Saturday, November 10, 2007

Los Angeles Conference on Magic History

A Day Late & $450 Short

It's been a frustrating couple of days, I find out that a conference I really wanted to attend. . . lIN MY NEIGHBORHOOD, is going on . . . and that I can't go. Evidently it's invitation only, limited to 250 people and sold out two years ago. FUCK!!! I stopped in the Hotel yesterday to see what the situation was. I saw Todd Karr on my way in. I headed to the dealers room where I saw Aaron Fisher and an old buddy from Cincinnati named Kevin Williams. He told me that his wife knows Polly's mom from the subculture of quilters. Small and strange world. There wasn't much going on so I didn't stay long. I spoke briefly with another old friend Mac King. Other familure faces were Teller and Bill Kalush. I hope to see my old friend and walking buddy Ken Klosterman while he's in town.

Show Biz Taking Heavy Hits, left and right

As Stagehands Strike, Shows Don’t Go On


Most of Broadway was dark yesterday as stagehands went on strike over new work rules that producers have imposed or have been pushing for in months of contentious negotiations.

The stagehands took their picket signs to the wet sidewalks about 10 a.m. after a meeting of Local One, their union, at the Westin New York on West 43rd Street.

Twenty-seven Broadway shows, including “Wicked,” “Jersey Boys” and “The Lion King,” were shuttered, starting with “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical,” which was to raise its curtain at 11 a.m. Eight shows playing in theaters that have separate contracts with the union remained open.

The work stoppage not only crippled a $939 million industry, but also slowed the whole universe of Midtown: the bars, the restaurants, the hotels, the souvenir stores and the pedicabs that serve the people who buy Broadway tickets — more than 12 million of which were sold last year.

Yesterday’s matinee traffic of tourists and theatergoers was thrown off balance, with busloads of students sitting unhappily outside “The Color Purple,” and nervous restaurant workers contemplating a night with no dinner rush.

“Customers may show up, but they will be grumpy and won’t tip well,” said Laura Cosentino, as she stood on West 46th Street handing out menus for Rachel’s, a theater district restaurant.

The eight Broadway productions still running are: “Cymbeline,” “Mary Poppins,” “Mauritius,” “Pygmalion,” “The Ritz,” “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” “Xanadu” and “Young Frankenstein.”

This is the second strike on Broadway in less than five years. The four-day musicians’ walkout in 2003 was the first in almost three decades. But this is the first time Local One, a 121-year-old union, has called a strike on Broadway.

The producers and the union last met on Thursday, the second of three negotiating sessions requested by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the parent union of Local One.

In a statement, Thomas C. Short, the president of the parent union, said the talks had been making progress when he left on Thursday afternoon.

“I am dismayed that just hours after my departure the employers made a 180 degree turn and began bargaining in a regressive manner,” Mr. Short said in the statement. “This action demonstrates a clear lack of will on the employers’ part to reach an agreement.”

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

"Writers Strike" Cartoon TV

Magician David Copperfield sued in Los Angeles over vanished shows

The Associated Press
Wednesday, November 7, 2007

LOS ANGELES: Concert promoters sued magician David Copperfield for nearly $2.2 million (€1.49 million) because he pulled out of 48 shows after a woman claimed he raped her.

The breach-of-contract suit was filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. It names Copperfield, his company and one of his attorneys, Albert Rettig.

Calls to Rettig and to Copperfield's representative seeking comment were not immediately returned Wednesday.

Copperfield came under investigation last month after a 21-year-old woman told authorities that he raped her in July at his estate in the Bahamas. An attorney for the magician has denied the allegations and no charges have been filed.

The new lawsuit claims Copperfield backed out on a deal to give 10 performances in the United Arab Emirates and 38 shows in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore this fall because he did not want to face questions from reporters.

An attorney for Copperfield said last month that the shows were canceled because tour operators in Asia defaulted on their contracts.

The lawsuit was filed by California-based Viva Art International Ltd. and Maz Concerts, Inc. of Ontario, Canada. They claim they gave Copperfield about $2.2 million to cover his costs before he canceled the shows.

Recently sold on ebay • Robert Houdin Poster

Robert Houdin Poster

Unbelievable A condition! on linen and acid free paper. A very rare poster from the Theater of Robert Houdin, The Father of Modern Magic.

Measures 20" x 30"

Sold for $3,500
"Writers Strike" Cartoon TV

Dinner with Chris Korn

Had a great time with Chris last night. Hung out for 5 or 6 hours at his place in Venice Beach. We talked about his show Mondo Magic. Here are a couple of clips from previous episodes.

Mondo Magic Singapore

When Mondo Magic Trick Go Wrong

Tuesday Evening

After an entertaining and interesting time at the Hammer Museum, enjoying among other exhibits, the Ricky Jay Broadside Show. I made a quick stop to pick up a few cigars at the Original "Tinder Box". When Bing Crosby needed a smoking pipe, or George Burns needed some fresh cigars, they didn’t just go to any old store. They went to the Tinder Box, a little Old World European cottage style shop on Wilshire Blvd in Santa Monica, run by long time tobacconist, Edward Kolpin Sr. Since 1928, Kolpin had operated tobacco and pipe shops, serving the needs of many old Hollywood stars. In 1948, he opened the well known Tinder Box shop on Wilshire which grew into a franchise of 200 stores.

Kolpin said of George Burns, “He was a great guy” who “smoked 99-cent cigars, but $10 ones to hand out. He wouldn’t spend $10 on himself.” Bing Crosby, Clark Gable, and Pat O’Brien had all ordered pipes from Kolpin. Crosby had purchased as many as 16 hand crafted pipes from Kolpin’s store, and even posed with one of the pipes on an album cover. Marlon Brando never came in himself, but the pipe he smokes in the film, The Brothers Karamazov, was made by Kolpin. Milton Berle was even a spokesperson for the Tinder Box franchise.

Original Tinder Box

I headed further west on Wilshire Blvd. all the way to the ocean. I took Ocean Blvd. To Venice Beach, where after a walk I was going to meet Chris Korn for dinner to discuss his upcoming season. He's leaving Sunday for Bahli, where they will shoot 6 episodes of Mondo Magic in two weeks.

The beach was stunning this cool fall evening. The young tarts looked good enough to eat and muscle beach provided more than enough steroid ridden testosterone. The sunset was a delight. It felt good to get out on the beach for a brisk hour long cigar walk. Here is one of the pictures I took.


Tuesday Afternoon

Lunch with Polly at Astro Burger. Strikers picketing at the Paramount Entrances. Cars honking, as sign waving, out of work writers, set in motion, some of Hollywood's worst fears. God forbid TV Land crumbles, and people are forced to start talking to one and other. Studios are reacting with an immediate trimming of the fat, bracing for what could be a long costly battle.

After lunch I took Santa Monica Blvd. to Westwood. Through Hollywood and Beverly Hills, and endless stream of consumerism. Subway stops and a big building district called Century City with the Avenue of Stars. I have no idea what goes on there but it looks cool.

My Destination: The Hammer Museum to see the Ricky Jay Broad Side Exhibit. Here are a some examples of 100 pieces in the show.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Air quality and skin condition have as much to do with a good performance as the next thing. To be more specific, card magic, sleight of hand. Ya dig? I was having a perfectly enjoyable evening at work recently, when the marine layer rolled in as the sun set. Within an hour, my playing cards were reduced to a wet stack of napkins. I pride myself on being able to work with the worst deck handed to me, but lets face it, who doesn’t like a virgin deck? All slick and new, pop that seal and go to work. Back to the fog. . . the three layer playing card quickly absorbs excess humidity in the atmosphere and the result is a thick deck (hard to get back in the box) where the cards begin to stick to one and other. These decks do dry out when conditions change, but that doesn’t matter when your still working. I travel with a variety of decks and like to think that I’m prepared for any occasion. Still haven’t found the perfect plastic coated cards for those days when you find things a bit wet.

Monday, November 05, 2007

LOS ANGELES SUNSET, originally uploaded by AJ CANARIA.

Writers Strike

, originally uploaded by Is It Cool Enough For Marty?.

Dirty Sexy Money Visit

Thursday was a suck ass night at work, it was over before it started. Night after the big party night of Halloween, I guess. City Walk was dead, so I popped over to Hollywood and Highland to see if it was workable. . . it was not.

I called Polly to see if she was up for a visit. She said sure and made the proper arrangements for me to enter Paramount Pictures at the Gower Entrance. They were shooting on Stage 27. Dirty Sexy Money shoots on a bunch of different gigantoid sound stages. Walking around the lot at night by myself is really cool. There were a couple of other sound stages shooting as well. I arrived on set in time for second meal. A tasty Indian Food spread. . . I was hungry. Back behind the set and the tucked away video village, The hair and make-up departments had their set chairs against a giant wall. I was greeted by Dennis, Polly's’ Department Head. A very nice man and Polly’s biggest advocate. It’s been interesting to watch them overcome recent obstacles and continue to try to run an effective department. I like that they all make me feel so warm and welcome. I really like visiting Polly at work.

The writers strike is on everyone's mind and it was interesting to get a variety of peoples opinions about the effect that this could have. Peter Krause was generous with his time as I asked how he felt about the situation. I ask a lot of questions and take it all in. Kelly the script supervisor has asked on a couple of occasions why I don’t get into the business. I explained to her that I only work a few hours a day, and that a real job would interfere with my nude sunbathing. Priorities, that what I say.

They shot the scene from two angles, it was in Peter’s (Nick George’s) office. André and I had a mini magic session between takes. We discussed Erdnase and talked about our favorite shifts. I told him that I was planning a magic session at my place and wondered if he might be interested in coming.

It’s so amazing the magic of TV and Film. All this hard work and $4 mil an episode. Were selling dreams baby. The idea that your life can suck less by forgetting it for a while. Suspend your disbelief and go on an entertaining magic carpet ride. Tune in, turn on and drop out. . . that’s what I did.


What can I say, time marches on. Day after beautiful day, blue skies and sunshine. It’s been in the mid 70’s this week. Getting chilly at night. My dad called and left me a message while on one of his many motorcycle rides. He said fall was in full swing and the the changing colors were nice. I had forgot about fall. It still feels like summer here. Our apple tree, cumquat and lemon trees are all dropping fresh fruit. Rose bushes blooming all around the house. I really do like it here.

Thursday, I set up a meeting with myself at the Universal City Hilton. I met myself out in the garden for cocktails, there were all kinds of exotic plants, orchids, birds of paradise, palm trees and the most delightful fish pond full of giant multi colored carp.

During the hour long meeting several issues were discussed. First and foremost which cigar to light. It’s nice to have options. I fired up an Indian Tabac Pyramid leaned back in my chair and took in my beautiful surroundings.