Archive for September, 2009

Back & Rarin’ to Go

Posted in Uncategorized on September 25, 2009 by hocuspoc

So I’m back and rarin’ to go after a short vacation last week. Betty and I left last Wednesday morning and headed north to Saratoga, California. Betty bought me tickets a couple of weeks ago as a surprise for my birthday to see James Taylor. We arrived late afternoon in Saratoga, a small but quaint town. The small streets were lined with antique stores and other unique shops. We did a bit of shopping and before you know it, it was time for dinner. We ate streetside at a small Italian cafe called Bella Saratoga. It was a wonderful dinner, and we enjoyed people watching. Dinner was over and it was up the hill to the Mountain Winery, where the concert was to be held in the amphitheater. If you’ve never been to this place, what an incredible find it really is! Nestled in the Saratoga mountains with a view that is spectacular, it was the perfect setting for a wonderful concert.


The view from the top of the hill

Winery Building Front

A view of the Mountain Winery


James Taylor

The concert began at 7:30, and for two hours, we enjoyed all the songs that brought me back to my youth as well as new ones. Once the concert was finished, we got in the car and headed to Lafayette, California, about an hour’s drive away. We arrived about midnight, checked into our hotel, and got a good night’s sleep. The next morning, we met up with our son, Cole, who attends college in Moraga, sister city to Lafayette. He had some exciting news for us: he was offered a job with the accounting firm he interned with for the Summer! We were more than excited and extremely proud of him. We then took another short drive up to Walnut Creek, did a little shopping, and went to lunch with Cole and his girlfriend, Amanda. We spent the day visiting and then Cole told us about a new restaurant in Lafayette that he knew we would enjoy. He was right. What better way to celebrate his new job.


Dinner with Cole and Amanda at the Artisan restaurant in Lafayette

After dinner, Cole gave me my late birthday present: a new cement gnome for my garden. After doing so, he told me about a brand new place that he had found in South San Francisco called A. Silvestri Co. and decided to take a trip there on Friday to show us. Now, all regular readers of this blog know that my backyard garden is my “thing.” I spend my weekends and free time working out there. When Cole took me to the web site to show me some of the pictures, I was like a kid waiting for Christmas time again. Friday morning, Cole met us at the hotel and a short 25-minute drive later, we were in South San Francisco standing in the parking lot of A. Silvestri Co. This place is amazing and the size of the showroom is the size of an airplane hanger!


Cole and I in front of the showroom


One view from the parking lot


Inside just one corner of the showroom


Birdbaths, fountains, and more


Cole and I loading our purchases onto the forklift

This place was absolutely amazing. Thousands of statuary, fountains, birdbaths, pots, etc. It would take hours to see everything there, and you may not be able to do it in that amount of time! Believe it or not, everything seen above is actually manufactured by this company in a separate facility across the street. They pour, mold, and finish all the products they sell. After loading up the car, it was time to head home. It was great to take the time off and recharge my batteries.

The first day of Fall officially started Tuesday, although it would be hard to tell here with the triple-digit heat. Next week promises to be cooler, and I hope the weatherman’s right. Speaking of Fall, it’s time to start thinking of those holiday shows. I know what you’re thinking: how could it already be time for the holidays? This year’s gone by faster than ever.


Before I go this week, I want to tease you a little about an upcoming event to be held here at Hocus Pocus. It’s called The Big Event, and it will be a 1-day, one-of-a-kind experience. We’re finalizing the details and finishing touches now, and within a few days, I’ll be ready to make the announcement. I’m very excited about this event and hope you will be as well. If you live in the area or are within driving distance to Hocus Pocus, reserve Saturday, November 7th on your calendars. If you’d like a little more advanced information, feel free to call me at 800-407-4040 or 559-266-5150.

Until next time,


An Afternoon of History and Great Memories

Posted in Uncategorized on September 15, 2009 by hocuspoc

So last Friday there was no blog as we were busy preparing for our Blackstone event. We set up chairs and tables and a large viewing screen. So due to our hectic schedule, I wasn’t able to write the weekly blog. I’m writing early this week as I am leaving tomorrow for a short vacation and returning next Monday. The Blackstone event Saturday was fantastic with over 120 people in attendance. At 12:00 I introduced Gay Blackstone to the audience and for the next 2.5 hours, she shared stories, excerpts, anecdotes along with a history of the Blackstone family, from Harry Sr. to Harry Jr. and what she has been doing on her own. Some of the highlights was a slide show presentation featuring many photos that have not been seen before. Also, a video presentation of Harry Jr. performing his classic Vanishing Birdcage, Buzz Saw Illusion, and Floating Light Bulb. After a brief intermission, Gay took questions from the audience for about 45 minutes and then it was time to wrap it up. There was something in this event for everyone, including a table of memorabilia, books, DVDs, etc. for sale, and I was even able to talk Gay into selling me Harry Jr’s Casadega Cabinet, which is now proudly displayed along with Harry Jr’s tuxedo and other Blackstone memorabilia.


Gay and Steve Dick setting up for the event


I couldn’t believe I was this close to Harry Jr’s Casadega Cabinet


Final touches on the memorabilia table before showtime


Gay signing autographs and greeting guests


A packed house as the lecture begins



Danielle Lamb posing with Harry Jr’s tuxedo


Danielle Lamb is quite the accomplished magician herself and one of my favorites


Members of the SAM 112 posing with Gay Blackstone


And the deal was made


Gay and I finalizing the deal on the Casadega Cabinet


It’s all mine. I can’t believe it!


Back of the Casadega Cabinet. Signed, sealed and delivered!

I can’t stress how important I feel it is to learn about the history of our craft. It’s not always about what the latest trick is. After all, it’s really about those who paved the way and brought the art to where it is today. All in all, this event was a great afternoon filled with history, magic, and great memories of two of magic’s greatest performers. I received many compliments over the weekend from those who attended, saying what a great time they had. For me personally, seeing all the live footage again and talking about Harry Blackstone Jr., it was as if he never left us. If you wish to see some of these moments captured on DVD, Gay was kind enough to offer her Blackstone Magical Moments DVD at a considerable discounted price just for Hocus Pocus customers. We have a limited supply of this DVD and when it’s sold out, there will be no more. Click the DVD image below to get the details:


I’ll be leaving this afternoon and heading north to Saratoga, California where Betty and I will be seeing James Taylor in concert tomorrow evening. This is a concert I’ve always wanted to attend, and Betty surprised me with tickets for my birthday this year. After the concert, we’ll head over to visit my son, Cole, in Moraga, California and have dinner, and then we’ll be heading home on Friday. I’ll be back to work on Monday.

Until next time,


Blackstone is Here!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 11, 2009 by hocuspoc


It’s a busy day today as we get ready and set up for the Blackstone event for tomorrow. I’ll be back with pictures to post on the blog early next week.

Until then,


Let’s Try Something New

Posted in Uncategorized on September 3, 2009 by hocuspoc

This weekend, we celebrate the Labor Day holiday. In fact, I’m leaving in a few short hours to start my holiday early. Betty and I will head up to the coast to beat the heat and enjoy the final days of Summer.

Mike has had a heyday with our new Flip HD camera. It started at MAGIC Live and he’s so enamored by it, every time I turn around, he’s filming something new for the blog or web site. So this week, we thought we’d try something new. So, for the very first time, I’ve created a short video blog (or vlog for short) below. Check it out and let us know if you like this new feature; we’re thinking about doing a vlog once every month or so. I look forward to your comments and thoughts on this new feature.

In the meantime, have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend and I’ll be back next week.

Until next time,