Tag Archives: torontoist

Mind Over Matter

21 Jun

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The calm is now upon us after the thrilling chaos that was Luminato and what are we left with? The satisfying aftertaste of success from  the Mind Over Matter magical series!

Mind Over Matter

For this year’s Luminato, Magicana went with the saying, “Mind Over Matter”, a term originally used to refer to paranormal phenomena, to best describe the magic behind these three performers. While each show was different from the other, they all had a common theme: how magic is essentially delivered and perceived through the power of the mind.

The world’s leading mentalist, Banachek, astounded, intrigued and inspired crowds with his life story through The Alpha Project, while Richard Turner cheated his way into the hearts of Torontonians with his incredible feats in card manipulation. Similarly, Juan Esteban Varela, despite NOT being the blonde with rippling muscles as he claimed to be, resonated strongly with From the Dark, as he made his mark with one of magic’s most experiential, groundbreaking shows to date.

The Alpha Project: Insight into the Life of a Mentalist

The Alpha Project revealed Banachek’s life story. Having gone through a trying childhood – abandoned at age 9 – Banachek embraced these tribulations and used them to support him on his way to becoming a mentalist. At 18, Banachek made headlines when, for a period of four years under close scrutiny, he convinced research scientists at Washington University that he was psychic. Entitled Project Alpha,the purpose of this experiment was to disprove others who claimed to be real psychics and to declare to the world that even scientists, when lacking expertise in the arts of deception, can be easily misled.

With rave reviews from The Toronto Star, Mooney on Theatre and Torontoist, it looks like The Alpha Project fulfilled its purpose in spreading this word!

The Cheat: Why One Should Never Play Cards with Strangers

In between wowing spectators for Luminato, Richard Turner, “The Cheat” also performed for Holland Bloorview and the Parliament Branch Library. Rounds of Texas Hold ‘Em, poker, blackjack and three card monte then ensued between Richard Turner and the audience. The end results, of course, always went according to his liking, despite the inordinate amount of shuffles by audience members and, at some rounds, with limited cards.

Richard Turner, along with boggling the minds of Toronto,  also charmed the hosts of the Morning Show and the CBC’s Eli Glasner. See Richard’s part in this CBC News clip in which Eli Glasner calls today’s age a “Magic Renaissance“.

From the Dark: Magic at Its Purest Form

For the closing weekend of Luminato, we followed Juan Esteban Varela, blindfolded, as he guided us through his new show, From the Dark – the only magic show that happens in absolute darkness. With everyone participating, the show quickly became an experience with a sea of voices in an unknown space. These factors contributed to the show’s overall mystery, which is essentially magic in its base form.  Indeed, Toronto Star and Cadence Canada both agreed that From the Dark was truly unique in its premise and most of all, its effect.

And so, we end Luminato 6 with invigorating vibes and positive feedback from Toronto.

“Crazy with Curiosity”: Toronto Reacts to Banachek’s “The Alpha Project”

11 Jun

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“If you’re hoping to be driven crazy with curiosity this weekend, this British mentalist has got the show for you.”

-Laura Godfrey, Torontoist, June 9, 2012

The people have spoken: rave reviews of Banachek’s show this weekend, “The Alpha Project” have started pouring in, all singing praise to the man who lived up to his name as the world’s leading mentalist.

From the Torontoist, written by Laura Godfrey:

“You can strain your neck and edge as far off your seat as you want, but there’s no question that Banachek is a master of his craft—there’s a reason he counts Penn & Teller, David Blaine, and Criss Angel among the acts he’s consulted for. Even after he tells you it’s not real, every trick is followed by a single question, rippling through the crowd: “How did he do that?”

It may not be magic, but that’s okay—it’s still mystery, suspense, and high entertainment.”

From Mooney on Theatre, by Dorianne Emmerton:

“A lot of people believe in telepathy, psychokinesis, past life regression and ghosts. These people go to a magic show ready and willing to believe. Others, like me, are skeptics who go simply for entertainment.

Banachek’s The Alpha Project, playing as part of Luminato, is a great show for the latter. For both kinds of people (and those in between) it’s (…) a fun night.”

And how did Banachek do on his predictions of last Saturday’s (June 9) front page headlines?

From The Toronto Star, by Wendy Gillis:

“The surprise retirement of I’ll Have Another was there. The out-of-the-blue bid for the 2024 Olympics was there. The story on gang violence? There. He even had the feature article on Australian Aboriginals.

In a feat of unbelievable (no, really) news forecasting, U.K. mentalist Banachek seems to have accurately predicted the front page of Saturday’s Star 10 days in advance.”

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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