Monthly Archives: June 2016

A Different Kind of Magic

Phil and I were having breakfast this morning and the phone rang. It was my daughter. In the course of conversation she told me she was taking the kids to the Museum to see the Pompeii Exhibit. My granddaughter, age 8, overheard her talking and asked if Bubbie (that’s me) could come too. So my daughter asked if I would like to come along. I hesitated because I took a few days off last week as my back went out and Phil had to hold the fort on his own and I had stuff I had to do at the magic shop.

At the same time it felt so good that my granddaughter wanted me to come and I did want to see that exhibit, so I said I’d call her back. Phil asked what the call was about and I told him that they were going to the Museum etc, and asked if I would I like to go. Phil asked if I wanted to go. I said yes. He said. Go. I phoned her back and we made arrangements. Phil said, “You didn’t say you were going today. I thought you meant on the week-end.” I said “No, it’s today.” He said, “But it’s a short week.” (Canada Day) and I said “It’s a short life.”


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Are You Magicians Ready to Share?

Yesterday on Facebook  I wrote

“I bet when Darcy Oake got his first magic trick, as a kid I presume, the furthest thing from his mind was that one day he would be going to London to visit the Queen. Get your kid a magic trick !”


Then I got to thinking that I got my first magic trick when I was 8 years old. My father went to New York  and went to Tannen’s  (I think that’s where he got it) and when he came home he gave me a Nickels to Dimes trick, made of brass. I can look back and see myself  sitting on the blue linoleum kitchen floor, banging away with that bang ring. I wonder if it left marks in the floor. I treasured it and found it amazingly clever, but I don’t remember performing it for anyone outside of the family. They did not have “Show and Tell” in school when I was in Grade 2. If they did, I surely would have brought that because it was something that none of the other kids would have had.

So now I want you, my dear reader, and probably magician, to share with us. How old were you when you got your first magic trick? What was it ?  How do you think it affected your life?  Do you think it was responsible for your career in magic? I eagerly await your reply!



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The Show Must Go On!

So last night was the first Tuesday of the month and Phil had his show for the Eleanor London Library at Rembrandt Park in Cote St Luc. What could go wrong except the weather? Well the weather was just fine, thank you! They have a wonderful piano in the park that was inaugurated last year by none other than Oliver Jones. DSC04478It was a big event with the media and all the big shots from Cote St Luc, including the Mayor who is now our Member of Parliament.

We got a call from the library about 5 o’clock  on Monday that they had terrible news. It seems there was a terrible wind and storm the previous evening, and although the piano is locked and protected by a heavy tarpaulin, the piano is finished. We could not believe it. We went over to check it out. The person in charge removed the tarpaulin and unlocked the piano. We tried to play it and the keys would not budge. Not one bit. It was as though the keys were all glued together in a block. There was no water damage on the piano. we opened the top. When you moved the hammers to hit the strings it worked, they seemed fine, but the keys were locked in place.

Phil said he had a piano they could borrow and we live just across from the park. Two people from the library came  the next day to help carry the piano to the park. This is the kicker. When you walk into our condo, the first thing you see is a beautiful black grand piano. Phil smiled and said, “How are you going to manage that?” Mouths dropped. Then he showed them his electric piano. Between the three of them they got the piano, the stand, the piano bench, speaker, mic , wires and all that jazz! We can’t say enough about the Library staff except that they are exceptional people and a joy to work with. They were as concerned as we were and probably more. Kudos to Eleanor London Library and all those who made this possible. It’s because of them that the show went on as scheduled and was enjoyed by all. There’s no business like show business! Let’s see what’s in store for the next show, the first Tuesday of July.


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Magicians and Musicians?

What’s the connection between magicians and musicians? Actually they have a lot in common. You can tell the same joke about both. For instance…

“What’s the difference between a musician (or magician)and a large pizza?”

“A large pizza can feed a family of four!”

Another point. Both take many hours or years of practice alone before you get any good at it and both require an audience to appreciate it.

Music is another one of those professions like magic, where age, colour, religion, sex, social status, education, are of no consequence. We have a 10 year old customer who played piano at Carnegie Hall about 2 months ago. Respect is gained through one’s ability and knowledge is often shared generously by the “greats”even with those just learning. that goes for piano and magic.

I find it fascinating that so many magicians are also musicians. Both professions require manual dexterity, timing, and perseverance. Timing first, then perseverance and last manual dexterity because not all magic requires manual dexterity.

Dai Vernon was a Honky Tonk Piano player. About 30 years ago he and Phil were talking piano at a Passport To Magic Convention in Toronto, when a fellow interrupted them to talk to Dai about magic. Dai said, “Not now, can’t you see I’m talking to the kid about piano.” Michael Close, Dick Zimmerman, Chris Barillaro, just to name a few, are into both.Phil Matlin, Dai Vernon, Evy Matlin

I write this because the head of a large music  and media school came in today , who happens to be a big on magic and to listen to the conversation between Phil and that fellow was fascinating. From magic to music in one breath and then back again. All the people they knew in common from both fields and their experiences. And then I thought about our magician customers and we know many of them are also musicians. Of course we don’t know all of them personally so how many musicians are out there that we don’t know about.

Am I on to something here? If you’re into both, let me know!



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