Archive for the 'Las Vegas' Category

Murray Takes Aim At The Illusionists

Posted by Michael on January 14th, 2014

VegasNews.com is reporting that Murray Sawchuck is claiming that The Illusionists have copied his signature trick. He maintains that The Illusionists show features an appearing steam engine, which he feels is too similar to his vanishing locomotive illusion. The article then quotes Murray as saying “You will also notice the train is an exact copy of MY steam train illusion I designed and invented in 2010 for America’s Got Talent Semi-Finals being seen by more than 22 million viewers.” He goes on to say that despite the many Las Vegas connections among The Illusionists cast and crew, no one ever contacted him about using the piece.

Daniels’ Home Flooded, Another Magical Politician and More [Magic Bulletin]

Posted by Michael on January 10th, 2014

Paul Daniels’ home along the River Thames is one of many affected by flooding but he wants to let everyone know that his home is not as bad off as others in the area. He thanked those concerned via his Twitter account and stated he and wife Debbie McGee were prepared. He has also been tweeting advice to others affected by flooding, such as “Get inflatable paddling pools downstairs and dump everything you can into them. You will save so much stuff.” Daniels also tweeted the photo above which shows some of the flooding.

We recently reported on Tory MP and ex-magician’s assistant Penny Mordaunt who will be featured on a celebrity diving competition show. She has inspired Welsh MP Glyn Davies to admit on Facebook that he was once a magician, according to a BBC News article. He shared a story which “Involved me appearing to pour a jug of hot water down (an assistant’s) trousers – using a trick funnel… Knew there was something wrong when (he) screamed. ‘You’ve set fire to my ******* ****** you ******* *****.’ Most unsuitable for a kids party but best audience response ever.”

AGT alum Spencer Horsman recently began a stint starring in the ILLUSIONS show at the Riviera Hotel and Casino’s Starlite Theater in Las Vegas. He will be appearing through February 24.

Finally, the Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair is underway and, according to Japan’s Corporate News Network, one of the features is Kidult World. This section boasts more than 80 vendors with toys aimed for the young at heart, including magic.

Illusionist 2.0, Eric Buss and More [Magic Bulletin]

Posted by Michael on December 26th, 2013

AdelaideNow.com caught up with The Illusionists 2.0, which includes familiar names such as Raymond Crowe and Luis De Matos. They also spoke with producer Simon Painter who said that the first show, which is getting ready to come to the United States, was a steampunk vision of magic while the new version is a futuristic view of magic.

The Arizona Daily Star caught up with hometown boy Eric Buss, the magician perhaps best known for his America’s Got Talent run or his viral videos of creations such as the bubble wrap bike. His show with Danny Cole is in Tuscon Saturday and you can learn more here.

Speaking of AGT alum, Seth Grabel is debuting a new act January 19 at the Sunset Station Casino in Henderson, Nevada. Acrobatic Magic combines acrobatics with magic in a family friendly show.

Murray Makes Good On Christmas Promise

Posted by Michael on December 26th, 2013

Being in the hospital over the holidays must be pretty hard, especially for kids and a visit from a magician must make it a little brighter. Remember back in November when iTricks reported that Murray Sawchuck had visited the UMC Trauma Center and promised to return on Christmas? He made good on his promise and was back to perform for young patients yesterday.

S&R Not Retired From Being Charitable, Balloons, Cupcakes, More [Magic Bulletin]

Posted by Michael on December 23rd, 2013

Our lead off video is from magician Rob Driscoll’s My Daily Balloon blog. For the last year he has been putting up incredible balloon creations, from Captain America’s shield to fairies and bunnies, but as off 2014 he will be slowing down a bit. He promises to continue posting, but not one a day.

Robin Leach mentioned in his Las Vegas Sun column Friday that Siegfried and Roy, although retired form performing, would be hosting a holiday party for the local Downtown Boys and Girls Club with turkey dinner and gifts for 120 kids.

Paul Daniels' hybrid?

According to the Henley Standard website, Paul Daniels blamed his recent speeding bust on driving a hybrid. He said it is so quiet he simply does not realize how fast he is driving…. Umm, yeah, Paul. Those hybrids are infamous for their raw street burning power!

Finally, Zap2It.com talked to Justin Willman the other day. Nothing earth shattering was revealed, unless you have a burning need to know how he dressed for Halloween, but it seems to us that Justin is getting a little more attention lately… Is he magic’s next break out star? Remember his new game show, Disney’s Win, Lose or Draw, starts January 17th.

Birthdays, Danny Cole and Another Movie Magician [Magic Bulletin]

Posted by Michael on December 20th, 2013

Recent Magic Magazine cover boy Danny Cole is getting ready for a December 28th show with Eric Buss in Tuscon. The Arizona Jewish Post caught up with him for a piece on the importance of his grandparents to his career.

Magician, illusionist or bona fide psychic? Whatever he is, Uri Geller is also turning 67 today. It is also sound engineer, recording artist, producer and magician Alan Parsons’ birthday. You may know him from songs such as “The Eye In The Sky” (featured above) but he is also a Magic Circle member who once worked writing English instructions for Tenyo Magic. He is turning 65.

Recently Robin Leach told us Penn and Teller were helping to get out the word for the United Blood Services annual blood drive. Now he gives us proof (right) that they practice what they preach in his latest Las Vegas Sun column.

A New Zealand film selected for the 25th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival features a magician and his wife being sought as child abductors. The film does not appear to be an action film and does seem to have some “real” magic (of our non-real kind). Everything We Loved, directed and written by Max Currie, will be featured in the New Voices/New Visions showcase. There is no US release date for the film, but a strong showing at Palm Springs next month may change that rather quickly. There is not an embeddable trailer out yet, but if you are interested you can stream it form the film’s official website.

Looking Back On 2013

Posted by Michael on December 16th, 2013

Michael Lauck is a columnist for iTricks. His work appears on Mondays.

2013 is drawing to a close and it is time to look back at the year in magic.

Magic has hit the big screen, the small screen and even lost a few old friends. All in all, though, it seems that magic was undergoing a bit of a revival in 2013.

Magic is a strange thing that employs cutting edge materials and technologies while also embracing age-old methodologies and traditions. The history of magic is important to magicians in a way you do not really see in other fields. As the year draws to a close, it seems appropriate to look back over 2013 to celebrate a few milestones and mourn a few losses. Although the magic community is, in many ways, driven by the new products that come out each year, we will avoid that side of things and instead concentrate on the people and events.

Why should we look back over the year? That really is a valid question. Even with magic’s strong interest in its history, it is easy to think that the last 12 months should be fresh in our collective minds. I honestly almost skipped past the idea of a year in review but I decided to grab the first couple 2013 issues of Magic, Genii and The Linking Ring just to see if I was surprised by anything. The tragic attack on Wayne Houchin was what settled the issue. It was a major event that I would have said happened in early 2013 but it did not. The magazine coverage was in early 2013, but the attack itself was in November of 2012. This alone made me realize it was worth going back over the year.

How should we look back over the year? That is a valid question, too. It certainly makes sense to group certain things together and look at the year in magic television or in film. The problem is that you can not help but make it look as though some categories are more important than others. Why choose to discuss Subject A over Subject B? So it only seems fair to look at the year as it happened from January to December.

January was a bright new beginning for 2013. Genii began its amazing 76th volume after ending 2012 with a gigantic 75th anniversary issue. Magic Magazine started its celebration of the Magic Castle, which was celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2013, with a year long series of articles by Castle founder Milt Larsen. In England, Dynamo: Magician Impossible received a Broadcast Award as the Best Entertainment Programme. In perhaps the best news of the month, Wayne Houchin returned to performing after being set on fire during a television broadcast in the Dominican Republic by the show’s host.

Sadly, January also saw many members of the magic fraternity pass away. Bob Steiner, a past National President of SAM, well known ventriloquist Clinton Detweiller and Benny Chavez’s last student, David Gaiser all passed. Also lost to the world was Bill Chaudet, the man originally named to be Harry Blackstone’s successor. He gave up the title, though, when Blackstone Jr. decided to become a performer in the 1960′s.

Famed German magician Alexander Adrion, Maurine Christopher, journalist, author and wife of Milbourne, and magic store owner Peter Anthony all died in February. However, there was better news too. The 61st Annual Blackpool Convention was held, which is always a highlight of any year. In Las Vegas, Penn and Teller were celebrating the 20th anniversary of their first Vegas performances. At this time Teller was also involved in an ongoing legal battle with a European magician named Gerard Dogge over the intellectual property rights to Teller’s Shadows. New came in February that Dogge had filed a defamation suit against Teller. The legal cases probably helped to make “intellectual property rights” a buzzword in the magic world in early 2013.

March also saw the deaths of several well known magicians. De Yip Loo, who toured with Blackstone and Dante, world record holder and two time FISM champion Hans Moretti, and David Ball, the Director of Public Events of the Magic Circle, all passed away. The Real Magic Roadshow began its tour in Detroit. Not a convention, the Roadshow was a retail expo that brought dealers such as Elmwood Magic, Losander, Magicsmith and Mark Mason to magicians across America.

On March 15th The Incredible Burt Wonderstone opened in theaters across the US. The story of a pair of old school Vegas magicians, played by Steve Carrell and Steve Buscemi, taking on new school “Brain Rapist” Steve Gray, played by Jim Carrey. The cast was rounded out by Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin and James Gandolfini. Burt Wonderstone grossed $27 million dollars worldwide, which was less than its $30 million budget, and saw middle of the road reviews from critics. A week earlier saw the general release of Oz The Great And Powerful, the prequel to The Wizard Of Oz. James Franco portrayed “Oz” Diggs, the traveling magician who was swept away to the land of Oz. It was more successful than Wonderstone earning about $493 million worldwide with a budget of $215 million, although it also received mixed reviews. One thing that the films had in common is that the magician protagonists spend most of the films in a less than favorable light.

The next month brought the magical world an auction of Cardini’s personal property from Potter and Potter. The April 6th auction earned over $500,000, much higher than estimates, and saw Cardini’s tuxedo sell for $60,000. In California, Penn and Teller were inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame while in England, Ben Earl’s television show Trick Artist premiered on Channel 4. The Academy of Magical Arts held their 45th annual awards show with Harry Anderson, Derek DelGuadio, Helder Guimarães, Rob Zabrecky, Stephen Minch and Penn and Teller among those receiving awards. April also saw the magic community lose famous mentalist Peter Reveen, collector Ed Hill, Swedish magician Johnny Lonn and Dennis Loomis, of Loomis Magic Shop.

May saw the loss of former IBM International President Bob Escher. It also saw more magical films hit the big screen. Desperate Acts Of Magic opened to limited release and generally positive reviews. The indie film told the story of a computer programmer with dreams of winning a magic competition which are complicated by girl troubles but what made it special was that all magic shown was actually performed! Overshadowing Desperate Acts was the release of Now You See Me by Lionsgate. Boasting stars such as Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo and Morgan Freeman, the magic caper film was a modest US success but wildly successful overseas. At a cost of about $75 million, it grossed about $117 million in the US and over $350 million total guaranteeing itself a sequel. The sleeper hit caused quite a bit of stir in film circles, proving that overseas box office was more important than ever and that magic films could be successful!

June saw more movie magic with a limited run for Magic Camp, a documentary about Tannen’s annual summer youth camp, before its video on demand release in July. June also brought the eighth incarnation of America’s Got Talent on the small screen. This season saw several magicians in the competition, including illusionists Leon Ettiene and Romy Low, Special Head, escape artist Alexandria the Great, Arian Black and eventual fifth place finisher Collins Key. The month also brought the passing of Amos Levkovitch. By far the strangest thing to happen in the June was the tempest in a teapot created when the USDA sent a letter to magician Marty Hahne. The 13 page letter demanded that he provide an approved disaster plan for his livestock (a three pound rabbit) or face fines. This led to national exposure for Hahne, who was eventually able to provide the plan thanks to the assistance of a professional, who routinely received hundreds of dollars to design such plans, who had heard of his case.

That brings us to mid-year and a convenient place to stop. Join us next week as we look at the rest of the year and, eventually, on to 2014!