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Ben Price is a magician. Ben Price thinks that you should definitely hire a magician for your next birthday party, wedding, corporate event or private function. This is not a surprising stance for Ben Price, who is a magician, to take. 

But at least he makes his point well in an eloquent little piece of writing called “Why Hire a Magician?” that extols the virtues of a live magician versus more contemporary forms of entertainment. Some of it is boring ad-speak – Ben Price, magician-for-hire, has to eat – but he does make a very interesting point about photographs. To wit:

No, seriously, think of the fantastic photos you’ll get out of your event. Whether they are taken by your event photographer, yourself, or your guests, the photos you get out of a close-up or stage magic show will be some of the best photos you’ll get out of the evening. Not of the magician, but of your guests. Here’s why! When you are watching a magician perform, or are taking part in the performance yourself, there are always moments, no matter the effect, where the spectators experience a moment of confusion, bewilderment, or pure joy. If you capture any one of these moments on film you have the perfect lasting memory! Hang around the magician and you’re sure to capture a myriad of special photos! 

And Ben Price, magician, is absolutely spot on. Of all the magic sizzle reels I’ve seen in my time here at GeniiOnline, the best ones almost invariably have plenty of audience reaction shots. Event photographs are often meant to capture candid emotional responses, and no response is more genuine than the look of shock or delight on someone’s face during the reveal of a magic trick. 

I strongly suggest you go give the article a read. If you do decide that a live magician is a good fit for your event, you’re in luck, Ben Price knows a guy:

His name is Ben Price.

She sounds like the superhero we need: mild-mannered nurse by day, brilliant stage magician by night. Fortunately for Canada, Pauline Kong isn’t the stuff of comic books.

She works as an ICU nurse, inspired to follow a career in health care after a serious illness as a child. But Kong is also a magician and event producer, and she’s combining those pastimes into a fundraiser for the Surrey Memorial Hospital ICU where she works.

The show is called FATE 2: The Dance and Illusions of Oslen. The event features illusionist Oslen Chang, who appeared on Canada’s Got Talent. Other guest performers include magician Will Tsai, close-up magician Rosalind Chan, tap dance ensemble Project X, and Kong herself, performing under her stage name Fate.

As you might guess from the name, FATE 2 isn’t Kong’s first rodeo. She held the first FATE benefit in 2014 for the BC Children’s Hospital, where she was treated as a child for a ruptured appendix.

“Some patients are lonely and sad, and some don’t have people who come visit them,” Kong told the Surrey Now-Leader, explaining how her nursing work sparked an interest in magic. “I went to the night market one night and saw a magician there, and I asked him to teach me magic, and I spent the next two years learning from him, so I could use some of those tricks for the patients, to brighten their mood.”

FATE 2 is happening at the River Rock Casino Resort in British Columbia on April 8. Even if you can’t attend, or if tickets do sell out, Kong has a related GoFundMe campaign as a second fundraiser for the department.

That headline sounds like a setup for an amazing April Fool’s joke, but no, seriously. As we reported late last year, Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and the Slaight Family Foundation have put up a smooth four million Canadian dollars to establish the Allan Slaight Chair for the Study of the Conjuring Arts. 

Applications are now open.   

“As a society, it’s imperative that we understand when we are being deceived,” explained the University’s Interim President, Alastair Summerlee, via the National Post. “It’s also important to remember that magicians are among some of history’s greatest performers and influencers.”  

“Whether it’s fake news or whether it’s politicians convincing people,” he continued, the program will integrate magic and psychologists to help students with “understanding something about the illusion that they created, how do they work?”  

Whoever lands the job will end up working with students on a number of topics, including the history of magic, the nature of perception and the human psyche’s vulnerability to deceit. They’d also have to manage the University’s growing collection of magic-related literature and artifacts. Most notably; a copy of Miracle Mongers and Their Methods, signed by Harry Houdini himself.  

Want to apply? Well, competition is already thick on the ground. The university’s Faculty of Arts and Social Science has already received applications from roughly eighty applicants from a variety of backgrounds. The successful applicant is expected to be announced this summer. 

The position is named after Slaight Foundation founder, Allan Slaight, who was a professional magician in his youth before he entered the world of broadcasting.  He still writes books on magic, contributes tricks to magic magazines and hosts the the annual magic conference, 31 Faces North. 

  

We’re pretty excited for the upcoming documentary The Science of Magic. And if you’re itching to learn more about the making of the film like we are, you can tune in to Toronto public radio station CIUT 89.5 FM on Friday at 9am Eastern for an interview with the film’s co-director Daniel Zuckerbrot.

Zuckerbrot will be speaking with Daniel Garber, a film critic, interviewer, and host of a film show called Cultural Mining that airs every Friday on CIUT. The film itself will take a look at the intersection of psychology, scientific method, and prestidigitation, following a who’s who of the best working performers in the field (like Tom Stone, Billy Kidd, Juan Tamariz, and so many more), and the researchers studying their work to bring some magic into the laboratory. It sounds fascinating.

This isn’t Zuckerbrot’s first foray into movie magic: he previously filmed David Ben’s wildly macabre performance of “Call of the Colors” inside the house of late artifact collector Bill Jamieson.

If you’re unable to listen to the live broadcast (or, like me, don’t live in Canada), you can find links to livestreams on CIUT’s official website. If you end up missing the program, you can download the latest episode here. The Science of Magic will air on CBC’s The Nature of Things program on Sunday, March 18, and will be available to stream on CBC’s website as well. The documentary will eventually be available worldwide at a date yet to be determined. 

We love a good magic documentary, especially having grown up watching shows like Nova’s Secrets of the Psychics with James Randi. The CBC’s science, wildlife, and technology show The Nature of Things is going to air a special on Sunday, March 18 called The Science of Magic, and the lineup of included magicians sounds incredible.

According to Canada’s Magic, the show will feature performances by and interviews with the likes of Julie Eng, Ronald Rensink, Jay Olson, Gustav Kuhn, Anthony Barnhart, Amory Danek, Matthew Tompkins, Thomas Strandberg, Billy Kidd, Tom Stone, Thomas Fraps, Pit Hartling, and Juan Tamariz. The show will be hosted by executive director of Magicana, Julienne Eng. 

For those of you living in Canada unable to catch the televised broadcast, the CBC will host the video on its website for streaming a few days earlier on Friday, March 16 at 5:00pm EST. No word yet on when the documentary will be available to view in other countries, but the press release in the report above mentions that this is the “world broadcast premiere”, so hopefully the rest of the world will get a chance to check it out soon.

The WowFest Magic Spectacular returns for its sixth year this weekend, with shows on February 3 and 4 at the Orpheus Theatre near SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary, Alberta in Canada. 

There are a total of three shows this weekend, each one featuring a special exclusive act that won’t be appearing in any of the other shows. The 1:00 pm show on February 3 will feature the vaudeville-inspired act of James Jordan, the 7:00 pm show on the same day will star mentalist Greg T., and the 4:00pm show on February 4 will host the comedy magic of Malcolm Russell. 

All shows will be hosted by producer Ryan Pilling, and will feature the acrobatic acts of the Snow Circus, along with headliners Murray Hatfield & Teresa, in addition to the above exclusive acts.

Tickets are still available for each show for $15 CAD apiece, or for $12 CAD each when purchased in bundles of four or more. 25% of all ticket proceeds will be donated to Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids, an organization devoted to helping feed hungry children. Check out wowfestmagic.com for more details.

Here’s an opportunity that doesn’t come along every day: if you live in Fergus or Elora in Ontario, Canada, magician Ryan Joyce is giving you an opportunity to see a free taping of a magic show at the Fergus Grand Theatre. 

The invite comes via a special page of Magic Masterclass devoted to the upcoming event, where Joyce lays out how he came to film a video for the free series of online courses, and how it gave him an idea to put on a show.

From the event page:

It seemed criminal to bring world-renowned entertainers to the Fergus Grand Theatre and not share their talents with the community I love. 

That’s when Live at the Grand was born. 

We are now scheduling to bring the world’s greatest magicians, variety artists and visual entertainers right here to Fergus Grand Theatre and film a show for distribution (think TV, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.) You won’t believe the entertainers who are coming here– to Fergus!

The only catch to gain free entry is that you must dine at a local Fergus or Elora restaurant. Joyce wants the taping to be as much about the community surrounding the event as much as it is the event itself, and your receipt will become your ticket when you arrive at the Fergus Grand Theatre.

Filming for the show will begin in March, and visitors to the event page are encouraged to sign up to receive updates via email, and to share it with anyone and everyone they can on social media and in person. Visit FergusFilming.ca for more information, and check out Joyce’s routine from Penn & Teller: Fool Us in the video below.

The Montreal Magic Jam has been hosting lectures and breakout sessions for years now, and 2018 brings even more opportunities to learn. Caleb Wiles, who Penn Jillette called “so ******* good” back when he tried to fool them on their show in 2016, will kick off the year’s Jam sessions with a brand new lecture.

According to the event page, Wiles’ new lecture will be packed with explanations, advice, and presentations on several brand-new routines, as well as a breakdown of the trick Caleb performed on Penn & Teller: Fool Us seen in the video above). You’ll also have an opportunity to session with other magicians after the lecture.

The lecture will take place on Tuesday, February 6 at 7pm at the Theatre mainline in Montreal, Canada. Tickets are still available at the discounted price of $25 until January 30, when they will go up to $35. You can find out more information about this and other upcoming events, as well as purchase tickets  directly from the Montreal Magic Jam website.

All of us here at GeniiOnline are what you’d call magic nerds. For our Canadian brethren, there’s a chance to strut your nerdy stuff next month. GeekFest Toronto will host a screening of Wild Cards, a documentary short about cardistry by director Gwendolin Mah.

Mah is based in Singapore, and her 2015 project stars The Virts, whose beautiful videos and lovely new card deck have been hot on our radar for the past few weeks. Those who attend the screening will likely learn more about the group members and about the snappy card-based performance art. Check out another of The Virts’ older videos above for an example of their flourishing.

GeekFest Toronto is February 14 and tickets are still on sale for the whole day or for portions of the event.