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How to Fest

Roger Curzon and I are scheduled to repeat our slightly acclaimed excursion into the rarely-trod byeways of magical history and performance for the experimental theatre company Slung Low in Leeds this Sunday from 3:30 p.m. I’m opening with an illustrated exploration of the curious history of magical invention, followed by Roger who will weave strange, magickal tales around the bizarre curios and artefacts discovered in his late, unlamented Uncle Albert’s suitcase.

This is a medium-sized but pertly formed part of Slung Low’s How-To… Festival 2: Magic & Showmanship. Sounds like it’ll be a great day out for some of the family. To quote their publicity: “Sunday 31 May is a day of performance, film, lecture and food from Myra Dubois, Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Russell Hall & Roger Curzon, Freddie Brook and Manjit’s Kitchen. And because it’s the How To… Festival  you can learn new skills in £paywhatyoudecide creative workshops though out the day; learn how to make the entertainment and the food. No experience necessary!”

The day starts tastily at 11:00 a.m. with Manjit’s Kitchen where she will demonstrate how to cook delicious vegetarian Indian dishes and curries, and you can then have a go at creating them yourselves – all ingredients and equipment are provided.

At 2:15 p.m. Freddie Brook plans to teach us how to Simply Amaze Our Friends in a workshop that will focus on “the performativity of magic and how to incorporate your own style into the tricks that you do.”

As I said, Roger and I will be strutting our various stuffs from 3:30 p.m., including a dab or two of performativity as the occasion demands.

Then at 5:00 p.m. Professor Vanessa Toulmin will take you on a filmic tour of Edwardian Leeds with live piano accompaniment presenting pioneering films of showmen Mitchell & Kenyon in Leeds. If you’ve not seen this presentation before, I highly recommend you catch it. Click here for more details.

There’s a break for dinner at 6:00 when you can enjoy delicious food from Manjit’s Kitchen and refreshments from the HUB’s £1 bar with free tea and coffee. Plus live music from Bianca Gerald before rounding off the day with a hilarious performance for grown ups from Myra DuboisAuntie Myra’s Fun Show is at 7:30pm.

I understand that there is a very limited capacity for all Festival workshops and performances so to reserve places please email boxoffice@slunglow.org with the number of places you wish to book for each event and a contact telephone number.

FESTIVAL SCHEDULE RECAP

11:00 Cooking with Manjit (recommended 14+)
2:15  How To… Simply Amaze Your Friends (recommended 11+)
3:30 Magical Inventions and Magickal Tales (recommended 11+)
5:00 Mitchell & Kenyon in Leeds (suitable for all)
6:00 Dinner and Live Music from Bianca Gerald
7:30 Auntie Myra’s Fun Show (Adult content 16+)

See you there!

All events take place at The HUB, 67-71 Bath Road, Holbeck, Leeds, LS11 9UA. There’s free on-street parking on Bath Road on Sundays.

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The first lecture of the 2015-16 syllabus is by Ravi Mayar on Thursday 7 May. Ravi is a well-respected international magician, hypnotist and pickpocket. Check out his website http://www.mayarmagic.com. There will be something for everyone and the evening promises to be a very interesting one.

The lecture is free to Sheffield Circle members and £10 to non members. It will begin at 7:30 pm at the Magic Lounge, 82 Broad Street, Sheffield, S2 5TG. Doors open at 7:00 pm fairly promptly.

Ymedaca

Hester Reeve, YMEDACA, 2014. (L–R) Joe Moore, Hand Tool Users United; Hester Reeve, the artist; Russell Hall, The Magick Lounge. Image courtesy YSP.

It all started back at the turn of the year with a call from artist Hester Reeve about Magick taking part in a major art event at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, After months of development, planning and building, it all comes to a climax at the YSP on Saturday 30 August.

On this day Hester wil  transform the YSP into an Ancient Greek university for a special one-day pop-up academy: YMEDACA.

For YMEDACA, Reeve has collaborated with ‘Guardians’ selected from seven local groups to devise a series of free events running from dawn till dusk, known as ‘liberalational manoeuvres’ and inspired by the very first university established by Plato in 5th century BC Greece.

On the day, join the West Yorkshire Astronomical Society on a walking-talking-thinking tour of YSP to discover the exact position of the planets in the heavens above; witness the scythe cutting of YSP’s Lower Lake reeds by Hand Tool Users United; and visit YSP’s Greek Temple to experience the mysterious and wondrous with The Magick Lounge.

Visitors can also navigate the Park to encounter practices and performances by the Cantabile Choral Group, The Royal British Legion, West Yorkshire Pagan Meet Up and Yorkshire Sun Society.

YMEDACA comes to a climax with a Sacrifice to Athena, at 7pm, where visitors will witness just how far the artist is prepared to go in her pursuit and devotion to wisdom and the good.

The YMEDACA academy is the culmination of a two-year residency at the Park, presented alongside two current displays by the artist – Temple of the Muses in the National Arts Education Archive (NAEA) and The Game Plan in YSP Centre’s Upper Space can be seen at YSP until 7 September 2014.

For more information about the YMEDACA events taking place on 30 August visit ysp.co.uk/events/ymedaca

Why not have a great day out at the YSP, come down to the Greek Temple during the day and meet Roger, Andy, Ashton, Tristan, Nik and myself. And maybe stay on for the evening for the ritual sacrifice!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Vampire SurvivorsThey go by many names: Vampires, Nosferatu, The Dark Ones, the Children of the Night. They are the stuff of legend. They occupy our nightmares and fascinate our waking thoughts. But what is it really like to be a vampire? What is it like to exist in a world ruled by mortals? Over the course of one intense month, author Paul Voodini tracked down these vampires and interviewed them, finding out in fascinating, personal detail what it means to be a creature of the night. These are not the demonic creatures of horror films, nor the angst-ridden playthings of romantic novels. These are Vampires, and they are Survivors!

My copy of Paul’s The Vampire Survivors arrived a few days ago. The 156-page book is well produced and makes excellent night-time reading. (Just make sure you lock the doors — and windows — first.)

Be prepared to meet Nancy Beck, turned during a vampire feeding frenzy in a London hospital in 1851, who exchanged her newborn child for a dark, eternal life. And Jessica Cooper, turned as teenager and doomed to wait for ever for her lost love.

The monstrous Lady Jane Cunningham is definitely to be avoided, but you can’t help feeling a touch of tainted sympathy for the ‘natural-borns’ Aya and Dibs Varga, driven from their home in Budapest by Vatican sponsored vampire hunts.

And there’s Edwin Simone, turned on the Somme battlefield. Carlyle Dannennfesler from New York, turned in 1840 and now an investment banker. Georgina Strong, who solves for us the identity of Jack the Ripper.

The Vampire Survivors is available here, price £9.99.

The Illusionists

The Illusionists world tour started in January 2012 and comes to Sheffield City Hall on Sunday 6 October, 2013.

To quote the promotional blurb: “Showcasing jaw dropping acts of grand illusion, levitation, mind-reading, disappearance and for the first time ever in history, a full view water torture escape, The Illusionists: Witness The Impossible is a magic show like none other ever seen before.

“The group of world-class performers draw influences from the showmanship of the great illusionists of the past such as Harry Houdini, and pair with it a new and updated contemporary aesthetic, whose set and costume design lend the genre a theatricality and artistry that has rarely been seen before.”

The performers are: Dan Sperry ‘The Anti Conjurer’, Jinger Leigh ‘The Enchantress’, Andrew Basso ‘The Escapologist’, Mark Kalin ‘The Gentlemen’, Kevin James ‘The Inventor’, Jeff Hobson ‘The Trickster’ and Philip Escoffey ‘The Mentalist’. (Some of you will remember we filmed a great interview with Kevin James for the special Crazy Horse edition of PrestiDigital.)

I’m pleased to say that our readers can obtain a 35% discount off any ticket price for this show by using the promo code magic35 when booking online, over the phone or in person. Click here for further information and booking details.

LoochMind Reader and Psychological Magician Looch has become one of the most sought-after acts in the UK. His unique skills combined, with his humour and professionalism have seen him booked for a vast array of events, including weddings, parties and corporate events. He has also made a name for himself as an originator of exciting new ideas in mentalism.

We are pleased to say that Looch will be lecturing here at the Lounge on Thursday 1 August. Admission is £10, but free to paid-up members of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians. Doors open at 7.07 p.m., and the event starts at 7.30 at The Magick Lounge, 82 Broad Street, Sheffield S2 5TG. Don’t miss it.

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