Saturday, April 27, 2019

ASTONIFY Back At the Old Jail

I was quite proud to bring version of my Astonify Show back to The Old Jail in Warrenton, VA. The shows are presented within the cells and it is all out good fun. We only have room for a few people, tonight it was 19 people and I'm not sure they could have squeezed in one more person.

I added some new material in this show. One of my favorite new routines involves a story about John Wilkes Booth the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln. I would say, as much as I like it, I feel it is more a 'work in progress'.

The clear favorite of the night was Spiritus, a routine I created and scripted and based on a wonderful Woody Aragon routine. Also new this night was The Coins in Glass routine. Now, I must admit, I think my blocking on this was such that it might not have been visible to everyone. So that will need some adjustment.  But overall the audience was very into the show. They were a lively crowd which was fun.

OH, and I was finally able to do the Rope Tie in conjunction with the Harry Cooke Story, without fear of health issues later. For those who don't know, I've been on blood thinning medication for a while, but was finally taken off of it recently. So I decided to bring my escapes BACK into the show. And the two gentlemen who tied me tonight, OMG, did they ever do a GREAT JOB. I think it was the tightest wrap and tie that anyone has ever done. Of course, I escaped in about 10 seconds without untying the knots. And that is the point of it. It felt sooooo good to do that routine and my wrists are still red from the timing, but I love it!

All in all, it was a fun crowd tonight and I believe they thoroughly enjoyed the show. Thanks again to The Fauquier History Museum for bringing me back for a second time!

Monday, November 05, 2018

ASTONIFY at The Secret Parlor Theatre Completed

I have finished my run of shows at The Secret Parlor Theatre in Chantilly. The Secret Parlor Theatre is now gone, vanished into the night. That was the plan all along. It was an experiment  and was not planned to run more than the month.  Will the SPT ever appear again? I'd say the chances are quite good, but in a different location(s).

My final performance at the theatre was great fun. I got to share more of the light seance routine, but as with other nights, I did not do the full seance. We had a small audience and I held some things back. Also, on this night, we had ZERO actual spirit interference. What does that mean? The building we were in is haunted. Every night we were there, something unusual would happen. People heard footsteps, people felt a presence, things would not work, it was crazy. But on the final night, not a peep out of our ghost. Now, that isn't to say there weren't manifestations during the seance, because there were. But as I mentioned in the show, this was an example of Spiritualism without the aid of Spirits! By the way, that line comes from a handbill belonging to Professor Harry Cooke, which I now have in my collection, and which is part of The Astonify Show. (see below the article)

The straight magic from the show included: Hofzinser's Everywhere & Nowhere, A Surprising Rope Mystery, and a Classic Ring in Nest of Boxes. There were other pieces, but those were the main ones. The seance part of my program begins with my Spirit Photo routine, which is so much fun to do. The Spirit Dial, which is shown at the top of the page is presented during the seance portion, and it concludes with the Spirit Horn. Missing from the seance was the new slate routine, and one other routine that I'm forgetting at the moment. Because this was the smaller seance, it does not include the Spirit Cabinet.

The Astonify Show is a work in progress. I wanted it to be a smaller venue show, but it seems that it will be growing in size very quickly. I plan to  add a couple true Victorian routines to the show, and then some adaptations of modern routines. Kind of like when I steampunked some props in my other show. I'll Victorianize props, lol. to make them work in this show.  Then of course, there is another option and that is recreating actual forgotten Victorian era magic. And I have two routines in mind, the bad part, no one knows how they're done today (thus the forgotten part). One routine, The Devils Cage, is a routine I've had my heart set on for a long time. I sense it's in my very near future.

I continue to write routines for the show, so expect amazing things to debut in next years version of the show!

Sunday, October 07, 2018

The Astonify Show at The Secret Parlor Theatre

The Astonify Show is now playing every Saturday during the month of October at the new Secret Parlor Theatre in Chantilly, VA. Last night was a showcase of sorts, where I showcased part of The Astonify Show and my friend Rick, who owns the Secret Parlor Theatre, showcased part of his show. The results were, well, astonifying!

We started the show at 8pm and had a nice audience. The venue only seats 24 and we didn't quite have a full house. Some friends of mine that purchased tickets were no shows. I hope everything is ok with them, because I know they were excited about attending.

Astonify, is my interpretation of a 19th Century Parlor Magic Show. I do take some liberties along the way, but they are more for the appeal of 21st Century audiences. Basically, I speed up the presentations slightly. The magic is the type you'd see if you were alive in the 1800s. No modern technology is used in the show, no iPhones, smart phones or that sort of thing.

My set ran about 33 minutes. I did half of my magic portion and half of my seance portion. My take on the traditional Victorian Seance is different. But I have an edge over most people.....this theatre actually has a ghost! He has made himself known twice now, once during this show, and once during dress rehearsals the night previous. We heard footsteps coming from the back of the audience, right down the side isle to the front and then stopping.

The photo to the left you can kind of make out my Spirit Dial that is a feature of my show. I chose this specific trick because many 19th Century era magicians used it. And wow, does it ever deliver. It's basically a glass clock face with no inner workings. A dial is spun and always lands on the number that people call out. Strangely, it even lands on a number secretly chosen by a spectator, even though, NO ONE knows the number until the dial stops spinning!

There is one thing though that I must point out because it is something that I must be firm on in all future shows, this show is NOT FOR CHILDREN, so don't bring them and especially don't bring a baby. Yes, this is exactly what happened Saturday night. A clueless woman brought her 4 year old and infant baby and the baby cried and the kid wandered around. After the show numerous members of the audience complained. They said they really enjoyed the show but the experience was ruined due to the crying baby. I have to agree. No offense to people with kids, there are plenty of activities for kids, and hey, there are magic shows FOR kids, this one is just not one of them. This was designed for adults.

The next performance is October 20th at 8pm. You can find out about tickets via