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November 2007
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January 2008

32 entries from December 2007

No Country For Old Men


I just saw 'No Country For Old Men'. An amazing film. Very violent and quite tense at times, but an intriguing story told with style and impeccable performances. Apparently, the Coen Brothers have adapted the book (by Cormac McCarthy, who also wrote 'All The Pretty Horses') for the screen almost scene for scene and word for word and this works perfectly.

Tommy Lee Jones has never been better as a very realistic, world weary Sheriff, and Javier Bardem creates the most sinister bad guy since Hannibal Lecter.

It really is a refreshingly "realistic" and very different film in many ways to what we normally get from a Hollywood adaption of a book. Definitely worth a look and very highly recommended.

John Edward & Terri Irwin set to make half a million dollars together

You may have read this article in the Herald Sun, or many other similar articles in newspapers world wide... yes, Terri Irwin is in business with "psychic" John Edward. Magicians will recognise the similarities between this situation and the time when Harry Houdini passed away and his wife Bess attended an annual seance to try to get in touch with him beyond the grave.

The only difference is that Harry said he would try to return and had a special code in order to prove (or disprove) that the dead can communicate with the living.

Harry failed to return.

Of course John Edward has no trouble talking to the dead, but Terri is not simply attending a private seance in hopes of getting in touch with hubby Steve, she's inviting 5000 other close friends at $90 a ticket to attend John Edward's "session" on January 5 at Australia Zoo.

Is she a bereaved widow genuinely hoping for a word of comfort from her true love? Or a smart businesswoman using the controversial Edward to generate tons of free publicity for the Australia Zoo's school holiday season of shows which also includes concerts by 'The Veronicas', John Williamson, Steady Eddie, Dean Geyer and Tripod... ?

Whatever the motivation, Steve Irwin spent a lifetime establishing a rock solid reputation of credibility and integrity. Terri has just shattered that rock with one blow.

I wonder if John Edward will pass on Steve's thoughts about that?



Our big Boxing Day movie was not 'The Golden Compass' despite it's massive marketing campaign, but rather Disney's new fantasy tale 'Enchanted'.

In my opinion this film is the best working of the "live action twisted fairy tale" genre since the 1987 classic 'The Princess Bride'. Disney have managed to incorporate almost every one of their fairy tale cliches and put a spin on them that's certain to bring a smile to your face. If you look closely you'll find references to Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Lady & The Tramp, Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Beauty & The Beast, The Little Mermaid, The Lion KIng and even King Kong.

It features absolutely show stopping musical numbers that not only parody the originals but outdo them in sheer spectacle and wonder, and every one of the characters (with the possible exception of 'Angie') is brilliantly played - with extra special mention to James Marsden as 'Prince Edward'.

In fact Amy Adams portrayal of the naive Giselle left both Sue-Anne and I saying "This is how the 'I Dream Of Jeannie' movie should be played". There's no need to reinvent Jeannie as a "modern" woman. The clash of old-fashioned virtue and innocence with current times contrasted beautifully here.

Enchanted is an ABSOLUTE MUST this school holidays. You don't even need to take kids along in order to go see it, just head down to your nearest cinema and get in line! (And watch out for the one-legged pigeon, he's my favourite).

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas to all our readers, from Sue-Anne, Sparks and I.

Thanks so much for all your support and comments over the year and we look forward to chatting with you even more in 2008. Remember, we do love hearing from you so please don't be shy in letting us know what aspects of this blog you enjoy, and we'll try to focus on those

Coincidentally enough, this post marks another milestone for this blog as it is the 1000th POST! (I really do waffle on don't I!)  For those keeping score, we've also had 1,537 comments and 150,747 page views!

FISM 2009 - The Venue is open!


The venue for FISM 2009 in Beijing, China, has just opened and now takes it's place at the largest performing arts centre in the world. You can read all about it here.

If you're interested in attending FISM 2009 we recommend you register now here.

If you'd like to join us on our trip from Australia to China in 2009, you can read all about it here and let me know you're interested by emailing me at and I'll add you to our list.

The Case Against Ellusionist

I did a show last night, and came across something which I think is already quite prominent in the USA but is bound to become a bigger problem in Australia.

It was a private home, adult birthday party, where I was performing essentially a one hour close up show for a group of thirty adults and a handful of kids. I'd slipped a popular new effect into the act and, once I performed it, a man turned to a 12 year old boy on my right and said "Is that the one you've got?"

Now in the past that kind of reaction would have occurred if you chose to perform Dynamic Coins or maybe a Svengali Deck in your act, because these were the tricks magic shops would sell kids, saving the "latest and greatest" for their more serious customers.

However most kids with a passing interest in magic buy from the internet, not just from Ellusionist, but from any of the other webstores that market themselves heavily to teenage boys. These stores also cater to the serious and "cool" magicians with the latest "street magic" sensations. But when kids go onto the sites, there is no distinction between beginner and advanced level tricks, they just look at a video of the effect and press ADD TO CART.

I'm sure that the 12 year old was unable to perform the trick I did last night, but he owned it and knew the secret. He'd probably shown his family and they probably knew the secret too. The fact that I did the same trick, as a paid professional performer didn't elevate him, it lowered my status.

As much as I like the tricks that Ellusionist release, as much as I enjoy performing the "latest and greatest", I have to resign myself to the fact that anything that's selling on certain webstores is likely to be owned by some members of my audience.

It's back to the boooks for me!

TypePad is fighting SPAM

But unfortunately for us it's being a little too over aggressive and identifying a lot of comment posters as SPAM.

TypePad has assured us that they are rectifying the problem, so keep trying to send those comments through! If you can't wait, just email them to me and I'll post them on your behalf, but hopefully TypePad should have the problem fixed asap.

Victorian Tourism Centre - Too much time on their hands...

Boy those wacky pranksters at Victorian Tourism Centre have been busy! A few days ago we received yet another fax advertising the same ONE DAY SPECIAL they always offer. I phoned up and asked to be removed from their fax list (as usual) and was hung up on by their helpful operator (as usual). I called back and spoke to 'Customer Service' and the lady was very helpful and apologised for her colleagues poor attitude. I asked to speak to a manager who could guarantee I would REALLY be removed from their fax list, and she promised one would call me back asap.

Obviously, no-one did.

However, ever since we have been getting LOTS & LOTS of emails from companies all around the world who sell lists of fax numbers. Alan Morgan from Datext Ltd, Lauri Lassila from SL Interactive, Jim from FaxBroadcasters, Jennifer Feldman from Pro Fax Fax Broadcasting and many others. Apparently, on Monday, someone filled in a whole heap of online enquiry forms using my name and details (as gleaned from this blog).

I guess business is very slow at Victorian Tourism Centre if they've can spend the hours it would have taken to fill in that many forms.

Just faxing me obviously isn't enough, they're really out to teach me a lesson now!

Dashboard Confessional

There are many ways to get ahead in magic. Sitting by the phone and waiting for it to ring is not one of them.

The band 'Dashboard Confessional' had a competition where fans were invited to make their own video clip for their song 'Thick As Thieves' and two 19 year old film students Grant Carden and Dillon Magrann-Wells took out first prize in a field of 160. Carden is the magician, you can learn more about him here, but the bottom line is that he has taken a creative and original path to stand out and get noticed.

You can read about the making of the video here or watch the completed effort right now.