Showing posts with label _Brandon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label _Brandon. Show all posts

19 October 2019

A peek behind the curtain with Kayla Drescher

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.


A peek behind the curtain with Kayla Drescher 

I was delighted to receive an invitation to email interview Kayla Drescher, as part of a Champions of Magic promotion.  You may know already know Drescher as the winner of the Today Show's “The Next Great Magician” (judged by David Copperfield), from appearing on season four of Penn and Teller Fool Us, or from lecturing in Toronto last January

(Read on to learn more about Drescher's connection to the Canadian magician known as "The Beauty of Magic.")






Who inspires you magically?

My mentors are a couple from Indianapolis - Christian and Katalina.  They are my biggest inspiration magically.  I enjoy watching magicians that are grounded and “real”, like you want to buy them a beer after the show.  That’s what I aim for as a performer and am inspired by those that do the same.




What is your first memory of magic?
 

My first memories were from seeing magic at a magic shop at 7 years old.  That’s where I caught the “bug.”
Why do you think people are still fascinated by magic, especially live magic? 
Because it’s happening directly in front of you.  When magic is happening with no screen or special CGI, it adds to the impossibility.  Add in magic happening in your hands… well there’s nothing better.


Where do you find non-magical inspiration?
 

I love watching dance and choreographers tell a story through movement, listening to music that motivates something magically, or watching a movie suspend the audience’s disbelief and transport you to another world.  Comedy is also a huge influence, especially improv and character-based sketch comedy.  I’m also super inspired by Celine Dion and basically everything she does, especially her fashion.  My choice for clothing on stage is highly motivated by hers. 
What’s is it about Champions of Magic that has allowed you to draw large audiences on 6 UK tours and 3 North American tours over the past six years?
Champions of Magic features every type of magic you could possibly imagine while keeping it fun for the whole family.  But really what we feature over any other show, TV program, movie, etc, is us.  The 5 performers have strong, enjoyable, and engaging personalities.  You get to know us individually and as a performing “family.”  We truly enjoy touring together and you can see that on stage.  We probably feature more high-fives than any other show has.  Audience members come back show after show because they enjoy “hanging out” with us.  And because the audiences are different, the show is just a little different each time, making each show super memorable.    We work hard to make the show not just magically impressive, but an absolutely fun time.



What surprised you most about performing in different countries?  Have you experienced anything specific about Canadian audiences in particular?
The biggest difference is the style of humor.  Because I’m primarily comedy/improv based, I have to study what each audience would find funny.  What I love most about Canadian audiences is the immediate excitement when the show starts.  The roar of the audience when the lights go down is everything a performer wants to hear.  We LOVE LOVE LOVE performing for Canadian audiences and cannot wait to do it again!

Do you have a favourite touring anecdote and / or any advice for touring magicians?
There are so many stories from tour and we certainly don’t have time for them all.  My favorites come from pranking Sam Strange, like when he leaves his belongings on stage during rehearsals and I hide them in one of the cup holders in a 4,000 seat theater.  That’s always fun.

My biggest advice is to just be open to any adventure the tour can bring.  I’ve tried different foods, seen amazing parts of various countries, and rode my first Bird scooter (which I fell off) with the tour.  It’s like an adventure of no other so make the most of it!


 

With respect to your connection to Canadian magic, most of our readers will be familiar with the podcast you do with Carisa Hendrix (Shezam! the podcast hopes to make itself obsolete), and many will know about your connection with the Toronto magic crew.  Do you have any other connections to Canadian magic?
I was influenced by Greg Frewin at a young age.  And there's also Celeste Evans.
I first met Celeste Evans and her daughter Evanna at a magic convention when I was roughly 15/16 years old.  Celeste was a hero of mine, being such a trailblazer in the community and having created a full stage act in a tight dress and no suit jacket (which I was wearing at the time).  Celeste often offered unprompted advice to young magicians, especially women in the community.  She was an amazing human being and a fantastic magicians.

When she passed away, Evanna kindly sent me some of her magic-themed jewelry. After I finished crying of pure joy and honor, the jewelry quickly made its way into my usual performance attire.  Her necklace charm, in the shape of a hand with 4 multiplying balls, is what I mainly wear every show, although the ring in the same shape is often on my hand.  I’m honored to carry on a piece of Celeste through everything I do.  


Do you have any tour or pre-show rituals?

I lay on the floor a lot. It’s very comfortable.  Then I do a ton of dancing to loosen up and get happy, give Fernando a high-five, and get on with the show!
You sometimes perform extremely dense runs.  What do you do to keep your performance fresh for both your audience and you?
I try to change little things about my show each time I start to feel myself get complacent.  It could be adding in a new joke, doing a different dance, wearing a new jacket or shoes, just anything to change things up a bit.  We also all try to keep things fresh, from playing tag on stage to making each other laugh in the wings.  I’m thankful to be with a group of people that all know how to have fun and keep things fresh.

What interests do you have outside of magic?
I’m a big basketball fan and keep up with the WNBA and women’s college basketball regularly.  I try to read a lot but always just end up watching Harry Potter.  And I have a really great dog that I enjoy snuggling with.


If you could be endowed with the talent to take on any Broadway role past or present, who would you pick?
Elphaba from Wicked.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
California weather. I’d share California weather with all of Canada.

Ohhh... best gift ever! Don't forget to bottle some for yourself though.  You'll need it when you hit SK in January!


Thank you Kayla Drescher 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       <<<  ** 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.

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.


A peek behind the curtain with Richard Young border= 

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.

Many of you 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.


A peek behind the curtain with Fernando Velasco 

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:


25 March 2017

Brandon and Prince George: Ty Reveen

See Ty at the WMCA in Brandon on March 25 and in Vanier Hall in Prince George on April 1st.

From the Prince George Citizen:
Pushing the mental buttons of Canada is now a best-selling tradition for one Canadian family.

Like his father before him, the name Reveen is now being worn by a hypno-entertainer who is touring the nation, wowing audiences from coast to coast with a combination of comedy and feats of the human mind.

Organizers call the Reveen experience "the most popular show in the history of Canadian theatre," for its longevity and public appeal over the two generations it's gone on. An estimated audience of more than six million viewers have taken in the first generation of performances, and now those numbers are set to grow.

Read more.


From the Facebook page of Reveen the Legend Continues:






27 October 2016

Dean Gunnarson in the Westman Journal

From the Westman Journal:
Imagine being shackled and chained inside a glass box filled with water. It’s a stunt few people can pull off. Escape Artist Dean Gunnarson is going to attempt just that at this year’s Toastmaster’s Conference.

While being on stage and performing in front of people seems to come natural to Gunnarson, the performer has had to overcome fears of his own.

“He has quite an inspirational story. He’s faced a lot of his fears,” said Ryan Sturgeon.

Gunnarson’s attempt to escape the Russian Death Tank will cap off the conference being held Nov. 11-12 at the Victoria Inn.

Read more.