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ZING ZANG ZOOM
Late in 2008, I traveled to Tampa, Florida, to work with the new edition of Ringing Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, a special magical circus titled "Zing, Zang, Zoom." Producer Kenneth Feld imagined a unique circus interwoven with magic illusions, and director Shanda Sawyer put together an imaginative scenario, combining all of the acts. I was responsible for designing the effects.
For our magician, we were lucky to have Alex Ramon, a young man who I first worked with on "Mickey's Magic Show," a touring Disney and Feld production. Alex stars as the "Zingmaster," part ringmaster, part illusionist. He does an amazing job in the role, and has established himself as one of our most energetic and talented magicians.
Among the illusions in the circus, Alex vanishes a full-sized elephant, Asia, during the opening number. If you get a chance to see "Zing Zang Zoom" (it will tour until the end of 2010), you'll have a chance to see an unusual combination of magic and circus, and a large-scale spectacle that's truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
I wrote about the experience in the March 2009 Genii Magazine.
Early in 2009, I worked with director Jeff Calhoun and the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles on a new production of "Pippin." The show was produced with Deaf West, a troupe of hearing-impaired actors, and was given a unique perspective by being told, simultaneously, with sign language. For this production, there was plenty of magic, including a Sawing in Half illusion and a Sword Box.
A TRIBUTE TO ROBERT HARBIN
The Magic Circle hosted a special tribute to Harbin as part of their 2009 Collector's Weekend, celebrating the 100th anniversary of Harbin's birth. I was honored to be asked to lecture at the event, and present a lecture of Harbin-inspired effects at the Circle meeting the next night. Those notes are still in the Catalog section.
My book, Modern Art, has been out of print for some time. This year, I produced a new edition, in full color, detailing these three illusions. As a special feature, I included a new routine for Hospitality, the "any drink called for" routine that's been popular with a number of magicians. This new routine allows it to be performed without an assistant. You'll find the new edition of Modern Art in the Catalog section.
JOHN CARNEY, THE MASTER SESSIONS
And now, a bit of an adventure. In conjunction with my wife, television producer Frankie Glass, and the renowned close-up magician John Carney, a good friend, my publishing company produced a special series of DVDs titled "The Master Sessions." These four discs provide a amazing advanced course in close-up magic, and an opportunity to study with a modern master. The discs were originally released in four successive seasons. Now that the set is complete, you can order the complete set. The reviews were unanimous; John's DVDs were an amazing product for magicians. You can order them by clicking here.
Finally, I need to acknowledge some special honors. I was pleased to be awarded the FISM Lifetime Achievement Award for Creativity, during the 2009 FISM Convention in China. The FISM awards are a recent choice for this prestigious organization of magicians, and I was particularly grateful to be one of the first recipients.
HINSDALE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL
And then there's the home town honor! I was inducted into my high school Hall of Fame late in 2009. Hinsdale Central High School (in Hinsdale, Illinois, just west of Chicago) selects several honorees every year. It was great to go back to the school and get a tour of the enlarged campus, and meet some of the old faculty and students from those high school days.
Stay tuned and thanks for your interest.
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