Tag Archives: Richard Sanders

A Treat At The Magic Shop

Last Friday was not our ordinary day at the magic shop.  It’s spring break. We had a visitor for the day, my grandson, who is now seven years old and has been doing magic since he is two. The last time he was here was about a year ago and by chance David Acer came into the shop and 5 minutes later Richard Sanders came in. Not planned. It was a riot and my grandson was doubled over in laughter with their antics. This time he came to the shop well armed with his magic case, under lock and key. We picked him up at his house and when he got to the shop he read the sign outside the door. Open 10-3 on Fridays.

“What time is it?”

“Ten past ten.”

“It says you open at ten. Where are the magicians?’

We had a good laugh and told him with the internet, sometimes we don’t see a magician all day. So he got busy checking everything out hoping a magician would come in. Finally one did. Someone we know well. Jonathan Levey.

I thought he would be excited to see a magician so that he would see some tricks, but no, true to form, he wanted to do tricks for the magician. He actually did a coin trick  with a penny (Miracle Coin Block)  for Jonathan that fooled him and  in the reciprocal manner of a magician,  Jonathan took the penny to show him a vanish. He vanished the coin from one of his own hands  and made it appear in the other. The most magical thing of all  happened when Jonathan opened his hand, expecting to see the coin he had transfered there. Instead, there were two coins in his hand, a dime and a penny and his jaw was hanging open, as he had no idea how the dime got there. We all had a good laugh.

Last year, when my grandson was here, there happened to be a huge box in the shop, so I cut out a door and windows and he played happily in and out of it. When he left I got rid of the box, but another came in a few weeks ago, and I saved it for him. Being busy with other things, I left him to his own devices. Then he called me and told me to watch. At age 7 he devised a manner of visibly getting into the box, and invisibly escaping from it. I had watched Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde from Paris and, to my amazement, the escape the magician used on the show was very close to the one my grandson came up with.

My grandson had a treat spending the day in the shop. We had a treat, because he was there and Jonathan had a treat because he managed to fool himself.

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Filed under Children's Magic, Grandparents and Magic, Magic, Performing

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

The Serious Business of Comedy Magic

Houdini, Blackstone, Thurston, Dante, Doug Henning have one thing in common aside from all being famous magicians who are now dead. If you mention any of those names and many more of that era, people who are not magicians immediately conjure up a picture of a magician. They were world famous, with travelling shows and big posters plastered all over the place. Today there is David Copperfield. Penn & Teller are also well known as far as being household names. There are other magicians with great stage shows, but their names don’t mean anything to the public at large. Here in Quebec there is Luc Langevin. Thanks to television he was able to reach a large population. Is he known around the world? Not yet. But he is young so there’s time. I’m sure there are others whom I haven’t mentioned so if you want to add to my list just put them in the comments at the bottom.

Things have changed. At one time many magic shows were travelling around the country competing for audiences. Now comedians are all the rage. There are comedy TV shows, featuring stand up comedians, one after the other. There are comedy clubs like The Comedy Nest and Comedy Festivals like Just For Laughs. Its great in this day and age. Can you imagine travelling around the country or countries with tons of illusions. Ask Ted Outerbridge. It ain’t easy or cheap.

A comedian carries all the material in his head. No luggage ( maybe plenty of baggage but no luggage). All you need is yourself and you have to be funny.

Enter the magician. A few blogs back I wrote about Richard Sanders performing at the Comedy Nest in Montreal. He was hilarious and he did some impeccable magic, but you would never say you saw a magic show. There were no big illusions. He didn’t look like a magician, in the traditional sense. He looked like a regular guy you would see on the street, mussed up hair, casual clothes, and the way he spoke, it seemed like he was making it up as he went along and yet he was laugh out loud funny.

Could anyone do that? I don’t think so. I think you have to have something to begin with. But even having that, its not automatic. Furthermore, I don’t think he was making anything up as he went along. Sure he took advantage of responses from the audience which he involved to a great degree, but he knew exactly where he was going.

Eugene Burger once gave a lecture for us and he pointed out that people buy magic, they learn the tricks well, and then they go and perform them…without a script. He said it was as though they thought the right words would just pop into their heads when they needed them.  He said every word he said, every move he made, had a purpose. That was over 20 years ago, but I never forgot it. When performing a card trick he made a comment which made everyone laugh. It was to us an off the cuff remark. Later in the lecture he explained he had to do a “dangerous” move and when people laugh they throw their heads back and blink for a second. That’s all the time he needed and that “off the cuff remark” was a set part of his routine.

Mac King has a comedy magic show in Las Vegas which he has had for years. I assure you, nothing is left to chance. I saw him perform in person twice. Once he was at Magie Montreal, in 1993, and then I saw him at Club Soda. Same jokes but they appear fresh every time and they work every time.

So there is a market out there. But you have to build a show. Step by step, word by word. So if you have a tendency towards comedy and you do magic how do you go about it?

Enter the magic dealer. There is help out there. In fact the Camirand Academy of Magic just released a DVD Comedy 101 with 14 routines on it for props many of you  probably  already have. David Kaye has a book and a DVD called Seriously Silly, on how to entertain children with comedy and magic. And then there is the classic 5 Minutes with a Pocket Handkerchief for kindergarten kids.

To me, the difference between performing magic, performing comedy magic, and stand up comedy is this. In stand up comedy, the objective is to be funny. You really have to be funny. In magic without comedy, you’re hopefully creating wonder and amazement. In comedy magic, you have to be funny, but that isn’t the objective. The comedy is misdirection.You’re making them laugh while you’re setting them up. The amazement should still be there, but they won’t leave scratching their heads, they’ll leave with a smile on their face. But it all has to be thought out, and its a serious business.

Fortunately for Montreal Magicians there are 2 Comedy Clubs in Montreal with open mics. If you have a good 5 or 6 minute routine, you have a place to cut your teeth or get your feet wet, so to speak.  There’s the Comedy Works on Monday nights and The Comedy Nest on Wednesday nights. Give it a try! They’re looking for talent so if you think you have some, go for it! If you live in another city, check out the comedy clubs there and I’d bet they have open mic nights too. Break a leg!

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Reminiscing With Luc Langevin

So we recently had a visit from Luc Langevin, He’s been here many times since he was a kid but I’m getting older and my memory isn’t what it used  to be. I suspected that that’s who it was but I asked him his name, just to make sure. He said Luc. Phil almost collapsed with embarrassment that I didn’t recognize him, especially since I watch him on T.V. But it’ was my birthday the next day and I’d be 71 so that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. We had a good laugh over it. We started talking about old times.

Luc said Perfect Magic was the first magic shop he had ever been in and of course it was me demonstrating because I always looked after the kids. David Acer told me that he knew he had graduated when he walked in the shop once and Phil was behind the counter and he didn’t call out “Evy!”

In any case Luc remembers me showing him the Magic Colouring Book, the Silk to Flowers, and a bunch of other simple tricks which he used for many years in his birthday shows.

Its a good feeling when you see someone who started off with you do well. David Acer, Ricky Bronson, Richard Sanders,  Ted Outerbridge,  Barry Julien, to name a few, all used to come here as kids, (of course to me they still are) but they are big names in magic and entertainment today.  I wish you all continued success. Spread the magic!

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Special Halloween Magic & Fun with the funniest!

I was wondering what special stuff I could write about for Halloween when I got this email from David Acer. No more wondering! We have comedy magicians on the menu!

NIGHT  OF  THE  LIVING  STANDUPS

David “Axe-Wielding” Acer headlines halloween weekend at THE COMEDY NEST with special guests Mike “Barely Undead” Paterson and DeAnne “Your Brain Looks Delicious” Smith.

David Acer is an award-winning writer and comedian who has done crazy things on television shows around the world, like protesting outside a train station dressed as a giant penny while inviting people to lie down on the tracks to “see how it feels.” And limping to the couch for a talkshow interview with a Denver Boot on his leg because he had “a few unpaid j-walking tickets.” He has appeared on a multitude of international specials and a plethora of Canadian comedy classics, not to mention live at The Riviera in Las Vegas, The Magic Castle in Hollywood, and 10 times at the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal. But younger viewers (and insomniacs) are more likely to recognize him as “Doubting Dave” from the syndicated series, Mystery Hunters, which garnered him two Gemini nominations (the Canadian equivalent of the Emmys) for Best Writing in a Children’s Non-Fiction Series, and the publication of his spin-off book, GOTCHA!, now a Canadian bestseller.

JUST ADDED!

• World-renowned mentalist Patrik “Don’t Mind Me I’m Just Sucking Your Blood” Kuffs (Oct. 27th)

• Interdimensionally acclaimed magician Michel “The Soft-Handed Strangler” Huot (Oct 28th)

• Sleight-of-hand superstar Richard “I Ate His Liver with Some Fava Beans and a Nice Chianti” Sanders (Oct 29th).

WHERE: The Comedy Nest (Pepsi Forum), 2312 Ste Catherine W, corner of Atwater
WHEN: October 27th, 28th and 29th (Thu 8:30, Fri 8:30, Sat 8:30 & 10:30)
RESERVATIONS: (514) 932-6378

WEBSITE: www.comedynest.com

* Line-up subject to change without notice.

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Father Cyprian

 

Father Cyprian

One of the rewards about being in the magic business is meeting people you wouldn’t ordinarily meet and going to places you wouldn’t ordinarily go to. How would a nice Jewish family in Montreal happen to have a Capuchin -Franciscan monk as a guest at one of their Passover Seders? The very same way that family attended this same Capuchin monk’s 25th Anniversary of his ordination at his seminary in Connecticut. We were friends. We became friends through magic. We meet a lot of people in magic but we don’t always become good friends. We consider Father Cyprian Murray a good friend. We shared a lot of good times together,  a lot of good meals (I still remember that blue cheese salad dressing you recommended) and good wines. But he wasn’t there just for the good times. He helped us when we had personal problems as well. His advice to us was always wise.

We call him Cyp. No disrespect. At an SAM national convention in Tampa we started a movement  to get Father Cyprian to be pope. Twelve CYP for POPE buttons were made and distributed to a select few. These buttons are now collectible if you can get one of us to part with it.

At the above mentioned 25th anniversary celebration Cyp requested that George Schindler be the Master of Ceremonies at the dinner party after the Church service. It seemed to me there were a few hundred people there, monks dressed in their brown robes, family and friends. It was in an auditorium and there was a stage and the floor of the stage was full of presents for Cyp. George got up there and said, Gee, this is just like a Bar Mitzvah. You have a service, you have a meal and you get presents, lots of presents . We only have to wait till we’re 13. You have to wait a little longer. George was at his best and the monks around us were hysterical with laughter.

When Cyp got up to thank George for the tremendous job he did, he also mentioned the fact that he was running for Pope and one of his colleauges at the seminary had asked him why he got George as a manager. Cyp said, “Because I want to be Pope”! so his colleague said, “Yes, but he’s Jewish?” and Cyp said, “But I really want to be Pope”. The monks roared! It was a wonderful celebration and I remember it like it was yesterday, but it was over 25 years ago. We had the good fortune to meet up with Cyp not so long ago at George and Nina Schindler’s 50th Wedding Anniversary and we had a lot of catching up to do.

Fr. Cyprian and Dean George Schindler at Magie Montreal 1990

The Award Presentation. From left - Wim Vermeys, Phil, Richard Sanders, Fr. Cyprian, Mario Choinier, and David Acer

Phil, Fr. Cyprian, and Wim Vermeys

Fr. Cyprian is recognized around the world as an authority on card and close-up magic and often had some explaining to do as he travelled around the world with his collar on, and then having to open his briefcase full of decks of cards for the customs inspectors.  He was the guest of honor at the 11th Annual Convention of Magie Montreal in 1990 produced by Phil Matlin of Perfect Magic and Wim Vermeys. One of the

Front cover of the Magie Montreal 1990 convention.

attendees asked if would would hold a mass  that Sunday morning and he did.

Cyp! Zie gesunt! or as we say Keep Well. Hope it brought back a few wonderful memories.

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