Archive for April, 2011

LANCASTER PERFORMING ARTS CENTER – CA

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Can I just start out by saying I love these guys!   This is our second time to be performing on the stage of the Lancaster Performing Arts Center.  We were here in 2005 and performed for an enthusiastic crowd.  And we worked with a great staff and crew.  It’s been several years and I wondered if the second time would be just as good as the first.  It absolutely was!!  And the audience enthusiasm exceeded our expectations!

The new director, Theresa, and the outreach coordinator, Bobbi, worked very hard to arrange for some meaningful activities for the HOCUS FOCUS program.  First stop was the Yellen Learning Center, a specialized school for children with emotional behavior disorders.  We conducted three workshops here with great results.  The students were attentive, focused, and completely engaged.  After a quick bite to eat at a local place, Tom’s, we were off to Desert Haven, a day facility for people with developmental disabilities.  We did three workshops here as well.  I never get tired of hearing people say, “Look at me.  I did it!!”

I had a great time in Lancaster and added more great memories to those I already had.  I’m already looking forward to coming back again!

SAFFORD & CHANDLER, AZ

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

We left Klamath Falls, OR for the long drive back to Arizona.  One of the most frustrating parts of touring is buying fuel permits for states that require them.  California is one of those states and the require that you have the permit in your possession before you enter the state.  I had scoped out a place on the border to buy one on the drive from Oregon to Arizona.  We stopped to buy the permit only to find that they no longer sold them…in spite of the HUGE sign out front of their fuel pumps that said they did!  We ended up driving into California without the permits but found them in a small town a few miles past the border…thankfully.

SAFFORD CENTER FOR THE ARTS, AZ

We rolled into Safford and got settled into our hotel.  We had a day off – the first in a while – and everyone took advantage of the time.  We washed clothes, caught up on email and phone calls, and generally tried to relax.

We did things a little different here.  We loaded into the Safford Center the day before the show.  This gave us plenty of time to do some maintenance on our equipment.  The day of the show, Alan and I worked at the Fort Thomas School with the Hocus Focus project.  I think we stopped in 11 classrooms and worked with more than 150 students throughout the day.  Afterwards, we were on our way back to the Center to get ready for the evening performance.

Tickets had sold very well in Safford, well enough that they opened some additional seating.  We were at near capacity – almost completely sold out!  The audience was very excited, enthusiastic, and response to all the illusions we presented.  We had a great time working in Safford with Terry and the entire team.

CHANDLER CENTER FOR THE ARTS, AZ

After the Safford performance, we left out early the following morning toward Chandler.  There are some big mountains to cross through the desert and I wanted to do them in the cool of the day rather than the heat of the afternoon.

I have never worked with Michelle and TJ at the Chandler Center so this was a show I was looking forward to.  We were all expecting a very good crowd and, once we arrived, we were told we had a crowd of over 1200 people already coming to the show.  That’s pretty good for a Sunday afternoon matinee!  And they were a GREAT crowd too!  Lots of “oohs and aahs” throughout the performance.  Several area magicians were also in attendance at the show including our very good friends Andre and Kathy Kole.

The day after the show, TJ had made arrangements for us to have a visit at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

She picked us up at the hotel and we started the drive into Phoenix.  Traffic wasn’t bad at all so we made great time arriving way too early…so, we decided to stop off at a very unique place to grab something to eat and drink – Two Hippies.  The food was great including the Cactus Tacos!

After lunch, we drove the last two blocks to get to the Children’s Hospital.  I had invited Andre and Craig to meet us there and they arrived before us.  We gathered our stuff, made our way into the building, and started to set up a small show for the patients and their families.  As we started to set up, the crowd started to gather.  Before we knew it, the entire area was packed with people!  The outreach coordinator from the hospital said it had been a long time since they had this many people leave their rooms.

Once the show was over, one of the hospital personnel took me on a stroll through the Intensive Care Unit to visit with some of the patients that couldn’t make it to the show.

All in all, Chandler was a great experience!  We are already looking forward to coming back!!

ROSS RAGLAND THEATER – KLAMATH FALLS, OR

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

From Chico, CA, we drove further north to Klamath Falls, OR.  This would be our first performance at the Ross Ragland Theater – and I love performing in new places!  This is a beautiful theatre in the middle of downtown.  It has gone through some major renovations over the last few years and, they say, it’s better than ever.

Load in and set up went very well.  When it came time for the show, a large enthusiastic audience made their way into the theatre.  This audience was very energetic!  On more than one occasion, they carried on a conversation with me on the stage from their seats.  The interaction was priceless!  And their responses to the illusions were fantastic!

Thank you Klamath Falls for being such a great audience!  And thank you to the entire team at the Ross Ragland Theater for making our time on your stage so much fun!

LAXSON AUDITORIUM – CHICO, CA

Monday, April 11th, 2011

After the great audience at Three Stages in Folsom, we drove to Chico, CA where we would spend the next few days.  The morning after our arrival (Monday), I was up very early at 5am to do WAKE UP CHICO on the local NBC affiliate.  Shannon from the venue picked me up at the hotel and we were on our way to the studio.  The interview went very well and we were out of the studio by 7am.

Shannon dropped me back at the hotel where I ate breakfast, answered some email, and did a live radio interview for an upcoming show in Arizona.  Alan meet me around 9:15am in the lobby.  Dan, also from the venue, picked us up for a workshop at Twin Oaks Acute Rehab Facility.  We spent 30 minutes working with the therapists, teaching the concepts of “magic therapy.”  These guys were so much fun!  And the fun just continued into the therapy sessions with the clients.

Following the workshop at Twin Oaks, we went back to the hotel, gathered the rest of the team and made our way over to Laxson Auditorium to start loading in the equipment.  We never turn down the opportunity to get a jump on set up!

Three shows later, we were loading the equipment back into the truck and making our way to Klamath Falls, OR.  Dan DeWayne, the executive director of Chico Performances, sent this email to the office:

‘Kevin and Cindy Spencer and their crew were a delight to work with, including during Kevin’s exciting outreach work during his visit to the Twin Oaks Acute Care facility here in Chico.  His enthusiastic personality and impressive knowledge of occupational and physical therapy worked wonders on both the therapists and patients as he used magic to help them with their rehab and bring smiles to dozens of faces.  The Spencers performed two separate youth performances for more than 1,850 area children that were received with enthusiasm and standing ovations from the enthralled students.  Kevin Spencers’ years of stage craft were evident during the evening performance, mixing wonderful illusions with intimate conversation and story telling that made for a relaxed evening of fun for our family audience.  It was a pleasure working with Kevin, Cindy and their excellent crew and the long lines in the lobby waiting for an autograph indicated the audience was pleased with the performance.”

Klamath Falls….here we come!

THREE STAGES – FOLSOM, CA

Friday, April 8th, 2011

After our show at the Sunset Cultural Center in Carmel, we loaded up the truck and started the four hour drive to Folsom.  We arrived at our hotel around 3am, just in time to catch a couple hours of sleep before our early morning load in for a 4pm performance at the incredibly new and beautiful Stage One of the Three Stages at Folsom.

This was our first time working with David Pier, the executive director.  But it was not the first time we have worked with Sam Coquerille, the technical director.  We worked with Sam several years ago at Tilson Auditorium in Terre Haute, IN.  And now we would have the chance to work with him again!  He and his crew were ready for us when we arrived.  The day moved along smoothly, almost every detail in place before we even arrived.

Tickets were selling very well prior to our arrival and we were already almost sold out.  By show time, we were only a handful of tickets from being at capacity.  And it was a fantastic audience too!

One the crew had the truck all packed, it was time to drive again.  This time, we drove only 3 hours north to Chico, CA.  We were in the hotel by 11pm and would get a good night’s rest.

A big thank you to everyone who supported us in Folsom, CA.  We look forward to coming back again with our new show!

SUNSET CULTURAL CENTER – CARMEL, CA

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

After a cross-country drive from Houston, TX to Carmel, CA, we began a 3-day adventure working with the Sunset Cultural Center in Carmel-by-the-Sea.  This is a beautiful community.  Our hotel – L’Amberge – was a spectacular boutique residence for several days.  The rooms were beautiful and the service was perfect.

Alan and I worked in 10 classrooms over a 2-day period with students with special needs and learning challenges.  Natalie, the education director at the Sunset Cultural Center, made all the arrangements and was our escort for the drive to/from Salinas schools.  This is one of our favorite parts of being on the road.  Taking Hocus Focus into classrooms across the country, allowing students to experience success and engage in learning, and watching teachers get excited over the accomplishments and enthusiasm of their students is very rewarding.

We did take some time to relax.  Our hotel was only a block from the ocean.  One afternoon, Cindy and I walked down to the beach and took some time enjoying the weather.  The views were gorgeous and those of you who know Cindy, know she took lots of pictures!

After two days of classroom work, we loaded into the Sunset Cultural Center to get ready for our performance.  This is a very unique performance space – great crew, great staff, great audience.  We also had some special guests at the show.  Jim Steinmeyer and Frankie Glass were up from Burbank visiting Marshall Magoon (also a friend and fellow magician).  Jim is a creative consultant with our show so it’s always great for us when he has the chance to see us perform.  And we’re already working on several new illusions for next season.

After a great time in Carmel, it was time to pull away from the beach and make our way to Three Stages in Folsom, CA.  Thank you EVERYONE in Carmel for your support – and thank you EVERYONE at the Sunset Cultural Center for taking such great care of us!