Previous month:
November 2006
Next month:
January 2007

11 entries from December 2006

Last minute Christmas ideas

I know Mat enjoys these especially, and I'm sure a few others do, so here are two last minute gift ideas I spotted in those unbelievably cheap and tacky stores I love to frequent:

Image_00249

What an "Intellecual Candle" does I have no idea... maybe the guy who designed the box should have tried the candle out before he tried to spell "intellectual."

Image_00251

You can tell you're in a cheap store when the Tenpin Bowling set is comprised of 7 pieces...


Sorry for slacking off...

Sorry for the long gap between posts... we're still a little distracted sorting out the insurance issues with Sue-Anne's car... yep, almost three weeks since the accident and nothing's been resolved. We could accept their small offer of cash and call the car a write-off, but apparently the car could be repaired instead... but they don't seem too eager to do that. We'll fill you in when it's finally been sorted out, suffice to say it's been more stressful than the accident itself!

Thanks for your kind words too, Sue-Anne is fine, though she is really looking forward to a rest after Christmas. Also, great suggestions, but here in Australia we can't (apparently) sue the other driver even though the accident was entirely his fault.

In other news, I'm hoping to revamp www.MagicUnlimited.com in the new year, and we've just added www.EllisAndWebster.com.au and www.SueAnneWebster.com

Movies - DEFINITELY go see CASINO ROYALE. One of the best Bond films EVER!

DVDs - we watched CLICK on DVD the other night... great potential, great cast, terrible writing, terrible directing, and some of the worst acting you'll ever see. How did this film make $140 million? How did they spend $70 million making it?? How can we get those two hours of our lives back?


People are like elephants...

... they never forget. I did a show on Monday for an older lady who saw me doing close up at a function earlier this year. I remember her at first being reluctant to watch, then gradually getting so engrossed with the magic that she booked me on the spot for Monday's gig.

On Monday she explained her feelings about magic to me. It seems that way back in the 1980's she went to a magic show at the Last Laugh Theatre Restaurant here in Melbourne. She had a seat in the front row but was able to see "everything". She saw false boxes, trap doors and basically how everything worked. She explained that it had "spoiled magic for her". No wonder she was so reluctant to watch me perform at first.

But remember, I was performing for her over 25 years after magic was 'spoiled' by a poor performer who exposed his secrets... and she STILL hadn't gotten over it!

Every performance we do obviously affects the way our audience think about us, but also the way the feel about magic in general. Do not take that responsibility too lightly.


Crazy Day!

Yesterday was THE busiest day of the year for Melbourne entertainers. Every Christmas has one day when everyone is doing at least two gigs, and yesterday was it.

I even got a call from a client on Thursday night asking if I could get him a close up magician for two hours on Friday. After an hour of calling around, I had to let him know that no-one was available.

We had 7 magicians out there working at Christmas parties last night, and it was a crazy day for us too.

First off, I was still trying to finish writing, creating and learning my script for a hoax presentation I was doing to launch The Crock Group in Richmond. As the day began though, I saw an ad for City Peugeot in the paper and, though the insurance company still hasn't given us an assessment figure for Sue-Anne's written-off car, we need to find a new one somewhere and fast! I called City Peugeot and Jason Dahlman told me they had exactly the car we wanted, in the colour we wanted, with the trims we wanted, in stock and available. But we had to make an appointment to go in and see him. So.. though we really didn't have the time, we made the time to go see him at 1.30pm.

As soon as Sue-Anne got back from her jobs in the morning, I packed the van and off we went. We met Jason and asked to see the car. He said he had to talk to his mananger and he went behind and glass partition and they had a chat... then he came out and explained that the car was no longer there. We asked had it been sold? He sort of vaguely implied that it must have been. We asked why did he sell it if he knew we were coming in to see it, and he told us we should have put a hold on it. We asked, did you really have the car in stock? (Because in all our previous enquiries with Peugeot there were no such cars in Australia) His reply, if you really are interested in the blue I can show you what it looks like. We explained that colour wasn't that crucial to us, and asked again, did he really have the car in stock earlier today? He replied, I can order one in and you'll have it in two weeks. (Which is impossible as there are none in Australia, and the next shipment isn't due until May 2007!)We realised he had lied just to get us in and walked out of the store, disgusted that he had wasted out time and got our hopes up in such a deceptive way.

City Peugeot. Jason Dahlman. Losers.

We headed to Crown Casino because we were supposed to set up for an evening show between 2-4pm, then I was heading off to do the Crock launch and Sue-Anne was going off with Al Cappuccino to do close-up at The Powerhouse in Albert Park. But I had to stop off to get a new wig for my hoax character.. so we stopped in at Celebrity Wigs and I bought one in record time and completed the "look" of Cornelius Watson, marketing expert from the UK firm Stamford Consulting.

Image_00217

As we got to Crown we got a phone call from Staging Connections letting us know that the room wouldn't be available until 4pm because another function was in it. I expressed my unimpressedness to them on the phone. They called back and said they made a mistake, the room would be available from 3.30pm and we could do our soundcheck at 4pm.

To sum up a very stressful period of time...

  • We got into Crown and from 3-3.3pm we waited in another function room, because Crown said the client hadn't booked a Green Room for us to change in. Sue-Anne did her make-up at a dinner table.
  • 3.30pm the guests in the room we were going into wouldn't leave. (No surprises there).
  • 3.40pm Crown suddenly discovered there was a Green Room booked after all! So we moved all of our suff there.
  • 3.55pm we were able to bump in to the room. We were supposed to set up our show behind a black drape behind a stage. Then, when we returned to Crown at 8pm, we would be pretty much ready to go on at 8.45pm.
  • 4.00pm we had placed 3 items, still in cases in the room behind a row of chairs they had set up to indicate to us where the back of the stage was going to be. We left our radio mic there for them to test in our absence and requested a lead be set to backstage for our MiniDisc player.
  • 4.05pm I ran back to the Green Room and changed into character, waited 25 minutes in line for a taxi and got to Richmond at 4.55pm.
  • 5.30pm Sue-Anne headed off to Powerhouse with Al where they did close up from 6.30-7.30pm.
  • (Meanwhile, as we later found out, that the band who were working at our function in Crown arrived for their soundcheck at 4.30pm and, after being directed to the wrong loading dock, waited for an hour because the stage was still being built... then stood on stage as their 25 minute soundcheck to an hour because the PA was still be set up)
  • 7.35pm I get back to Crown and set the show up behind the curtain. There is no lead for the MiniDisc back there. I ask the Staging Connections AV guy and he says he had to lead it to the AV desk instead (which was further away) but gives no real reason as to why. I explain that we like to have it backstage because if anything goes wrong we can fix it, but if it's at the AV desk we can't. He says "Yes, I understand"... but does nothing.
  • 8pm and Sue-Anne arrives. I get to tell her that the function is running late.. we are now scheduled to go on at 9.25pm.

Now just to fill you in on this gig, the room is long, our stage is on the wide wall. We are facing a dance floor, the audience is split into two with one half on our left and the other half on our right. Difficult? Yes!

There is a second stage for the band.. facing us. We were to be on that stage but Staging Connections told us there was no room for us. We asked them to add a 6ft deep staging module to the front of the stage. Instead, they insisted on adding a second stage, with a black backdrop hung behind it (for us to change behind) and a set of lights on the second stage. I asked if this would cost the client extra..  no, no, not much really. the staging is free with the room. (But the labour charge to set up the staging isn't! Staging Connections charge for that.. even though, as the band members told us, waiters set the stage up. Add to that the black backdrop and the lights and the client was billed an extra $1000).

So 9.25pm comes around, and the audience are already starting to get tired. It's an awards night and they presented the awards between entree and main course.(Here's a tip, always go on before the awards... everyone's happy then. After the awards the winners are happy, the losers are miserable! And that's up to 75% of your audience!)

I asked the people on the five tables immediately to the left and right of the stage to bring their chairs onto the dancefloor so they could get a great front row view of the stage. Thankfully, after a little coaxing, they participated and we did the show. Everything went amazingly well (though our music, normally too soft in volume, was so loud and bassy I had to turn it down during the show twice using my remote).

It was a crazy day... and I'm glad days like that don't happen all that often. Today it's just one show and it's a company Christmas party in a reception centre. Easy.

Merry Christmas!


Busy Christmas

Sorry we haven't posted as regularly as we'd like, but it is the busy season and Magic Unlimited is flat out fulfilling our clients’ wishlists by sending performers all over Australia to make everyone’s Christmas a truly magical time to remember. Some of the more interesting shows this season have included:

  • Barry Govan & Chris (Mr Swindle) Morant as Cardsharps at a James Bond themed Christmas party at Bond Bar in Melbourne.
  • Sue-Anne as 'Jeannie' for Hitachi's Christmas party in Port Melbourne.
  • Anthony DeMasi entertaining with close up magic for Bizarre Bazaar.
  • Ellis & Webster performing their Comedy & Magic Show at Crown Casino for a very exclusive (semi) retirement party.
  • Ellis & Webster doing close up magic together for the award-winning celebrations of 500 Collins St.
  • Sue-Anne Webster doing an afternoon of close up magic for a corporate Christmas party in Treasury Gardens
  • Ellis & Webster doing the full package (close up magic and the Comedy & Magic Show) for Wizard Information in Canberra.
  • Harry Houdidn’t entertaining at a Christmas party in Keysborough.
  • Ellis & Webster with the full package back at Crown Casino for the Raine and Horne annual Awards Night.
  • David Jones entertaining the team from Hitech Freight with close up magic at the Melbourne Airport Hilton.
  • Tim performing close up magic for a twenty person Christmas party at Berth for Assetlink.
  • Patrick McCullagh entertaing with close up magic for the Graffiti Group.
  • Anthony DeMasi performing laid back, discrete close up magic for Tricom at Transport, Federation Square.
  • Sue-Anne performing close up magic for the Centro Shopping Centre Group’s Christmas Party in Frankston.
  • Mat Unwin performing his hilarious close up magic for a special private Christmas party.
  • Ellis & Webster doing close up magic, their 30 minute Comedy & Magic Show, followed by a second 30 minute show for Gemcell at Sheraton on the Park in Sydney.
  • Ellis & Webster entertaining the kids at the Variety Christmas Party in Adelaide (with Patrick McMahon).
  • Ellis & Webster performing the full package for the Collins Transport Christmas Party (second year so it had to be a whole new show!) in Adelaide (with Peter Rowsthorn).
  • Sue-Anne as Jeannie at a fully decked out Arabian theme night (complete with camels) at Carousel in Albert Park.
  • Al Cappuccino, Trixie & Sue-Anne presenting ‘Al Cappuccino’s Roaring Twenties Gangster Night’ at the National Bank (?!) in Box Hill
  • Sue-Anne Webster and Enzo Ficco performing close up magic at the Powerhouse on Albert Park Lake for Commander Communications.
  • Sue-Anne performing a 30 minute Jeannie stage show for Acmeda in Carlton.
  • Ellis & Webster performing their Comedy & Magic Show for Kenman Kandy
  • David Jones performing close up magic in an exclusive marquee on the banks of the Yarra.
  • Patrick McCullagh performing close up magic for Freehills Lawyers at Docklands.
  • Tim performing close up for the Anglesea Probus Club Christmas luncheon.
  • Mat Unwin performing his crazy magic for a private Cricket Club event.
  • Ray Bell killing them with with his lightning fast caricatures at The Undertaker in Hawthorn.
  • Tim Ellis performing a hoax character for the launch of a very special event.
  • Barry Govan as a Cardsharp at a Las Vegas themed Christmas event at Crown Casino.
  • Sue-Anne entertaining the staff of Pro-Active Real Estate in Mornington.
  • Tim Ellis performing his solo show for a private Christmas luncheon.

…and we've still got 17 busy days before we get that long awaited Christmas break!

Merry Christmas everybody!


The Number One Reason To Buy A Peugeot

Image_00194

This used to be Sue-Anne's car. Well, it was until yesterday when a driver hit her in one of those accidents your Mum always warns you about. You know the ones, "Be careful driving because there's a lot of idiots out there on the road who don't look where they're going!"

Well Sue-Anne was driving along a main street when someone drove through a give way sign straight into the cross traffic and straight into Sue-Anne. He couldn't have hit her more squarely if he was aiming for her.

The Peugeot's safety features, which you always wonder whether you really need or not, came into play in an instant. The reinforcements in the door absorbed most of the impact, the driver side airbag deployed, the ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System), EBFD (Electronic Brake Force Distribution), ASR (Traction Control) and ESP (Dynamic Stability Control) all kicked in brought the car to a smooth stop.

Image_00197_1Paramedics, police, firemen and a council worker (who arrived first on the scene and has seen loads of accidents) were all amazed and, given the speed of the car that drove into her, said if she hadn't been in this new Peugeot with a superb safety rating she would have been lucky to survive.

We're very, very happy that Sue-Anne is still with us after that impact. She thanked God for her life (and thanked her Dad who was the motivation behind buying the car and so had sentimental value and protection every time she drove it). But what now?

The car was insured at market value, which means the insurers won't replace the car (I'm told it's a write-off) but they'll give us a cheque for what it's worth as a used car, we'll have to make up the difference in cost (which could be $20,000 to $30,000). Regardless, there won't be any more 307cc Sports in Australia until next May...

What happens to the man who sped through a give way sign in his 1991 Camry and caused all this damage? His insurers will sort out his car repairs, and he'll get a ticket for not slowing down at a give way sign....

Image_00195crop