive the award and the only magician to receive it twice.

In his Showtime column, Marucci would outline a new illusion every month and give detailed instructions on incorporating “patter” into performances - his trademark.

Read more.

Greg Frewin et al vs the NHL Alumni Stars!

From the Greg Frewin Theatre Twitter feed:

Toronto: "Magic Tonight" with Keith Brown, Jason Palter, and James Alan

Click for details.  
Receive a 20% discount* at Magic Tonight with coupon code cmagic

From Keith Brown's Twitter feed:

From the Abracadabaret Twitter feed:

* Offer is subject to change without notice.  Canada's Magic earns a commission when you use the coupon code cmagic.

SOULO Theatre: Best small theatre company

Congratulations to James Alan, General Manager of the SOULO Theatre company!

From Reality Based Magic:
SOULO Theatre – where I plot and scheme away, largely behind the scenes as the general manager – has just won Best Small Theatre Company from NOW Magazine’s Best of Toronto Reader’s Choice! Massive credit goes to the team that helped organize the 2014 SOULO Theatre Festival and massive thanks to everyone who voted over the past few months. It’s a tremendous honour. 
Read more.

19 November 2014

Winner of Forcing the Ace

The contest to win a copy of "Forcing the Ace" from the Orca Limelights series closed last night at midnight. 

We had some great advice for performing youngsters suggested:  practice, work on one thing at a time when you are just starting out, be willing to take a risk and try, "Prepare. Practice. Perform. Perfect. Repeat." and READ MORE BOOKS!

Here's the list of entrants:
  1. Lee Asher
  2. Roger Boucher
  3. Tara Hutchinson
  4. Robert Lamar
  5. Jay

Random draw results:

Congratulations to  Tara Hutchinson!

I'll be contacting  you with instructions about how to claim your prize.  I hope you (or a young reader) enjoys the book as much as I did.  (And don't forget to let me know how you like it.)

Thank you all for playing! A special thanks to Amy Collins from Orca Book Publishers for generously making this book available to you!

Murray Sawchuk's at at Planet Hollywood’s Sin City Theater

From the Las Vegas Sun:
In the end, Murray Sawchuck had to be more than a poser. 
Not that it wasn’t a great deal of fun following Sawchuck canvas the valley mugging for photos in front of hotel-casino marquees with such self-written captions as, “Wild Wild West is a nice place!” But it had to come to an end, as Sawchuck sought to resume his stage show at a Las Vegas venue after leaving Laugh Factory at Tropicana on Oct. 30. 
Sawchuck’s new venue is Sin City Theater at Planet Hollywood, where he sets up Dec. 20 for what is to be a yearlong run of shows at 2 and 4 p.m. daily (dark Fridays). 
Read more.

[via iTricks]

18 November 2014

[Guest post] Watching the Magic Unfold

The following is a guest post from Erin Thomas, author of "Forcing the Ace,"

Erin talks about Sorcerers Safari, early memories of magic, magic at Canada's Wonderland (Paul Pacific or Jeff Pinsky, perhaps?) and more.

Today's the last day to enter to win your copy of Forcing the Ace!


Having already written a few times about the awesomeness that is Sorcerers Safari Magic Camp in Ontario, and rejoiced in the similarities between magicians and writers (introverts unite!), I think it’s time to try a different tack. Today I want to share some of my memories of watching magic and enjoying it. Because really, that’s what it’s all about.

As it turns out, magic is probably one of the first things I ever saw clearly. I was eight or nine years old when my parents took my brother and I to see David Copperfield in Toronto. We sat up in the balcony, looking down on a big, brightly lit stage. I kept squinting and turning away, complaining that my eyes hurt. Acting on a hunch, Dad handed me his glasses. Wow! Whaddya know… there was a person down on that big stage! And he was doing really cool stuff.

Sadly, I remember the fact of the show more than the details, although there was one memorable moment when he walked through a giant wall onstage. Wikipedia tells me that his Great Wall of China effect was in 1986, a couple years later, so I might be confused, but this is how I remember it. That, and him reaching into a tiny bottle and pulling out a rainbow-coloured scarf that seemed to go on forever.

I do remember the sharp, sudden realization that the world was a place with edges, and that details existed more than an arms’ length away. My world got bigger that night. And if you could pick one thing to be your first sight through corrective lenses, a magic show is a pretty decent option.

I know I saw other magicians over the years. There would have been shows at day camps and birthday parties, magicians on stages at town carnivals, Canada’s Wonderland, the Mediaeval Faire. And I would have watched and clapped, laughed and been astonished. These are all vague impressions, though.

There was that “Circus” in the McQuay family’s backyard—a show put on by the neighbourhood kids for parents lined up in lawn chairs. I remember Piper’s acrobatics, and I think some kind of “lion act” featuring Katie the Airedale. The tightrope was a skipping rope stretched across the grass, and we took turns balancing across it. Of course there was a magic act, courtesy of one of those boxed kids with plastic cup-and-balls pieces and a disappearing chamber as tall as a Barbie doll. None of us ended up pursuing magic as a calling, so I suspect it might have been the sort of act that comes from reading the directions five minutes before the show, but watching, I still thought it was cool. Even the possibility of things disappearing and reappearing was enough for me.

I watched magic shows when I was researching the book. My favourite, of course, was the final performance at Magic Camp. I brought my husband and my daughter along, to see the kids I had talked with earlier in the week perform. I LOVED that. It wasn’t always the most polished magic, but it was sincere.

Unfortunately, my husband and daughter haven’t been bitten by the magic bug the way I was. They don’t always want to go see the shows. But I dragged them along to a Christopher Tracy’s family magic show at a resort in Florida last winter, and we had a great time. My daughter was chosen as the first audience volunteer. He broke the rules in a fun way, instructing her to close her eyes while he made things “disappear” by tossing them behind a counter. He invited the whole audience in on his secret—this isn’t really magic, we’re here to have a good time—so that when he started in on the tricks that baffled us, we enjoyed it even more. We laughed, and my daughter felt special for having been part of the show.

We’re not done with magic, my family and I. I’m not done with it. I have no plans to become a magician (becoming a writer is more than enough work, thanks very much), but I sure do like being in the audience.

Sometime soon, maybe I’ll see you there.


Thank you Erin, for guest posting at Canada's Magic!  Today's the last day to enter to win your copy of Forcing the Ace!

17 November 2014

Appreciating the Certificate of Appreciation

I had the good fortune of attending the Browser's Den 39th anniversary party yesterday.  Unfortunately, I arrived late in the day and missed much of the merriment.  Bernice Cooper was there which is always wonderful.  I did enjoy a very lively trivia quiz, some lovely refreshments, catching up with good friends, making new acquaintances, and of course adding to my magic inventory!

Congratulations to Ryan Brown, this year's recipient of the Len Cooper Memorial Award.  Ryan received a full set of eight Tarbell Course in Magic books in Len's memory.  (You may recall that Ryan won the Best Magician Contest in 2012).

The highlight of the day, for me, was receiving this Certificate of Appreciation from Jeff.

The fine print:

It means a tremendous amount to me that Jeff, who does so much good for the magic community at large, thinks that I am enriching the community as well.

Thank you Jeff!

Vancouver: Hidden camera magic show

There's a hidden camera magic show being filmed in Vancouver.

From Eric Leclerc's Facebook page:

16 November 2014

Calgary: Magical Beauty and the Beast

Visit the Loose Moose website for the complete schedule or to buy tickets.

From Gwyn Auger's Twitter feed:

From Michael Roik's Twitter feed:

15 November 2014

Markham: David Merry at STEVO fundraiser

What Facebook says about STEVO:
The STEVO Foundation is a registered charity in the Province of Ontario whose sole mission is to offer Comfort and Hope to families and individuals that have been affected by cancer.

From David Merry's Twitter feed:

Niagara Falls: Mega Magic

From Mike D'Urzo's Facebook page:
Super excited to announce that Mega Magic will be returning to Falls Avenue Resort in Casino Niagara from December 21- January 3 with shows at 8:00 pm nightly! Can't wait! 
Read more.

14 November 2014

Outerbridge Clockwork Mysteries

From Ted Outerbridge's websiste:
November 14, 2014   Lawrence O'Brien Arts Centre, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL
November 16, 2014   Labrador West Arts and Culture Centre, Labrador City, NL
February 3, 2015       Yukon Arts Centre, Whitehorse, YT
February 4, 2015       Yukon Arts Centre, Whitehorse, YT
February 7, 2015       North Peace Cultural Centre, Fort St. John, BC
February 15, 2015     Lester Centre of the Arts, Prince Rupert, BC
February 21, 2015     The Port Theatre, Nanaimo, BC
February 25, 2015     Roxy Theatre, Neepawa, MB
February 28, 2015     Griffin Park Theatre, Brooks, AB

Randi in the NY Times

A reminder that Randi is scheduled to appear at the Calgary Undergraound Film Festival later this month.

From the New York Times:
The Unbelievable Skepticism of the Amazing Randi 
A few minutes before 8 o’clock one Sunday evening last July, around 600 people crowded into the main conference hall of the South Point casino in Las Vegas. After taking their seats on red-velvet upholstered chairs, they chattered noisily as they awaited the start of the Million Dollar Challenge. When Fei Wang, a 32-year-old Chinese salesman, stepped onto the stage, they fell silent. Wang had a shaved head and steel-framed glasses. He wore a polo shirt, denim shorts and socks. He claimed to have a peculiar talent: from his right hand, he could transmit a mysterious force a distance of three feet, unhindered by wood, metal, plastic or cardboard. The energy, he said, could be felt by others as heat, pressure, magnetism or simply “an indescribable change.” Tonight, if he could demonstrate the existence of his ability under scientific test conditions, he stood to win $1 million.
Read more.

13 November 2014

A Q&A with Erin Thomas

Author Erin Thomas kindly agreed to a brief Q&A about her latest book for the 11-14 set, "Forcing the Ace."  Read what Erin has to say about The Den, Magic Mike, Justin Flom, Sorcerers Safari and more!

1. Your book portrays magic very authentically.  How much time did you spend researching the magic community? 

First of all, thank you for the compliment! Of all the books I’ve written, this is probably the one I enjoyed researching the most. That’s lucky, because I had originally pitched a few different ideas to Sarah Harvey, the editor of the Limelights series at Orca. Most of them were for areas of the performing arts where I had at least a little bit of knowledge or experience. And then there was the magic idea. When that one turned out to be her favourite, I knew I was going to be doing a lot of research.

I spent months learning about magic. Many months. I initially met with a friend’s son, who happens to be a magician. He sent me to Browser’s Den magic shop in Toronto, and suggested that I get in touch with “Magic” Mike Segal, who runs a week-long summer camp for young magicians. Both of those turned out to be incredible leads.

I read instructional books about magic and watched a ton of videos and television specials, including those “magic’s secrets revealed” types of shows. I learned how a lot of magic effects are created, but I don’t kid myself that it’s the same thing as being able to actually create the effects—that would take hours upon hours upon hours of practice. I did fumble around with cards a little bit… enough to gain a healthy respect for how hard it is. I also attended a workshop that Justin Flom presented at Browser’s Den and met some of the magicians there.

The best research opportunity was the visit to camp when you and I met, Nicole. It was incredible to have the opportunity to speak to so many young magicians in person and learn what they feel is most important about the art. That was relatively late in my writing timeline, and I remember wishing I could re-imagine the whole book after that. I made some adjustments to the storyline I had, and decided that I’m probably not done writing about magicians—there are so many more stories to tell.

2. How does the performance art of magic differ from any of the other performance arts that you know about?  How is it the same?

I think one thing that makes magic special is that it rewards a certain kind of suspension of disbelief. When you see a play or a ballet, you know that you are watching a show unfold… you’re conscious of the artifice. With magic, that’s still the case—we all know that chairs can’t float and cards don’t change colour—but I think there’s a tiny voice inside saying, “Maybe.” The magician and the viewer agree together to pretend that the laws of physics can be suspended, just for a little while. At least, that’s how I prefer to watch magic performed.

Another thing that makes magic special is that it can be enjoyed on so many levels. There’s the element of wonder and the feeling that the world might have possibilities in it beyond the everyday—that’s the first level. On the second level, it’s a puzzle to be solved, if you enjoy that sort of thing. I don’t think I’d want to try too hard to solve it, but sometimes that can be fun. And even when you know how an effect is performed, the third level of enjoyment kicks in, which is just the pure pleasure of watching someone do something well.

Of course, all the performance arts have some things in common. What strikes me most is the extreme amount of dedication and focus required. Even a short performance requires countless hours of learning and practice, whether you’re playing the piano or making one disappear.

3. What were the three biggest surprises to you, about the magic community?

I was most surprised by how welcoming and forthcoming everyone was. There were magicians I reached out to via email, and some I met in person. Nearly without fail, they were all warm, polite, supportive and extremely helpful. Seriously, falling-over-backwards helpful. I wasn’t kidding about wanting to write more about magicians; there just wasn’t room in one small book to use all the story possibilities that people opened up for me, or to do credit to the amount of help they offered. Maybe because of the secrecy associated with the craft, I had expected to meet with more resistance, but that wasn’t the case at all.

One thing I found interesting was the overlap between magic and other crafts. I hadn’t thought of it, but a magician needs to master stagecraft the way an actor does—voice projection, bearing, even character creation. It’s funny, but I never thought about a magician putting on a “persona” for an act. To me as an audience member, they simply were the way they were. It’s silly in retrospect. And then, of course, there’s the storytelling aspect—a performance can be like a short story, in a lot of ways. Some of the best short stories show a character in a moment of change, and create that change for the reader. A magician creates that change moment in the audience. That takes planning, and a rigorous editing process. I got a glimpse at that editing process when I sat in on a performance workshop at the Sorcerers Safari camp.

The third surprise reveals more about my ignorance going into this, I think. I really had no idea that some of the people I met were “big deals” in the magic community until after the fact. They didn’t act like it—they were just these lovely, friendly, down-to-earth people, happy to talk about magic. It was kind of like meeting Margaret Atwood in a bookstore and asking her for reading recommendations without having any idea who she is. I hope I didn’t annoy anybody too much.

4. How did you learn about magic being used for physical rehabilitation?  Did you know there's a Toronto based organization, Magicana, that runs a program like that at a children's rehabilitation hospital?

Oh, yikes. I don’t remember who told me about that initially, and I don’t see it in my project notebook right now. I do remember that as soon as I heard about magic being used this way, I loved the idea, and wanted to include it in the book somehow—I thought it was absolutely the perfect thing for someone struggling to re-learn motor skills. I’ve known some people involved in terrible accidents, and so I know how long the road back can be. This just struck me as a wonderful, positive aspect of the magic community, and I wanted to make it part of the story.

I didn’t know about Magicana, but I researched other organizations that run similar programs. It’s wonderful that there’s one right in Toronto.

5. Currently, magic is strongly male dominated.  I was surprised to see so many magical females represented in your book.  Was that a conscious decision?  If so, why?
It was a conscious decision. I wanted to admit in the book that magic is male dominated, but still present some female magicians as characters, to show that to readers as a possibility. I didn’t have room for a huge cast, so the balance probably comes out more female because of that. Partly, it was in response to the fact that Zoe’s backstory, the way she comes to magic, is a bit tragic and atypical. Because of that, I didn’t want hers to be the only ‘female’ story in the book. I gave Donna a more conventional magic backstory—her father was a magician. “Magic families” were something else I learned about by talking to magicians, and I love the idea of the craft being something shared between a parent and a child. Jack and Donna end up on rocky ground later in life, but magic remains their connection point.

6. Is there anything else you'd like our readers to know?  (About you, your research, your books, the limelight series, as examples.)
Mostly just that I enjoyed learning more about the magical community, and I’d like to thank everyone who helped, especially the Sorcerers Safari group. Magicians are a fascinating bunch.

Overall, I think the Limelights books do a great job of providing a behind-the-scenes look at the different arts, so I’d recommend them to anyone who’s curious about what goes on backstage. 

Thank you Erin for your candid insight into the writing process!

A reminder to enter today to win your copy of Forcing the Ace!

Greg Frewin went Over the Edge!

From Niagara This Week:
Two Niagara-based organizations are taking fundraising to new heights with the upcoming Over the Edge event.

Set to take place Oct. 17, prominent community members — including Niagara Falls mayor Jim Diodati, former Olympian Mike Strange and CKTB host Kevin Jack — will rappel 23 storeys down the side of the Marriott Gateway on the Falls.                        

Read more.

From Greg Frewin's Facebook page:

12 November 2014

An Honest Liar at CUFF

From the Calgary Undergraound Film Festival:
November 21

A biopic of renowned magician James “The Amazing” Randi, AN HONEST LIAR chronicles the magician’s 50-year career, from performing jaw-dropping feats to exposing the simple tricks that have been co-opted by con artists. Featuring interviews with Penn Jillette, Bill Nye, Allice Cooper, “Mythbuster” Adam Savage and more, AN HONEST LIAR reveals Randi’s classic debunkings and explores his rivalry with Uri Geller, famed spoon-bender and psychic.

James “The Amazing” Randi in attendance!

Read more and buy tickets.

[via Gwyn Auger

11 November 2014

[Guest post] Report on Forcing the Ace

previously mentioned that I enjoyed Erin Thomas new novel, "Forcing the Ace," from the Orca Limelights series.  However, I'm not the target audience (the book is intended for children ages 11 to 14).  With that in mind, I found a young reader who agreed to read and give me their feedback on the book.

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


My thoughts on  "Forcing the Ace" by Erin Thomas:
  • It was a really good book!
  • The synopsis at the back of the book really makes you want to read the book.
  • I wish it was longer.
  • Some chapters made me want to stop reading and practise magic or learn card tricks.

Favourite things:
  • Everyone (boys and girls) can relate to the characters.
  • Kids know what it's like to try and get their parents' permission to do things they want to do while trying to keep up with school.
  • The accident wasn't as bad as it could have been.
  • Injuries were common ground for the two main characters.
  • The girl at the hospital with the shaved teddy bear.
  • The boy and the girl have to figure out how to work together.
  • The book teaches the reader how to deal with difficult people.
  • How the main characters ended their routine.
  • The line about the advantage of being a female magician.

What I learned:
  • Magic can help with physiotherapy.
  • Being in a hospital can be boring.
  • When you're performing and you make a mistake, it may be hard but you can recover.
  • Having fun and connecting with an audience (including things like stage presence and showmanship) can be just as important as technique.

In conclusion:


Enter today to win your copy of Forcing the Ace!

Thank you Kidlet for guest posting at Canada's Magic!

Win a copy of Forcing the Ace

The contest is now closed. The winner was announced at "Winner of Forcing the Ace."

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that a Canadian book had recently been published with a dedication that read, in part, "To the kids at magic camp".

You may remember that a little over a year ago, writer Erin Thomas visited Sorcerers Safari Magic and Performance Camp.  She was doing research for her recently published novel, "Forcing the Ace."

I was generously provided a copy of the book to read.  Read it I did -- all in one night!  Although the book is intended for children ages 11 to 14, I really enjoyed it.  (Say what you will about my smarts or reading ability!)

Here's the teaser from the back cover:
Sometimes the real magic happens offstage.
Alex wants to enter the Silver Stage magic competition, but he needs a sponsor. Jack, a veteran card wizard, is willing to take on the role, but only if Alex agrees to team up with Zoe, another young magician—and Alex’s rival. Working with Jack and sharing the spotlight with Zoe, Alex comes to see that there are other ways to be a magician besides competing—and that magic is about entertaining people, not fooling them. 

I am impressed with the ease with which Erin writes about the technical aspects of performing.  She mentions Tarbell and Erdnase.  There's a nicely placed Vernon quote.  References to Copperfield, Blaine and Neil Patrick Harris made me smile.  The idea that magic can be used to help with physical rehabilitation (much like Magicana's My Magic Hands program at Holland Bloorview), is a nice addition to the story.  Some adult magicians could stand to learn one of the performance lessons realized in the novel.

It's not all hard work and sleights for the characters either.  There's plenty of pre-teen and teenage drama to keep readers entertained.  The bits that are specific to magic, are fairly accurate.

My favourite line in the book is one in which I'm paraphrased.  Five hundred points* to the first person who can identify that line.

If there's a young reader in your life who likes magic, this would make a nice gift.  (Or perhaps a giveaway to audience members or birthday children.)

Pick-up a copy to see what magic shop influenced Erin, or to see the fictional novel helped along by so many Canadian magicians.  On the Acknowledgments page Erin mentions, among others:  Tom Ogden, Dana M, Jeff Pinsky, Jen and "Magic" Mike Segal, Lee Asher, Shawn Farquhar, Aaron Fisher, Justin Flom, Bobby Motta, Dan Wiebe, Ali Shelley, Alex Seaman, Chris Mayhew, Rosemary Reid, Quinton, Phil, C.J., Griffin, Charles, Ben, Tyler, Mike, Johnah and Phil H.


I have been offered a copy of the book, "Forcing the Ace," from the Orca Limelights series (an ongoing series of performing arts novels),  to give away to my readers.  The winner will receive a hard copy or an e-version of the book (winner's choice).

I will be holding a random draw to determine the winner.  (There will be one winner.)  The draw results will be posted Wednesday, November the 19th, 2014.

To enter:
  1. Leave a comment on this post, with a piece of advice you'd give to a a young person starting out in a performance art.  (You do not need to be a magician to enter the contest.)(Your piece of advice could simply be, "don't stop!")
  2. Leave your name, along with a way that I may contact you (e-mail address, phone number, website, Twitter handle etc.) so that I can notify you if you win.
  3. If you win, you must be willing to provide your full name and contact information for me to share with Orca Book publishers.

The fine print:
  1. To participate in the contest, you must be 18 years of age or older.
  2. One entry per person.
  3. This giveaway is open to Canadian residents.  (This contest adheres to the Quebec Sweepstakes Laws dated Nov-01-2014.)
  4. This giveaway is void where prohibited by law.
  5. If you experience difficulties leaving a comment, you may e-mail it to me for posting.  (I am not responsible if your e-mail is misdirected or gets stuck in my Spam folder.)
  6. You must be able to use the book as offered.  (No cash value will be offered.)
  7. The odds of winning depend on how many people enter the contest.
  8. Contest closes Tuesday, November the 18th at 11:59pm EST.

With thanks to Amy Collins from Orca Book Publishers for generously making this book available to you!

*  To borrow a phrase from Drew Carey in "Whose Line Is It Anyway?", the points don't matter.

10 November 2014

Ottawa: The Evasons

From uOttawa:
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 
Join world famous mentalist duo Jeff & Tessa Evason. The Evasons do what appears to be impossible: mind reading, levitation, prediction, and telekinesis.

Since 1983, this mind reading duo has performed in over 35 countries across the globe and made numerous TV appearances on major networks like NBC, FOX, and Discovery Channel.

Read more and buy tickets.

09 November 2014

Coupon code for 20% off Magic Tonight

James Alan, over at Abracadaberet, has kindly offered the readers of Canada's Magic a coupon code for 20% off tickets to Magic Tonight!

Use the coupon code cmagic when you buy your tickets for Magic Tonight to receive your discount.

Tonight's special guests are Matt DiSero and Michael Close.  Upcoming guests include Glenn Ottaway, Jason Palter, Bill Abbott, Paul Pacific, Chris Mayhew and more!

* Offer is subject to change without notice.  Canada's Magic earns a commission when you use the coupon code cmagic.

Victoria: Wacky Wednesday

From Murray Hatfield's Facebook page:

08 November 2014

Le Lab Magique

From Le Lab Magique's Facebook page:

07 November 2014

Toronto: Magic@theCage has moved

Our weekly show Magic@theCage has moved. Not far… we’re exactly one door to the left of where we used to be; from 292 College to 294 College (click here for Google Map Directions if you need them). Since we’re no longer technically @theCage, but merely next to The Cage or in the vicinity of The Cage we figured it was less confusing if we just updated everything. 
So now we are Magic Tonight. Same great show, same phenomenal guests. But we now have more seating capacity, a larger stage and an expanded dinner menu. The show still runs every Sunday at 7:00 PM with dinner served a 6:00 for anyone who’s hungry. 

Read more and buy tickets.

James Alan's Card Under Irony

From Reality Based Magic:
When I returned home from performing last night (at a wedding… with two brides… isn’t the twentieth century awesome?) to find the latest issue of Genii Magazine in my mailbox.  This issue contains a trick I submitted to them for publication several months ago and it has appeared. No one told me exactly when it was going to appear, so it was quite a pleasant surprise to see it. Genii has been around for over seventy-five years and I’m surrounded by some rather illustrious company. It feels a bit like a high school student sneaking into a really cool college party.

Read more.

06 November 2014

Send positive thoughts to Shawn

Updated Nov 7th to add this update from Shawn's Facebook page:

Oh no. I hope you're feeling back to normal very soon Shawn!

From Shawn Farquhar's Facebook page:

Calvin Cutts in the West Lincoln’s Club West magazine

From Ring 49:
Ring 49’s member, Calvin Cutts, made the new with a two page spread in West Lincoln’s Club West magazine.   The article celebrated Calvin’s 25th anniversary as a magician!  For the full article check out pages 34 and 35 of Club West September Issue.
Read more.

05 November 2014

Keith Brown at TEDx University of Windsor

November 8, 2014

Keith has performed at many festivities including; private parties, corporate functions and charity events in Canada, France, Italy, Switzerland, Holland, the United States, Belgium, Czech Republic, and once, on a ship sailing the Mediterranean. He is definitely not your typical rabbit-and-hat type of magician. Keith performs many different styles of magic and specializes in close-up miracles. People who see him perform are shocked by the fact that the magic happens in their hands, in their minds and right in front of their faces. While performing at various venues, Keith mingles with the crowd, or travels from table to table using cards and other common objects to astound guests. Audiences always experience a personal and customized show. His personality is engaging. His magic is ASTONISHING!

Read more.

04 November 2014

Avenue Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40 for 2014

Congratulations to Sheldon Casavant, recently listed in Avenue Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40 for 2014!

From Avenue Edmonton:
This marks the sixth year that Avenue has unveiled a Top 40 Under 40 list. And, as the city evolves, so does our list of the movers and shakers, the people who make Edmonton a great place to live.

After going through hundreds of preliminary nominations, our judges were finally charged with narrowing our field to the 40 people you’ll meet in the following pages. And, more than any other Top 40 Under 40 that has come before, the 2014 class reflects the diverse, inclusive nature of Edmonton.

Read more.

From Sheldon's Twitter feed:

03 November 2014

Rounding the Western rings in November

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

Calgary, ABRing 66 (Calgary Magic Circle, Les Brocklesby Ring)Danny Orleans and Jan Rose lecture.
Edmonton, ABEdmonton Magic Club- n/a
Winnipeg, MBThe Magic Club of WinnipegDanny Orleans and Jan Rose lecture.
Fraser Valley, BCIBM Ring 387 (Fraser Valley Magic Circle, Celeste Evans Ring)Christmas Banquet.
Danny Orleans and Jan Rose lecture.
Vancouver, BCRing 92 (Vancouver Magic Circle)- Vancouver Magic Circle Christmas Dinner
- Vancouver Magic Circle Stage Competitions
Vancouver, BCSAM 95  (Carl Hemeon Assembly)- n/a
Victoria, BCRing 183 (Victoria Magic Circle)   Danny Orleans and Jan Rose lecture.
- Wacky Wednesday show
Please leave a comment or e-mail me about corrections or omissions.

Rounding the Ontario rings in November

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

Hamilton, ONRing 49 (The Doug Henning Magic Wand Club) - David Merry lecture.
London, ONRing 265 (London Magician's Guild)- Taking the stage.
Kitchener, ONRing 235 (The Caesar Hat & Wand Magic Circle)- Magic Movie night.
Ottawa, ONRing 151 (Ottawa Society of Magicians) - Joint meeting with the other Ottawa Club
- Flea Market
- Close-up magic
- CHEO Charity Show
Ottawa, ONOttawa / Gatineau magicians- Joint meeting with the other Ottawa Club
Toronto, ONRing 17 (Sid Lorraine Hat and Rabbit Club) - Dr. Michael Rubinstein lecture and workshop.
Please leave a comment or e-mail me about corrections or omissions.

Rounding the Eastern rings in November

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

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

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

02 November 2014

Broken wand: Alfred Spence

Alf died peacefully, following a courageous battle with cancer, on June 23, 2014. Beset by polio three months after his birth in 1925, and dependent on leg braces until his eighth year, Alf never complained for himself, and was a pillar of moral strength and physical determination for every one of his full and active 89 years. He always credited this fortune to his mother Annie Spence’s effort and encouragement, and to the Freemasons’ financial support for his 13 childhood operations.

Alf’s first love and concern was his family: wife Joyce (nee Morgan), whom he cherished for 64 years, and his children Gary (Ana), Lea MacKenzie (Ross), and Vanda (Guy). Alf’s
grandchildren were his pride and joy: Ryan MacKenzie, Shannon Hickey, Kaytlyn MacKenzie, Samantha Brown, Benjamin Brown, Damian Spence and Jason Spence. Shannon gave Alf his only great-grandchild Isla, days before his death, bringing him great happiness.

Read more.

From Legacy:
SPENCE, Alfred (Alf)
May 5, 1925 - June 23, 2014

Alf succumbed to cancer on June 23. Beset by polio three months after his birth in 1925, and dependent on leg braces until his eighth year, Alf never complained. He was always grateful for the Freemasons' financial support for his 13 childhood operations. Alf's first love and concern was his family: wife Joyce, whom he cherished for 64 years, and his children Gary (Ana), Lea (Ross), and Vanda (Guy). Alf's grandchildren were his pride and joy: Ryan, Shannon, Kaytlyn, Samantha, Benjamin, Damian, Jason and great-grandchild, Isla. Alf worked in the radio broadcasting industry in his home town of Vancouver from age 14 during WWII. Afterwards he went to Toronto and began his career at the CBC where he met Joyce.

Read more.

Dave Attwood interviews Paul Gertner

 From Attwood Magic:
DAS-October 23th, 2014 Paul Gertner

This week we were able to catch up with Angel after her lousy camping trip. Our guest this week was Paul Gertner reknown for his version of the classic magic routine cups and balls but done with metal cups and metal balls.

Read more and listen to interview.

01 November 2014

Grateful for our November sponsors

Thank you to our sponsors for their generous support.  This site would not be possible without their backing.

We're grateful to have the support of:

The next time you see them, let them know you saw their sponsorship here!

For more information about purchasing Sponsored Posts or about our Platinum, Gold, or Silver level sponsorships, please visit our Sponsorship page.

Or you can Be Our Friend for only $20 per year! 

Donations of any size are always welcome.

Who's where November 2014

Leave a comment on this post to let us know where you're going to be this month!

From Abracadabaret's Twitter feed:

From Trevor and Lorena's Facebook page:

From Ben Train's Facebook page:

From Perfect Magic's Facebook page:

From Abracadabaret's Twitter feed [20% discount at Magic Tonight with coupon code cmagic]:

From Abracadabaret's Facebook page [20% discount at Magic Tonight with coupon code cmagic]:

Learn about a coupon code for 20% off Magic Tonight!

Details can be found at Youth Leadership Camps Canada.