Tag Archives: David Ben

The Handcuff King

7 Mar

Literary Review of Canada

Can there really be an untold story of the great Harry Houdini?

Believe it or not … yes.

The Metamorphosis: The Apprenticeship of Harry Houdini, by Bruce MacNab (Goose Lane), follows the early career of Harry Houdini and his young bride, Bess, during their second year of marriage as they make their mark (or not) with the Marco Magic Company, touring through Atlantic Canada during the summer of 1896. As the book’s foreword by Patrick Culliton points out, “The time in Houdini’s life when he was finding his way as a performer, the years 1891-1899, generally receive minimal coverage, despite the fact that they are among the most interesting years of a most interesting life.”

Until now.

But, does MacNab really reveal all? What skeletons, if any, does he unearth as he peers into the past of these struggling artists? Can there really be that much more on Houdini after hundreds of biographies?

Perhaps.

Maybe this will sway you – one way or the other: David Ben, artistic director of Magicana, has penned a review, “The Handcuff King” for the Literary Review of Canada which has just been released (March 2012: Vol. 21, No. 2, p. 27). According to Ben: “Part biography, part travelogue, part magic book, Bruce MacNab’s The Metamorphosis: The Apprenticeship of Harry Houdini follows the exploits of Houdini as he laid the groundwork for becoming a 20th-century icon.”

Track down your copy of the Literary Review of Canada and find out what Ben has to say about MacNab’s first stab at magic history, story telling and ghost chasing the great Harry Houdini.

David Ben at The Walrus Talks

30 Jan

Congratulations to Walrus Magazine for their interesting speaking series: The Walrus Talks. Last night, they presented The Walrus Talks: Performance, inviting a broad range of Canadian talent to give their  insights and thought-provoking ideas on performance. From branding to innovation to productivity to Olympic skill, each speaker shared their perspective on what it takes to “perform”.

David Ben, Magicana’s artistic director, is  known to incorporate the art of magic into creativity and problem-solving. At the High Performance Rodeo in Calgary on Jan 29 , he shared his ideas about performance – not from the stage but from the dark and mysterious world of  gamblers card cheats.

Specifically, David talked about one area of card table artifice that has plagued the best of card cheats for centuries. Not only did he flag the problem (while entertaining the audience with a sly nod to his sleight-of-hand wizardry), he also shared how he solved this “tricky”  manoeuvre by tipping his famous mantra: “How do you get in to it, and how do you get out of it”.

David is often quoted as saying, “Magic is the cumulative effect of hundreds of apparently inconsequential details”, and he deftly demonstrated this sentiment as he showed the 1,200 member audience exactly how he solved the mysterious magic move – all in just seven minutes.

Some tweetables:

“His presentation comes with a bonus instructional video on how to do some card tricks. Mind blowing.” —  Jaelyn Molyneux“Overheard at The Walrus Talks” on Culturesnack.

@Davidpleonard: “David Ben goes from cheating at cards to the concept of tacit knowledge. The basic things that we learn to make it all easier. #WalrusTalks”

@naomigrattan: “I think my favourite was the conjurer. #hprodeo #WalrusTalks”

@theconjuror (David Ben): “It’s not how you do the move. It’s how you get into it and get out of it. If you want to improve performance, take a page from card cheats and study the transition.”

Read more from #thewalrustalks on What Was Overheard at the Walrus Talks.

Congratulations to all the speakers. Clearly, it was a very successful event and we look forward to following future Walrus Talks!

David Ben at The Walrus Talks Performance

7 Jan

We are delighted to announce that David Ben is presenting a unique speech for the The Walrus Talks Performance on Tuesday, January 29, 2013, 7:30 PM, at the Jack Singer Concert Hall in Calgary, Alberta.

The Walrus Talks Performance at High Performance Rodeo promises eighty minutes of lively, thought-provoking presentations from eight diverse individuals including our Artistic Director, David Ben.

Speakers will share their perspectives on how one performs, how one competes and how one grows. David, who is a sought-after keynote speaker on creativity and problem-sovling, has chosen to inspire the audience with his interesting take on card cheating.

Don’t miss this evening of engaging dialogue, as some of the country’s greatest minds explore the topic of performance! For tickets, visit hprodeo.ca or call (403) 294-9494.

The Reviews and Recommendations of “A Cut Above”

12 Oct

Some of you may have missed the video review of “A Cut Above” by Luke Dancy back in May 2011 on an episode of the Magic Marketplace. Well, “A Cut Above” has been recommended once again, this time by Paul Lelekis of The Linking Ring (September 2012). He writes:

“Magic has been a passion of his (Msgr. Vincent Foy) since he first saw Harry Blackstone perform in 1925. Friends and magicians David Ben and Nick Sacco have waded through a massive amount of his personal notes to compile an impressive array of one-handed cuts and flourishes. Ron van Someren painstakingly photographed Msgr. Foy’s hands as he performed every single move of each and every cut and flourish. This, along with the descriptive text, made learning these sleights very easy to do.”

READ THE ENTIRE REVIEW

“A Cut Above” was first released by Magicana in April 2011. It is the exploration of one-handed cuts created and documented by Msgr. Vincent Foy, a pioneer of the modern movement of card flourishes. His contributions initially appeared in The Linking Ring, so we are pleased to see his name mentioned once again in the publication where he first prospered.

This black and white, 240 page hardbound (colour dustjacket) volume is approximately 8.75″ x 11.75″ (22cm x 30cm) and contains 500 photo images. It is available for sale from Magicana, or your favourite magic dealer for $45 USD (plus shipping. International rates vary).

Congratulations to Genii’s 75th Birthday Bash!

10 Oct

Genii Bash

We’d like to congratulate the stellar team behind Genii’s 75th Birthday Bash for delivering an outstanding magic convention.  The Genii’s 75th Anniversary Birthday Bash was held at the Florida Hotel and Conference Center in Orlando, last October 4, 5 and 6 2012, with a final count of 800 plus attendees!

Featured events included Magicana’s Artistic Director, David Ben making a rare convention appearance by lecturing on the Coin Magic of Ross Bertram and performing  in the parlour show with Max Maven, Chad Long, Eric Mead, and Rob Zabrecky.  And those were just two events of the jam-packed Genii Bash schedule. Starting at 8 AM right up to midnight lectures, the magic never stopped – it was simply  filled to the brim with lectures and performances by so many of our favourite magicians.

Were you there?! We were very happy to see so many of our dear friends and to meet many more new ones! It was truly a great convention that rightfully honoured one of the oldest, independent magic magazines.

Everyone’s buzzing about their favourite moments of the weekend. If you’d like to contribute, you can write about your favourite moment in our comment box below. 

Happy Birthday Genii!

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!

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.

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