Number 1217 - Saturday 21st October 2023


Bess - The Other Houdini, Upstairs At The Gatehouse, London. 24th October - 12th November. Escape Artists Theatre Company presents Bess - The Other Houdini, the startling true story of Harry Houdini’s beloved wife and her breakdown in the aftermath of his death. The world knew Bess as Houdini’s loyal partner, both on and off stage, his inspiration, his guiding star - or was their perfect marriage their greatest illusion?

It is 1929, the height of the Spiritualist frenzy. Houdini, the world’s first Superstar, has been dead two years and all attempts to contact him have failed. Yet surely if anyone can break through from the Other Side, it’s Harry. Meanwhile his widow, Bess, his beloved partner both offstage and on, is alone and lost, her fragile health already stretched thin by years of living in daily fear as her husband was buried alive, flung manacled into icy rivers and dangled upside down ten stories high in a straitjacket. Now she is deeply in debt, struggling with addiction and desperate to stay in the public eye.

When she is accused of rigging a séance, and with the press hounding her as a fraud, she is forced to flee to a private sanitarium. Does she truly believe her husband has reached out to her from the Beyond? Or, haunted as she is by her own memories and hallucinations, can she even tell the difference? As she battles with her own demons, she stumbles upon devastating clues about Houdini’s secret life, leading to the revelation that their perfect marriage may have been the greatest illusion of them all...


There will be a special performance on Halloween (Tuesday 31st October) it being Houdini’s deathday, including a Q&A with the show's Houdini expert and magic effects consultant Paul Zenon, and actor Pip Henderson who plays the lead role. For more info and to book Click Here. 21.10.23


Magical Bones: Soulful Magic - live at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London, tonight! From the promoter: Following his current run at the Edinburgh Festival, the Britain’s Got Talent finalist continues on the road with a brand new show full of the most awe-inspiring and high energy magic you’ll see this year. Direct from appearances on America’s Penn & Teller Fool Us, BBC1’s BAFTA Awards, ITV1’s This Morning and Sky’s Around The World In 80 Tricks. Age guidance: 10+
"A dazzling show… full of imagination and flair"
**** The Guardian
"What’s happening on stage really is magic"
The Telegraph
"A spellbinding show that leaves the audience gasping in disbelief"
**** The Wee Review
Book here:


Jon Allen Lecture -  Wolverhampton Circle of Magicians. Sue Oakley writes: On Wednesday 25th October The Wolverhampton Circle of Magicians are hosting a lecture by Jon Allen. Jon is an experienced performer, creator, author and lecturer. A professional magician since 1988, he has won International IBM, British Ring IBM and Magic Circle close-up competitions. In Jon’s lecture, he shares his knowledge and experience of performing over many years. It'll be a great lecture and we welcome visiting magicians for a fee of £5. Lecture starts at 8pm on Wednesday 25th October at the ECC Sports & Social Club, Showell Road, Wolverhampton WV10 9LU. For more information, contact Sue Oakley secretary 21.10.23


Russ Stevens Illusion Hire launches: As a company we believe in quality over quantity and nearly all of the illusions in our inventory are unique and original to us. All have been designed to create maximum impact and will have people talking long after the show or event is over. Please check out our stock of illusions and see the actual magic in action performed live on TV shows including BGT, The Ellen Show, AGT (USA), Little Big Shots (USA) and Saturday Night Takeaway. 21.10.23


David Khan on Craig Petty's Magic TV: 'Talk Magic'. Every week Craig Petty sits down and chats with a well known magician; a creator, a performer, or someone who has had a positive impact on the Magic Community. This week: "David Khan - Marketing in Magic, The Online Marketing Surgery, and much more" YouTube. 21.10.23


The MagicWeek Video Archive. A new magic clip or show every week! This week, Shankar Junior on John Fisher's Magic Comedy Hour from 11th September 1991. See The MagicWeek Video Archive. To see more from The MagicWeek Video Archive Click Here. 21.10.23


"Piff the Magic Book Live Launch" YouTube. Piff the Magic Book Volume 1 "A hilarious and intimate look at the life and secrets of the hardest-working dragon in magic. You’ve never read anything quite like Piff the Magic Book - Vol.1. It’s rare for a magician to give up such strong material, especially a working pro that still uses some of it in their act. But it’s even more rare when that magician is a Las Vegas superstar like Piff the Magic Dragon." For more details visit 21.10.23


"TripAdvisor names Bristol bar Smoke and Mirrors as one of the country's best 'hidden gems'". A live magic venue in Bristol has been named one of the best hidden gem attractions in England. Smoke and Mirrors on Denmark Street has already achieved the coveted title of the 'number one in things to do' on the online travel platform, and now it has been featured in a list of the 'best hidden gem attractions' in the entire country... Read the full story by Ellie Kendall in 21.10.23


Vinny Sagoo's Magic & Mentalism Lecture, review. "I can honestly say it is extremely rare that I have attended a lecture where I find that each and every routine shared is both practical, deceptive, entertaining and truly commercial on all levels, and yet that is exactly what Vinny Sagoo delivered and as such I would unreservedly recommend you check out his Neo-Magic line of original effects and get him booked to lecture for your Magical Society and/or Convention." To read Jonathan Royle's full review of Vinny Sagoo's lecture, given to the Order of The Magi last week, Click Here. 21.10.23


The Young Magicians Club Junior Day 2023. Sunday, 22nd October, in London. From the organisers: Held at The Magic Circle HQ in London, this is the highlight of The YMC calendar. A full day packed with international, award-winning performers: 2 star lectures (Tobias Dostal and Nick Einhorn); an interview with Emmy nominated actor and magician Nick Mohammed; Dealer’s Hall; Gala Show starring Billy Kidd, Yollin Lee, Jake Allen, Tobias Dostal, Florian Brooks, hosted by Young & Strange; The Finals of The YMC Close-Up and Stage Magician of the Year Competitions! Anyone aged 10 to 18 years old is welcome. Join the Young Magicians Club and get your ticket here:


Paul Abbey Workshop at the Zodiac Magical Society, London. From the organisers: On the 25th of October the Zodiac will be hosting a workshop led by Paul Abbey. Please bring along those staple magic props such as playing cards, sponge balls, rope and defunct American currency so that you may follow along.

This event will take place on Wednesday, October 25th, from 8pm-10pm at our club room located just a five-minute walk from the Northfields Tube station on the Piccadilly Line. There is a charge for visitors. You will need to email to let us know that you are coming. You can follow us on Instagram at @zodiacmagicalsociety for updates.


The Greatest TV of the '70s. The best programmes of the decade, featuring comedy from Tommy Cooper, Morecambe and Wise, The Two Ronnies, Fawlty Towers, Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em and The Good Life. There are clips from dramas including I, Claudius, Abigail's Party and The Sweeney, as well as game shows like The Generation Game and Sale of the Century. Saturday 28th October on Channel 5. See TV  Magic for details. 21.10.23


Darwin Ortiz 1948 - 2023. Michael Vincent remembers Darwin Ortiz. Darwin Ortiz passed away on Friday 13th October. He really loved horror stories and films so this date would have pleased him. I needed a little time to reflect on Darwin’s transition. I find it difficult to comprehend my world without him. Weekly emails carried coaching lessons and feedback on my videos I sent him, now, nothing. He was the last of a great generation of mentors who impacted my life.

Magic brought us together because of Cardshark; this book had a massive impact on my magic and career. His contribution to our craft is an outstanding legacy of books and video performance, that will educate and inspire generations to come. His books on Magic Theory have broaden the landscape. Strong Magic and Designing Miracles have become classics in our literature.

I feel privileged to have enjoyed 20 solid years of friendship, outstanding coaching and mentoring. I am happy knowing he heard me say "I love you". Darwin was my friend; he was the most decent, kind and honourable human being I have ever known. Michael Vincent, 20th October 2023.


[Here is Darwin Ortiz on top form 30 years ago, on The Paul Daniels Magic Show: YouTube]. 21.10.23


"Dirk Arthur, last Las Vegas magician to perform with live animals, dies at 63"

"Las Vegas magician, animal showman Dirk Arthur dies" 21.10.23


"Harry Houdini’s Death: Was It Really by Sucker Punch?" Click Here • "Magician Ben Hart will perform in Burnley for one night only" Click Here • "Magician Hollie England at House of Cards" Click Here • "Mentalist Suhani Shah’s Chamatkar India Tour promises an immersive experience" Click Here • "I’m about to put you in my belly" Click Here • "MagicFest returns to Edinburgh this December" Click Here • "Cocktail magician: GN Chan has numerous tricks up his well-designed sleeve" Click Here • "Magician back on the road after pandemic hiatus" Click Here • "'You got me there': Prince William 'outsmarts' magician at his own trick" Click Here • Thanks as always to everyone who contributed news this week - see you next week, Duncan. 21.10.23