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Happenings at the Magicana Office

4 Apr

Meanwhile, back in the mystical office of Magicana … we welcome a new member to our team, Ellise Ramos.

Ellise is a recent graduate from the University of Toronto and will now be spearheading Magicana’s Program Coordinator role. As a long-standing supporter of the arts, she is also excited to helps us forward our cause of sharing wonder within our community.

And, as we welcome Ellise we also congratulate James Alan as he moves to focus on his performing career. James remains as an instructor for our children’s program, My Magic Hands, and on our performance roster for Senior Sorcery. We are confident that this new direction will allow him to explore the depths of the art and we wish him all the best in his new pursuits.

Happy Holidays

15 Dec

Happy Holidays

Hard to believe, but here we are at the end of another magical year. When we look back, it’s even harder to believe we had time to fit it all in:

My Magic Hands

We just finished last week our last of fourteen sessions of My Magic Hands, watching the outstanding performers from Lawrence Heights Middle School (coached by their “buddies” from Havergal College) and from Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab Hospital . Both shows were really extraordinary – reminding the audience how powerful the magic of mentorship and self-esteem really is. Congratulations to all our new graduates and to their coaches.

We broke new records with My Magic Hands, presenting the program to the entire Grade Five year of Queen Victoria Junior Public School (over 100 students in four classrooms) over eight weeks. The traditional end-of-session Big Show became A Very Big Show, where each Grade Five class presented FOUR simultaneous shows to the lower grade students. It was extraordinary effort by both student magicians and their teachers.

In partnership with the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), we also presented a new program, Magic ‘n Movies – a week-long camp mixing magic and movie making into one fun-filled program.

We were also thrilled to have our third outing with Camp Ooch’s Urban Camp – a one-day camp (workshop) hosted in the city. For five intense hours, Ooch campers were taught some magic secrets. The goal was to teach  thirty campers magic routines so they could put on their version of A Big Show for friends and family at the end of the day. WOW, it never ceases to amaze the energy that this group can generate! The show was terrific.

Over the summer, we conducted three magic workshops in partnership with the Leacock Foundation for Children’s reading program, LEAP.

We also brought two special summer programs to Holland Bloorview’s Child Development Programs: Helping Hands and Hand 2 Hand. These  workshops encouraged young people to strengthen their “helping” hands. In particular, Hand 2 Hand  – a new program working with clients diagnosed with Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy – allowed us to use our experience to explore new arts-driven activities to bring therapeutic benefits to clients. It was a very rewarding summer!

Senior Sorcery

We also completed  35 Senior Sorcery shows for senior centres and residences. Magicana subsidized a number of shows for centres under budgetary constraints to ensure magic could be shared throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

Festivals, Performances & Conferences

We consulted (Ross Petty’s The Wizard of Oz, the Wickedly Wacky Family Musical), we collaborated (Luminato Fesitval) and we produced.

In fact, Magicana presented four new shows this year: Natural Magick, Vodavil, and Toast of the Town in conjunction with Luminato Festival of the Arts; and Piff Paff Poof during March Break.

In May, we hosted the 42nd Annual Collectors Weekend in Chicago and honoured guests: Dr. Gene Matsuura and Ray & Ann Goulet.

Exhibitions & Publications

In November, we launched a new online exhibition: Everything Erdnase exploring the many variants of  The Expert at the Card Table.

Finally, we released two new publications:  A Cut Above by Msgr Vincent Foy in April, and Erdnase Unmasked this past month. We are just one issue away of producing four issues of Magicol, A Journal of Magic History and Collectibles. If the elves in the workshop can help, we will have our final 2011 issue, No. 181, at the printers this week.

Thank you for being a part of our journey. Without the generous support of our donors and sponsors, none of this would have been possible.

So, as it has been such a magical year, we are now taking a little break for the holiday season. Our office will be closed December 16 and reopen January 3.

Erdnase Unmasked

1 Dec

Erdnase Unmasked

This is it, really.

For over 100 years people have been speculating over who wrote The Expert at the Card Table, the most influential book on sleight-of-hand; and the cornerstone for both the conjurer and the card cheat.

Who was S.W. Erdnase?

Magicana is pleased to present Erdnase Unmasked – a series of papers that explore the mystery and identity of this enigmatic figure. Culled from the pages of Magicol, Erdnase Unmasked contains articles by Richard Hatch, the preeminent authority on the identity of the author; David Ben; Hurt McDermott, Jason England and Martin Gardner.

This is a limited edition production of only 500 copies.

Buy your copy here at Magicana; or at your favourite dealer.

Everything Erdnase

25 Nov

Everything Erdnase Exhibition

Magicana is pleased to announce the release of our latest exhibition, Everything Erdnase.

The exhibition, created by Jason England and Julie Eng, showcases the legendary book, The Expert at the Card Table – by the mysterious, S.W. Erdnase – and the book’s perpetual appearance in print for over a century. While exploring the numerous variants, both here and abroad, the exhibition also highlights the slew of ancillary discourse, publications and products Erdnase has inspired.

The exhibition was developed in conjunction with a special issue of Magicol (Issue No. 180) devoted to Erdnase with articles by Richard Hatch, Jason England, Hurt McDermott and David Ben. (Stay tuned for more information on a forthcoming publication.)

Everything Erdnase is by no means the definitive word on the subject, and we encourage Erdnase scholars, bibliophiles and casual viewers to add any additional information germane to the exhibition.

We now invite you to visit Everything Erdnase

Magic In Victoria, BC

11 Jul

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This has been quite a season of magic!

Magicana presented  several world-class magicians in our public performances and conferences. In June, we presented Vodavil featuring  The Great Tomsoni & Company, Gaëtan Bloom, Mike Caveney, Tina Lenert and Ardan James; and Natural Magick featuring David Ben.

In May, we had the pleasure of  inviting Canadian illusionists, Murray Hatfield and Teresa, to join us in Chicago to close the 42nd Annual Magic Collectors Weekend with their spectacular, high-energy show. They wowed the crowd with brain-scratching, modern magic and finished with an outstanding illusion that simply defied every law of physics!

You will now have a chance to see Murray and Teresa this summer in, An Incredible Evening of Magic, which will be presented every weekend in July and August in Victoria, BC, at the beautiful Victoria Conference Centre Theatre. It is a must-see show featuring some of Murray & Teresa’s signature routines. You won’t be disappointed.

And, if you are a magic enthusiast or jokester at heart, you will want to stop by Murray’s Trick & Joke Shop, a wonderful magic emporium filled with magic treasures and hilarious jokes. The Shop has become a local attraction, and one you will not want to miss.

 

Magic In Victoria

Murray’s Trick & Joke Shop

Magical Medicine

22 Jun

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Photos by: Brittany Boudreau

WATCH magicians at work in this video clip.

Magicana has been delivering My Magic Hands to clients at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab Hospital since 2004. And, as the program’s lead instructor, it has been one of the most rewarding personal experiences I have encountered in my career as a magician.

For most recent round of My Magic Hands at Holland Bloorview (held during May and June), clients participated inside of our partnership with the Luminato Festival’s Outreach and Education program. Clients from a wide range of ages from five to sixteen, were challenged to learn how to perform magic over the course of four weeks in preparation for A Big Show, which was held during the Luminato Festival. As always, the show was spectacular but what is even more rewarding was watching clients flourish over the course of the program. Clients pushed past barriers, often surprising themselves at how much they could do. It was also very gratifying to hear how our magic program gave clients a new perspective:

“It has been great watching our daughter over the last couple of weeks practicing all of the tricks which has bolstered her fine motor skills. She  realizes that if she makes the effort on a daily basis to use both hands she will continue to see improvement on her left side.  To us as parents this is invaluable.”

— M & A Cairns

This program, however, relies on other kinds of magicians – the occupational therapists, speech therapists and  dedicated volunteers at Holland Bloorview. Without this level of support, where clients are encouraged to bring their magic to speech and therapy sessions – and where they are given such incredible encouragement and coaching by volunteers – the program could not flourish. But as a team, it’s clear there is real magic at work and we congratulate all our new gradutes of My Magic Hands.

Julie Eng

 

See My Magic Hands in action!

During the program, we were visited by CBC who broadcasted this clip on The National.

For more information about our program visit: www.mymagichands.com

Natural Magick

16 Jun

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David Ben performs in Natural Magick.

© 2011 Magicana. All rights reserved. Photos by David Linsell.

In the news…

From The National Post

Tricks Of The Trade

David Ben takes a rolling paper and twists it into the shape of a butterfly. He gently places it in his jacket’s front pocket, then pulls another of the delicate tissue papers from its package. Again, he fashions a pair of wings. He then takes a fan and unfurls it dramatically. After tossing the second butterfly into the air, Ben quickly begins to fan, as if cooling himself on a hot summer’s night. The paper flutters across the stage, as if searching a flower to land on. Ben stops, and reaches into his pocket for the other butterfly. He then tosses both in the air, fanning rapidly to keep them aloft. He catches the butterflies, then begins to fan the hand holding both creatures; suddenly, a flurry of white paper flies out of his hand and … READ THE FULL STORY

From Mooney on Theatre

Luminato 2011 Review of Natural Magick

Magic shows are… well they’re magical. We suspend belief, gasping with delight as the coins pour from someone’s nose and applauding wildly when the torn crumpled pieces of paper turn out to be whole. Even the most jaded skeptic responds to magic. Not that tonight’s audience at the Luminato presentation of David Ben’sshow Natural Magick were jaded, but there were definitely some skeptics who were there under duress. After the show I overheard one man saying how glad he was that he had gone, how much he had enjoyed the show and how much he really didn’t want to go.

David Ben has terrific stage presence. He’s completely at home on the stage. I think that’s why people in the audience are so willing to go on stage and be part of the act. That was part of the magic of the evening – how easily Ben got people up on stage and how relaxed they seemed while they were there. … READ THE FULL REVIEW

From Toronto Life

Tuesday’s Luminato picks: Andromache, Raj Kapoor and David Ben’s Natural Magick

In a world where everyone is too cool for school and everything is laced with a healthy dose of irony, the earnestness of a good old-fashioned magic show is welcome. David Ben rescues the art from the dregs of children’s birthday parties and elevates it to a refined act of theatre, inspired by the golden age of magic of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Expect astonishing feats, from telepathy to conjuring. Hugh Jackman, you’ve got nothing on this. June 14 to 16. $36.50–$41.50. Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman Ave., 416-368-4849, luminato.com/2011/magickREAD FULL STORY

From InsideToronto.com

Natural Magick performs in his hometown

For the first time in years, world-renowned magician David Ben will dazzle hometown crowds with a special performance at the upcoming Luminato festival. Ben, a veteran of more than 35 years on the magic scene, has travelled extensively, performing magic and hosting speaking gigs around the world. 

His new show, Natural Magick, will feature … READ THE FULL STORY

From torontoist.com

A Magical Night Out at Luminato

As we embarked on Luminato’s opening night with two magic shows on our agenda, we admit to being filled with child-like glee, but also prepared with a full deck of skepticism, should it be necessary. Which, fortunately, it wasn’t.

The game-changer for the multimedia performance by Natural Magick‘s David Ben, for instance, came towards the end, in a jaw-dropping illusion (or talent, maybe?) where he swallowed 20 sewing needles and a string of thread, only to regurgitate them a minute later—evenly threaded, straight out of his mouth. We are dying to see that one up close. We won’t give away the rest of his tricks … READ THE FULL STORY

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