Magic in the community

One of the quirkier bits of performing I get to do is a special series of shows organized by Magicana as part of their Senior Sorcery program. The program is designed to bring live magic to seniors no longer living at home. Thanks to some support from the Slaight Family Foundation, these performances are often offered to these centres at specially discounted prices.

It's a challenge to assemble a show which is built with allowances for an audience's diminished mobility or cognitive issues, but having got the hang of it a few years ago, I now find these performances to be a lot of fun and tremendously rewarding. Plus sometimes someone will come up after the show with a very interesting story to tell me. 

These shows are often centred around holidays throughout the year. The past week saw Valentine's Day and Family Day, so I did several shows in quick succession. Ordinarily because of privacy concerns, it's difficult to share photos from these shows, but at two performances, a very judicious photographer captured the very attractive backs of people's heads (and the moderately attractive overdressed magician on stage.) 

It's a wonderful program. If you would be interested in bringing the program to a retirement or long-term card facility you're affiliated with, I encourage you to reach out to Magicana

I really have no idea what's inside that giant egg. I was nervous that partway through the show, Lady Gaga would pop out and do a number. 

A magician can dream; can't he?

Magic at TIFF

I had a wonderful time performing at the Toronto International Film Festival this weekend. On the weekend, I was performing with Chris Mayhew at the Slaight Family Zone; magic on the street just outside of Roy Thompson Hall. It was threatening to rain constantly, but we still had plenty of fun. Last night I was at SET on King performing at the Raindance Film Festival's annual TIFF Party. Thanks to everyone who came out to pack the place and kudos to the head honcho Jaimy Warner for inviting me.

The Conjuror Returns

David Ben is one of my favourite magicians alive (and I don't just say that because of the stack of incriminating photos he keeps hidden away!) After Christmas, Magicana is bringing his show The Conjuror to Soulpepper. The Conjuror was originally written by David Ben & Patrick Watson in the 90s and continues to evolve and magically reappear periodically. The run was just extended because the first ten shows were nearly sold out. So if you'd like something fun and truly magical to do during the holiday you can check out The Conjuror with the whole family. Tickets are available at

David Ben Michael Coren

David Ben discussing The Conjuror on Michael Coren's The Arena

Photo: Cylla von Tiedmann

David Ben sneaking up on me on the way to a show on the side of a streetcar.

Not Quite Ironic

When I returned home from performing last night (at a wedding... with two brides... isn't the twentieth century awesome?) to find the latest issue of Genii Magazine in my mailbox.  This issue contains a trick I submitted to them for publication several months ago and it has appeared. No one told me exactly when it was going to appear, so it was quite a pleasant surprise to see it. Genii has been around for over seventy-five years and I'm surrounded by some rather illustrious company. It feels a bit like a high school student sneaking into a really cool college party.

The trick is called "Card Under Irony" which is a strange variation of the modern classic trick, "Card Under the Drink". Before it was published, there was spirited debate here in Toronto as to whether the trick should have been called "Card Under Irony" or "Card Under Foreshadowing". Eventually it was decided both were equally appropriate and equally confusing so we flipped a coin.

It shows up on p44 in the Magicana column, edited by Andi Gladwin.

One small correction: somehow Photo 5 got inverted. So when you get to that part of the description, it's best to do a head stand to view the photo. Otherwise when you try to learn the trick you'll be confused when you're required to magically teleport a card from the left to the right side of the table.

One large correction: those hands aren't mine! Really the wedding ring should give that away. I'm still quite single and will happily accept suitors who enjoy card tricks.

If you don't already subscribe to Genii, you can do so here.

Magic @ Luminato

For the past three years, one of the major highlights of my hear has been the magic series at Luminato. Now they are making it four years. In the past, they've brought in performers from the US, Spain, France, Chile & Canada. They have done shows in multiple languages, shows for families, shows for children & families and even magic shows for the blind! This year's festival runs June 14-23 with a new magic series spread throughout the festival. The new series, co-organized with Magicana, features three new shows which are Canadian Premieres:

Steve Cohen Chamber Magic

Miguel Puga Concerto for Piano & Pasteboards

Rafael Benatar Compositions

I met Rafael a few years ago and know him to be incredibly charming and talented. Compositions and Concerto are magic-music fusions held at the Telus Centre (next to Varsity Stadium). I'm excited to see the new combination and to see magic introduced into a venue where you wouldn't normally see it.

I only met Steve Cohen briefly (at an airport in San Diego of all places) and I'm excited to see his show. He's normally performing Chamber Magic in a suite at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York and seems like they've arranged a suitable space here in Toronto.

If you are in Toronto in June and have the opportunity, I would strongly recommend you make an effort to attend.