Archive | August, 2010

A Grand Exposé

30 Aug

As you may have read earlier this year on our Artistic Director’s blog, Magicana unveiled our plans to reprint, A Grand Exposé, a rare 1860 treatise on deception.

The book is now at the  printers and will be available from Magicana on September 15, 2010. We had originally planned to make this book available September 1. However, due to a delay with the printers our anticipated shipping date has been adjusted to September 15, so we are extending our advance purchase offer to September 10.

This book has a limited print run of 500 copies with only 400 available for sale. It will sell for $45 USD plus shipping within North America. Canadian orders are subject to HST.

A Grand Exposé

Designer's interpretation of A Grand Exposé



For Sharing Wonder readers, we are extending our  Advance Purchase Offer: click here and pre-order your copy now for only $40 USD and receive FREE shipping inside North America; pay only $50 USD for free international shipping. Canadian orders subject to HST.

This is a limited-time offer which will expire on September 10, or while quantities last.


A Grand Exposé is an unapologetic explanation of numerous methods of cheating and how they are put into practice as well as several “short cons”. The author – identified only as “an adept” – paints a vivid picture of live in the latter half of the 19th Century as he travels the road, rail and waterways of the period plying his trade.

It was originally published in 1860 and only a handful of copies are known to exist. Our reprint has been reset and designed by Michael Albright who took every effort to create a convincing echo of the original. The foil-stamped, embossed hardbound edition measures 4.75″ by 5.5″ has a limited print run of 500 copies with only 400 available for sale.

Don’t miss your chance to own something grand.

31 Faces North 2010

27 Aug

This past week from August 19 to 22, Magicana – in association with Allan Slaight – hosted the eighth, and final, 31 Faces North Conference.

For four amazing days (and nights) magicians from around the globe gathered to share, explore and collaborate on all things magic. The conference was originally limited to 31 attendees, hence its name. However, this year, the group swelled to 43 participants marking not only our largest group, but also one of our most successful gatherings to date.

We were thrilled to have Jim Steinmeyer and Gaëtan Bloom as our 2010  guests of honour. Jim provided an amazing and in-depth historical research presentation, which clearly outlined his passion and commitment to discovering the past. His engaging, methodical and systematic approach demonstrated Jim’s success as a creative consultant, magician and guest speaker. Gaëtan Bloom gave a jam-packed, non-stop, two-hour presentation! He energetically shared his prolific ideas and revealed his unorthodox methods of solving classic problems. An eye-opening experience to say the least.

And, thanks to the 31FN gathering, Magicana was able to present both guests of honour to the greater magic community by producing two separate lectures, which bookended the 31 Faces North weekend.

An additional highlight for this year’s event was the participation of card-handling expert and gambling consultant, Steve Forte. Steve gave an intensive and in-depth look into gaming and gambling, and provided some (almost unbelievable) insights into this mysterious world. His expertise resonated strongly with the group  – a group which holds Steve in high regard as one of the finest sleight-of-hand experts in the world. Beyond all of his knowledge and sharing, we also found Steve to be an extraordinary generous individual, always giving his time freely to others.

At the end of formal programming at 31, participants are asked to cast their vote for the “Marshall Award” (named in honour of the Dean of Magic, Jay Marshall) – an award given to the individual who participants believe contributed the most to making the conference a success. It was no surprise when Steve Forte was named as this year’s recipient. Congratulations, Steve!

While the 31 Faces North tradition has come to a natural conclusion, its spirit of sharing, brokering knowledge, building relationships, and contributing to the art of magic certainly lives on. We are seeing more and more of this at gathering such as Magic-Con and the Essential Magic Conference.

So what’s next  for us? Well, stay tuned as we move on to our next adventure in the exploration of magic as a performing art.


19 Aug

Oh what a show!

My Magic Hands

Rafael Benatar works his magical charms at My Magic Hand's Big Show at Holland Bloorview

The newly-minted magicians from our latest round of My Magic Hands at Holland Bloorview were outstanding at their “Big Show”. They stood bravely alongside one another showcasing their routines, reciting their scripts and sharing their magic.

I had the privilege of working with these young people and found myself telling magician, Rafael Benatar, all about them over the course of the program (which was an intensive summer version of six sessions in just three weeks). Rafael was touched by the work that the children put into the program and graciously offered to give a special presentation at their Big Show (and graduation) during his visit to Toronto.

The Holland Bloorview magicians were very excited at prospect of meeting this famous magician from Spain and greeted him with giant smiles and a very hearty, “HOLA!” upon his arrival. In top form, Rafael charmed them with his funny and magical routines rounding off another successful session at Holland Bloorview. It was very touching to see how magic brings such joy and laughter into the lives of our participants and their families.

We thank the wonderful staff and health-care workers at Holland Bloorview for hosting us — and we give an extra special “thank you” to our extraordinary team of volunteers. The volunteers are “magic coaches” and the secret ingredient to making the program sing!

We also send muchas gracias to Rafael for sharing his talents and inspiring the participants. The smiles he created at our Big Show will last a lifetime.

Special Guest at Holland Bloorview

13 Aug

As previously reported, Magicana will be finishing up our lastest round of My Magic Hands (our eleventh this year!) at Holland Bloorview next week. Read more about the kind of magic kids generate for us magicians!

Holland Bloorview

Bob Sheets at Holland Bloorview June 2010

Typically, the session concludes with a Big Show – a  magic show recital by the students for their friends, family and at Holland Bloorview their therapists, doctors and volunteers. This is a particularly special event at Holland Bloorview because the children really get a chance to show their advancements and achievements on a large scale. We usually get about 75 plus people attending these shows so there is a lot of pressure for the “magicians”. They always shine.

Par tof the deal is that they get to enjoy a magic performance by a guest magician. At our last session, we were treated to an extra special show by Bob Sheets from Washington DC thanks to our partnership with Luminato. This time, our audience will enjoy a guest appearance by Rafael Benatar of Spain.

Rafael is an international star of magic and well known in the magic world. Read more about his magical expertise on our Artistic Director’s blog.

Rafael Benatar

Rafael Benatar

Upon hearing about our program with Holland Bloorview, Rafael immediately offered to perform something special for this amazing group. We coordinated this latest round of My Magic Hands to conicide with Rafael’s tour of Toronto and Montreal. We are thrilled to have Rafael at our Big Show next week. Be sure to check back soon to get a review of the show and more!

Interested in magic? Take advance of our Magicana Lecture series happening Aug 18 and Aug 22.

Magic One-on-One

9 Aug
At the "Big Show"

My Magic Hands one-on-one participant's performance at his "Big Show"

I have had the distinct pleasure of leading the My Magic Hands program at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Canada’s largest rehabilitation teaching hospital for children, since 2005. The children at this facility never fail to amaze me with their incredible ability to face every challenge imaginable. We have worked with families and occupational therapists to create customized versions of My Magic Hands to accommodate individual needs, but every class always generates magical results.

Recently, Magicana partnered with the Occupational Therapists at Holland Bloorview to provide private one-on-one sessions for select clients to facilitate his/her attainment of therapeutic goals.


Success! My Magic Hands Certificateof Achievement in hand.

For one particular client,  (we’ll call “Darcy”) I could not get over the feedback from the client’s therapists and family. It turns out that Darcy was a totally different kid when it came to magic. He simply lit up at our private sessions and totally identified with magic as something he could do and make his own.

This was a far cry from the client who the therapists could barely get to speak beyond a whisper, or to engage in activity with any kind of energy or enthusiasm. But at our magic sessions, he came out of his shell. He worked, repeatedly to his therapist’s delight, and very hard to learn the technique correctly. In class he practiced using his voice powerfully and, best of all, he sure smiled often. Not only did he totally surprise his therapists with what he could do in our magic sessions, but he also proved to himself his own ability and power. This was reinforced to Darcy when he performed for his class at Holland Bloorview, the same day he was discharged and able to go  home. People often say to me, “You must love your job”. With days like that, why would I be anywhere else?

It was pretty awesome.

Find out this Friday the special surprise I have for this round of My Magic Hands at Holland Bloorview. A new guest performer is on the boards … Send in your guesses on the comment box!

— Julie Eng

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