Theater Review | Smoke And Mirrors: Ensemble puts lots of energy into new show
By Margaret Quamme
A new show, Smoke and Mirrors, doesn’t break much ground, but it’s a pleasing, high-energy example of what the troupe can do when working as an ensemble; the emphasis is on teamwork rather than individual efforts. It might be more profane and raucous than some of Shadowbox Live’s recent shows, but it’s also undeniably entertaining.
The theme is illusion, and the tone is set by magician Michael Kent, who opens both acts of the show with bits that nimbly shift from comedic to amazing.
Read more of the review here.
Smoke & Mirrors
I’ve got some exciting news! I’ve been working with Columbus’s Shadowbox Live – a long-running Sketch Comedy and Rock theatre – on their newest production. Smoke and Mirrors is a show themed on Magic and Deception. Starting in March, I’ll be a special guest in the show* as myself presenting some of my original concepts. I’ll also be in some scenes making surprise appearances.
Shadowbox has a long history in Columbus – going back to the late 80’s. In the 90’s, I used to frequent their old theatre on Spring St. when I was a teenager (they sucked at checking ID’s at the time), and I’m happy to see them back downtown in the new Brewery District location (next to World of Beers).
*I will be continuing my tour schedule during the Run of Smoke & Mirrors, so I will be only appearing on selected nights. Visit my tour schedule for a schedule of which nights I’ll be appearing!
That’s how many individual flights I took over the last couple weeks. From Baltimore MD, Chicago IL, Flagstaff AZ, Alpine TX, Lyndonville VT, Melbourne FL, to Bloomington & Mattoon IL with a few dates in Ohio sprinkled in, this has been a whirlwind tour so far. 21 total flights in just 12 days of traveling.
Despite the fact that I spend over 200 days a year on the road, I’ve been coping pretty well. On some days, I have extreme travel adversity – like last month when I had 4 cancelled flights, 3 delays and a closed airport and STILL made it to the show on time (barely). I felt like I was in a scene in one of my favorite movies, Planes, Trains & Automobiles. Here are some things I do to keep myself sane while traveling.
- Routines. I have strict routines that I follow when I travel. I could probably fill a book of tips and tricks that I use to make the airport and hotel more of an enjoyable and stress free experience. For instance – the first thing I do when I arrive in the hotel is unplug the alarm clock. It sucks for the housekeeper who has to plug it back in and set it again when I leave, but it keeps me from worrying about wrong times, wrong alarms, etc. My iphone is the sole time clock that I use for everything, because I know it’s always right. I never change the clocks on my computer/watch/etc. – I only use my phone for accurate time.
- TripIt. Tripit.com is a website for organizing your travel details. You simply forward the confirmation email and it sorts it out for you. I can access this from any web browser or via the app on my phone and get details about flights, hotels, rental cars and directions whenever I need them. I highly recommend it to anyone who travels a lot. It’s a very recent discovery for me. After a few months of using it, I have no idea how I ever went without it.
- Water & Vitamins. I drink one bottle of water for every flight. So if I have a connection somewhere, I’ve had two bottles of water by the time that I get to my destination. This is important when flying because the air that is cycled through the cabin is void of any moisture, which dries out your sinuses, leading to an increased chance of getting sinus infections and head colds. Keeping your nose and sinuses hydrated is huge. Also, I’m a big fan of B6, B12 and C supplements. I use the powder called “Emergen-C” that you can buy at just about any market. And wash your hands.
- Staying Connected. Some call it a burden, but I am constantly staying connected with friends, family and fans through social media as I’m traveling. It keeps my mind occupied and my brain going during down time and lessens the feeling of being away from home.
- Be friendly. At 5am, I don’t feel like being friendly to the TSA. I find them to be invasive and sometimes power hungry. But I think of my body as having a finite amount of energy for each day. Every worry, every complaint, every conflict, every time I have to figure something out or solve a problem – those all deplete my finite amount of energy. So I simply pick my battles. When the guy in front of me is taking a really long time to use the kiosk at the airport, or when the redneck in front of me in the TSA checkpoint line forgets that he has a Buck hunting knife and shotgun shells stowed away in his boot, I try to always remember to pick my battles. It’s my choice – It’s up to me to decide what I’m going to waste energy on and what I’m going to let breeze by. Using this philosophy, I’ve found my travel days are MUCH less stressful.
Like I said, I could probably write a book about traveling. These are just some of the tips that came to mind as I was writing this post? What are your travel tips? I’d love to hear them! Share your travel tip in the comments below!
I’m excited to be returning to perform at Wild Goose Creative THIS SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18 at 8pm. My last performance at the venue was at last year’s sold-out Columbus Comedy Festival.
Opening and hosting the show will be Columbus comedian, Anthony O’Connell. Ticket sales from the show will help support programming at WGC in 2012. Info here!
Saturday, February 18 at 8pm
Tickets $10 at the door
Suggested for audiences 18+
Sleight of Hand, Sharp of Wit
By Mark J. Lucas
“Magic is a tricky business. To most, there are two kinds of magicians: the best one they’ve ever seen . . . or absolutely terrible.
If a magician can get a laugh out of his audience, however, they’re given a pass for not making the Statue of Liberty cry tigers. For years, Hilliard’s own Michael Kent has grabbed the attention of college students all over the country with his hipper version of the traditionally kiddie/campy artform, and this year his talent has earned him a national nod with a nomination for Entertainer of the Year in Campus Activities Magazine.”
Read the rest of the article here.
The 2012 Winter/Spring Tour is off to a wintery start! We had to reschedule the first college campus of the year (see below) and almost had to reschedule a second one! Nonetheless, things are really clicking with the show. I sincerely hope you have the opportunity to get to one of the shows on the tour soon! See the below list of shows on the schedule to see if I’ll be in a city near you and keep checking back for updates!
2012 Winter/Spring Tour
January 12 – Chicago, IL – RESCHEDULED FOR FEB. 2
January 14 – Dubois, PA
January 19 – Adrian, MI
January 21 – Glassboro, NJ
January 26 – Cleveland, OH
January 31 – Baltimore, MD
February 2 – Chicago, IL
February 3 – Flagstaff, AZ
February 7 – Alpine, TX
February 9 – Lyndonville, VT
February 11 – Guest DJing – Powell, OH
February 15 – Melbourne, FL
February 16 – Normal, IL
February 18 – Columbus, OH
February 22 – Mattoon, IL
February 25-29 – NACA – Charlotte, NC
March 10 – Dayton, OH
March 16 – Bexley, OH
March 29-31 – NACA – St. Paul, MN
April 6 – Bennington, VT
April 13 – Ewing, NJ
April 21 – Hamilton, OH
April 28 – Manito, IL
For more info on any of the above dates, refer to my published tour schedule.
Also – remember that voting is still going on for 2012 Entertainer of the Year! The story was recently picked up by Columbus NBC4!
, Travels & Shows
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I’m very excited to announce that, thanks to your votes, I have been nominated for Campus Activities Magazine’s Entertainer of the Year Reader’s Choice Award!
This is my first time being nominated for this national award after having been nominated for “Newest Rising Star” and “Best Small Venue Artist” categories in 2009.
Now that I’ve been nominated, it’s time to vote for the Award! I need your votes! Voting is simple – just go to http://CampusActivitiesMagazine.com Don’t forget to vote and tell all of your friends to vote by using the social media links below (help spread the word)! As you can imagine, this award is kind of a big deal, so your help and support is GREATLY appreciated!
These “year-in-review” posts sometimes feel somewhat obligatory, but in this case, 2011 was an incredible year and as I look back, I’m overwhelmed with topics to write about.
The Kardashians will become irrelevant. Until one of them does something stupid that acts like catnip for humans and makes television gossip shows go apeshit crazy. The American Public will be thrown into an uproar and they will get government involved, who will use new National Defense Legislation to hold the Kardashians in an undisclosed location. This will launch the Kardashians into a new Reality (ever wonder why reality shows hire writers?) show called “The Kardashians Appeal to Congress.”
Apple will come out with a product that you never knew you needed. By next December, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
McDonalds will work with Paula Dean to introduce a new product called “McFatass.”
A Republican presidential candidate will say something stupid.
A group of people with Mayan ancestry will finally reveal the secret “Part 2” of the calendar they’ve been hiding.
Playboy will offer $50M to Betty White to pose nude. She will accept.
An asteroid will come so close to the Earth that TV News networks will actually be forced to report actual news. The Huffington Post will bump their previous lead-story about what Whoopie said yesterday on The View.
Someone will ask me If I can make them disappear.
You will receive a bad haircut.
Betty White’s Playboy spread will launch her into a career in pornography, shocking everyone who thought the first Golden Girl to do porn would be Rue McClanahan.
The Presidential race will end in chaos when Major News networks announce that the candidate with the most electoral votes was Exxon Mobil.
You will fall in love.
Here are some standout memories:
2011 was a record year for me as far as the college tour goes. So many great memories. I performed in more colleges than ever this year. While it was hard on my body and mind at times, I got through it with the help of friends, loved ones and amazing audiences.
Did some great TV with ABC6/FOX28 Columbus’s Johnny DiLoretto – some of my first experience with LIVE television. I learned that live TV can be a very difficult thing – Johnny handles it like a pro. When it goes well, it’s exhilarating!
I began my commercial acting career in 2011, and worked on commercials and industrials for Intel, Ohio Lottery, Kemba Financial and a few others!
In 2011, I offered an original creation as my first release to the magic community. repAIR is a Popped and Restored Balloon effect that has never been seen before in the history of magic. It was met with favorable reviews and has sold really well so far.
The Free Beer Tour* was an event that I put together with Corey Montie where I toured local bars and taught attendees bar bets that they could use to scam their friends out of free drinks.
In probably one of the most important things I’ve done in my career, I helped Hopeline, IMAlive.org and Post Secret raise money for Suicide Awareness through this PSA.
Predictions for 2012:
For me, I can already tell that 2012 has some exciting things coming. Two of them I can’t talk about quite yet, but soon! If you get on my mailing list by entering your email address above or clicking here, I guarantee you’ll hear about them! As always, I usually tweet about things as they happen! I hope everyone has had an amazing Holiday Season. Have a wonderful and fun-filled New Years Eve. Make sure you kiss your loved one and hold them tight. If you don’t have a loved one, grab the person next to you and smooch. The memory of the kiss will long outlast the bruise you’ll receive from his or her significant other.
Categories: Reviews & Press
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