Showing posts with label _Toronto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label _Toronto. Show all posts

12 February 2019

Toronto: Suzanne announced for Browser's Bash 2019!

Browser's Bash logoBROWSER'S BASH 2019
Saturday, April 13, 2019

From the Browser's Den of Magic newsletter:

The highly respected and very entertaining  close-up magic Phenom simply known as SUZANNE is coming to share her wonderful magic with us at BROWSER'S MAGIC BASH, SATURDAY APRIL 13.

Not only did SUZANNE fool Penn and Teller she was the first female magician to earn the Close Up Magician of the Year award from the Academy of  Magical Arts. Plus she has been a featured cover story in both Genii and MUM magazines!

Read more.


06 February 2019

Toronto: Nicholas Wallace in The Art of Magic

From the Toronto Magic Company Facebook page:
The Art of Magic is BACK! Valentines Day Edition!

On February 13th (Valentines Eve), the Toronto Magic Company has put together a perfect date night!

This is our 8th show (and our first 7 shows SOLD OUT completely!)

This show features the incredible Nicholas Wallace (Who recently FOOLED Penn and Teller), Award winning Magician and Illusionist Rob Testa, Jonah Babins local rising star, and host Benzi Train one of Toronto's busiest performers.



Toronto: The Newest Trick in the Book

From the Toronto Magic Company Facebook page:
The Newest Trick in the Book is BACK this Tuesday Feb 5th with a NEVER BEFORE SEEN LINEUP!

Here's 10 reasons you should go:

1. It features Jacque Swan, Mark Tricks, Sean Rooney, Benzi Train, and host Jonah Babins.

2. The Temperature outside will be above 0

3. It's a FREE show

Read more and claim your ticket.






29 January 2019

Toronto: Greg Wilson lecture - "Things I carry and use..."

From the Browser's Den of Magic:
Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Please Pay at the Door $20 (Standing Room Only)

From the man who brought us such gems as Pointless, Bandwidth, Revolution, Cold Case, Unleashed, Hundy 500 and so much more, Greg Wilson is bringing his brand-new lecture to the Browser's Den! He's a two-time FISM winner, he had an entire chapter dedicated to his magic in Paul Harris' ART OF ASTONISHMENT books, and now he's coming to share his decades of knowledge with you!

Just like the title, Greg's lecture will use things that fit in his pockets and things found around him, teaching you to be ever-ready for performing spur-of-the-moment astonishments.

Building on his best-selling videos “Off the Cuff” and “On the Spot”, Greg teaches you how to convert everyday objects into devastating weapons of deception. The emphasis here is on ENTERTAINMENT. From close-up to stand-up, there’s something for everyone.

Now just because it’s called a lecture doesn’t mean it has to be dry and academic. You will experience a rip-roaring, laugh-out-loud, audience-involving show! Greg will not only fool you, he'll have you laughing and clapping along the way!

This is one lecture you DO NOT WANT TO MISS!

Please Pay at the Door $20 (Standing Room Only)

Thank you for your kind support - The Jeff's & The Browser's Den Team

Read more and buy tickets.



Toronto: Ryan Murray lecture

From the Browser's Den of Magic newsletter:
Sunday, February 10

Ryan Murray's new book 'Curious Weaving' has been completed (proofread by Jeff Hinchliffe). It is a book on one of the most talked about of all shuffles in 'magic' the Faro Shuffle.

The Faro Shuffle is a technique used by most of the top professional card handlers in the world.  However, it is a technique that requires study and effort. For those who enjoy memorized deck work the Faro shuffle is a valuable weapon.

Ryan will be covering different methods so that there is something of value for all skill levels including:  IN-HANDS FARO (Technique & Fixing Mistakes); PROPERTIES (Cycling Order, Straddle Faro; Controlling a Card to Any Position); TABLED FARO (Breakdown of Techniques, Checking for Mistakes, Controlling In or Out, Combining with Riffle Shuffle); DOUBLE FARO.

And he will be performing some effects from his new book.

Read more and buy tickets.

Toronto: Talent announced for the 2019 Browser's Bash

Browser's Bash logoBROWSER'S BASH 2019
Saturday, April 13, 2019

Here's a summary of the awesome talent announced for this year's Bash!


From the Browser's Den of Magic:

CHRIS CAPEHART - LEGENDARY STREET PERFORMER
Chris Capehart is a master magician and a regular headliner at Monday Night Magic in New York City. Come see why he is held in such high esteem by magicians around the world.


PAUL RICHARDS - CREATIVE CONJUROR
Founder of Elmwood Magic. Mr. Richards has been around the globe sharing his wonderful brand of magic. Eye Popping magic combined with good fun. One of the true gentlemen of the world of magic.

THE OUTERBRIDGES - INTERNATIONAL ILLUSIONISTS
International Illusionists Ted & Marion Outerbridge will cast a magic spell over the audience at this year's Bash. And share some secrets too!

DICK JOINER - EMCEE
Due to popular demand...Joining us again in 2019! He will share his infectious hysterical laugh, fun-loving zany manner and high paced interactive comedy magic. Dick Joiner plans to delight and astound us all day long.



RYAN BROWN - RISING STAR
Ryan will be sharing with us his love of the classics. Card Manipulation, Rings and Magic that will have your eyes popping out! One of the young stars of the Canadian Magic Scene.

GARRETT THOMAS - MASTER MAGICIAN
Due to your huge amount of requests Mr. Thomas will be returning to the Bash stage in 2019. He truly blew us all away in 2018 and that was only half his lecture. Wait to you see part two! Thanks Garrett!

JAMES HARRISON - PICKPOCKET
Finally on the Bash stage! Pickpocket Act and one of Canada's premier close up magicians. Be ready to clap. And be ready to hold onto your wallets & watches!

JACQUE SWAN - COIN MAGICIENNE
Canadian new talent, Ms. Swan will be sharing some of her coin magic with us that will make your magic eyes pop out! Don't blink as coins vanish and reappear at a mystifying speed.



ROBERT AND SCOTT PRESSWOOD - THE BUMBLING BERTS
Two of the busiest children's performers in the GTA. Combined they give more then 600 shows annually. Sit it and learn on their tips for making your family show reach it's potential. (at lunch break)



ANDREW WOO
Sit in and learn from over 35 years of experience performing and creating magic. Simple Methods with Strong Audience Impact!



JENNY PARSONS - HIDDEN CANADIAN GEM
Is she a comedian? Is she a magician? Is she a sorceress? You'll decide. Ms. Parsons will be sharing her unique world of fun and chaos! A hidden gem of the Canadian entertainment scene



CHRIS BRUCE - CARDICIAN EXTRAORDINAIRE
FREE Lunchtime Table Class on False Shuffles, Classic Force & Top Change

 
Read more and register!








Toronto: Free magic club

This Saturday, February 2nd is The Browser's Den of Magic's next (Free) Magic Club meeting. All are welcome.

The club meets from 2:30pm to 5:30pm.

21 January 2019

Toronto: Chris Pilsworth, Jason Palter, Jonah Babins, and Ben Train

From Eventbrite:
Thu, 31 January 2019

In order to ensure every seat in the house is a good one, only 75 tickets are available for this intimate theatre experience. Make sure you order yours before they disappear forever!

Now, without further ado, let’s meet the performers.

Chris Pilsworth
Chris Pilsworth knows how to entertain. Since becoming a professional magician over 30 years ago, Chris has performed thousands of shows all over the world, including headlining at the Magic Castle in Hollywood and performing for millions of people on live TV. New York Times Best Selling Author Stephen Dubner says that "Chris Pilsworth is better than advertised: a great illusionist, yes, but with a heart and mind that match it." We couldn't agree more.


Jason Palter
Jason is a comedian, an award winning magician and one of Toronto’s top professional speakers. He has spent the last 20 years performing his original magic and illusions all over the world, including hundreds of live shows as well as numerous television and corporate video appearances. He is an "Entertainer of The Year" recipient, as presented by the Canadian Event Industry Awards, and just appeared on last month's season finale of "Penn & Teller: Fool Us". With Jason one thing is for sure - you’re going to laugh and be fooled at the same time!


Jonah Babins
Jonah is one of the founders of the Toronto Magic Company as well as the host of Discourse in Magic, the #1 rated podcasts for magicians on the planet. He has performed all over Toronto, L.A, and New York for celebrites, influencers, and private events - not to mention the 100+ show summer tour every summer. Jonah is a rising star in the world of magic and is not to be missed!


Ben Train
The host of The Art of Magic and one of the founders of the Toronto Magic Company, Ben is one of Toronto’s busiest entertainers. He has performed all over the world, including Canada, the United States, as well all across Europe, and he has a weekly show at Dave and Busters Oakville. When Ben isn’t on stage he’s busy creating magic for other magicians with 2 books and 3 DVDs of original magic for sale all over the world.

Read more and buy tickets.


From Ben Train's Facebook page:




04 January 2019

Toronto: Michel Huot lecture

From the Browser's Den of Magic:
Sunday, January 20, 2019

Dear Denizens,

We are so excited to start off the 2019 year with a lecture by Michel Huot.

It is not often that we have a lecturer who earns almost all of his living as a corporate magician.  Michel Huot is just that magician.  He has been a corporate magician for 24 years. Over the past 24 years he has given more then 4,000 performances!

Years and years of performing magic in the real world have fine tuned his performances to make sure that he gets repeat business...repeat business...from businesses.

He is also a top notch creator of magic including 'Priceless', 'Dirty Pool' and the soon to be released 'Socks'.  Many of his routines have also appeared in the magazines 'Genii', 'Magic', 'The Magic Menu'. Some of his creations have also appeared in the books of David Acer, John Lovick.

He has performed and lectured in Algeria, Mexico, Canada, France, Magic Circle in London, Penguin Magic.

In his lecture you will learn cool tricks with your shoe, your cellphone, plush toys, socks, cards, jacket and more. Everything Michel teaches you is magic and methods for the real world; magic, that can be done in non ideal surroundings.

Read more and buy tickets.

Toronto: Free magic club

From the Browser's Den Facebook group:
Happy 2019 to all of our WONDERFUL 'Browser's Den' magic friends/customers.

We would not be still in business if it was not for your KIND support over these past forty three years. THANK YOU!

On this Saturday, January 5 is our next Free Magic Club Meeting from 2:30pm to 5:30pm. All welcome. 
Happy New Year-The Jeff's, John Cardella, Luiz Castro & Lisa Close.

Toronto: Strange and Unusual

See Nicholas Wallace in "Strange and Unusual."


From Fringe Toronto:
Borrowing from the world of Hitchcock and the Twilight Zone, Strange & Unusual is a unique mixture of storytelling and illusions. It is an interactive exploration of how and why humans are hardwired to believe in “weird things”, a celebration of the importance of mystery. You are cordially invited to explore the world of conspiracy theories, superstition, psychics, and all things strange and unusual.

Read more.


From the Twitter feed of Chris Bruce:


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.


14 December 2018

Toronto: Kayla Drescher lecture

From the Ring 17 Facebook event:

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


12 December 2018

A peek behind the curtain with Young and Strange

I was delighted to receive an invitation to interview Richard Young and Sam Strange earlier this month, as part of a Champions of Magic promotional event.  You may have seen Young and Strange on The Next Great Magician, Penn & Teller: Fool Us (2014 and 2017), or “photobombing” the Live News Report.




Although I was unable to attend, they kindly agreed to answer a few questions by email.  Which of course meant that I wasn’t able to witness any of their magic up close and personal.  And so my first question …


What wondrous and extraordinary magical effect would you have shown me had I been there to interview you in person?
As I’m sure all your readers can empathise with, when asked about your profession/hobby, it’s quickly followed up with “show us a trick mate.” That can be repetitive at times and more often than not the environment in which you’re asked to perform isn’t favourable, meaning a cobbled together performance.
What is your first memory of magic?
 

My first experience of the magic we know and love was probably seeing Lance Burton performing his dove act on a TV special. What an incredible piece of magic that was/is.
The beauty of being stage illusionists is that it immediately takes you out of the “performing on demand” predicament and we often say “unfortunately, all of the magic we do is simply too big to do for you right now!” Having said all of that,
we would have definitely made the effort for you and would have probably set up our full illusion show complete with lighting, music and pyro.


Aww, shucks.  I am gutted that I wasn’t able to make the live interview!



Where do you find non-magical inspiration?
 

The reality is that we take inspiration from all sorts of things outside of magic. There has always been a comedic thread in our performances so we are interested in all forms of comedy. Young has had a lifelong passion for WWE wrestling which draws many parallels with stage magic (the production, characters, humour).
Who inspires you magically?

We have always absolutely loved David Copperfield and seeing his TV specials as children was probably the biggest inspiration to our act today.  We have a passion for stage illusions and no-one does it better than him. We recently saw his show in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand and he’s still at the very top of his game. Lance Burton, along with Siegfried and Roy were also hugely inspirational. We have always loved the magic of 1980’s and 90’s.


Why do you think people are still fascinated by magic, especially live magic? 
Despite having all of this magic at our fingertips in the age of smartphones, we think that people are still looking for that momentary escapism where they can feel like a kid again, even if only for a few seconds. Magic and certainly stage illusion can absolutely do that.


What’s is it about Champions of Magic that has allowed you to draw large audiences on 6 UK tours and 2 North American tours over the past five years?
I think there are a number of reasons why it’s been successful. There’s no doubt about it, live magic is popular at the moment.. Talking specifically about the show, we think the name is brilliant. Champions of Magic; it’s about as clear a show title as it can be. It feels like a safe, solid bet for an evening’s entertainment. 
It has a multi-magician line-up with different styles of magic-- if you don’t like one performer or style, you’ll like one of the others. 
The varied line up also allows for much more flexibility within the show, therefore broadening its appeal. The show is constantly evolving both on and off stage. The branding and marketing changes as the producer (an incredibly hardworking, dynamic man called Alex Jarrett) learns from each run of the shows we do.  


What surprised you most about performing in different countries?  Have you experienced anything specific about Canadian audiences in particular?
I think if you chat to most magicians who have developed their acts for British audiences and then transitioned to North America, they will say the same thing: audiences over your side of the Atlantic are SO much better. They are less cynical and more vocal in their praise. Why that is we're not sure, it could be because magic has a great reputation or they are more conditioned to ‘join in’ with sports games being such a huge feature of the culture. We’ve only done a handful of shows in Canada probably not enough to distinguish between American and Canadian audiences. Maybe you can give us some pointers?! The shows we are doing in Toronto are over the holiday season so it should be a fantastic run of shows with everyone in good spirits.

Life on the road isn’t all glory and glamour.  There are tight schedules, never-ending bus rides, questionable accommodations, missed connections, and broken or disappearing props.
I’m glad you recognise that. It’s all too easy to look at the touring life (especially through the lens of magician’s social media) and think “that looks like the absolute dream lifestyle.”  It is amazing but does have a equal amounts of highs and lows.


Tell us about your most memorable touring misadventure.
One of the biggest benefits of being in a large scale touring show is that you end up with a lot of interesting stories, so to pin it on a single anecdote is difficult. However we did a show recently at a casino near Seattle and flew out the night before. When we landed, we had a message from the trucking company saying the truck had been caught in heavy weather and simply wouldn’t make it to the event. I should say that if you have seen any of the advertisements for Champions of Magic or seen the show itself you’ll understand that it is a large scale show. In our set alone there are nine illusions framed with top level production. So to have no truck is an absolute disaster.

No truck?  No props?  Oh no!
Fortunately, the event we had been booked for was a little unusual with a theatre at one end of the room and dining tables tightly packed into the floor space. It allowed for the guests to enjoy a three course meal followed by the evening show. We took a taxi to the local magic shop in Seattle, while the rest of the cast and crew brainstormed what they could do in order to make the show happen. It’s amazing how resourceful five magicians can be when the chips are down. We also gave extra value by performing close up magic around the tables prior to the show, which kicked the whole thing off on the right foot.
One of the things we did was have a crew member dress and [Editor's note: The content that followed contained super secret secrets and has been redacted.  Hey.  I said it was super secret.  Did you think I was just going to leave it here for you in plain text?] Of course a little rehearsal before, the use of a devil’s handkerchief (courtesy of the Seattle Magic Shop) and an audio track that is as well known to the magic community as David Copperfield himself, created one of the best reactions of the night.
Alex McAleer the Mind Reader did an extended performance, along with Kayla Drescher (the specialist close up magician in the show). Young and I were forced to resurrect a card production/manipulation act we used to do, along with a comedy routine we had for silk in Egg. Fernando Velasco (the escapologist in the show) did a variation on Smash and Stab and by the time the show had finished the audience went crazy.
It seems no level of production can compete with confusing a bandana for a banana.


So as to not scare off any aspiring performers, please share with us your favourite touring experience and / or strategies you use to maintain your sanity on tour.
Without sounding like PR spin, we are like a big family off stage. We all get on well and look after each other. We go to the gym together, share apartments together and spend most of our time hanging out. We are fortunate to have an excellent producer, Alex Jarrett, who is laid back, very funny and incredibly hard working. He strikes the perfect balance as a boss and allowing us to have fun. He’s been incredibly selective in which magicians are in the show, not only for their acts but also for their attitudes off stage. Magicians are well known for their ballooned ego’s and ensuring everyone gets on with each other is just as important as the show itself. We joke around all the time and every show has something that makes us laugh.
 

Had your families not been friends (meaning that you wouldn’t have met each other in childhood and become friends), what kind of magic do you think each of you would be doing today?  (Or would you be back to filling jam donuts?)
We often talk about what we would all be doing if we hadn’t have discovered our early passion for magic. There is no doubt about it that Young and I have always loved large scale stage illusions. Although we have been close up magicians for many years, our passion has always been rooted in stage magic. I suspect that passion would have come through regardless of whether we knew each other. Whether that would have translated into us both being stage performers is another matter and probably unlikely. The beauty of a double act is that you both bring different things to the table, pooling the little talents we did have together. Obviously learning magic together was a great catalyst and our friendship is what makes performing our act so much fun. Some double acts are known for not getting along well, but we are very fortunate that’s not the case for us, and our deep rooted friendship is the biggest asset to our act.

What's your connection to Canadian magic?

How can you not be absolutely in love with Doug Henning's vibrancy and positivity? His shows were incredible. We also love Darcy Oake, a great performer and an incredible stage magician. He is one of the very few magicians who is genuinely cool, rather than most illusionists who try, but can’t quite pull it off.

How have your numerous television appearances, including Penn & Teller: Fool Us, The Next Great Magician, and NBC’s Access Hollywood (USA) impacted your career?
Penn and Teller: Fool Us has always been a fantastic show with nothing but good intentions to showcase magic at it’s best. That’s been really helpful in getting our name out there, along with a viral video we created of us photobombing a Live News Report.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
We’ve been in the show Champions of Magic for a number of years and the show is the best it’s ever been. By the time it reaches the St. Lawrence Centre in Toronto we will have been out in North America for nearly eight weeks performing in venues all over the US. The theatre in Toronto has a capacity of about 900 so it’ll feel like an intimate venue for such a large scale show. With all this in mind it’s worth making the effort to come and see the show and the four acts in it, as everything is pointed to it being the best run of shows we have ever done.

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

Catch the Champions of Magic at The Bluma Appel Theatre December 19 to January 6, 2019.  Tickets through Ticketmaster or enter our contest!



10 December 2018

A peek behind the curtain with Alex McAleer

I was delighted to receive an invitation to interview Alex McAleer earlier this month, as part of a Champions of Magic promotional event.  You may have seen McAleer on international television shows such as ITV’s Good Morning Britain (UK), and NBC’s Access Hollywood (USA).





I was unable to attend, but lucky for me (and you) he kindly agreed to answer a few questions by email.

What is your first memory of magic?

I remember seeing a magician at a friend’s birthday party when I was maybe six years old. He wore a cape and a pointy hat with stars on and made a roast chicken appear in a child’s toy microwave. Describing it now, it could have all been a very odd dream but I’m pretty sure it happened.
and in his first show channeled his inner Derren Brown.  


What would have been in store for you had you not caught the mentalism bug?  
I think I would have developed a silent act very much in the style of Teller (from Penn & Teller). I like the challenge of communicating without words and letting the magic do the talking.


How do you create new effects?
When I’m thinking of new routines or material for a show, my first starting point is always what I want the audience to experience: what do I want them to see, think and feel. Sometimes it’s just a cool idea - a way to reveal something someone is thinking of in an unexpected or surprising way. Then I start to think about how it should look, and feel. Then I start to think about how I can achieve whatever it is I’ve dreamt up.


Who inspires you that is not a magician?
I’ve always been a fan of comedians such as Billy Connolly and Eddie Izzard; their ability to just stand on stage and entertain a thousand people with just their words. I’m also a fan of silent film stars, especially Buster Keaton (who is much funnier than Chaplin). I guess what inspires me about Keaton is that as a silent film star he had to rely on his physicality to tell the story.
Why do you think people are still fascinated by magic, especially live magic?
When you watch a magic trick, you are being shown something that shouldn’t be possible but somehow it’s still happening. Magic relies on taking something you know to be a fact, an object is solid, your thoughts are yours and yours alone, and breaks the rules. It’s fun for people to not understand the world for a few moments.
Magic is and always had been at its best when experienced live. Seeing someone vanish before your very eyes is always going to be enticing.


What surprised you most about performing in different countries?
This show started in the UK so when we first started touring North America we were initially shocked by the audiences’ enthusiasm this side of the pond. It’s a cliché, but in the UK we are more reserved and skeptical as a people, but across the Atlantic, people are eager to see a magic show and happy to just enjoy the experience. I’ve always found Canadians to have a pleasant mix between American optimism and European sensibilities so I’m looking forward to performing here and seeing the response we get.


McAleer’s connection to Canadian magic?
His fellow Champions of Magic performer, Kayla Drescher hosts the Shezam podcast with our very own Carisa Hendrix!
Life on the road isn’t all glory and glamour.  There are tight schedules, never-ending bus rides, questionable accommodations, missed connections, and broken or disappearing props.  Tell us about your most memorable touring misadventure.
All of the above is true! This show has been touring in the UK and US over the past 5 years so we’ve had all sorts happen. We have had the truck containing all the props, lights, and set turning up 2 hours before the show starts, and once not turning up at all! Thankfully we have an amazing cast and crew, especially the crew who can also pull-off miracles.




So as to not scare off any aspiring performers, please share with us your favourite thing about touring.
It’s always exciting to travel and meet new people, and we’ve visited places I might never have had the chance to if I wasn’t touring with this show. The best part is getting to do it with the cast and crew of Champions of Magic, the best tour family there is!

Thank you Alex McAleer for making the time to answer our questions!

Catch the Champions of Magic at The Bluma Appel Theatre December 19 to January 6, 2019.  Tickets through Ticketmaster or enter our contest

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







30 November 2018

Toronto: Free magic club

From the Browser's Den of Magic Facebook group:
Hi Denizens,

This Saturday, December 1 is our next (free) Magic Club meeting. All are welcome.

Meeting at Browser's Den of Magic from 2:30pm to 5:30pm.

Thank you-The Jeff's, John Cardella, Luiz Castro & Lisa Close.
Serving Magicians Since 1975

28 November 2018

Toronto: Chris Mayhew lecture

From the Browser's Den of Magic:
Sunday, December 9

Chris Mayhew enters. And magic mayhem follows. He will disarm you, charm you, and make you laugh out loud with his uniquely entertaining brand of magic.

Magic is not only a profession for Chris Mayhew, it's a way of life. Throughout the past decade Chris Mayhew has developed a beautifully unique way to create, perform and entertain with magic, which has garnered him a reputation worldwide.

This lecture will enhance your repertoire with new twists on classic plots like Triumph, Ambitious Card, Anniversary Waltz, and Colour Change in Spectator’s Hand. Chris will also reinvigorate your imagination with fantastic new and visual ideas that will have your brain ticking long after the lecture is over. By the end of this special event you will be enlightened with some inspiring thoughts, be refreshed on old and new plots, and filled with memories of a thoroughly enjoyable time with Chris Mayhew.

Read more and buy tickets.

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.