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 . . .