Tag Archives: Magicana

The Benevolence of Magic

4 Feb

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C. Dennis Shick’s article, “The Benevolence of Magic” –  in the December 2012 issue of The Linking Ring (Vol. 92, No. 12) –  talks about the altruistic capabilities of the magic community. Some notable organizations include the College of Magic in Capetown, South Africa where the school has developed a 6 year on-campus program that aims to teach students all aspects of magic.

It is refreshing to see the vast number of  initiatives from around the world that aspire to help their community through the art of magic – a  driving force behind our own arts organization, Magicana.

We were honoured that Magicana’s community outreach programs were also included in this article and would like to take this moment to clarify some of Magicana’s community outreach objectives:

Magic for Children – My Magic Hands

My Magic Hands uses the art of magic as a teaching vehicle to reach children in communities and help them build self-confidence and teach essential life skills such as communication, critical thinking and problem solving. We do this through a carefully constructed 8 week program that ends in a Big Show, where participants invite their families and friends to showcase what they have learned throughout the course. The show motivates our young participants to practise and perform at their very best, which in turn raises and bolsters their self-confidence and self-esteem. It becomes about what is possible.

My Magic Hands first started by focusing on children from the ages of 8 to 14. However, it has evolved to include even younger participants and in special programs, young adults 16 to 18 years old. For example, during last year’s special summer session called Helping Hands, Julie Eng, along with Holland Bloorview’s occupational therapists, led a modified constraint induced movement therapy (CIMT) for clients with hemiplegia (paralysis on one side of the body) secondary to an acquired brain injury. Select activities, such as basic sleight-of-hand technique, were given to promote  the functional use of their hemiplegic arm and hand – with amazing results.

Magic for Seniors – Senior Sorcery

Senior Sorcery is Magicana’s community initiative to reach isolated seniors in the Greater Toronto Area by bringing live, theatrical magic shows to retirement residences and community centres.

Last year, we performed over 50 shows in residences and centres around the GTA. The types of shows we do include:

a)  Hocus Pocus: an interactive, parlour-type magic show which removes the traditional “fourth wall” of theatre; and

b) Strolling Sorcery: an intimate magic performance where a professional magician  gives several shorter, personalized shows to smaller groups one after the other; and

c) Dynamic Duo: a combination of both show types.

Championing Youth In Magic – Tony Eng Youth Fund

In 2008, Magicana created the Tony Eng Youth Fund program in memory of Tony Eng (1946 – 2008).

Its main goal and purpose is to promote and support youths as they pursue the art of magic. Although the program started by providing bursaries to aspiring, young magicians to help them attend the CAM (Canadian Association of Magicians) convention, it has since evolved to include other conventions and lectures, such as Magi-Fest 2013, to  provide opportunities for valuable mentor relationships; and, to inspire, motivate and support youth in magic.

We are very proud of these community initiatives and applaud all the other programs that were mentioned in The Linking Ring as part of “The Benevolence of Magic” article. Thank you to The Linking Ring for sharing all of our work and for showcasing the power of possibility through the art of magic.

New Site for the Tony Eng Youth Fund

11 Dec

tonyeng

In 2008, Magicana created the Tony Eng Youth Fund program in memory of Tony Eng (1946 – 2008). Its main goal is to promote and support youths as they pursue the art of magic.

Over the years, the fund has evolved to accomodate the needs of young magicians, from funding convention registrations, to covering lecture costs and mentorship programs. Like Tony, the fund strives to promote and encourage magic-mad youths by providing bursaries and scholarships in the pursuit of magic.

And so, without further ado, we are thrilled to present our new TEYF website: teyf.magicana.com

The new site includes:

  • A blog that focuses on TEYF news and events;
  • A page that honours past TEYF winners through the years; and
  • A programs page to keep you up to date to our current programming and challenges!

Feel free to explore and visit our new site and tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Magicana Donates Ibidem to PCAM

3 Aug

Congratulations to the success of the PCAM (Pacific Coast Association of Magicians) convention earlier this month, August 2 to 5 at the Sea-Tac Marriott in Seattle, Washington. In order to continue exploring and sharing the art of magic, Magicana donated Ibidem: The Complete Set for the PCAM raffle.

This valuable collection was made famous by unforgettable contributors and the creative crew of Howard Lyons. Ibidem (1955-1979) was a magic periodical edited by Toronto’s P. Howard Lyons. It quickly gained reputation in the magic community as the number one source for modern card feats, close-up magic and dazzling illustrations. Each cover was individually silk screened by artist Pat Patterson and contained amazing tricks and illustrations. Notable contributors included: Ed Marlo, Stewart James, The Amazing Randi, Norm Houghton, Martin Gardner and Fawcett Ross.

For more information on how to purchase Ibidem: The Complete Set, click here.

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.

Luminato Advance Tickets

11 Apr

Luminato 2012 - Mind over matter

As a valued supporter of the magic community, we would like to extend the opportunity to buy advance tickets for Luminato 2012, before they go on sale to the general public on April 14.

From now to April 13, pre-sale tickets can be purchased online via the special BUY TICKETS links located throughout this blog (or by phone at 416-368-4849). Please use the code SEASONS for phone-based orders. Not only will you be able to purchase tickets for the magic programs (see below), but you will also have access to ALL Luminato ticketed events.

MIND OVER MATTER

This year, Magicana is proud to present three unique shows that will surely defy previously-perceived notions of the world.

The Alpha Project – World Premiere

BUY TICKETS (Scroll to find The Alpha Project)

Crowned as a genuine psychic by scientists at Washington University after four years of close observation (and then, successfully debunking them), Banachek certainly knows how to grab your attention. In his new show, he will perform psychokinesis, telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, hypnotism, séances and perhaps most astonishing, dermaoptics – the magic of sensing without sight.

Read more about this show.


From The Dark

Presented in collaboration with the CNIB

BUY TICKETS (Scroll to find From The Dark)

Join Juan Esteban Varela as he brings you through an experiential journey where he transforms fantasy into reality – inside his unique show of how the non-sighted experience magic. Each audience member is blindfolded and given a box of props to create magic under his direction. Just close your eyes …

Read more about this show.

The Cheat

FREE EVENT

Richard Turner is a card cheat, a blind one, who uses his mind to enable his hands to perform pure magic. His prowess with the pasteboard will leave you bewitched and bewildered.

Find our more about this show
and where to see it!

Be prepared to experience magic like you’ve never seen before!

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!

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

Luminato & My Magic Hands

8 Jun

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Can you imagine a magic show starring One Hundred Magicians?

Children who participate in My Magic Hands always end their program by putting on a Big Show. But students in our latest program at Queen Victoria Junior Public School are getting ready to put on our biggest show ever! While a normal class of My Magic Hands has between ten and fifteen young magicians graduating at the end, Queen Victoria invited us to provide a magic program for one hundred of their Grade 5 Students.

Queen Victoria is a model school in Parkdale with a strong commitment to the arts. The classroom walls and hallways are filled with art projects from all grade levels. Learning magic as a introduction to performance art (which includes strategic practicing, planning, scripting and rehearsing and performance) became an interesting fit. Magicana is currently delivering this program as part of the Luminato celebration of the arts festival inside of the Outreach and Education program.

Our Grade 5 magic students are nearing the end of their program and are putting together their scripts for their Big Show on June 14 and 15.

Of course, teaching magic to over a hundred students has its own set of challenges. On top of the sheer volume of energetic children, we had to find a way to allow each and every student to showcase their new skills in front of a live audience. We are excited with our plan of action which will engage the lower grades.

Thanks to the dedicated teachers at Queen Victoria, students have been organized with their magic materials, Books and Boxes of Secrets. If there is one underlying lesson that we have all seen in action is the golden rule to gain proficiency: practice, practice, practice!

We are also excited to see the support Queen Victoria has provided to ESL students as we aim to have them present their final Big Show magic routines in their native languages. Having struggled to learn the magic in English, we now celebrate their achievements by inviting them to perform in their first language.

To all our magicians, good luck on your Big Show and may the magic continue in your Magic Hands!

Magicana is also conducting a concurrent session of My Magic Hands at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab Hospital which has also proven to be very rewarding. More on those kids in our next blog!

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