Countless times have I been asked, if I wanted to make it to Las Vegas. It is one of those stereotypes that people have in mind about magic and considering how many magic shows one can see there, it is understandable why. My answer has always been that I could imagine performing there occasionally or even for some months, but that I wouldn't want to run a headline show for many reasons. If and how far I have changed my mind after seeing it all live and how I perceived the mental magic shows currently playing, I want to tell you today.
It all started with a visit to the Magic Castle in Hollywood on the first day of our trip. This institution of magic, founded in 1963, can be called the heart of magic in America, if not worldwide. It is an honour and somewhat of an accolade for every magician to appear on one of the three stages of the Magic Castle. Hearing and reading about it over the last 20 years, I imagined it way bigger than it actually is, but this is exactly what makes is charming and allows for intimate magical experiences. It is on the other hand remarkable that it is open nearly every day of the year and still very well visited. My impression there and also in Las Vegas was that the magic community as well as the acceptance of magic in general are still growing and so I hope and wish that a long and even more prosperous future lies ahead of it.
Experiencing in Las Vegas the contrast to the intimacy of the Magic Castle in Los Angeles was quite striking. But even there, in the city of lights and billboards, I was surprised how much smaller than expected everything was. While the city itself was way bigger than imagined, the showrooms were less impressive and much smaller than it even looks on the seat map. Again, this is due to the fact that they are playing almost every day of the week.
Together, Anca and I visited both mental magic shows currently running in Las Vegas, and while both, Frederic da Silva and Gerry McCambridge were different, they performed classics of mental magic in their own polished and entertaining way. To be honest, we had expected way more original and inspiring effects and we've missed the truly magical moments, moments of awe and silence which we seek to create in our own theatre shows. But this may not be what Las Vegas show visitors would want to see. To understand the mindset and atmosphere, I can give you one example.
At the end of Frederic da Silva's show "Paranormal", he received standing ovations. The whole show had been extremely fast and powerful up to the very last moment. Every trick was perfectly timed to the ever ongoing, perfectly chosen or composed music and Frederic managed to keep the energy level constantly high. I would call it "disco metalism". At the end, Frederic triggers the well deserved applause of the audience. They stand up, shout, scream and show their appreciation for the show. Then, after 30 seconds, the room lights turn on, the spectators suddenly turn around and flee the showroom. Some of them in order to be the first at the following meet & greet with the star of the show, others to rush to the next show somewhere else in Las Vegas. A few moments later the showroom is empty and the whole experience feels like the most delicious fast food everrand I mean this in a good way. I am sure that both performers could perform also in a more subtle presentational style but I guess they adapted to what Las Vegas visitors want to see and they do it with brilliance and great experience. The shows were excellent in their way and I would recommend everyone to go there to see them. Both performers took the time to meet with us afterwards and they have our greatest respect for not only their talents and entertainment skills, but their hard work over the years. They surely deserve the place where they are!
Nevertheless I have a problem with the expression "first entertaining, second amazing". Fast effects, loud music and jokes are for sure entertaining, but isn't a true miracle that occurs slowly and in silence also entertaining? Isn't the miracle of the impossible what spectators also want to see from a magician? Otherwise one could simply go to a concert or a stand-up comedy.
Time will tell if the artistic, theatrical approach of our show, that was designed for theaters, will also appeal to audiences like those in Las Vegas or if we could only show our competition act as fast and furious as it gets. Either way, we realized how "big" our show "Anca & Lucca - The Mind-Reading Revolution" is. What we are showing in Vienna and soon in other theaters around the world, wouldn't even fit on the mentioned much smaller magic stages in Las Vegas. Thankfully we don't have to fill the theaters every day like our colleagues have to, hats off!
At the end of our trip we were invited to the 100th edition of "Wonderground", a once-a-month variety show created by Jeff McBride, one of the most influential magicians and magic teachers not only with his truly magical "Magic & Mystery school" in Las Vegas, but also over the Internet in the world, who has managed to keep performing magic for the love for it and not for the money. We consider this an incredible achievement in such an environment and it was touching how a superstar like Criss Angel thanked him in front of all other magicians for his great influence since his earliest career.
We were very surprised to meet half of the strip's headline shows performer like Mike Hammer, Mac King or Criss Angel, gathering with many other famous magicians, and even more delighted to perform our magic for them at an exclusive after-party. We feel that magic is still growing in this crazy city and that there may be a niche for our theater-show one day, who knows. We received the first invitation to perform ourselves and we are looking forward to do so. At this point we want to thank the magic community in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for welcoming us and treating us so nicely. We are looking forward to seeing you again soon!