Category Archives: Restaurant Magic

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seeking to work in a restaurant venue, I believe many of the above books and audio tapes, though admittedly somewhat outdated, will still serve the budding restaurant magician as relevant, informative and inspirational.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