Archive for January, 2010

Three Magic Books Presented to Magic Castle Library

Three of Norm’s Books are now in the Magic Castle Library in Hollywood, CA

Comic magician invited to place his books in Magic Castle Library Collectiion

In January, Magic Castle  Library curator Bill Goodwin invited me to place my comedy and magic books into their library. The World Famous Magic Castle has a huge Library with almost every magic book in print.   I was honored to be included with the thousands of books in this incredible library.  This is one of  the premier collections of magic books in the world.

I spent several hours at the Magic Castle Library with my friends, pouring over just a few of the thousands of books on the art of magic. It was interesting to look at a book by Edwin of Supreme Magic alongside British magician John Kimmons. John worked at Supreme Magic in England several year ago and actually took some of the photos in that book. John  is also a delightful ventriloquist who is very popular in England and across Europe and the U.S. John and I were both lecturers at a small magician’s Convention in Hollywood in January.  He is very funny and has a great mind for making the magic and comedy work.

For more information on my comedy and magic, or if you want to hire a magician MagicNorm.com.

Schools, libraries or individuals can purchase my books at Capstone Press, Amazon.com or click at this site: MagicNormBooks

The Excellent Ventriloquist and Magician -John Kimmons of England.

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St Paul Winter Carnival Parade – Veteran’s Flag Honor Guard

The St Paul Winter Carnival is in full swing and the big Parade is this weekend.  Veteran from all over Minnesota lead the parade with their Flag Honor Guard.  We salute our veterans and their contribution to making America free. After the parade they will meet for refreshments and a VFW in St. Paul and I have the pleasure of entertaining for this distinguished group. I have presented Comedy and Magic for many Veteran’s groups throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin and they are always a receptive and fun audience.

Over the years I have also presented my comedy magic show several times for our Veterans who live at the Minnesota Veteran’s Home.  I enjoy the interaction as the people volunteer to help with the comedy card tricks or the other magic tricks.  The staff are very kind and they they serve the Vets with care and concern.

Over the years I’ve entertained at Landmark Center nine years for the St Paul Winter Carnival.  Also I’ve appeared at the family tent with my kid’s magic show at Harriet Island for the Winter Carnival.

The Kinetic Entertainer Freddie Prez

Comedian and Entertainer Freddie Prez with Comic Magician Norm Barnhart backstage before the show at a convention in South Dakota

I recently had the opportunity to appear and do magic and comedy in a show that was M.C.ed by Freddie Prez.  This dynamic comedy entertainer is from California and is very popular across the nation. He often tours in the Midwest during the summers, but he came to the chilly North were we both worked at a  convention in Rapid City, South Dakota in Late 2009.  Just last week we both worked at another convention in Minneapolis. He is a great guy and I look forward to seeing him again. As we say in show business, “see you down the road.”

Fran Cosmo and Band are a Blast!

Awesome singer and guitarist Fran Cosmo. Fran Toured and performed with the Rock band Boston

I had a very fun evening acting as the M.C. last week at the Annual convention for the Wisconsin Fairs and Festivals in the Wisconsin Dells. I had the pleasure of introducing many great acts including Fran Cosmo – formerly with the very popular Band – Boston. These guys had it down tight. They captured the sound of this highly complicated music. Fran Cosmo and his band were great musicians and they enjoyed interacting with the audience.  I was thrilled to be just a few feet away from the side of the stage. It was also fun to hang out with some of the guys after the show. For fairs in the Wisconsin area they are handled by Miles Entertainment of Milwaukee.

I always loved the music of Tom Scholz and his original band – Boston. Back in college the first album came out and I wore out a copy of that first album.  It was amazing how Tom created so many awesome guitar riffs and organ combinations in his home studio.  My college friends and I always admired this creative mechanical engineer who could craft such excellent and uplifting music.  The music of Tom Schols is very innovative, complex and multilayered. He is like a modern Mozart. Many nights I’ve listened to my Boston CD’s in the van while driving between midnight and 3:00AM shows for High School lock ins.  It is a great mix of great rhythms, excellent lyrics and complicated guitar and keyboard work that really helps to pump me up on those long nights with middle of the night shows.  Tom and his band Boston are in the studio now and many of us are looking forward to the new music they are creating.

Hearing Fran and his group cover some of those great songs was a real joy. Catch them if you can when they appear near you.  Fran and his band performed before 30,000 fans at the Taste of Minnesota Event in 2009.

I had the opportunity to introduce other great acts that evening including an awesome acapela group called InPulse!  These four guys sound like a full band and play with no back up musicians. They cover music styles form classic rock, country, pop and R & B. These guys are booked exclusively by G. L. Berg Entertainment from St. Cloud, MN. Check the G.L.Berg website for more details on this excellent group.  I enjoyed talking with the guys before the show. One is from Australia and the another is from MN but born in Korea.  They were very cool guys who were dynamic on stage.

It was fun to introduce these great musicians and the challenge with doing M.C. for a long show with 7 acts. I needed to have many short bits and comedy routines to fill the time as the groups are plugging in.  I enjoy the improvisation and being flexible, adapting to the changing situations of a show like this.  I also was able to perform an eighteen minute set to help my agent get some bookings. Check out Brian Carlson Entertainment  carlsontalent.com. Or look at MagicNorm.com for more on my comedy for corporate banquets.

Comedy Magicians from Around the World Meet in Hollywood

In Hollywood I had the pleasure of jogging each morning with Yoseph Bozo, a very popular  entertainer from Croatia.  He entertains at schools, parties and

Comic Magicians meet in Hollywood from the right; Minnesota magician Norm Barnhart, Yoseph Bozo from Croatia, David Kaye from NYC and Mago from Mexico - We had an afternoon at the Hollywood Costume and Theatrical shop. Next door to the old Hollywood Magic Shop.

festivals in his home city as well as travels to perform at the resorts in the warmer, Mediterranean areas of Southern Croatia. Yoseph Bozo stays quite busy working in the schools to motivate kids to do their best in school as well as he teaches messages about safety along with his skillful magic.

Yoseph and I had many enjoyable discussions about comedy, magic and business during our meandering jogging  through the beautifully landscaped Hollywood backstreets. The city is so beautiful. The green grass, flowers, unusual shrubs and trees were a wonderful sight for this chilled Minnesotan. I feel very fortunate to have had several days to hang out with Joseph and the others at this magic gathering in Hollywood.

There is nothing more fun than wandering through a magic, costume and prop shop with several creative and funny minds. One gentleman on this trip was Marvin, a comedy writer for the Jay Leno show. More on Marvin and his creative enterprises later.

I presented my lecture on comedy and magic with many of my original magic tricks and inventions. It was well received and the magic blogger from About.com gave it a very nice review.

It is fun to learn from and share ideas with some of the top magicians from around the world.

When you need comedy magic in Minnesota or across the mid west please check me out at MagicNorm.com

Hollywood’s Famous Magic Castle

My recent trip to Hollywood to hang out with some of the best magicians from around the world was a very fun and educational experience. Our gathering was held right next to the renowned Magic Castle at the Magic Castle Hotel. The Magic Castle is a wonderful place where magicians from around the world gather to entertain each other as well as guests who include Hollywood’s  famous and not so. The castle is filled with trap doors, secret hallways and a 5 bars and many areas to eat.

The walls are filled with beautiful and historic posters and memorabilia from magic’s stars. Edgar Bergan’s “Charlie McCarthy” was on display from the movie they made about the circus. You can also see the pool table that was used for many years in the live act as well as in one of the silent W.C.Fields Movies. One day we ate a noon meal in a small room with a table for 13. This is the room that features a cool Houdini seance two nights  a week. The walls of the room were covered with photographs and portraits of Houdini in beautiful frames.  One wall had a straitjacket that Houdini escaped from while hanging upside down from a tall building. In the corner was a large milk can that was filled with water and Houdini plunged in a heavy lid put in place, and then locked with many padlocks. The Great Houdini was able to escape from this dangerous situation. I was thankful for the opportunity to sit next to that historic artifact from show business. The food at the Magic Castle was excellent.

Our meetings included a luncheon with Max Maven the world traveling mentalist. He has worked the top comedy clubs and corporate events across the nation. His stories and insights were amazing.

Mind Reader - Mentalist Max Maven & Comic Magician Norm Barnhart in Hollywood

Max Maven has been the booking director of the Magic Castle for many years.  Many magicians from our team made appearances on the Magic Castle stages over the weekend.

The Magic Castle is a wonderful museum of magical memorabilia.  If you would like to visit this historic, amazing and exclusive place, it is possible to get in by being a guest of a member.

Magic and comedy will make your next event memorable. For a professional comedy magician in Minneapolis, check MagicNorm.com. I do clean comedy and fun corporate magic show for holiday parties and banquets.

Haiti Needs Help

You know all about the huge disaster in Haiti, so I won’t go into details on the tremendous need.  If you are looking for a great place to help. The Red Cross and Samaritan’s Purse are efficient and excellent in their work.

Another little known group that is right now on the ground in Haiti and have been there for years working is, Faith in Action International FaithInActionInt.org

I met Tom Braak the founder of this small group about 10 years ago while I was in Haiti. He has lived there for many years and his main focus is helping residents with agricultural issues.  He assists them is starting their own greenhouses for starting fruit trees as well as regular trees.  They also get crops started this way.  Years ago the hills were de-foreseted by leaders who were – well, lets say not aware of the consequences.  The result was that when the next huge seasonal rains fell, the topsoil washed away.  Wells went dry and a few years ago Tom and the team figured out that by planting trees just uphill from the place where wells used to be the roots of the trees would help break up the ground in some way and the result was that in a couple years the wells came back.

You can learn more at the website. They say that “Our present focus is on helping families living in the mountains surrounding Haiti’s Artibonite Valley. By working with local farmers, Faith in Action International helps the people organize themselves to identify, prioritize, and solve local problems. We also provide solutions others have successfully used elsewhere, encouraging the people to test the ideas to see if they might be adapted to work locally.”

In all cases, it is the intent of Faith in Action to ensure that solutions to the problems are sustainable.

They do amazing work. So if you can spare a bit to help, please consider Tom and the people living in Haiti.

I spent 10 days there and saw Tom at work. He was incredible in his kindness and very creative in problem solving. His goal was to not do it for the people but to encourage them to work as teams and discover solutions for themselves. They would test the ideas and then go with the best solutions.  Once he left a village the people were able to solve future problems using their own skills and the gifts of the people in the community.

The old saying is don’t give a man a fish, teach him how to fish. Tom’s work goes beyond “giving someone a fish” and is also beyond teaching someone how to fish, it is giving them the skills to teach themselves how to fish or solve future problems and challenges as a team.

My other memories of Haiti include doing magic shows at the children’s hospital and at the Mother Teresa Orphanage.  My wife spent time with the kids there too. The Sisters are so busy that they don’t have much time to just hold the little babies.  Several babies were struggling with AIDS and they enjoyed the volunteers who came in and held them for a while in the rocking chairs.  My wife spent most of here time in the rocking chair, but she also helped the very busy sisters with diaper changing and other duties.  I found a place to be of service in a small way by playing ball with the older kids in the yard.   We also did quite a few magic shows for the children and families at other places.

Haiti has the highest rate of poverty in the western hemisphere. The people are very sweet and kind. It is a land with much potential and yet it struggles greatly. This is a very difficult time for people who are surrounded by difficulty. Please help in any way. If you can take some time, look into the great work in Haiti that Tom and the communities are doing.


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