Tag Archives: Ted Outerbridge

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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Filed under Comedy, Magic

Reaching For A Star and Catching It! That’s Magic!

We’ve known Ted Outerbridge since he was a kid. He had a dream and didn’t let go. He worked hard. He struggled but never gave up. It paid off. Last week in the Gazette, there was an article about him. We were thrilled to see it.  In 1997, before he was famous, he won the Tom Auburn Award at Magic Montreal, the Annual Magic Convention produced by Perfect Magic and Wim Vermeys for 19 years. It was a sign of things to come. I spoke to him and asked him to write about himself and to include what got him to decide to make a career of this and also what tip he could give to up and coming magicians. I’ll publish it when I get it. In the meantime…Ted and Marion…Keep on truckin’!

I have included  photos of Wim Vermeys and Phil Matlin and the Trophy Winners of Magic Montreal 1997 and we have David Acer, sticking his head through the curtains in the back. He was never one to be left out! David was the M.C. of the stage show that year, hilarious as usual!

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Filed under "Magic Tom" Auburn, Magic Conventions, Magie Montreal, Perfect Magic, Show buisness, Ted Outerbridge

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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Filed under Perfect Magic, Phil Matlin

A Superb Tip from David Acer. Comedian, Magician, TV Star, Author….

David Acer sort of feels like a third son to us. All our kids (4) worked at Perfect Magic Shop when they were growing up and so did David when he was 14 years old. That would be in the 80’s.

Last week,  some 30 years later, and many times since, he came to pick up a few things. We reminisced about Al Goshman. David remarked upon the fact that this chubby older man was not the person one would look at walking down the street and say, ” There goes a magician.” And yet he was amazed that when Albert performed, he was transformed and his fingers danced in a way one wouldn’t believe unless you saw him.

And why am I telling you this? Because while David was here I asked if he could write something for our readers as to what got him into magic as a career and what word of advice would he give to aspiring magicians. Last week Michael Ammar wrote something and I thought my readers would be happy to hear what other people who were successful in magic had to say.  He immediately agreed. That sent me on a hunt for photographs of David. By sheer coincidence the first photo I came aross of David was one of Albert sitting behind his booth at a Magie Montreal 1988 Convention.

In any case here is what David had to say:  While you’re at it, Check out David’s best selling book “GOTCHA! 18 Amazing Ways to Freak Out Your Friends” http://www.davidacer.com/david-acer-magic-catalogue-Gotcha.html .

Q: What was the first trick that made you think this is what you want to do?

A: Well, I’m still not sure this is what I want to do, but assuming  it isn’t just a decades-long phase I’m going through, I’d say the trick  that pulled me in was the old broken-and-restored toothpick in a  handkerchief. I remember fooling my mother and step-father with that – I  mean really fooling them – when I was nine or ten, and that started me  on the path to deeper mysteries.

Q: What advice would you give aspiring magicians?

A: Never iron flash paper. Also, try to be yourself when you’re doing  tricks. That usually means presenting them in a way that makes you care about them. Talk about your job, your family, your life, good, bad or weird. If you care, other people will care. But if you have to invent a reason to care, maybe it isn’t the right trick for you.

Thanks, David, for the tips. I hope the readers enjoy it as much as I did!

Enjoy the photos

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Filed under Albert Goshman, Evelyn Matlin, Magic, Magic Conventions, Magie Montreal, Perfect Magic, Phil Matlin