Monthly Archives: March 2012

Real Magicians At Any Age Can Keep A Secret!

About 4 years ago a man came into the shop with a  sweet little boy of 4 years old. The man asked if we had tricks his little boy could do. We certainly did. I demonstrated one for the little boy. He didn’t say a word. His father asked. Did you like that? The boy nodded. The father said. We’ll take it. What else do you have. I showed him another trick. The father asked him once again if he liked it. He nodded again. And this went on for a while. The child never said one word the whole time and I came to the conclusion that he couldn’t speak, but he could understand.

The father paid and I put everything in a bag and handed it to the boy. I looked at him and said. You know, the tricks and how you do them is a secret. You can’t tell your friends how their done. And the father said to him. Do you understand? And the boy nodded once again. And I asked him, “Can you keep the secret?” I expected a nod but instead  he answered me.

“I can keep the secret, but I won’t be able to keep my friends.”

His father threw his head back and laughed. I was in a state of shock.  4 years old.

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More About Magicians and Honesty!

The thing about magicians is that the very fact that they are magicians tells you they are going to deceive you…in some way. So they give you fair warning. Some go so far as to say I’m going to do a trick. They tell you in advance they are going to trick you. So in a way they are honest about it. Last blog I wrote about a break-in to our shop and a robbery. So we know some magicians aren’t honest. Since that time, and before it, some things have gone walking …so to speak.

When we used to have The Performers Platform in the early days, we had a book rack for the soft covered books  in the front of the store on your left, when you entered. The stage was at the back of the shop, and there were chairs and some people stood around the bookshelf, watching the performers. Every week stuff went missing. Not a lot, but some. We tried to watch but the magicians are good at misdirection and we never caught those guys either. We finally made the announcement that stuff was missing and if anything else was taken, we would have to stop Performers Platform. After that it stopped.

Within the past few years, other things have walked. In this shop its easy to steal because everything is accessible. I know I didn’t misplace the things. For instance, John Kennedy’s Mystery Box #2 is missing. The person didn’t take the box it was in, just the mystery box in the box. So one day when I picked it up to show it to someone, I couldn’t help but notice how light it was. When I opened it up, there was nothing in it except the tissue paper it was wrapped in.

One time, I was in the shop alone. The shop we’re in now.  A whole family came in from out of town. The son was the magician and he was perhaps 12.  He had a sister of about 15.  The mother sat down to wait and I was helping the boy and his father decide what to get. As they were pondering I happened to look at the girl, who took a silk vanisher, boxed, off the hook it was hanging from and open her purse and put it inside.

The summer before I was at Atwater Market and I was thirsty. I left my family to buy myself a bottle of water. I found a health food store, went to the back, picked up the bottle and went to pay. At the cash in front of the counter were a group of people talking to the gentleman behind the counter. They were telling him of some kind of seed, that was even better for your health than flaxseed. They were telling of all the things that could be make with it, etc. and I was interested and listened intently to their conversation. Phil hates when I do that, but he wasn’t there. I suddenly realized that everyone was waiting for me and I abruptly left the store. As I was rushing towards where I was to meet the rest of our entourage, I noticed I was holding a bottle of water. OMG! I didn’t pay for it. I ran back to the store and said to the man, who was now alone. “I didn’t pay for the water.” He said, “I know.” I said “Why didn’t you come after me?” he said, “I don’t chase water!”

I looked at the girl who had just taken the cigarette vanisher and thought,”I don’t chase cigarette vanishers, I guess.”  Perhaps for her own good I should have said something. It was only in the shower that I thought of what  I should have done. It would have been great but….too late! This is what the proper solution was.

The box was small enough to conceal in my hand. I should have done like a sponge ball routine and make it vanish and tell her, in front of her family, that my power is so great, that I would make it appear in her purse. Did she think it was possible? I would have her open her purse and lo and behold, there it would be. I’m ready for the next one.

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What Some People Will Do To Get Magic!

The question is this. Who broke into our magic shop that night, shortly before January 6, 2004. Perfect Magic Now has a burglar alarm. We didn’t used to then. After someone broke into the shop we had to get an alarm in order to get insurance. So now we pay our cousin, Joel Matlin from Alarm Force, who you may have seen on TV or heard on radio, every month for protection.

Since that time many years ago there have been other break ins in our building with the victims being a hair styling school, a video shop, etc. but they left us alone, so I guess the warning on the door works. Now those businesses are also customers of Alarm Force.

One might think that since others were  robbed at other times, it many not have been a magician who robbed our magic shop one night in early January 2004. Wrong! It was a magician or two. Because of how much they took and the weight of it all we figured it was more than one person. In those days we were across the hall from where we are now and had a much bigger shop, with a separate office, and stock room. We had 6 large glass counters for display with one of everything in them. Below the counters were boxes filled with stuff. They weren’t interested in extra stock (with some exceptions), they just cleared out out counters, completely. They took books, good ones, so they knew what they were doing. Futhermore, they didn’t take any money! Just magic! one of each, for the most part. Some of the things they took more of. They knew exacty what they were doing. Oh, and they stole my camera equipment. It was packed in a carrying case so it was easy for them. I’m a document examiner and had things like bellows, macro lenses, and all kinds of stuff.  I’m sure there was other stuff, too but by their selection of the magic books alone dedicated to one subject, we knew they were magicians. The police took fingerprints etc, but there were so many different ones on the glass  that it was useless. I confess I didn’t clean the glass at the end of each day. They were never caught. I still wonder about it sometimes.

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Boom Years for Restaurant Magicians Part 2

Last week I wrote a blog on boom years for Montreal magicians and asked for anyone with more info to write in. Here’s the reply from Jonathan Levey who has offered some solid advice to those interested in trying that venue. Here is what he has to say…

“Great article on the Boom Years, Evy.

I will have to thank Mark for mentioning a few of the restaurants I worked and you for posting this info.
If you have the chance, kindly consider adding a few more restaurants that I worked during the Boom years.

Those were the days when Jim Sisti’s infamous The Magic Menu (which actually started out in newsletter format!) served as vital inspiration and gave us practical tips and information on how to actually find and secure the venues on a long-term basis. As well, The Magic Menu provided us with precious tips and insights into how to negotiate our contracts and more effective ways to perform table-to-table magic within the (often) tight physical constraints of the dining room areas. In addition to Sisti’s Magic Menu (of which our own beloved David Acer was a regular contributor) other books which inspired and taught us were: Kirk Charles “Standing up Surrounded”, Paul Diamonds “it Takes Guts Dammt!”, and Charles Greene III “Restaurant Magic” (audio tape!), as well as Michael Ammar’s Negotiating Fees (also on audio tape at the time).

These great resources provided me with the insight and encouragement needed to secure and perform at the following restaurant-type establishments for most of the 1990′s, for a minimum of 6 months and on average for 1-2 years+: Le Lutetia (inside the Hotel de la Montagne), Thursdays, Moby Dicks, The Atlantic Pavilion, Jardins D’Hivers (inside the Montreal casino), La Tulipe Noire, Mikes, Nick & Marios, Holiday Inn Pointe Claire, and the Ramada Inn.

Of course, as most of us “old-timers ” know, if it wasn’t for the ground-breaking success of the skilled and charismatic Tom Auburn (aka Magic Tom), securing restaurant work in the city of Montreal would have been a much harder sell.

To those younger magicians seeking to work in a restaurant venue, I believe many of the above books and audio tapes, though admittedly somewhat outdated, will still serve the budding restaurant magician as relevant, informative and inspirational. Perhaps there are new “how to” books on the market these days that will add to your arsenal. A trip to Evy and Phil’s Van Horne Perfect Magic store in Cote-des-Neiges (…or is that Phil and Evy’s store?), will allow you to browse their shelves to find such treasures. One thing for sure is that it’s a great place to start your journey. Because, as Evy and Phil will tell you without pause… “if we don’t have it, we can get it… within days.” …and they mean it too!”

Thanks for sharing and thank you also for the praise for Perfect Magic!

Just so you know, Sisti’s Magic Menu is still available;  Negociating Fees by Michael Ammar and Restaurant Magic By Charles Green as referred to by Jonathan are now in CD format. Since then there are more books and DVD‘s to choose from if you are interested.

If you have info on who did what when and where re restaurants, let me know.

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Filed under "Magic Tom" Auburn, entertaining, Magic, Perfect Magic, Performing, Restaurant Magic, Show buisness

Restaurant Magic – Boom Years in Montreal!.

There once was a time, in the 70’s and 80’s and even before and after, that Montreal was a haven for restaurant magicians.  I’d like to name them all, but I don’t know or remember them all. Mark Aronoff, an ex-Montrealer who now lives in Ottawa, helped jog my memory and filled some facts I didn’t know.

I know for sure Magic Tom (Auburn) did walk around magic at the Sheraton downtown for Sunday morning brunch. When George Schindler was in town Phil and I took him to see  Tom and it was a delight. Magic Tom was also a regular at Piazza Tomasso for children’s parties. I remember him  performing at my nephew’s birthday party but I believe that was in the late 60’s. Tom was also a regular every week-end in later years at Grey Rocks in the Laurentians.

Mark filled me in with the following details about himself and some magicians he worked with, etc. I’ll just quote him…

“Hi Evelyn,

Nice speaking with you today. I forgot to give you the name of the restaurant that I worked at before Le Biftheque. That restaurant was Mille Fleurs Restaurant & Reception run by Phil Bloom, it’s gone now but was located at 5011 Buchan Street (near Pare). I did their Sunday Brunch for several months. This is where I met Michael Seltzer, who then hired me for Le Biftheque restaurant for Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. Later, while working at Le Biftheque, I met the marketing people for Restaurant La Maison Kam Fung and was hired to do their Saturday and Sunday Dim Sum in the mornings. After a few months I brought in Joey Incollingo to take over one of the days at Kam Fung. I guess we should thank Doug Henning for this resurgence of Magic in the 80’s.

Take Care,

Mark”

Joey  Incollingo was also doing magic at St. Hubert Bar-B-Q. Also filling in for Mark Aronoff at the Biftheque was Mehdi, Ted Outerbridge, and Mike Etcovitch. Later Philip and Henry worked at Le Biftheque as well.  Philip was a ventriloquist but also a magician.

In the conversation that he refers to he said that Aladin had a regular Sunday brunch gig at the Sheraton. He had a small stage show and then did walk around magic. Mehdi had a similar set up at the Ramada.

Jonathan Levey worked at Le Tulip Noir and also at the Hotel de la Montagne.

Ted Outerbridge did table hopping at Wings and Things on Sherbrooke St. W and later at Mother Tucker’s.

Mike Etcovitch and Jack Frank did magic for a restaurant on Decarie, near Piazza Tomasso. (Nifties).

Blair Marshall had a weekly gig at the Delta.

Brian Zembic, the Wiz, did magic for Thursdays and was popular with the night crowd.

Michel Corriveau opened a magic Restaurant on  Blvd St. Laurent and Gary Kurtz and a host of other magicians worked there.

Mehdi, Richard Sanders. Patrick Kuffs, and Jonathan Levy also worked at Bourbon Street.

And how could we possibly forget Ronald MacDonald? He was in every week buying balloons and magic? I included a youtube of a Ronald McDonald but not our Ronald McDonald.

I’m sure this is the tip of the iceberg, and some of it may be wrong…so please feel free to correct me and make additions to the list.

Regarding other Canadian cities, I know in Vancouver that  Tony Eng was a regular at  the Japanese Village; Roy Cottee performed at the Japanese village in Ottawa. Jon Charles performed regularly at a restaurant in  Edmonton. And I know Toronto had magicians performing because we were in a restaurant that had one, who wouldn’t perform at our table because he recognized Phil and was intimidated by performing for another magician. He told us that later when we asked why he didn’t come to our table. Our guests were disappointed.

So if you have information about yourself or any other magician you know that worked in a restaurant, I’d love you to share that information with us.

A big thank you to Mark Aronoff, for his help!

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Filed under Magic, Memorablia, Performing, Restaurant Magic