Below is an interview with half the team
involved with the production of the full
evening show -
Thanks for taking a moment out of your busy Halloween schedule to talk
to me today. I guess the first question is how did the idea for The
Final Houdini Seance come about?
The idea was Damian's from the start. Damian has been a full time performer for
I see this is a two person act. When did you team up with Damian?
Damian had planed to do the show with his good friend and fellow magician Lou Plotkin. Unfortunately, Lou died suddenly and unexpectedly before the project could ever get off the ground. Damian saw my performance at a magic convention in the Poconos and felt that he and I could work well together. Since then, the project has been a collaborative effort.
Besides playing the butler are you the tech man behind the scenes? ( I
understand if you don't want to answer that question)
Since this is a collaborative effort, we both do tech. More than that, I won't say. ; )
I gotta ask. Since doing the show have you ever had anything happen that wasn't suppose to and felt it was more than just a "technical" glich?
Oh how I wish! I desperately want to see or hear something that might say I'm heeere! Things, however, have been spectacularly uneventful which in itself might be a sign.
How long have you been a performer? Did you do anything before becoming
a performer? Do you still do anything else to help supplement the old
I've only been performing for a few years. (It's a long story that I can get into
if you like.) I have a varied background. I studied photography and photo-
You say you just became a magician when you turned 40. How old are you now? Did you ever dabble before or did you JUST one day decide, "Hey this is cool, I think I'll start doing some magic"? Most times when you here a magician talk about his start in the art he says, "Oh it started when I was 8 years old and I got a cheesey magic set for Christmas. Then I wound up doing paid parties by the time I was 10 and I've never worked any other job since" (I gotta say I hate these people). What was the impetus that gave you your start?
OK OK here's the story in all it's glory. First of all, I was actually about 43 when I first started doing magic. I'm 49 now I ALWAYS had a fascination and love of magic. Without going into the gory details; an authority figure from my youth told me that I couldn't do magic because I lacked the manual dexterity that was needed to perform correctly. In fact I was told that I was clumsy. Because I was young, and this was an authority figure speaking, I took it to heart and believed not only that I couldn't do magic but that I was indeed clumsy.
Fast forward a few decades. I'm a successful Reflexologist in a professional office with a much better self image. One day I notice some activity in one of the vacant offices down the hall from mine. As it turned out, a magic shop was moving in. The old feelings started to emerge and I asked the owner if he had a novel method for handing out my business cards. Of course he had the business card printer and proceeded to show me the mechanics of its operation. He then showed me how I could show both sides of my business card as being blank via the paddle move which I was able to master rather quickly. I can't say that every childhood hurt melted away at that moment but had the authority figure not been dead at that point I would have performed the business card paddle move for them with a resounding HA!
Have you always been a bizarrist or was there a turning point in your
I don't consider myself strictly a bizarrist. I went from close up to mentalism very quickly. I have always loved the way the mind works and how words and subtleties can color how we think. For a long time I thought bizarre was only concerned with blood, gore, and mayhem with the occasional ritualistic magick thrown in. When I discovered that there are many facets to bizarre as there are in any other branch of the conjuring arts, I began to incorporate themes and stories into my mentalism and then some strictly bizarre themes. I guess the turning point was when I noticed the effect that straight mentalism had on the audience. Whether they suspend their disbelief or actually believe that what you're doing is real, the emotional impact, I feel, is greater than silks and flowers.
(NOTE: You should try it with Black Roses and Bloody Silks.)
Who would you say were your major influences in becoming a bizarrist and
Certainly Andruzzi, although my style is quite different from what his was. His thought process of what makes something bizarre rather than a long boring story with some effects thrown in was probably what influenced me the most. Some people believe that if they walk out wearing a gothic outfit and tell a story while performing magic(k) that they are doing bizarre. Nothing could be further from the truth. They're missing the point.
You say Andruzzi was an influence for you. Who are your role models now? Who do you like in the field? Who's works do you read for ideas?
There are three that come to mind right away but I'm sure I'm missing some. Docc Hilford for having his tongue firmly planted in his cheek and showing that you can perform an entirely believable routine while still having fun. Kenton Knepper for his way with words and his total commitment to his craft. For sheer practicality, Rick Maue. Rick's ideas are solid and with a good story premise.
What do you see for your bizarre future? Anything in the works that our
readers might like to know about?
There's a possibility that we will be taking "The Final Houdini Seance" on the road. We will have to adapt to our environment and scale things back quite a bit. We figured out just the other day that we have over 750 pieces of equipment and props that make the show work. This would have to be reduced considerably. Personally, I'm working on a one man bizarre/psi party concept. Marketing will be my biggest hurdle but I believe that I can over come that.
Where does The Final Houdini Seance happen and when are the dates (from
The Final Houdini Seance takes place in the library of the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple in Scranton, PA. The Masonic Temple was built in the grand style of the late 20's and early 30's. It is a four story building with a very definite gothic flavor. There is a full theater in the lower level and the library is on the second floor. When the guests arrive for the seance, I lead them up a winding stone staircase to a lobby next to the library.
We opened this season on September 20, the remaining dates are October 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 November 2,19 and December 5, 19.
To read a review of the Seance Click Here.
Again, I want to thank you for taking time to answer a few questions for
us. Please let us know of any new happenings and goings on in your
future. I want to wish you much success in all your endeavors.
Thank you for your interest. It has been my pleasure.
Look for more interview pages to be added .
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