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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Words can not adequately express my gratitude, just finished the most amazing and exhausting run of performances. Am in awe of the positive responses from the organizers and guests. Everyone please forgive me as I haven't had the opportunity to send thank you emails but will over the next 2 days.

Everything from an Amazing Rock N Blues festival, a beautiful family birthdays and masters degree celebration, 2 Professor Snape performances, first birthday celebrations, a great Boy Scout Summer Camp Performance, a really, really cool graduation celebration performing as the Mad Hatter (they even changed the date of the party so it would fit my performance schedule and I could be there to perform for them, am so glad they did. I've never experienced a more appreciative audience) , a perfectly planned graduation celebration with wonderful people and I taught a week long magic class at a summer camp (which was a very rewarding and special experience)      

At one point we did 4 shows and one class is 3 days, not unusual until you factor in we drove over 600 miles to be able to do it

What did all these celebration have in common? They were all beautiful, heartfelt expressions of love and admiration. They were all great events! People from all walks of life celebrating meaningful events in their lives. I'm honored they chose Illusions by Vick to be a small part of their special days 

Every time I take the stage I'll give you EVERYTHING I have, every bit of ability, planning and experience and more importantly EVERY BIT OF HEART and imagination to make your special occasion even more memorable and special    

A very special thanks to Christina Vukov!!! I would have NEVER been able to do it without you. I love you sweetheart, thanks for all your help and support 

Am incredibly fortunate to have the career I do, thank you everyone. For your support, believing in me and allowing me to be a small part of the most special moments in your lives.

I promise to keep creating and sharing with you the best, most amazing, imaginative and heartfelt magical entertainment experiences
Thank you again!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Heart and Mind

As entertainers we create and share special moments, at our best we touch peoples lives (in different ways, sometimes it's a laugh or a smile. At our best it's shedding light on a new perspective) and in turn they enrich ours.
I'll never be the best in the world at sleights (pure sleight of hand, I can do ok), my strength lies in putting my heart and imagination in the show. Through the heart and mind is the way for me to create an entertaining place in time.
One of the most important lessons Denny Haney & Henning Nelms  taught me is I can't be Copperfield, Penn & Teller or Tommy Wonder. Those jobs are already taken ... but they can't be me.
I can be the best me possible and that includes putting all my heart and mind into every performance.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Magician's Heart on his sleeve

In some ways I wear my (performing) heart on my sleeve,
every show is very, very meaningful to me.
It will never be just another show or a "day at the office"
There is a drive, a desire and a sincere obligation to
every client, every audience to make the event special
with the magical entertainment presented.
I often become quite fond of the audience
(and guests) before the show.
We email back and forth, talk on the telephone.
I have the pleasure of getting to know the audience,
the guest of honor a little before the show.
They are allowing me to share a special time in their lives.

For corporate clients I learn about the company,
the people, their products and services and
incorporate that into the performance
(when and where appropriate)

They have chosen me to help celebrate
and in a small way be a part of their most special occasions.
It's an honor (and flattering) when clients come to me
specifically asking for or because they want something
more or different than a "normal" magician.
Yes magic is for adults too ..
... and we need it more than children!

This is part of what feeds my concern  with reaching the audience, connecting with them, creating and sharing something that enables them to smile, think and feel.
Am very fortunate to have the career I do and take nothing for granted 
Thank you

Friday, May 4, 2012

Magic's New Renaissance Period

In Maryland, DC and Northern Virgina magical entertainment is going through a very special Renaissance period. Due the work of performers like Michael Cantor, Peter Wood, Mike Rose, Eric Henning, Dick Kohl and others (Illusions by Vick included) quality magical entertainment is being brought to, seen by and enjoyed by a wider audience (including more adult and corporate audiences). Magic is being taken seriously as entertainment and as an art form. This is a very special time for magicians and audiences, while I compete with these men I also admire and applause their efforts, every time I hear of them performing another show, amazing another audience it's a good thing for us all as audiences are having a quality entertainment expereince and will want more in the future.

We all share a love of the art, a commitment to our audiences and to bring quality magical entertainment and amazing experiences to as many as we can. Enriching the audience's lives and in turn enriching ours by the experiences we share and what we receive from our audiences.

A magician to keep an eye on in the near future ... Dave Rossi a.k.a. the AmazingDaviator

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wildest place or circumstances ever worked as a magician

A discussion came up about the wildest place or circumstances ever worked as a magician, below is my response ....

Hmmmm .... performing under challenging circumstances will make you a better performer. When starting out I sought out challenging circumstances.

For a year I was a hawker for Magic Zone, basically a kiosk (in malls and heavy traffic tourist areas) selling D-Lites, UFO's, sponge balls plus a few other items. I was getting paid to rehearse 8 hours a day, I learned to draw a crowd there.

After that for 3 years I was part of the live entertainment at a Movie Theater Multi-plex (24 screens). The theater complex was very popular but had patrons waiting upwards of an hour to see their movie. The theater thought live entertainment would be a good idea. We (myself, another magician and 2 stand up comics) did some crazy stuff. At first it was incredibly challenging, walking into a theater of 500 who have been waiting in their seats for 20 minutes for the film to start, they have no idea what you are there for and then try entertaining. After 6 months we were (somewhat of) a hit (patrons would come in and ask for us and the company tried to replicate what we were doing in their other multi-plexes). For the next 2.5 years it was just myself and 1 stand up comic. We created characters and played characters from hit films (launching a side business of appearing as Professor Snape). We were given free rein to preform what we wanted. We wrote our own scripts, became more skilled at improv and did our own costuming. There is nothing like the experience of performing a new routine 25+ times a day, 3 days a week for live audiences. On top of that we had to keep the material fresh as there were patrons who came to the theater every week.

For 6 months I was the featured Illusionist in a 1940's theme weekly burlesque review at a nightclub in Washington, DC. Imagine being the magician on before the very popular featured burlesque artist, in front of inebriated patrons, in a DC nightclub where patrons are paying $40 for a seat. 2- 3 times nightly. I was lucky and it went well.

None of those 3 positions paid extremely well but .....

The key thing is, these challenging situations gave me great experience that you can't get any other way.

Wild? ... maybe ... Rewarding? ... beyond measure

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Thinking about hiring a magician? What does a magician cost?

Often I get calls or email from prospective clients asking about my services as a magician. They may have never hired live entertainment before so they might mot have an idea what a magician's fees are. The prospective client may be thinking they are hiring an hour (in my case the stage or parlor show is 45+ minutes) of my services so maybe it's like other skilled trades, mechanic, plumber or the like. Well..... when you hire Illusions by Vick you get a lot more than the 45 minutes.

Please allow me to pull back the curtain a little,
for the average client we send 8 emails back and forth discussing your event,
(plus time on the phone, I am always available to share experience, to answer questions, take requests or suggestions). This is some of the best times with a cleint, we get to know each other, I get to learn about special people and this time helps develop a special show just for your event
1 to 2 hours goes into developing the set for your show
I spend about 5-6 hours in rehearsal for each event,
plus drive time back and forth (let's say 30 minutes each way),
About one hour setting up before the performance.
Then the 45+ minutes for your show
About 30 - 45 minutes after the show cleaning up, loading out and speaking with guests
Conservatively speaking that's 10 hours devoted to each performance

That's before the 12 years training and intense study (lot of lectures, working with a director and many, many books). That's before all the specialized equipment.

For every show I use about $40 in combustibles/expendables (Among other things I purchase a dozen roses for almost every show even though I may only use 2 or 3).

Add in assorted operating expenses, gas (I drive a 32+ MPG car for many shows), maintenance, maintenance of equipment, insurance, liability insurance (other performers might not carry liability insurance, I do due to the venues I perform in and it's what professional performers have to do) and other assorted operating costs (dry cleaning, costumes and so on) .

Could I be that guy that goes around with a set show for every audience, who shows up 15 minutes before the performance, doesn't use combustibles/expendables and doesn't have special equipment?
NO! The performance would not be the same and I can't do anything less than a special, quality show....

Not every performer makes the same commitment to their clients, sad to say.

I hope you see the difference, you can read what clients have written about Illusions by Vick here or Google "Illusions by Vick"
I consider myself very lucky to have had such warm and truly wonderful experiences performing ... but that is the goal, to enhance a special event. It's part of why the show is the way it is.

One thing that can't be measured in cost is the amount of heart that goes into every show.

I understand some people in these challenging economic times may be on a budget and my services might not be the right fit for them. For these clients I recommend other options (I try to help everyone get the best possible entertainment program, even if it isn't Illusions by Vick) just be honest with me, it's nothing to be embarrassed about.

I hope this helped someone shopping for entertainment have a better understanding and perspective of what goes into your show.

Please always know, Illusions by Vick is here for you.
One of my goals regardless of who performs for you is in the end trying to make certain you have the best possible entertainment experience .... and that is priceless ;-)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Magician Sits Down .. The Magician Stands up

I was privileged to have one of the most beautiful moments of magic ever in one of my shows last night ...... and I didn't perform it.
I had been hired to perform 45 minutes parlor(magical entertainment) at a 50th Birthday Celebration. The gentleman (Eugene) who hired me to perform for his wife's 50th birthday celebration and I had been communicating in email, along the way I suggested if he had a small present to present I could show him a magical way to present it. He liked the idea. We took a few minutes before the show to go over the presentation, I believe he had be practicing on his own(when I gave instruction on where to place it he made a remark that lead me to think he had been trying on his own).
I brought Eugene and his wife Katherine up to perform Anniversary Waltz (a card trick that can be a beautiful, fun moment) and when I was done Eugene said he had a trick that might top mine. (I sat down and directed a person with a video camera to a good spot for their special moment)

He did it perfectly, when the flash died away there was a very, very beautiful ring hanging from his hand on a fine chain. There was an amazing outpouring of love and joy, not just from his wife but from everyone present (about 30 guests). The laughter, applause, love and hugs went on all night as part of this very special celebration

If you wanted to imagine the perfect party, I nominate this evening. My words can't adequately describe the life and love that infused this event. It doesn't suffice to say that Ukrainians know how to party. There were at least 4 people there who were good piano players, a group of about 10 women got up and danced, sharp minds and great food & drink (I only tried the homemade cranberry vodka and I never ever drink at a show). These people define joie de vivre.

There is a lot more to these wonderful people then I will go into here but again .....
It was one of the most beautiful moments ever in my show ... and all I had to do was sit and enjoy!

Sometimes I say I perform because it makes others better people (when someone is laughing, enjoying themselves, amazed or having fun that is about the best someone can be), last night they made me a better person.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Creative Capital .... RANT.....

Creative Capital (which I think is a wonderful and much needed organization) provides grants to worthwhile artists to produce work.

Here is the list of performing art from their website
Performing Arts may include dance, dance-theater, experimental music performance,
interdisciplinary, multimedia performance, music-theater, non-traditional opera, performance art, puppetry, spoken word and theater. The focus is on the live performing arts.

Notice any performing art missing? NO MAGIC or MAGICIANS , yes there is puppetry but no magic??!!!
Magic (and magicians) has the ability to be the most demanding, beautiful and unique of all arts. Where else can you share an amazing expereince with an audience and then get them to laugh, think and engage their sense of wonder

So ..... I vent this one time and get it out while I continue to do everything in my power to elevate the art of magic

Monday, February 13, 2012

The little things .....

Illusions by Vick most often performs for adult or all age audiences with the exception of February & March when I perform for Blue & Gold Banquets (my way of giving a little back). Saturday was my first Blue and Gold of this year. There was a young girl of about 6 in attendance, she was very interested in the pre-show. During the show I gave her the rose I use in "Dinner". At the end of the show after I packed up the same little girl finds me, face covered in green icing, has the biggest smile in the world, looks up at me for a minute then opens her arms for me to give her a hug.

One of the Scoutmasters walks up to me after the show and said "You did something we can't do", I asked him what that was, he responded "Kept their attention for 45 minutes"

Upon opening my email the following morning I found an email from the Scoutmaster who found and hired me for their Blue and Gold, it read"Thank you much for providing our entertainment for blue & gold yesterday! I have received countless verbal, email, & Facebook comments on how great you were! The boys were enthralled, engaged, & entertained! One of our best yet! "

Sometimes it's the little things

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Quick Post about magicians and "challenges"

The following was my responce in a facebook discussion, thought it merited a post here

A challenge in a magic performance is a no win situation. If the audience is fooled or loses the challenge they feel they deserve the answer or will try to construct one instead of enjoying the entertainment.
If the audience succeeds in wining the challenge the magician has been bested and loses his aura.
No one likes to be "fooled" and the performers who can fool an audience and have the audience like being "fooled' and still like the performer are very few.

The fooling or challenge aspect of performing magic is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. We are entertainers who take our audiences on a journey, share wondrous things, excite them, even at times educate. As magic in evolving in this decade hopefully we are seeing far fewer "tricksters" whose performance is about I can do this and fool you, isn't that cool .... because it never is

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Musing ......

I often do a Q & A after performances, invariably someone will ask " How did you do .......?". I quote Sherlock Holmes (Doyle) "Eliminate the impossible and what is left, however improbable, is the truth".
For me if more than 10% are thinking "how I did...." then my presentation isn't quite right

Yes I perform real magic. It's not the effects on stage. It's being the conduit to an audience having a good time, forgetting what grinds them on a day to day basis and instead putting a smile on their faces. Whether it's a laugh, a moment of wonder or enjoyment. When that happens in the audience, that's where the magic takes place. That's why the audience does the magic, not me.
That's (part of) what being an entertainer is about, at least for me.
Think what you will about that, even call it cheap magic. If it's cheap magic, then it's all I have and it's plenty good enough for me. In fact it's about the best thing I can do.