Tag Archives: City of Montreal

Magicians and Fame

Being in the magic business for over 35 years I know there are excellent magicians here in Montreal, some are full time magicians and they make a good living at it. I would bet if I mentioned their names most of you would not know who they are, and furthermore, they probably don’t care. They are not out to make a name, they are out to make a living and may actually enjoy the anonymity and live ordinary lives and do the magic they love to do.

Yet some achieve fame. I was reading the Montreal Gazette on Saturday, and read Josh Freed’s column, whose humour I always enjoy, and his topic was the linguist divide amongst the strikers, here in Quebec between the English and French. For those of you who in far away lands a strike started  100 days ago by univeristy students who objected to a rise in tuition fees. The strike is still going on and has been violent at times.  Now there are other issues but I’m not going there.

Coincidently, just after my last blog,” Two Solitudes” Josh Freed used the same term in his article …”Why the two solitudes of strikers?”

By this time you must be wondering, “What has all this got to do with magic?”

Josh goes on to name the various English institutions that have disappeared from Montreal and he names Steinberg’s, Eaton’s, Ben’s,  Morgan’s, Dominion’s and Magic Tom. Magic Tom! Magic Tom passed away in 1990 and he is still making the newspaper! Anyone who knows what all the above institutions are, whether they were interested in magic or not still know who Magic  Tom is. Magic Tom Auburn achieved fame here in Quebec. He entertained children and then he entertained those children’s children and grandchildren. I remember once he came into the shop and a grandmother was buying some magic for her grandchild and she saw him and said, “I remember you from television. I used to watch you all the time when I was little.” She was thrilled to meet him in person. When she left Tom said, “I get that a lot. It keeps reminding me how old I am.” Everyone knew Magic Tom.

When I consider Magic household names here in  Quebec, I would have to include Alain Choquette and Luc Langevin. Television gave these three magicians exposure so that had much to do with it. But they had to have the talent and love of their audience to stay on TV to achieve that fame.

Comments anyone?

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Filed under Evelyn Matlin, Magic, Perfect Magic, Performing

A Tip on Performing from Michael Ammar – Superstar!

Michael Ammar and Johnny Carson - Then

Michael Ammar and Johnny Carson - Then

Michael Ammar Superstar - 1995

Phil Matlin, owner of Perfect Magic Shop, first met Michael Ammar when they were both relatively new in magic. It was in Evansville Indiana at an I.B.M. Convention. Michael was still sowing his wild oats. We got to know Michael well over the years. He stayed at our home when he came to Montreal. When we first met his wife Hannah, Michael introduced us as Phil and Evy from Perfect Magic in Montreal, who know me from way back when…. He said we knew that things about him that very few people knew. And she said to us, “I know everything about Michael, don’t worry!” We had a great laugh.

Card Thru Hank - Magie Montreal Lecture

Michael’s magic was always impeccable. When he came out with Easy to Master Card Miracles 1,2 and 3 in VHS  magic dealers

Michael lecturing at Magie Montreal

rejoiced! They were hot and still are but now in DVD form! His teaching methods are clear and exceptional. It’s rare that I  push a product, as I am well aware of the fact that everyone has their own taste and what I like someone else might not, but when someone tells me they like cards I still direct them towards Michael Ammar.

Many of the younger generation never heard of him and they thank me after for introducing them to his DVDs. Of course many more followed, Easy to Master Card Miracles, 4,5,6,7,8 and 9. His book and DVD’s on Cups and Balls are for anyone who really wants to learn them. Then there was Easy to Master Thread Miracles 1,2,3, book The Magic of Michael Ammar and the list goes on. Just click on his link for the complete deal. When we sell his stuff we are confident that the customer will be satisfied, regardless of what it is!

I wrote him the other day to tell him I was writing a blog on him and asked  what hooked him into magic and what advice he would give to an aspiring magician. This was his answer.

Hello Evy,
How nice to hear from you and to hear all’s well with you and Phil….

The first effect that really resonated with me was the one where you seem to rub a coin or small piece of paper into your arm.  Showing it has vanished, you then produce it from your ear or elbow.  The method, as I’m sure you know, is that you accidentally drop the coin and in picking it up, you simply fake putting into your other hand so it can seem to vanish.

I knew several typical card tricks up to that point, but I could tell something different was taking place here.  Not only did this involve acting, but it also involved true sleight-of-hand.

This meant I had to practice a bit to get it right, but I felt so empowered knowing the reaction I was getting was because of something I did; not because they just didn’t know how I had stacked the deck, or whatever.

Having to practice a little to learn that effect made me realize you can get an amazing reaction based purely on your own efforts.  I decided to see what would happen if I put even more effort into something.  Then I began to notice: the more effort I put into learning something, the better and more satisfying the response was.

Up until then I thought you had to be born a magician.  This experience made me realize it was up to me; I could be as good as I decided I’d be; success wasn’t a matter of divine intervention, luck, or whatever.  It was an epiphany; It’s up to me, if it is to be…

If I were to give just one tip to someone regarding magic, it would be to perform as often as possible, then reflect back on the performance to see how much data you can mine from the experience.  I think you learn more from 1 live performance than you can from weeks of just thinking about it.  So perform as often as possible.  There’s an old saying, “Everybody needs someplace to be bad.”  Find someplace that’ll tolerate your evolution, then start to build intelligent experience.

Hope this helps!

Best wishes always,
Michael

 

A typical sellout crowd at a Michael Ammar lecture.

So there you have it. I thought it was wonderful advice and hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

 

Thank you Michael.

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Filed under Evelyn Matlin, Magic Conventions, Magie Montreal, Perfect Magic