Monday, November 30, 2009

The Calm Before the Storm

November was a reasonably busy month with shows in some interesting venues, including a very posh fund-raising show that included a holiday tree lighting ceremony complete with artificial snow!

Sandy and I also traveled to Peabody, MA for the SAMCON magic convention where both of us were dealers (Sandy displays and sells her cloth props for variety entertainers and I do the same with my books and original effects.) Conventions are always fun and we get to meet up with some old friends like Jeff McBride, who was the headliner at the event.

I received a pleasant surprise via e-mail from Tim Coffey, one of the best photographers in the Northeast. He sends out a newsletter for the bar and bat mitzvah markets and thought enough of my work to publicize it. Tim really has a knack for taking great shots (I love the expression on the face of the kid to my left!) and he's really someone you should consider if you're looking for a top-notch photographer for any kind of event.

As the title of this post implies, things are quiet around here right now but in a few days, the madness will begin as I start criss-crossing several states to do holiday shows. There are still a few open dates here and there on my calendar, though, so if you're looking for some entertainment for your holiday party, get in touch soon and we'll see if we can't squeeze you in somewhere!

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

In My "In" Box...

It's e-mails like this that make me feel very fortunate to be able to do what I do for a living:

"We saw your magic show at Quassy on September 26th. You were kind enough to notice my daughter when she was upset at the end of the show to have not been picked to participate in one of your tricks. We were very grateful when you offered to do a trick just for her at the next show (last one of the day) and pick her to assist. I have attached one of the photos I took. She absolutely loved your show and was on cloud nine to have been up on stage assisting in a trick. I cannot tell you how surprised her father and I were that she was so eager and willing to be a volunteer. She is not necessarily a shy girl, but has never been inclined to participate in something so public before, especially up on a stage. She must have been very taken with your tricks, as she shot her hand up to participate for every trick, in both shows. We know it helped boost her confidence immensely as well. After your show, she wanted to go on some rides by herself, which she usually does not. In any case, I have been meaning to contact you to let you know how much she enjoyed your show and assisting in the trick and to thank you for making her feel so special."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Better (Very) Late Than Never...

I know...long time no hear. I can't tell you how many times I've sat down at the keyboard fully intending to update this blog. However, the phone always rings or an e-mail comes in that needs to be answered right know what I'm talking about. However, I'm going to certainly try to get back into the habit of updating this once a month at the very least, perhaps even more frequently if I can get the mobile blogging application on my iPhone to behave itself.

So, where do we start? I guess a quick highlight recap of the months since my last post would be in order. In late January, Sandy and I had the opportunity to perform for our first rock star. Jamey Jasta, lead singer of the metalcore band Hatebreed, hired us to entertain at his daughter's birthday party.

We had a great time with his family and friends. What's more, Jamey was extremely generous, giving us a large assortment of Hatebreed merchandise for my stepson (a hoodie, CDs, DVDs, posters, etc. - all autographed!), who was very impressed when he found out we were going to be hanging out with one of his heroes.

Most of my stand-up work is for private clients, but in March, I was on a comedy club bill that was part of a fundraising event for a conservation group. It was a large and enthusiastic audience (overly enthusiastic if you count the one drunk biker chick...) Also in March, my newest book for magicians was published, this one on the subject of restaurant magic.

In April, I had the honor of making special appearances at all of the branches of the Sikorsky Financial Credit Union as part of a special promotion for National Credit Union Youth Week. Themed "The Magic of Saving," the promotion was used to encourage the children of credit union customers to open savings accounts and begin to learn how to manage their money. Customers were encouraged to bring their kids as I performed close-up magic in the lobbies of six of their branch offices, making sure to also hit all of the talking points for the promotion while performing.

Sandy and I started back at Quassy Amusement Park for our seventh season at the end of April and continued there through July 4th. Shortly after the holiday, we left for the beautiful shores of Lake Tahoe, California, where I worked with mentalist Richard Osterlind, my friend and business partner, on a set of instructional DVDs on the subject of mentalism. Pictured at right are Richard and I on the set during the shoot.

We returned to Quassy on Labor Day and will finish out the season with eight shows this coming weekend. Just last week, I lectured for a magician's group in Ashland, MA on the subject of restaurant magic and we are also busily preparing for our shows at the Harwinton Fair (this will make it 18 years that I've been performing at this delightful country fair in northwestern Connecticut.) I also just signed on to do a series of Halloween-themed shows at the Beardsley Zoo for their Howl A Ween event. Watch their website for dates and times. I'm also still performing close-up magic at Ginza in Bloomfield every Sunday night from 6 to 8 PM so if you like great Japanese food seasoned with a little magic, stop by! (And, I should also mention that Sandy's there on Friday nights making outrageous balloon sculptures.)

Whew! I guess that's it for now. More sooner than later...I promise!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ringing Out The Old

I know that many, if not most, are happy to see 2008 as just a fading image in the rear-view mirror, but it ended on a relatively positive note for Sandy and I. The number of holiday shows was down slightly this year no doubt due to the economic downturn of recent months (in fact, a couple of companies that had booked holiday parties in the fall cancelled their events entirely due to layoffs, etc.) but I did receive a number of last-minute bookings which turned December into at least a respectable month.

We ended the year by working First Night Danbury - two shows for very appreciative audiences who braved a snowstorm to attend (said snowstorm also doubled for us what normally would have been a 45-minute ride!)

Our two shows bookended two shows by Pete Mamos, a good friend and very funny hypnotist, and then it was off to a private show for two hours of walk-around magic before walking in the door fifteen minutes before midnight to watch the ball drop in Times Square.

Other notable shows during the holiday season were at the new MGM Grand Hotel at Foxwoods and a show in New York City for the Metropolitan Dog Club, hosted by Charlotte Reed, an international pet expert who has had numerous segments on The View. I also performed at the world headquaters of Subway for their holiday celebration this year. All in all, it was an interesting and productive month.

Those who know me know that music has always been a big part of my life so I was particularly happy to find a 10-CD box set celebrating the 50th anniversary of Motown under the tree this year. Entitled Motown: The Complete No. 1's, this set comes packaged in a box that looks like the original Motown studios and includes an amazing 191 tracks featuring the Temptations, the Four Tops, the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and the list goes on and on. I grew up with this music and also spent 12 years playing a lot of these songs in my previous life as a broadcaster. They've all been remastered - these songs have never sounded this good - and it's great to have them all in one place.

Happy 2009 to one and all...