Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ebay Question

Q: I am interested in picking up a set of these cups but I would like a bit of security first. I know that a lot of Phoenix sets do not stack properly or stick together a bit. They might wobble a around on each other while stacked. Not good. So what I ask of you is could you test them out? You say you have six sets so I think that at least one of them would stack well. If you could stack up the sets and let me know if one has no wobble I would pick one of these up. The last set of these I got wobbled pretty bad and made them awkward to use in performance. I just want to know what I am getting this time around. Thanks,

Dylan Dec-17-09

A: Dylan, All the cups are made from the same die/chuck. I think, they are what they are. Some people love them, others don't. Best I can say is that I would offer a money back guarantee if your not satisfied. Or I might recommend the Johnson Cups for perfect cups in the same price range. Personally I love the cups, and use them all the time with no problem. Here is a bit of practice footage using the chrome plated Phoenix Cups.

Phoenix Cup Footage • Click Here


Tom Frank

15min. after I responded I got another email

Holy Cow! I had no idea I was talking to the actual Tom Frank! I have seen that routine before and I must say that there is a lot of elegance. I always enjoy your drop vanish. Looks great every time.

Perhaps it would be better if I told you what I was looking for. I just want a nice set that will hold a larger load. A tennis ball is really what I am shooting for. I understand that some of the sets can hold a tennis ball and still lie flat on the table. If you have a set that will do this then really I am fine.

I have always wondered what you do with your cups after you switch them for new undented ones. Have you considered selling your old sets. I for one would be interested if the price was right. Just for the sentimental value.

As always,

Monday, November 30, 2009

Once a cunt always a cunt

Dear Tom,

We exchanged, via e-mail, back in October what needed to occur before any supervised visitation time could be put into motion. However, the specific guidelines in our Parenting Plan pertaining to the safety and well-being of our children, has not been followed or adhered to by you. Therefore, any vitiation with them cannot occur during the weekend of December 4th, while you are in Seattle for work.

Best regards,

Moira Bonomi

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

078 Jim Cellini a, originally uploaded by Saomik.

The loss of a friend

I took a long walk on the beach this afternoon. Needed to clear my head. Had the headphones on listening to the Dead, Stella Blue.

“All the years combine, they melt into a dream,
A broken angel sings from a guitar.
In the end, there's just a song, comes cryin' up the night
Thru all the broken dreams and vanished years.
Stella blue”

Received the sad news that a friend of mine had died. About the time that the surf hit my knees, I realized that I was not going to mourn his death, but rather celebrate his life. I felt the same way when my mom passed. People that are dealing with deteriorating health, pain and loss of quality of life; it’s almost a relief. I hope that doesn’t sound harsh.

I prefer to think of Cellini as the guy I met when I was growing up. He was like out of a fairy tale and introduced me to the notion of personal adventure and showed me how a magician lived. It wasn’t just tricks and showmanship, technique and practice it was a crash course in life. I met him when I was 16 in New Orleans, then again when I was 18 in New York CIty; then I spent 9 months studying closely with him on a daily basis in 1984 when I was 19. That’s when our friendship became cemented. He was my mentor, teacher, friend and father figure. He had a work ethic and style all his own. “Be the first one out there in the morning, the last one to leave in the evening. . . . and never eat out.” That’s what he used to say. He was a work horse, grinding out show after show in the melting humidity of a New Orleans summer day.

I loved him, and liked to think that he loved me. He taught me so many things, like how to draw a crowd, a few people at first, then bring them in to unify them into an audience. He taught me about crowd mentality and how to use this to my advantage. So many years ago. . . a quarter century.

He will be missed and the stories he leaves behind legend. Those who knew him and called him a friend will cherish the time that he lavished on us.

His magic, his gift of time and education that he gave me. I can hardly imagine what my life would have been, had I not hooked up with him.

An orphan from New Hampshire, a door to door salesman, a Slydini student, lead singer in a rock band, street magician, teacher, world traveler, father, husband, friend. . . . he will be missed.

I feel lucky to have known such a man, to call him my friend and to call him on the phone when I wanted.

“When all the cards are down, there's nothing left to see,
There's just the pavement left and broken dreams.

In the end there's still that song comes cryin' like the wind.
Down every lonely street that's ever been
Stella blue”

Saturday, November 14, 2009

In my "Out Box"

I will call Vanessa, if you can assure me that she will not be asking ME for ANY upfront money to be represented.

Can you give me that assurance?


Real agencies don't charge fees. We are a real agency. We take 20% of non-union & print work and 10% of union work.

That's what I wanted to hear.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

HD Video Review 2009

HD Video Review

8/27/09 Paradise Cove Cafe • Malibu, CA

9/17/09 Working the CityWalk Clip

9/21/09 W/Buster at Universal Studios • Stunt Show & Tour

9/22/09 W/ Buster at The Getty Center • Lee Asher 605’s Testimonial Take 1 (audio not great)

9/23/09 Driving around downtown LA at night w/ Buster and Aaron Fisher. I’m driving, Buster shooting.

9/24/09 Zuma Beach w/ Buster and Aaron • 605’s Testimonial Take 2 w/ Aaron

9/25/09 W/ Buster at Denny’s near LAX • I interview my son. I love my boy.

10/2/09 Sparky & Charlotte in the Kitchen (N. Hollywood)

10/7/09 Sparky & Charlotte in the Kitchen

10/8/09 Charlotte in the Kitchen

10/24/09 Moving to Redondo Beach

11/2/09 Polly in Kitchen

11/7/09 Polly in Kitchen making Braised Short Ribs. Swiss Chard w/ Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

Monday, October 05, 2009

Tom And The City from Rotten Pictures on Vimeo.

Tom Frank performs at Universal Studios City Walk in Los Angeles Sept. 10, 2009.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Happy 73rd Gordy


You were there
even when I wasn’t


You were there
as I made mistakes


You were there
even when it didn’t feel that way


You were there
as I made more mistakes


You are here
as we both grow older


you one of the best friends I have in the whole wide world


You make me happy


You’ve taught me so many incredible things I have trouble keeping track of them

So, to here, is the many nice things I have say about you

I love you and all that you bring to my life, you my man, a stogie in hand, a glass of scotch and the notion of an experience that has yet to be lived

Happy Birthday Dad
I miss you and I’m holding the fort down just like you told me to.a

Friday, August 21, 2009

In my "In Box"

Hello Tom!

My name is Sindre and I am the kid who bought a stripper deck from you at Universal Studios. I am blond,and I did the drummer spin.I really liked the routine that you did with the stripper deck.I was wondering if you could make a tutorial for me on the routine you did at universal studios. You probably can't,but it would be great for me. If you decide to do it, you can send it to me via email or you can put on YouTube if you want. Can you please send me a video when you perform your magic routine in front of a crowd, because the card that you put in the book looked cool! Thanks for you time.

From Sindre.


My Response


What a pleasure it was meeting you and your parents at the CityWalk. Great idea about putting some stripper deck clips up on youtube, I'll give that some thought and get on it as time provides.

Until then, enjoy the clips I have up there already

here's one to start you off. Check out the others as well

Hope you are well and happy


Thursday, August 13, 2009

And another night at the CityWalk

What I've been working on • Shooting & Editing

Another night at the CityWalk

Another night at the CityWalk, originally uploaded by Dai Vernon.

Summertime Blues

Lighting up a cigar, I straighten up my spine forcing good posture. I think about what a nice summer it’s been and realize that it’s almost over. Smoke lazily drifts from my box pressed Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur (part of a juicy sampler pack that my dad sent me).

Who cares, whatever, say what you want. Talk about the kick ass mushrooms you ate, or the Tim Flynn Visit, or celebrating 3 years with the girl I love. Bla bla bla

Where's the action? The inciting incident? Who cares? How do you make them care? Well now, we’re onto something.

Polly and I had a great summer. In episodic TV Land, during the summer, the town all but shuts down. Leaving us to spend all day everyday enjoying each others company. The gym in the morning, lunch then a movie then chill till I go to work. She’s been back to work a few weeks and we’re still getting used to it. We went out to a nice restaurant and celebrated our anniversary in style.

I love LA and I love Polly Lucke. I’m a lucky guy. Don’t see much of her during the week. She’s up at 4 AM out the door at 5, at work by 6 and home after I go to work at 6 PM. Since she gets up at 4, she crashes before I get home at 10:30PM. It’s all good, we’ve done it before. Luckily CSI:Miami rarely works more the 60 hours a week. Big Love and Dirty Sexy Money were both closer to 80 hours (in a 5 day week).

It’s always fun visiting Polly on set or on location. She gave me the tour of the sound stages they use for CSI:Miami at the Raleigh Studios in Manhattan Beach (also used for the 2nd Iron Man Movie). Cool stuff seeing close up and personal the magic of Hollywood. She showed me the morgue set and it fooled me like a trick. I opened one of the refrigerator doors where the dead people go, fully expecting to see a compartment with a pull out area where the corpse goes. HA! no such luck, just a fake brick wall behind the door. As we pass various things I ask the question, “fake or real?

What is real, is the deep love I feel for this girl. We’ve been together for 3 years now and have yet to have an argument. We call our house “Camp Paradise” and live by a strict set of rules; First and foremost, Be Nice.

I’ve toothpicked the nub of my cigar and am enjoying the last of it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Harry Langdon

Harry L. Langdon (June 15, 1884 – December 22, 1944) was an American comedian who appeared in vaudeville, silent films (where he had his greatest fame), and talkies.

Born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, he began working in vaudeville then joined Vitagraph Movie Studios. He eventually went over to Keystone Studios where he became a major star. At the height of his film career he was considered one of the four best comics of the silent film era. His screen character was that of a wide-eyed, childlike man with an innocent's understanding of the world and the people in it. He was a first-class pantomimist.

Most of Langdon's 1920s work was produced at the famous Mack Sennett studio. His screen character was so unique, and his antics so different from the broad Sennett slapstick, that he soon had a following. Success led him into feature films, directed by Arthur Ripley and Frank Capra. When Langdon had such good directors guiding him, he produced work that rivaled Charlie Chaplin's, Harold Lloyd's, and Buster Keaton's. His best films were The Strong Man (1926), Tramp, Tramp, Tramp (1926) and Long Pants (1927). After his initial success, Langdon took creative control of his films and career, but his appeal faded soon afterward. His last starring silent feature was made in 1928. Capra later claimed that Langdon's decline stemmed from the fact that, unlike the other great silent comics, he never fully understood what made his own film character successful. However, Langdon's biographer William Schelly among others have expressed skepticism about this claim, arguing that Langdon had established his character in vaudeville long before he entered movies, added by the fact that he wrote most of his own material during his stage years.

Harry Langdon's babyish character didn't adapt well to sound films; as producer Hal Roach remarked, "he was not so funny articulate." But Langdon was a big enough name to command leads in short subjects for Educational Pictures and Columbia Pictures. In 1938 he adopted a Caspar Milquetoast-type, henpecked-husband character that served him well, he also contributed to comedy scripts as a writer, notably for Laurel and Hardy. Langdon continued to work steadily in low-budget features and shorts, always playing mild-mannered goofs, into the 1940s. As a point of interest, when Hal Roach was in a contract dispute with Stan Laurel, one-half of the great Laurel and Hardy comedic pair, the studio paired Langdon with Oliver Hardy in a 1939 film titled Zenobia.

Harry Langdon kept busy right up until his death in 1944 (in Los Angeles, from a cerebral hemorrhage). He was interred in the Grand View Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. At the height of his career, Langdon was making $7,500 per week, a fortune for the times. Upon his death, The New York Times wrote, "His whole appeal was a consummate ability to look inexpressibly forlorn when confronted with manifold misfortunes--usually of the domestic type. He was what was known as 'dead-pan'...the feeble smile and owlish blink which had become his stock-in-trade caught on in a big way, and he skyrocketed to fame and fortune...

In 1997, his hometown of Council Bluffs celebrated "Harry Langdon Day" and in 1999 named Harry Langdon Boulevard in his honor. For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Harry Langdon has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6925 Hollywood Blvd.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Shawn Greer Visit • Summer 2009

Shawn drove in last week and stopped over for a couple of days of hiking and hanging on his way to work a gig up in Napa Valley. His wife, Denise, was flying into Oakland and they had plans to go Sailing in San Francisco Bay and a tour of Alkatraz.

I love my oldest and dearest friend. We’ve been friends for 30 years and never lost touch. I like that Shawn is pure of heart and has a good magical mind. Having had the same mentors mainly: Larry Pringle, Paul Swinford & of course Cellini as guides in our artistic progress we share many of the same philosophies with regard to technique and attitude. Might be a Cincinnati thing or Norwood. . .

We’ve seen each other through rough times, becoming stronger people and better friends. We’ve replaced older negative behavior with worse behavior. Just kidding. On his way back home from the gig in Napa Valley, again he stopped over and spent a couple of days at “Camp Paradise” (What we affectionately call our residence here in N. Hollywood). He introduced me to something called Bikram Yoga. 26 Poses in 90 minutes in a room heated to 100 degrees. . . I shit you not! It was awesome. Got a really good workout and am still sore days later (in a good way).

Before he split we made a special visit to Dean Dill’s Magic/Barber Shop and enjoyed a Wednesday afternoon session. Dean did his latest goodie “The Revelation” for Shawn, I think the picture says it all. I was also picking up my Dean’s Box which was much in need of some routine maintenance. Dean went above and beyond my expectations and the box looks brand new.

Shawn has gone back home to Phoenix, and life is back to normal. I’ve always maintained that I was lucky to have the friends that I do, and can’t afford to loose even one.

You Win

Today Polly & I headed into Burbank to see a flick. We were there plenty early and decided to walk and peruse the shops, no shortage of restaurants there. High occupancy and a few businesses that no longer were in.

When I walk, I like to smoke my cigar. When I drive. . . I have even been known to enjoy one in the shower or bath. As we walked I noticed a NO SMOKING sign in a business window. A few minutes later I see another one, this time I look a little closer and notice that it says that you can’t smoke anywhere in downtown Burbank! What is this, I thought! Nowhere? I guess the voters have spoken. . . again. I puff my cigar as though the sign means everyone but me. As a magician, I enjoy an inflated sense of “con”fidence, especially when it comes to concealing a lit cigar. So, we’re walking and I’m smoking and enjoying a picture perfect California day and I see another one of those pesky signs. I try and think nothing of it but BLAM another one and another. On almost every store front and every lamppost. I was divided, on the one hand; I have always enjoyed challenging authority. On the other hand, I had a feeling that if I was caught, I would be issued a ticket and I certainly didn’t want that. Upon final evaluation, I decided that since I had given it as much thought as I had, I really wasn’t enjoying the experience anymore. I delicately placed my cigar nub on the NO SMOKING sign and walked away.

Later I felt like a pussy, when if fact it was just a good decision.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Charlie Chaplin in The Floor Walker

Grateful Dead 7-29-94, originally uploaded by wyndswept.

Parking lot at Buckeye Lake, Ohio on July 29, 1994.

Grateful Dead / 7.29.94, originally uploaded by toddwickersty.

Grateful Dead• Buckeye Lake • July 29, 1994

A memorable show that our crew of misfits enjoyed at this middle of nowhere venue in the rural outskirts of Columbus, OH

Set 1

Feel Like A Stranger
Wang Dang Doodle
El Paso

Set 2

Foolish Heart ->
I Want To Tell You
Looks Like Rain
Samba In The Rain
Uncle John's Band ->
Saint Of Circumstance ->
Drums ->
Space ->
I Need A Miracle ->
Standing On The Moon ->
Turn On Your Lovelight

The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)

Friday, June 05, 2009

Quote du Jour

"We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out."

– Ray Bradbury

The day started with rain

Days pass, time marches on and life moves forward regardless of your plans. That’s why I don’t have any plans.

One out of every 4 hours is designated as “Crazy Hour” for our cats. They kitty gallop from one end of the house to the other making graceful leaps from one piece of furniture to another. Our furry friends keep us company and give us additional outlets for our love.

It’s a nutty world out there, glad I’m not allergic to nuts.

Work is as up and down as the economy, but I do my thing night after night and either make money or not. It’s not the destination. . . . it’s the journey. . . whatever.

As I sit here nursing minor irritation and pain from last weeks tooth extraction, Polly is at the gym training w/ Errol.

Polly (and much of Hollywood) is on hiatus at the moment. Looks like she may take CSI: Miami next season for 10 months of work. They start shooting in July. I love it when she gets a break from the long endless hours of television production. We’ve been having a great time together. It amazes me that we’ve been together for 3 years and still not one argument.

So, life is good; I’m at an interesting crossroad in my own art and trying desperately to to figure a few things out.

Just got a text from Aaron, looks like were hiking in Bronson Canyon later. . . .

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

In my "In Box"

To Whom it may concern:

I am the proud owner of a set of Phoenix Cups created by the legendary street Busker: Tom Frank. I must admit that I was at 1st reluctant to purchase a set of these cups because of all the negative criticism regarding the lack of space in the "attic area" when having 3 balls there. However I have since put these cups to a great deal of use & discovered this to be BOGUS! I have no trouble at all with any so-called "floating" of the cups with 3 balls loaded. I would also like to add that any magician encountering such a problem should, in my professional opinion, take a serious look at their "mis-direction" as that is the obvious source of the problem, NOT the manufacture of the cups. Furthermore, I find the inside room of the cup capable of handling a large load like the Lacrosse ball without any problem at all. I highly recommend these cups for any serious performer. They are built very strong, nicely balanced, & have been designed by an expert in the field.

Sir Richard.

Ricky Szewczyk

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Monday, May 04, 2009

Hope's Birthday

Why must I dredge up those painful times,
why do I do that to me

why can’t I look at the love in my heart
and know that it sets me free

I have a way of behaving
and to know me is to . . . know me
and if you don’t like it
I might tell you to . . . well you get the idea

Rules were meant for something
I guess
but not for me
I live in my own hood
far far from reality
is that so bad?
does it make you mad?
I ain’t sad and it ain’t no fad

not looking for much in this life
except to try and make the world a better place
one smile at a time

The cards were dealt, not in my favor
but I’ve won a few hands since then
and should count my blessings

So say what you will
you willy nilly
I won’t stop you

It is what it is
and that’s the end of the story

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Busker du Jour • Name this street magician

Street Magician, originally uploaded by hannabear.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Real World

Helicopters overhead, cars driving by, the micro movements in the world we live in. Life in 2009 in Hollywood, California is anything but dull. The town built on the tears of crushed souls. That could be Vegas too I guess, or any of the many places around the world where dreams are made or more often broken. Little freaky, if you ask me, the world we live in.

Interesting times. As a simpler fellow, I try not concern myself with too much with the real world. Even when I was in it, I wasn’t.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Grobard the Great!

Grobard the Great!, originally uploaded by Dai Vernon.

, originally uploaded by Dai Vernon.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hanging with the Doctor

Tom Frank & Doc Eason, originally uploaded by Dai Vernon.


83 degrees and sunny, not a cloud in the sky. A perfect California day for mid March. Last night was St. Patty’s Day and Aaron and I found ourselves at a little club called Marlins, in Huntington Beach to see a Grateful Dead cover band named Cubensis. 2nd time in a few weeks that we had been there. Last for Aaron’s B’day. Josh was there as well as Mr. Fisher’s date, Adam and Amanda Grace. Both times hoot and hollering good times. Dancing to the music we love so much. Always fun to party with the freaks.

Speaking of freaks, My pal Chris Karney was down visiting LA, a week or so ago. He was staying with his friend Daniel, “The Rubber Boy”. I hooked up with him at the Magic Castle. Fun night, after the banquet the night before the awards. Lot of electricity in the place. Hanging out in the WC Fields Bar was Sylvester the Jester, Chris Karney, Losander, Aaron Fisher and a gaggle of other folks. Later in the evening I got to spend some time with Doc Eason who, the following evening was presented by the Academy of Magical Arts “Close Up Magician of the Year”! Congrats my friend!

The next day I went down to Rubber Boy’s loft in the Artist Colony “The Brewery” (a converted old Pabst Beer Brewery. We walked to a nearby burger joint for lunch and enjoyed an afternoon of interesting conversation. I’m lucky to know such strange and fascinating people. Chris and I went up to the roof to shoot some video. I have a project in mind that delves into the creative process and wanted to test some interview footage with Mr. Karney. Content great, audio, not so much. REally need to boom it or go with a handheld or lav. Wind was a factor on a downtown rooftop. I like Chris and what he has to say about the art that we have made our lives.

He’s a rebel with a belly full of booze. Cigarette smoking wise cracking obnoxious motherfucker. . . but I think he’s great.

Check out this clip of him fro a couple of years ago

Saturday, March 07, 2009

In my "In Box" • Reeks of SCAM

Hello Tom,

Thank you for your application! My name is Peter Dreyfus, Casting Director for Talent Watchers. As an independent production company, we have the opportunity to interview a large number of people. My job is to narrow down the applicant pool to a select few who I feel have potential for success.

You seem to be really comfortable in front of the camera and you have the look I am interested in for this production?That is why I would like to accept you in our talent roaster.

I also have some other roles in my mind for you. I will work on them and let you know how it goes.

I should try to arrange your appointment sometime soon since video production will be starting within the next two weeks. I would like to make the arrangements right now.

Because we need to make sure you are committed to us and you do not change your mind during the casting process, we want you to be in an official database. As you are probably aware, that is a standard in the industry. We work with ?Talent Watchers? and we trust them because they are a well known name in the industry. is also a part of extras and models limited company.

Please upgrade your profile at and upload any updated photos of yourself right away so I can get your information off to the producer ASAP.

Please let me know if you have questions at this time.


Peter Dreyfus
Casting Director

PS. If you are already a Talent Watchers member please reply with the URL and make sure you check your email very often.


My Response


Not interested in paying to maybe get work, but very interested in working. Get me a gig, and I'm happy to pay you a commission.


Tom Frank

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Kids' TV icon 'Uncle Al' dies

Al Lewis - the man known by generations of local children as "Uncle Al" - has died.

From 1950 to 1985, "The Uncle Al Show" aired daily on WCPO. The man known for his straw hat, bow tie and accordion died Saturday at the age of 84.

His show, which aired locally for most of its run, was the longest-running children's show in the nation, according to Bill Fee, WCPO vice president and general manager.

"Anyone who has lived in Cincinnati for a while realizes that Uncle Al was part of their lives growing up," Fee said. "He and Wanda were a fixture in Cincinnati. We're going to miss him very much."

The Uncle Al show debuted June 12, 1950. Al's wife, Wanda Lewis, joined the show in 1956 as the character Captain Windy, drawing pictures for the children and handling many of the educational aspects of the program.

"Many people remember Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Rogers because they aired nationally. But they didn't last as long as Uncle Al," Fee said.

Lewis was featured on the cover of "Cincinnati Television," a book written by former WCPO producer Jim Friedman, which was published in late 2007.

"Uncle was Uncle to everybody, even his grandchildren," Friedman said. "I was on the Uncle Al show in 1959. I remember doing the hokeypokey. And then in 1979 I started working at Channel 9 and I actually got the chance to work with him. It was great fun to be able to know him."

Len Goorian, 89, of Owensville, met Lewis 60 years ago when Goorian was a producer at WCPO. He said Lewis originally came to WCPO as an art director. Television was so new at the time, when Lewis wanted to go on TV, they let him.

In the early years, shows were aired live, requiring a special level of talent that Lewis quickly demonstrated.

"He proved to be perfect for it. He was a musician, he was an artist. Anytime you were around him, it was showtime," Goorian said. "You won't see his like around again for ... I don't know when. Cincinnati has lost an icon. No two ways about that."

Jim Timmerman, 51, of Blue Ash worked with Lewis from 1981 to 1985, getting a job straight out of college. Timmerman was part of the crew, helping run cameras, doing props, and whatever else was needed for the show.

"We all had to learn how to juggle because, you know, that's what you did," Timmerman said.

Timmerman grew up in Lima, Ohio, far enough away not to know about Uncle Al.

"When I came into the station, the first day, the lobby was filled with mothers and their kids all waiting to get on the show. It was a phenomenon I had never seen before in my life," he said.

Timmerman said his fondest memory of Uncle Al was going to his 80th birthday party and seeing him play his accordion.

"He never went anywhere without that accordion," Timmerman said.

Lewis was born in Cleveland. After spending three years in the Army in special services entertaining troops, he returned to Cleveland and attended the Cleveland Institute of Art.

While there, he met his future wife, Wanda.

Lewis graduated with a degree in art in 1949. While in college, Lewis worked at WEWS-TV as an announcer and an artist. Being an accomplished musician, he also performed in nightclubs playing the accordion, banjo and piano.

He joined WCPO in 1949 as art director. Shortly thereafter, he was hosting four programs a day, and two of them became children's programs.

In June 1950, "The Uncle Al Show" originated because of Al's enthusiasm for children.

For most of its run, "The Uncle Al Show" aired locally. It ran nationally on ABC in 1959 and 1960.

After the show ended, Uncle Al continued to live in his hometown of Hillsboro, where he remained active in the community.

According to a WCPO statement, Wanda Lewis wants the community to know how happy she and Al were to be a part of children's lives for 35 years. They felt very blessed to use their talents to brings smiles to children's faces for so long.

Services will be held Saturday in Hillsboro. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati. To do so, go to www.cincinnati or call 513-636-4561.

Cincinnati Enquirer Staff Writer Eric Bradley contributed.

, originally uploaded by Dai Vernon.

Monday, March 02, 2009


Lost in my own thoughts
I try to make progress
it alludes me

like a fly to that sticky shit fly paper

In over my head
in my own life concept

unable to be at one with my surroundings
I am conflicted

Where is my trademark aloofness when I need it most.

“I’m a student of human moves”
who knows where that line is from?

Trying to get with the program, whatever the fuck that means.

I want to do good, it just seems like that’s getting harder and harder to do, every day.

I know. . .
That the magician app. on their iPhone might possibly be cooler than me. I get it. Doesn’t mean that I have to like it.

So where from here?
time to get creative

I’m broke

Got love in my heart and a smile on my face

Will that be enough

anyone's guess

in this new world order.

I love you good night

We live in a culture that’s scary

face it, you could be next
you know what I’m talking about

The random victim of senseless crime
It could happen to you

It might have already

who knows

what evil lurks

yada yada yada


another one bites the dust

A glass of whiskey
as Tom Waits plays

the door locked
and loaded shotgun
by my side

Fuck with me or mine
and you got what’s coming to you.

I love you good night.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Pic du Jour • Click pic to enlarge

The Card Sharp on the Boulevard, 1806, oil on wood by Louis-Léopold Boilly

Raised near Lille in northern France, Boilly trained with his father before moving in 1778 to Arras, where he studied with the trompe l'oeil painter Dominique Doncre. In 1785 Boilly settled in Paris and painted trompe l'oeil subjects, small portraits, and scenes of erotic gallantry. With the Revolution and the disbanding of the old royal academy, exclusive privilege to show at the Salon was no longer accorded just to academicians; in 1791 any artist could exhibit. And from that year onward, Boilly exhibited regularly at the Salon: in 1808 he showed Cardsharp on the Boulevard along with a pendant Young Savoyards Showing Their Marmot (private collection, Paris). These paintings mark an important moment in his career, as they were among his first depictions of everyday Parisian street life. Democratic or even populist in subject, they were designed especially to appeal to the wide public that attended the annual Salon exhibitions.

The boulevards of Paris--broad avenues lined with trees--had been a distinctive feature of the city since the eighteenth century, attracting crowds of strollers from all social classes, vendors of all kinds, street entertainers, and purveyors of various licit and illicit pleasures. Cardsharp on the Boulevard shows several episodes on the boulevard du Temple, where, to the right, the scene is dominated by a cardsharp or conjurer, offering cards to a group of attractive young women and children. Various types look on, including the artist himself, the glum, skeptical figure portrayed in a bicorne hat at the center of the group. To the far right a trestle table displays a cup, balls, and dice, the articles of various other tricks. In the left background another crowd makes its way into the premises of a café and patisserie, while in the left foreground a young woman is engaged in the oldest profession. The companion picture shows other popular street entertainments, including young lads from Savoy displaying their pet marmot and playing the hurdy-gurdy. Contemporary critics--and Salon visitors--appreciated Boilly's very fine technique and his ability to capture so many details of costume, custom, and character, which he skillfully worked into a coherent narrative whole. Cardsharp on the Boulevard was designed to appeal to a wide audience, and this delightful slice of Parisian life in the early years of the Empire is no less engaging today than it was in Boilly's time.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

In my "In Box"

I have some sad news that I thought all of you should hear. Below is a message from Gazzo.

Sad news. Cellini has just recently suffered a stroke. He his in the hospital. So unfortunately Jim won't be coming to the school of busking in Cardiff. I know this is my first post here for a long time. But what I intend to do is set up somewhat of a charity fund or a hat pass for Jim. Please send donations to this adresse:

So here is Jim's snail mail address. Please send all mail, cards and donations to

Richard Sullivan at

I'm sure Jim would love to here from you all.
Marianne told me that Jim is in pretty bad shape. I could imagine he is in bad shape financially. So anybody out there would like to send some form of donation this would be really appreciated. I'm sure Jim and Marianne would be over the moon with it.


Monday, February 23, 2009


Fingerless gloves
like a heartless chest
shows me
who knows best

twiddley dee
twiddley dumb

fee fi fo fum

Looking into their vacant stares
Like a television
fixes a glare, a glaze. . my mind in a maze
coming through the haze
but not coming out on the other side

Part of me stayed
part of me can’t let go

Part of me wants to rip my guts out
every day
to stop the pain

Life ain’t fair,
so move on

but it’s hard

when there are children

I been through it myself
I know the drill

I saw it happen to my own parents
then it happened to me
divorce can bring out the worst in people
It’s hard to say if I’ve lived through it

People always say, “They will want to know you”, “When they’re 18, you will have a relationship with them”

Just a shame.
I got nothing but love for my kids
and it’s gonna be like this

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Busker du Jour

Street Magician, originally uploaded by ag2th.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Blue Valentines

She sends me blue valentines
all the way from philadelphia
to mark the anniversary
of someone that I used to be
and it feels just like there's
a warrant out for my arrest
got me checkin' in my rearview mirrror
and I'm always on the run
thats why I change my name
and I didn't think you'd ever find me here

to send me blue valentines
like half forgotten dreams
like a pebble in my shoe
as I walk these streets
and the ghost of your memory
is the thistle in the kiss
and the burgler that that can break a roses neck
it's the tattooed broken promise
that I hide beneath my sleeve
and I see you every time I turn my back

she sends me blue valentines
though I try to remain at large
they're insisting that our love
must have a ulogy
why do I save all of this madness
in the nightstand drawer
there to haunt upon my shoulders
baby I know
I'd be luckier to walk around everywhere I go
with a blind and broken heart
that sleeps beneath my lapel

she sends me blue valentines
to remind me of my cardinal sin
I can never wash the guilt
or get these bloodstains off my hands
and it takes a lot of whiskey
to make these nightmares go away
and I cut my bleedin' heart out every nite
and I die a little more on each st. valentine day
remember that I promised I would
write you...
these blue valentines
blue valentines
blue valentines

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The things you can find on the internet

The other morning after the SCPA Mixer I awoke from lousy night of sleep and nightmares to a feeling of not being able to breath. As it happens I had a swollen uvula. I knew that’s what is was called, because it had happened 8 or 9 years ago.

I did a Google search for swollen uvula and this is what I found CLICK HERE

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Why I love magic

Ultimately, when it all comes together, it makes people happy. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, was make people happy. There’s look in a child's eye and a subsequent smile or look of surprise; or turning a grown up into a child. . . even if but for a moment. That’s why I got in the game. It’s all I ever wanted to do. I always thought it was a noble profession to make people smile.

Tonight the money was horrible. It was 50 degrees and had rained most of the day. It was even hailing at one point. It cleared up enough to get out there for a couple hours in the evening. I didn’t make that much in tips, but I did some nice shows, and made some people happy.

I want to get better and grow as a magician a performer and a business man. I think it might be time to overhaul my act. All my friends seem to think that I need to reinvent myself and freshen things up a bit. Scary thought for a guy who has done the same act for 25 years. But I have learned one thing, when you hear the same comments from a a bunch of people whose opinions you respect. . . I should probably listen.

I love what I do, and there are endless possibilities. I used to have dreams and for years made them realities. Life’s harsh blows to the heart and soul can be crippling to motivation. Death and divorce, alienation and self loathing have all contributed to my lack of productivity in the last few years. I want to motivate myself to produce and again feel the delight in life and my art.

Here and now I renew my commitment towards my life. I will watch less television, write more and explore the vast universe of new material to sculpt out a new act. I have a lot of confidence on my ability as a performer, I always have. I need to get off the streets and book some gigs. Things are tough all over, but I have to believe that making people happy is a commodity that will always have value.

Time to put on the thinking cap and get to work.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

SCPA Alumni Mixer in Los Angeles

Last night Polly and I went downtown to a cool club to hang with some old friends from high school. We found out about the mixer from FaceBook only last week and were excited to go out on a Saturday Night and share our memories of the old days in Cincinnati. A few of the people live here and work in the industry, and some were just visiting. It was a small but exuberant group. It was very interesting to hear what everyone had been up to for the last quarter century. To be honest these were people I barely knew, Polly knew them much better. While these fine folks were getting their education in the class room, I was skipping school, reading magic books and practicing my art off campus. Of the many schools I was kicked out of SCPA was my favorite.

Click Pics to enlarge • A good time was had by all

Click HERE to see more pics from last night


I joined up with FaceBook a few weeks ago and been really surprised to see how quickly you can become addicted to finding and communicating with people from your past. Friends from high school, friends I've worked for and with, through the years, and just plugging into this new world order of viral communities. Very interesting to get on the phone with old friends and catch each other up.

Here's a pic of a friend of mine named Mark Mounts. We went to the School for Creative & Performing Arts back in the early 80's. I think I was there in 10th and 11th grade before getting kicked out for rarely showing up. Mark and I used to skip school regularly with our posse of ne'er do well misfits.

Polly also went there and so did my brother Mike and my sister Margie. Harvey and Stevie Weinstein as well (a couple of the guys I met with in Vegas last week).

What a long strange trip. . . it continues to be!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Brett Wolf

Brett and I go way back, way, way back. He must have been 12 or 13 years old when we met. I was probably 20. Brett has worked for The Amazing Kreskin, Bill Malone and is currently working for none other than David Copperfield.

Another home town boy done good. I'm proud of him. We spent a few hours hanging out while I was in Vegas. Nice to catch up on all of the lost years. Hell, I don't think we had seen each other in a decade. Good memories of a good friend and a good magician. Brett, custom built some props for me years ago for some corporate work I was doing at the time. He always had a knack for that kind of thing.

Hope to keep in better touch with him and not let another decade go by before we see each other again.

Just as the Seattle Magic Back Room Sessions were legend, so were the many evenings spent in my mom's attic where I lived after moving back from LA 20+ years ago. The sessions included the likes of Brett, Homer Liwag, Chris Korn, Jeff Edmonds and once I believe we were treated to a couple hours of coin magic from Bob Fitch.

My son Buster once joked, "Dad, all of your friends have gone on to do amazing things with their lives. . . and look at you"

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

old crazy man of union square, originally uploaded by killthebird.

So long, to my favorite pitchman

Joe Ades demonstrating the use of his $5 vegetable peeler outside the Union Square Greenmarket. He died on Sunday.

His Stage, the Street; His Rapier, a Peeler

By JAMES BARRON • From the New York Times

Somehow, Joe Ades got people’s attention as the crowds swirled by at the Union Square Greenmarket, on their way to eyeing and buying the produce. He was the white-haired man with the British accent, the expensive European suits and shirts — the man selling the $5 peeler. For carrots. Or potatoes.

“He talked constantly,” said Clover Vail, an artist.

“He was very excited about carrots,” said Sara Mason, a merchandise assistant at Barnes & Noble.

“He made it look really fun,” said Julie Worden, who dances with the Mark Morris Dance Company.

“The voice — you couldn’t help but notice it,” said Gordon Crandall, a mathematician who teaches at La Guardia Community College.

His was a particular kind of street theater in a city that delights in in-your-face characters who are, and are not, what they seem. For he was the sidewalk pitchman with the Upper East Side apartment. The sidewalk pitchman who was a regular at expensive East Side restaurants, where no one believed his answer to the “So what do you do?” question: “I sell potato peelers on the street.” Mr. Ades (pronounced AH-dess) died on Sunday at 75, said his daughter, Ruth Ades Laurent of Manhattan. She said he never talked about how many peelers he sold in a year, or how many carrots he had sliced up during demonstrations. She said he stashed his inventory in what had been the maid’s room of the apartment.

There were those at the Greenmarket who had heard the spiel, and heard the whispers. “Supposedly his wife is mega-mega-rich — we’ve done fashion shoots in that building,” said Rose-Marie Swift, a makeup artist, as she shopped at the Greenmarket on Monday.

The facts? He was a widower. The apartment had been his wife’s — his fourth wife’s. And besides Ms. Laurent, he is survived by two sons, Sam, of Sydney, Australia, and David, of Byron Bay, Australia; two brothers, Dennis, of Toronto, and Andre, of Sydney; a sister, Vida, of Toronto; and three granddaughters.

He had been selling things during his fourth marriage, and his third, his second and his first. David Hughes, the operations manager at the Greenmarket, said that Mr. Ades had been a fixture on the edges of the market for years. (He stayed on the fringes because he never obtained a permit to do business there, and if he staked out a spot too close to the vendors, someone would complain and security guards would be alerted.)

First he sold children’s books, Mr. Hughes said. “Then he moved into potato peelers,” he said. “He told me books were too heavy to carry around.” The Greenmarket was not his only open-air stage; he had places near Radio City Music Hall and in Brooklyn that he liked, Ms. Laurent said.

She said that he had learned the tricks of salesmanship as a teenager in Manchester, England. “He’d sold all kinds of things from when he was 15 and saw the old-time English grafters, I guess here you’d call them pitchmen,” Ms. Laurent said.

He sold linens, textiles, jewelry and toys, and broadened his inventory when he went to Australia in the 1970s. “We had a huge truck that we sold off the back of,” recalled Ms. Laurent, who worked with him, selling clock radios, cassette players and electrical appliances along with other household goods.

He followed Ms. Laurent to the United States. “One of his marriages, I guess his third marriage, had broken up,” she said. Making the rounds of state fairs, she said, “he discovered the peeler — someone was selling the peeler and he saw it as a fantastic item for the street.

“He loved the street more than anything.”

It helped that he had a voice like a radio announcer’s. “His voice really carried,” Mr. Hughes said. “Joe would say to me, ‘You have to not be afraid to talk to yourself out loud.’ He said that once he started talking out loud, somebody would stop, and once he had one, he’d have a crowd, and once he had a crowd, he’d sell peelers.”

Like an actor, he had a sense of pacing and timing. Ms. Laurent said that the peeler would slice “practically anything” but that he limited his repertory to carrots and potatoes when selling on the street.

Ms. Laurent said she sometimes went to look for him at the end of the day, but he would have packed up and left after selling out. She could tell where he had been.

“He cleaned up really well,” she said, “but still there were these little shreds of carrots that said, ‘I was here.’ ”

Thurston Master Magician!, originally uploaded by Lisa Kettell.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Super Bowl 2009

Back from a long weekend in Vegas, to celebrate and watch the Super Bowl. Always a pleasure to spend time with the Weinstein clan: Woody, Harvey & Stevie; as well as the guy who made the whole thing possible, Willie Waxler. Thanks guys for a memorable weekend!

Other adventures and stories to tell if any one cares, or I find the desire and time. All I can say, is I had a GREAT time.

Monday, January 26, 2009

In my "In Box"

Well ... maybe. Four years ago I saw your street magic on Pike Place. My brother's love for slight at hand and showmanship has made a real impression on me growing up. When I saw your performance, well it made me really happy. Infact, in my humble opinion, it was some of the best I have ever seen. I'm a little embarrest to say that I gave you peck on the cheek as thanks. All in good fun and appreciation I completley assure you. Afterwards, whenever I visited downtown Seattle I always tried to pop by Pike with a friend to show you off. Eventually I did move to Seattle, and found work at a boutique there at the market. So about once a week I would stop by your card table with a pal and the crowd and smile and ooh and awe and wonder how this and that was done, and laugh and have a good time, wishing my brother could see this. Christopher, my brother, would have like to have met you. He loved magic and was very talented in slight of hand. Sadly he passed as a young man. However, I have been writing stories and creating character types for film, auditions, and novels. I always tend to tie in people in these works that have made an impression in my life, and those I love, because I feel that the world, if they ever see any of my work, need to see or know these types of people more often, even if just adds a little more color and whimsy in their lives. And I believe the magician has a lot to offer. In this crazy world's perspective, wonderment and skill is always inspiring. So, yes, among many outlines and stories I have created, there is a special story and character in my files that is a conglomeration of my most wickedly loving brother and one Mr. Tom Frank, based on my impressions of his act. It might take forever to complete it, but it's something I enjoy to dable and work on. Naturally I will not involve any part of your act without your sole permission of course. I understand a magicians act is a sacred secret, and I don't want to cross that line. However, I wish I could, because it's such wondeful stuff!!! So there it is. I attend this note with the most respects, and apologies for it's long winded answer to your origional question. With much regards - Heather F.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

You're nobody 'til somebody loves you

You're nobody 'til somebody loves you
You're nobody 'til somebody cares.
You may be king, you may possess the world and it's gold,
But gold won't bring you happiness when you're growing old.
The world still is the same, you never change it,
As sure as the stars shine above;
You're nobody 'til somebody loves you,
So find yourself somebody to love.

The world still is the same, you never change it,
As sure as the stars shine above;
You're nobody 'til somebody loves you,
So find yourself somebody, find yourself somebody,
Find yourself somebody to love.

Conjurers Hands. 1994., originally uploaded by innovatorAU.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Here comes Sunshine!

Had a halfway decent weekend out at the CityWAlk. Made some money, sold some decks and made some people smile. Warmer weather made it all easier, more fun and more profitable. Yesterday, I think it hit 80 degrees. NICE!! It did me wonders to get in a little nude sunbathing in the backyard over the last couple of days.

Life is good, I roll with the punches, do the best that I can, keep my eyes and my ears open and try and stay out of the line of fire.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Richard Ross - The Linking Rings

Fan Flourish, originally uploaded by Heo2035.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Recently sold on Ebay • Houdini Poster

Houdini "Buried Alive"

(Otis Litho, 1926)

Eight Sheet (106" X 81")

This stunt was “planned” to be performed by Houdini in his 1926 tour in the United States!

This generously sized ORIGINAL 1926 Vintage Poster is absolutely STUNNING!

The legendary illusionist Harry Houdini managed one final feat, escaping death by shrouding his life in myth. Even as he worked to demystify magic and expose frauds who claimed supernatural gifts, his life followed an ominous path that only contributed to his legend.

His death by peritonitis occurred on Halloween of 1926 in Detroit, where he was preparing to perform a stunt in which he would be buried alive (the stunt featured). He intended for the escape to top that of another magician who had angered Houdini by boasting that he had summoned a supernatural trance to survive and liberate himself.

This eight sheet promotes the feat and Houdini's revenge on the "Egyptian fakirs." Historians doubt if he ever had a chance to attempt the trick; when he died, the casket to be used in the performance was instead used to carry his body back to New York.

The gorgeous stone litho poster shows very little wear. It is excellent condition and has been completely and professionally restored. This poster is magnificent for many reasons, including the fact that is touts an appearance Houdini never lived long enough to make! Collectors will surely jump at the chance to own a piece of well-preserved history.

Very Fine on Linen.

Sold for $12,500

Friday, January 09, 2009

My brother and mother 20 years ago


11 AM, 54 degrees. Supposed to get up to 75 degrees today, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Been a chilly month or two, I’m ready for some warmer, sunny, Southern California weather.

Mediocre results last two afternoons at work, at the CityWalk. Weak numbers at Universal Studios leaves me not much to work with there. Hopefully, with a warmer weekend, I’ll be able to pick up the slack.

Found out the hard way, that it is now illegal for me to street perform at Hollywood & Highland. Evidently the new rules exclude any amplification and the setting of anything up like a table or an audience. Guess the strolling costumed characters are loving the absence of the break dancers and other variety acts like magicians, jugglers and other social oddities.

It’s a changing world and watching the news, inspires no confidence.

It’s all good. Life is a journey.

I’ll keep a smile on my face, love in my heart and do what I do. . . whatever that is.

For now, I’ll head to the gym, get some lunch and then head to work. Park closes at 5PM.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Flipping the cards, originally uploaded by ToreLo.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Prisoner in my own country. . . by my own hand

Oh, so fucked, so seriously fucked, it’s not even funny

Just when I thought something good was happening for me professionally

I take a step back to explain

I got a great gig in Beijing for a month maybe two, one show a night and perhaps get a magic shop started. that was the talk, the contract was all but signed and plane tickets bought. Club owner already advertising an opening of Feb. 6 for Beijing's only comedy magic club.

On Dec. 23rd I overnighted my shit to renew my passport. Today I got the ugly letter informing me that my request had been denied due to child support owed.

A gig that might have helped me pay my child support, taken away from me because I owe $25,000 in back child support.

Don’t make much sense to me, but I’m not that bright. Hell, if I were, I probably wouldn’t be in this mess.

But I am, and got no one to blame but myself

Kids I can’t pay for, even though I really want to.

I like to think that my child support payment history clearly demonstrates, that if I have the money. . . she does. I want to make enough to pay my child support. . . REALLY!

So many things working against so many people
A planet full of problems
and a belly full of booze

shit who knows, maybe I’ll get another DUI on my way to score some pot I can’t afford.

I’ll lay it out for you

I’m not going away
you can’t kill me
or my spirit

I will survive

happy new year