The best of both worlds, in one magic show

Posted by on Jun 2, 2015 in Corporate Event Ideas, Entertainment For Parties

As a Chicago magician and corporate entertainer, I find myself performing at a wide range of events and venues, from holiday parties to wedding receptions, from trade shows to customer appreciation dinners.  But at the end of the day, most performances fall into one of two categories: close up magic or a stage show. I typically perform close up magic at cocktail parties, for trade show entertainment and in hospitality suites.  I most often perform my stage show at awards banquets and as after-dinner entertainment.  But the two are very different types of performances.  Close up magic tends to have a stronger impact, but the shows are much shorter, while stage shows are longer, have more of a theatrical structure, but lack the intimacy and “wow” factor inherent in a close up magic performance. Enter the “Parlour Show”… A parlour magic show is a wonderful hybrid that combines the best of close up magic and a stage show.  Typically performed for 5 to 20 people, it includes high impact close up magic, but because it’s a formal show (from 15 to 45 minutes in length), it’s a more theatrical experience and includes a larger variety of magic.  It’s an actual show, but performed up close, right in front of your face, taking the experience to another level. So the next time you’re looking for entertainment, whether it’s corporate entertainment or something for a private event, consider a parlour magic show.  You’re virtually guaranteed your guests have never seen anything like it, and the impact and entertainment level can’t be...

Read More »

“Where can I see you perform?”

Posted by on May 22, 2015 in Chicago Magician

“Where can I see you perform?” It’s a question I dread.  As a Chicago corporate entertainer I perform at trade shows, sales meetings, corporate events, hospitality suites and the like.  All of which typically require a name badge for entry.  So when I meet someone new who’d like to see my show, I have nothing to offer. Until now! Joseph Cranford has created a fantastic venue for magic at the Uptown Underground.  Every Thursday night at 8pm the space becomes the Chicago Magic Lounge and is filled with close up and stage magic from some of the best magicians in Chicago.  I’ve been honored to appear onstage, and am excited to announce I’ll be headlining in July! Hope to see you there! Chicago Magic Lounge at the Uptown Underground, 4707 N Broadway Ave, Chicago, IL 60640 Thursday nights in July at 8:00...

Read More »

3 simple steps to remember anyone’s name!

Posted by on Apr 15, 2015 in Best Magician Ever

There’s a lot that goes into a magic show, whether it’s corporate entertainment or a private event, and it’s not just about the tricks.  Whenever I perform, particularly when performing close up magic, remembering names is critical to my performance.  When I remember someone’s name, they’re flattered, impressed and I stand out from the crowd.  And given how easy it is to remember names, it’s foolish not to take the time to do so.  More importantly, remembering names is easier than you think.  Just follow these 3 steps and you’ll improve your ability to remember names overnight.  Seriously! 1) FORGET THAT YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO REMEMBER NAMES The first step to remembering names is believing you can.  That may sound silly, but it’s true.  Most people think they have a bad memory, when in truth they just have an untrained memory.  To train your memory, you have to use it, and to use it, you have to trust that it can be improved.  Once you believe you can improve your memory, you’re well on your way. 2) MAKE SURE YOU HEAR THE PERSON’S NAME In order to remember someone’s name, you have to hear it.  This may seem obvious, but when meeting someone it’s easy to be distracted by what’s happening around you.  So, the first step is to listen.  And not just listen, but make sure you hear what the name is.  Is it “Bill” or “Phil”?  “Emma” or “Emily”?  If you’re not sure, ask!  People are flattered when you show interest in them. 3) USE THE NAME IN YOUR CONVERSATION Once you’re confident you’ve heard the name correctly, simply use it (sparingly) in the conversation.  Start with “It’s great to meet you, Charlie.”  Then, when you ask them a question, lead with their name.  “So, Charlie, what do you do for a living?”  If it’s an unusual name, ask how it’s spelled.  Not only do you get to repeat the name, you’re showing interest in the person, AND knowing the spelling will make it easy to remember.  I also like to repeat the name to myself a few times, thinking about the name, if I know anyone else with that name, if a famous person comes to mind with that same first name, etc.  Just thinking about a person’s name can help cement it in your mind. IT’S JUST THAT SIMPLE! That may not seem like much of a secret, but I promise you, if you believe you can remember someone’s name, actually catch what their name is when you meet them, then just use their name a couple of times while you’re speaking with them, you’ll be shocked by how easy it is to recall their name.  I regularly remember 30 or more names in an evening, just by following these 3 simple steps. THE NEXT STEP IN IMPROVING YOUR MEMORY This technique works well...

Read More »

Magic on TV ain’t magic in your living room

Posted by on Sep 12, 2014 in Best Magician Ever

There’s been an influx of magic on TV of late, with shows like Penn & Teller’s “Fool Us,” SyFy’s “Wizard Wars”, “The Carbonaro Effect” and “Masters of Illusion.”  Combine this with the success of magicians on “America’s Got Talent” and it’s no wonder this Chicago magician is told at every show he should be on AGT. But this growth in media attention has had some unintended results.  Most recently, I had a potential client ask if I would be interested in performing in the style of Penn & Teller’s “Fool Us,” where I would perform magic, then between effects the audience would guess how it worked. I was really taken aback by the request.  Not because I didn’t understand her point of view.  I can understand how fun an idea that would seem to a non-magician.  You could have teams, add up points, hand out prizes.  And the process of trying to “figure it out” is already happening inside the audience’s mind in every show anyway.  That’s the nature of magic.  There’s a secret and I won’t tell you what it is. And I know how irritating it is to not know how it works.  I see the looks on some audience member’s faces when the moment of magic occurs.  For some people, it’s just too much.  For most people, it’s not fun to be fooled.  That’s actually a proven scientific fact. Which is why the request took me aback.  See, I’ve spent a lifetime in magic, trying to make being fooled a pleasant experience.  I work very hard, whether I’m performing close up magic or onstage as corporate entertainment, to find ways to minimize the sting.  There are a thousand techniques and I’ve spent hours and hours looking for ways to shift the focus from the secret to the experience of magic. In some ways it’s an impossible task.  I’m not interested in convincing you my magic is real, nor can I just out and out tell you the secret.  But the best magic does find a way to intrigue, entertain and mystify without screaming “I know the secret and you don’t!” So no, I won’t do a show in the style of “Fool Us.”  Not only does it diminish the magic into a simple puzzle to be solved, but it removes the opportunity for mystery to be experienced.  As my wife will attest, when you the know the secret, magic disappears. And magic, even the illusion of magic, is beautiful and worth the...

Read More »

Corporate entertainment, it ain’t just about the show!

Posted by on Aug 14, 2014 in Best Magician Ever, Corporate Entertainment, Corporate Event Ideas

When hiring corporate entertainment for an after dinner show, cocktail party, employee appreciation event or the like it’s important to remember that the show is more than what happens onstage.  The flow of the event, expectation of the audience and concerns of management all weigh heavily on the event planner.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard stories about comedians offending the audience, performers arriving late or not at all or the “star” not being able to adjust to the ever changing needs of the event. As a corporate entertainer based in Chicago, I work hard to make sure my show is entertaining and mystifying for any audience, but I also know that the event isn’t about me, so if I need to cut my show short, stretch it out, or include a last minute addition, I come prepared to do so.  This means arriving early, being willing to stay late and always remaining flexible.  That’s my job. I know I’m only one component of an evening’s schedule, and my job is to help make the whole event a success, not just my part of it.  If you’d like to talk to me about how I can help make your upcoming event a success, either with my comedy stage magic show or with interactive strolling magic, don’t hesitate to contact...

Read More »