Monday, April 30, 2007

Planning a Magical Birthday

One of my articles has been posted to Canadian Parents. It's called "Planning a Magical Birthday". Check it out!

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Mandrake movie finally gets a director

(Via IGN) (of all things)

Having only recently discovered the wonders of Mandrake the Magician (thanks to Quinlan's) I guess I can't comment too much on this one, but the long-awaited film based on the popular comic strip finally has a Director.

Chuck Russell (Director of Scorpion King and The Mask) is set to Direct the film, which is being developed by Howard and Karen Baldwin.

The film is supposed to be a contemporary take on the mustached Magician who uses his skills in hypnotism and illusion to fight crime.

I think this film could do very well, and could easily capitalize on Hollywood's new interest in Magic (and it's continuing interest in comic books)- especially since it would be using such a recognizable character.

Now, is there anywhere I can go to catch up on my Mandrake? Any anthologies?

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Women and Magic

I've just read a very nice reprinted article over at Quinlan's Inside Magic called "Women and Magic". It's about how media has changed our views of women, and how women are seen/treated in the Magic industry. What's even better, is the article is written by the very talented Sue-Anne Webster, from Magic Unlimited.

It actually answers some important questions that I've had in my mind, ever since I started learning about Magic. David Blaine, Criss Angel, David Copperfield and the like are all the 'celebrities' of magic in the mainstream media, but we do not have a really famous female magician by which to gauge our opinions (or am I totally wrong on that? I could be). But I am looking at this from the perspective of someone new to the magic community.

Of course, there's always this gal here:











However, I think Sue-Anne is definitely a good candidate for a female Magician role-model.

ps- a big thank you to Tim Quinlan for linking to us on Inside Magic!

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Enlightenment is it's own Magic: Gere's Response

Richard Gere is now claiming that his kissing of Shilpa Shetty was because of his "failure to understand local culture". Gee, ya think?

Gere issued a statement via the AIDS charity that he is associated with, apologizing for the incident. The outrage has sparked protests, some of which involve burning effigies of him- something that Shetty herself doesn't understand, and thinks it makes India look regressive.

This whole incident is reminding me of some interesting discussions that were going on over at the Magic Utopia Blog recently, on racism and cultural sensitivity among magicians.

What Gere did was perfectly innocent in his eyes, but it prompted a very strong response that he didn't understand or expect. This is a huge example of how being a traveling performer could come with certain caveats- mainly that you should understand a local culture before immersing yourself in it. It's a huge undertaking, but in the end it's worth it- because then you can avoid a fine or three monthes in jail for kissing a local TV star.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Janet Jackson, eat your heart out- Richard Gere's lips get arrested in India

(Via Reuters)

In a moment that would make women across the world melt, Richard Gere repeatedly (and I guess, kind of erotically) kissed Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty at an AIDS campaign event while he was in India recently.

The kissing violates local obscenity laws, and he was afterwards arrested and could be sent to jail or fined if he visits the country again.

Some people are calling it an "outrage against her modesty", but to be fair he DID do a rather gentlemanly bow afterward.

I mean, come on, Richard Gere is still pretty attractive for his age.

Without further adieu, here's the deed:

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'Next' - The reviews are coming in

(Via Monsters and Critics)

I just found an early review on Next, with Nic Cage. I wasn't even aware that it was based on a story by Philip K. Dick (of Blade Runner fame). The movie apparently opens this weekend, so maybe I'll go see it.

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Martin Freeman plays Magician in 'Other People'

His skills in comedy are almost magic anyway, and now he can prove it.

Martin Freeman (best known for his role in The Office) will be starring in a TV comedy about a 30-something washed-up Magician. The premise is apparently a guy who was successful at 18, but is now struggling.

Now, I personally know him best from such comedic masterpieces as Shaun of the Dead and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (yes, I liked it, so sue me), since I've never really watched The Office. That being said, I love his work, and I can't wait to get a look at this show.

Other People is currently in the Pilot stage, but is being produced for Channel 4 in the UK.

Arthur Dent: It must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays...

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Magician Teller kicks it up a notch with Macbeth

(Via Yahoo News)

Now here is a story that appeals to my literary sensibilities as a writer- Teller, the silent half of the famous Magician duo Penn & Teller, is planning on putting on a version of Shakespeare's Macbeth that incorporates magic and illusion into the tale. He'll be working with the Two River Theater Company in Red Bank, New Jersey and doing justice to the eeriness of Shakespeare's play using his own experience as a magician and a former student of the classics.

The idea sounds amazing.

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Slow News Day - Time for a Fangirl Magical Moment

So I'll take this time to revisit the Harry Potter craze.

This morning I started re-reading the first book, in its spiffy adult cover (I still felt a little embarrassed to be reading it on the bus though). It doesn't seem nearly as interesting the second time around, but I still have trouble putting it down! As you can see by my widget, the minutes are counting down, and July is going to be one crazy month.

I also plan on renting (or borrowing) all of the movies soon and watching them again. Then I can obsessively (and annoyingly) point out all of the inconsistencies to anybody watching them with me. I should work out a plan to wait in line outside the movie theatre the day before Order of the Phoenix opens...

Maybe learn a few magic tricks for the occasion? Magician Megan on the scene as investigative magical reporter!

And without further adieu, here's an even newer trailer for the movie:



*shivers*

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Magicians the help Children

(Via Newindpress.com)

I found this article via a South India news site, and I'm quite pleased- it's about a magician named Gopinath Muthukad who speaks to children and teaches them about confidence, by way of relating his experiences as a magician. In fact, it's for summer classes for the State Child Welfare Council.

It's nothing short of magical when magicians use their craft to enrich the lives of children. Something as simple as putting on a magic show can change a child's life.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Now THAT is what I call romance

(Via The American Chronicle)

I found an article that gives several suggestions on creative ways to make a wedding proposal, including this:
It's a kind of magic. Hire a magician to help you think of creative ways to pop the question. Arrange the time and place where it will be and go out on a usual date with your loved one. Make sure to explain everything the magician has to know – what he needs to do, when and where exactly. When you pass by, tell your girlfriend or boyfriend that you want to watch the magic performance.

The magician then takes your beloved to participate in a magic trick. The magician can then 'magically' produce flowers and a note. When your girl or man reads the note, it's your cue to pop the question.


As a hopeless romantic myself, I fully endorse this method of proposal...not that I'm biased or anything. ;)

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Nic Cage stars as Magician in 'Next'



Nic Cage is set to star in Next, a movie about a man with precognitive abilities that works as a stage Magician in Las Vegas. What intrigues me even more, is that the news is reporting that Cage will be taking lessons in Magic on-set to prepare for the film.

I am constantly fascinated by Nic Cage's willingness to take on rather interesting film projects....I'm sure this one will be no different.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Another Mixture of Magic and Passionate Playwriting

(Via Chicago Sun Times)

I like the sounds of this one- it's a comedy/romance play called Orange Lemon Egg Canary, and it's about a Magician (who is, of course, played by one).

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Quinlan's Magic Trick of the Day

(Via Quinlan's Inside Magic)



I agree with them fully...this card trick is nicely done. :)

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Sun is Shining

Finally, I can go out wearing only a sweater and some summer shoes....hopefully it will last!

I look forward to a sunny weekend.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Close French election? No problem! Get a psychic!

(Via CNN/Reuters)

I wonder what Harry Houdini would say about this... (no doubt he'd be laughing)

Apparently the looming election in France is so close, that several psychics and fortune tellers are throwing in their own opinions about what the outcome will be. Since around 40% of the electorate is undecided, the polls are of no help, so why not?

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Some Magicians may have their Balloon Burst

(Via The TooWoomba Chronicle)

Here's a nasty thought- you build your livelihood on making kids happy with what you consider to be traditional, heart-warming child entertainment, and in the instant it takes for one toddler to bite a balloon animal and freak out from the loud noise, you suddenly have doubt cast on your artistry and possibly even inflated insurance rates.

Believe it or not, in the US there have been a series of successful lawsuits from parents against Balloon artists for "traumatizing" their children with the bang of a popping balloon.

One concerned Magician/Clown, Lynton Borland, has made a policy of not handing the balloon animals directly to the children.

It's a weird situation, but these days, those are the sorts of things that performers need to consider, especially when their audience is children.

What I'd like to know though, is how they successfully proved that a popping balloon could traumatize a child, long-term?

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Music arising from Magic - Portugal The Man EP

(Via Aversion)

I accidentally discovered (via Google news) a review for a band called 'Portugal. The Man' who's new EP is entitled It's Complicated Being a Wizard. Despite the fact that the reviewer blasts it as being "more like synth-pop mad hatters than sorcerers", the one track from the album that I was able to chase down seems rather nice.

At the very least, I'm intrigued that the person reviewing this album uses the difference between a Magician and a Wizard as an analogy to express her skepticism on whether the EP was achieving what it had set out to do. This is the sort of comparison I can get behind! (as a writer, and as a budding magic enthusiast) Especially if the music in question is something out of the ordinary. (Dare I say, even magical) In any case this was a tangent, but I may have discovered a new band that I like.



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Monday, April 16, 2007

A Magician Houdini would be very, very proud of

(Via The Spectrum)

A young magician from North Dakota is willing to give $100, 000 to any person at North Dakota State University who can prove they have psychic abilities. Dustin White, 18 years old, has been training as a magician, and wants to use his knowledge to prove that many psychics are merely frauds. He's including telepathy, telekenesis and talking to the dead; citing such suspicious television psychics as Sylvia Brown, or John Edward.

Now, some people might recall that Penn and Teller had a show called Bullshit- a program that put a skeptical spin on a number of topics, and one of the episodes they did tackled this issue. Of particular interest is the segment where they briefly mention how Crossing Over with John Edward works...and the legal ramifications involved in going into great detail about it, if you're lucky enough to have been at a taping.

In any case, this young magician is carrying on a tradition that does greater justice to Houdini's work, than digging up his body ever could.

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Superstition can be Contagious

(Via Reuters)

Cellphone subscribers in Pakistan are freaking out over a prank spam message telling them they could die from a virus transmitted via their cellphone. Warid Telecom has been jammed with calls from concerned subscribers- quite frankly they're stunned that people would even believe such a thing.

This somehow reminds me of Superman 3, where the villain was affecting the world's weather via satellites, which were being hacked by Richard Pryor. The bottom line here is that while an idea like that might seem silly to people who are familiar with a given technology, it might not seem so silly to those who have no idea.

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Yet another article about the Houdini Exhumation


(Via The Capital Times)

This time, the article is based on an interview with one of the authors of The Secret Life of Houdini, the book that started this whole thing, Larry Sloman. It gives a little bit of insight as to where he got his information- namely that the granddaughter of Mina 'Margery' Crandon supplied him with loads of correspondence between the Spiritualists and famed Magician Harry Houdini.

I do however think that it's a bit much for writer of this article to claim that Houdini's murder is a new idea. It's not. Houdini's conflict with the Spiritualists was widely known, and his death was peculiar enough to warrant suspicion. The idea he was poisoned, however, is indeed the product of the book.

I am now adding a Houdini label, since my number of posts on the subject is growing by the week.

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Some Videos for you to Enjoy

A nice little viral video about why you should know what you're doing, if your magic trick involves sharp, pointy objects:



And of course, a trailer for a hotly anticipated movie about a young magician:

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Oldest Magic Book


(Via Magic Roadshow)

Check out a short article over on Magic Roadshow about a book recently rediscovered that was written by a friend of Leonardo DaVinci. The unpublished manuscript, titled De viribus quantitatis (On the Powers of Numbers) was written by a Franciscan monk, Luca Pacioli, sometime between 1496 and 1508. He and DaVinci apparently lived together.

The manuscript was stored in an archive at the University of Bologna, but was apparently recently discovered, and has been painstakingly transcribed and translated.

I have to say that I am rather impressed that DaVinci had ties to magic and magical methods... it just makes sense. I'd love to see a copy of the translation... although I'm not sure when it would actually be made available to the public.

Nonetheless, I'm reminded of this movie:

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Countdown to the Deathly Hallows

Some of you may have noticed I put a widget in the bottom right of the blog counting down to the next Harry Potter book and movie... well, it's true. Despite my finer literary tastes, I also enjoy J.K. Rowling's humorous storytelling. I've read every book so far, and seen every movie, but I'm a little bit rusty, so I'm thinking I'm going to go back and re-read the previous books while I have the chance. I'll write some brief reviews and post them here with my personal reflections.

This upcoming novel will be the 7th and final book in the series, and should feature Harry's ultimate confrontation with Voldemort. Keep in mind that (as the story goes), J.K. Rowling has had the last chapter of this book written since roughly book one. Seriously. She has apparently had it locked in a safe-deposit box, after repeated break-ins by crazed fans.

It still doesn't cease to amaze me that BOTH the new book and movie are going to be out the same month- I figure it's going to be a tidal wave of Harry Potter fever, so I'm going to get started now.

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The Virtual Magician

I stumbled across this video this morning, and my curiousity is definitely piqued. Apparently it's a magician in Europe named Marco Tempest, who has a show called "Virtual Magician".



So who is this guy? Here's an excerpt from his show:



The idea, I believe, is to make street magic and close up magic appealing on television, without changing anything about the magic itself. I'm not sure if this show actually explains magic (which would be no fun) or just exhibits it. Either way, I guess I know what I'll be watching this weekend.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Let's not take away the Magic...

(Via InsideMagic)

The folks over at Inside Magic are backing an online petition to encourage people to stop giving away Magic Tricks online for free. Magicians of course follow a Code of Ethics which holds that magic should be respected as an art form grounded in mystery, and the frivolous exposure or misuse of it demeans it as a whole.

It's unfortunate that not only do Magicians everywhere have to protect tricks they themselves create, but also have to worry about the most basic concepts of Magic being spoiled for the public. You'll recall that Fox's Breaking the Magicians' Code: Magic's Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed caused a stir in the Magic community by explaining many classic illusions on network television. You can't blame the public for being curious- but that curiosity shouldn't be quenched all at once. Much like Houdini's exhumation, although it could seem like a good idea in the short term, it would sure spoil the fun for future generations!

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A Nice Little Rant

Someone posted a nice rant about the term 'magic nerds' to about.com's Magic and Illusion section.

I personally like the term 'nerd' and use it in reference to myself on a regular basis. I think it sort of denotes a kind of 'coolness' in regards to something a bit obscure. Given, this naturally implies that it's a subject that also kind of inaccessible, so why would this apply to magic? I tend to think that magic is very universally appealing...

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Magician on America's Got Talent!

I'm not sure how old this clip is, but I love it.



I just wish the clip hadn't edited out the judges comments!

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Just when you thought it couldn't get any stranger...

(Via The Post Chronicle)

It's really hard to decide how to react, when you read an article about Anna Nicole Smith performing fellatio on a magician backstage- let alone with her husband watching!

I'm not exactly sure why this is considered news-worthy, but I guess all things Anna Nicole are hot news these days in the press. On the other hand, if every person that's ever had (or likes to think they've had) a 'magical' experience with Anna Nicole Smith shares it with the media, news wires everywhere might quickly resemble a locker room conversation of oneupmanship. I say, let the poor girl rest in peace. I don't think the Magician in question is doing himself any favors.

The article

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Magical Medium with a Message

(Via Carroll County Times)

Time and again we see examples of how magic can be turned into something beneficial, and a voice for expressing personal values. For instance, corporate illusionist/magician Wayne Alan has been voicing his concerns about the dangers of long-term smoking, by integrating his talents. Alan tours regularly with his show called "Make Smoking Disappear", which involves magic and detailed descriptions about the long-term effects of tobacco. Rather than appealing to his typical corporate audience, he now appeals to the younger generation at schools and libraries. He does about 100 magic shows a year on the subject.

This is a fascinating form of magic that I see a lot of here at Philip and Henry, and it never ceases to amaze me. Shows like this speak volumes about the unique and individual character of each magician.

The article

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Sickness in Springtime

I was sick yesterday and Sunday- there seems to be something going around! Feels like lately everyone is getting sick. But oddly enough, the human spirit prevails: people show up to work as long as they are able to do so.

Easter was a blast, as usual, and I can't wait to get back into the swing of things.

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Thursday, April 5, 2007

Today in Magic


  • Easter is on the way- chocolate, pious thoughts of the Saviour's resurrection, and cute l'il bunnies everywhere...I would say spring, but it's snowing outside!

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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

This story was so weird I just had to post about it...

(Via Reuters)
Our baby fell out of the window
You'd think that her head would be split
But good luck was with her that morning
She fell in a barrel of...


A chinese woman in Beijing fell off her sixth floor balcony while hanging laundry, only to be saved by....well, just read the article.

I'd call that the magic of irony.

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Houdini-in-Training?

Check out this 18 year old magician Chris Hodgson, who can already free himself from being rolled in cling-wrap, with a fractured elbow, in one minute and eleven seconds. Nice!

The article.

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A Little Bit of Video

A News Bit on the Houdini Exhumation

A News Bit about the Kathy Sierra Death Threats Debate

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Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Fate is a strange Magician

You may (or may not) have noticed my absence from the blog yesterday- well, it wasn't without good reason!

Yesterday I was down at the CTV studios witnessing some history in the making- master of memory, David Farrow set a new Guinness World Record for memory recall by memorizing 59 decks of cards which had been shuffled together and repackaged, and successfully remembered them in order, over approximately a nine hour period.

David Farrow, with the help of Scott Dietrich (one of the Magicians that works with us) recalled over 3000 cards consecutively, and with only one minor mistake. It took David about four days to memorize the cards, despite the fact that he has both ADD and dyslexia. He's living proof that we can overcome even the most difficult of learning disabilities.

I'll probably post more about it later.

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