Monthly Archives: October 2011

Special Halloween Magic & Fun with the funniest!

I was wondering what special stuff I could write about for Halloween when I got this email from David Acer. No more wondering! We have comedy magicians on the menu!

NIGHT  OF  THE  LIVING  STANDUPS

David “Axe-Wielding” Acer headlines halloween weekend at THE COMEDY NEST with special guests Mike “Barely Undead” Paterson and DeAnne “Your Brain Looks Delicious” Smith.

David Acer is an award-winning writer and comedian who has done crazy things on television shows around the world, like protesting outside a train station dressed as a giant penny while inviting people to lie down on the tracks to “see how it feels.” And limping to the couch for a talkshow interview with a Denver Boot on his leg because he had “a few unpaid j-walking tickets.” He has appeared on a multitude of international specials and a plethora of Canadian comedy classics, not to mention live at The Riviera in Las Vegas, The Magic Castle in Hollywood, and 10 times at the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal. But younger viewers (and insomniacs) are more likely to recognize him as “Doubting Dave” from the syndicated series, Mystery Hunters, which garnered him two Gemini nominations (the Canadian equivalent of the Emmys) for Best Writing in a Children’s Non-Fiction Series, and the publication of his spin-off book, GOTCHA!, now a Canadian bestseller.

JUST ADDED!

• World-renowned mentalist Patrik “Don’t Mind Me I’m Just Sucking Your Blood” Kuffs (Oct. 27th)

• Interdimensionally acclaimed magician Michel “The Soft-Handed Strangler” Huot (Oct 28th)

• Sleight-of-hand superstar Richard “I Ate His Liver with Some Fava Beans and a Nice Chianti” Sanders (Oct 29th).

WHERE: The Comedy Nest (Pepsi Forum), 2312 Ste Catherine W, corner of Atwater
WHEN: October 27th, 28th and 29th (Thu 8:30, Fri 8:30, Sat 8:30 & 10:30)
RESERVATIONS: (514) 932-6378

WEBSITE: www.comedynest.com

* Line-up subject to change without notice.

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Withstanding The Test of Time

Since the theme of our blog is Perfect Magic Then and Now,  I usually  reminisce about the old days, about experiences we’ve had over the years, the people we’ve come into contact with, or Magie Montreal. But last week I wrote about a piece of magic equipment that has stood the test of time, the  French Arm Chopper. It was a great illusion then and it still is now. It has withstood the test of time. I started thinking, what other magic tricks have  been constant sellers in the shop?

Now our biggest job at Perfect Magic  is keeping up with all the new magic that is flooding the market. Back Then we used to put out a catalog every 2 years and send out a flyer every 2 months to let you know what new magic there was. I have a catalogue from 1994. Not that long ago. It was Number 15. It was 8″ x  11″  and had about 108 pages with 7 or 8 items on a page. 864 items. Now, our price list is from May 2011 is 123 pages with over 5000 items on it and growing.

The technology in some of the magic today is astounding. Computerized, electronic, apps. and the materials available to make miracles is beyond belief. And it has its place. But if you don’t want to spend a gazillion dollars ( word borrowed from my son’s blog) you can still do a great show with some good old-fashion magic.

There are many items, as I glanced through the old catalogue , that we still have that were great then and now. One item that struck me as withstanding the test of time is the Change Bag. Now there is a greater variety to choose from, but the basic effect is the same. You  put something in an empty bag and something else comes out and you can show the bag empty again.

At one time my favorite routine with the Change Bag was this;  you put a big pink silk in the bag with a smaller black silk and an even smaller white silk and after all the byplay you’d invite a child to reach in and take out the silks. He or she would reach in and pull out a big pink silk with a cute black and white skunk on it.Unfortunately the skunk silk is no longer available. But there are tons of routines possible with the change bag. There is a repeat change bag, so you can cut up a rope, throw the pieces in the bag and pull out  the rope all knotted together.  Throw it back in and his time when you pull out the rope it is restored to the original one long rope. And of course you can show it empty each time. Now my favorite is the Dalmation Set. You take a silk with a white dog on it , and a silk with a black dog on it and put them both in the bag and come out with a Dalmatian Dog. You can use the change bag as a vanisher or producer of an item. Its a wonderful prop and now they have mini ones, one handed, one with no handles, a Santa Clause change bag.Its great for kids or adult shows. Its easy to handle and its versatile. That’s why it was popular then and is popular now. It had withstood the test of time.

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The Greatest Magic Illusion I Ever Saw!

These days with TV, computers and electronics there is no limit to what is possible to behold. We watched David Copperfield  make the Statue of Liberty  disappear, and we watched him walk through the Wall of China, not to mention his performances on stage, etc. There are other magicians who have pulled off other miracles that dazzle us with feats that defy explanation. But we know  certain things are true. They say what they are…illusions. In other words we know for a fact that The Staue of Liberty didn’t disappear. It was an illusion. And its great that we can be amazed even when we know better. But when I was 14 years old, a long time ago, I saw real magic.

Belmont Park in Cartierville, Quebec was an old time amusement park, with the wood frame rollercoaster, house of mirrors, bumping cars, the laughing lady, (talk about laugh therapy. You couldn’t watch her without joining in) and of course the mid-way with the hawkers tempting you to try your luck on games that you know are fixed, freak shows, and of course the magic show.

I have lots of memories involving Belmont Park, but on the midway there is one event that stands out. A magician was trying to attract people to his show by performing one illusion on a platform outside of the venue. I wasn’t into magic then but I had seen magicians on television do the guillotine where the blade comes down  on the spectator’s head, passes right though, doesn’t harm the lady, but manages to slice the carrot under her in two. I wasn’t stupid. I knew that there must be a device that allows the guillotine to bypass  the lady, but how it was done was a mystery, but possible.

So here in Belmont Park, was a magician, with a lovely assistant with a smaller version of a guillotine which was on a table. I didn’t know this then, but I’m told that the magician was Jean de Rome, a Montreal magician, clown, artist, and magic dealer. He placed his assistant’s hand through the small opening and released the blade from above. Much to my horror, I actually saw the hand fall into the basket below. It was not a fake hand. I was no more than 4 feet away from the event. It left an impression. Nothing I have seen in magic since has given me such an emotional reaction.

So yesterday, two knowledgeable and professional magicians were in the shop, Grant McSorely ( who by the way is bringing Lance Pierce to Montreal for a lecture and workshop on Friday Oct. 14, see our facebook for info) and Louis Jutras and we were dicussing this illusion. I said I was surprised that they never made one like that for a head. They promptly informed me that they had seen it used on a head but they don’t know who makes it or who used it. Has anyone else out there seen it?  and where?

Anything move you like that? Share the experience with us.

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