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37 entries from June 2005

The Cunning Spammers

Over the last week or so I've been receiving a new type of spam in my email inbox. We've all seen the "Increase your size" ads, and the "This is our absolute offer", we've even enjoyed the illiterate missives from people like 'Merle Negron', 'Newton Dillard' and 'Mai Chavez'. However this latest spam scam is likely to deceive even the most sharpest minds.

We all know that when we receive an email from a bank to "update our security details" on the web, it's unwise to do so. (Especially when it's allegedly from an institution you don't bank with). Now the spammers are sending emails out to companies that are apparently originating from within the company itself.

Every day this week I've received an email from or Needless to say, does not have any of these email addresses. It only took a second for me to realise that if Sue-Anne didn't send them, and I didn't send them, then they were probably spam.

But if you worked for a large company then it's very likely you would assume that it was a legitimate request from within your organisation, and you'd follow the link and give them all the details they requested.

So, in a nutshell, if you receive any emails from your own company's "Security Department" that look like the one below, delete them immediately.

Dear Valued Member,

According to our site policy you will have to confirm your account by the following link or else your account will be suspended within 24 hours for security reasons.

Thank you for your attention to this question. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Sincerely,Magicunlimited Security Department.

More Holiday Magic

Cosentino_1 For our friends in Sydney, you can catch a great magic show at your local Westfield Shopping Centre. (Cosentino is supposed to be appearing this week or next here in Melbourne at Eastland Shopping Centre, Ringwood too).

Cosentino Live Magic Show

"some tricks for your sleeve!"

Take the kids along to Cosentino’s spectacular magic show. They’ll be so enchanted by the surprising twists, unexpected illusions, and energetic dance moves that they’ll want to become magicians, too.

Lucky Cosentino will also invite some kids on stage to help him with his magic tricks!

Showing at 11am & 1pm:
Westfield Bondi Junction - Monday 11 July - Friday 15 July
Westfield Marion - Monday 18 July - Friday 22 July

School Holiday Magic

Img_0420thumb Here in Melbourne it's the school holiday period and, as always, magic is a fun thing for kids to do at this time. Gasworks Arts Park in Port Melbourne has joined in the fun with this:

Magic and Hula Hooping Workshops @ Gasworks. Daily during the first week of the June/July School Holidays. For kids aged 6 - 12. BOOKINGS: 9699 3253

Of course! Put those levitation hoops to some practical use at last. Magic and Hula Hoops go together so well! For years we've put up with the unholy alliances of magic and juggling, magic and ventriloquism, magic and clowning, and even magic and balloon animals! Finally, someone has been brave enough to come right out and say it... it's time to wave those wands and swivel those hips!

Magic in the kitchen

We had a very unusual show yesterday. The brief was to provide "organic magic" in a commercial kitchen. Some VIP guests were being shown around the kitchen and I was to assume the role of one of the staff and the magic would just "happen". (Sue-Anne was there dressed as one of the many chefs, and she assisted in making sure the magic happened!)

The first "happening" was me demonstrating to one of the guests how we made our fresh ginger beer. I took a piece of ginger and a piece of ginger root, put them into a cocktail shaker, shook it up, and poured out ginger beer.

The reaction of the guest was bizarre. She truly had no idea how to take this.

Another guest was watching a smoothie being made. I picked up a piece of real fruit and explained how real all our "fake fruit" looked as I gave it a few squeezes and it squeaked. He looked at me, took the fruit and said "Well... I certainly thought it was real." then went back to watching his smoothie.

Somebody asked for wine, so I took a waiter's cloth reached under it and produced a "little wine" (a bottle only 3 cms tall). After the quick gag, I produced a second, regular size open bottle of wine.

Soda Resurrection was next. I explained how we only ever need to keep one can of soft drink in stock. I poured several glasses of soda from the can then crushed it. I grabbed a back and pulled out several straws for the drinks (including an 8ft long straw), then I picked up the can and uncrushed it, resealed it, opened it and poured several more glasses of soda.

I think, by that time, the guests were starting to pick up on the fact that maybe there was some kind of show going on.

After that I mingled more with the guests, did the watch trick, Deckstress, burned up a $20 bill and found it restored inside a guest's jacket pocket, and generally gave them all an amazing time.

The client was extremely happy (gave us a 12 out of 10!) but we couldn't help but go away with even more ideas for "next time".

Midnight Magic

Magictwo_1Just a note for our fellow Aussie magic fans (you know who you are!) You only have 9 more weeks to catch Michael Boyd & Cathie Costello (Magic2) in the show Midnight Magic at Jupiter's Casino on Queensland's Gold Coast. The show has been running at Jupiter's for over a year now and it finally has it's own website here. It takes a few moments to load if you're on dial-up like me, but it gives you a good taste of the show (which also features Phelston Jones and Magic Polo).

Telemarketers - Quicktime

Well Monday came and with it another morning of calls from Telemarketers. They always seem to hit us early in the week. Unfortunately, I really didn't have time to play and so I tried a tactic I really didn't expect to work:

"Hello, may I speak to the manager please?"

"What's it in regards to?"

"It's about your telephones."

"I'm sorry, we don't have any telephones."

"Oh... aaahh.. okay. Goodbye."  CLICK

We got a few more calls this morning... I used the same strategy and it worked again. I'm getting lazy. Sorry. I promise to try something new next call I get, even if I don't have the time....

French DVD Review

David Stone wrote to inform us that one of our DVDs (24 Years of Living Next Door to Ellis) was reviewed very favourably by Forest Thibault on the French Magic Site  Unfortunately, the English language version of the review is not quite word perfect, but you get the idea they definitely enjoyed the DVD!

A sample of the translated review:

Tim ELLIS and Sweat-Anne WEBSTER , are 2 Australian magicians whom I really did not know, except reward FISM.

J’ai discovered an original, full DVD d’humour and rich in training.

Some turns n’ont nothing revolutionist. But their setting in scene, total personalization that Tim and Sweat-Anne put at it are formidable.

The presentation of inter scenes of the DVD and the explanations is ensured by Sweat-Anne who plays the housewife with the maximum of stereotypes machists. Some can not like but j’ai found that that returned rather l’ensemble amusing to see. I find that that changes austere presentations or even simply traditional presentations of the magician behind his table which gives its conference.

For the full review CLICK HERE

The Perfect Magic Club - Part 3

After a chat with fellow magician Michael Sullivan a few nights ago, we came up with this proposal as a "stepping stone" to help a magic club to grow on it's way to operating as "The Perfect Magic Club" as per my posted article and it's follow up:

The Magic Club's purpose is

1 - To introduce people into the world of magic as a performing art.

2 - To teach it's members how to perform magic.

3 - To give people who love magic an opportunity to get together and network.

The way it fulfils these aims is:

1 - Two meetings a month. One formal, one casual. At the formal meeting from 6-7pm (or 7-8pm) those who want to learn magic (ie: those who hear about the Club and want to get involved, but aren't ready to commit to membership) attend a one hour introductory lesson. This class is different each month but deals with the basics (Here's an Elmsley Count and here's a trick you can do with it). These "classes" are promoted by the Club but limited to 20 people. The people pay $10 each to attend. The tutor is paid $50 by the Club regardless of how many attend.

2 - The Club runs two public shows a year. The aim of these shows is not to raise money, but to give the members experience in performing. Instead of simply saying "Barry, you do a spot, David, you do a spot". More experienced members are teamed up with new members and each "team" puts together a 5 or 10 minute spot. This gives the less experienced members the chance to be on stage without the pressure of holding it all together on their own. It also gives all members the opportunity to mix, get to know each other, and to workshop and session together at the club and outside of club times if they so wish. Each time their is a new show, teams are shuffled up and new members work with different mentors to give them a taste of different magic styles and to avoid factions forming.

3 - One meeting each month is formal (with speakers, workshops, teach-a-trick sessions, reviews, competitions etc), but the second meeting is casual. It may begin with two or three pre-arranged "performances" (maybe teams trying out ideas for the show?) while the audience sits around tables ala theatre restaurant style. After the performances, sessioning begins.

Other aspects discussed were:

Meet in a place with a bar downstairs and a meeting room upstairs, or else divide the clubroom into two separate rooms. That way, when the formal meeting begins, those who prefer to ignore the meeting and chat can go into the other half of the room and do so without disturbing the others. This also benefits because the 6-7pm Magic Class can be held in one area while members arrive in the other area ready for the 7pm meeting.

The clubs need to integrate with all of the magic shops. They can offer the shops free advertising in the newsletter and the opportunity to do a 5 min "New Products" spot each month (or even have a dealer stand) in return for diplaying posters and.or fliers promoting the club and it's public shows in the stores. The stores may even be willing to act as ticket outlets.

To show impartiality and to promote harmony, the annual Christmas meeting/dinner should be a combined venture with the any other Magic Clubs in the city.

Some club members will need to be involved in lighting, sound or front of house for the public shows. They should be mentored by members experienced in those areas.

The Club should hire or borrow a video projector for the public show to enable close up to be presented as part of the show as well.

The club needs to approach experienced magicians to become 'Mentors'. People who don't normally come may be flattered to be asked if approached correctly.

The committee must act as "hosts" for all meetings and make sure that anyone who looks lost or alone is approached and brought into the mix. This should be an automatic part of the job description of committee member.

Guests should only be allowed to attend ONE meeting. Anymore than that and they must pay $10 per meeting to attend.

New members should be sponsored by a member. If they don't know one, they need to get to know one through lessons or something.

Possibly there should be two levels of membership: Performing Member at $55 per year, Associate Member at $75 per year. Performing members MUST participate in the public shows AND perform at least once a year in the formal club meetings.

These are all very interesting and worthy ideas.

I can see any club doubling in size within 12 months of operating like this. But doubling with people who are willing to be a part of the club because they feel that they have "ownership" in it.

Another magic friend said he attended the club once, but never again because he felt unwelcome, he felt he was made to feel like he didn't belong. "Who do you think YOU are?" These measures will prevent this sort of thing from happening again and maybe people like him will be drawn back into the club.


Webpagelogosmall Some of you who were lucky enough to attend the Melbourne Convention last year, saw New Zealand magician Felicity Rogers' film 'Dream Within A Dream'. It featured her magical 'Handbirds' (used as the convention logo) flying around in an astounding computer animated reality. If you missed it, or would like to see it again, it will be screened at the ACMI in Federation Square as part of the Melbourne International Animation Festival. Screening times are 8.30pm Thursday June 23, and 4.30pm Saturday June 25. You can buy tickets here.

Magic on TV in Australia

Fox8 on Foxtel - Thursday (June 23) 9.30PM Secrets of Street Magicians Revealed Light/Arts. Take a behind the scenes look at the secrets behind everyday street magicians. (M)

The Comedy Channel on Foxtel - This Sunday night (June 26) 8.30PM - Magick Comedy. Underground Scottish magicians Barry Jones and Stuart MacLeod unleash their alternative brand of dark, comedy magic featuring surreal characters in bizarre and uncomfortable situations. (M) In three parts, disused sewage works, abandoned asylums and seedy public toilets are just some of the eclectic backdrops used for their twisted trickery. Barry_big
In the first episode, a high street fundraiser waylays shoppers on behalf of the 'One World Charity' and unveils a small African child out of thin air. A violinist in a tuxedo mounts a bandstand in a park, rolls up his sleeve and plays a carving knife like a virtuoso across his bare arm, slicing through his flesh yet remaining entirely impassive...while secret filming in a supermarket captures Stuart and Barry magically sabotaging the products.