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26 entries from June 2006

Movies Update

Although I haven't written much lately, we've still been making our regular trips to the movies, it's just that there hasn't been much to write here about.

'Omen 666' was even worse than the oririginal, 'Stick It' was good with some amazing gymnastic scenes, 'Fast & The Furious 3' was 'Stick It' with some amazing driving scenes, I didn't mind 'X Men 3' though Sue-Anne thought it wasn't as good as the first two, and 'The Break Up' was supposed to be a comedy but it was just depressing!

So today we saw 'Superman Returns' and it is truly a great movie. Entertaining, engaging, exciting with elements of drama, comedy, romance and thrills. Stand out performances from Kevin Spacey and Parker Posey, and Brandon Routh does a good job as the man of steel. (Though, according to 'Smallville' he and Lex are supposed to be the same age... which means he's a little too young for this movie). Trivia aside though, it is definitely worth seeing and work on a sequel with director/producer Bryan Singer is well under way.

Bryan Singer also gets a credit for co-writing the story, however when I was watching it, I couldn't help think that I'd seen certain elements before. A quick internet search reveals that others have also seen a connection between this Superman story and the Gospel. Bryan Singer certainly didn't deny this is a recent interview when he said the notion of Superman as a messianic figure is simply another case of contemporary storytelling borrowing from ancient motifs."These allegories are part of how you're raised. They find their way into your work," he said. "They become ingrained in your storytelling, in the same way that the origin story of Superman is very much the story of Moses."

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the creators of Superman were, like Singer, Jewish. You can certainly see similarities between the Moses origin and that of Superman - both were set adrift by their parents to be raised by someone else.

But Singer says that his Christian neighbours had a big influence on the community he grew up in. Maybe this accounts for the numerous Christian motifs in the film. (Possible spoilers coming up so read no further if you haven't seen the film yet)

  • The repeated quote "from the father comes the son, and the son the father."
  • The fact that El (as in Jor-El and Kal-El) is apparently the Hebrew word for God. Superman is sent by his father because humans "lack the light to show the way".
  • The constant theme of 'Does the world need a saviour' and Superman saying "You wrote that the world doesn't need a saviour, but every day I hear people crying out for one."
  • Superman takes a beating while the fallen woman looks on and sheds a tear in a scene reminiscent of a PG version of 'The Passion of the Christ'.
  • Superman is stabbed in the side with a shard of Kryponite just as Jesus was stabbed in the side by a Roman sword while on the cross.
  • Both Superman and Jesus sacrifice themselves to save humanity.
  • After his sacrifice Superman assumes a cross position echoing the crucifixion.
  • The empty hospital bed in Superman is reminiscent of the empty tomb of Jesus.

Of course Superman isn't Jesus and the stories are quite different, but it is fascinating that so many allegories have found their way into Singer's work. Perhaps these familiar elements, along with many more, are part of the reason that the story resonates so well with so many people. After all, the true art of storytelling is connecting with your audience.

IBM/SAM 2008 Competition Rules


The IBM/SAM 2008 Combined Convention is set to host a magic competition with a total cash prize purse of $20,000, the largest ever awarded.

The competitors, limited to a maximum of 50 in each of Stage and Close-Up categories, will compete for the Championship Trophy, plus a cash award in each category of $10,000. In addition, worldwide bookings worth an equal amount will be divided between the six finalists in each category.

The winners will be selected using an entirely new format. A panel of 6 International Judges will select the 6 finalists in Stage and 6 in Close-up. The champion from each category will then be chosen from the finalists by a People’s Choice vote following two showdown performances, one for Close-up and one for Stage. The six judges are:

Gerrit Brengman, Belgium, FISM juror and Deputy Director of FISM;
Joan Caesar, Canada, President of Canadian Assoc. of Magicians, 2006 FISM juror;
Domenico Dante, Italy, FISM juror and FISM treasurer;
Eberhard Reise, Germany, FISM juror and creative director, and writer;
Dale Salwak, USA, IBM Executive Show Producer and contest Juror;
R.G. Smith, USA, SAM Executive Show Producer and Blackpool juror.

Contestants from around the world will be required to submit 3 DVDs of their actual performance, not a promotional video. A separate panel of competition pros will evaluate these DVDs and make their recommendation to the Committee. This pre-selection will determine the performers at the competition. However, any previous IBM or SAM Gold Medal Winner will be exempt from submitting a DVD.

All contestants must be a member of either the IBM or SAM, and pay an entry fee of $100.00 per contest category entered. The entry fee will be returned to those who do not qualify. Persons wishing to become either an IBM or SAM member in order to compete must have completed the membership application process before applying for the competition. Membership application forms may be downloaded from the website of either the SAM or IBM

Entries are being accepted at any time and until April 1, 2008. Rules and Entry Form may be downloaded from the convention website


Cunning Stunts - Buy Now!

Cunninglogo2_2Editing is finally complete and I have to say this DVD looks good! It's VERY different to our other three DVDs - those were designed for magicians, but Cunning Stunts has been created especially for people who've never done any magic before. 50 simple but effective tricks, bets and jokes that can really spice up any office, party, or event.

Those who have pre-ordered the DVD, it will be posted out to you next week. For everyone else, you'll be able to pick up a copy at the special discount price of $19.95 at our show on July 6 at the Comic's Lounge and then after that at the Trick or Treat Magic Shop. You can also order the DVD online here.

Purchase of the DVD also includes a handy reference card listing all 50 effects so you'll never forget them when you're out and about, plus you get access to the Cunning Stunts online forum where you can get help, presentation tips, swap stories and learn even more Cunning Stunts.

Also included on the DVD are bonus sections including Ellis & Webster performing and a performance of The Soda Resurrection.

RRP is $24.95 and the DVD is currently only available in PAL format (so it won't play in Japanese or USA DVD players. Sorry!)

Tommy Wonder - gone too soon

Zasafari2We just received the very sad news of the passing of our good friend Tommy Wonder. Tommy had been ill with lung cancer for sometime though it wasn't common knowledge.

Many Australian magicians will remember Tommy's visit to Australia for the 1996 Melbourne Convention with Tom Ogden, Bob Sheets and Ali Bongo. Tommy's lecture and his performance on the public show were both astonishing.

Sue-Anne and I were privileged to spend time with Tommy at many other conventions including FISM in Germany, Hank Lees, FISM in Den Haag where we were on the Jury together, and most Tommy nmemorably the South African Magic Championships where we all went on Safari together with Craig Mitchell.

Tommy was a great magician and a very kind man. He had a tremendous sense of humour (as evidenced by the videos we made in South Africa) and he was a true genius of magic.

We were really looking forward to catching up with him again at FISM next month, but it was not to be. It won't be the same without him.

His legend will live on in his 'Books of Wonder' and I know hundreds of magicians all over the world today will be saying the same words but, "We miss you already Tommy."

FUN-draising Magic

Would your school like to raise from $3,000 to $10,000 in one night?

In response to the Herald-Sun’s article about Krispy Kreme’s Fundraising Doughnut Drives for schools, Magic Unlimited has decided to create a zero-fat, sugar-free fundraising alternative.

Since 1980 Magic Unlimited has been producing the highest quality professional family entertainment. Now, using our magic, your school or group will achieve it's fundraising goals in three easy steps.

  1. Call Magic Unlimited and let us know what date you'd like to have us perform for you.
  2. Book your school hall or community hall on that date.
  3. Sell tickets to friends, family, neighbours and school supporters in your local community.

Turn up and enjoy a great night of entertainment.

Call us now on (03) 9486 4445 or email us for your free fundraising 'Plan of Action'