Archive for April, 2008

Wedding Bells

Posted in Uncategorized on April 24, 2008 by hocuspoc

Writing the blog a day early as tomorrow I’ll be heading north along with Betty and Max to visit my son, Cole at St. Mary’s. School will be out in less than 3 weeks for him, and it will be time to move him out of his dorm. We’re going to rent a mini storage so Cole won’t have to move everything back to Fresno for the Summer months. Saturday night, we’ll head to San Francisco for a nice dinner all together, and then it’s back home on Sunday.

Last weekend was my niece, Sara’s wedding. My sister Jan and her husband Chris did a fabulous job coordinating the entire affair. The hall was beautifully decorated, the food was fantastic, and the ceremony and entertainment afterwards were great. It was fun seeing my cousin, Brian, who I hadn’t seen in several years and getting together with all my other relatives. I wish all the luck to the bride and groom, pictured below:


Sara and Brandon


Max, dressed up like a dude


My mother and me


My daughter, Renee


My cousins, Brian and Karen


My daughter, Aimee, Sara, and Renee


My sister and me


Dancing the night away with the bride


Renee and I rock it out

Special announcement: Speaking of wedding bells, my daughter, Renee, on Monday evening, gave us the good news: she and her boyfriend, Jonathan, are also getting married next April! Betty and I are, of course, very excited, and we couldn’t be happier as Jonathan will be a welcome addition to the family!


Jonathan and Renee

Funny story about Jonathan: When Renee and he had been dating for several months, Jonathan asked Renee what her father did for a living. When Renee told him that I was in the magic business, he told her to wait a second, he went into the other room, and came back with a Scotch & Soda coin trick. Turns out that Jonathan has been doing magic as a hobby for years. Who’d have thought? Small world, indeed.

So that about wraps it up this week. And what a week it’s been! Thanks to all of you who take the time to read this blog and for keeping us busy around the clock at Hocus Pocus.

Until next time,

Paul

Birthday Wishes and Weddings

Posted in Uncategorized on April 18, 2008 by hocuspoc

Quite the week here at Hocus Pocus. First of all, we all thought that the dreaded tax season would have the same slowing effect on our work here at Hocus Pocus. Such is not the case; perhaps the President’s Economic Stimulus Package is working its magic because we’ve had our best month ever so far! We’re running as fast as we can, and we thank you all for keeping us so busy!

This weekend, my sister’s daughter, Sara, my niece, will be getting married this Saturday. In between packing and shipping, my sister has been fielding calls from bands, caterers, florists, etc., all while still managing to get your packages shipped to you on time. Quite the multi-tasker. We encouraged here to take this Thursday and Friday off to make sure everything is letter perfect come Saturday. The festivities begin tomorrow evening at 5:30 PM, and I am sure everything will come off as smooth as silk. Congratulations, Sara!

Tomorrow morning, Max and I head to Kingsburg, a little town approximately 25 miles south of Fresno, to attend a classic car show advertised as the largest in Central California. Max is very excited to attend and drool over classic cars from the past. He just got his 1969 Nova back from the upholsterers, and I must say, this is one hot looking car! He is now saving his money for the final investment, which will be a new paint job for the car’s exterior. Once done, he’ll be able to enter his car in a car show and rival some of his competition. This is his real love in life and what he wants to do, and he shows real passion about it, so of course, I am encouraging him all the way. He is now just weeks away, believe it or not, from getting his driver’s license. Then watch out!

I’m really excited about a new product my friend, Chris Kenworthy, has just released: the Telethought Wallet! It has taken Chris over 2 years in the making, and when he first told me about it a couple of years ago, I couldn’t wait for its release. Well, now it’s here, and it is truly devious! When the finished product finally arrived here a couple of weeks ago and I had a chance to check it out, two words instantly came out of my mouth, which cannot be repeated here or in mixed company. If you want the ultimate peek wallet, this is a must-have. It comes in two different sizes, and you can check them out HERE and HERE!

Another item that has had quite its share of buzz on the boards is Matrix by Mickael Chatelain! Rather than describe it here, check it out along with the online video! You won’t be disappointed. As of right now, Hocus Pocus is the only magic shop in the United States with a supply of Matrix in stock, ready for immediate delivery.

As of this writing, we now have 6 Free Downloads for you to check out, thanks to Michael Boden and John Mendoza. As of two days ago, we put Michael Boden’s Unclassified Moves online, and he is really on fire! Sharing everything from coves and sleights to complete effects, and we can’t thank him enough for his contributions. He and Mike Giusti have been in talks, and look for much more to come from Michael soon.


Mark and Nani Wilson

Belated birthday greetings to my mentor of magic, Mark Wilson! Last Friday was Mark Wilson’s birthday. And guess what? Tomorrow is Nani Wilson’s birthday! What better gift to give magic’s most influential couple who have everything than a Happy Birthday wish? So, as a surprise, why not send your birthday greetings and wishes to Mark and Nani by sending them an email at naniwilson@sbcglobal.net? It will be a great belated birthday surprise for Mark and a total surprise for Nani. Happy birthday, Mark and Nani! Here’s to many more to come!

Until next time,

Paul

A Night To Remember

Posted in Uncategorized on April 11, 2008 by hocuspoc

Well, as promised, last weekend was better than even I could have imagined. Betty and I left for Los Angeles around noon on Saturday and arrived at the Beverly Hilton Hotel at 3:00 PM. We checked in and had a light lunch. Before you knew it, it was 6:00 PM, time to put on my tux, and Betty her evening gown and head downstairs. There were already several hundred magicians and celebrities in attendance walking the Red Carpet. After the meet & greet from 6-7 PM, there was a cocktail party hour, and it was amazing to see so many famous people in one place. Mark and Nani Wilson arrived close to 7:00 PM, and we all entered the ballroom and took our seats. Shortly after, the meal was served and then it was time for the awards banquet to begin. Opening the banquet were the Mums, a group of acrobats, jugglers, and mimes who circulated through the audience with their final destination: the stage. Lots of color, movement, and music started the evening off with a bang.


The Mums

Mark Nelson then introduced Mark Wilson who announced the first award of the evening which, believe it or not, was the Award of Merit. It was a great honor to receive this award, but it was an even greater honor to have it presented by Mark Wilson:


Mark Wilson


Accepting the award — something I’ll never forget

After the Award of Merit presentation, I took my seat, still hard for me to believe I was even there. As the evening progressed, Bob Barker stood up and did 15 minuted of ad-lib, which was great. A pro of his caliber do his thing at 80+ years-old; he’s still got it! He then introduced the MC of the evening: Mark Kornhauser, and then the various awards were handed out, including a Master’s Fellowship to Patrick Page, Performing Fellowship to both Penn & Teller and Dr. Sawa of Japan, a Creative Fellowship to Steve Dushek, long-deserved Literary Fellowship to William Kalush, a Special Fellowship to the Amazing Johnathan, and Lifetime Achievement Award to Al Cohen. And then, of course, there were the other awards, this time presented with special wand created by John Gaughan and $1000.00 cash prize. Close-Up Magician of the Year went to Paul Green, Parlor Magician of the Year went to Shoot Ogawa, Lecturer of the Year went to Martin Lewis, Stage Magician of the Year went to Dana Daniels, and Magician of the Year went to Derren Brown. We were also treated to the hilarious commentary by Jason Alexander throughout the evening, Bob Zabrecky, Matt Plendl as Mr. Dead, an act you MUST see if you get the chance, Rocco, FISM Gold Cup Award-Winner Rick Merrill, who absolutely killed, the great Patrick Page, and Eric Buss performing his now-famous Spring Snake Symphony.


Loni Anderson in attendance on the Red Carpet


John Gaughan and Gay Blackstone on the Red Carpet


Rocco in action


Matt Plendl AKA Mr. Dead


Mr. Dead and Bob Zabrecky


Amazing Johnathan, or is it?


The real Amazing Johnathan makes his appearance


Jason Alexander entertains the crowd throughout the evening


Jason Alexander and Milt Larsen yucking it up


Patrick Page and Steve Valentine


Neil Patrick Harris and Bruce Vilanch


Shoot Ogawa receiving his award


Max Maven presents the award to Dr. Sawa


Dr. Sawa


Diana Zimmerman and Bob Dorian


Tippi Hedron and Ron Wilson


Martin Lewis


Bob Barker


Dick Van Patton and Michael Finney


Mark Nelson and June Lockhart


Paul Daniels and Steve Valentine


Dana Daniels sans Luigi


David Krumholtz and Julie (Cat Woman) Newmar


Paul Green accepts his award


The after party with Mark Wilson, Michael Finney, Nani Wilson, and Michael Finney’s brother


Betty, myself, Mark and Nani


Standing with Shoot Ogawa, Mark and Nani

Special thanks to Pete Biro and Barry Sokolsky for sharing some of the photos above.

I must tell you that my life has been forever changed since the first day the Magic Land of Allakazam aired. Watching Mark and Nani Wilson on TV, reading about all the Academy of Magical Arts Awards Banquets as a kid in Genii magazine — not in my wildest dreams would I have ever believed I would have gotten this award and it be presented by Mark Wilson himself! Thanks, Mark and Nani, for all you’ve done, not only for me, but for all the others you’ve inspired and continue to inspire! Spending the evening with you was a memory I will cherish forever. Thanks to you for the kind emails and calls, and thanks for allowing me to share a little slice of heaven with you.

Until next time,

Paul

It’s Great To Be Back Again

Posted in Uncategorized on April 4, 2008 by hocuspoc

So I’m back and almost fully recovered. This is the first sinus infection I’ve had in a while, and trust me, it’s making up for lost time. After spending almost an entire day last Friday in the doctor’s office under heavy duty antibiotics, I’m about 90% well. Thanks to those of you who wrote get-well emails and off-the-cuff medical advice. Special thanks to Mike for taking over last week and sharing a side of him that most people didn’t know about… He appreciates all the nice emails and comments, and had no idea so many would find it of interest.

Got a nice note from Michael Grandinetti about his performance at Easter At The White House. Sounds like he had a great time and sent along this photo taken from the White House overlooking the south lawn towards the Washington Monument. According to Michael, there were over 22,000 people on the grounds for this event, and it was something he will never forget! Quite an accomplishment for this young and very talented magician.


A view from the White House

My son, Max, returned from his trip from France, and brought with him several hundred photos, much to my wife’s and my delight. He’s given us a narrative travel log as he shared each of the photos with us. He had a great time. Of course, as soon as he got home, the first thing on his agenda was washing his car and gearing it up for some new upholstery. He’s now almost completely restored the car with the exception of an outer paint job, and I must say, it does look pretty darned good! What I’m most proud of is that he’s done it all on his own without any financial support from his mother and me. Last night, he found a 1970 El Camino online that he wants us to look at this evening. Why do I have this feeling we’ll be adding yet another car to the Gross household? He loves cars as much as I love magic at his age, so who knows where this will take him? I’ll update you on the El Camino next week.

I’m very happy that we are able to re-release Mike Giusti’s Ring-A-Majig, one of our best-selling accessories for a borrowed ring routine! It has been unavailable for quite some time as the original manufacturer had to stop production on it. Luckily, Mike showed it to our own Tim Wisseman, creator of such effects as the Lie Detector TW3000, Remote Vision Color Cube, Remote Vision Die, and Mini Remote Vision Color Cube has made it even better and more durable than ever, and Mike has updated the instructions to comic book form with additional thoughts and extras! Have we got your attention yet? If so, click the image above to read more about the new and improved Ring-A-Majig!

Imagine my surprise when I got a phone call from Mark Wilson last Wednesday telling me that I was going to be given the Magic Castle Award of Merit! Quite an unexpected surprise, to say the least! More exciting is the fact that Mark told me that he has arranged to present me the award himself! So, tomorrow morning, Betty and I head to Los Angeles to attend the 40th Annual Academy of Magical Arts Awards Banquet at the Beverly Hilton Hotel! This is a black tie affair where movie stars and some of the world’s most famous magicians will attend. Quite the swanky affair, and I am very humbled, taken aback, and excited to be a part of this whole affair. Hope to update you will photos and daily details in next week’s blog.

Until next time,

Paul