Moving the Blog

After several years of blogging here at Reality Based Magic, hosted by WordPress, we were able to successfully integrate the blog into my personal website. You can now find the latest posts at www.jamesalan.ca/blog.

This blog should remain posted as an archive for the foreseeable future for those who have linked to earlier posts.

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Face2Face – Podcast Interview

I sat down recently to have a chat with David Peck, the host of the Face2Face Podcast. As far as I can tell, David is a man who never sleeps. In addition to putting out a prodigious number of podcast interviews (mine is number 222) he also teaches in the International Development Program at Humber College, practices magic and has a family.

David has been a guest on Magic Tonight a few times, so this was a chance to return the favour.

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Actually, I’ve appeared on Face2Face before along with the magician, skeptic and humorist Michael Close. This time, we talk about mathematics, magic and mystery, risk and about how to leverage small secrets, and why it’s not about how smart you are, but it’s about what you know.

Listen to the interview at DavidPeckLive.com or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

The Majestic Return of Will & Grace

Ten years after the series ended, the cast of Will & Grace returned to the screen to offer up their brilliant take on the US election. Looking back on the series a decade later with all of the progress that has been made for civil rights in North America, it seems a bit cliche. But it’s important to remember that at the time it was light years ahead of the curve.

Grand Spirits Getting Grander

Grand Spirits, the organization secretly masterminding my new show, Magic and Martini, is making a little piece of history up north of the city.

While we take organizations like the LCBO and The Beer Store for granted, we don’t realize  that this is not how the sale of spirituous beverages works just about every place else in the world. But with changing regulations, this is the first legal distillery to open in this region in over a century.

Read the full story at CanadianRestaurantNews.com

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No (fair) Dice

Persi Diaconis is an ex-magician. He left the world of professional magic to become a professor of statistics at Stanford. But those influences are still reflected in his work as many of the simple tools used in the exploration of statistics — coins, cards, dice — are also favourite tools of the magician.

So nothing specifically to do with magic, but if you wanted to know how fair your super-complicated D&D dice were.

Watch to the end to get the link to the hidden part 2!

Magic and Martini at SpiritHouse

We’ve just had the first very well attended show at SpiritHouse in Toronto. Thank you to everyone who came out to enjoy an evening of magic (and fought their way through all of the traffic from the Toronto International Film Festival.)

Photos by David Fulde

Magic and Martini continues through November in Toronto and Oakville. Readers of this blog can use the code secrets for a discount on the prices of tickets when purchasing online.

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Mahdi Gilbert – Fool Us

There are a few Canadians appearing on this season of Penn & Teller Fool Us. Mahdi Gilbert is perhaps the most remarkable among them because he performs magic despite being born without hands. As a result, all of the magic he performs is done with techniques he devised himself. Actually, all of the everything he does is based on techniques he devised himself, from things as simple as taking playing cards out of their box.

Being from Toronto, I’ve known Mahdi for several years and have watched as his magic has evolved over that time. It’s been a remarkable journey to observe and this brief national television appearance is, hopefully, just another step on the path.

So take a look and see if he manages to fool the great Penn & Teller:

Ironic Playing Cards

This weekend, at an excursion/party at a cottage in Buckhorn, Ontario (I had never heard of it either), I was asked if I would perform  for a bit and I agreed. Most cottages contain a deck of cards or three and I was handed this deck to perform with:

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The deep, deep irony of this is that Ernst & Young is where my parents met. So I did get a life that way.

Weird.

Last time on Magic Tonight

We’re up and running at our new location, just 400 feet from our old one, and we’re loving the additional space. I was joined by comedy magician Chris Mayhew who recently returned from a tour across China with a new show which is replete with Mayhem.

Magic Tonight runs weekly at The Studio in Toronto. Readers of this blog can use the code reality for a discount on the price of tickets and dinner when purchasing online.