Tag Archives: Senior Sorcery

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.

A Year in Review

20 Dec

This year definitely passed us quickly, but not with inactivity! We still have a couple of secret projects up our sleeves, but for now, let’s take a look at the magical happenings of 2012.

My Magic Hands

Our little magicians were busy this year, as we reached a total number of 14 sessions for our My Magic Hands program. We reached a total of 252 kids through the combined efforts of our Magicana staff and 59 volunteers.

This year we partnered up with Valleyfield, Howlett Academy, Holland Bloorview Kid’s Rehabilitation Hospital, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Toronto and Camp Oochigeas. Together, we delivered fun and educational sessions and workshops that used magic as a teaching vehicle to build confidence and self-esteem while developing creative problem-solving and public speaking skills. Each session challenges our students to perform at their Big Show, and this year, we performed in front of over 500 audience members!

Over the summer, we conducted two workshops in partnership with the Leacock Foundation for Children’s reading program, LEAP. We had a great time working with students from Rose Avenue, First Nations Public School and Derrydown Elementary School. We also had a successful run with our two special summer programs for Holland Bloorview’s Child Development Programs: Helping Hands and Hand 2 Hand for children affected with cerebral palsy and other challenges in the brain injury rehabilitation therapy program.

Our program’s focus on performance art helps strengthen each client’s less dominant hand throughout the camp. It was incredibly rewarding to see their hard work and progression in this accelerated summer session. We congratulate all our magicians and their ‘magic coaches’ for such an outstanding job!

Senior Sorcery

This year, we a hit a record of 52 Senior Sorcery shows for senior centres and residences. Magicana subsidizes these shows for centres under budgetary constraints to ensure that magic can be shared throughout the Greater Toronto Area and beyond! Performers went to St. Catherines, Barrie and even in the beautiful banks of Big Rideau Lake to perform a show!

We hope we created memorable feats of magic and excitement for seniors and residents and look forward to bringing magic to new centres in the new year.

Tony Eng Youth Fund

We are delighted to report that the Tony Eng Youth Fund was able to provide bursary awards this year. First, we granted Sawyer Bullock an award to attend the CAM convention (Canadian Association of Magicians) in Hamilton Ontario back in April.

We also funded the very first Tong Eng Memorial Lecture for the 2012 Tri-City 3 of Clubs Convention organized by members of Ring 183 – Tony’s hometown Ring in Victoria, BC – who arranged to have Joe Monti deliver a special 2 hour lecture for the convention. By all accounts – and in particular by talent coordinators, Murray Hatfield and Eric Bedard – Joe’s lecture was refreshing, funny and very-well received. We are thrilled to have had an opportunity to participate and congratulate Ring 183 on a great job.

We are also reviewing submissions we received for Magi-Fest Youth Scholarship 2013. Final decisions will be announced after the holidays.

Luminato 6

For our third year of bringing magic to Luminato, we presented the Mind Over Matter magic series bringing three master magicians – Banachek, Richard Turner and Juan Esteban Varela – to Toronto.

All three, in their own unique presentations, addressed how magic is essentially delivered and perceived through the power of the mind. Needless to say, each magician “blew minds” away and we were delighted with the series.

Magic Collectors Weekend

In May, we hosted the 43rd Annual Collectors Weekend in Chicago where we honoured guests, James Hagy and Richard Kaufman. It was a jam-packed weekend of lectures, talks, and reflection.

With the advent of more and more magic history conferences being organized, we have opted to move to a biennial format with our next Magic Collectors Weekend slated for 2014.

Magicol

We had rave reviews come in from our two Magicol, A Journal of Magic History and Collectibles, issues this year: No. 182 “Alma” (the special Australian magic edition) and No. 183 “Joy of Posters” (our Poster Issue).

While we are a little behind, rest assured we have our forthcoming two issues queued up, so keep your eyes peeled for the latest news!

New Websites

And last but not the least, we have been very busy re-launching new websites to accomodate our growing membership and evolving programs. Please feel free to explore our new homes in the cyberspace. We always appreciate any feedback you can give us.

  • Mystery & History: the new site for the latest Magicol news and updates.
  • Tony Eng Youth Fund: the one stop hot spot for young magicians to see what opportunities and bursaries are available in their area.
  • Senior Sorcery: Now with its own blog! See what’s new in senior health and read up on reviews we’ve been getting from pleased centres and residences.

… And thanks to you!

We would like to take this moment to thank our donors and sponsors whose generous funding allows us to provide service to our local neighbourhood and the magic community at large. Without your support, none of this would be 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 24 and reopen on January 2.

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.

It’s been really busy …

10 Sep

In June, in partnership with Luminato, Magicana presented Juan Tamariz, Mac King, Max Maven and Bob Sheets in Toronto. We also presented three My Magic Hands programs which were timed to conclude to have Luminato guest performer, Bob Sheets close “The Big Show” – a magic show recital by students.

During July we delivered special one-on-one versions of  My Magic Hands at Holland Bloorview, and scheduled an additional summer session to coincide with another visiting guest magician, Rafael Benatar of Spain.

In August, we partnered with Montreal Magic Jam to produce Gaëtan Bloom and Rafael Benatar in an international double-header lecture for both Montreal and  Toronto, which also included intensive card workshops by Rafael Benatar.

We were also thrilled to also produce Jim Steinmeyer’s “Gee 20” Lecture for Torontonians in August. Jim rarely lectures, so having this creative genius present was an added bonus to Magicana’s summer lecture series.

Steve Forte

Steve Forte presenting at 31FN

In addition to these lectures and workshops, Magicana also hosted the eighth, and final instalment, of 31 Faces North – an intimate gathering of 31 (which swelled to more than 40) magicians from around the globe. For four wonderful days, we were treated to first-class lecture presentations, magic performances and, of course, generous sharing. A huge highlight for the group was having Steve Forte come and present something special for the group.

To round off an excellent summer, we just received notice that our latest publication, A Grand Exposé has finally been delivered! As soon as the books arrive to our fulfillment facility in the USA, advance orders will be processed and mailed out – we anticipate September 15 shipping.

This 1860s reprint is truly, a gem of a read. The Advance Order Offer expires at midnight September 10, so if you haven’t already done so, order now before the price goes up!

We now will turn our attentions back to online exhibitions, blogs, another publication (it’s another secret!) and our beloved community  projects with My Magic Hands and Senior Sorcery. We have a full scheduled planned with our community programs and hope to squeeze in one more surprise before the year’s end.

The Year in Review

11 Dec

In 2009, Magicana shared a lot of wonder:

My Magic Hands

We completed 14 rounds of My Magic Hands engaging 200 participants, over 100 volunteers! Participants provided their versions of The Big Show to over 800 community members. Thanks to the generosity of our donors and sponsors, we were able to provide the program to over 180 participants free of charge.

We provided our magic classes to a wide range of community and family agencies across the Greater Toronto Area, including:

Without a doubt, the program would not be possible without our volunteers, affectionately referred to as our “Magic Coaches”. Thanks to our partners, we were able to create and build upon important relationships between our volunteers and participants. A quote from one of our volunteers:

“My favourite moment during My Magic Hands was when my buddy turned to me randomly to say, “I love learning magic with you.”

Volunteer at the Welcome Inn in Hamilton

In The Community

Magicana also provided 42 shows for over 2,000 community members through our Sharing Wonder and Senior Sorcery programs.

These programs focus on bringing magic to those who may not necessarily have access to live magic shows, with a particular concentration on servicing isolated senior centres. The sad reality is that many centres do not have adequate budgets to provide fees for live entertainment. Magicana’s Senior Sorcery program contributes by asking centres to “pay-what-you-can” and in exchange, we arrange magic shows – and funding assistance, when necessary. A quote from a senior’s residence:

“I just wanted to take a minute to tell you what a wonderful performance you gave at our retirement home. It was very well-paced, with just the right combination of storytelling, sleight-of-hand and humour … I have received many compliments since.”

Susan Blye, Activities Director at The Briton House

We were thrilled to add new magicians to our roster of performers including Mark Lewis and Wij the Magician. These gentlemen – along with Magicana performers Julie Eng and James Alan – provided magic, laughs and of course, wonder.

Sharing Magic with Magicians

Throughout the year, we produced several magic lectures and workshops by visiting magicians including John Carney, Norman Beck, David Soloman and Richard Turner. We also hosted our annual conference, 31 Faces North, which was co-hosted by Allan Slaight. This year at 31 Faces North we had two guest of honours: Michael Weber and Bob Sheets. Mr. Weber was also the recipient of the Jay Marshall Award, voted as the most contributory participant by his peers.

Our Tony Eng Youth Fund sponsored several young magicians as we reported in previous blogs, and we were delighted to see a formal partnership bond with magician, Kent Wong and the Canadian Association of Magicians for our latest contest, a chance to win a FREE trip to the 2010 CAM convention in Kitchener-Waterloo including return airfare and hotel accommodations. We are indebted to Mr. Wong and to the CAM for their sponsorship and commitment to youths interested in magic.

This fall, Magicana became the stewards of the Magic Collectors’ Association (MCA) taking over the responsibility of publishing a quarterly journal, Magicol, and producing its annual convention, traditionally hosted in Chicago. Magicana is delighted with the new role and is currently conjuoring many other surprises for MCA members. Membership is open to anyone and is available here. Join now!

Entering the Blogosphere

David Ben Blog Tricks & TweetsThe Magical ChatterboxSharing Wonder Blog

Finally, we got it together to bring you more blogs! In addition to our own Sharing Wonder Blog, Magicana is delighted to now provide at the encouragement of the Johnson Family, The Magical Chatterbox, A Blog by Sid Lorraine.

We were also delighted to support our Artistic Director, David Ben, in his effort to write a weekly blog, Tricks & Tweets.

Thank you!

Well, that’s just a small sample of our activities summary and we invite you to visit our blog archive to learn more about the exciting things we were able to accomplish this year.

We are so thankful to all of you, our faithful blog readers, to keeping us motivated to maintain this steady stream of updates.

We are very excited to announce that in 2010, Magicana plans to share even more wonder! We have many secrets up our sleeves from publications to public performances. Our blog readers and eListers will always be the first in the know.

So for now, we will sign off for the year and wish all of you a very happy holiday season and we look forward to sharing wonder with you in January!

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