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April 2007
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June 2007

26 entries from May 2007

The magic of cement

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Criss Angel will be performing a "death-defying" stunt on June 4 & 5 in New York, and you'll be able to watch it live on the web here.

CEMENT BLOCK Demonstration
LIVE in Times Square
June 4 - 5

Watch the LIVE webcast here
Starting the morning of June 4th

Criss Angel will attempt a death-defying demonstration in New York City’s Times Square beginning the morning of Monday, June 4. Encased in a concrete block and lifted 40 feet above ground, Criss must escape before it crashes to the ground 24 hours later.

Criss Angel will be placed in a 4’x4’x4’ glass box with steel bars that will be hoisted into the air and slowly filled with cement by spectators in full view at all times. Criss will be able to interact with the crowd with full audio and video during the event. The cement block demonstration will be filmed for a future episode of CRISS ANGEL MINDFREAK and stream live during a 24-hour webcast HERE on this page.

The webcast, in addition to a constant view of the cement block, will also feature a number of additional Criss Angel video clips. From the live event there will be views of Criss inside the block, and a roving camera capturing the action on site. The webcast will also feature highlights from Criss Angel Mindfreak Seasons 1 and 2, a sneak peek at the Levitation Special from Season 3, a first look at Season 3, and good luck messages to Criss from some of his celebrity friends.


FISM2009 Beijing - Delegates Tour Report

By Sue-Anne Webster, President FISM Australia.

The Chinese Acrobatics Association hosted international delegatesDelegates_2 in May this year, to inspect the new venue and the Chinese culture in Beijing for FISM 2009.

Now that Australia is a FISM country through 'Magic Unlimited Group Sessions' (the only organisation representing what is set to become FISM Oceania), Tim Ellis and I had the pleasure of experiencing superb hospitality, kindness and generosity from the members of the Chinese Acrobatics Association who showed us the sites and culture of a country that is fast becoming a super power.

The most breathtaking revelation about the major cities in China, Shanghai and Beijing, is that they seem to dwarf cities like NewYork. The rate at which enormous buildings and freeways are being constructed is mind blowing.

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The Chinese government is on track to have infrastructure and amenities ready to host international guests for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing… which means Beijing will certainly be ready and experienced in hosting international guests for FISM 2009.

The Chinese Acrobatics Association hosted discussions inviting ideas and recommendations from the  international delegates in order to make FISM 2009 a successful event. If their attitude, commitment and dedication are anything to go by I believe we’ll certainly experience an ultimate adventure. This is a FISM not to be missed.

Citizens of Beijing are enjoying a new era. Apart from the air pollution (a problem which is being addressed) Beijing is surpassing many major cities in cleanliness. Plazas are being ripped up and new grounds are being laid between grand new shopping centres.

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Clothes are a bargain, but steer clear of watches and electronics, unless bought from reputable traders.

Great_wall_3Some of the amazing sites and cultural experiences in and around Beijing are: The Great Wall of China, the Summer Palace, Kung Fu theatrical performances, Chinese acrobatics, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, vibrant colour and fabulous Chinese food. A little further away, Hangzhou and Shanghai offer temples, a town on water, river cruises and markets.

FISM registrants will be looked after by a host of multilingual volunteers who will make themselves available to help international guests. All accommodation is located outside the immediate city centre (where the FISM venue is located) and is easily reached by a new subway system.

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The venue: The National Grand Theatre is still under construction. It’s an enormous titanium and glass ‘hemisphere’ surrounded by water.

Foyer

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The unusual access to the foyer of The National Grand Theatre is by a large underwater passage. Three theatres are housed in this venue. The Opera Theatre - site of the Stage competitions and gala shows, seats 2416 guests and holds one of the worlds largest stages complete with the latest high tech equipment and a five way moving stage - The Theatre with walls lined in silk, and the Concert Hall.

Domenico Dante, the International Vice President of FISM, is in charge of the dealers den, and will be enforcing strict measures to protect trading.

The Chinese Acrobatics Association is doing everything in it’s power so that East and West can meet together through the magical arts. Book now for best seating on www.FISM2009.org

FISM 2009 Beijing details will also be updated over the next two years on our website www.MagicUnlimited.com and you can register now for FISM at the official site http://www.fism2009.org/ (the sooner you register, the better seats you'll have for the shows!)

Tim Ellis from Australia is interested in organising a group booking to FISM 2009 if registrants prefer to travel together. New Zealand and South African registrants are welcome to be a part of the group booking. Please contact Tim Ellis to register your interest in travelling together - Tim@MagicUnlimited.com


Deception Downunder

Deception

'Deception Downunder' is a new book from Brian McCullagh which he describes simply as "A Look at Magic in Australia". Brian was commissioned to produce this book for the ASM's hundredth anniversary and, because he was given neither the time nor the unlimited number of pages required to produce a comprehensive history of magic in Australia, Brian has chosen to produce (in his words) "my view of magic in Australia". He reiterates "I have done my best, yet some people will be offended because I have left them out or because I have left out people whom they think should be here."

So, in a sense, this is a sampling of magicians and magic in Australia over the last hundred years. For many it will be nostalgic, for others it will be eye-opening.

The first chapter looks at magicians who visited Australia including Howard Thurston, Chung LIng Soo, and of course Houdini.

Chapter Two looks at past Masters of Australian magic: Maurice Rooklyn, Arthur Buckley, The Piddingtons, Jean Hugard, Les Levante, Percy Abbott, Murray, Al Wheatley, and Peter Reveen. I found the magic postage stamps featuring five of these men amazing!

Chapter Three looks at the ASM and gives a brief history, including the controversial ending of the Sydney assembly of the club, as well as lists of award winners, editors, and the various assemblies of the club. It then gives brief bios of some of the more well known ASM members who are still alive today.

Chapter Four focuses on just two "retirees", Gerald Taylor and Arthur Coghlan, while Chapter Five is headed 'Some Current Successful Australian Magicians'. The profiles include Phil Cass, Tony Laffan, Tim Ellis, Magic2, Matt Hollywood, Steve Walker, Sam Powers, Brendan Mon-Tanner, Raymond Crowe, Cath Jamison, Mark Mayer, Sue-Anne Webster, Timothy Hyde, Sam Angelico, Doug Tremlett, Andrew Wimhurst, Chuck Fayne, and Joel Howlett.  Of course, this is the chapter that could easily have included so many others (Harry Houdidn't, Ricky Ozimo, Patrick McCullagh, David Jones, Nick Nickolas, Enzo Ficco, Andrew Gill, Anthony DeMasi, Cosentino, Duck Cameron, Terry McSweeney, Super Hubert, Ben Bradshaw, Tammii Twister, Sean Taylor, etc etc..) If only Brian had been allowed another hundred pages and a few more months to research! But as he says in the introduction "I would like to do such a work"... let's hope that he has the opportunity to expand on this book!

Chapter Six is fascinating as it's filled with 'Australian Magical Names and Facts'. It's like a mini magic trivia quiz and also covers magazines, shops, conventions and clubs! It also includes some wonderful historical photos from Australian magic's early years.

Chapter Seven is titled 'Behind the Stage' and sheds light on the collectors, historians and craftsmen of Australian magic.

In conclusion, after looking at our past Brian makes a few valuable suggestions for our future: "more cities hosting the National Convention, unification of the magic clubs with a governing body, a national magazine and, finally, a greater effort to establish Magic rather than just concentrating on one's own achievements."

Even though the book is 76 pages, reading it you realise that it just touches the tip of the iceberg that is Australian magic. It's fascinating reading and I really hope Brian is encouraged to expand it and produce a massive volume filled with the many amazing stories the Wizards of Aus have to tell.


Change, Change, Change

Everyone seems to be getting upset over this 'Soul Mystique' vs 'David & Dania' thing.

To clarify my point of view. I have not said that Soul Mystique copied David & Dania's act. Indeed, Gavin wrote to me via Sean Taylor and said that they have never seen David & Dania's act. "We still to this day have never seen D & D perform and frankly don't really want too."

I have no reason to suspect that is not the truth.

I am very interested in hearing (from Soul Mystique themselves) the back story of how they developed their act. Sean Taylor has said they were "helped along the way by some Russian Circus People". I wonder, were they the Sudarkicovich's? I'm genuinely interested as I find both acts fascinating and think there is plenty of room for everyone in this field.


National Sorry Day

Qantas17Today was National Sorry Day in Australia and Qantas was sure doing it's bit. We flew back from Sydney where we've been working for Canon at the Printex Trade Show and Qantas managed to delay at least half of it's flights out of Sydney today, giving them the opportunity to say "Sorry" to their customers over and over and over again....


Flying back on Qantass from China

Just a few words about our trip back from Beijing.

We flew Dragonair from Beijing to Hong Kong arriving in HK around 11pm. The flight was great. The plan was we'd stay in the 'Premium Lounge' at the airport until our 9am Qantas flight the next day.

Well.

The 24 hour 'Premium Lounge' was closing when we approached (reminded me of the old joke, "Open 24 hours... not in a row!") They told us of another of their lounges across the airport, so we trudged a looong way only to discover the cost was $US47 for 5 hours in the lounge, which included a 2 hour nap. Unfortunately, the nap room was fully booked so the offered us a discount of a few dollars. $42 to sit in a lounge for 5 hours... we moved on.

Sue-Anne slept in a lounge chair in the terminal for a few hours while I stayed up waiting for the Qantas lounge to open at 5am.

I should point out that we didn't have our boarding passes either - when we arrived in HK we went to the Qantas transfer desk and they told us to come back and collect our boarding passes at 7.30am. That meant we couldn't get into the main departure area until then. Eventually Cathay Pacific gave us a transit pass to enter the area and queried why Qantas didn't.

After getting into the Qantas lounge (they weren't keen as we had no boarding passes) we freshened up and then went back to the transit desk to get our passes (they had opened at 5am too, not 7.30am as they told us earlier). We didn't get the upgrades we ordered with our points, but they said we were "on the list" and to check at the gate. We checked at the gate, but the people at the gate told us to check at the gate?!!! When we entered they scanned our tickets and we asked about the upgrades and they looked at our tickets and said "No".

The flight itself was uneventful. I decided to watch the two Clint Eastwood movies 'Flags of Our Fathers' and 'Letters From Iwo Jima'. Halfway through the second film, Qantas' award-winning entertainment system conked out. After about 30 minutes it restarted, but the interactive 'fast-forward' and 'rewind' feature wasn't working so there was no time left to watch 'Letters From Iwo Jima' again. I chose the shortest movie 'Music & Lyrics' instead, and the system was turned off for landing 5 minutes before the end of the film.

Instead, I was thoroughly entertained by the antics in the seat in front of me as a man, who tried to order duty free, was first approached by an attendant who came to take his order then returned to tell him he was too late. "It was an 8 hour flight, you had plenty of time earlier" she argued. She returned to his seat four times to tell him how he should have ordered earlier, it was not her fault she was late in responding to his call, and surely it didn't take her 20 mins to come after he'd pushed the call button (it did!). The WORST example of customer service I've ever seen in my life!

Anyway, we now know of a direct flight to Beijing from Sydney. That's the one we'll be on next time!


An apology to Soul Mystique

I must apologise for a previous post where I stated that Australians seeing David & Dania's act for the first time might say "Oh you're doing Soul Mystique's act". It was brought to my attention that Soul Mystique thought I was saying that they copied David & Dania's act. This is not the case. Soul Mystique have stated in an email to me that they have never seen David & Dania perform.

Just to clarify things, here is a video of David & Dania on 'America's Got Talent'

And here's one of Soul Mystique on 'Australia's Got Talent'.