Friday, December 15, 2006

Tidings of Great Joy

I worked a Holiday party recently for Employment Horizons in New Jersey.

Employment Horizons is a company that provides work for its program participants who have a variety of disabilities, some physical, some mental, some psychological. These wonderful people do some very important work and take an immense amount of pride in what they do everyday.

So, I was scheduled to perform at their annual holiday party. They had a large room which had been converted to an open dance floor with a DJ. When I arrived, the party was in full force. The dance floor was crowded as well as the surrounding tables. I was announced over the PA system and immediately I had an enthusiastic crowd come over to me to experience magic first hand. I have to tell you--I have worked many, many gigs in my life--I have worked corporate events for some very high-profile people, have worked The White House for two Presidents--and have done several television shows in Britain but I don't think I have ever seen such enthusiasm AND more importantly--such Joy from one group of people. Their immediate joy was infectious and . . . contagious!!!

I cannot help but wonder . . . maybe here is the great lesson for humanity . . .

I met many people of all ages (from 18 to 70) and every single person was laughing and smiling
They welcomed me with open arms--literally--they shook my hand, patted me on the back, gave me hugs, even before they knew my name! Many came up to me to ask: "Was I okay? Did I need water? Did I want to to rest?" I spent an hour performing some of the best sleight-of-hand that I know. I could've easily worked all day for this audience.

After an hour--it was over--more events were scheduled at the party including a fashion show made up of the consumer products that are packaged there.

Returning home--I received this email from Elaine Berman:

"Thomas--I work at Employment Horizons where you performed today. I just wanted to let you know that I was so impressed by how well you worked with our clients. Your prescence and showmanship made the show so much fun for them (and for the staff as well). You are quite a talented guy. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy performing schedule to spend the morning with us."

Happy Holidays to all


Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Well, I'm back in NYC from a cross-country trip to Portland, Oregon to do a promotion for Cricket, a new cell phone company in the Pacific Northwest.

I mentioned this before--this was the event where I was to be fastened into a straitjacket and then be suspended upside down by my ankles from a crane 250 feet over the streets of Portland, Oregon. Days before the event, weather reports I checked on the internet were forecasting heavy rain and gusting winds in excess of 30 mph! As fate would have it, they were not wrong and with each passing day, the weather reports remained the same--windy and pouring rain.

Arriving in Portland on Sunday I began the preparations for the event which was to take place on Monday, 12 noon. A rehearsal was scheduled with the crane operator, Monday morning at 6:30am. We wanted to work before the sun came up so as to not draw attention since we were in the middle of the city. I left my hotel and walked the three blocks to the square in pouring rain--I mean, we are not talking about drizzle--we are talking pouring--like cats and dogs. The wind was whippin--probably about 20 mph--not exactly the best day to be hanging upside down from a crane.

At the square--I met the event promoters, photographers and the crane operators--it was determined that we would do a once-over before it became light. My ankles were secured in the rigging and I was hooked to the crane and due to the wind raised to 100 feet. Everything from below (they tell me) looked good so I was lowered down.

Fast forward to 12 noon--the event promotion is in full progress--there are tents filled with cell phone promotions, staff answering questions, food, live music, etc., etc. All of this mind you in the pouring rain?! Now, it is my turn. I am introduced by the MC and make my way to the stage. Two police officers take the leather and canvas straitjacket, examine it and then fasten me tightly into it. The stage, which is covered, keeps us all dry. fastened, I step off the stage down to the square into a cordoned off area in which sits a chair. With the rain pounding down on us--I sit down and have my ankles secured to the crane hook by my assistant. Slowly, I am raised 100 feet into the air--where I begin my escape.

As I look ahead of me--there is a sea of people--most wantching through the clear roofs of the large tents in the square. Office workers lined the windows of nearby office buildings. Photographers and news cameras film away while guests hold up personal camnera phones and snap pictures as the crane lifts me off the chair. At 100 feet--the MC calls for a countdown--and I begin--I do everything I can to get slack--the rain pours down in my face, my eyes, nose--the jacket is more difficult to manipulate cause its wet--everything is much harder because of the weather--wind blows rain sideways into my ears--and my hearing is now dulled--

I am told it took me a minute and a half to finally shed the jacket--I drop it to the street and take out a cell phone. From 100 feet up, I dial the number of Neil (Cricket's CEO) who stands on stage--He answers the phone. From 100 feet up (miked--so the crowd can hear) I say:
"Hey Neil--I've freed myself. Now, its time for Portlanders to free themselves
with Cricket."

Thuderous applause--end of show. I am lowered to the ground.

Monday, December 04, 2006



In answer to the many requests for footage of my escapes, I have decided to post five performance clips to YouTube. You may view them by going to the YouTube home page and then typing my name into the search field.

Other news:

I will be leaving for Portland, Oregon this week to perform an upside down straitjacket escape on Monday, December 11, 2006 at 12:00 noon in Pioneer Square. If you happen to be in the Portland area on this date, please come by. It is a free show, open to the public and will no doubt be exciting. I will be straitjacketed by the Portland Police Department and then raised by my ankles upside down to a height of 250 feet where I will escape the straitjacket.

My one concern is the wind--since at that height it can be pretty damn windy . . .

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Opening this lock

The famous anthropologist Jane Goodall once said:

"If you really want something and really work hard and take advantage of opportunities and never give up, you will find a way."

This quote has always inspired me. I have it written here on the front of my computer and when I sit down at my desk to write new scripts for upcoming performances, I cannot help but to view that quote. On days when I am feeling discouraged or I am stuck creatively, I always try to remember that hard work and determination will always win out.

Someone with passion and determination will always trump someone with in-born talent.

Escape Artistry presents daily challenges. I sit here at my desk, a legal pad in front of me. I am attempting to find my way out of a lock that I have been challenged with. I may use this in my next performance--if I can find a way to pick it. So far, I have been unsuccessful--and the show is next week. I am out of ideas--but am hoping something will come to me . . .

Monday, November 06, 2006

Another Day . . . Another Handcuff Defeated!!!

Yesterday, I was hired to work a show in Oradell, NJ. It was a large retirement party and the person on whom the party was thrown was retiring from a construction company after 40 years. When I was first hired, I was told this gentlemen was a huge fan of magic. Originally, I had a conflict with the date of their party--I was to be out-of-town doing my escape act. When I tried to bow out of this party--the organizers offered to change their date!? Now, this rarely happens--unfortunately much of the general public feels that magicians are interchangeable--that, "if you've seen one, you've seen them all." So, most people in this situation would just hire another magician, right?

When I questioned further, the real reason surfaced. Turns out this gentlemen, was a fan of escapes--not magic. He had heard of my show and knew (through publicity and various websites) that I would accept challenges to get out of various devices.

So, to make a long story short, they changed the date of their party and booked me to perform my Challenge Handcuff Act. For those who have seen it--it involves accepting handcuffs from the audience and escaping from them in full view of the audience. Yes, that's right--full view of the audience. I don't want to explain any further--since you must see it--to believe it.

Anyways, Jack (the subject of the party) brought some of his own handcuffs--three pairs actually. They were of Chinese origin with markings from the Chinese Government. As is my stipulation--I asked him if I could keep them if my escape was successful. He agreed . . . after some cajoling.

So, at 4pm the performance began--I usually go through an introduction of various restraints and their importance in history before we get to the spectator portion of the show. Finally, I brought Jack to the stage--he talked about the handcuffs and how he came into possession of them (turns out his brother was in the military and was stationed in Japan and received them from a friend who had been in China during the Japanese occupation in the late 1930's)

The handcuffs were rusted and difficult to operate. The key barely opened them and was rusted enough that on any turn it could break. Very carefully, he locked them on my wrists behind my back. I entered my cabinet obscura at about 4:30pm and began the escape.

They turned out to be easier than I thought and I was out in minutes--and with this I have three new additions to my handcuff collection.

Another day . . . another handcuff defeated.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Golden Age?


Opening the newspaper this morning, I noticed another glowing review of the just released motion picture, The Prestige. It is so good to finally see the coolness of magicians and escape artists exploited in these mainstream movies for the general public (The Illusionist being the other film I am referencing). Magic seems to be entering its second Golden Age. There seem to be magicians and magic references everywhere and this can only be good for the state of the art.
I am in talks with the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, California to sign an exclusive contract for them. This would be a production of my escape show including my Challenge Handcuff Act. As of yet, the details are still being worked out.

I am taking a break from a rehearsal to write this. In my home, I have a rehearsal studio in my attic and the few people who have actually seen it--think it is one of the coolest spaces they have ever seen. Since my creativity is enhanced when I am surrounded by the tools and props of my art--my attic is awash in those objects; my magic awards, magic objects, tools, lockpicks, padlocks, chains, my four straitjackets that I have won in challenges, not to mention handcuffs of every possible description. My computer through which I write and hone my scripts sits against the only window which looks out over the neighborhood.

Speaking of this window--here is something you might find bizarre--outside, a power line runs horozontally in front of this window and on numerous occasions I have looked up from my writing or rehearsing to see a number of black crows--sometimes two or three--other times as many as six perched on the wire staring into the window! Sometimes we stare at one another, wondering what each is thinking. It reminds me of the Carlos Castaneda (The Teachings of Don Juan) observation he made while watching a beetle walk across the sand--he said: Though he and the beetle both inhabited the same world--their experiences of it were vastly different.

And so it is with the crows--we both exist in the world yet experience it in different ways.

Back to my attic. My actual performance space is in back and here is where I try out my new material. Sometimes I am up here all day--entering in the morning and not returning downstairs to the evening--except to use the bathroom and find out what my two dogs are barking about.

The creative process is a torturous thing and I have a myraid of escapes and magic ideas in various stages of development up here. Some never leave the development stage--some are half completed and end up being merged into another routine--some I can never make work. But, every now and then, a great and wonderful idea that is workable springs forth from this place and in the end I can say--but for that one moment-----which I am in constant search of--
it is all worth it!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy Halloween


I just received a very interesting email from a very nice person who goes by the name of "YP". Based in Southern California he says he is a 'new fan.' So, YP--if you are reading this: thank you--and I hope you don't mind that I will post some of your message here--its very flattering when others recognize and appreciate your work. Being an artist is a thankless job--and my state of normalcy is that, I am either ecstatic or deeply depressed--I am rarely in the middle.

I don't yet know where I am today--but the following email might push me toward the former.

Here is some of the contents, paraphrasing as usual:

From: YP
Hi, I just read through much of your website. I was truly impressed by the stories of your real escapes. My perception of most of the escape artists i have seen or read about is that the escapes were tricked or otherwise somewhat gimmicked. I've always been fascinated by the concept of escape artists challenges. I've read enough about escapes to know the trricks that one uses to obtain slack and other advantages. But when i read about some of your hardest challenges, i realized that you can succeed even when your challengers have done their homework. That all-leather straitjacket escape in NY sounded truly heroic. The tension in the room must have been like that in Houdini's day. Do you have any more pics of this? Do you have any public shows coming up in the So Cal area?
A new fan

Are you f%#^ing crazy?!

Hi All:

I have just signed a contract with a major cell phone company to perform a promotion in Portland, Oregon on December 11, 2006. The deal is: I will be restrained into a regulation straitjacket by officers of the Portland Police Department. Then, twenty feet of chain will be wrapped around my body over the jacket to prevent my escape. An on-site crane will secure my ankles to a block and tackle and I will then be raised upside down feet, 250 feet over the city of Portland--The plan is, I hope to escape :-)

Now, I have been doing these upside downs for many years and they never really faze me--since I am not afraid of heights--But, I have to tell you--when I was finalizing the plans on the phone with the crane operator--the subject of height never came up. Finally, I said "by the way, how high will I be raised" Without missing a beat he says "Oh--250 feet." I didn't think much of it until several hours later when I was walking down 42nd street in NYC near the Chrysler Building. Then, it hit me. 250 feet! That's 24 stories!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyways--I have tried to put it out of my head for now--a really great flyer was created which you can view and download if you go to myspace site:

The flyer has generated the same responses from people who have seen it:--they all say "250 feet! Are you %&$*&$^ crazy?!

If you happen to be in the Portland area near Pioneer Square on December 11 around noontime--check it out.


Friday, August 11, 2006

My Space

Hi everybody:

It is now possible to view my presence on My Space.

Go to:

Of course, you can still leave posts here, on my email or at My Space.

All the best

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

New York City Events


I have just signed on to perform three outdoor escapes to be performed in New York City in July, October and culminating with an underwater escape in the Hudson River in December.

Stay connected for details. once I have them, they will be posted here and on the website.

In the meantime, some more emails:


Your underwater safe escape (shown last night on television) was the most sensational and terrifying gag of its kind that I've ever seen. Hope you might be doing one of your stage shows or other presentations in Ireland. Otherwise will travel to London to see you perform.

im one of ur biggest fans i practice lock picking just like u. im only 15 and live in glasgow. i seen ur show and saw you getting our of handcuffs like the scottish police have. they are very hard with a plastic bar across, no chain. just asking for a few tips on how to get out of them.
ur biggest fan

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

New York to Las Vegas

Hi Folks:

Still in negotiations for the upcoming Las Vegas show. Also, some new escapes happening live in New York are slated for later this year. Stay connected for details.

More samplings of emails continually arriving.

Dear Sir: I admire your work and very much enjoyed the GENII issue. Please let me know the next time your out in Chicago. I would love to catch your show. I have no interest in challenging you, i can't afford to lose my handcuffs. What's the hardest straitjacket you ever encountered. How long did it hold you? Take care, your pal, CS

Dear mr. Solomon: I'm kind of new as an EA (escape Artist) and i need alot of suggestion to get to know the escape field. i am from jakarta-indonesia and as far as i know there's no one doin escapes here so i was just wondering if i can ask you to be my mentor in escape field.

Hi Thomas: I'm Will, and escape artist from Singapore (only one in my country). I'm 24 this year. I have been into escapes since August last year and I'd like to expand my social contacts with escape artists around the globe. I love your website and am very impressed with your work.

Dear Thomas: I love your magic and it has helped me greatly to build my repertoire and skills over the years. Your unique style of performing is awesome. If i send you a playing card, could you autograph it for me or send me an autographed picture? Thank you for your time and your magic.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Have No Fear

It struck me recently that most of you respond to posts on this blog by clicking on the link to my website and sending your comments to my email.

The only reason I can surmise for this occurence is that this blog does not accept anonymous posts or comments. Since some may believe that having to register before responding is a hassle, I can assure you, if you try it, you will be amazed at how easy it is.

Whichever you prefer (email or blog) is fine, however the open forum of this blog gives
myself . . . and others the ability to respond quicker.

All the best

Valentine's Day

There have been many asking me via email lately about the when and where aspects of my new show slated for Las Vegas.

Unfortunately, I cannot say anything yet as the deal is still being worked. Interestingly enough however, I have been hired to possible perform in Los Angeles this year in which I will do seven shows compromising my Challenge Handcuff Act and nightly escapes (hopefully!) from the Nuclear Aquatic Containment Trap (aka 241).

Sorry that I continue to remain cagey about the Las Vegas show.

As soon as I have definite information, I will post on my website.

Thanks for your patience.