The Conjuring Arts Research Center's outreach program, The Hocus Pocus Project, has been featured in a substantive New York Times article that appeared today on nytimes.com and is scheduled to run in print in Sunday's paper. Reporter John Leland visited two juvenile detention centers where conjurors David Roth, Ricky Smith, and Noah Levine teach magic to youngsters who are detained while awaiting trial. Hocus Pocus also runs programs in a veterans' hospital, two hospital sections for children, and a teen center. The organization has launched an online fundraising campaign through Indiegogo to support expansion of the program to additional locations.
Local magician, impresario, and magic retailer, Rogue, will appear on America's Got Talent's final "Audition" episode, which is scheduled for broadcast Tuesday, July 1 on NBC starting at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. Central Time). Although Rogue performed for the program's audience and judges on April 6 in the Theater at Madison Square Garden, at the time of our June 21 article about his appearance (see previous post below) he was still waiting for word of when his segment would air. Rogue is featured prominently in the promotional video for the episode. Rogue is the stage name of Roger Quan, who, in addition to performing at private events in the New York area operates Rogue Magic and Fun shop in Elmhurst, Queens and Rogue Magic Bar in Rego Park, Queens.
Local magic impresario and retailer Roger Quan, known in the magic community by his stage name Rogue, has filmed a performance for the current season of the TV program America’s Got Talent. His appearance was videotaped April 6 in the Theater at Madison Square Garden. “It’s amazing. I think it’s the best thing you can actually do if you love to perform, to be in front of thousands of people,” Rogue said about his experience performing for the show. “I guess it’s my 15 seconds of fame. I’ve never done anything that big before.” Rogue is currently waiting for word of when his episode will air and confirmation that he will return for another episode.
Rogue is the proprietor of Rogue’s Magic and Fun Shop, a retail magic store in Elmhurst, Queens, and also the impresario of Rogue Magic Bar which opened in March in Rego Park. Representatives from America’s Got Talent first reached out to Rogue via Twitter, resulting in a tryout for producers from the show in December 2013. Rogue auditioned with a version of the Invisible Deck in which he shakes the cards up in two mouth-to-mouth red drink cups, like a cocktail shaker, before revealing that the named card is the only one reversed in the pack.
“I didn’t expect anything. I performed in front of two people from AGT, and they loved it,” Rogue said. “They said you can hang around for a few hours and fill out some paperwork and we’re going to get you on in front of the Executive Producers.” After those two rounds of auditions over the course of a long day in December, it was about four months later that Rogue was contacted and told to prepare an act that he would perform in two weeks in front of the cameras - and judges - at Madison Square Garden.
Rogue chose to perform Staple Gun Roulette an effect in which a spectator randomly picks staplers one by one for Rogue to fire into his head. Each staple gun is found to be empty except for the last one remaining which Rogue shoots into a block of wood to prove that it is loaded and working. The spectator who joined Rogue on stage to help with the trick was one of the program’s judges, Mel B.
“I thought ‘thousands of people, I have to play really big, and I want something definitely involving the judges because if I just stand up there and just manipulate some cards, everybody’s doing that. If I involve the judge, her reaction is going to reverberate to the audience,’ which it did. She cursed, she screamed, it was awesome.” At the request of the producers Rogue has submitted videotaped performances of effects for four additional appearances.
While Rogue describes his appearance as his “15 seconds of fame,” he is also aware that the program has boosted the careers of magicians like Kevin James, Dan Sperry, Murray Sawchuck, and others. Yet the show has been subject to criticism by some performers who have turned down the opportunity to appear because of what they feel are overly restrictive contractual obligations to which contestants must agree. Rogue, however shrugs off such concerns and is focused on the positive aspects of appearing on the program. “I would love to win the million dollars, actually,” he said. “That can’t hurt. Either that or I get exposure. It’s fine. I’m just trying to get my name out there. That’s the worse case scenario, get exposure. The best case scenario is I win a million dollars. I think it’s a win-win situation.”
More details have been revealed regarding the upcoming Broadway presentation of The Illusionists. The show will run from November 26 through January 4, at the Marquis Theatre. See our May 29 article below for more extensive information about The Illusionists. The presentation will mark the first appearance of a major magic show on Broadway since David Copperfield's Dreams and Nightmares in 1996.
Interview with Kainoa Harbottle
Kainoa Harbottle visited New York recently for a June 6 lecture to members of the Parent Assembly of the Society of American Magicians. Harbottle kindly agreed to stay after the lecture for an interview with Magic in New York. We covered a good deal of ground in a short time, touching on his early years in Hawaii, why he loves working with coins and thoughts about the future.
Kainoa Harbottle Interview from Herb Scher on Vimeo.
Simon Lovell Hospitalized
Word is circulating in social media and on the Genii Forum that New York-based magician Simon Lovell has been admitted to the hospital. Although Lovell was hospitalized in late 2013 with orthopedic injuries, this time it appears that his symptoms involve memory problems and other neurological issues. One report mentions that he is due to be released from the hospital tomorrow or Tuesday.
Lovell has written numerous magic-related books, released instructional magic DVDs, and most recently was working on the TV program White Collar as a consultant. He is known as a highly-skilled performer of sleight of hand with cards. His one man show Strange and Unusual Hobbies has run for several years at the Huron Club in the Soho Playhouse.
Three Generations. A conclave among three of the world's most esteemed coin magicians came together today at the regular Saturday afternoon magic get-together at Cafe Rustico in New York. David Roth, Sol Stone, and Kainoa Harbottle met up to talk magic and hang out. Harbottle was in town for a lecture he delivered last night to the local assembly of the S. A. M. and took the opportunity to visit with his fellow coin magicians and numerous other members of the regular magic gang at Rustico.
While in town Kainoa was gracious enough to grant us a video interview which touched on many aspects of his background and work in magic. It will appear on this page soon, so please check back!
The Expert Playing Card Company now has its own web site, distinguishing its endeavors from those of its parent organization, the nonprofit Conjuring Arts Research Center. The company produces cards both for retail sale by Conjuring Arts and on behalf of other designers and publishers. “It’s purpose is to create the best playing cards in the world,” said Bill Kalush, who is the Executive Director of Conjuring Arts and the head of the Expert Playing Card Company. “We have used different factories, different finishes, different techniques, all kinds of things so far. We were only printing decks for Conjuring Arts to sell retail. Now we’re printing custom orders for other designers and other publishers.” All profits from the Expert Playing Card Company support the programs of the Conjuring Arts Research Center. Word of the new web site was spread on Facebook yesterday in posts by Kalush and others involved with the company. The site can be found at: http://expertplayingcard.com.
Kainoa Harbottle, Society of American Magicians, Parent Assembly, Friday, June 6, following a 7:15 assembly business meeting. Free for members. $25 for nonmembers.
Shoot Ogawa, Fantasma, Lecture, Thursday, June 12, 7:30 p.m., $25 (VIP $50)
Shoot Ogawa, Fantasma, Workshop, Friday June 13th, 7 p.m., $100
Jason Ladanye, Tannen's, Thursday, June 19th, 7 p.m., $20
Rafael Benatar, Tannen's, Thursday, June 26th, 7 pm., $20
For more information:
S. A. M. PA #1 meetings are held at Mt. Sinai Hospital, 1425 Madison Ave. at 98th Street. (First floor auditorium)
421 Seventh Avenue, NYC
Tannen's Magic, 45 West 34th Street, NYC
A Blog About New York's Magic Scene
Interviews With Magicans
Denny Haney • Scott Alexander & Puck
David and Leeman
Simon Painter (Producer)
David Roth on Ricky Jay
Interviews by Herb for Parent Assembly 1 Channel