Friday, February 18, 2011

God Speed

Yesterday, the group that I helped found, Patriotic Performers, USA, was commissioned to work at Fort Detrick, one of the largest Army Bases in the Northeast and a Level 4 Medical research arm of the United States military. My partner and co-founder, Adam Rand an award-winning writer and columnist and I made the four and a half hour trek from Northern New Jersey to Frederick, Maryland.
Here, at this base, a sprawling community and dare I say, "city" in semi-rural Maryland army researchers and scientists work to find cures for cancer in humans, as well as agricultural and crop diseases. The United States Department of Agriculture has a large building on the north side of the campus dedicated to research into farm animal and crop diseases.
Our show began at 12:00 noon sharp and went for one hour. The crowd was very appreciative and enjoyed it very much. With this show, Adam and I have now performed at several military bases/hospitals throughout the Northeast. At various times, we have worked for soldiers about to be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan or for soldiers who have retuned wounded from these same wars. Most heartbreaking were meeting the soldiers in the "Wounded Warrior Transition Unit" at Fort Dix in New Jersey. All told, these men and women remain some of the greatest groups of young people I have ever met. Doing a show for the military men and women who serve our country is really some of the most rewarding work a performer can get. We do not get paid, but instead donate our time to this most rewarding of performances I have ever done.

When you worked as many nightclubs and tough crowds as I have throughout my career, you sure notice an immediate difference from the moment you cross the threshhold of a military base. So, respectful without the usual bravado of a nightclub audience, these soldiers welcome your prescence there and are immediatelty engaged in what you are doing. I am a firm believer in karma and what these young people are doing in the service of this great country cannot, and should not, go unmentioned or unrewarded. Since the founding of this organization one year ago, we have performed at Fort Dix, Lakehurst Naval Base, McGuire Air Force Base, Fort Detrick Army Base, the United States Marine Base at Quantico, Virginia, and Walter Reed Army Hospital. We are slated to perform at Fort Belvoir on Friday, July 15, 2011.

Patriotic Perfomers, USA is always searching for new performers to join us. You are not obligated to work every gig, infact the whole idea of the troupe is its fluidness. Performers come and go as their schedules befit. You must be willing to give of your time--there is no pay. In the past, we have hired, singers, dancers, and comedians. Many performers work with us only for a short time until a more steady gig may arrive. Others, work for us continuously as their schedules become availible. Adam and I, because we are the founders, attend and perform at every show. Our goal is to bring joy, mystery, and happiness, through artistic expression to those who are fighting for our country.

Below is a picture with two commanders at Fort Detrick yesterday. To the right is a group show with soldiers inside of the "Wounded Warrior Transition Unit" at Fort Dix in New Jersey. As the title of this blog begins, "Godspeed to all those fighting for this great country." Your service does not go un-noticed. God Bless the United States of America.

Friday, February 11, 2011

2011 Salute To Magic

Hi all--so I have some very interesting news as of late. This is the first time I am sharing this, so here goes: The Parent Assembly number 1 of the Society of American Magicians (SAM) Board of Directors based in New York City has selected me as the sole performer for the 2011 Salute To Magic. (Cue: Champagne bottles popping) Apparently, they tell me----this is quite a honor. It is a show that has occurred yearly or thereabouts for more than 102 years. It began soon after the founding of the SAM in 1902 in New York City. Many of the greats of magic have performed or headlined at the Salute over the years among them: Harry Kellar, Harry Houdini, Frederick Eugene Powell, Sam Marguiles, Hardeen, Nate Lepizig, Josseffy, Doug Henning, Topas, Eric DeCamps, Paul Daniels, and most recently, Paul Gertner. Soon, I will be added to that list and sometime in the future, someone else may be writing a blog about THEIR selection and then will mention all of the great magicians of the past who worked it and my name will be included!!! Whooo hooooo.

Anyways, back to Earth. The 2011 Salute To Magic is being held this year at the Teatro Heckscher Theatre in Midtown Manhattan. (See pics above and below.) The exact address is 1230 5th Avenue off of 104th Street. I went to view the house when we were still in the negotiating stages and I must say, it will be one of the best places I have ever worked. The theatre seats 599 people. Most of the sightlines are good except for the front row. (Don't buy tickets to the front row!) I have included some pics of the theatre so you can check it out. The theatre is an old Broadway house directly across the street from Central Park and I believe was built in the 1920s. I will be performing my show, "American Escape Artist" which is a combination of my award-winning escapes coupled with magic. The show will run about 75 minutes and will be
unlike anything the SAM has done before. Many of you have asked but I will not be divulging any parts of the show here--you must come and see it. Tickets are $50.00 and they tell me are selling fast. There is only one show--so if you want to go, better make your reservations.

Seriously, I talk to alot of people on this site that I would characterize as my fans--(at least that is what they tell me, lol) So, now, I need the help of you all. This is your chance to see a great show.

The set design will be created by George Allison, a great friend of mine who has contributed much to my success over the years. Lighting is being engineered and created by Paul Hackenmueller, probably the best in the business. That is as much as I will reveal here. I hope to see you all there.