The Britain’s Got Talent semi-finals have been brutal for the talent show’s magical acts, with over half a dozen magicians, escapologists, and mentalists getting buzzed or voted off thus far.
Last night, early favorite Marc Spelmann was eliminated after his performance, an extended feat of mentalism with sappy underpinnings, tied up the judges but failed to impress the audience at home. One suspects Spelmann might be a little bit critical of the result.
Mr Uekusa‘s exposed all in another hilarious magical stripping act. Alas, threatened by his raw sexual magnetism, Amanda Holden gave the Asian sex god the buzzer. At least he managed to depart the stage in style, his dignity preserved by a tiny silk towel.
On the 30th, tribal magical troupe, Magus Utopia, was eliminated after an exciting performance that didn’t resonate with the judges.
This leaves comic magician, Mandy Muden, as magic’s last hope in the competition.
Jay Sankey is a magical MacGuyver who has designed tricks for big names throughout the magic industry. For the last few months he’s been sharing some nice and simple tricks for free to promote his YouTube channel and merch.
In this video, he teaches us how to perform a trick with a coffee cup and mixing stick that needs scarcely any setup. The trick is really simple, but the real value of the vid is Sankey’s advice on working into and out of the trick, and how to keep people’s eyes where you want them to be. That being said, the only trick I can do with a coffee cup is making the contents of said cup (which is usually coffee) disappear, so I’ll likely add this one to my repertoire.
— Kevin Stokes (@Kevin5LiveChamp) May 30, 2018
One of the many magical acts in this year’s Britain’s Got Talent is a swarm of dancing, magic-performing children that call themselves Acrocadabra. Everything was going swimmingly in their semi-final performance, until, in the grand finale, they pulled a cloth off of a box to reveal…
… a bald stagehand squatting awkwardly behind the prop, mouthing what appears to be the words, “what the f**k?”
The kids, to their credit, handled the situation like pros, and kept smiling even as the stagehand scuttled off stage during a camera pan.
The judges didn’t notice the blunder, but the hopeful kiddos had their tiny hearts broken when they were eliminated during the results show anyway. When showed the footage later, Simon Cowell and co apparently had a good laugh at the bewildered crewman.
“You know what he’s done, he’s literally lost them a place in the final,” he joked.
While Britain’s Got Talent dropped two magic acts from the competition last night, Asian magicians were keeping the dream alive on the show’s American counterpart.
Shin Lim set a crazy high bar just by, you know, being Shin Lim. That elegant sleight-of-hand routine set to Un Nouveau Soleil by M83 is a perfect example of why the Canada-born, Singapore-raised magician is so highly regarded in magic circles. That and the fact he’s a FISM winner. Oh, and stuff like this.
But while several people think Lim deserves to win the competition outright, he had stiff competition from Asia’s Got Talent winner, The Sacred Riana, whose act speaks for itself.
The 25-year-old illusionist from Jakarta, Indonesia, isn’t a flashy technician like Lim, but instead sells her tricks with a cool Ringu-inspired persona, complete with plenty of head twitching and spooky glares. You’d think the gimmick would get old, but Riana took Asia’s Got Talent by storm last year. Her appearance on AGT has prompted some to complain that winners from other regions should not be allowed to compete.
Oh, and if you’re wondering how Simon Cowell can appear in two different shows in two different continents on the same night, he can’t teleport and he doesn’t have an identical twin. The audition stages of the show are actually recorded weeks in advance.
lemme bless y’all with this video pic.twitter.com/lwUIY3rwPj
— chris’ real name is christopher (@kostka_chris) May 22, 2018
A dentist from New Jersey is likely the only dentist in the world that children actually want to see. A video of Dr. Eyal Simchi using some cute sleight-of-hand to amaze an equally cute young lad has gone viral after it was posted on social media. The video has been seen more than 25 million times on Facebook and Twitter, and has launched the professional tooth wrangler to internet stardom.
It turns out Simchi has been using his magical talents to put his patients at ease for a while now. There’s videos of him pulling coins from ears, turning medical gloves into balloons, and performing “stand-up dentistry,” which is funnier than it sounds.
“Truly a great way to build trust with your patients,” Simchi commented on one of the videos of his impromptu performances. “Little tricks can go a long way with a nervous or frightened child.”
Simchi clearly has dentistry prowess equal to his sleight-of-hand . His practice has a perfect five star rating on Facebook.
David Copperfield has been found not liable for the injuries sustained by British tourist, Gavin Cox, during a performance in 2013. Cox was suing Copperfield, two of his companies, MGM Grand Hotel, and a construction firm for damages and after he was injured while taking part a performance. All parties, including Cox himself, were found negligent by the jury, but Cox was deemed 100% responsible for his injuries.
— M Price (@LasVegasCourts) May 30, 2018
Cox claimed he tripped and sustained life-changing injuries after he was, “hurried with no guidance or instruction through a dark area under construction with cement dust and debris,” while taking part in “Thirteen,” one of Copperfield’s illusions. He also claimed that the injuries cost him some $400,000 in medical costs and that he now has to use an “oxygen lung” while sleeping in case he suddenly stops breathing. What probably didn’t help his case is that while Cox appeared to require assistance walking in the courtroom, Copperfield’s attorneys presented footage taken over the past few years of him walking outside completely unassisted.
The jury took just two hours to deliver a verdict.
The case caught the eye of the media after it became apparent that Copperfield would have to reveal the methodology behind Thirteen during the court proceedings.
Even though Copperfield was found not liable, the time, effort, and money required to defend himself in court was substantial. Several magicians believe that the high profile case will have a chilling effect on audience participation in shows, while others have suggested it might serve as a useful reminder that magicians need to protect themselves legally (WAIVERS, PEOPLE) whenever they involve a member of the public in their acts.
Copperfield has not performed the illusion since the case began.
This year’s Britain’s Got Talent has been mercifully free of “surprisingly” good mawkish covers of 90’s pop songs delivered by unassuming members of the public, and pleasantly heavy on decent magical acts. Sadly, it’s now down to just one magical act, as bearded escapologist, Matt Johnson, was eliminated following a tense water torture escape that went slightly wrong, and Maddox Dixon’s illusionist act failed to impress the judges.
Johnson was doing well, but faltered at the last padlock after holding his breath for over two minutes. With paramedics ready to assist, he gestured for a pry bar and released himself from the box to cheers from the audience. Even if Johnson hadn’t slipped up during his performance, the judges were already torn on his occasionally disturbing brand of escapology.
Maddox Dixon secured himself a strong start in the competition with a well-received Rubik’s cube routine during the auditions, but a weak performance in the semi-finals and strong competition knocked him out of the running.
He started with some passable sleight-of-hand, moved on to an imaginary-card to box trick that failed to impress the judges, and ended with a levitation illusion that looked like the midpoint in a tutorial video. The whole routine was set to a Hans Zimmer track (please, leave Hans alone) and included a monologue so portentous I was convinced the act was self parody until the gimmicked Rubik’s cube came out. Even if Dixon had brought his A-game, he was unlikely to win against The D-Day Darlings, whose mix of military imagery and WW2-era nostalgia is catnip to BGT’s largely boomer audience.
Quick changers, Ellie and Jeki were also eliminated via a buzzer from Simon Cowell.
Every year on May 25th, hundreds of professional clowns and non-professional merrymakers march through Peru’s capital to mark the anniversary of the passing of José Alvarez Vélez, better known as Tony Perejil, the “clown of the poor.” The BBC had a photographer on the ground to capture this year’s parade.
This year’s parade also had a political element, as several groups of clowns were marching in support of government health care and financial assistance for circus performers.
Check out this BBC feature for more photos from the event. The news outlet also has a few snaps from the 2013 march:
The parade takes place in every year on May 25th in Lima, Peru.
Until his death in 2014, New York real estate mogul David M. Baldwin maintained a fine collection of magic curios and apparatus. Baldwin had a particular interest in ornate and elaborate “mystery clocks,” particularly those made by French magician and clockmaker, Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin. One such clock is the star lot in an upcoming Potter & Potter auction set to take place on Saturday, June 16th. The clock is expected to go for between 40 and 50 grand, but given how fierce bidding was at the company’s last magic auction, I expect it’ll fetch a higher price.
There’s a handful of other clocks that are expected to change hands for sums in the tens of thousands of dollars, including another example of Houdin’s work, and one that features a tiny autonomous magician that transposes objects to mark the hour.
Baldwin’s collection also included a finely-curated selection of magical apparatus, including a spirit bell and clock dial from the 1900’s, a Hofzinser 52 Card Rise Box that enabled any card in a deck to rise from the top of the box, a brass coin casket and the only known operational European Card bouquet device.
Other standouts include the traditional selection of Houdini memorabilia that always brings in a pretty penny. There’s a set of two bound volumes of Conjurers’ Monthly Magazine signed, “Best wishes from Harry Houdini,” a photograph of the man himself posing with Teddy Roosevelt’s grandchildren, and a theatre program from 1903 billing him as the “Handcuff King.”
The sale also includes selection of linen-backed broadsides, all of which are gorgeous.
If any of these lots catch your eye, you should check out the catalog on the Potter & Potter site. All the lots will be on display at the company’s gallery in Chicago from 10 am to 5 pm, June 13th to the 15th, before the auction goes live on June 16th.
Whether it’s the synth sounds of Kavinsky’s “Nightcall” or the seemingly effortless ways Shin Lim and his friends defy the laws of physics, this is one smooth video. Shin’s put out a few compilation videos from his Instagram exploits, but this has to be his best one yet, combining some stellar sleight of hand and incredible cardistry. Bob your head to the video above, or get instant updates directly from his Instagram feed here.