Number 322 - 26th August 2006


Tony Chapek, whose interactive act with a plasma screen was such a hit at the Blackpool Convention in February, has been booked to repeat his award-winning performance at this year's International Magic Convention in London (November 24th - 26th). Split second timing, clever use of technology, great humour, and good old fashioned manipulative skills are combined to create an act that is simply stunning. Also just added to the bill is Mike Caveney, returning to the convention with his fun-packed fooling. Nominated an astounding 10 times for Stage Magician of the Year at The Magic Castle, and an accomplished author and magic historian, Mike uses his dry wit and comprehensive magical knowledge to create a hilarious, yet truly baffling, act. Following his highly successful performance at FISM, Will Houston will not only be performing but will also present his first ever lecture. Will's original thinking and high skill level helped him burst onto the national magic scene in only the last year, winning national awards and international recognition for his original close-up presentations. Your first opportunity to see his lecture will be at the convention in November 26.8.06


Blackpool Magic Convention latest news: Canada's Greg Frewin will top the bill on the Sunday Gala Show with Juliana Chen closing the first half. Tickets for the convention are selling fast. The new VIP Registration has just 100 tickets remaining, out of an initial 500. This year's theme is "Close-Up Colossus" with 16 of the world's best close-up performers being featured. Eight will perform on the Saturday and eight on the Sunday. The biggest Dealers' Fair in the world houses 106 international dealers and will open at 1pm on the Friday afternoon. For more details contact Arthur Casson on 01253 393688 email website: 26.8.06


The Wonderbus. Tired of seeing older people in the UK pushed aside or written off, TV trickster Paul Zenon decided to set up The Wonderbus, with the intention of providing them with a bit of fun and companionship. Getting the show on the road, The Wonderbus will take live entertainment to older people in homes and sheltered housing, or take them out on trips to see live entertainment, giving them a good old-fashioned day out to remember. Retired performers will be persuaded to get their gladrags out of mothballs and new kids on the block given a chance to gain valuable performing experience. Everyone involved should benefit from an increasingly rare instance of genuine interaction between the generations. The long term aim is to customise a coach so that the vehicle itself can also be used as a mobile venue.

Zenon was around six years old when he experienced his first taste of live entertainment. His gran's friend Dot Crawshaw arranged a coach trip for the children of local factory workers to go and see a pantomime at Bradford Alhambra Theatre, some forty miles from their home town. This was the first of several that he would be treated to and he became bitten by the showbiz bug; since then he has made a name for himself as one of the UK's best known comedy magicians both on television and live, with performances in around thirty countries. In February of this year Paul bumped into Dot at his gran's funeral and, on giving her a lift back to the sheltered housing in which she now lives, it occurred to him that it might be nice to return the favour that she'd done for him and many other kids all those years ago. And, if he could sort that for Dot and her friends, then why not....(fade to dream sequence).

Let's make no bones about it; Zenon is a blagger, so expect the call. If you can provide anything from goodie bags for the trip to a large parking space, if you're a bus driver or a carer with a bit of spare time, if you've got a P.A. system or lights to lend or you can lead a singalong on a bumpy road, then please get in touch. Oh yes, and if you got a bus or coach, that would be quite handy.

The Wonderbus will have no hidden administration costs and all performers will be donating their services free of charge so that all funds raised can be used directly and tangibly - The Wonderbus will do exactly what it says on the bodywork. The starter's flag will be raised with Paul Zenon's Grey Matter - a Colourful Evening of Comedy at the London Comedy Store on Monday 4th September at 8pm, with special guests including Stewart Lee and Lucy Porter. Tickets are £15, (£12 concessions), from 0870 060 2340 or the venue, with proceeds going to The Wonderbus. Enquiries, press, help or donations: 07721 610364 (P.S. Pass it on but don't tell Dot about it yet.)


Wayne Dobson and Mike McClean (from the Big Breakfast and Richard and Judy) have been asked to contribute to a new magic production with a difference, that is being written by Tony Mcail (Holby City). The show tells the story of a young boy who witnesses his father's death (whist performing an illusion) and then finds himself in later life performing the very same illusion. Both Wayne and Mike are looking forward to the project which should go on tour in theatres across the country. Meanwhile Mike is looking for some close-up magicians to entertain at his wedding on November 5th. (Not much in the way of fees, but plenty of celebs if that's your thing!) Contact: if you'd like to offer your services. 26.8.06


British artist Jonathan Allen's fictitious gospel magician Tommy Angel debuts in Singapore this week at the opening of the city's first dedicated visual arts biennale (SB2006). Ninety-five invited artists and groups from around the world tackle the provocative theme of 'Belief' and its relation to the current religious, political and economic climate. Tommy Angel, profiled earlier this year in Magic Magazine, has been described as "a meeting of Billy Graham and David Copperfield via Donald Rumsfeld." The brutal and narcissistic evangelist conjuror will meet his audience here through a series of large photographic tableaux set within a shadowy architectural labyrinth. Allen will also work with a team of resident magicians for a week in advance secreting custom-printed stage money throughout the city to announce Tommy Angel's ambiguous missionary presence during the Biennale. 26.8.06


Michael Close writes: "In September Lisa and I will be returning to the United Kingdom to do some lectures. We had a great time last year and we re looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. Because of travel restrictions we will not be doing the PowerPoint lecture that we did last year. To make up for this, we have packed the lecture with a lot more magic. Those of you who saw the lecture last year may want to attend this current one; there will be a lot of stuff you haven t seen. Our tour includes lectures in Belfast, Dublin, Wolverhampton, Manchester, the Isle of Man, Newcastle, Leeds, Leamington, and Hull. We will also be making a short jaunt over to Amsterdam for a lecture. At the end of September we will be attending the IBM convention in Eastbourne, and there are a couple of surprises planned for that event." For more information visit 26.8.06


Trevor Duffy and Charles Gauci lecture on separate nights for the Leicester Magic Circle at the Ramada Jarvis Hotel, Granby Street, Leicester LE1 6ES. At 8pm on September 18th and 25th. (Non members £5). Contact Barry Martin Secretary 01509 843066 for details. See What's On for more lecture dates. 26.8.06


The Professional Stage Pickpocket - Ricki Dunn. "Probably the best book on pickpocketing ever written! Ricki Dunn had an impressive career that spanned over 50 years. Also known as 'America’s Funniest Pickpocket', Ricki worked at all the mayor nightclubs, hotels, casinos, and cruise ships around the world. He worked in cities like Miami, Chicago, New York, and Las Vegas. During his 20 minute act he would steal everything from wallets, neckties, glasses, and belts, and have his audience roaring with laughter. This book is the result of his 50 years of experience. In it Ricki reveals how to steal every kind of item. It includes routines that incorporate the different steals, how to develop a pickpocket act, and how to market it. Even if you do not plan to become a pickpocket, the knowledge of timing and the selection of material is well worth your consideration. This book is the legacy of a full-time professional entertainer who was one of the best in his field. Ricki is no longer with us, and for that reason we included a DVD of his act (performance only), giving the viewer a glimpse of his personality onstage, as well as his masterful timing." For more information and to order visit 26.8.06


Identity Theft - new, from Unearthly Magic. Just one of the effects found on the recently released DVD 'Snowblind', this modern piece of magic offers something completely different. 'Identity Theft' features the magical cloning of any spectators identity - right in front of their eyes! It can be performed in numerous close-up situations and is available exclusively from 26.8.06


Let Me Correct You! Last week we mixed up the dates for Rick Green and Becci's appearance on BBC2's new series Let Me Entertain You - the couple can actually be seen competing on Wednesday September 6th (and then on the 8th if they make it to the weekly final). Comedian Brian Conley invites performers to entertain his studio audience in any way they choose for a possible £1,000 cash prize in this new daily series. Audience members are equipped with "off" buttons and once 50% of them have hit their buttons the act is pulled! Weekdays, 4.30pm, BBC2. 26.8.06


Ultimate Street Magic by Gary Sumpter Gary Sumpter's new beginners book of 'street magic' has just been published by New Holland Publishers Ltd. "Over recent years, magicians have had to work harder to keep their public happy. The traditional role of the stage magician in sweeping tailcoats and top hats, has been usurped by a new generation, who're taking magic to the streets. In 'Ultimate Street Magic', Gary Sumpter reveals the tricks of the trade with the use of easy-to-understand text and clear step-by-step photographs. Working through tricks involving common objects, such as playing cards, coins, rubber bands and lighters, that will delight and amaze most audiences, he moves on to explain a range of even more impressive tricks to confuse the steel-willed and scare the strong of stomach, such as an easy-to-master street levitation. Wherever you go - pubs, clubs, markets and restaurants - you will be able to entertain the public with your new-found magical knowledge, and polish your act with a range of smart card flourishes." Available from Click Here. 26.8.06


Black Widow - in stock at the special offer price of £149.99 whilst stocks last! Delivery 3-5 days. Visit 26.8.06


Escapologist Stuart Harley will present his long awaited multimedia lecture - 'The Life and Death of Houdini' at South Downs Magicians meeting on Wednesday 6th September at 8pm at The Ark Community Centre, Turners Hill, Crawley RH10 4RA (Map). Visiting magicians £5.00. Further details from SDM President, Jonathan Cann on 01444 230409. 26.8.06


Severance, starring Andy Nyman, opened nationwide on Friday - it's had great reviews and is set to be a cult hit. Go and see it and watch Andy suffer in ways you never dreamed of! "It is about a squabbling bunch of white-collar workers from the home counties (and one blond American) who have been bussed into the Hungarian forest for some team-building and paintballing exercises. They soon find out that the neo-Transylvanian horrors of central Europe are much more pressing than any previous worries they might have had. It is being billed as 'Deliverance meets The Office'... There are one or two funny lines in Severance, and they are well handled by Danny Dyer and also Andy Nyman, whose cult status as a close-up magician of genius is being eclipsed by his growing career in comedy." Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian 26.8.06


Houdini – The Legend. A double presentation (talk and show) by John Field, Associate Member of The Inner Magic Circle. "The Legend Lives On! - Although he died 80 years ago his name is known throughout the world as one of the greatest magicians who ever lived. Learn about the sensational life of Harry Houdini in this illustrated talk by John Field, Associate Member of The Inner Magic Circle. Magic of the Mind - In the second half of this one-man presentation, experience the inexplicable and astounding mind reading skills of John Field. Witness the thoughts and actions of the audience being predicted before they take place. This show will challenge your understanding of the power of the human mind!" Tuesday 10th October at 7.45pm, Myers Studio Theatre, Epsom KT18 5AL. Tickets £9.00 Box Office 01372 742555 26.8.06


Chris Priest's feet have hardly touched the ground of late with a stream of prestigious bookings. At the start of the week Chris was flown to Portugal to perform for a client's 40th Birthday party and was treated to a game of golf at the famous Quento do Lago Championship course (he won!), then, back in England, he had a mere two hours to travel to his next appointment - performing for the owner of Pertemps at a private party. He then was booked by the ITN news team in London (photo with Shulie Goshe) for another party before flying out to Monaco to perform at an event at The Grand Hotel in St Jean Ferratt for 20 VIPs. Chris enjoyed the full 'star treatment' and was chauffer driven around Monte Carlo in a red Ferrari. Then it was back to reality with a bump as he travelled to Ilford to lecture for the Ilford Magical Society, to be greeted on arrival by magic pros Zap and Peter Mehtab.  26.8.06


Steve Dela has launched a new website featuring his innovative products: • Bristol Day of Magic May 2007: Sunday May 13th, 2007 at the Winter Gardens and Playhouse Theatre, Weston Super Mare. Details nearer the time, • Chris Cox - He Can't Read Minds? Reviews: • Mike Danata's Magic Studio - 10% Off to callers, see for details • "Show us your best illusion and you could appear on The Illusionist DVD release" Click Here • Christopher Williams has just launched a new PDF ebook called 'A Collection of Card Magic' - visit for details and to order • "Opinion: Ali Bongo link is bonkers" Click Here • Tim Shoesmith lectures at the Southend Sorcerers on Sunday 4th September. The venue is Saxon Hall, Aviation Way, Southend on Sea and non-members are welcome for a £5 guest fee • Last week we featured Arturo Brachetti's Fringe show, visit for more • Marc Oberon's one man show is reviewed this week by Alec Powell, Click Here • "Illusionist Cyril leads a resurgence in magic" Click Here • "Performing at circus would be magic for Josh" Click Here • "Illusionist's Island" Click Here • "Ascending to stardom" Click Here • Your UK magic news is always welcomed, please note the 12 noon Friday deadline for Saturday's MagicWeek. See you next week, Duncan. 26.8.06