Tag Archives: Michael Ammar

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seeking to work in a restaurant venue, I believe many of the above books and audio tapes, though admittedly somewhat outdated, will still serve the budding restaurant magician as relevant, informative and inspirational.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

Magicians and Their Wallets

Most people have a wallet. It’s what magicians would call an ordinary everyday object. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons they are so appealing to magicians. There are many DVD’s and books dealing with Magic with Everyday Objects. It makes the magic  more wondrous when achieved with a familiar object. I counted the wallets on our site and there are 36 different wallets which does not exhaust the supply as I’m sure there are others which we just don’t carry. This is besides the books and DVD’s on the subject. The question is “How many wallets does a magician actually need?” I can answer that, because before Phil was a Magic Dealer and owner of Perfect Magic he was a magician. Guess what he used to collect? You got it. Magic Wallets. Every one that came out was better or had a feature in it the previous ones didn’t have, so he had to have them all. Sound familiar? Believe it or not, that wasn’t the worst part of his collectibles. It was rather cheap in comparison. He’s a musician, remember. A piano player. Yes, at one time I believe we had 4 pianos. A grand in the living room,  an upright honky tonk with thumb tacks in the pads in the basement, an electric piano and a piano in the country house we used to rent when the kids were young. But I digress.

The most popular thing you can do with a wallet is make a signed card that has disappeared from a deck appear in the zipped compartment of a wallet. How did it get there without the spectator’s knowledge? I knew because Phil collected them. But then one day, we were at a convention in Chicago. We had a dealer’s both filled with all sorts of things. Next to me was Peter Scarlett from England. All he had was wallets and 2 other tricks, card tricks I think. The back table was stacked with wallets. Tons of them. I may have written about this in another blog, but couldn’t find it. I could not, for the life of me figure out how he did the trick. It looked like an ordinary hip pocket wallet. he never palmed a card. He called it the Pimpernel Notepad, but its a wallet. I guess because he is from England they call their dollar bills notes. Makes sense. I watched him over and over. Phil watched him. We had no idea how he did it. Nor did any of the magicians at that Chicago convention. He sold out. We have been selling them in the shop ever since. It must have been in the early 1990’s because he came to Magie Montreal in 1995, our 16th Annual Magic Convention.

Well, now there is something new on the market. You don’t even need a wallet. It’s called ANY Signed CARD to ANY Spectators WALLET by Michael Ammar and Jeff  Kaylor. It got an excellent write up in the Genii. I’m curious to know if any of my readers have it and what they think of it. I look forward to your feedback.

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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