Archive for October, 2008

For sale: Houdini’s spirit in a brick

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Photo courtesy The Detroit News

What better present is there to buy your favorite magician than a brick supposedly infused with the spirit of the great Houdini? Wait… the headline says Houdini may live ON, not IN? Dang. This was going to be a cool entry to type in on Halloween night. Oh well.

Plymouth, Mich. homeowner Jamie Flora, a Houdini fan, was at first intrigued to hear that his home might be built with bricks from the Garrick Theater in Detroit — the site of Houdini’s final performance. With some sleuthing through city records, he was able to confirm it. Now, he’s selling some spare bricked that were removed during a renovation project.

“I live in the house made from some of the brick from that theater. When I go to bed at night all the bricks on stage that night are around me and my wife and five kids.”

Not everyone is impressed:

Kevin Connolly isn’t convinced. The member of the Magic Collectors Association has about 3,000 Houdini-related pieces, but said the brick isn’t any more valuable than a paperweight — even with concrete proof of origin. “To me it’s just a novelty. You’ve got to have provenance this is Houdini’s,” Connolly said. “When you look at my stuff you know that’s Houdini’s. That’s the quality I want. I don’t want questionable stuff.”

Bricks cost $450 for a smaller, collectible version or $945 for a museum edition that comes with a backboard and display. Don’t feel so bad about buying those Jerry’s Nuggets now, eh?

It’s getting colder… Frozen by Adam Grace

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

…and we’re not talking about the season’s first frost.

After three years of sitting on a shelf, Frozen — the latest effect from Adam Grace — is causing a cold snap. From Ellusionist General Manager Jason Brumbalow:

Previously known as Frostbite, this effect has been on the shelf for more than three years. Recently Adam Grace and Brad Christian found the holy grail they had been searching for: A street-ready method to blow frost onto a borrowed quarter and freeze it while completely surrounded by spectators.

What could you do with the ability to blow on something and freeze it? Once you learn the secret, you’ll be able to do incredible things.

More coming soon… talk about it on the Ellusionist forums, and keep an eye here as things get chill.

Bearwin Meily filming second installment of ‘Thou Shalt Not Blink’

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

In honor of Da Bear’s third TV special, soon to hit the air, we’re typing this entry with no edits:

Filipino entertainer Bearwin Meily is hitting the streets to film his second special, “Thou Shalt Not Blink 2.” No air dates have yet been announced for the special, which Meily is currently filming — and loading with Ellusionist effects, he told us via e-mail.

The high-energy Bearwin got his start in the show “Naks!” on GMA7. When the show was canceled, he self-produced a street-magic series called “Stealing Minds.” In April of this year, GMA aired “Thou Shalt Not Blink,” his second magic special devoted to eliminating edits. The feature effect of that special was a teleportation from the GMA studios to his home:

Bearwin said he trained under renowned parapsychologist and Inquirer columnist Jaime T. Licauco. He also rehearsed regularly with his team and his wife Lara, the show’s cinematographer. Teleportation requires no supernatural power, Bearwin said. “Anyone can do it,” he said. “You only need to study and train. Licauco’s has a research that shows a lot of documented incidents of teleportation in the country.”

Keep checking back here for more about him, his upcoming special, and why he would rather be called “an entertainer in the art of magic.” Until then, enjoy this card catch:

Luxor boss believes in ‘Believe’

Monday, October 27th, 2008
Photo courtesy TVT

Photo courtesy TVT

Last time we mentioned Criss Angel and his Vegas show “Believe,” things were in turmoil: The previews got bad reviews from early audiences, and there seemed to be creative differences between Angel and the Cirque du Soleil folks. Now that the show is three days away from opening, Luxor president Felix Rappaport (pictured above, right) is throwing his support behind the show.

As reported on, Las Vegas blogger Robin Leach reported that Rappaport, who bankrolled the $100 million production, has believed in Believe from the beginning:

“I’ve been through this before. I understand how the creation process works -– and all that it takes to go from idea to final execution. I was at our other MGM hotels when Cirque launched Mystere and Zumanity along with their other Vegas shows. I have never met a more disciplined hard working star than Criss to ensure this works as a huge winner. I have absolute belief in Guy Laliberte and his Cirque team of creators and that they are 100 percent behind this being a total success.”

Rappaport also mentioned those early reviews, which lampooned Angel for poor magic effects and cheesy lip-syncing of the “Mindfreak” theme. A lot of those problems can be blamed on construction problems and audiences paying too much attention to Angel. Hey, he said it:

“It’s come a mighty long way — 10 times better — since then. There were so many construction and permit difficulties making a new showroom specially for this show. It’s turned out to be an incredibly marvelous and beautiful theater. Once previews got underway all the additional new illusions could be worked in -– and now they are all working incredibly well in Believe. Some members of the initial audiences didn’t even notice the other cast illusions because they focused everything on Criss but now people are understanding the show they see all of its other aspects of creativity. There are over 20 magical elements in this production -– not as stand-alones but as an integral part of the storytelling -– and that’s a real first.”

Leach will continue counting down to the premiere on the Luxe Life blog.

Forum user: ‘Underground’ doesn’t mean ‘extremely skilled’

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

Truth be told, I almost missed this week’s Forum Post of the Week. I was skimming this interesting thread about Daniel Madison, not really reading it. Then another user nudged me toward this post by user Medifro, saying it was well-written. Once I read it fully, there was no doubt.

The honor belongs to Medifro and his thoughts about what it means to be an “underground” magician:

“This is not to say that there are no cliques in magic. You can form one yourself. Just get together with a couple of friends and start snubbing other magicians. But that’s no way the same as an underground magic circle. Its easy to understand why most of today’s magicians can’t tell the difference because they weren’t there back when magic was really an underground.”

Medifro goes on to define an underground magic circle as a group that hoards certain moves, sleights and techniques, keeping it from public consumption for years. As he notes later in the thread, it’s not a knock against professional magicians who market themselves as “underground” (he, like many others in the thread, compliment Madison’s skills) but those who fall in love with the concept of being “underground” without fully understanding its meaning. That perception can lead us to exclude others or close our minds to certain areas of magic performance. Here’s a tip: Don’t do that.

Good work, Medifro!