Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Nathalie Hoop Diva of Magic Has Died


For an illusionist, a magician's assistant/dancer is the backbone of the performance. They are just as much part of the act as the magician, and honestly, maybe even a bit more important. A magicians assistant may not be out there doing fancy card manipulations, or sleight of hand routines, but they are none the less, doing magic with the way they utilize their bodies in the execution of large scale illusions. There is a dynamic difference between a good assistant and a great one. A good assistant will present their part of the illusion well, but will not add much to the routine other than being the person involved in the illusion. A great assistant on the other hand will stand out. They will make that routine unique. Their very presence can pull you in and arrest your attention on them. A great assistant can make an illusionist look like a super star!

I just heard the news today that Nathalie Padberg Hoop passed away. I felt like someone punched me when I heard the news. I never knew Nathalie. Never had the good fortune to meet her. But she was one of my favorite assistants in magic, she was a GREAT assistant! Her work with Hans Klok was phenomenal. She made every trick, every illusion look like a million dollars. I often thought when searching for my own assistants, that this young lady is what I'm looking for, she is the example of the perfect female assistant.

I might add, I dislike that term assistant. I think Hans Klok must have also hated it because he referred to his girls as the Divas of Magic. THAT is a more fitting term, especially for his dancers and assistants. They had their own personalities on stage, they were not carbon copies of each other, easily interchanged. I love when a performers personality shines through and it sure did with Nathalie.

Her intro into the world of magic began with Dutch Illusionist Hans Kazan. And then after being with him for a short time, she went to work with Hans Klok in 1999. In 2016 she retired from showbiz to work on her own business and to be a Mom. Though, apparently the larger story was she had been diagnosed with cervical cancer. In 2019 when Hans Klok came to Vegas with this big show, she appeared in the show on one special night, as I recall. 

She passed away this week from cancer at the age of 43. She leaves behind a son and daughter and husband. And she leaves behind many friends and fans from the magic community. RIP Nathalie.

The only thing I can add is, I HATE CANCER. I've lost uncles and aunts and my Mom to cancer. I hate this disease. 

Monday, November 2, 2020

HOUDINI Festival Scheduled for 2021

 A few years ago, I was invited to speak at the First Houdini Festival in Danville Virginia. It was a small event but a lot of fun. I did a lecture on escapes and also another lecture on Houdini. There are some unique things about the organizer of this event. Wayne Alan is a professional magician, but he is also a huge Houdini buff. I believe it was the early 1980s, Wayne duplicated Houdini's Upside Down Straightjacket Escape in front of Keith's Vaudeville Theatre in Washington. But that wasn't all. He also picked up some items from inside the historic theatre before they tore it down. 

Wayne has also been working on a Houdini book for years. He has some information that is very different from things I've heard in the past. I've been privy to a lot of the information and it's eye opening. The amazing thing, much of it comes directly from sources involved in the events of Houdini's life. 

Now fast forward to 2021. Wayne Alan owns the Historic North Theatre in Danville VA. He is planning on holding the next Houdini Festival in Spring of next year. We spoke together at length about the way to do it, and I think Wayne has a clever solution. The Festival will be both Virtual and In-person. Of course, the in person events will be socially distanced (if we still are dealing with Covid at that time).  Below is Wayne's press release. Watch for more updates in the coming weeks.

Houdini Festival Scheduled for 2021
World Champion Illusionist Wayne Alan has announced that “The Houdini Festival" will be held at The Historic North Theatre in Danville, Virginia, on April 8-10, 2021 (April 6 was the date that Houdini celebrated as his birthday.). The Historic North Theatre is a beautifully restored 1947 vaudeville house with 500 seats and a full balcony owned and operated by Wayne Alan. Due to the pandemic the number of in-person attendees are still unknown. Even under the best scenario, there will be a limit of only 313 in-person attendees. Send an email to Wayne@WayneAlanMagic.com to be put on our mailing list for updates (put Houdini Festival in subject line). A new website will be up in November. A refundable $50.00 deposit for in-person attendees will give you priority seating. Reservations can be made by calling 434-793-SHOW (7469) or emailing Wayne@WayneAlanMagic.com
The goal is to bring together Houdini aficionados, magic collectors, escape artists and magicians. The Friday night show will feature Magic Castle award winners and the Saturday night show will showcase FISM winners. Plus, dealer displays, a viewing of a Houdini movie on the big screen, Houdini memorabilia display and other surprises. Close-up shows will be held in the Balcony Mini-Theatre with beautifully raked seating to provide for an amazing viewing experience. The first 113 in-person registrants will watch the close-up live while the others watch on the big screen in the main theatre. Because of its uniqueness we are hoping to receive national publicity, not only in the magic press but also in the mainstream media.
In Wayne Alan’s research for his upcoming Houdini book, he discovered that Houdini had an affinity for the number 13. Based on numerous cost factors and Houdini’s lucky 13, the rates for the convention will be $169.00 (13x13) for online and $213.00 in person. Individual tickets for certain (non-secret revealing) sessions and shows will be available to the general public. Reservations can be made by calling 434-793-SHOW (7469) or emailing Wayne@WayneAlanMagic.com

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Ken Klosterman Has Died


Ken Klosterman Has Died.

This is a sad day. Ken Klosterman curator/owner of the Salon de Magie has passed on. He was an avid collector even later in life. He has some incredible pieces in his collection. But mostly, I have to say, Ken was a super nice guy. I remember visiting him and spending the day with him at the farm/complex. It was a most enjoyable visit. I think we left the museum some time in the early morning around 8am or 9am. So we'd been down there probably 12 hours, lol. It was awesome. Ken always seemed like a big kid to me. Just as excited for his latest piece no matter how big or small. He loved the history of magic. Sure going to miss him. RIP Ken Klosterman. More on Ken later.