Happy New Year! As unbelievable as it is, its 2009 already. But as Groucho Marx said, Time flies like an arrow and fruit flies like a banana. Of course, Kermit the Frog prefers, Times fun when youre having flies. (You can pick your favorite.)
So with the passage of yet another year, its time to have a look back at the year that was. Please to enjoy
2008: The Year in Review
Cover: John Gaughan and the 9th Los Angeles Conference on Magic History.
In the Las Vegas Review Journal
Norm Clark takes the first in what would become a year-long salvo of shots at the storys subject:
Cirque du Soleil has taken out a huge insurance policy to cover its first headliner, illusionist Criss Angel.
Vegas Confidential has also learned that Cirque is working on a Plan B in the event that the Mindfreak star was not able to carry out his commitment to do 4,000 performances in the $100 million production at Luxor over the next 10 years. The show is to open in late July.
Las Vegas mogul Steve Wynn chimes in noting that Las Vegas is a little over-Cirqued at the moment, adding, I don't think a week goes by that I'm not looking for something else.
David Copperfields property, taken after an accusation of sexual misconduct in 2007, is returned to him by the FBI to far less media attention than was attracted when it was taken. Robin Leach reports that the illusionist kept the FBI seals and stamps on it: Hes even happily using the computer with the FBI-Evidence Property tape still on it!
Teller appears in the January 8 issue of the Wall Street Journal
in a piece about a production of Macbeth that he co-directed. What was his stated goal for the production, as noted by writer Joanne Kaufman, Scare the hell out of the high-school boys. He planned to do this by assuring theater-goers that there would be no shortage of blood, and no shortage of flesh.
Hes not a magician, but
Hollywood icon (and Honorary Mayor) Johnny Grant passes away at age 84.
Ricky Jay garners a Grammy Nomination for his CD collection of poker-related tunes, Ricky Jay Plays Poker. The nomination was specifically for Best Album Notes (penned by Mr. Jay in his inimitable style). Winners were announced on February 10, 2008. He didnt win.
On January 13, it is announced that the Genii Forum will go subscriber only (and does so on January 16). Howls of protest by those who will be left out stretch across the Internet.
HEADLINE: Magician Accused of Taking Child From School
Lewisville (CBS 11 News/ AP) ― A Dallas-based magician who performs in Las Vegas stands accused of kidnapping a Lewisville student from her classroom.
Daniel Catarino Reyes was released from the Denton County Jail on a $200,000 bond Thursday. He has yet to return to his parent's house, and no one has heard from him.
Police arrested Reyes and raided his parent's house Wednesday after the girl's parents reported the alleged crime. Computers and other possible evidence were removed from the home.
According to reports, the girl said she was one of four Creekside Elementary students Reyes selected to be his assistant during a scheduled show later in the day.
The children were taken from their classrooms, but three were sent back to class.
Reyes would plead guilty to aggravated kidnapping in October and will serve 10 years in prison.
If there is any justice at all everything in Texas really is
Cable network VH1 green-lights Celebracadabra, a reality series in which seven TV, film, and music stars will vie for the title of Best Celebrity Magician.
The magic community trembles with anticipation.
With over six months left before the much anticipated IBM/SAM combined convention in Louisville, Kentucky, the Galt Housethe events venuereports that it is booked solid.
The Sean McGinly film The Great Buck Howard is released at the Sundance Film Festival (its general release is scheduled for 2009). The film, about a young man who becomes the assistant to an illusionist whose career is in decline, stars Colin Hanks, John Malkovich, and Ricky Jay (with a cameo by Tom Hanks). Reviewers are mostly positive about the comedy with Malkovichs performance as Buck Howard being the standout aspect for them.
The Real Hustle premiers on the truTV cable network (formerly Court TV).
Dani Marco, Ryan Oakes, and Apollo Robbins star in this US edition of a popular UK show (that had starred Alexis Conran, Paul Wilson, and Jessica-Jane Clement). It lasted seven episodes before the three erstwhile grafters bought a brush
The Monte Carlo Hotel and Casinohome of illusionist Lance Burton (who was safe at home at the time)caught fire on Friday January 25th. The firewhich started in a construction area on the roofcaused damage to the faade but no serious damage. The hotel did remain closed to guests on Saturday. When asked when the 3,000-room hotel would reopen, Ron Lynn, manager of the Clark County Building Department, could not give an immediate answer. The official did, however, have his priorities in order when he replied, Its a little soon to tell. We haven't completed the testing today. But there is no damage to the casino area.
Dude, its a trick
The Blue Man Group is sued over what is but a mere illusion. The news report says it best (in other words, I have no other words):
Chicago -- His voice cracking with emotion, James Srodon recounted how a camera had been shoved down his throat during a Blue Man Group performance in Chicago, injuring his esophagus and resulting in nightmares.
The Blue Man Group, famous for its actors who dont utter a word, was forced to respond to Srodons lawsuit, saying it was all just an illusion -- a camera never even entered his throat. In a bit of sleight of hand, as the camera is held near an audience member's mouth, a jumbo video screen switches to a prerecorded medical video, leading the audience to think it is peering down the individual's throat, the production said.
We are disappointed that this false claim forces us to reveal the truth behind one of our most popular theatrical devices, Blue Man Productions said in its brief statement.
A little digging (two seconds with Google) by your intrepid reporter discovers that Mr. Srodens attorneys are Romanucci & Blandin who bill themselves as Skilled representation of the catastrophically injured
. [Emphasis mine]
The last court activity (Cook County Circuit Court: Law Division, case #2008-L-000815) listed in the casean Alias Summons Issuedwas on October 30.
Music legend Bob Dylan features a Houdini segment during his Theme Time Radio Hour on satellite radio. The theme on that day (January 30) was Locks and Keys. (This presumes, of course, that the original reporter could actually understand what Dylan was saying.)
Cover: Zarrow (the hands of Herb Zarrow performing his shuffle)
It is reported that the Expert at the Card Table with Allan Ackerman DVD project is, very close to being finished. Let the salivating begin
Mad TV spoofs Criss Angel in a sketch with the hook being that he uses paid extras and stooges as audience members. (Proof that the best humor is always based on a truth.)
With over 1,700 registrants already booked for the convention, organizers of the IBM/SAM Combined Convention announce (with more than six months remaining until the event) that registration will be cut off at 2,000.
The Las Vegas Review Journal
reports that Roseanne will replace The Amazing Johnathan at the Sahara Casino.
There is no mention whether or not she will begin each show with the National Anthem. Nor was there any mention whether or not the hidden cameras AJ alleged were placed in his female performers dressing rooms by casino employees were removed from Roseannes.
HEADLINE: Siegfried & Roy to Perform AgainThe Magic is Back
February 9th, 2008
Superstar magicians Siegfried & Roy promised tonight (Saturday) to perform magic again in Las Vegas. Their stunning and incredible announcement won them an immediate standing ovation and congratulations from 1000 Vegas VIPsincluding all the presidents of the MGM Mirage hotels and its largest shareholder, billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, all attending the Keep Memory Alive charity fundraiser for the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute. Siegfried told a stunned audience: I make a promise one year from tonight at next years gala Roy and I will return and we will perform magic again. That is the new goalour next dream. We will make that come true. The magic is back! It may only be a one-night only appearancefor nowfor the Masters of the Impossible!
Erdnase the Musical?
Were still waiting, but no one is salivating.
2009 FISM organizers announce that the new China National Convention Center will replace the National Grand Theater as the venue for the event. Some people complain. Some people dont care. Most people arent going anyway.
That Reminds Me: Finding the Funny in a Serious World
by Michael Close is self published on Lulu. In a matter of months the book is selling on Amazon.
Criss Angel receives the Merlin Award from the International Magicians Society Whatever that is (besides a plug for Tony Hassinis video company)
The Magic Castle (Academy of Magical Arts) sued Magic Food and Beverage, the company that has been running the restaurant and beverage concession in the Castle. All sides remained very quiet about what exactly is behind the cause of action. The site for the Superior Court of Los Angeles indicates that the case was dismissed without prejudice by the plaintiff on June 20. 2008. There is no truth to the rumor that the involved parties gathered in the Inner Circle of the Castle and sang Kumbaya.
Brett Daniels opens his WOHSCIGAM show in Las Vegas at the Sahara Casino (no mention if hes replacing Roseanne) for what is advertised as an indefinite run.
It turns outaccording to MAGIC
magazineit was an indefinite nightmare for Daniels. The show closed after a short time.
Cover: Marvyn and Carol Roy
HEADLINE: Magician Loses Pants in Heist
Fremont -- A "magician" who lost both his pants and his teeth during a chase from a register heist early Thursday morning apparently couldn't make the register he stole disappear.
Daniel Dean Harlan, 43, of Santa Monica, Calif., was charged with breaking and entering, vandalism and safe cracking after a 2:20 a.m. incident at Legendz Bar on Fifth Street, Fremont police said.
According to Legendz co-owner Misty Lee, Harlan couldn't open the cash drawer, so he stole the whole thing. The destroyed register contained $241.
To his credit, Harlan, who admitted that he was very drunk at the time and has no memory of the event, did not dodge his culpability in the case and was working with the authorities to resolve the situation (including voluntary rehab). There have been no further reports.
The Daily Mail
(a UK gossip rag) reports:
How Debbie McGee promised young girls fame and fortune for 125 and then didn't deliver.
Most magicians look at it because there is a picture of Debbie that can
Organizers of the FISM European Championships (scheduled for November 08 in Sofia, Bulgaria) announce the cancellation of the event due to restricted organizational capacity and financial strains.
The SAM Museum that was, for all intents and purposes, destroyed when a Los Angeles city-owned electrical thing-a-ma-jig blew up in 2004 and spewed toxic PCBs all over everything had its contents appraised by a group of knowledgeable magic historians and collectors. The only solid news coming from the visit is that Mike Caveney looks dashing in a Haz-Mat suit.
Tellers Macbeth gets an excellent review (one of many):
HEADLINE: At the Folger, A Wickedly Good 'Macbeth'
By Peter Marks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Let's just lay our cards on the table: Folger Theatre's new "Macbeth" is a blast. With several sleekly executed illusions, an actor of magnetic, action-figure bearing in the title role and a trio of witches so ghoulish they could've arrived from the set of "Pirates of the Caribbean," the production's creators have come up with the closest thing to a popcorn tragedy.
You might have heard that the practical magic of this "Macbeth" has been supplied by Teller, the silent, diminutive half of the irreverent magic act of Penn and Teller. It turns out that where Shakespeare is concerned, Teller is a true believer, and the tricks he's adapted for the play are integrated in a thoughtful, thoroughly reverent way.
Still digging(for book sales)
HEADLINE: Houdini Exhumation to Test for Poison
By Annmarie Costella
Tuesday, March 4th 2008,
Larry Sloman and William Kalush, authors of
The Secret Life of Houdini, theorize that the magician was fatally poisoned by a vengeful clairvoyant on Halloween of 1926, and not felled by a ruptured appendix as long believed.
They want Houdini unearthed from his grave at Machpelah Cemetery in Ridgewood so tests can be performed.
Houdini's memory would be honored so much more if we knew how he died, Sloman said.
Since their book came out last March , Sloman and Kalush said they have been assembling a team of forensic specialists and exploring legal strategies, though they have yet to file court papers to have Houdini's body exhumed.
We want to do this the right way, said Sloman. We don't want to offend anyone. But their controversial campaign has divided the Houdini family, angered magicians and sparked some nasty accusations.
Persi Diaconis, Professor of Statistics (Stanford University) and card magic guy extraordinaire, calls in to Bob Dylans Theme Time Radio Show asking Dylan to flip a coin to choose the next song. There was no report if anyone wanted to go best two out of three.
The Genii Forum changes software. Webmaster Brad considers voluntary commitment.
On March 13, 2008 the Genii Forum (after the administrators figure out what a royal pain it is to administer a subscription only site) goes public again. Howls of protest by those who preferred it as a subscription only site stretch across the Internet.
The March 17 issue of New Yorker
magazine runs a feature by Adam Gopnik on contemporary magic which focuses on Jamy Ian Swiss (Gopniks magic teacher) and mentions of Teller and David Blaine.
[1/6/09 -- Correction: Mr. Swiss was the authors teenage sons magic teacher.]
The Daily Mail
Pamela Anderson's trousers do a vanishing act as she hits the stage for a magic show.
Illusionist Hans Klok is mentioned somewhere in the piece as well.
Penn Jillette appears on the television reality/competition series Dancing with the Stars.
No, really, he did.
Hes not a magician, but
Arthur C. Clarke (2001: A Space Odyssey
) died at the age of 90 on March 17. The world renowned author and futurist once wrote: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
US cable network Sci-Fi channel picks up Derren Browns Mind Control for a second season (six one-hour episodes).
On Friday, March 21, Max Maven opens a run of his one-man show Thinking in Person at the intimate Steve Allen Theater at The Center For Inquiry in Hollywood. The show played fifteen consecutive Fridays through June 27. (Is it okay to say Thank God for live entertainment there?)
Penn Jillette is mercifully eliminated from Dancing with the Stars on March 26.
The same day, Jillette appears on Bob Dylans satellite radio show. The theme is Heat, and Penn discusses fire eatingsomething he is actually good at.
Pamela Anderson is injured while performing an illusion in Berlin. Says Anderson, I got scorched and I think I may have thrown a rib out. Theres one trick where the spikes go through the box and it got really close and I ended up going backstage and going, Woo, that was close.
Illusionist Hans Klok is mentioned somewhere in the piece as well.
Cover: Dr. Samuel Hooker
The results of the 2008-2009 election for the Board of Directors and Board of Trustees for the Academy of Magical Arts are released:
Board of Directors - Magician Members:
Neil Patrick Harris
Board of Directors - Associate Members:
Board of Trustees:
The officers for the AMA are also announced:
Robert Lamoureux - President
Whit Haydn - Vice President
Treasurer - Jean Boyle
Secretary - Brian Where are the Minutes Tolman
The John Salisse Collection goes to the auction block at Bloomsbury Auctions. 602 of the 730 lots sold fetching 143,355 (with a low estimate of 129,935).
Harry Houdinior should I say, arry oudiniappears in a national Lexus television commercial campaign. (It had something to do with the letter H disappearing everywhere.)
A tell all book titled The Secret life of Siegfried and Roy: How the Tigers Tamed Las Vegas
by Jimmy Lavery, Jim Mydlach, and Henrietta Tiefenthaler appears on bookstore shelves. The salacious tome alleges that the pair was losing it prior to the tiger attack on Roy and that the near fatal event came as a relief. Look for it on the clearance tables of bookstores near you.
News of the Magic Castle and the surrounding properties and businesses being up for sale is announced, making local TV news shows and newspaper headlines.
Academy of Magical Arts Fellowship Awards Show and Banquet takes place in Beverly Hills. And the winners are
Fellowship Winners (as selected by the Board of Trustees):
Al Cohen (Lifetime Achievement)
Patrick Page (Masters Fellowship)
Penn & Teller (Performing Fellowship)
Dr. Hiroshi Sawa (Performing Fellowship)
The Amazing Johnathan (Special Fellowship)
Steve Duschek (Creative Fellowship)
Bill Kalush (Literary Fellowship)
Magician of the Year: Derren Brown
Member Voted Awards:
Lecturer: Martin Lewis
Parlour: Shoot Ogawa
Close-up: Paul Green
Stage: Dana Daniels (actually the parrot was the winner, but they tossed Daniels a bone)
HEADLINE: Miss LAX Crowned by Criss Angel
(has nothing to do with the airport)
LAX Nightclub was banging on all cylinders last night as the finals of Miss LAX were held at the Luxor hot spot. With a jam packed crowd on hand, all 40 finalists from the past three months of competition strutted their stuff with hopes of being named Miss LAX. When the smoked cleared, Criss Angel announced Lisa Angeline as the winner of the coveted Miss LAX crown. In addition to winning top honor and title of Miss LAX, Angeline took home a check for $50,000 as well as an appearance on the hit A&E program Criss Angel Mindfreak.
Houdini: The Movie Star
A three disc collection of Houdinis films and serials (1910) is released.
The Pixar film WALL-E is released along with a magic-themed short titled Presto about a bunny that is cleverer than his magician master.
Let the games begin
HEADLINE: So, thats why its titled Mindfreak
Las Vegas Review Journal
By Norm Clarke
Illusionist Criss Angel, the star of the Mindfreak reality show, freaked out Friday after his girlfriend, Miss Nevada USA Veronica Grabowski, didn't make the finals of the Miss USA pageant.
Shortly after Grabowski was eliminated, Angel was seen flashing a middle finger during a NBC telecast when a roving cameraman attempted a celebrity-in-the-crowd shot at Planet Hollywood Resort's main theater.
Angel was still fuming after the pageant when he threatened this columnist in an F-bomb-laced tirade that ended with Angel, after being restrained, saying, Don't ever write another word about me, or youll need an eye-patch over your other eye.
Although he didnt specifically mention it during the loud altercation outside the pageants VIP party on the hotels mezzanine, Angel was still angry about my reporting in Fridays column.
In an interview Thursday with Vegas Confidential, Sandy Mecca, a preliminary judge and wife of Planet Hollywood Resort CEO Mike Mecca, mentioned that Angel had brought up his girlfriend in reference to the pageant on Tuesday. Angel told Mecca, I hope youre going to give my girl high marks.
Meccas two-day judging duties had ended on Sunday, but the comment made her uncomfortable and she and her husband separated from Angel before entering the hotel. Angels publicist, Steve Flynn, said Friday that Angel was absolutely joking around.
Donald Trump, who owns Miss Universe, the umbrella group for Miss USA, told me Friday that he was disturbed by Angels encounter with a judge and added, Were going to have to look at that.
Angels blowup happened shortly after the pageant ended. Angel, his two brothers and a bodyguard ran down a corridor to catch up to this writer near the entrance of a VIP post-pageant party.
Youre a (bleeping) idiot, screamed Angel, who kept repeating it. He added that he wanted nothing to do with me or this column in the future.
Angel, who starts rehearsals this week on Cirque du Soleils $100 million magic production at Luxor, has a 10-year contract.
When he repeated his no-contact edict at nose-to-nose range, my response was, I will try to get over it.
Flynn stepped between us and led Angel away, as he delivered his parting shot: the eye-patch threat.
Good one, Criss, I told him. Never heard that one before.
It was an emotional night for everyone, Flynn said Saturday.
Later that week
Criss Angel announces he will escape from a building prior to its being imploded. Kinda like Copperfield did about 20 years ago. There is no truth to the rumor that he would vanish the Statue of Liberty as well.
Criss Angel: Believe was unveiled as the name of the highly anticipated new Cirque du Soleil production set to open at Luxor Las Vegas. Criss Angel: Believe starring Criss Angel will hold its Gala Premiere September 12, 2008, with preview performances beginning September 1, 2008.
They should have said to pencil
in the date...
Cervon Notebooks Volume 2
goes on sale. L&L announces that they will only accept one order per person. The book quickly goes out of print.
John Moehring, MUM
(SAMs magazine) editor announces that he will retire when his contract expires on July 31, 2008 (though he continues as editor through the December 2008 issue).
Derren Brown outs himself though people seem more interested in when his next US shows will air than hearing about his year-long perfect relationship with a man.
Recently elected AMA board member Neil Patrick Harris (How I Married Your Mother) begins to fulfill his campaign promise of promoting magic during his various talk show appearances.
Patrick appears on the April 23 Ellen DeGeneres show and plugged the Magic Castle by giving Ellen a 30-day membership (removing the card from a flaming wallet). He announces that each member of the studio audience would get a 30-day membership as well.
He then performed a comedy guillotine illusion (assisted by Ed Alonzo and Ellen). That would cause some absurd letters to be written to the show requiring Ellen to apologize on the air the next day for scaring the kids.
After his altercation with the Norm Clark of the Las Vegas Review Journal
, Criss Angel starts collecting bad press from other sources including (but not limited to) the Los Angeles Times
Celebracadabra premiers on VH1 on April 27. Jonathan Levit acts as host and tie-breaking judge with judges Jeff McBride and Franz Harary. (Harary was filling in for Max Maven who missed the first episode fulfilling a contract in Europe. Maven would finish the show as the other judge.)
The celebrities and their respective Magic Coaches are:
C. Thomas Howell and David Regal
Hal Sparks and Rocco Silano
Lisa Ann Walter and David Silly Billy Kaye
Kimberly Wyatt and Murray Sawchuck
Christopher Kid Reid and Derek Hughes
Ant and Asi Wind
Carnie Wilson and Simon Lovell
The list of magicians on the show is far more impressive (to other magicians) than the list of celebrities taking part. But still, the magic world holds its collective breath before
David Blaine tries to hold his breath for a record-breaking time on Oprah.
Blaine breaks the Guinness world record for holding his breath for 17 minutes and 4 seconds. There was no mention if he practiced his pass during that period.
Rich Bloch announces that he is stepping down as the organizer of the World Magic Seminar; a magic convention fixture in Las Vegas. Bob Rossi, and Bill and Becki Wells will take over the organization of the venerable event.
Cover: Patrick Martin
David Blaine is interviewed by Time Magazine on Line
. A search of the site did not uncover anything on Criss Angel.
The new David Mamet film Redbelt with Ricky Jay and Cyril Takayama is released.
Jay plays a less than scrupulous fight promoter and Cyril plays a magician.
Steve Cohen appears on CBS Televisions Sunday Morning plugging his one-man show, Chamber Magic at the Waldorf Towers Hotel.
In celebration of the birthday of this reporters daughter (thats his story and hes sticking to it) Magic Week begins on Late Night with David Letterman. In order of appearance:
Steve (Why-oh Why) Wyrick
Penn & Teller
HEADLINE: Presto Strange-O
The Toronto Globe and Mail
By Sarah Hampson
Las Vegas -- Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, for a surprising performance by Criss Angel, master illusionist, creator of Mindfreak on A&E, and star of Criss Angel Believe, the highly anticipated live show with Cirque du Soleil, due to open some time this fall at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. This week, it was announced that the $100-million (U.S.) show will be delayed - not for the first time - due to technical difficulties, causing onlookers to wonder if Cirque du Soleil, a proven money-maker with five ongoing productions in Vegas, made a wise decision to partner with the man some are calling the new Houdini.
Kellar honored: Houdini mentioned:
In a report about a Pennsylvania historical marker honoring Erie magician Harry Kellar being dedicated at Griswold Plaza (in Erie), the reporter felt it necessary to mention that Kellar was a friend and mentor to Harry Houdini. There is no truth to the rumor that Houdini was contacted on the other side and is pissed about Kellar receiving top of the bill.
Shia LeBouf plays Doug Henning in a Match Game parody on Saturday Night Live. There is no truth to the rumor that Houdini is pissed that it wasnt him.
More on his relief
Roy Horn travels to Austria for an operation to rebuild his knee. It is also reported that he is is undergoing stem cell therapy using cells from his own body.
Besides on the Genii Forum, comments on the reality series fly on magic boards, blogs, and news sites. While the comments are mixed, the majority seem to be positive about the shows depiction of magic and magicians.
HEADLINE: PETA Preparing Protests for Criss Angel & Believe?
Recent information regarding Criss Angels new Cirque De Soleil show Believe which seem to suggest that hell be using live animals in his show has already begun to stir the ire of PETA. According to Lisa Wathne, captive exotic animal specialist for PETA: We have regularly received complaints about Criss Angel using animals. It is very disturbing that Cirque would consider allowing animals in any of its shows.
There is no truth to the rumor that the animals expired due to the natural course of their lives while waiting for the show to actually open.
On May 16, 2008 Richard Kaufman, author, publisher, and Chief Genii celebrated his 50th Birthday.
12 decks of Jerrys Nugget playing cards sell on eBay for $1,526 (plus shipping, no doubt).
No, really, they did.
HEADLINE: Magicians Ask: Whats Up His Sleeve?
New York Times
That Mr. Gaughan, 68, is not easily found befits an artisan who has spent most of his life creating large-scale illusions for many of the worlds most famous magicians and illusionists: Siegfried & Roy, David Blaine, Criss Angel,David Copperfield, Doug Henning, Mark Wilson,
[and] Ricky Jay.
Hes not a magician, but
Dick Martin (Rowen and Martins Laugh In) passes away at age 86. Say goodnight, Dick.
The Magic Castle appears on ABC TVs reality series The Bachelorette. Tony Clark was scheduled to appear in performance.
Its reported via YouTube that there are counterfeit Jerrys Nugget cards being sold on eBay.
Theres no evidence that 12 packs of them recently sold for $1,526 (plus shipping).
Dog Pile on Criss!!! Dog Pile on Criss!!!
Keith Barry tells the Mad Dog and Billie Show (99.9 Mix FM, Toronto) that he tried to fight Criss Angel in Las Vegas:
Keith tried to beat the crap of Criss Angel in Las Vegas recently
(laughs) Yeah, but I couldnt get at him.
Because he was being a rude guy?
A real nasty guy
Cover: David Regal
A Tribute to Siegfried & Roy at the London Palladium includes appearances by
Jeff Hobson, Kalin & Jinger, Soul Mystique, Jason Byrne, Vik & Fabrini, Luis de Matos, Tomsoni & Company, Ayala & Tanya, Norm Nielsen, Raymond Crowe, and Wally Eastwood.
reports that the Geffen Theater (West Los Angeles) set a box office record Monday when it sold $62,468 worth of tickets to Ricky Jay & His 52 Assistants in a single day.
Hes not a magician, but
His voice was magical. Jim McKays was one of the greatest voices in television journalism. He left the Wide World at the age of 86.
June 10, 2008: Pre-orders are being taken by Geno Munari for Allan Ackermans Expert at the Card Table DVD set. Salivation turns to drool.
Celebracadabra Controversies Begin:
As the finale episode approaches, the remaining celebrities begin to share their impressions of the judges (one actually referring to them as clinically insane) as well as their feelings about one another.
Women in Boxes, a documentary about magicians assistants by Phil Noyes and Harry Pallenberg (written by Blaire Baron Larsen and produced by Dante Larsen) premiers at the Cinevegas film Festival. Appearing in the film are notable magic partners Gay Blackstone, Cathy Daniel, Jan Jones, Stacy Jones, Irene Larsen, Coral Raveen, Luna Shemada, Deanna Shimada, Pam Thompson, and Frances Willard.
Al Cohen marries his lovely Rita, proving that he is living a charmed life indeed.
Hes not a magician, but
Iconic comedian George Carlin dies at age 71.
The folks at Monday Night Magic in New York announces that it is moving to a new location:
Now in our 11th continuous year as New York's home for magic, we are thrilled to announce that on June 23rd - that's just three weeks away! - the curtain will go up on Monday Night Magic at The Bleecker Street Theatre.
Actor C. Thomas Howell, after a Las Vegas-type illusion show showdown with comedian Hal Sparks, is named the Best Celebrity Magician by the Celebracadabra judges Max Maven, Jeff McBride, and Jonathan Levit. David Regal was the winning magic coach.
The Pendragons appear on Americas Got Talent and with an excellent performance rescueas much as they cana montage of magicians purposely put in a bad light by AGT producers.
Later, Jonathan and Charlotte do a vanishing act from the series (though never having been voted off the show) over contractual differences with the same producers that seem to dislike magic and magicians.
Kalin and Jinger bring their show, Real Magic (so named way
before Wyrick even thought of naming his show that) to the Trump Marina in Atlantic City for a summer run. It is reported that Eli Kerr will fill in at their venue Magic Underground in Reno.
Lance Burton appears on The View sawing Barbra Walters in half using the Audience Dis-Member illusiona Jim Steinmeyer creation.
After years of controversy, rumors, and misinformation, the original manuscript for Dai Vernons Revelation
(his annotation of Expert at the Card Table
) is discovered among the belongings of the late Jay Marshall. This discovery puts to rest the erroneous belief that a conspiracy existed to redact some of the Professors insights from the book Revelations
published by Mike Caveney in 1984. In fact, the discovery shows that more
material was added to Revelations
than appeared in the original manuscript.
An entirely new book titled Revelation
is subsequently released by Mike Caveneys Magic Words
and includes a complete facsimile of the Vernon manuscript, 160 photographs (discovered by David Ben) of Vernon executing the various moves, and even more lost Vernon material. For card/Erdnase/Vernon fans, it is a goldmine. For those implicated in the near 25-year controversy, it is vindication.
The Las Vegas Review Journal
and the Los Angeles Times
both report the announcement by Cirque de Soleil that the new show at the Luxor, Criss Angel: Believe will not open in September because of technical difficulties. Previews are scheduled for early October with an opening night scheduled for Halloween night.
Cover: C. Thomas Howell
The July 2008 Harper's Magazine
(not to be confused with Harpers Bizzare
) runs a 13-page story written by Alex Stone about competing at FISM. The piece is filled with exposures of other peoples material and excuses as to why his own act did not advance in the competition. The writer conveniently leaves out the fact that his actwhich was red-lighted by the judgeshad no business being on that international stage.
Hes not a magician, but
On July 2 Larry Harmon, who mass marketed (but did not create nor play) the character Bozo the Clown into a show business staple that delighted children for more than a half-century, dies at the age of 83.
Ricky Jay returns to the stage on July 2nd with 36 sold-out performances of his "52 Assistants" show at the Geffen Theater in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Times
announcesand speculates aboutCriss Angel Believe ticket pricing:
Here is the fine print: Believe tickets are broken into five pricing categories, with top tickets costing $150 (standard for Cirque), but with the cheapest seats going for a shocking $59. This pricing suggests that the demand for Believe and headliner Angel may not be at the level of Cirques top shows. Compare those prices with Cirques successful Love at Mirage. Love also has top seats at $150. But lesser views come for $125, and the cheap seats go for $99 (with some obstructed-view seats available for $93.50). Believe maintains the cheaper $125 and $99 options but adds the $79 seats and $59 tickets. It is not clear from the site how many seats fall into the lower-priced categories. But if it is more than a token few seats, as seems to be the case, this shows a serious concern about selling seats to Believe at regular Cirque pricing.
The Las Vegas Review Journal
From a several sources we have learned that the film Magic Man featuring Billy Zane as a Magician/Serial Killer began shooting in Vegas this week including location shoots on the Plaza, at the Sahara.
Written and directed by Stuart Cooper, Magic Man casts Billy Zane in the title role: world-famous magician Krell Darius, who fascinates a visiting New Yorker in town to investigate her mothers long-ago death during a magic trick gone fatally awry.
The Los Angeles Times
The city Department of Water and Power will pay two Hollywood museums $75,000 each to settle a dispute over artifacts allegedly contaminated by toxic PCBs in a 2004 electrical transformer fire.
Leaders of the nonprofit Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters and the Society of American Magicians agreed Thursday to drop their lawsuit against the city after Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Allen White indicated that she was prepared to rule the contamination was not as severe as the two groups claimed. Broadcasters president Chuck Southcott and John Engman, head of the magicians Museum and Hall of Fame, said they accepted the settlement with reluctance. Southcott said an earlier estimate indicated decontamination would cost his group more than $500,000. Frankly, nobody knows what we're going to do next, Engman said.
Obviously the judge was not as enamored by Mike Caveney in a Haz-Mat suit as your intrepid GF reporter was.
Death Defying Acts, a film starring Catherine Zeta Jones and Guy Pearce (who portrays Harry Houdini) received very limited release in the US (only one screen in the greater Los Angeles area). The film would be released on DVD in August to no fanfare.
All are welcome, all are welcome
On July 16 MagicPedia surpasses 1,000 articles
Bill Naglers lawsuit against MAGIC
magazine and reviewer Brad Henderson over a negative review of Naglers version of Any Card at Any Number is dismissed from a Michigan court. Nagler was seeking $100,000 in damages. Judge Bernard Friedman ruled that the review was Hendersons opinion, not defamation, and as such is protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
MYnetwork television resurrects the Masked Magician and his exposure show, Magician's Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed.
In July, Kennesaw magician Jeffrey Alan Wasley is charged with child molestation. Later, on December 23rd, the youth minister is indicted on federal child porn charges. Magic Jeff faces up to 70 years in prison. According to news reports, when the SWAT team arrived to serve him with the arrest warrant, Wasley barricaded himself in his basement and tried to commit suicide. Some might argue that the SWAT team entered too early.
July 21: The IBM/SAM combined convention in Louisville, Kentucky commences. It is the first time in over three decades that the two organizations combine their national conventions. Some believe that the incredibly written, fantastically laid-out, and beautifully printed convention program is the hit of the event (nudge-nudge, wink-wink).
By all accounts, the event is an overall success and a great time was had by all. However, some are very unhappy with the review that appears on this forum. Thankfully, there is no truth to the rumor that those who took offense were watching the Nagler versus Henderson et al case closely.
The second auction of the massive Jay Marshall Collection is held in Louisville after the IBM/SAM convention. Of 341 lots, 340 sell (one, a collection of Thurston items, was withdrawn). The auction realizes $252,245 with a low estimate of $120,170.
Criss Angel tells reporters that the upcoming live implosion event will be his last such stunt. Why? So that his mom can stop worrying about him. There is no truth to the rumor that Angel knew that Cirque was doing enough worrying for the both of them.
A small earthquake struck in the area after Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert L. Hess ruled against David Copperfield (who was not present in the courtroom at the time) in a motion to dismiss a breach of contract lawsuit against the illusionist. The judge quipped, I hope this wasnt Mr. Copperfields doing.
The Houston Chronicle
profiles Richard Garriot, millionaire videogame developer and amateur magician who will journey to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft for a short stay later in the year.
Criss Angels implosion escape implodes on itself under a weak presentation and inadvertent exposure.
Genii: The Conjurors Magazine
posts a free PDF version of Expert at the Card Table by SW Erdnase
on the Internet for Genii
subscribers and Genii Forum readers.
Cover: Dai Vernon
HEADLINE: How Magicians Control Your Mind
By Drake Bennett
Magic isn't just a bag of tricks - it's a finely-tuned technology for shaping what we see. Now researchers are extracting its lessons.
Just what we need: Researchers studying (and exposing?) our lessons.
Sixteen dancers from the company of Criss Angel: Believe appear on televisions So You Think You Can Dance and perform the surreal segment Homage to the Rabbits (choreographed by Wade Robson) wherein rabbit-costumed dancers takevia interpretive dancerevenge on the magicians that pull them from hats.
For some, the 3-minute 30-second dance is at least three minutes too long.
HEADLINE: Heart of Magic Benefit
Loch David Crane [is] organizing a fund raiser for Ione, daughter of Losander and Luna Shemada. Their baby has a heart condition, and while she is currently in good shape there are other operations to come. The benefit will be held on the afternoon or evening of Thursday, November 12, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada after the Mindvention has closed. Tentative location will be a Palace Station hotel convention room.
The extras from the deluxe edition of the Ackerman DVD edition of Expert at the Card Table, specifically a marked deck of cards, a booklet by Boris Wild, the Hoffman annotated edition of the Erdnase book, How Gamblers Win
by Gerritt M. Evans, The Mysterious Gambler & The Man Who Was Erdnase
(combined), and Marlo on Erdnase
by Jon Racherbaumer, begin appearing in mail boxes.
The only thing not received by those who preordered the highly anticipated set of DVDs is the highly anticipated set of DVDs.
It is reported that Criss Angel and Dessault Apparel teamed up to produce a new clothing line. The line of jeans, t-shirts, and accessories will be called MF13 and will be sold both online and through the Mindfreak shop at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. There is no truth to the rumor that the various pieces of apparel have targets painted on their backs.
It is reported that Bob Dylans oldest son Jesse is producing and directing (and eventually pitching) a new television series called CONversions starring Ricky Jay. The sleight of hand artist/actor/author Ricky Jay will explore the fine art of cons, frauds, and hoaxes with celebrities, experts, luminaries and fellow raconteurs.
The younger Dylan directed the film segment that appeared in Jays Grammy nominated boxed set collection (CD/DVD/cards/booklet) Ricky Jay Plays Poker.
It is reported that Daredevil David Blaine is preparing for a new stunt wherein he will hang upside down somewhere above Central Park in New York City. There is no truth to the rumor that Blaine was heard saying Lets see Criss Angel try that
one on for size.
Magician Robert Infantino was charged with secretly videotaping a woman and her two daughters as they changed for a photo shoot in his home. According to a story from Newsday
Robert Infantino, better known as Bob, bills himself as Long Islands Favorite Magician. But chances are his customers are less than thrilled with his photography Thursday, the day after Infantino, 50, was arrested by Suffolk County police, who said he secretly videotaped a mother and her two young daughters during a free photo shoot at his home.
The girls were aged 10 and 14, police said.
A prosecutor said during the arraignment that investigators have discovered hard core child pornography on a computer seized from Infantinos house.
Cover: Steve Cohen
An auction of the estate of Billy McComb was held on September 7th, 2008 at the Magic Castle. The auction featured many items that sold at prices that the average McComb fan and collector could afford. 303 of the 306 lots sold (two did not sell and one was withdrawn) garnering over $46,000 (with a low estimate of just over $33,000).*
(*Note: The amounts are based on this reporters hastily scribbled notes and not an official results page, so that is the reason for the less than exact numbersbut they are fairly close.)
HEADLINE: A Magical Vision Premieres at the Gene Siskel Film Center
Chicago, Illinois -- Michael Caplan of Montrose Pictures will premiere his second feature-length documentary, A Magical Vision, at the Gene Siskel Film Center.
A Magical Vision spotlights Eugene Burger, a Chicago-based philosopher and magician, who is considered one of the great teachers of the magical arts. Eugene and his peers have fostered a movement reviving the shamanistic roots of magic performance. Caplan and his production team traveled across the country to interview Eugene, Max Maven, Jeff McBride, Luna Shemada, Larry Hass, and other magicians and thinkers who have opened the doors to this astounding world.
Geno Munaris Expert at the Card Table DVDs starring Allan Ackerman start shipping proving once again that good things come to those who wait.
Michael Close is named the new editor of MUM
magazine, the official magazine of the Society of American Magicians. Mr. Closes tenure will commence with the January 2009 issue.
Bob White has successful multiple heart bypass surgery ensuring that the great performer and teacher will continue to share his remarkable talents with the magic community.
There is no truth to the rumor that David Blaine had personality bypass surgery at the same hospital after the airing of his two-hour ABC television special called David Blaine: Dive of Death.
Hes not a magician, but
Legendary actor and philanthropist Paul Newman passes away at the age of 83.
Cover: Tomo Maeda
Steve Forte is indicted along with three other men in New Jersey of Attempted Theft by Deception in the Second Degree. The charges stem from a June 7, 2007 arrest in an Atlantic City hotel/casino. The disposition of the case is pending.
Filming begins on a comprehensive documentary about the Magic Castle. The filma student production by the Film Department of Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Californiafeatures Max Maven, Milt Larsen, Irene Larsen, Pop Haydn, Mike Caveney, Tina Lenert, Jon Armstrong, Jonathan Levit, Tom Ogden, Bill Bowers, Pete Biro, Bill Goodwin, George Siegel, and many others. It is scheduled for a mid to late 2009 release.
Mr. Garriots Wild Ride:
Richard Garriot, the aforementioned millionaire magician with the space-age wanderlust, begins his remarkable journey to the International Space Station (ISS). This is no E Ticket ride its a (reportedly) $30 million one.
Expedition 18, carried by a Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft, launched from Russia on October 12. The craft docked with the ISS on October 14.
Garriot reportedly performed a rising card trick in zero gravity (not as easy as it sounds) among other feats of magic for his fellow crewmembers.
He returned to Earth (with members of Expedition 17) aboard a Soyuz TMA-12 vehicle on October 23.
Many photos of Garriots training, flight, and return (but, unfortunately, none of the tricks) can be found at http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/station/
(select Expedition 18 and 17 [17 for his landing] under ISS Crew Imagery).
Magician, Mentalist, and Ukulelist John Archer is named the Magic Circles Stage Magician of the Year.
A documentary directed by Robert Neary on Jerry Andrus titled Andrus, the Man, the Mind, & the Magic premieres at the Hollywood Theater in Portland, Oregon. (Under-priced DVDs of this fine film about this remarkable man are available at http://www.skepticalmedia.com/
Harry Houdinis Walk of Fame star in Hollywood is rededicated. Celebrities from the world of magic, film, television, and Las Vegas who attend the affair include Neil Patrick Harris, Penn & Teller, Tippi Hedren, and Milt Larsen. In the press photo, Donald Ferguson reminds us to always strike a pose.
Genii Forum readers find out, with a citation to Wikipedia, that anyone who reads Genii
is a genius. Or something like that.
Swann Auction Galleries holds an auction of part of Mario Carrandis collection. Of 301 lots offered, 229 sold for $236,025 (with a low estimate of $461,750).
In a story about Houdinis gravesite (Machpelah Cemetery, Ridgewood, Queens, New York) readers learn that the SAM maintains the grave, even though Houdini paid for perpetual care. In a case of what can only be called Major Chutzpah, readers also learn that the cemeterys owner is billing the SAM for the care that the organizationand not the cemeteryis providing. The SAM ignores the bills. (There is absolutely no truth to the rumor that Bill Kalush is hoping that the cemetery will evict Houdini for non-payment of bills which would bypass the need to go through legal channels to get an exhumation of his body.)
Cover: John Ramsey
On November 1, Kalin & Jingers Magic Underground in Reno Nevada closes is doors. Though profitable, the duo said that the profit was not consummate to the effort the venture required. They will take their show back on the road.
For a fleeting moment, Forum readers collective hearts skip a beat when the subject line New Copperfield TV Special appears. All hopes are dashed when it turns out to be an online petition to DC begging him to return to TV. Like that would work.
Genii: The Conjurors Magazine
offers lifetime subscriptions (along with other goodies for those who take the offer).
Cervon Notebooks Volume 3
goes on sale.
HEADLINE: Hand Model, Magician Sues Over Snipped Finger
November 17, 2008
Des Moines, Iowa - A hand model, magician and actor blames a Martha Stewart-branded lounge chair for snipping off a bit of his livelihood.
In a lawsuit filed Monday against Kmart Corp. and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Patrick Albanese said he was moving the Martha Stewart Everyday lounge chair on a deck in June when the front tubular legs collapsed, crushing his right index finger between one of the chair legs and a tubular bar on the base of the chair.
The lawsuit said the fingertip fell beneath the deck but was later retrieved by a relative.
[GF Ed. Note: Ewwwwwww!
] Albanese's attorney, Guy Cook, said the finger tip was reattached by a surgeon.
Representatives for Kmart and Martha Stewart Living declined to comment.
It's a magic special in award show format.
Jonathan Pendragon (three-time winner of WMAs)
The 2008 World Magic Awards aired on MYnetwork television. Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, the Gay Blackstone produced specialwhich also benefits the charity Feed the Childrenfeatured performances by Ed Alonzo, Lance Burton, Franz Harary, Greg Gleason, the Amazing Johnathan, Hans Klok, Jeff McBride, Topas, Roxanne, Dan Sperry, Sos & Victoria, Kyle Eschen, Kirby & Bambi VanBurch, Florian Zimmer, and Magicians of the Year for 2008, Kalin & Jinger.
Did Anyone Predict This
At the International Magic Convention Uri Geller receivesand personally acceptsthe David Berglas Award for Services to the Promotion of Magic. The self-proclaimed psychic all but admitted to being nothing more than a very skilled magician/mentalist in an interview with Mr. Berglas at the event.
Cover: Chris Capehart
Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, maybe you should be hung by your balls:
HEADLINE: New York Magician Robert Infantino Charged
A man known as Long Islands Favorite Magician has been arrested for the second time in five months on charges he secretly videotaped undressed people.
Robert Infantino pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Thursday in Suffolk County Court. An indictment charges him with one count of promoting a sexual performance by a child and 32 counts of unlawful surveillance.
In August, the 50-year-old Central Islip man pleaded not guilty to a 78-count indictment accusing him of possessing child pornography and videotaping a woman and her daughters, ages 10 and 14.
The woman said she found a camera in the dressing room during a photo shoot at Infantino's home office.
His attorney, who has insisted his client is innocent, did not return a call seeking comment on the latest charges.
The Body Shop, a landmark all-nude strip club on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, experiences a serious fire in its attic that caused major damage to the clubs kitchen, office, and dressing room. Two firefighterswho experienced only minor injuriesare the only reported casualties as a result the early morning blaze. The fire was attributed to faulty wiring. The venerable club has been a fixture in Hollywood since the 1940s. The club has featured several magicians over the years including Goldfinger and Dove, Max Maven as well as a young Lance Burton who appeared quite regularly between dance acts during the 1980s when he first relocated to California.
Hes not a magician, but
Forrest J Ackerman, the man who coined Sci-fi passes away at 92.
Shes not a magician, but
Actress and hotelier Beverly Garland passes away at age 82. Her hotel, the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn in North Hollywood, has hosted every Los Angeles Conference on Magic History.
Joshua Jay, promoting his new book for the public Magic: The Complete Course
, appears on NBCs Today show in a segment with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kobt. The appearance, in which KLG sees Jay unload a card (and doesnt let it drop after Jay covers) garners five pages (and counting) of comments on the Genii Forum. There is no truth to the rumor that KLG immediately hired Jay to perform for the kids at her clothing factories.
Was it the Woofle Dust, the Magical Blooming Bushes, or Bad Karma?
The owner of the Long Island, New York magic shop once featured on an episode of Criss Angels Mindfreak television show is arrested by narcotics detectives for selling cocaine and marijuana through his shop.
Philip Piacentini faces felony drug charges after undercover officers purchased drugs for several weeks leading up to the arrest.
One of David Copperfields male assistants is seriously injured during a performance of his Walking Through a Fan illusion at the MGM in Las Vegas. The young mans arm received multiple fractures and he received a facial injury that required stitches.
MYnetwork television announces that all new episodes of Masters of Illusion (produced by Gay Blackstone) will begin airing on January 5, 2009. There is no word (yet) whether or not the network will air another season of Breaking the Magicians Code as well. One can only hope not.
Started on September 27, the Criss Angel Believe Buzz thread ended the year with 400 replies and 22,774 views. So in just over three months, this thread filled 14-pages. By comparison, the Erdnase threadwith 28 pages, 836 replies, and 126,864 viewstook three years
to reach 14 pages, thus proving that pop culture is fleeting while a classical education takes time.
The Final Curtain
As much as your devoted reporter enjoys this annual wrap up, this is one inescapable part that he dislikes with all his being. However, doing it is an unfortunate certainty. And as tough as it always is, 2008 seemed to be tougher than past years. There seemed to be more names this year and certainly more of those who were far too young to be on this sad list.
With that said, please take a moment to remember and appreciate absent friends, colleagues, and loved ones (in order of their departure; their ages are parenthetic):
Carlhorst Meier (78)
Tenkai Jr. (Yasunaga Matsuura) (72)
Les Smith (92)
Michael Hemmes (49)
Paul Carlisle Anacker (58)
David Paluska (61)
Herb Zarrow (82)
Tony Eng. (61)
Cyril Critchlow (85)
Bill Tad Tadlock (79)
Roger Smith (61)
Jason Scott (33)
Lou Lancaster (71)
John Thompson, Jr. (41)
Ken de Courcy (86)
Randy Malcolm (54)
Matthew Munari (36)
Chris Pratt (60)
Geoff Latta (51)
Barry Price (64)
Bob Brown (72)
Roger Klause (70)
El Duco (Christer Gustavsson) (67)
Russ Glover (90)
Nick Trost (73)
Ted Lesley (71)
Bob Stencel (80)
Monte Smith (80)
Sam Schwartz (97)
Christian Fechner (64)
Vanni Bossi (56)
Art Gross (88)
Larry White (73)
Marconik (Heinz Stolk) (78)
We bid you all farewell and thank you for the time we had with you.
And finally, let us all raise a glass in the hopesand may each of us do our own little part to assurethat 2009 will be better than its predecessor.