Archive for August, 2011

EARTHQUAKES & MAGIC CAMP

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Chase and I will be in Hampton, VA all week conducting MAGIC CAMP.  I worked with the American Theatre last year and did two camps, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  This year, I’m also doing two camps – magic camp for beginners in the morning (with 8 students) and magic camp for the advanced in the afternoon (13 students).  We’ve had two very productive days – and everyone is learning some very cool tricks. The two classes will come together on Friday night and perform a 60 minute show for their families, friends, and the public.  Oh the pressure is on!!

Today, just before the start of the afternoon camp, the entire theatre starting shaking – EARTHQUAKE in Virginia??  Turns out is was a 5.8 magnitude.  There was some damage in Washington, DC – but only a little shaking here in Hampton.  I talked with Cindy at home and she said the ground (and buildings) definitely moved there!  And they are continuing to have some aftershocks – the last one was a 4.2.  These things always happen when I’m gone and she’s there alone…..

GETTING READY TO HIT THE ROAD

Friday, August 19th, 2011

Wow, this week went fast.  This entire summer went fast!!  We are heading over to the warehouse this morning to load the truck.  We hit the road on Sunday.  First, a week of “magic camp” at the American Theatre in Hampton, Virginia followed by three performances next weekend. It will be a great way to get back into the sync of being on the road.  Lots to do for a Friday so I’m outta here!

AMERICA’S GOT TALENT – REALLY?

Friday, August 12th, 2011

I’m not sure what I think about this show on NBC, America’s Got Talent.  It’s in its fourth season, gets huge ratings, but seems to destroy (or at least greatly damper) the dreams of many talented people while often moving forward individuals/groups who are more of a novelty, not necessarily talented.  So, should the name really include the word “talent” or should it be America’s Got Novelty?  Don’t get me wrong, I understand the premise of the show and I realize the judges are looking for something that’s going to “make it” in Vegas…not Peoria.  But I question the credentials of the judges.  Just because you’re a “celebrity” (dubious one at that), does that qualify you to have the expertise to judge talent?  I think the fact that they’ve moved forward with “talent” like the “Rapping Granny” and “Skateboarding Dog” demonstrates they don’t really have much ability in the area.  Media critics have said the show “focuses on the goofy and unrestrained.”  Any weekly viewer would have to agree.  So, is it really a “talent” show?

I’ve watched several magicians appear on the show over the seasons (mostly on YouTube after the fact) – some of them good, most of them not. We were approached by the producers to appear on the show last season (and declined).  The producers seem to have a great time demeaning the magicians and exploiting them.  A quick YouTube search will reveal a few reels of bad magic auditions for AGT.  However, with the exception of Nathan Burton’s appearances on the first season, they (judges and producers collectively) seem to be especially mean-spirited toward magicians. Which begs the question, why would any magician subject themselves to that?  Being belittled on national television in front of millions of people doesn’t seem like good publicity to me.  And when they do have good things to say about a magical performer, it typically leads to some sort of set up for later in the season where they comment “you started off strong and just fizzled out.”  Or it leads to some sort of confrontation between the performer and the panel.  I just can’t watch the show…and listen to the stupidity that comes out of everyone’s mouth.

BUSY WEEK

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

The last week has been crazy busy.  It started with the arrival of one of our very good friends from Chicago, Greg.  We flew him into Lynchburg to film our new promo video.  We also worked with the guys over at Abandon Films, renting their studio and some of their equipment.  We unloaded and set up on one day, filmed for 9 hours the next day.  We have several new illusions in the show and really need to get the marketing kicked into high gear.

After filming all the illusions – which went very quickly – we spent the remainder of the time filming some short interview segments.  Keith was very instrumental in helping me capture the right words and emotion for these segments.  I’m excited to see the final product.  Greg is incredibly creative and I’m confident he is going to edit something together that will be unique in the industry.

After filming, it was back to the office this week.  We are in full swing gearing up for the fall tour.  Chase is working in the warehouse repairing cases and doing maintenance on equipment; Alan is working on several design projects for new materials; Keith is advancing upcoming performances and finalizing road details; Cindy is working on costuming for new illusions; and I’m concentrating on the launch of the Hocus Focus curriculum with HSG and getting ready for Magic Camp in a couple of weeks.