Houston locals could soon be getting a new spot to kick back for a magic show and a tasty beverage. Magic Island is actually a two-story land-locked entertainment complex that hosted magic shows, dancing, dining, and drinking in its heyday back, beginning as a private club in 1983 and eventually opening to the public in 1989. Based on photos from the Houston Chronicle, the building’s original decor might best be described as faux-Egyptian kitsch.
But Magic Island closed a decade ago, and neither time nor the local residents have been particularly kind to the space. It’s now covered in graffiti, has frequently been a home to the homeless, and was stripped of all electrical work by scavengers.
Now, the building’s new owner is working to transform Magic Island back into the entertainment venue it once was. Local neurologist Mohammad Athari is the new owner, and he’s working with Manny Fahid, a prior employee of the club, on the restoration. Their goal is to reopen by the end of this year.
Scott Wells, who hosts The Magic Word podcast, also talked to local news channel KHOU 11 about the effort to restore Magic Island. According to the magician, re-opening the club will take “tender loving care and a whole lot of money.” He even performs a quick bill-changing trick to emphasize the expense of the endeavor. Nice work, Scott.
Spend even 15 minutes delving into magic history and you’ll find yourself with one undeniable truth: early magicians were not very good at documenting things for posterity. That sad reality makes the work of historians and archivists, such as Dr. Tim Moore, all the more critical.
Moore is a magic collector, and he’s done an impressive amount of work for the world of magicians. With more than 2,000 items in his collection, that’s a whole lot of preservation. Moore talked about his work, including advice for aspiring collectors, on the latest episode of The Magic Word podcast with Scott Wells. The pair discusses many facets of collection, from his efforts to preserve the Howard Thurston mausoleum in Columbus, Ohio, to the Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin museum in Blois, France.
But Moore’s still got other tricks up his sleeve. As you’ll hear, he’s still hot on the trail of Houdini’s milk can. If you’ve been sitting on any information, he’s the man to tell. Listen to the full episode on The Magic Word website.
Normally on The Magic Word podcast, host Scott Wells sits down for a lengthy chat with a fellow magician, talking about topics from magic history to stagecraft to novels. In this special episode, Wells handed the mic over to comedy magician Martin Cox, who shared an hour of his time roaming the halls at the Blackpool Magic Convention. He chats up many of the attendees about their time at the convention. It’s a slightly different take on sharing the Blackpool than the many (excellent) videos that pro magicians have been posting.
You can listen to the episode on The Magic Word’s website.
Rudy Coby is the latest performer to guest on The Magic Word podcast. Coby rose to fame with his comedy magic centered on the character Labman, a four-legged scientist who starred in two TV specials during the 90s. One of them, The Coolest Magician on Planet Earth, is available in its entirety on YouTube, so check that out for an example of his supremely odd style.
Here with Scott Wells, he talks about his many performance experiences and some of the fascinating characters he has met and collaborated with over the years. And yes, that includes Marilyn Manson.
Listen to The Magic Word on its website.
MagiCuba truly sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime experience; a rare chance to visit a beautiful country and experience magic from both local and international performers all throughout the city. We’ve covered the upcoming event in our own interview with convention co-host John Rose, but this week Scott Wells’ Magic Word podcast took some time this week to chat with Rose and mentalist Jon Stetson on their work bringing this convention to Cuba.
The discussion about MagiCuba begins around the 30 minute mark, where the duo talks about the kinds of groups required to wrangle this sort of convention in a country that hasn’t done anything like this before, the difficulties of trying to arrange street magic in Cuba, and the unique cultural qualities that make Cuba the perfect place for a magic convention.
The Internet’s impact on magic is undeniable, but it’s a divisive topic. Some magicians love the immediate access to information, the potential to reach new audiences. Others question if it’s pulling away audiences, increasing viewer cynicism, and perpetuating mediocrity.
To learn more about how the world wide web grew into its current role for the community, tune into the latest episode of The Magic Word podcast. Host Scott Wells chats with Jim Sisti about the topic. Sisti was the creator, publisher, and editor of The Magic Menu periodical. He’s also an established performer who has tricks and books out on the market. Their conversation covers everything from YouTube to trick piracy to the impact on brick-and-mortar stores.
Listen to the whole episode on The Magic Word website.
We’ve got two options for you podcast fans who maybe fell a bit behind on your listening over the holidays.
Discourse in Magic, an excellent resource for magic education, has posted its first episode of 2018. There’s no special guest on this show. It’s just co-hosts Jonah and Tyler waxing philosophical and attempting to answer some of the questions they’d posed about the art form last year. So if you want to hear their insights on the role of plot in an act, or you just want to know what the heck it means when they ask “Are all impossible things equally impossible?”, then tune in. The episode is available on the Discourse in Magic website, or from Apple, Android, or RSS feeds.
The Magic Word podcast from Scott Wells is also busily trucking along into the new year. In the show’s 400th episode, Wells sits down with magician and mentalist David Berglas. The 91-year-old is one of the most influential and inspirational performers in magic. He’s been in the business so long that was doing performances on the radio before blazing the trail for how to do magic on television. Any conversation with Berglas is must-hear material, and luckily for us, this is just the first of a two-parter. Listen to or download the first part here.
John Gaspard has been serving up his unique literary blend of magic and murder in the Eli Marks book series for years. Gaspard dropped in to talk about his upcoming new mystery novel, titled The Linking Rings, on The Magic Word podcast. This episode includes an extra special treat, with a clip from the audiobook version as read by Jim Cunningham.
The Linking Rings is due out in January 2018. If you want to check out some of Gaspard’s work before clicking that pre-order button, you can get a sample right here on GeniiOnline with The Invisible Assistant. This short story about the fictional Eli Marks originally ran in Genii Magazine’s January 2017 issue.
The Magic Word podcast has posted its latest episode, continuing the holiday tradition of host Scott Wells chatting with Murray Sawchuck. In this “Another Murray Christmas” episode, the duo discusses how Sawchuck thinks about evolving his act, and finding the balance between putting time into honing the trick and not letting it become stale.
Given Sawchuck’s signature shock of blonde hair and penchant for sharp dressing, it’s maybe not a surprise that he puts serious thought into appearances. He’s also got opinions about building your image, revealing a deep-seated pet peeve against headsets and clip-on microphones.
Sawchuck also talked about his participation in another Vegas tradition, hosting his annual Beggin’ For Magic charity holiday variety show on December 20. The all-ages show will give all profits to Friends For Life Human Society and Rockin’ 4 Rescues.