Jan 10, 2002 - Magic Matt
Jan 21, 2002 - Hall of Fame Results
Jan 31, 2002 - More Hall of Fame Results
Feb 18, 2002 - Magic Castle Annual Meeting
March, April, May, June - not archived
July 18, 2002 - Vegas
August 14, 2002 - Paul Daniels,Cigars,Viruses
August 31, 2002 - Back in the Saddle
September 16, 2002 - On The Road Again
December 14, 2002
December 25, 2002
September 14, 2001 - Three Days After the Horror
|Read Columns from 2003 and 2004|
TOUR FINALLY ENDS
As I mentioned last
week, our tour finally came to an end, and we are now unpacking the
car from what was the longest tour in a decade. We finished up in Northern
California, with two shows in Palo Alto, and one in Cupertino at the
campus (headquarters) of Apple Computer. What a great experience. It
was an "Insiders Workshop", held in one of their unique conference
rooms. We met up with the magic club president (a long time employee
of Apple) and a small group of magi at the local brew pub for a bite
and a brew, then it was into the main building (there are six) that
houses the brains and the secret development of all things Apple.
December 14, 2002- Los Angeles - Home at last. I think. It kind of looks familiar, but I could be dreaming. After so many months on the road, it seems odd to be climbing into the bed that belongs to us. Or finally having lunch at the Castle, seeing Milt, Billy and the gang.
Apologies for the lateness in this column. A computer problem swallowed two columns that should have been here since the last one. It's a long story...without going into details (Kinkos) or pointing any fingers (Kinkos) or making any excuses (Kinkos), lets just say that it was beyond our control (Kinkos) and we hope that we have learned our lesson (Kinkos) and that we will look for another solution while on the road in the future.
My friend David Copperfield was in the news this week, having collapsed onstage during a performance in Canada. I am happy to say, all is well with him at the moment. Despite collapsing from exhaustion at his Edmonton show on the weekend, David's five sellout shows in Regina were expected to go ahead. "It's a go. He was scheduled to perform in Saskatoon on Monday and as far as we know the shows here are going ahead,'' said Deana Walker with the Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts. Copperfield collapsed midway through an afternoon performance in Edmonton and was taken by ambulance to hospital. He was released later in the day after undergoing tests.
The famous illusionist
was on stage with two members of the audience and crew assistants halfway
through his 90-minute non-stop performance when he said he wasn't feeling
well and walked off. After 45 minutes of giant screen video replays
of Copperfield's past illusions and a 10-minute intermission, a member
of the stage crew announced the performance was cancelled. A second
show scheduled for that evening in Edmonton and Copperfield's two performances
scheduled for Sunday were also cancelled. Producers of Copperfield's
show blamed exhaustion and a hectic touring schedule that includes 500
dates a year. "He's just exhausted,'' explained Chris Kenner, the show's
Drove the final leg, from Sacramento down to Los Angeles yesterday, and the 2002 Lecture Tour is finally, as I write this, history. This last leg was 9 weeks and 28 shows in 25 cities. Put over 14,000 miles on the Jeep. And, although the final numbers are not in yet, I can tell you that we made a lot less money than David's tour...
What a great experience, this tour. It's really been a life changing experience in so many ways. It began in England, on March 8. Jan performed in London at The Magic Circle, which kicked things off. We did 30 lectures all over England and Ireland before flying back to America. The highlight, of ocurse, had to be my surprise elevation to MIMC (with Gold Star), which I proudly wear at every performance. We arrived in Detroit for the start of the US portion of the tour, and worked our way across the States for about 6 weeks, ending back in Los Angeles for a week at the Magic Castle. Then it was back on the road again and, well, you know the story if you have been following along. Next week I will recap the highlights and observations for the year, but for now, lets just fill in the blanks from the last column and bring you up to date.
First, Jan hopped
on a plane. She went to Philadelphia to do one of her Motivational Speaking
Engagements and I went to Tampa again to see my old friend Kevin Harrington
for a little craziness. Kevin just purchased a home that was owned by
baseball star Gary Sheffield. It's a custom built beauty on the water,
around 11,000 square feet of decadence...an amazing home that is nearly
impossible to describe. I slept in the Picasso bedroom, so named for
the original paitings that adorn the wall of that particular room. After
sampling martinis at various joints along the beach, we headed back
to the Harrington Estate for more cigars and adult beverages over a
few games of pool. The game room is just off the gym and movie theater...next
to the bowling alley and the 2,000 square foot bathroom, one of 8 in
the house. Kevin and I are now dreaming up some projects to do together
in the film and TV business, as he recently sold his company for more
money than he knows what to do with. The next day I met my old buddy
Mel Arthur, a good guy who is well known on the tube for his infomercials.
He hosted my infomercial
last year, and we discussed plans for getting the show on the air in
next year over a lunch on beautiful Tampa Bay. After a lunch together,
I headed to Orlando to meet Jan at the airport. We spent the night off
roaming the haunts of Disney and then headed over to the home of the
one and only Bev Bergeron. TOP
Bev "Rebo the Clown" Bergeron, as you all know, is a giant in the world of magic. A former president of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, inventor, author, star of the television series "Magic Land of Alakazam" as the lovable Rebo The Clown, and long time Disney performer at Walt Disney World, Bev has performed onstage as Rebo and as Bev for over 50 years, winning awards and acclaim all over the world.
Bev and Alouise insisted we stay with them for the next few days. I was doing the final Florida lecture at the IBM Ring named after Bev, so it all seemed perfect. He showed us his collection of books and magazines, and props and costumes that spill into nearly every room and the garage. (Don't tell Bev, but each night after everyone was in bed, Jan put on one of the Rebo the Clown costumes, climbed out the back window and ran down the street to the neighbors and sang Christmas songs on the front lawn.Then she spread rolls of toilet paper all over the trees in the another neighbor's yard, making sure the neighbors saw Rebo doing it).
Between his work as Rebo the Clown and his many, many corporate and club dates, he has accumulated a tremendous collection as you can imagine. We had a lot of fun, talking magic and discussing the future of the business and the art. Bev is extremely insightful, and one of the true geniuses in our field.
He is also one of our esteemed panel of Magic Advisors for MWC. We are most fortunate to have him on our panel, he is never afraid to "tell it like it is" and has such wonderful, creative ideas for all aspects of show business and magic in general. The sad part of it, however, is that he is also one of the most "ripped off" artists I know. He has invented so many illusions and priciples which have been copied or "acquired" as their own by many magicians in the world. A shame, really. Such a brilliant mind, he has given his ideas to many professionals, and some of them do not always give him the credit that he deserves.
The lecture at the Bev Bergeron Ring was well attended. This was another great bunch of guys, and a couple of ladies. Lots of enthusiastic magic lovers, and we all had a lot of laughs. The next day we met up with our pal Paul Powell and laughed some more. That's what life is all about, isn't it? We all need to laugh more often.
Then we headed North.
INDY AND CINCY
A long drive ahead of us. We were on our way to Indianapolis for one lecture, then over to Cincinnati for the last lecture before a short break for the Thanksgiving holiday. The Cincinnati show took place in Haines House of Cards headquarters. I was looking forward to this visit, to see Betty and the gang I have worked with so many years ago. When I owned the two magic shops in New England, Haines House of Cards supplied us with a lot of magical product. I remember the founder, Ronald Haines, who helped me establish some of the products that I created. He generously allowed me to fill up my shops with his line of cards, and his advice for marketing magic effects was invaluable.
So great to see Betty after all these years. She gave us a tour through the secret process of Svengalis decks and the like, and showed us some of the new items that will be coming out in the future. All in all, another great lecture.
We were now stuck in the middle of the country, thousands of miles from anywhere, and the next 4 lectures, the final four, were set for Northern California. In between, we had one public show planned, in Joplin, MIssouri. So, we visited one of our favorite places, Exotic Animal Paradise in Missouri, said hello to the animals, then went on to Joplin, for a truly "Middle of America Thanksgiving Dinner" that was perfect in every way. Shaughnessy's is a family-owned, rather large restaurant that is a local favorite since the fifties. It was filled with locals, mostly large families of people marching in the food line like it was their first meal in days. We felt like two aliens that had dropped on the planet in the middle of this slice of Americana that felt like a living Norman Rockwell painting.
From the white haired lady playing classical music on the tiny antique piano (Glockenspeil) to the wall of home made pies and desserts that surrounded the food orgy in the middle, this was a scene from a movie. It had to be. Everything was too perfect. The massive inner room was decorated like a spread in Southern Life Magazine. It looked like a mansion that probably belonged to the Governor or some southern general. Our maybe Elvis.
After this meal, neither one of us wanted to drive much, so we settled in for a hot tub, cigar and brandy in the top floor penthouse of the downtown Hyatt, provided free as part of my show tomorrow night.
We had one public show left on the books, at the world famous Cow Palace outside of Tucson, Arizona. so we headed south and west, and landed at the Rogers Ranch, in Tubac, Arizona, home of Curt and Maxine Rogers. We relaxed there with the animals, including the new baby horse, Princess, and of course, Pepe the 3,000 pound pet bull.
The show at the
Cow Palace was well received, it was a recreation of my close-up show
as performed at the Caesars Magical Empire...which has now closed its
doors for good. (Which reminds me, must get there to clean out my dressing
18, 2002 - Back in Los Angeles after another great visit to Las Vegas.
The audiences for my shows were wonderful, as they usually are in Vegas,
and it was a special trip for us. Not only did I perform and lecturee,
we were going to see three magic shows. All of them as different as
they could possibly be from each other.
Darren had invited
us to see his show, we have not been able to do so until now, ans we
were looking forward to this. Darren and I worked together for three
years at Caesars Magical Empire. Lots of laughs, and lots of cigars.
His show is an afternoon 3:00 PM show.
As we made our way to the seats, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I looked up and it was Siegfried. We hugged. It's been many years since I have seen him. It was a special moment. He was there to see his protege do his thing. We talked for a bit, and then took our seats.The show begins.
It's a full house on a Wednesday. I don't go to shows often, and when I do, I certainly don't take notes. Here's what I remember:
You expect that
with the stage setting, and the music building, that some illusion will
cause Darren to magically appear. Instead, Darren opens with a walk
down the stairs, covered in smoke...a la Wayne Newton entrance, with
swirling smoke and laser lights. He sings a song, walks to a chair,
I recognize it as a deKolta Chair illusion. He's gone, then instantly
standing in the middle of the crowd, announcing, "Welcome to our
Great start. Another song ("Dream Lover"), during which he assembles a crystal cabinet,and he produces a girl. His Dream Lover. It is immediately apparent from the first song that this is a world class singer. Clearly, Darren is a singer, who also does magic.
A Tiger tail floats like a dancing hanky, into and out of a bottle, joined by another, then a bunch of babies, which all fly away off stage. Very nice bit. The crowd loves it.
Next Darren comes out into the audience and performs close up magic. He does an excellent four coin matrix, then a floating table. The whole sequence is covered with a video camera, and projected on a huge screen for all to see. Very effective.
Girl into a cannon, with signature on arm, vanishes from cannon and ends up instantly inside a round tank full of water, swimming about, and the signature on the arm is seen to be the same one.
The only slow part was a prediction effect with a giant blackboard prop. On this particular show, the effect required an awfully long stage wait. but Darren covered nicely and returned the watch to his helper, thereby deflecting the attention away from the unexpected delay. The prediction was finally revealed, and was met with polite applause. I would leave this sequence out. Find another one to replace it with.
Blackstone floating light bulb illusion, presented almost exactly as Harry did. Then a levitation. This is followed by the napkin which is changed into a rose, then floats all about the stage, and finally turns into a real rose. The Indian Rope routine is next. John Booth told me that Darren talked with him at great length in order to create an accurate version of this legendary effect. I don't want to spoil the surprise, but let me just say that this was a wonderful version of this incredible illusion from the past. See this show. a first class production that the whole family will enjoy.
Siegfried joined us, we had some laughs, shared a cigar, and posed for
pictures in Darren's huge dressing room. A wonderful way to end the
day. Time for a nap and a swim.
ILLUSIONARY MAGIC OF RICK THOMASThe next day, we ventured over to the Tropicana hotel and casino to see Rick Thomas. This was a smaller, more intimate showroom than the one we saw Darren in. It is filled with people when we arrive for his second show at 4:00 PM. (He does one at 2:00 PM also). Our seats are front and center, in a private booth.
The intro begins with a fast paced dove routine, ending with the production of a giant white bird, and almost instantly it is split into two large white cockateels. Well deserved applause.A girl climbs into a cage, changes into a gorgeous white Tiger, Sasha.
A girl disappears into Rick, you really had to see this to understand it. This same girl then comes out of his head in another wild sequence. A boy from the audience assists with a levitaion involving 2 chairs, a great effect. Next there's dancing, another great levitation, followed by an asrah finish, with himself levitating up to the girl, pulling the cloth, and the girl is gone. Rick ends by producing 3 large tigers…a great finish. He returns to do a stunning 4 linking rings routine, a very good way to end the performance.
Rick tells us after
that he woulld love to be doing his show at night, but cannot as there
is the Follies show, and his show was recently named the most successful
day time show in Las Vegas history. Hard worker. Well received show.
I can't say enough good about this wonderful show. And this guy. Don't
miss it. Another wonderful family entertainment.
I have only worked
with AJ a few times, a very long time ago, in a comedy club in New York,
I want to say the Improv or Catch a Rising Star". He's still doing
the same stuff, only better. The show is at 10 PM at the Golden Nugget.
THis is a relatively small, no nonsense room. The room is set with chairs,
and a few cocktail tables are spread throughout the room. again, different
setting from the other two shows we've seen. This almost reminds me
of a comedy club setting, a no frills, not-to-big area that might have
been a function room. You get the picture.
SO, our buddy Milt opens for Billy McComb who opens for AJ. Interesting arrangement. Milt does the basics of the carpenter act, and after breaking lots of glass and spilling the props (Ballantine would have enjoyed this) and uttering the F word (!), he stumbled off to great applause and our old friend Billy McComb parts the curtains and knocks the crowd out. Everyone expects to be bored by bthis old fart, until he opens his mouth and has them in the aisles for the next 10 minutes or so. He ends with the only real magic trick, his famous vanish of the bird cage. So pretty.
He destroys the stage, flings props, uses fowl lauguage, does some real magic, and he's assisted in all of this mayhem by his wife as a hilarious assistant and frequent foil for his sadistic tricks. If you are easily offended, stay away from this one. I loved it, though. A very irreverent presentation, with clever laughs, and a great mix of comedy, real and "pretend" magic. Jonathan looks demented, and I mean that in a good way. He is a acquired taste, I agree, but if you like to laugh and don't mind the language, this is a funny, funny act.
MAGIC CASTLE NIGHT
We no sooner got home, and the phone rang. It was Bev Bergeron. "Where are you?" He asks. "Home". I say.
"Well get over
here right now", replied Bev. And off we went. We had a great night,
showing Bev how to order American drinks. We filmed an interview with
him during the day, then sat in for his show at night. It was a true
All Bev Bergeron night.
So many performers try to emulate the real stars of magic, like Bev. Seldom do they duplicate his success. His is a learned art, and one that cannot be learned by all. It takes years of practice and constant rehearsal in order to maintain a level of skill necessary to be successful. Not many are willing to commit that amount of time.
The next day we filmed an interview with Bev. He's full of wonderful stories and it was a great time. This and many other wonderful peeks into the lives of magic's royalty, will soon be available here on magic web channel for you to watch and download. We are building quite a library. We want to thank Bev for his time.
That's all for now.
We are working diligently to complete the editing on our new video and
also to finish the new web pages for this site. And our magic mall is
getting updated, with new features and new products on their way. And
the much promised ballots are almost ready. We have tabulated the results
from the voting at the IBM Convention in San Diego. The results will
surprise you...I think! They will be here next week.
14, 2002) Los Angeles, California
This year has been truly amazing. Jan & I have been on the road for most of the year. And it will continue until mid December. We started in January, with club dates and speaking engagements, then to Vegas, then we were off to England and Ireland for two months, followed by a month across the USA for my first ever Lecture Tour. The first leg of the tour started in Michigan and ended in California. It included a week in the Close-Up Gallery at the Magic Castle, followed by the wonderful IBM Convention in San Diego.
On August 5th, it
was a special night at The Magic Castle, VIDEO NIGHT with special guest
Carl "The Amazing" Ballantine. I hosted the show, and produced
a video "appreciation" for the event, with highlights from
his incredible career and previously unseen moments we have captured
with Carl over the past year or so. It was a packed house as they say,
and Carl was is great spirits. We even got to smoke cigars during the
night, although as soon as the presentation was over, so were the stogies!
Carl answered some of my prepared questions, and we touched a little on the recent lecture material we did in San Diego. Then we opened it up to the crowd and the questions were great. The high point for Carl, I know, was when we filled the stage with no less than eight Magic Castle members who are also Members of The Inner Magic Circle (MIMC), and we called him for membership in the highest degree that a magician can receive, "Member of The Inner Magic Circle with Gold Star", in recognition of his long and amazing career on stage, on television and in film. The Magic Circle president, Michael Bailey had wanted to do this one in person, while Carl and I were in London, but Carl missed the trip due to doctor's orders, so Michael gave me the award for Carl and asked that I present it to him at an appropriate time. This was surely the appropriate time, and Carl loved every minute of it.
Now we are preparing for the second leg of the tour, which begins again in the East Coast, with a very special lecture that I am particularly looking forward to. When I was 14 or 15 years old, I was taken to a magic club meeting. It was the Society of American Magicians Assembly Number 16, the Willard S. Smith Assembly. Even though I had been studying and pacticing magic since I was six, my roots in magic really began there, with the kindness of the members, from Willard S. Smith himself, to Parker Swann, Art Mayou, Mike Kozak, Lee Remington and so many others. I have such fond memories of those meetings in downtown Worcester.
So, my first lecture of this second leg of the tour is my return to No. 16 in Worcester The date is Sept. 9th. I am anxious to see some of the old guys that are still around, as well as the new members who are keeping magic alive in Central Massachusetts. That is followed by a lecture for the Boston IBM, Ring 122, where I will again see many old friends and long time acquaintances. That's really the best part of touring. For an updated calendar of my tour schedule, visit my website.
By strange coincidence,
the Rolling Stones are also in town that week, and with me performing
for that private Rolling Stones Party in Boston the night before my
Worcester lecture, I was able to secure seats for a couple of their
Boston area concerts. Been a Stones fan forever, as long as I've been
a Beatles fan, which is pretty much my entire life. I think that's why
Jan married me.
Unlike the Beatles, I never saw them in concert (Jan did. At the Hollywood Bowl. Twice. Says she will never forget those shows). But I have seen the Stones close to 35 times. Once in my hometown of Worcester, with 200 lucky people in a small club. During their last tour, Jan & I caught them in Tampa, as well as in LA. We are looking forward to what could be the final time the Stones go on tour, although I think as long as Keith and Mick are still alive, they will probably keep rocking.
After this New England visit, we head Westward, but not before stops in Connecticut and New Jersey, then Minneapolis/St. Paul, on down to Oklahoma and Texas. We end the month back at The Magic Castle in the Parlour of Prestidigitation - my final appearance of 2002 there.
MORE CONVENTION STUFF
As the SAM &
IBM Conventions were held during the exact same dates this year (don't
get me started again on this brilliant move) it was difficult to hear
what was happening in New York while we were in San Diego. So, I have
asked some friends who attended the SAM in the Big Apple to write some
words...Dan Garrett, our member of the Panel of Magic Advisors, not
only attended, but performed at the SAM as well, so he has agreed to
write something, which we should see in just a few days (?) or weeks...
This is the main
convention season. Check out all the action across the globe in THE
GUIDE, our unique convention and event listings, all with instant
links to the convention web sites for tickets and further program details.
Meanwhile, another member of our Panel of Magical Advisors, superstar Paul Daniels and his wife Debbie flew over from England to attend the convention, so I asked Paul if he would care to write something about the convention...here's his reply:
Hi Steve, Such a report would be of little interest to your readers. I am of an age where I now have recovered from being a trickaholic and go to the occasional convention to meet up with old friends and sit in restaurants telling stories. ANYTHING rather than watch lookalikes performing in competitions.
I did see the gala show, the last one. There was a HUGE lesson there for magicians and convention organisers. After a stream of good acts (but why do they sell tickets to punters and then put a card manipulator on after a card manipulator?), they went for the nostalgia of putting on the Dean of American Magicians.
You could hear them in the planning committee.... 'Yes, he is old now, but we can follow him with that dress change act that does the rhumba all over the place.....' They forgot how wily old pros are. He came on, started slowly, and then went for the throat in the Lefty routine with a great gag about his eye. He had got 'em, then he threw them about........and the dancing dress change act couldn't follow it. Lesson? Yes......don't follow an old pro, especially if it is Jay Marshall. Paul D.
Speaking of Tony Brook, his latest column, and one of the most popular departments of MWC, "In Conversation with..." features none other than "Mr. Texas", Walter Zaney Blaney (also a member of our Panel of Magic Advisors). This is a fine article that I know you will enjoy. And I think even Walter himself will enjoy the pieces that follow from his three wonderful daughters. Congrats, Walter. One of the true magical treasures in this business.
We think the Hall of Fame ballots will be up and ready for you to use now. If not, it is just a few more days. Check back, and be sure to VOTE for your choices from the finalists.
It occured to us that many people in the magic community have limited computer expertise. Some are actually afraid of computers and the World Wide Web. For this reason, we are working on a new section called "SEE COMPUTER WORK" just for the folks who do not know what an attachment is, or what the REFRESH button really does. Each column will deal with some simple to follow advice on another area of computers that will (I promise) make your life a lot easier. The first topic deals with a growing problem in the Internet world...VIRUSES.
Here at MWC, we
just finished dealing with a major virus problem. It caused us to lose
many files and about a week of work. We have solved it, and in the process,
discovered some valuable information that we are now passing on to you.
Check out this new feature. WIth the information
provided, you will be able to check for VIRUS problems on your own computer,
and if you discover any, you will find out how to get rid of them.
The world of magic is filled with cigar lovers. Always has been, and always will, I'm sure. I have been smoking fine cigars for the last 15 years or so, and have come to appreciate the many aspects of them, including the history or their origins and the people who grow, manufacture and sell the leaf...
Who could ever recall seeing The Professor without a cigar in his hand, sitting in the Castle...of course that was before the great state of California made it a crime to smoke cigars. In the show business world, Milton Berle, George Burns, Carl Ballantine, and Groucho Marx were all lovers of the leaf...and Ballantine still smokes several bad boys every day! I realize many people do not enjoy the smell of a cigar, so I do my best to choose the spots where I light up, and always respect the views of others.
But for those who love the smell, or the taste of a good cigar, we are starting a section of MWC just for you. There will be a forum for you to post your thoughts, and links to various cool cigar-friendly Internet sites to visit. Beginning next month, but for now, check out our good friend, and fellow magician, "Magic" Matt Alan, aka "Mr. Cigar", and host of the weekly Cigar Radio Show. As a frequent guest of that show, which is broadcast live from the "Lighten Up Lounge" (our motto: we smoke, we drink, we interupt, )situated high in the hills of Encino, I enjoy the fun of that weekly get together of cigar guys and babes, and I know many of our MWC visitors enjoy listening to the banter and good times. Check out the list of radio and Internet spots you can listen to in your area (they reach 24 million homes), and also check out the photos on the Mr. Cigar website taken during the recent shows. I'm glad I wore a clean shirt! I was just on with legendary Shelley Berman, who is still as sharp and funny as ever. The show airs live on Saturdays, and repeats on tape throughout the week.
Until next week...keep those cards and Emails flowing, and have a great summer, wherever you may be.
16, 2002) XXXSt. Paul, Minnesota - DAY 10 on the road - SORRY we missed
last week, we had "road computer" problems that only moments ago were
fixed, so we could not log into the site and get my latest writings
up. Not that I didn't have every good intention of getting my column
up, but instead had to scrap the originally planned column, and reflect
privately on the anniversary of that fateful, horrible day.
August 31, 2002) I wonder about what the next two weeks will bring here in America. I know there's a growing sense of sadness as people begin to focus on the one year anniversary of the worst tragedy in America. Just like Memorial Day or Veteran's Day or any other holiday that commemorates the lives of people who are no longer with us, as this "symbolic" final weekend of the summer begins, there is evidence everywhere you look that people are thinking about it.
September 11 will always be marked for the horror of that day. The big difference is that is so fresh in all of our minds. Not only in America, but around the world. The images and sounds of that day are still prominently remembered, and we will no doubt see them as they are replayed during countless television proprams that are spotlighting the anniversary of the attack and the effect it has had on every living person on the planet.
In the airports and bookstores I have been to lately, big displays of books and photographs remind us to "pause and remember the day and the people". Every television news and magazine program is devoting large chunks of programming to the people and events of the disaster. Topics of conversation in all media are focused on how things are going at the anniversary date. How have our lives been changed? How will you and your family remember Spetember 11? I'd love to hear from you.
I'll be working that night. Just like I suspect everyone will be working during the day. I have a lecture, in New Jersey. I think it would be wrong to ignore it and not say anything. I don't plan to get heavy, but I will mention the significance of the day briefly, just to show that I am aware, and then go on with my show, as I hope all will go on with their lives, even those who were personally affected by some direct, personal loss.
We are all here for a reason, folks, and the fact that we are all still here means we are not finished yet, so onward and upward.
To all who were personally affected by September 11, we offer our heartfelt prayers. My wish is that we all will go forward, that we will continue in the spirit of life, in spite of the constant threats we are constantly subjected to. We must focus on the future, the positive parts of life that are out there, without forgetting the past and the negative that lurks about.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
If you have been following the adventure so far, Jan & I left Los Angeles today on the next phase of our tour. We stopped by The Magic Castle for a quick bite, then searched Hollywood for Ballantine, who was most likely at the track...we are headed to Worcester, Massachusetts, for the first lecture...the day after the Stones concert. If I speak too loud, you will know why.
Check out my monthly picks, some cool stuff to click away to... The ballot we promised had some technical problems, and we are trying to fix them...hang in there. We'll get it right eventually.Thanks to all who have been writing us about the new Tony Brook column on Walter Zaney Blaney. It is a fabulous article. I hope you are also emailing Tony to tell him what you think.
Right now, I'm enjoying the view as the sun is setting over the desert, and the long shadows and hot breeze help us unwind from a week of non-stop activities (including 50 hours in an edit studio!) in Los Angeles. We both enjoy the road, it's so relaxing for us, and we are able to schedule work periods throught the trip during the long daytime hours in the car, sharing the driving in shifts. Jan is revising material for her book, and publishers are hounding her to see it, so she will basically never see the scenery as it whips by on this trip.
Why are we driving?
Thanks for asking. We have about 8 lectures in a 3 week period, beginning in Worcester and ending in Oklahoma City. We have books, videos, Jan's shoes, sponge bunnies, Jan's shoes, other products and...basically enough luggage for six people, which makes flying impossible. It's also less hassle, and we love to drive. And when the weather is good, we pull out the custom tent and commune with nature under the stars. The tent is big enough for 6 people, so that means Jan and I are quite comfy inside, and there's plenty of room for Jan's shoes. She actually has a closet in the tent, a walk-in closet.
Check out our updated travel itinerary on stevedacri.com
For our American
friends, we hope you enjoy this Labor Day Weekend with your famliy,
friends or enemies. And for our UK friends, we know the weather is already
back to traditional awful, so but at least you won't have to deal with
slow-moving traffic, and hoards of vacationers filling up the bars and
restaurants and theme parks. For ewveryone else, have a great week.
We will be reporting from the road...next stop...New Mexico.
I know, I know. I missed a week. What can I say? Circumstances prevented me from getting my column up last week, so hopefully nobody was inconvenienced too greatly. I'll try not to let it happen again (yeah, right).
Just back from dinner with Carl "The Amazing" Ballantine. We have been planning our upcoming lecture together and this was a working dinner. We came up with the outline and began filling in the spaces. We present our lecture, entitled, "Ballantine and Dacri - Comedy and Magic Workshop", for the first time on April 29th at The Magic Circle in London. Then, later in the year, we will present the same lecture in San Diego at the International Brotherhood of Magicians big bash. Coming up with material is pretty easy...fitting it all into one program is going to be a challenge. Carl is one of the funniest guys on the planet, and he is always on. So, getting him to be serious is a major challenge. Everything he says is funny. It's going to be fun, to put it mildly, and I consider myself to be extremely lucky to be able to share the stage with him.
It seems like only a short time ago we were reporting on the annual meeting of the Castle, or more specifically, of the Academy of Magical Arts. Yesterday, the members convened in the Palace of Mystery once again for the annual reports and reviews of the past year. It was for the most part, uneventful.
It was called to order by President Dale Hindman who welcomed the members and introduced the current board members, then he turned it over to Secretary Bruce Cervon for a reading of the minutes of last year's meeting. Then Dale presented his multimedia report without the multimedia portion. As anyone can tell you, 2001 was not a great year, and The Magic Castle experienced a tough year on the ledger sheets. Despite that, there were many positive elements which were pointed out, including winning a lawsuit, and a positive outlook for a better year in 2002.
Lew Horwitz was next with his report on the financial state of the club. Despite the downturn of business after September 11, the Castle recovered nicely in December with a record breaking year, thanks mainly to the efforts of Robert "Bobby" E. Smith who took over the group sales department. Way to go, Bobby! Lew then showed us his projections, and recommended that we raise dues by 15% per year for the next 3 years to help keep things afloat. This was not met with happy sounds.
The final order of business was the introduction of the member of the law firm that handled the election of the Board of Directors. If the names sound familiar, it's because they were basically the same people who have been on the board year in and year out. Here are the 9 people who were elected to the 2002 Board of Directors:
Gay Blackstone (the only newly elected one), and the eight incumbants, Bruce Cervon, Dale Hindman, Lew Horwitz, Irene Larsen, Billy McComb, Monte Smith, Mark Wilson and Ron Wilson. We at Magic Web Channel congratulate the winners and wish them all the very best of luck for the next two years. The candidates who ran but were unsuccessful were Lorenzo Clark, Christopher De Palma, Max Maven and Kurt Frietag.
After the meeting, champagne was served and we all toasted to the prospects for a great year ahead for the greatest magic organization in the world.
See you next week. Ballots will be up on the site shortly. Be sure and cast your votes for the final inductees into the Internet Magic Hall of Fame.
Until next week...
January 31, 2002 - Los Angeles, California - Winter in Los Angeles, cold, windy, some real wet stuff they call rain, and non-beach weather. I speak of cold with tongue pressed firmly against my cheek. The temperature is around 60 during the day. Nothing compared to my old stomping grounds of Boston, where snow boots and mittens are the order of the day until spring hits.
We attended the 39th birthday bash for The Magic Castle on January 2, 2002. It was another gala event for the members and founders of this magical place. Milt took the stage (and returned it later) and announced new construction and plans for the future, and unveiled a unique statue that will be placed in the Ladies Room. It's a soap dispenser, and you can fill in the details about how and where the soap is dispensed. James Williams (and Michael Gingras) put on a hearty spread of food and champagne flowed until the evening crowds forced the party to end, with a good time had by all. Here's to many more happy years for the Castle!
MORE HALL OF FAME RESULTS
Lots of emails from people regarding the first list of Deceased Hall of Fame nominees. Judging from the feedback, most agree with the choices, and as I have said before, there were no real surprises. I had a tough time filling out my ballot, as so many of the names are worthy of induction. Remember, each year we will be inducting more people, so eventually, I believe everyone who is worthy will be inducted.TOP
As we outlined last week, the procedure is as follows: Each year, beginning this year, we plan to induct a number of magicians into the Internet Magic Hall of Fame, which will be a permanent, interactive exhibit honoring the achievements of magicians from the past and present. There will be two categories: LIVING and DECEASED.
Here now, is the list of magicians who will be on the final ballot for LIVING magicians.
LIVING MAGICIANS Listed in order of top vote getters
1. Carl Ballantine
Please remember, this list consists of the top vote getters from our first round of names. The first list contained 55 names of LIVING MAGICIANS and 60 names of DECEASED MAGICIANS. We asked the Panel to choose 20 from the Living, and 30 from the Deceased.
Beginning in a few weeks, we will have a ballot online and everyone who visits us here will be invited to vote for the names that will be finally chosen for the first group of distinguished magicians to be inducted into the Internet Magic Hall of Fame.
Again, this was
not an easy call, as there were so many names to choose from. Also,
in addition to the names that were on the ballot, we have a surprising
number of WRITE-IN names. We will induct 15 magicians in this category,
and they will be chosen by the Panel of Magic Advisors as well as the
visitors to Magic Web Channel.
A fine group of outstanding individuals, and 15 of them will be chosen for the first group of inductees for the Internet Magic Hall of Fame, which is currently under construction.
Watch in the coming weeks for a ballot to appear on our site here, and then please cast your ballots.
Do you agree with
this list of finalists? Send me a note with your comments.
anuary 21, 2002
- Los Angeles, California - Hello world! Yes, I
am finally back, the trip was wonderful, relaxing and productive. I
didn't expect to fall in love while I was there, but some things in
life can never be planned.
I speak of Princess...the 2 week old pony. Talk about taking my breath away! This cutey has so much energy and a twinkle in her eye. She's getting stronger and more beautiful every day. Born on January 1...she was running around the next day. She was 8 days old when I first arrived in Arizona at the Rogers Ranch, and when I left, she was 16 days old and she already had a permanent place in my heart. Her mane is just coming in, her coat is soft, medium brown, and her markings are absolutely perfect. She licks my face, bites at my hair, and when I knell down, she puts her front legs on my lap. Very cool little pony, my new pal. Can't wait to see her again, which will have to be soon...her mom, Rosey, is a good protector, and you can just see how proud she is of her little offspring.
HALL OF FAME RESULTS
Each year, beginning this year, we plan to induct a number of magicians into the Internet Magic Hall of Fame, which will be a permanent, interactive exhibit honoring the achievements of magicians from the past and present. There will be two categories: LIVING and DECEASED.
We are very excited to begin the process for the very first group of inductees. We sent a preliminary ballot out to all of the members of our esteemed Panel of Magic Advisors, and the results are now in. Please remember, this list consists of the top vote getters from our first round of names. The first list contained 55 names of LIVING MAGICIANS and 60 names of DECEASED MAGICIANS. We asked the Panel to choose 20 from the Living, and 30 from the Deceased.
Beginning in a few weeks, we will have a ballot online and everyone who visits us here will be invited to vote for the names that will be finally chosen for the first group of distinguished magicians to be inducted into the Internet Magic Hall of Fame.
So, without further delay, we will now list the 20 individuals who have been chosen to be on the final ballot in the DECEASED category. Next week, we will list the LIVING category finalists.TOP
Finalists for induction
(Deceased): (top vote getters listed first)
Do you agree with
this list of finalists? Send me a note with your comments.
January 10, 2002 - Tubac, Arizona - Howdy! I'm sitting on the patio on our ranch in Tubac, just about 40 miles from the Mexican border. The air is clear and crisp, a bit chilly, by clear as a bell. I can see the mountain ranges in front of me, the colors are magnificent, and the sky is pure blue.
I am here for a while, working on a script that I have been hired to "fix". Can't tell you any more than that, as the title is a secret, and part of the agreement I had to sign in order to get the job insisted on total confidentiality. Anyway, I estimate the job to be about 8 days, so I am here in the desert, away from phones, people and all distractions. I have a show on Jan. 19th, so I will be back to LA before that.
INTERNET HALL OF FAME
We have received the ballots from most of the Panel of Magic Advisors, and the results have been determined. Beginning next week, we will announce who in the world of magic has been selected to be eligible for induction into the Internet Magic Hall of Fame. We will then invite you, and all visitors, to MagicWebChannel to cast their votes for those magic people who deserve to be the very first ones to be inducted into the Internet Magic Hall of Fame. Very exciting. Check out the list of people who may potentially be inducted next week.
Those of us who live in California are very familiar with the one and only Matt Alan, "Magic Matt", or "Mr. Cigar". He has more nicknames than anyone I know. (And he does Rick Dees better than Dees himself). Matt is a fine magician, and a great radio personality. He hosts the world's only cigar radio show, heard on the Internet and radio in over 26 million homes. I am a regular guest on the show, whenever I am in town, on a Saturday afternoon, I pop over to the "Lighten Up Lounge" in Encino and join the fun. It starts with a Ketel One Martini, made by the master (and host) of the show. Then it's cigar time, and most of the regulars seem to bring their own collection of cigars, and I wasn't sure why. Then, after doing the show several times myself, I discovered that the cigars that the show passes out are CRAP. Now I know why the regulars are called "regulars". They are the ones that bring their OWN cigars! TOP
So, the show kicks off with cigar news, and then is goes on in directions that nobody could even predict. It's sort of like eavesdropping on a hip cigar lounge, with lots of laughs and nonsense. This week it was comedy legend Jack Riley, who was a regular on "The Bob Newhart Show" and is a voice on the Rugrats movies, among many others. He was fun to work with, and aeven though he is not a cigar smoker, he added a great deal to the program.
I urge you to listen to the showw each week, they always talk about magic and who knows what else. For details, check out www.mrcigar.com and tune in to this week's show in your area. I will be back on the show in 2 weeks, when I get back to Los Angeles. (When the script assignment is completed!)
I asked Matt for his own recipe for the perfect martini. He offers to following: Start with Ketel One vodka, poured over ice into a cocktail shaker. Position a bottle of Vermouth in front of you as you shake the shaker. After gazing at the bottle, put it away. Then, into a chilled glass (it's best if lots of ice is stuck to the edges of the glass), you pour the shaken vodka. Drop a couple of Tomolives into the glass and sip lightly. Repeat the sipping part until the glass is empty, then refill and repeat. This works really well with a high class cigar, preferably from the island of Cuba...
Needless to say, as a guest on this show, one never knows what will happen after the show is over. It might involve dinner, or most likely, additional cigars and martinis, to the point where driving is severely impaired and most likely impossible, which means sleaping on the couch in the house, or the table in the studio...TOP
As I have said before the best thing that can be said about 2001 is "It's Over!"
2002 HAS to be better, and from the feedback I have received from all over the world, everyone seems to believe that 2002 will be a great year.
I want to thank all of you for the wonderful, heartfelt messages we have received here. It is such a pleasure to know that so many of you are reading and paying attention to our efforts here. We once again extend our sincere best wishes to everyone for a happy and healthy 2002.
I must get back to work, but first...I have to feed the new baby pony, Rosey's new baby...named Princess...only 2 weeks old, and already full of energy and spunk. Keeps me grounded.
January 3, 2002 (Los Angeles) Greeting friends. Here it is, my firstl column of 2002. 2001 was a rough year, but the future looks bright. As John Lennon said, "can't get no worse". The year was not all bad, I don't want to sound like a pessimist. But the events of Sept. 11th have changed the world forever, and 2001 will always be remembered for that. All of us have to look around and make changes in our lives in some way. I believe you will find more people not taking life for granted any more. If nothing else, besides being a horrific tragedy, 9/11 served as a wake-up call. Life is precious, and it is fleeting. Any one of us, or our loved ones, could be felled by terrorism or any danger, at any moment. We must learn to savor the time we have on this planet, enjoy the time we spend with family and friends, and find meaning and pleasure in the little things that so often go unnoticed.
MAGIC WEB CHANNEL PROGRESS
July 1st marked one year since we first went "live" with this web portal. It wasn't until October of this year that we actually opened for business, and as I have stated from the beginning, this is a work in progress which will never be finished. It will constantly evolve as we add new features and individuals to the mix. My friend Tony Brook, our Director of International Operations assures me he has many ideas and concepts up his sleeve to enhance Magic Web Channel, and we will be making some exciting announcements in the coming months from Europe and the UK about new things that will make you all very happy.
In this first year, we have seen the number of visitors increase steadily. We are still nowhere near our goals, but we are encouraged by the support and guidance of our staff and our Panel of Magical Advisors.(Be sure and check out our new Magic Spotlight on our advisors, this month, it's Walter "Zaney" Blaney). The magic community has embraced us, and all agree that we are on the right track to building the most important website in the world of magic. Being the perfectionist that I am, I have not allowed the advertising campaigns to begin yet, as I feel that some of our important features are not ready. We're almost there. The response to our Performer's Directory has been fantastic, and as you can see, the service of providing magicians for all events is coming along fine. We have provided magicians for nearly 100 birthday parties, company events and private functions, and we expect that number to grow as we begin to market our services to talent buyers and companies worldwide.
As the year comes to an end, I want to thank all of you who have voiced your support and approval for Magic Web Channel. The phone calls, cards, emails and letters mean a great deal to all of us.TOP
MAGIC CASTLE HAS ANOTHER BIRTHDAY
On January 2nd, 1963, the doors were first opened at 7001 Franklin Avenue and the magic world has been so much better because of it. The Magic Castle turns 38 this year. An amazing success story that was the brainchild of Bill & Milt - the brothers Larsen. Milt spent almost a full year renovating the old mansion in the Hollywood Hills and he's still at it. He considers the Castle to be a "work in progress" (heard that before?), and there never seems to be an end to the projects and ideas that he is always at work on. When the place first opened, there was no restaurant, only a bar. Only one floor was open, and guests sat around what was "Irma's Room" as the invisible piano player entertained with show tunes and requests, and the first resident magician, Jay Ose, presented his special brand of close-up magic. Founding member Mark Wilson levitated his lovely wife Nani, and the picture made it into the next week's issue of Newsweek.
A lot has changed since then. Irma's room is now the Close-Up Gallery, which is now under contruction with a major facelift. Irma is situated in her own room. And now there are more theatres and bars to handle the hundreds of guests that flock to the only place in the world that showcases the world's top magical entertainers seven nights a week. A world class dining experience is part of the mix, and the membership of the Academy of Magical Arts has grown to over 5,000 strong. On Jan 2nd, members gathered for the annual event that commemorates the date, sip champagne and nibble on finger food. MIlt was in fine form as he addressed the members, pointing out the progress and future of this great place. Besides Milt, Mark and Nani Wilson (who were also present) were the only 2 people who were there in 1963 when the place first opened its doors. It's hard to imagine the world of magic without The Magic Castle, and we all continue to show our appreciation to the Brothers Larsen for their vision and dedication in following through on the dream of their father, William Larsen, Senior. A good time was had by all, captured on digital film by James Williams on still camera, and Jan Dacri, who captured the Palace proceedings on video. It will also be interesting to see what Arlene's video camera captured, mounted on a table, running continuously, with guests taking turns to record their own messages and (?).
HAPPY NEW YEAR
As the curtain falls on 2001, it is our hope that world peace will be on the menu for 2002 and beyond. The economy of the United States has been hurt by the events of 9/11, and that affected the entire world. The future, according to the experts who study this stuff, tell us that we will see a vast improvement in the coming months, and most analysts believe we will see major imporvements in most industries and sectors.
The magic business was affected in many ways. Shows were cancelled, plans for entertainment and parties were scaled down, if not eliminated during that past 3 months. People had less money to spend, so the magic dealers reported a downturn in sales. Magic performers who normally update and revise their acts and pruchase new props have decided to wait, so everyone in the magic community has been affected by the ripple of uncertainty that has infiltrated our lives.
We gaze into the crystal ball and see brightness. I predict that 2002 will be a great year. The economy will turn around, the war will end, and those people responsible for the terror of 9/11 will be brought to justice, one way or the other.
Jan, Brent and Jesse join me in wishing you all the best for a bright, happy and healthy New Year. We are now off on our first road trip of 2002. We'll file a report from the road.
God Bless America.
Sept. 14, 2001 - THREE DAYS AFTER THE HORROR