by Steve Dacri Library of past columns



WEEKLY COLUMN, posts Thursday or Friday,(we think). Follow Steve's performing and travel adventures, rumors, facts, gossip, lyrics to bad show tunes, newsworthy events, product reviews, sometimes blunt opinions and rants...and progress reports on the magic web channel...
Remember: The opinions expressed in this or any of our columns represent the opinions of the writers, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Magic Web Channel or it's Esteemed Panel of Magic Advisors. (The lawyers made me say that.)


August 3, 2001- Greetings from Hollywood, California… Backstage at The Magic Castle, actually. I am finishing (finished) my week working in the Parlor of Prestidigitation, but first a word about last week:

I was busy, didn't get to the column until the night before, and the computer froze, making it impossible to get it complete. So wewent to the beach (wouldn't you?). Jan says she hope the computer freezes more often! Anyway, we had dinner with The Amazing Ballantine, then we slipped into the Magic Castle to watch The Amazing John Calvert work his magic in the Palace of Mystery. Such a great performer, a classic, living legend. He introduced Ballantine from the audience, they are both admirer's of each other. For one of the illusions, he brings me out of my seat to join him onstage. I tried to resist, really, but there's no way to refuse Calvert. So, before you can say "stage whisper", I find myself in the role of stooge, promptly obeying his every command, no matter how stupid I knew I would appear. When he got to the point where he revealed the huge blade that was going to be used on my neck, I was told to run like crazy off the stage and into the crowd. Off I go, and as I get to the very rear of the theater, I stop at the exit door and wait. A few fellow magicians were standing by the door, and they casually said, "Hi, Steve, working tonight?" as I stood there and watched the rest of the act. It reminded me of doing the same for the late great Russell Swann a thousand years ago. I was his in-audinece assistance for many shows, and that's going to wait for another week. Remind me.

So, back to the dressing room in the Parlour in the Castle. Packing up the sponge balls and cards, reflecting on the week; great crowds, old friends, lots of fun. Guests included world class actor Don Knotts, the World's Greatest Magician, Carl "The Amazing" Ballantine, superstar rock drummer Carmine Appice, America's magic superstar Mark Wilson, and lots of pretty women (all approved by Jan first). Then there was Jules Lenier and Billy McComb, who set a new record for the most scotch consumed in a 4 hour period. He says he enjoyed my act, I'm not sure he was there… On the final night, two of my dear friends, and my favorite magicians, Aldo Colombini, working in the close up gallery, and Fernando Keops, working for the first time in over 7 years, in the Palace of Mystery with a new act, joined me downstairs in the Peller Theatre for a bit of foolishness in front of the cameras. This was the first time that the 3 of us were working together, and we thought it would be good to capture it for posterity. Both Fernando and Aldo (along with Guy Bavli) appear in my new magic infomercial that is now being edited. It will begin airing on television in late August, followed by national airings in the US starting in September. TOP

Earlier in the week, John Calvert was at the Castle, wowing them every night, but without ever breaking a sweat. One night we taped an interview with John for the Castle and Magic Web Channel archives. Just as we were about to start the interview, in walks Carl Ballantine, a fan of John's for many years. The 2 had never met. What followed was a fun session with both of these legends talking about magic and such. Then, in walks Mark Wilson and Nani, and they sat to watch for a bit. Suddenly, John Calvert notices them, and they invited the both of them onstage as well for a brief chat…Nani was once an assistant in John's act long before Mark stole her away. It was great to see all of these luminaries together, laughing and talking about the good old days. Priceless, really.

progress report: Infomercial: Footage I've seen looks fabulous, editing has begun, and next week we will shoot the remaining footage around Los Angeles. We'll have a full report on this when it is finished. The editing and shooting schedules for this infomercial project prevented Jan & I from attending either of the big 2 conventions, but we are planning on featuring reviews from both the IBM and the SAM conventions shortly. Tony Brook is working on the SAM gathering in New Orleans, and promises some really cool photos to go along with his report. Bev Bergeron is threatening to review the IBM.

Good friend, and magic advisor Marvin Berglas called today from Santa Barbara where he and his family have moved for the summer months, to relax, create and soak up the sun before heading back to Marvin's Magic HQ in London. We will be getting together with him over the next week to smoke a few Cubans and trade card tricks. The so-called Internet worm hasn't bothered us…how about you? A repeated word of caution: don't open any attachments unless you are sure you know where they came from. When in doubt, hit DELETE and you're hard drive will be safe. New magic to practice, a few hundred emails to write and a wife that's waiting for me to take her to dinner. We're off to Malibu Beach for a dinner by the sea…until next week, stay happy, and keep those emails coming, ya hear? Magically yours, SteveTOP


JuLY 16 Hello, this must be Monte Carlo… Greetings! So, I am in the middle of editing the infomercial (it looks really good!) when I get a call from the producer, the money guy, who says, “Stevie…we want to introduce the show in the International market, and the largest convention of Infomercial buyers and sellers takes place next week in Monte Carlo, would you like to go? “Sure”, I say, and the deal is sealed. The next thing I know, I am flying home to California to change clothes, then the next day I’m on a plane that takes me to Paris, then on to Nice, France, and a short taxi ride drops me in Monte Carlo – my goodness…what a trip! Hot sun, beautiful women everywhere, soft sandy beaches…this is the life! I have a whole briefcase full of props and I am ready to perform at the opening event of the ERA (Electronic Retailing Association) convention. First, I attend a cocktail party to meet the big shots…I assume these are big shots, they all look, act and talk like big shots! And they all love magic. It seems they all agree that magic is a worldwide language, enjoyed by all ages, and they all think that this new magic infomercial program, called “Steve Dacri’s Magic Secrets from Around the World” is got all the ingredients of a winner. Let’s hope they’re right! Tonight, the night before the show, they take me out to dinner, you know the drill; lots of people, all at a big table, lots of laughs, and a few well-placed magic tricks…

So, I’m sitting back, after the meal, relaxing when all of a sudden, I spot a group of people walking by and in the middle of the group is a guy who looks just like Ringo Starr. I don’t say anything. Suddenly, someone at our table says, “Did you see Ringo walk by just then?” That did it for me. Now I knew it was Ringo. I thought about it for a few seconds, then I was on my feet. Excusing myself from the table, I headed up the hill. At the top of the street, across from the Casino de Monte Carlo, there, standing on the corner, waving good-bye to his guests, was Ringo. He was less than 10 feet away from me. He said his good-byes, then everyone walked away from him, and he was left standing on the corner, completely alone, aside from me. He turned to walk away, and I said “Ringo”, and waited. He stopped, turned towards me and smiled. I introduced myself to him, told him I was a huge fan. He was so gracious, he said “Thank you”, and I relaxed. We shook hands, then I told him about my recent visit to Liverpool and the gig at the Cavern Club. “I sat right where you sat, on that stage, and played drums…etc…”

He was dutifully impressed, and we shared a laugh about it, and this funny coincidence. I then told him how much The Beatles influenced me, and what a big part of my life they have been. He thanked me again and told me how much he appreciated my saying that. It was a really sincere response. (How many times does one get the chance to meet someone like that and express your gratitude to them? This was a cool moment, I must say!) After a few more moments of polite conversation, I bid farewell to Ringo, and returned to the restaurant and my guests. It took a while for this wonderful thrill to sink in, but when it did, I promptly picked up the cell phone and called Jan, 6,000 miles away in California, and told her about my chance encounter. We both agreed that this was the highlight of my trip! (You non-Beatles fans obviously wonder if I’ve lost my marbles!) The next night, yes, I performed for this distinguished group at the Casino de Monte Carlo. A great crowd, wonderfully energetic and enthusiastic. I’d rate them a 10. Honestly. A perfect show, and a perfect audience. What fun. The next day was spent on pool duty, that is, keeping track of all the bathing suits that seemed to have been defective – many of them, it seems, did not include tops. Don’t worry, I took copious notes and a few well-hidden shots from my camera – and I intend to report these issues to the proper authorities (Billy McComb and Paul Daniels). A day or so later, I boarded an Air France flight back to Los Angeles…with many pleasant memories, but none as delightful as my meeting with a Beatle. Magically yours, Steve NEXT WEEK: The Amazing Ballantine watches a magician who is OLDER than he is…a rare occurance. LAST WEEK'S COLUMN: Greetings from Paris, France. What am I doing here? A long story that I'll tell ya about next week. But now here's Part TWO, sorry I missed last week, it's part of the same long story. Thanks for the kind words about Part One, enjoy the rest.


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