Archive for August, 2008

AMERICAN THEATRE – DAY TWO

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Ethan and I were up early to head over to the Shelton On The Bay assisted-living complex not far from the American Theatre.  Michael Curry arranged for me to go over and conduct a workshop with some of the residents.  When we arrived, the had all gathered in the community room and were enjoying some snacks.  We got everything set up and, when it was time to start, I did a few magic tricks for the group.  They were so excited and attentive!  When I told them that we were going to teach them some tricks, they got even more excited.  We spent the next hour working with about 25 of them teaching them some tricks from the Healing of Magic manual.  We heard words like “fantastic,” “impossible,” incredible,” as they learned each trick.

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After the workshop, Ethan and I went back to the hotel.  On the way back, I smelled something “electrical” burning in the truck.  The only thing I could think was “Not again!”  On our last trip, the air conditioner compressor locked up – smoke can pouring out of the hood.  This time, the smoke was in the cab!  At least there wasn’t a fire and all I lost was the high speed on the fan…but it’s one more thing that I need to get fixed before we hit the road next week for two months.  Ugh.

Once at the hotel, we picked up Cindy and went to Boston Market for lunch.  A quick stop by Target and we were back at the hotel to pick up Keith…and then back to the American Theatre at 3pm.  We had some things to work on and Keith wanted to fix some things on the new light board.

He has done an amazing job with the lighting and learning the new board in such a short amount of time.  I was concerned that we might loose some of the impact of the lighting when we started changing the way we operated the intelligent lighting.  I had nothing to fear.  Keith has been masterful in putting it all together and the stage looks even better than it did!

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Cindy and Ethan worked on getting the show ready for the evening.  I worked with Keith on a few things with the lights.  Dinner arrived at 5pm – enough food to feed a dozen hungry people but there are only 5 of us!  AWESOME FOOD!

Before we knew it, it was time to open the doors.  The crowd was fantastic!  They were excited, enthusiastic, verbal, responsive – I can’t say enough good things about the audience tonight.  The volunteers were so great and added so much to the impact of the illusions they helped with.

One more show today – 2:30pm – and then we’re head home for a few days.

AMERICAN THEATRE – DAY ONE

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

We had our first show at the American Theatre tonight (Friday).  We arrived around 10:30am so Cindy would have lots of time to figure out just where to put all the cases and how to set up the show.  The venue is a great space – very intimate for the audience but it is a little “tight” on the stage for a show of our size.  There’s no wing space on stage right at all other than what we create with the curtains.  Most of the show has to operate from a large room that’s stage left.  Since our last visit here, we’ve added a couple of new illusions with a much larger footprint – they take up more space.

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She got everything figured out and we started loading it all in.  Mary and her crew were definitely ready for us.  The space was clear and they even go the extra mile of moving a very large and heavy curtain for us so we can create stage space in front of that curtain.   That allows me to do some of the smaller magic there while they set up the illusions behind the curtain.  Andrew Payne – a friend who lives about 30 minutes away and used to work for Andre Kole – is going to be helping us out this weekend as well.  Ethan is definitely going to need some assistance moving things through those doors!

We did get a nice photo spread in the Virginia Pilot on Thursday.  On Friday in the TICKET section, the Daily Press also ran a photo and show information.  From the time we arrived at the theatre, the phones in the box office were ringing and continued to ring all day.

We had a good audience on Friday night, not sold out but very near capacity.  I have no idea what tickets are like for Saturday night or Sunday afternoon.  I guess we’ll see.

We had an interesting experience during the show.  I young man who volunteered to help out with one of the tricks got very nervous…and then decided to leave the stage before doing the trick!  Fortunately, another guy volunteered to finish the trick for him.  In the end, I can’t say I blame the first guy.  I was going to cut off his head (magically of course).
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Tomorrow is another day…and another show.

TODAY, WE LEAVE

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

We are leaving today to go to Hampton, Virginia for our first performances of the season.  We have three shows this weekend at the American Theatre – Friday 8pm, Saturday 8pm, and Sunday 2:30pm.  The truck is loaded, suitcases are packed, and the official start of our 08/09 season has begun!

WRAPPING UP AND HEADING OUT

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

We are wrapping up several projects in the office this week. Things are continuing to move ahead with the new website design. I’m crossing my fingers that it will be ready to launch sometime in the next week. I’m very happy with the way it’s coming together. Greg is doing a great job – always creative and cutting-edge. I hope you guys like the new look and navigation. And I think you’re going to like many of the features.

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We’ll be hitting the road again on Thursday for Hampton, VA.  We begin a 3-day run at the American Theatre on Friday night. I’m hoping for three great audiences! This will be our fourth visit to this venue in the last 10 years. These days, it’s like working with family.

I’ll definitely be posting from Hampton.  It’s going to be a fun weekend!

WORKING ON THE WEBSITE

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

I am getting excited about the launch of the new website design for SpencersMagic. I hope to see it go online here in the next couple of weeks. We’ve been working on this design – on and off – for several months now. Greg (the design dude) and I wanted a new “web 2.0″ feel for the site – contemporary, easy navigation, cool features, social networking and, most importantly, a dynamic site that is constantly being updated with new information as it becomes available. If it all comes together, it’s going to be very cool!

One of the things that we thought might be interesting is to design some wallpaper for various size computer screens. Cindy captured some interesting images with her camera and a very talented graphic designer/photo artist did a little freelance work on them. We converted some of them into wallpaper designs and will make them available on the site. Here are a few examples:

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I’ll be posting here when the new design is up and running. Until then, all of us will be working in the office and the warehouse getting ready for the Fall tour.

MEET ETHAN

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

In the last few months, I’ve made references to Ethan in the blog. He’s our new Illusion Engineer. He handles the props in the show and makes an occasional on-stage appearance. He and Cindy have been working in the warehouse while Keith and I have been working in the office. They made a stop today at Home Depot to pick up some supplies. This picture captures Ethan perfectly – he’s the one with the sunglasses on in case you were wondering.

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AMERICAN THEATRE – HAMPTON, VA

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

We are preparing to launch into our Fall 2008 tour. I am getting excited and almost ready to go. This season will be one of our best tours – ever. I’ll be doing a combination of performances and outreach programs across the U.S. this year. I’ve recently updated the fall tour schedule. I promise to have Spring 2009 online soon. The tour is slammed this year and we will be appearing coast to coast in a theatre near you! I look forward to meeting you at one of our shows!

You can also find our tour dates on our FaceBook page. If you’re not with us on FaceBook, you should join us! It’s a great way to stay connected – just click on this link. And you can follow us on Twitter or BrightKite too!

It has been a very busy summer – redesigning marketing materials, working on new illusions, revamping some of the aesthetic elements of the production, and lots more. If you haven’t seen the new poster, here’s what it looks like.

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We are also getting ready to launch a new look for this website. Greg has been working hard on this one for several months (he’s a very busy guy) and you will see the fruits of his labor very soon.

In just a couple of weeks, we’ll be heading to one of our favorite venues to work with some of our favorite people - the American Theatre in Hampton, VA. Three shows and a Healing of Magic workshop will keep us occupied that weekend. Tickets are ON SALE NOW – Friday 8/29, 8pm; Saturday 8/30, 8pm; Sunday 8/31, 2:30pm.

ALWAYS HUMBLING…

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

It is always humbling when I read about the experiences of someone who has attended one of our performances. Recently, I wrote about the adventure we had at the Chuck Mathena Center for the Performing Arts in Princeton, WV. It is one of the highlights of our summer performance schedule.

Today, I stumbled upon the blog of someone who attended that show. As I read her words, it reminded me of just how fortunate I am to be able to do this job.

Hubby and I recently saw The Spencer’s Theater of Illusion and they were totally amazing! We had great seats only 5 rows from the stage and yet, with a clear view, we couldn’t figure out “how they did that.” Of course they use specially made props and boxes with mirrors and sliding doors, but still… For almost 2 hours they performed. Kevin Spencer is a true showman and his skill as an illusionist combined with his humor, together with assistance from his lovely wife = a show well worth the price to see!

You can read her complete entry on her blog posting entitled ILLUSION.

Thank you Carolyn for your kind words, your encouragement and support, and your willingness to share your experience with your readers.

I am a lucky guy. I get to do what I love with the person I love most in the world. And when you read these kind of comments from audience members….well, it just doesn’t get any better than that.

GEARING UP FOR FALL

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

It is that time of the year where things start to kick into high gear. The next three weeks we’ll be going full-throttle. There is so much to do my list is a bit overwhelming. I’m trying to take it one task at a time…

Most of what I have to do is video editing and graphic design. And both of those take a lot of time – and can be frustrating. I have managed to finish the design for the new poster (below) and have six of our eight ads completed (or mostly completed). I’m now working on one huge graphic project with the deadline fast approaching.

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Once that design is complete, I really need to put some time into finishing up the HOCUS FOCUS curriculum. I’ve been working on this for almost a year – a very cool program to help special needs children in our schools. This will be a branch of the HEALING OF MAGIC program. It’s just one more avenue where magic can make a significant impact on the quality of someone’s life. I am very excited to get this program into the research phase.

Keith is working most of this week in the Academy of Music theatre with our intelligent lights and the new light board. This is going to save us a ton of time on show days and, hopefully, will make his job a bit easier once he get through these time-consuming set up stages.

Cindy is finishing up a few of her projects and preparing to hit the road in a few weeks. Ethan is working in the office and will be working with Cindy in the warehouse soon.

Ethan has finished putting up our Fall Tour schedule on Facebook. If you haven’t joined us on Facebook, come on over! Just click here an add us.
Okay, that’s the update. Now, I really need to get to work!