Showing posts with label Fernando Velasco. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fernando Velasco. Show all posts

12 October 2019

A(nother) peek behind the curtain with Richard Young

Upcoming Champions of Magic Canadian tour dates:
  • 12/8/19     Brandon, MB
  • 12/12/19   Ottawa, ON       <<<  ** recent addition **
  • 12/14/19   Oshawa, ON
  • 12/15/19   Laval, QC
  • 1/16/20     Saskatoon, SK    SaskTel Centre
  • 1/17/20     Regina, SK    Conexus Arts Centre
  • 1/26/20     Prince George, BC
  • 2/29/20    Rama, ON         <<<  ** recent addition **
Read more and buy tickets.


You may remember the fabulous interview, "A peek behind the curtain with Young and Strange,"  from December of last year.  I was delighted to receive an invitation to take a second pass at an email interview with Richard Young (one half of Young and Strange) as part of a Champions of Magic promotion.

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


From the Magicians' Podcast Twitter feed:






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


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



What interests do you have outside of magic?
 

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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



 


Thank you Richard Young of Young and Strange for making the time to answer more of our questions!

Catch the Champions of Magic on tour in Canada!


Upcoming Champions of Magic Canadian tour dates:
  • 12/8/19     Brandon, MB
  • 12/12/19   Ottawa, ON       <<<  ** recent addition **
  • 12/14/19   Oshawa, ON
  • 12/15/19   Laval, QC
  • 1/16/20     Saskatoon, SK    SaskTel Centre
  • 1/17/20     Regina, SK    Conexus Arts Centre
  • 1/26/20     Prince George, BC
  • 2/29/20    Rama, ON         <<<  ** recent addition **
Read more and buy tickets.

05 October 2019

A peek behind the curtain with Fernando Velasco

Upcoming Champions of Magic Canadian tour dates:
  • 12/8/19     Brandon, MB
  • 12/12/19   Ottawa, ON    TD Place    <<<  ** recent addition **
  • 12/14/19   Oshawa, ON
  • 12/15/19   Laval, QC
  • 1/16/20     Saskatoon, SK    SaskTel Centre
  • 1/17/20     Regina, SK    Conexus Arts Centre
  • 1/26/20     Prince George, BC
Read more and buy tickets.


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






What is your first memory of magic?

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

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

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


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



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


Who inspires you that is not a magician?
 

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



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


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

Advice: Have fun on and off stage!




What interests do you have outside of magic?
 

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


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






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

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


Thank you Fernando Velasco for making the time to answer our questions!



Catch the Champions of Magic on tour in Canada!




Upcoming Champions of Magic Canadian tour dates:
  • 12/8/19     Brandon, MB
  • 12/12/19   Ottawa, ON    TD Place    <<<  ** recent addition **
  • 12/14/19   Oshawa, ON
  • 12/15/19   Laval, QC
  • 1/16/20     Saskatoon, SK    SaskTel Centre
  • 1/17/20     Regina, SK    Conexus Arts Centre
  • 1/26/20     Prince George, BC
Read more and buy tickets.









18 September 2019

Champions of Magic are coming back!

I was also lucky to score interviews in 2018 with two of the four acts in the show.  Have a read:
I had the privilege of seeing Champions of Magic with Kidlet last December. So. Much. Fun! You can read my random thoughts about their show here.


From the Champions of Magic:
  • 12/8/19     Brandon, MB
  • 12/14/19   Oshawa, ON
  • 12/15/19   Laval, QC
  • 1/16/20     Saskatoon, SK    SaskTel Centre
  • 1/17/20     Regina, SK    Conexus Arts Centre
  • 1/26/20     Prince George, BC
Read more and buy tickets.


From the Champions of Magic Facebook page:


22 December 2018

Random thoughts on "Champions of Magic"

Before I begin, have a peek at a snippet of the most recent Champions of Magic press release:
TORONTO, ON, December 21, 2018: Last night, the UK’s biggest large-scale illusion spectacle Champions Of Magic left Toronto spellbound after its spectacular opening night performance. Running for a limited-time engagement at The Bluma Appel Theatre (St Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front St E.), with an unprecedented three shows a day, the popular production has to be seen to be believed.

As The Bluma Appel Theatre’s highest selling holiday extravaganza ever, ​Starvox Entertainment is proud to announce the addition of five new performances across the following dates, including a death-defying fourth show on January 5, for a total of 40 performances over 18 days!
  • Wednesday, December 26, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. EST
  • Thursday, December 27, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. EST
  • Friday, December 28, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. EST
  • Wednesday January 2, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. EST
  • Saturday January 5, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. EST

A four show day, 17 days into the run?  Death-defying indeed!


 

On with the show...


After missing out on the opportunity to interview Alex McAleer and Young & Strange live, I knew I had to jump on the chance when I was invited to attend Champions of Magic (especially after what Strange told me I missed by not making it to interview day).

We arrived early and had a chance to get the feel of the theatre.  The Bluma Appel Theatre seats just under 900 guests and is a cozy theatre.  I'd venture that there are no truly bad seats in the house.
  • I experienced my first feat of astonishment when the usher read my mind and gave me directions to the rest room before I'd even asked the question!
  • Kidlet observed that there were a lot of children in the audience and was surprised by the number of girls in attendance.
  • If not a sold out show, the theatre looked very close to capacity.
  • If you're chatting with Brendan at the merchandise table, tell him to visit the Browser's Den of Magic if he gets any off-time.  
  • The show is about an hour for the first half, 15 minutes intermission, and about an hour in the second half.
  • I am genuinely afraid of posting spoilers.  The less you know going in, the more you'll enjoy it.

Note to parents of young children:  The music can be very loud at times throughout the show.  There's also a smoke machine involved.  Forewarned is forearmed.

So. Much. Fun.

  • The show starts strong with Young and Strange and keeps up an astonishing pace.
  • As with Starvox Entertainment's Potted Potter, Champions of Magic is absolutely D'liteful!
  • The four acts are interwoven through out the night, which works really well at keeping each of the disciplines fresh.
  • Kayla Drescher, Alex McAleer, Fernando Velasco, and Young & Strange all do what they do very well indeed!
  • There's a tangible camaraderie among the cast.  Kidlet likened the feeling of the group to the team of illusionists in Now You See Me (but without the audience payout at the end of the show).
  • There's a tonne of audience participation with both children and adults!
  • One of the pieces performed was something submitted in the contest from earlier this month.  Can you guess what it was?
  • McAleer does impressive mind reading.  He even offers a wager with an audience member for a substantial amount of money. (And he knew how to pronounce "Toronto" like a local!)  If he asks you how you are, be sure to ask him how he's doing too, so he knows that Canadians are a caring bunch.
  • Velasco does more than impressive breathtaking, heart-stopping escapes.
  • Drescher did some mind-boggling close-up in the audience, a couple of types of "arts and crafts," and made her young volunteer, Malia, feel very special. (Also of note, Drescher's volunteer Andy, was very reluctant to break her heart.)
  • Young and Strange performed a super tight, high energy set while channeling their inner SARMOTI.  It's refreshing to see a man get put into boxes to be squished and skewered!  On a personal note, it was fun to see them perform an original illusion by Canadian magician Gerry Frenette.
  • Annalisa, the aerialist was fabulous! As were Brendan, Brandon and the rest of the stage crew and theatre crew.  Those folks hustled to keep the pace going.
  • I had many "how'd they do that?" thoughts, along with so many moments of joyous laughter, and periods of being completely enthralled in the spectacle.
  • Kidlet can't stop talking about the ending.  It caught us both completely by surprise!

Don't just take my word for it, have a read of Wayne Leung's post "Review: Champions of Magic (Starvox Entertainment)" from December 21, over at Mooney on Theatre.





Catch the Champions of Magic at The Bluma Appel Theatre through to January 6, 2019.  Tickets through Ticketmaster.

(Don't forget about Drescher's Toronto lecture in the New Year!) 



Disclosure:  Kidlet and I were guests at this show. The opinions expressed above are entirely my own. I did not receive compensation for the writing or the publishing of this article.


16 December 2018

Toronto: American Sign Language interpreted magic show

From the Champions of Magic Press release:
TORONTO, ON, DECEMBER 13, 2018: The holiday season just got a little more magical as ​Starvox Entertainment announces a very special performance of Champions Of Magic accompanied by American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation. On December 29 at 5:00 p.m. at Toronto’s​ Bluma Appel Theatre ​ (​St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front St E), the UK’s mind-bending magical troop, will deliver their jaw-dropping, mind-bending performance and mesmerising illusions with ASL interpretation to Toronto for the first time ever.

Fully immersing deaf audience members into a grand scale illusion show, such as Champions of Magic, is no easy task, and is rarely done,” stated Corey Ross President and Founder of Starvox Entertainment. “While magic is very visual, the sleight of hand often involves distracting the audience through audio cues and the traditional magician’s patter.  The Champions are preparing themselves for the challenge of performing for this new audience without giving away the secrets of the illusions. It will be incredibly suspenseful to see if this works.”   
It was really important to us that the show to be fully inclusive of the diverse Toronto audience,” says Kayla Drescher, the show’s close up Magician. “Having a performance with American Sign Language interpretation allows the entire audience to be totally immersed in the magic and enjoy the camaraderie that is an integral part of the performance.

Champions Of Magic’s five world-class illusionists deliver a mesmerizing experience that’s entertaining for the entire family. Featuring incredible illusions with sports cars, an impossible escape from Houdini’s water torture cell, mind-blowing predictions that must be witnessed to be believed, levitation from wonderous heights and a finale beyond explanation, Champions of Magic showcases original magic that can’t be seen anywhere else.
To reserve seats for the December 29th ASL performance, please use code “ASL” when purchasing tickets through ​www.ticketmaster.ca to ensure assigned seating. For assistance, contact the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts box office via tquinlan@stlc.com or call 416-366-7723.


06 December 2018

Toronto: Win tickets to see "Champions of Magic"

Great news folks! I have been offered a family prize pack of four (4) tickets to give away to my readers, to attend the Champions of Magic at The Bluma Appel Theatre December 23, 2018 at 5:00 pm, Toronto, Canada. 
Champions Of Magic’s five world-class illusionists deliver an action-packed show to entertain the entire family featuring; incredible illusions with sports cars, an impossible escape from Houdini’s water torture cell, mind-blowing predictions that have to be seen to be believed, levitation from wonderous heights and a finale beyond explanation. The tour features original magic that can’t be seen anywhere else, in an explosive show that will delight audiences of all ages.


Five magicians make up this mind-bending magical troop, including:
  • Kayla Drescher, named the Next Great Magician by David Copperfield.
  • Alex McAleer has the ability to tap into his audience's’ minds and read their thoughts.
  • Fernando Velasco who has triumphed over it all, from straitjackets to water tanks and handcuffs to giant steel traps, he has faced some of the deadliest escape stunts ever performed.
  • Young and Strange have been featured on television shows around the globe thanks to their spectacular illusions and viral videos.

The cast will be in the lobby after the performance for photos at no cost.

If you don't want to leave tickets to chance, you can purchase them at ticketmaster.ca


I will be holding a random draw for the family pack of tickets (minimum retail value $516 CAD).  (There will be one winner.)  The draw results will be posted by Sunday December the 16th.


To enter:
  1. Log into the RaffleCopter widget below, using Facebook or a valid e-mail address.
  2. Mandatory: Leave a comment in the widget, telling me what you think is the most difficult magical effect to take on tour and perform in front of a large audience night after night (from a personal experience, stories from peers, personal opinion etc).  (You do not need to be a magician to enter the contest.  You could simply say “All of them, I’m not a magician!”)
  3. Optional: For an additional entry
    a) Sign in to your Twitter account
    b) Use the RaffleCopter widget to send this message to your Twitter followers:
    "Enter by Dec 13 to win a family pack of tickets to see Champions of Magic at the Bluma Appel Theatre via @canadasmagic https://canadasmagic.blogspot.com/2018/12/toronto-win-tickets-to-see-champions-of.html"

    c) Enter the URL of your Tweet into the RaffleCopter widget to validate your entry.
    (The optional entry is only valid if the Tweet URL is included.)
  4. If you win, you must be willing to provide your full name and contact information so that a representative from Champions of Magic can coordinate with the Bluma Appel Theatre box office.


The fine print:
  • To participate in the contest, you must be 18 years of age or older.
  • One entry (and one optional entry) per person.
  • This giveaway is open to Canadian residents, excluding residents of Quebec. (Je m'excuse!)
  • This giveaway is void where prohibited by law.
  • 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.)
  • This giveaway may be terminated or withdrawn at any time.
  • Entries my be disqualified at any time (reasons for disqualification include but are not limited to the provision of information that is untruthful, inaccurate, incomplete, or suspected fraudulent behavour).
  • You must be able to use the tickets as offered.  (No cash value will be offered if you cannot use the tickets.)
  • Transportation to/from Toronto and accommodations will not be provided.
  • Photo ID will be required to claim the tickets at the the Bluma Appel Theatre box office prior to the show on your way into the theatre.
  • The odds of winning depend on how many people enter the contest.
  • Contest closes on Thursday December the 13th, 2018 at 11:59pm ET.


With thanks to Starvox Entertainment for generously making these tickets available to you!



a Rafflecopter giveaway







23 November 2018

Toronto: Champions of Magic

Catch the UK's Champions of Magic at The Bluma Appel Theatre (December 19 to January 6, 2019).

Tickets through Ticketmaster.


From the press release:
The Champions Of Magic team present incredible illusions with supercars, an impossible escape from Houdini’s water torture cell, a mind-blowing prediction that has to be seen to be believed, levitation high above the stage and a finale beyond explanation. The show features original magic that can’t be seen anywhere else.

Five magicians make up this mind-bending magical troop, including:

Kayla Drescher, named the Next Great Magician by David Copperfield.

Alex McAleer has the ability to tap into his audience's’ minds and read their thoughts.

Fernando Velasco who has triumphed over it all, from straitjackets to water tanks and handcuffs to giant steel traps, he has faced some of the deadliest escape stunts ever performed.

Young and Strange have been featured on television shows around the globe thanks to their spectacular illusions and viral videos.