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CBC News Interview featuring Richard Turner

18 Jun

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Magic world standoff over tricks of the trade

CBC News  Posted: Jun 16, 2012 12:16 AM ET  Last Updated: Jun 16, 2012 12:15 AM ET

WATCH CBC News interview

Professional magicians dazzle audiences, but in the age of Google and instant answers, might tell-all books and video explainers forever expose what’s up performers’ sleeves?
According to Alex Stone, author of Fooling Houdini and a practising magician who has competed in The Magic Olympics, it’s high time to reveal the magic world’s secrets to the public.
“There’s often as much beauty to the methods, to the ideas behind it, as there is to the tricks themselves,” Stone told CBC’s Eli Glasner.
However, professional practitioners say there are more than just simple tricks to the venerable trade.
“You can go on YouTube and find out the secret, but that doesn’t make you a magician,” said Julie Eng, one of the organizers of the Mind over Matter – Magicana series in Toronto as part of 2012’s Luminato.

Toronto Star reviews ‘From the Dark’

17 Jun
Juan Esteban Varela in From the Dark - Photo by Aaron Harris / for the Toronto Star

JUAN ESTEBAN VARELA | From the Dark
Aaron Harris/For the Toronto Star

The Toronto Star’s staff reporter, Alyshah Hasham, reviews her experience of a magic show in total darkness, by Chilean magician Juan Esteban Varela, where even the performer is blindfolded.

Luminato: ‘From the Dark’ — A magic show performed in total darkness

By Alyshah Hasham
Staff Reporter
Jun 16, 2012

Traditional magic tricks are all about the grand reveal.

Before your very eyes, promises the magician, the dove will disappear.

But how do you perform a vanishing trick when your audience is unable to see?

That’s the premise of renowned Chilean magician Juan Esteban Varela’s “From the Dark” — a magic show where both magician and the audience are blindfolded.”

Under the fluorescent lights in the lobby of Hart House Theatre I slip on a black blindfold, “surrendering my sight” to Maria Zambrano, the appointed guide for our group of 10.

The reassuring sliver of light around my nose fades as we queue in pairs to enter the darkness of the theatre.

One hand resting on the shoulder in front of us, we shuffle carefully toward Maria’s voice.

The theatre sounds crowded, but when I end up alone for a moment, waiting to be gently herded to my seat, I can’t tell whether the closest person is a foot or 10 feet away. It’s oddly paralyzing.

“If screaming starts we’ll leave,” the optimistic woman on my right tells her friend as we settle in. “For now, let’s embrace the madness.”

It is a magic show after all — though what that entails is the subject of much speculation as we wait in the darkness.

Varela told me earlier in the day that there would be some divination, some card tricks. Oh, and that somehow he’d make something disappear.

In the two years he has been doing this show, he once performed for the King of Spain and his sister Margarita, who has been blind since birth. After the show, she emotionally told him that that was the first time she understood what it meant for something to vanish before.

As I consider this, Maria places a small box on my lap, and tells me to strap it onto my leg.

Inside are various props including cards and a coin. We are all magician assistants in this show it seems.

Finally a hush. Varela speaks. He is sitting on the stage in front of us, he says, himself blindfolded to share this journey.

The theatre is dominated by his voice, which leads us through tricks performed with our own hands and the props from the box. He guesses which hand of a volunteer holds the medallion he gave her, confirmed by its metallic thud when dropped onto a table.

“I don’t want the spectator to have any other explanation,” Varela told me before the show. “They can’t say it happened so fast I didn’t see it. I want them to have no defence for the astonishment. I want the impossible to be a little more impossible.”

It took him 10 years to develop the show, which began as a way to share magic with people who are blind (the Luminato Festival performance is presented in collaboration with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind).

Over time it became a show for anyone, using blindfolds to allow the performance to take place inside the minds of the audience. That’s why Michael Weber, the director of the Canadian premiere of “From the Dark” ensures the theatre is never seen at all.

For Varela, the challenge is giving up the control of sight, being unable to study the faces of his audience and relying on their vocal cues.

As an illusionist he demands trust from the audience. But when you are all blindfolded, the trust has to go both ways.

And trust me, under your very nose, something does vanish.


Last chance!

Varela is performing this unique experience, From The Dark, as part of the Mind Over Matter magic series for Luminato 2012. Magicana is delighted to be presenting this Canadian premier under the direction of Michael Weber.

The show plays Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Hart House Theatre, 7 Hart House Circle, Toronto. It lasts 75 minutes with no intermission. Admission is $35. Limited seats available. UofTtix Box Office / 416.978.8849 /www.uofttix.ca

 

Banachek reveals Toronto Star headline prediction at Kiehl’s

9 Jun

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Today at Kiehl’s on Queen Street, Banachek returned to reveal his Toronto Star predictions, made one week ago on June 1. (Even the Toronto Star started to wonder if they were really so transparent that a mentalist could make such claims!)

After a demonstration of his powers of the mind – reading people’s thoughts, making impossible predictions, manipulating metal, bending forks and so forth – he set the stage to make his big revelation of the headlines stories from the front page of today’s Toronto Star.

With the original Kiehl’s ambassador who witness the original sealing there to verify each of her signatures, Banachek’s final predictions were revealed side by side with the front page of The Toronto Star held in front of the group. Audible gasps rang out as images Banachek revealed each of his predictions. He had even sketched rough images that matched photos on the front page. It was a stunner and there was no doubt that he nailed it.

But, is it real or is it fake?

Well, that’s up to you to decide.

During his week in Toronto, Banachek has demonstrated some amazing power of the mind. Come and see for yourself: is it real, or is it fake.

Banachek’s new show, The Alpha Project (directed by Jim Millan) runs June 8, 9, 10 at the Fleck Theatre at Harbourfront as part of the Mind Over Matter magic series for Luminato. Details and ticket information can be found here:www.magicana.com/banachek

Luminato Discount Offer

2 May

Magic enthusiasts: a special offer* just for you!

We are presenting Mind Over Matter with Luminato and we have just arranged a special  10% discount.

Use this link to BUY and SAVE NOW

Or, call 416-368-4849/4TIX (Password MAGICANA).

June 8 – 9 at 8PM, June 10 at 2PM, Fleck Dance Theatre
$35.00 – $45.00 

SPECIAL: USE THIS LINK TO SAVE!

THE ALPHA PROJECT is the world premiere of Banachek’s astonishing new show. It features psychokinesis, telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, hypnotism, séances and, perhaps most amazing, dermaoptics—the magic of sensing without sight. Often described as the world’s greatest mentalist, British-born Banachek earned international headlines at the age of 18, when after four years of close examination the scientists at the Washington University declared him a genuine psychic. He later revealed he had fooled the experts, debunking their entire study.

“The strangest thing I have ever seen, amazing!” – William Shatner

June 11 at 5:30 PM, June 12 – 14 at 7:15 PM, The RBC Lobby at TIFF Bell Lightbox

FREE Event!

As charming and funny as he is thrilling, Richard Turner’s abilities to manipulate cards in THE CHEAT leaves audiences utterly astonished and completely dumbfounded. Turner isn’t just a card cheat, he’s a blind card cheat. The Texas-born Turner is a master card mechanic who has entranced such legends as Muhammad Ali, Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, and more recently, Brad Pitt. With the ability to wipe out any high stakes gambler, Turner’s finger sensitivity is so acute that United States Playing Card Company employs him as a “touch analyst” to test the texture and flexibility of its decks. 

June 15 – 16 at 8PM, June 17 at 2PM, Hart House Theatre
$35.00

SPECIALUSE THIS LINK TO SAVE!

Can the non-sighted experience the same sense of astonishment that a sighted audience feels when witnessing magic? So asked Chilean magician Juan Esteban Varela. FROM THE DARK is a unique and interactive experience that takes place in complete darkness. After blindfolding spectators and providing them with a box of props, Varela directs the audience in the dark and creates magical feats – and the experience of a magic show – without the audience seeing it, proving that, as long as a person has the ability to imagine, they can use fantasy to create fiction.

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* This is a limited time offer only. Offer is valid until 11:59PM Sunday May 20, 2012 for online sales only. Phone lines are open Monday to Friday 11am – 7pm and Saturdays 11am to 3pm; the offer is only valid until 4pm on Saturday May 19, 2012.

Offer is subject to availability. Offer cannot be applied to previously purchased tickets or combined with any other offers or promotions.

Get your Luminato Tickets now!

19 Apr

Click here to download the full Luminato 2012 brochure

Luminato tickets can now be purchased by the general public, bringing you one step closer to Toronto’s  electrifying festival.

Magicana is proud to present three enthralling, cutting-edge shows that will surely challenge the way you perceive the world.

1. THE ALPHA PROJECT

June 8, 9 @8PM, June 10 @2PM
Fleck Dance Theatre, 207 Queens Quay West

Tickets: $35, $45

Is it real or make believe?

Many believe they have experienced the paranormal, but are there invisible connections that exist between us? Can we transcend the distinctions between past, present and future? Banachek is a real mentalist the only one declared by a team of scientists at Washington University as a genuine psychic.

But is he?

Banachek’s Alpha Project is his story, and the story of his exploration of telepathy, spirit channeling, ESP, prediction, metal bending, psychokinesis and past life regression.

In The Alpha Project, Banachek reveals the beauty and danger of make believe.

RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes, including intermission.

BUY TICKETS

2. RICHARD TURNER: THE CHEAT

June 11 @ 5:30 PM, June 12–14 @ 7:15 PM
The RBC Lobby at TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King Street West

Tickets: Free

Can you beat The Cheat?

Richard Turner is known as “The Cheat”, a card cheat.

What makes Richard extraordinary, however, is that he is a blind card cheat.  He uses his mind to enable his hands to perform pure magic. Richard has developed his sense of touch to the point where he can perform miracles with cards.

For Luminato, Richard will present his tour-de-force demonstration in card table artifice.

Running Time: 45 minutes , no intermission.

FREE EVENT

3. FROM THE DARK

June 15–16 @ 8:00 PM, June 17 @ 2:00 PM
Hart House Theatre, 7 Hart House Circle

Tickets: $35

Just close your eyes.

Interested in magic since the age of 6 and a professional magician since the age of 20, Juan Esteban Varela, hailing  from Santiago, Chile asked the question: is it possible for non-sighted people to experience the same sense of astonishment that sighted audiences have felt for centuries while in the presence of a magician?

The result: From the Dark — the only magic show in the world that takes place in absolute darkness. Conceived for people unable to see, as well as for  adults who can see (but who are blindfolded for the performance), From the Dark invites the public to witness the possibility of being astonished and experience live magic without using their sight.

Running time: 105 minutes with an intermission.

BUY TICKETS

Mind Over Matter

14 Mar

Luminato 2012 - Mind over matter

When magicians perform the impossible, they remind us that there are still new worlds to explore and new sensations to experience; that imagination, when coupled with ingenuity, creates both art and science.

For the 2012 Luminato Magic series – Mind Over Matter – we have invited three masters of the impossible – Banachek,Richard Turner and Juan Esteban Varela – to challenge the way we perceive the world and function within it.

Follow us and we will keep you updated on all our shows! For now, see David Ben’s – artistic director for Magicana –  magical video invitation.

The sixth edition of Luminato takes place from June 8–17, 2012. Tickets for all Luminato 2012 programs will be available for sale on April 14. For details, keep an eye on  this blog and you will be the first to know!

Vodavil

18 Jun

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In the historic Winter Garden Theatre, Vodavil
played to a great house as part of the Luminato festival of the arts.

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

What a great show!

Where else in the world will you have a chance to see The Great Tomsoni, Gaetan Bloom, Mike Caveney, Tina Lenert and Ardan James all on the same stage, all on one night? That’s vaudeville.

“Vodavil” was an informal term many vaudeville performers used in their correspondence to describe their profession: that distinctive and highly polished brand of popular entertainment that flourished in specialty theatres across North America from the 1890s until the 1930s. During that time, each show consisted of a variety of acts — performers who specialized in a particular branch of popular entertainment: singing, dancing, pantomime, juggling, comedy and, of course, magic. The performers worked a circuit, coming together to present their ‘turn’ on a show in a host city for a few days before parting their separate ways to repeat the process with other performers in a different town or city. By and large, the acts had to be easy to stage and transport.

Vodavil brings together artists, who, in an earlier era, would have proudlyborne the name of “vaudevillians” for an evening of all-out family entertainment, in a grand theatre of that same era.

Vodavil June 17, 18 – 8PM
Winter Garden Theatre | 189 Yonge Street (@Queen)

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