Magic Times
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-VOLUME: 84 / ISSUE: 2,116 Saturday - December 18, 2004-
David BenDavid Ben's new show "Tricks" at the Artword Theatre in Toronto, Canada gets some raves from the local press. A Tandem News article reported, "As the title suggests, Tricks is simply a collection of the most puzzling, astonishing and amazing feats of magic ever performed before an audience. 'Some tricks are just great tricks: mysterious, visceral: they hit the whole range, and I don't have to be 'The Conjurer', I can just be me and display my obsession,' he [David Ben] says." An Eye Weekly article concluded "This is not a kiddie show -- it's a brain-tickling entertainment for adults that children will also love."(12/19)
--To read the Dec. 5 Tandem News review by Sarah B. Hood titled "Some Tricky Talent" click: HERE.(12/19)
--To read the Dec. 16 Eye Weekly review by Christopher Hoile titled "Just for tricks" click: HERE.(12/19)

Magic in Tokyo is the subject of an Asahi Shimbun story that discusses the professional close-up magicians and the Magic Land store. The article reported, "The signs of a 'Magic Boom' are all there: Local magic trick makers such as Tenyo, based in Tokyo's Koto Ward, are reporting their briskest sales in decades; department stores have started stocking tricks again (with some even deploying magicians to distract kids while their parents shop); while at least one major family restaurant chain, Bamiyan, has started offering magic goods-making it possible to pick up magic tricks 24 hours a day." To read the Dec. 3 article by Louis Templado titled "Magic does a reappearing trick" click: HERE.(12/19)

Peter McCahonPeter McCahon (August 10, 1965-December 15, 2004) died at the age of 39 on Wednesday Dec. 15. McCahon was the editor of The Magic Circular (The Magic Circle's monthly magazine) and was also one of the stars of the British television series "Monkey Magic."(12/19)

David Fisher's book "The War Magician," which follows Jasper Maskelyne's escapades in the 1930s, has just been re-released in the UK and is reviewed in The Sunday Times where they point out "For some, the inability to decode where reality ends and illusion begins will be a huge irritation, but those content just to sit back and enjoy the show will be rewarded with a richly entertaining read." To read the Dec. 12 review by Neil Hanson titled "Magic: The War Magician by David Fisher" click: HERE.(12/19)

Banachek's recent show at the Southern Polytechnic State University is described in "The Sting" as, "Banachek explained that what he did was not magic or psychic ability. It was simply science. He demonstrated how he could subconsciously influence the thoughts of the audience through various hand movements as he talked. When asked to choose two simple geometric shapes that were not a square, most of the audience chose triangle and circle because Banachek would wave his arms in a circle or steeple his fingers into a triangle while he spoke. …Banachek ended the show to a standing ovation." To read the Dec. 1 article by CJ Shrader titled "The Amazing Banachek Performs for SPSU Students" click: HERE.(12/19)

Patrick Watson's This Hour Has Seven DecadesPatrick Watson's new autobiography "This Hour Has Seven Decades" is reviewed in The Globe and Mail where they touch on his links to magic, "Watson is now lending his directorial skills to Tricks, the new show mounted by master magician David Ben… The new show is actually Watson's fourth collaboration with Ben, who several years ago gave up conjuring with Canadian tax law to perform sleight-of-hand before a wider audience. The two met one night in the home of another passionate semi-professional magician, Standard Broadcasting's (very aptly named) Allan Slaight." To read the Dec. 7 review by Michael Posner titled "75, and still pulling rabbits" click: HERE.(12/19-Subscription site)

James Randi is profiled in a Reuters story which describes him as "An arch-skeptic who demonstrates with his own sleight of hand how easily it is to dupe the gullible into mistaking trickery for the supernatural, the bearded 76-year-old has written nine books and lectured at the White House, NASA and several top universities." To read the Dec. 6 article titled "Mystics offered million dollar challenge" click: HERE.(12/19)

Tobias Seamon's novel "The Magician's Study" is reviewed in Bookslut where it is described as "…an excellent example of this unconventional form of writing and a book that I recently had a blast reading..." The review concludes with "The Magician's Study is a fantastic story; the kind that lures the reader in so quickly and then holds him until the very end. And yes, the ending is outstanding, and delivers quite handily on all the buildup of tension that occurs throughout the book." To read the Dec. 6 review by Colleen Mondor titled "A Guided Tour of The Magician's Study by Tobias Seamon" click: HERE.(12/19)

David MerliniDavid Merlini, the Hungarian escape artist, is profiled in a Budapest Sun article that reported, "Merlini's fate was decided at the age of four, when instead of getting carried away by Lego fire stations and action figures, he turned to locks and handcuffs. Soon, such restraints became but a joke for the future master of escape. The world of entertainment beckoned. …When he one day was given an illusionist's kit, his future career was founded." The article concluded, "He might also present some of his dreams outside Hungary as well: negotiations with two hotels in Las Vegas are currently underway." To read the Dec. 3 article by Eszter Balázs titled "Escaping his dreams" click: HERE.(12/19)

The Spencers are featured in a Lynchburg News & Advance article that discusses their shows and therapeutic programs. Kevin Spencer explained, "Not long ago, we did a workshop with some kids at a high school in South Carolina… They were the ones who had been labeled 'developmentally disabled,' and you could tell they didn't want to be there at first. But their faces lit up while they were learning the tricks, and some of them wound up performing for the rest of the students. The principal said, 'This accomplished in 90 minutes what we’ve been trying to do for years.'" To read the Dec. 13 article by Darrell Laurant titled "The Spencers' newest trick" click: HERE.(12/19)

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