Three Mind-Blowing Magic Adventures

1. My First Immersive Magic Theater
You never forget your first.
I didn’t even know what the word “immersive” meant when I started building my “Magic & Mystery Room.” I was ten years old, living in Rock Hill, New York, in the Catskill mountains. I had been into magic for two whole years, and already I was known as the only magician in my area. I read a lot of books and started building my magical world. To outside eyes, it just looked like a storage room in the corner of the house.
Filling the tiny room were all my magical treasures: my little magic props, an old top hat, my wand (I made it from a wooden coat hanger dowel), my Houdini-style handcuffs, my imitation rabbit, and my budding collection of bizarre curios – rubber vampire bats, plastic spiders, and two rubber shrunken heads my Dad brought back from South America. Hey, he knew what I liked!

I’ve always loved collecting strange and wonderful curios, and I love sharing them with my friends!

I painted and decorated the walls of my tiny room with scraps of paper and any magazine or news clipping I could find about magic – even from Boys’ Life magazine, when they had a magician on the cover. I had full-color classic magic posters, and some black and white photos of Doug Henning, Mark Wilson, Cardini, Thurston, and Houdini.
I would give tours of my magic room, show off my treasures and perform my magic show for anyone who came into our house. I charged them a quarter.
2. The Disco Daze
After high school, I moved away from home and got a day job working at Al Flosso’s Magic Shop in New York City. At night, I would work in discotheques with a theatrical troupe called Le Clique Fantasy Players.
At nineteen years old, I was gigging with this company, doing conservative Bar Mitzvahs in the afternoon, and then diving into the decadent ’80s disco scene until the wee hours of the morning. What was so interesting about working with Le Clique Fantasy Players was that they were working in immersive nightlife environments like The Electric Circus and the legendary Studio 54.
I lived two blocks from Studio 54 and performed there often. I hung out there every week just to meet and mingle with the famous folks while making magic. I developed many of my routines in this chaotic but magical environment. By immersing myself in the night club culture of NYC, I met Bill Barnes (my first manager), show business agents, and performed on shows with artists like Andy Warhol, Grace Jones, Raquel Welch, and Diana Ross. T’was a wild era indeed for my magic career! (I’ll tell you the details only in person next time we meet, ok?)

Studio 54 was “the place to be, and to be seen” in the 1980’s. (Can you name all the famous people in this photo?)

We did not do traditional stage shows in the clubs, but created installations and dynamic interactive experiences that went with the flow of the music and night culture. We broke down the walls between audience and performer. We were integrated into the party. 
Sometimes as many as thirty of us performing in the troupe would all bring three complete costume changes, creating the illusion of ninety different outrageous masked characters. It was a wonderful time, and I got paid a hundred dollars a night. Things were looking up!

Ms. Ross and me! Here we are opening night at Radio City Music Hall.

3. Diana Ross
Ms. Ross chose me as her opening act for her show at Radio City Music Hall, and brought me to Caesar’s Palace as her opening act in the late ’80s. I was performing on some of the biggest stages in Las Vegas, sharing my untraditional magic in very stereotypically Vegas shows – you know, showgirls, feathers, and tall neon staircases.
Adventure Theater
The real magic happened a few years later when Vegas fully embraced the art of magic and spent 65 million dollars creating an adventure theater experience called Caesars Magical Empire, where I headlined for many years. The world had never seen anything like this immersive experience before. 
Patrons entered into an ancient temple of magic, then descended into the catacombs on a giant elevator, to walk through tunnels and caverns into a world where magicians surrounded them with their delights, deceptions and illusions. There was food. There was fire. There were lots of interactive installations and “immersive magic.” 
I won’t tell you how much I made working there, but it was enough to build a wonderful home, school and community here in Las Vegas. You can get a little taste of what “The Magical Empire” was by watching this:

Immersive Magic Theater
Over the years, I’ve worked in the most extraordinary venues in the world, from Radio City Music Hall in New York City,  to The Mikado in Tokyo, Japan, to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. In my experience, the most transformative performances are ones where the audience feels like a part of the mystery, and part of the magic. The key to creating this experience is dissolving the barriers between performer and audience.
The term “immersive magic theater” is often used for this ancient, yet re-emerging, form of magic theater. In January, I will be hosting a three-part online class to explore the history and current state of the art.

Your Invitation to Mystery

Performers, magic fans and enthusiasts are all welcome to attend. This will be a lively, fun, interactive class, filled with insight on how this exciting form of magic can enhance your life and performance. Click on the link below and join me for a three part journey beyond imagination.

I look forward to taking you on my mind blowing magical adventures here at Mystery School in Las Vegas or in our class room online!


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