Magician Magic Show Review

There’s nothing like magic and variety. Seeing people entertain the masses with laughter and amazement. As my father alway’s reminds me what Dante told him. “If the audience doesn’t laugh then you’re not entertaining them.” Something I remind myself as an entertainer. With the momentum of seeing Jason Bishop perform my father’s creation in his illusion show just 3 weeks prior. We were looking forward to seeing another magic event.

Nothing Up My Sleeve is the conception of Nino Cruz & Glenn Chelius. In 2002, they put together their first show, in which I waw fortunate enough to be part of. It was a great idea to help the Raue Center for the Arts, a beautiful theater situated in downtown Crystal Lake, Il. That brings magic and variety to the northern suburbs to many people.

April 14th marked the 10th year of the show. We were invited by Nino Cruz to come out and enjoy an evening of magic. We first met Nino when he was performing close-up magic at the now long forgotten restaurant Choo-Choo’s. He’s always respected my father for being a magician who paved his own path from being an assistant of Harry Blackstone, Sr. and Dante. Of course, his huge contribution to the art and history of magic.

We arrived at the theater and were greeted by long time family friend H. Rick Bamman. He’s an amazing photographer in his own right, and has been doing this since he was 13. His step-mother, as I always called Aunt Marge was a very close friend of our family. As soon as we got seated he started taking photos of dad.

The scrim showed highlights of posters, photos and adverts of past NUMS show. I was surprised to see the spread from the Northwest Herald with me on the top of cards. What a joy.

Then show began…

Opening the evening was Mark Presley Hawksins, aka Nerdgician. A mute like magician, sorta in the way Okito would do his act, but only because he was partially deaf. He opened with a comedy bit with a magic elevator. It reminded of the days when we worked with the Gitchy Brothers, a comdey duo. Another highlight of his act was the “Butterfly in the Box.” A very elegant effect. Definitely takes the place of the dancing cane. He closed with a cardboard box version of ‘Modern Art.’ I will say, that he definitely promoted Home Depot for this illusion, I hope he gets these boxes for free when he needs to replace them. I envy the idea of using cardboard boxes when it comes to illusions, they are easier on your back. The only other magician I have ever seen do an illusion out of a cardboard box was Hans Moretti. However, it was a very dangerous illusion.

We were then greeted by the hosts of the show Glen & Nino who then introduced Paul Lee. Paul does a classic magic act. I know my father appreciates seeing that, because that’s the era he worked with. Paul opened with the dove production and his routine went on to include effects as torn and restore newspaper; audience participation with children; the production of a beautiful Swedish Duck before the vanish and the appearance of his cute dog Thurston. He closed with the classic Houdini illusion metamorphosis, assisted by Karen Burris. His act is always a joy to see.

Magician Shows

Magician Paul Lee & Karen

Nino & Glenn came out again to do a card trick. It was a cute bit. Where the gentleman came up to choose a card. Ironically, the theme was “Card Shark.” When neither of them came up with his card, the theme music of Jaws was heard and a big helium shark started floating from the balcony. As it started to get closer to the stage I was actually bumped in the head by it’s fin. Obviously, the shark had the correct card.

They then introduced Geoff Akins Hannah, the Bubble Juggler. He does a inspirational routine that is focus on bubbles. He has a very calm demeanor that really brings the children to focus. He does several different effects with bubbles that I’ve never thought of or seen before. Like a bubble within a bubble, a trail of bubbles, the creation of a square bubble. His act is accompanied by the song ‘Anything is Possible’ that is written by his wife Jen Hannah.

Nino & Glenn came back on stage and Nino performed a hypnosis routine. Six adults volunteered to be hypnotized. It was a classic well done routine with the adults who were put under. From the lady who doesn’t remember the #7 and the other lady who spoke Alien. It was well done. Luckily no one started barking like a dog.

After the routine we had a 15 minute intermission.

Where I know to run upstairs to the ladies room so I don’t have to stand in line. When I came back, Marshall Brodien was talking to dad and Eric.

Rick was taking several photos of them together. It’s always a joy to see Marshall and his wife Mary. My father and Marshall go way way back. He’s always been good to dad, and they are as close as brothers. He credits my father for giving him a really good start in the business, and even sold him his first tuxedo for $15. What a deal. They worked together several times. Since my father was the first magician to perform on Chicago’s Bozo Circus, it really helped kicked the doorway for Marshall which led him to creating the character of Wizzo. I always remembered when I was in 6th grade, my mom’s cousin got us tickets for the show because he was a producer of a WGN radio show. We didn’t have to do the 10 year wait. Obviously with my parents ties to the show, it didn’t even matter, we could go whenever. Anyway, we sat in the front, my p’s sat in the corner top back row. Al Hall, always gave seats to them. I never knew until later why we were blocked from commercials and how come I never got on the grand prize game…connections. Either way, I was luckier than manykids. After the taping, we had lunch with everyone and it was a wonderful day. I had a photo taken with Cookie the Clown selling him Girl Scout Cookies. I later realized by my friend Tom that it was a rare photo because Cookie isn’t wearing his tie nor his gloves. Later in the evening we were shocked to hear the news that Frazier Thomas passed from a eschemic heart stroke attack. It was sad.

Marshall, Dad and Eric

Magician Paul Lee

Cast of Nothing Up My Sleeve 2012

Intermission came to a close and we were greeted by Nino & Glenn, where they introduced the highlight of the show that traveled all over the world and came from Berwyn, Illinois… The Son of Wizzo. Which was actually performed by the son of wizzo… Marshall, Jr. He did a really nice job with his routine. A lot of comedy that made everyone laugh. He did a cute bit with the Nerdgician where he ended up with a cream pie in the face. A classic effect. The Son of Wizzo also invited Noah Simmons, a young ventriloquist up on stage with his dummy Charlie McCarthy. My father recognized Charlie straight away for good reason. He knew Edgar from the days of the Chicago Roundtable. If you look on the Salla poster, you see my father (who is #68) and above is Edgar Bergen & Charlie. And those who do not realize who Edgar Bergen is…he is the father of actress Candance Bergen. Noah did a great job and I’m sure we’ll see more of him in the future and we’ll see Marshall’s routine as the Son Wizzo. It will bring memories of his father’s creation and new memories for a new generation.

Nino & Glenn came out and did another routine. This time shining on Glenn’s talent as a vent with his Harry the Hare who wanted to be called Haredini. Who did a handcuff routine where Haredini escaped from. It was very clever. They then introduced Mark Faje, the world’s most dangerous comic. This was my second time seeing Mark perform. He left a very good impression on me after seeing him at the MCA weekend banquet show in 2008. I loved the danger and the comedy associated. A true professional and gentleman on stage. He started with the lighting of a cigarette with a match that he juggled behind his back caught in his mouth. He also tossed a ball behind his back and caught it with the temple of head. He also went on to do this with a bocci ball. Juggled ping pong balls from his mouth. I was hoping he do at least 4 balls, oh well. Mark wanted to show how easy it was juggle and needed an assistant. Eric and I were in the front row and he was eyeing Eric, and came up directly to him. Eric declined only because he’s too shaky to juggle. So the guy next to me went up. Luckily Eric declined because he would be juggling a machete. He then juggled two clubs and a buzz saw. Mark closed with a dangerous feat. As before with the previous except throwing a bowling ball from is foot to land on his the temple of his head, with a lighted flame, two steak knives, and a scorpion in his pants. Yes kids, don’t try this at home. Unfortunately, there was a kid who really freaked out and his mother left the audience. But I know these dare devils, they wouldn’t do unless they knew they can, and of course Mark did.

A great finish to a great evening.

We waited until everyone emptied the theater and I spoke with Rick for a bit, and some more to Marshall and Mary as we left the theater. We stayed for a while before heading home. It was a very enjoyable evening. It brings back memories back from the day of the Mather High School Shows. We need more variety shows like this in the area. I did produce a few for a while but not since 2006. The III Sheeters are no longer which did yearly events. As of lately, there’s not many, and there should be. So many wonderful performers to showcase and a public who hungers for this type of entertainment.

Magic & Illusions of Paul Lee Main Site

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