Archive for April, 2009

TEXAS HERE WE COME!

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

After a very brief time at home, we are flying back to DFW Airport in Dallas today to start the last leg of our Spring 2009 tour.  The “swine flu” is certainly on the minds of a lot a people in Texas these days – making headlines in local newspapers across the state.  We’re hoping – praying – that it doesn’t hurt our crowds as we move through the next 10 days.

We open tomorrow night to a sold out house in Grand Prairie, TX – the Uptown Theatre.  On Saturday, we head down to Waco and the Hippodrome Theatre.  There was a very nice article in today’s WACO TRIBUNE about the weekend performance.  And from Waco, we head to Corsicana for a week of residency and two performances at the Palace Theatre on Thursday, May 7.  The next 10 days will be very busy!

BEACH-SCHMIDT PAC – HAYS, KS

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

We arrived in Hays, KS the night before our show.  It was beautiful when we arrived – sunny and warm.  The weather did change, however, to severe thunderstorms (that’s the Weather Channel tour).

The next morning things were much more quiet.  We pulled out of the hotel and headed over to Beach-Schmidt Performing Arts Center on the campus of Fort Hay State University.  As much as we tried, the local newspaper (Hays Daily News) was not “kind” to us in the way of media coverage.  The only item that did appear was in Thursday’s paper in the “Events of the Day” column – sad.

We pulled into the loading dock.  The crew was finishing up a few last minute lighting issues.  We found the pipes we needed for our backdrops, got everyone signed in and badged for the day…and then cracked the back of the truck to start loading it all in.

Cindy placed cases while Keith started working on the lighting.  I was busy getting the intelligent lights out of the case and things ready to go once Ethan wrapped up load in.  This was going to be a fairly easy day – it’s a beautiful venue and the crew is definitely professional and on top of things.

We were set up and ready to go by 5:30pm.  Doors would open at 7pm and the crowds – mostly students – would rush in to get their seats.  They requested no intermission for this show so we were doing lots of illusions with no break anywhere for Cindy and Ethan to reset.  I’m sure it was crazy backstage!

In the end, the audience gave us a standing ovation and everyone was happy.  We tore it all down, loaded it back in the truck, and headed back to the hotel.  We were in bed by midnight and ready for the drive on Friday.  We are heading home for a few days!!!

CHEYENNE, WY

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

We arrived in Cheyenne the night before the show.  It was a fairly easy drive from Boise but, one again, we hit some bad weather.  A spring snowstorm blasted across Wyoming leaving more than 3 feet of snow in the higher elevations.  We spent the night at the border in Evanston.  Interstate 80 was closed between Rawlins and Cheyenne so there was no reason to keep going.

We checked into a local hotel and then walked across the street to Spencer’s Wyoming Grill – with a name like that, how can it be bad, right?

The next morning we were on our way to Cheyenne, the last few hours ahead of us.  We arrived around 4:30pm and checked into the Plains Hotel downtown.  This is an old restored hotel that has lots of charm and definitely from the west.  We pulled in the front and unloaded our luggage.  Keith checked us in while Ethan and Cindy got the luggage into the lobby.  I had to pull the truck into a different parking lot big enough to hand the rig.

Once we were settled in the room, we explored a bit of downtown Cheyenne – searching for food and checking out the Depot.  There are some amazing “cowboy boot” art pieces around the city, several of them located next to the hotel in the Depot Plaza.  Cindy – the amazing photographer that she is – took several pics of me standing with the boots.

Monday morning started very early for me.  I was up around 4:45am to get ready for an appearance on the MORNING SHOW on the local CBS affiliate – KGWN 5.  Ann – the morning anchor – extended an invitation for me to appear on the show and promote the event one more time to the community.  I was at the station around 6am and “live on the air” around 6:20am…but not before my first cup of coffee of the day at the Coffee Shop in the Hotel.  Tyghe, the coffee dude, fixed me a great vanilla latte and I was on my way.

After the tv interview, I went back to the hotel and had a little breakfast.  Dru, Director of the Civic Center, picked me up around 8:30am and we drove over to KRRR to do an in-studio interview with Cowboy Bob. This guy has tons of energy and that made for a lively, exciting interview!  I would also have the chance to meet Karen Cotton from the Wyoming Tribune Eagle in the afternoon.  She did a great article for us a week or so ago and would be bringing me a copy for our files.

Dru dropped me off at the hotel around 9:30am.  My team gathered in the lobby and we walked over to the truck to head to the Civic Center.  The show was to start at 7pm and that means an earlier-than-normal load in.  I backed the truck to the loading dock to find a crew ready to get to work!

Dennis – the TD – was ready for us.  We needed to shift a few soft goods around to make room for our scenery so he did all of that before we brought in the cases.  Once everyone was speeched, badged, and signed into our non-disclosure agreement, we cracked the back of the trailer and started unloading.

The day moved along nicely.  The crew worked very hard to make sure everything looked good.  I was especially pleased with the way things were coming together for this show.  Monday nights can be tough nights to get out an audience so I was hoping for a great crowd!

Once again, we had a home-cooked meal from “Mom,” a wonderful woman who prepared some amazing food for us.  They set up the green room with tables, table clothes, and hot food.  Two shows in a row, we’re going to get spoiled!

After dinner, we were running to do our final checks before the doors opened.  We had a wonderful audience for the show – great crowd, volunteers who were ready to get on the stage, and terrific responses to the magic.  One of our illusions – the Spikes of Doom – uses a young lady from the audience.  We generally take a picture of her during the illusion and give it to her.  We’ve now started posting those images on our website instead.  You can find them on the homepage under SPIKES SURIVORS or HERE.

We had a few visitors who also came to the show.  Dale and Tom, two great guys we met last summer on the train from Paris to Venice, drove up from Denver.  And Darcy, a very cool lady we’ve know for years and years from our “student activities” days, drove in from Laramie with one of her friends.  we visited after the show in the green room for a while and then had to say our goodbyes.  I also had the chance to meet so many people in the lobby afterwards!

Yesterday, a review by Roy Barnes, appeared on line - Illusionists Known as the Spencers Entertain Hundreds with Magic at the Cheyenne Civic Center.

Everyone at the Cheyenne Civic Center was wonderful.  This was such a memorable evening and I look forward to coming back here again!

MORRISON CENTER – BOISE, ID

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Friday was show day!  After an early morning television interview on Fox 12, a tasty breakfast with Jan and Matt, I was on my way back to the hotel to gather the crew.  I had a few things to wrap up in my “portable office” before we were going to drive over to the Morrison Center.  Because we were able to begin set up the day before, this day would be much less stressful!

We arrived at the Morrison Center shortly after lunch to finish up the day.  It was nice to move along at a more leisurely pace – but we still had lots of things to do before the 7:30pm show.  We owe a huge THANK YOU to the entire technical crew in Boise.  They made our time here so much fun because they were so prepared, paid great attention to details, and were genuinely nice and enjoyable people to work with!

Another great treat for the day was dinner.  Matt and his wife, Monae, spent the night before mixing up homemade cookie dough and preparing for a cook out.  In the middle of the afternoon, they pulled out a BBQ grill onto the dock and cooked up some chicken and asparagus.  They prepared a fantastic salad and then the desert – cookies and brownies!  I ate way too much food before this show but it was amazing!

And the venue brought out the good china as well!  Table cloths, real silverware, china plates – wow, we could get very spoiled like this!

We had a wonderful audience for the show that night.  People were more than ready to volunteer to help out on stage and the responses and reactions to the illusions were great.  The local Boise Magic Club also came to the show (thanks for the support guys) and I had the chance to visit with them and other members of the audience after the show in the lobby.

We had a great time in Boise – three wonderful days of media, workshops, and magic.  I’ll be looking forward to coming back to the Morrison Center again in the future!

MORNING TELEVISION

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Matt was here at 5:50am to pick me up and drive up to Nampa.  I was scheduled to do an interview on FOX 12 and we had to be there before 6:30am. Jan met us there and we all headed into the station.

The host – Nate – was incredibly energetic for this hour of the morning!  Good thing, because “energy” is contagious and he was able to keep the interview moving along.  We covered a lot of information about the magic therapy program and the show tonight.  The station had some of our video footage to show during the interview as well.

After the interview, Jan had directions to one of the “local joints” for breakfast.  Don’t quite remember the name but something like “What You See Is What You Get.”  The portions were HUGE!  I enjoyed the time that we just kicked back (in spite of the very early hour), ate breakfast, and talked about nothing in particular and everything in general…very relaxing.

Show is tonight – 7:30pm – Morrison Center in Boise, ID.  We’re heading over there in a couple of hours.

ANOTHER DAY IN BOISE, ID

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Last night, I had the pleasure of having dinner with Jan (Exec. Director of the Morrison Center) and Jennifer (a former Miss Idaho and friend of mine).  Downtown Boise is very hip and the restaurant in which we ate was awesome.  I enjoyed the fish tacos!

Today, we were off to the Morrison Center to begin setting up for our performance on Friday night.  We arrived a little before noon and found the stage crew ready to get started.  We have been looking forward to this performance for a long time.  We were here in 2005, worked with a great crew, and had a wonderful audience.  I know the economy is going to hit us a bit on ticket sales but I’m still excited that it will be a terrific audience!

The entire stage crew here is so professional, easy-to-work-with, pays attention to detail, and makes the day pretty fun.  With the bulk of the show set at this point, tomorrow we will deal with the intelligent lights, tweak the lighting cues, check/set the sound, etc.  It’s a HUGE stage with tons of space but they were able to make it intimate enough for our show.

It’s also a huge venue with about 2000 seats.  I know these guys have done everything they can to get the word out about the show – radio, television, banners, posters, etc.  I’m trusting that, in the end, all their efforts will result in a great audience.

I left mid-day to head over to St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital to work with some of the kids there with our Healing of Magic program.  Fox 12 was there and they plan to do a nice story on the Sunday 9pm news.  I’m hoping to get a copy of it.  The kids were great and their determination to learn combined with their enthusiasm when they get the trick never makes for a dull moment!  This is always a very special time for me and I’m thankful for the opportunity to share a little of my magic with these guys.

We’re going to relax a bit tonight.  Tomorrow morning will come early.  Matt is picking me up around 5:45am to head over to Fox 12 to make an appearance on the FOX MORNING SHOW.

MEDIA IN BOISE, ID

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Jan Zarr picked me up this morning bright and early at 6:45am.  We were off to “94.9 The River” to do a radio interview with the morning guys.  We had a great talk and you can check out their blog to get more details.  This was the last entry from the morning show….

THE SPENCERS THEATER OF ILLUSION: This morning we visited with Kevin Spencer of The Spencers. They will be bringing their award winning show to the Morrison Center this Friday evening. The Spencers are huge in the world of illusion and their show sounds pretty cool. Check out this trailer for their show here. Learn more about The Spencers here.

Afterwards, we had breakfast at the Capri – a local restaurant that has a breakfast to kill for!  I can personally vouch for the ham & cheese omelette!

Around noon, we made our way over to the studios of KTVB NBC 7 in Boise for a live interview on the noon news.  I had a wonderful interview with Carolyn Holly about the magic therapy program and the show on Friday night.

There’s still some media to happen yet – Fox Morning Show on Friday and perhaps a little coverage from the CBS affiliate in town on Thursday.

Now, I’m just trying to get caught up on some office work!

DRIVING TO BOISE, ID

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

We have finally arrived in Boise for the next few days.  Once we entered Nevada, it was a much longer drive than we had expected.  Actually, I’m not sure the drive was long as much as the fact that the “scenery” was not as exciting.  There were a few moments, like when we came up on the brush fires in the fields.  Trucks and firemen were everywhere.

We stopped for the night in Elko, NV.  I’m not sure exactly where that is but it’s somewhere off I-80 not far from Utah and Idaho.  Cindy and I walked across the street to the King Buffet to have dinner.  I wasn’t expecting Chinese food in this town but there it was.  Food was tasty!

We were up this morning and back on the road by 9:30am.  We would change time zones again today to Mountain Time (losing an hour) once we enter Idaho.

We left the Interstate for Highway 93 – the scenic drive north through Nevada toward the Idaho border. The road was a good one and the scenery was a bit of a change.  We stopped at the border to purchaser our trip/fuel permit for Idaho (official papers that let us drive in the state = $180) and continued on our way.

We arrived in Boise this evening and will be here for the next few days.  Tomorrow will be a very early start for me – 7am radio interview and a NBC News appearance at 12noon.  I’m not complaining – I love doing these interviews!

PLUCKERBRUSH, NV – REALLY!

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

PLUCKERBRUSH, NV – POPULATION 28.  We stopped here today for diesel fuel.  The scenery was beautiful but there aren’t many towns on I-80 East from Reno to Well, NV.

We’ve spent the last two days driving from San Ramon, CA through most of Nevada.  We are heading to Boise, ID where we have a full schedule starting on Wednesday.  I’ll be appearing on the noon news on the NBC affiliate, doing some radio interviews, and making an appearance on the FOX morning show.  I’m also going to be doing some outreach activities with the Hocus Focus project arranged by Jan Zarr (one of the greatest guys in the world).  And then the show is Friday night at the Morrison Center in Boise.  This is Idaho’s most prestigious performing arts complex and what a privilege it is to be there.  If you are in the area, check out the show at 7:30pm!  You can buy tickets online HERE!

From Boise, we’ll head to the Cheyenne Civic Center for a show there on Monday, April 20 at 7pm.  Karen Cotton from the Wyoming Tribune Eagle wrote a great article for us.

The drive from Sacramento to Reno was breathtaking!!  As always, Cindy captured some of the beauty of the trip – simply spectacular.  I would write about it but words won’t do it justice.  Here are some images.

We stopped at a Rest Area at the top of the Summit, elevation 7,227 feet.  I don’t mind the climb, it’s going down the mountain that always scares me!

And how could I pass up an opportunity to get a picture in the snow in April!

Tomorrow, we finish the drive to Boise!

DOUGHERTY PAC – SAN RAMON, CA

Monday, April 13th, 2009

We had a great show last night in San Ramon, CA.  This is a brand new theatre – open for less than a year – and it’s always a privilege to be a part of the first season of events!

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to use our hazers in the venue because they haven’t quite worked out the “fire alarm” system.  That would mean we couldn’t use our intelligent lighting either BUT those are all the “bells and whistles” that we like.  Luis and his crew worked very hard to help us get the show in and up before 7pm.

It didn’t matter that we were limited in our production.  The show still has some very strong illusions in it – and the audience didn’t seem to mind at all.  They were a great crowd!

I had leave during the day to get Ethan to a doctor.  He’s been battling some sort of upper respiratory thing since we arrived in Redding.  In the past two days, it got really bad and his fever started spiking around 104.  Crystal – the theatre manager – made him an appointment.  We set up as much as we could and then Cindy and Keith took over our responsibilities as well as their own.  We made it back by 5pm with prescription in hand for some heavy-duty antibiotics!

I almost forgot – you’re read about our friend Steve Chezaday from Naperville, IL.  He drove up to visit with us and see the show in Madison, WI at the Overture Center.  A friend of his named Carol came to see the show in San Ramon.  She introduced herself afterwards and told me she wanted to help out with the Spikes of Doom!  I’m sorry she didn’t get that chance – maybe next time.

Thanks to everyone in San Ramon for making our time there fun and memorable!