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-VOLUME: 103 / ISSUE: 2,136 Monday - September 18, 2006-
The Illusionist"The Illusionist" starring Edward Norton and Jessica Biel has been getting some excellent reviews and it continues to make money. A Reuters article reported that it "has steadily moved up box office charts in recent weeks with the backing of an upstart distributor for a movie that Hollywood had refused to touch… This week after a month in theaters, 'The Illusionist' will add 76 venues to bring its total to around 1,430 and boost its total box office revenue above $20 million… It is no blockbuster by Hollywood standards, but for an indie film that earlier this year had no distributor, it is magic." A Tampa Tribune review said of the movie, "You need not believe in magic to be mesmerized by 'The Illusionist,' a richly appointed tale of love, power, jealousy and, of course, prodigious feats of legerdemain.(9/18)
--To read the Sep. 15 Reuters review by Bob Tourtellotte titled "The Illusionist weaves magic at box office" click: HERE.(9/18)
--To read the Sep. 5 Tampa Tribune review by Bob Ross titled "Illusionist Conjures Mystery, Romance" click: HERE.(9/18)

Criss Angel Mindfreak has been renewed for a third season. A Broadcasting & Cable article reported that "A&E will bring back Criss Angel Mindfreak for a third season, the network announced at its TCA presentation Thursday. The reality show starring magician Angel will return with new episodes in 2007." To read the Jul. 13 article by Anne Becker titled "A&E Renews Mindfreak" click: HERE.(9/18)

The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First SuperheroWilliam Kalush and Larry Sloman's new book "The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero" is scheduled to be released on Halloween. A New York Sun article reported about the contents of the book and some of it's claims. Magicians quoted in the article include: Arthur Moses, Kenneth Silverman, Richard Kaufman, and James Randi. A Sunday Times article which spoke to John Bravo and Dorothy Dietrich reported on the premise, "William Kalush and Larry Sloman say he was a secret agent; a spy. They suggest that he gathered top-secret information in Germany when he performed there before the first world war. They say he could have been involved in the surveillance of anarchists in Russia. And they maintain that without his services to international espionage, Harry Houdini may not have become the star whose extraordinary exploits are still the stuff of legend today."(9/18)
--To read the Aug. 28 New York Sun article by Gary Shapiro titled "Houdini Was a Covert Agent, New Book Claims" click: HERE.(9/18)
--To read the Jul. 30 Sunday Times article by Tony Barrell titled "And now for my last trick" click: HERE.(9/18)
--To pre-order the book click: HERE.(9/18)

Mac King has extended his show, "The Mac King Comedy Magic Show", at Harrah’s in Las Vegas for five more years. The show has been there since 2000 playing twice daily and is considered the best afternoon show in Las Vegas.(9/18)

Grand Prix Stage: Pilou and Grand Prix Close-Up: Rick MerrillThe winners at the 2006 FISM World Championships of Magic held in Stockholm, Sweden are: Grand Prix Stage: Pilou and Grand Prix Close-Up: Rick Merrill. Attendance at the event was close to 2,800 people with 153 contestants. Winners of the rest of the awards are: Manipulation: Dai Bin Chun (1st), Davide Sousa (2nd), Arthur Trace (3rd). General Magic: Eu-Gyeol Lee (1st), Die Zauderer (2nd), Dion (3rd). Close-Up Magic: Martin Eisele (1st), Shawn Farquahr (2nd), David Stone (3rd). Close-Up Cards: Helder Guimaraes (1st), Lodewijk de Widt (2nd), Kiko (3rd). Parlour Magic: Gaston (1st), Shawn Farquhar (2nd), Julia Guilhem (3rd). Stage Illusions: Sittah (1st), Hugo Valenzuela (2nd), Marc & Alex (3rd). Mentalism: Timothy Trust and July (2nd-tie), Juan Ordeix (2nd-tie), Robert & Emiel (3rd-tie), Jean Thomas Loewe (3rd-tie). Invention Awards: Mathieu Bich, Pierric, Ross Mickael & Bethy, Cesaral Magic. Comedy Magic Awards: Die Zauderer, Mikael Szanyel, Rick Merrill, Stonkel. Most Original Act Awards: Hugo Valenzuela (stage), Rocco (close-up).(9/18)

The 23rd FISM World Championships of Magic is also the subject of an Associated Press article that mentions Toritto, John Connelly, Arthur Trace, Lance Burton, Rey Ben, Menny Lindenfeld, Dirk Losander, and Jeff McBride. The article reported that "…the influx of magicians has suddenly turned Stockholm into a conjurers' capital: Visiting magicians are giving public shows, conducting workshops and performing street acts throughout the city all week." To read the Aug. 1 article by Mattias Karen titled "Magicians from around the world compete for top title, Las Vegas" click: HERE.(9/18)

S.S. Adams Co.'s 100-year anniversaryThis month is S.S. Adams Company's 100-year anniversary. As part of the celebration they will hold a banquet and magic show on Saturday Sep. 30 at The Berkeley Carteret Hotel in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Featured performers will include: The Gustafsons, Bill Rauscher, Mike Miller, Al & Rebecca Lloyd, and Tom Ewing. An Asbury Park Press article which recounted the history of the company reported, "Magicians say the company's influence is far-reaching. It was the first to market novelties and magic tricks to a mass audience." Quoted in the article are co-owners Chris Adams and David Haversat as well as a number of magicians and magic and novelty shop owners.(9/18)
--To read the Sep. 10 article by Michael L. Diamond titled "100 years of pranks" click: HERE.(9/18)
--For more information about the show and banquet click: HERE.(9/18)

An MSNBC story suggests that magic can be a very profitable business, "Although many people regard magicians as small-time players who eke out a living as children’s birthday-party entertainers, that perception, ladies and gentlemen, is an illusion." Magicians mentioned in the article include: Aaron Radatz, David Blaine, Penn & Teller and David Copperfield, Harry Blackstone, Jr., Frank DeMasi, and Greg Bordner. To read the Aug. 20 article by Coeli Carr titled "It's no illusion: Magicians can make big bucks" click: HERE.(9/18)

Bobby Torkova's "Thought Prints"Bobby Torkova's "Thought Prints" show gets a favorable review in New York Theatre where they write, "Going postal takes on a whole new meaning in Thought Prints, starring the bumbling yet incredibly charming Torkova. This mentalist reveals his story of how he developed E.S.P. while stamping packages at your local post office…. Skeptic or not, the show has a sweet quality due to Torkova's genuine nature. He is more self-deprecating than slick. The evening is homey with rough edges to boot." To read the Aug. 15 review by Dia Shepardson titled "Magical Productions at the New York International Fringe Festival" click: HERE.(9/18)

Mike Powers is profiled in a South Bend Tribune article that quotes him, "There's a lot of different aspects to magic. It could be colorful, it can be interesting looking, but the ultimate experience as art is to be able to deliver astonishment -- wow, you know, what just happened there. …I like things that blow your mind, you're just stunned by how impossible it looks." To read the Sep. 17 article by Robin Toepp titled "Magician says it takes more than magic to make a living" click: HERE.(9/18)

Mel A. SachsMel A. Sachs who was a magician and very successful lawyer who sometimes used magic in the courtroom to make a point died on Aug. 30 at the age of 60 -- only 4 days after being diagnosed with cancer. A New York Times obituary reported, "Sachs began performing magic at the age of 8 and made his first television appearance three years later on a children’s show, 'The Magic Clown.' He found his skill useful when demonstrating to juries why they should mistrust the testimony of eyewitnesses." To read the Sep. 1 obituary by Glenn Collins titled "Mel A. Sachs, 60, Trial Lawyer With a Flamboyant Streak, Dies" click: HERE.(9/18)

Igor Kio, a popular magician from Russia died on Aug. 23 at the age of 62. An Associated Press obituary reported that he was "The son of noted magician Emil Kio, he included many of his father's tricks in his repertoire. But he mostly shunned well-known tricks for his own, according to the reports." His death received worldwide press mostly due to the interesting fact that he was married to Brezhnev's daughter –- the marriage lasted nine days. To read the Aug. 30 Associated Press obituary titled "Russian magician married to Brezhnev's daughter dead at age 62" click: HERE.(9/18)

Escape! The Story of the Great HoudiniSid Fleischman's new children's book "Escape! The Story of the Great Houdini" is reviewed in the San Francisco Chronicle where they report, "Fleishman draws from a rich and colorful vocabulary of magic, illusion and escape to heighten the narrative -- vivid stuff like 'razzmatazz,' 'bamboozler,' 'razzle-dazzle,' 'dematerialize.' Fleischman is an enthusiastic master of allusion. To read the Aug. 27 review by Susan Faust titled "Enigmatic magician's life presented with a loving flourish" click: HERE.(9/18)
--To buy the book click: HERE.(9/18)

David Blaine goes to Israel to perform for and cheer up the wounded soldiers around the country. A Forward article reported that "When asked if he had any tricks up his sleeve to misdirect precipitating missile shells, Blaine demurred: 'I can only do my magic and try to make people smile.'" An IsraelNN article reported that "Blaine will give benefit performances for children and families in shelters in Israel’s north and in Jewish Agency-run camps in the center of the country. He will also perform for wounded soldiers in hospitals in Safed and Haifa, and for IDF troops on army bases."(9/18)
--To read the Aug. 18 Forward article by Elisha Sauers titled "Illusions for the Disillusioned" click: HERE.(9/18)
--To read the Aug. 15 IsraelNN article titled "llusionist David Blaine in Israel to Express Solidarity" click: HERE.(9/18)

Metro Magic 2Harry Riser, Danny Tong, Mickey Silver, Mark Zacharia, and Ronald Wohl headline at Metro Magic 2 on Nov. 5 in New Jersey. Last year's convention was a sell-out. Admission this year is $50 at the door and $45 in advance. For more information click: HERE.(9/18)

Richard Steven Cohn, Stanley Palm, and Bob Yorburg who gave a talk about magicians who have a connection to Coney Island are the subject of a New York Sun article which also mentions David Ben's Dai Vernon biography. To read the Aug. 8 article by Gary Shapiro titled "Coney Island Love and Magic" click: HERE.(9/18)

The annual Abracadabra show in Cincinnati is the subject of several articles about the stars and magic in general. Performers this year are: John Carney, Kohl & Company, The Great Tomsoni & Co., and David Williamson. Williamson who is returning after being a big hit last year is quoted, "When I'm asked how to become a successful magician, I say, 'get a girlfriend with a good job and education,' he joked. She now runs the business end, and tells me where to go.'"(9/18)
--To read the Aug. 15 Cincinnati Post article by Connie Yeager titled "Abracadabra: Playhouse benefit serving up rib-tickling illusions" click: HERE:(9/18)
--To read the Aug. 18 Cincinnati Enquirer article by Jackie Demaline titled "Hard work disappears" click: HERE.(9/18)

The Bullet TrickLouise Welsh's new book "The Bullet Trick" whose main character is a magician is reviewed in the San Francisco Chronicle where they ask: "Why do we enjoy watching magicians saw their pretty assistants in two? Are we merely enjoying the show of ingenuity, or does our pleasure have a sadistic tinge? "The Bullet Trick," Louise Welsh's latest novel, explores the troubling overlap between entertainment and violence -- particularly that toward women." To read the Aug. 13 review by Helena Echlin titled "Magician can't fool himself when it comes to murder" click: HERE.(9/18)

Jim Lenz is profiled in a Green Bay Press Gazette where he is quoted, "Ninety percent of magic is presentation. That comes with practice. I've been teaching for 10 years. I love parent-teacher conferences and open houses. I get to introduce siblings and families to the wacky world of science." To read the Sep. 3 article by Jean Peerenboom titled "Lenz mixes science and hocus-pocus" click: HERE.(9/18)

Eli Portala who won the junior competition at the recent IBM convention is featured in a Toledo Blade article that quotes contest chairman Jerry Schnepp, "He's actually the youngest contestant that we've ever had at 10 years old… He's kind of an exception… He just goes out and does his show, and you see this little guy tap dancing and going crazy." To read the Aug. 2 article by Ryan E. Smith titled "Young magician's showmanship goes well beyond his years" click: HERE.(9/18)

Mr. E (Ed Groves) is profiled in The Pueblo Chieftain where he explained, "…anybody can go to a shop and buy a magic trick, but being a good magician is more than being proficient at tricks… To be a good magician, you have to be a pretty good actor… You have to do things with facial expressions, body, how you speak. It's all about presentation. We really work hard to develop our routines. It looks spontaneous but it's well-rehearsed." To read the Sep. 14 article by Mary Jean Porter titled "Magic man" click: HERE.(9/18)

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