The Rocky Horror - a must see show this November

Coming up November 9 at the Revue Cinema in Toronto, there is a show that you do not want to miss: The Rocky Horror. The show has an incredible lineup of talent, on the subject of which I shall gush more momentarily. The show is a benefit for the legendary Canadian comic performer Glenn Ottaway. Glen has been featured guest of mine on Magic Tonight several times, where he is always hilarious and often slightly risqué. Back when I was still trying to figure out which shoe went on which foot, he was the host of A Little Night Magic for about a decade.

I first encountered Glenn at Morrissey Magicin Toronto where he was performing at their anniversary party. At one point in his presentation, there was a youngster who was sitting in the front who was being slightly disruptive. When Glenn threatened to silence the youth by pissing directly into his mouth, I knew at once that I had found a role model of the highest order.

This show has an incredible lineup. Matt DiSero, David Merry, David Peck & Brian Roberts have all appeared on Magic Tonight. Glenn Foster is an incredible Canadian comic and Jeff and Tessa Evason are simply brain-melting. The evening is hosted by Mike Bullard (of Open Mike with Mike Bullard fame) and I might possibly sneak in and do a little something.

So please head over to and grab yourself some tickets before they're all gone.


Last week on Magic Tonight

It's getting warmer, and the shows continue. If it keeps going like this, I may have to start doing the show in shorts. (Trust me when I say that no one wants to see that.) At the Franklin House in Mississauga, Paul Pacific was reading minds barefoot. At the Crimson Lounge in Toronto, Phil Pivnick was messing with money making coins go hither and thither and Ben Train stopped by to provide some general amusement.

Magic Tonight is presented weekly in Mississauga and Toronto. Readers of this blog can use the code reality for a discount on the price of tickets and dinner when purchasing online.

Take a look at the mischief we got up to:

Heathen's Greetings

Michael Close
Michael Close

In just over two weeks, on Magic Tonight, we'll be hosting a special fundraisers for the Centre for Inquiry ( All proceeds from the show will go to support CFI Canada. I'll be performing on the show along with special guest, Michael Close. After the show we'll be doing a live taping of David Peck'sFace2Face Podcast where we'll be discussing the role of magic on a modern secular society.

David Peck
David Peck

Where: Izakaya Showroom - 292 College Street @ Spadina When: Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM Tickets:

Discounted tickets are available for Members of CFI Canada.

Join us for an evening of fun, friends and food. The only spirits present will be alcoholic. We'll celebrate reason (by throwing it out the window for the night and do some amazing magic and other strange things.)

Tickets include the show, dinner and the podcast taping. They can be purchased at

James Alan
James Alan

Michael Close ( originally from Indiana, is one of the most respected creators and publishers of magic in the world. He is currently the Editor in Chief of MUM, the journal of the Society of American Magicians. He is also the author of That Reminds Me, with a foreword by Penn Jillette.

David Peck ( is the Executive Director of SoChange, a non profit organization that helps build capacity for organizations in the developing world. Among its programs is the Mosquitoes Suck Tour, a comedy and magic show that promotes social justice and education for high school students about malaria and mosquitoes in Africa.

Magic Tonight Square
Magic Tonight Square

The Greatest Compliment to a Profession

Earlier this week, I received an invitation from the Centre for Inquiry to attend a special brunch with Professors Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss. To say I couldn't register fast enough was an understatement. For a bit of background, I discovered Richard Dawkins' work when he was mentioned in The Salmon of Doubtwhich was compiled by Stephen Fry from the contents of Douglas Adams' many Mac computers after his untimely death in 2001. Douglas Adams was the beginning for my love of all things British, but certainly not the end. In high school, I was also deeply interested in the writings of Richard Feynman, and came across Lawrence Krauss when he wrote a biography of Feynman in 2011.

At the meeting, I was thrilled  to get my copy of The Selfish Gene signed (I had the issue of Playboy[1] Dawkins appeared in in my bag, but chickened out) and I also got to perform for him very briefly.

During the question and answer period, I asked him something which interested me as a magician about the evolutionary nature of curiosity. Of course he did what all public intellectuals do and ignored my question and spoke about whatever he felt like at the moment. But not without throwing in something deeply flattering and interesting:

He said that magic (or conjuring as he preferred to call it) had deep philosophical implications because it awakened us to the fact that we are very easy to deceive. If we see something which is contrary to the way we understand the world to work, we should be very suspicious and avoid jumping to conclusions. He was referring, of course, to the tendency the species has to invoke supernatural agents and mystical forces when boring and natural explanations will suffice.

As a magician, I have been wrestling with this for a few years. On the one hand, I love science and want to encourage curiosity and rational inquiry wherever I can. On the other hand, I would prefer it if my audiences did not look to Google to try and find explanations for how my tricks work.

With this bit of insight from Dawkins, I'm hoping that I can find a better way to balance the two than I have been. Unfortunately, it's difficult to create a strong feeling of magic while simultaneously reminding people that you don't have supernatural powers and that deep down you're a lying cheating bastard.

Hope I can find a way.

James Alan Richard Dawkins

[1] Always the teacher! Thanks to Dawkins, I had to learn at the age of 27, not only how to purchase pornography in print, but pornography with women in it... much harder than I thought.