Archive for March, 2010

A Magician Doesn’t Tell the Secret

Keep it a Secret! Well, that is a true saying for most magicians, but we do share magic tricks and ideas with each other.  I am privileged to be a part of several magic groups that encourage each other to be creative in the approach to magic.  I have several comedy magic friends who I can bounce ideas off of and they will help me sharpen and edit the comedy magic material.

One of my groups of peers is a international group that includes professional magicians from as far away as Bosnia, Columbia, Puerto Rico and England. Others in this group hail from NYC and s, Boston, Hollywood and Atlanta. They are the top in their fields and it is fun to run ideas by this group and make everyone’s magic better with this network.

Another group I enjoy hanging out with, is a bunch of Minnesota Magicians who gather to share stories, try tricks out and encourage each other to strive for excellence.

If you need a Minnesota Comedy Magician call me – If I can be of help I will recommend someone who will fit the needs of your group.

It’s a Magical Weekend!

Comedy Magic shows add so much to special events and this weekend I had the pleasure of bringing my magic show to a special Easter Egg Hunt at a huge church in New Hope, MN. This is my second time doing comedy and magic for the hunt for this church and there are many very sweet families here. I even had a live band back me up during the musical section of my show. They improvised and I enjoyed the real music.  We have now booked a return engagement for next year!

I have also done other special events here over the years at least 3 other times. I am thankful for the return engagements and the kindness of the great staff at this fun and family friendly church. If you need a fun, family friendly comedy magic show check out the fun at

Twin Cities Magic & Costume Co.

Jim Berg - Owner of T.C. Magic

One of the most amazing magic shops in the nation is Twin Cities Magic & Costume company in Downtown St. Paul. It is huge and well stocked. This magical emporium has everything for the beginner or professional magician. Jim Berg, Fred Baisch and the gang have been in the magic business for over 20 years and a few years ago moved to this location.

Thousands of amazing magic tricks line the shelves.

The shop carries a large selection of comedy magic props, close-up tricks and illusions. There is an excellent collection of magic books and DVDs. They also have a library of unique and rare books that is available for research.

This is also one of the largest costume shops in the Midwest featuring wigs, hats, make-up, masks and accessories.  There is a wide selection of theatrical lighting and special effects items such as fog machines and bubble makers.

The International Brotherhood of Magicians meet here each month as do several clown groups.

You must see it to believe it! Make a trip to downtown St. Paul and enjoy the marvelous Magic at Twin Cities Magic and Costume Company.

Where is Jim in this picture

Country Musician Greg Hager

Singer - Songwriter - Greg Hager and Magician - Norm Barnhart

At the North Dakota Winter Show I had the privilege of sharing the stage with Country Western Singer Songwriter Greg Hagar. Greg and his band played several excellent sets and was a hit. His original music touched me on a deep level. His songs are inspired by the hard working people of the Midwest.

There are many challenges in life and his music talks about overcoming struggles and looking on the bright side.

One song, “Paradise” is a sweet love song to his wife. It compares looking for happiness by traveling to sunny places to finding paradise at home. Another song, “A Century Too Late,” is also the name of his second album. It is a powerful salute to North Dakota and how he wished he was born here 100 years ago with Teddy Roosevelt and other heroes.

Greg had several songs that really make you thing and appreciate the good.  His song, “Shine” is a salute to the people who blazed the trail that he follows. He takes his hat off in tribute to Chris LaDoux and Kyle Evans and their classic Cowboy music.

Thank You Eagle Creek School!

Today I received a very nice note from G. Light at Eagle Creek School.  She was the coordinator of my appearance last Friday at this excellent school. She wrote, “Thank you, Thank you. The Eagle Creek students were so overwhelmed with delight with your show. Thank you.”  Well I thank you for inviting me to share my love of reading.

I love to do my best to bring my comedy and magic to special events and this group of students were celebrating a very special event. They had read for over 250,000 minutes during I Love to Read Month. They brought in a huge Olympic torch to start the presentation and they all had silver, bronze or gold bead necklaces to honor their reading efforts.

I autographed my books to the school and also donated 2 of  my DVD’s to their media center.  The magic of reading presentation that I do is a very fun filled magic show that encourages young readers.  I tie reading into every trick and talk about how reading helps in your hobbies, interests and jobs.  I talk about reading about history, science and sports. My passion is to get youngsters excited about reading, as I know it will help with every aspect of their lives.I enjoy getting kids excited about reading and at the Eagle Creek School I had the opportunity to salute the good reading of their 800 students! Congratulations!!!

For over 28 years I have motivated young readers at library and school programs. The Metropolitan Library System, (MELSA) has invited me to present programs for over 26 years.  You need to audition to get on the list of performers and you have to be consistent to be invited back over and over.

Mikael – Thanks for making me laugh!

Mikael Rudolph and his Amazing Rock

MIKAEL JONATHAN RUDOLPH, 51, of Minneapolis (native to Bainbridge Island,WA) died peacefully in his home on February 26th following a courageous
six-month battle with Therapy Related Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. Mikael was a beloved mime and vaudeville performer well-known to audiences at
renaissance and fringe festivals, churches and schools nationwide. He taught swing, salsa and ballroom dance in the Twin Cities and was a political activist.

Mikael studied with Marcel Marceau and was praised by this master of the art.  Mikael called himself a physical comedian, as the word “mime” went into disfavor.  His comedy moved beyond mime, and he was more of a Red Skelton styled pantomime, with the use of props and costumes. His hilarious characters were so different you hardly realized it was the same guy on stage.

Mikael made me laugh so many times over the years.  His amazing mime piece where he played 3 different characters in a baseball game was excellent. First he was the pitcher. He warmed up and then delivered a fast ball that sailed by the batter. With a spin of his baseball cap from front to back he immediately became the catcher and pulled the invisible yet seemingly steaming ball from his invisible glove. But I am sure that I could see the ball and glove as  the catcher mocked and tormented the batter!  He again played the batter preparing and then again he was instantly back to being the pitcher.  Mikael’s characters were so different as he expertly made the game come alive in my mind. You could hear the crowd roar and almost smell the peanuts. The batter missed the second pitch and the catcher mocked at the batter even more.  On the third pitch the catcher was ready for a strike out and silently teased the batter. The pitch was delivered with grace and style and this time the bat connected. We  laughed as we observed the reactions of the catcher and the pitcher to the ball heading out into the stands. It was hilarious and really captured the human spirit.  Mikael was a huge Twins fan and his love of baseball came out in this piece.

Another sweet piece that the crowds loved was when Mikael played a photographer and brought up members of the audience to play Dad, Mom and kids, finally a gentleman was brought up to play “Rover” the pet dog. Throughout the routine, Mikael milked laughs from the smallest things.  I must have seen this 20 times and each time it was different as he improvised around the structure.

My favorite comedy routine was Mikael’s work with “The Rock.”  He finds a large stone – (pictured above) and this rock starts to float in a mysterious way with a mind of it’s own.  This is pure magic!  The Rock moved and Mikael tried to put it on the ground but it carried him up and away instead. This was as real and amazing as any levitation in a magic show.  Finally he got this rock into a suitcase and tried to put the suitcase away… no more conflict with the rock begins as the suitcase starts to float and Mikael battles this challenge. He finally was able to get it to the ground and sit on it. but that was not the end, the suitcase became a bucking bronco and carried him off into the sunset.  Excellent comedy – excellently presented by a wonderful man.  Mikael Rudolph… I will miss you.

Mikael put on a silent comedy festival several years and invited me to present my Red Skelton/Charlie Chaplin silent piece.  He was always generous in his praise and it was fun to be on the team with him and his friends from around the country who would come in to perform at the festival.

I met Mikael around 28 years ago. He was performing at the Hamlin Library in St. Paul.  I came back stage after the show and introduced myself. I had performed on that stage many times and we connected as we talked about entertainment and life.  I soon began taking mime classes from him.  He was an excellent teacher.  I had no ambitions to be a mime, but I realized the advantage in a magic show that a bit of mime skill can bring.   If as a magician you imply that something is in your hand when the hand is really empty the skill of mime can add that extra proof.  He was one of my favorite performers in the Twin Cities and I sent him many shows over the years that I could not do.  He always gave them a great show.

He toured Europe several times with the EPIC Performing Arts Ministries. he also taught many of the people who traveled with the troupe. One piece I saw him do many years ago at a Church Sunday School convention was to the Kieth Green song – “The Prodigal Son.”  It was fabulous and touching as he played the various characters in the story.  I only saw him do it one other time, but both times it brought deep tears to my eyes.

The only time I performed at the Renaissance Festival was when Mikael brought the class out for a day and it was very fun.  It was hard to stay in character and not laugh as I watched him interact with the guests. He was so full of energy and moved with effortless grace. His stage shows at the Renaissance Festival were a riot and huge crowds would come to laugh and enjoy his shows.  He was named best new act his first year and received many awards over the years for his outstanding act.  He also taught ballroom dance for many years and competed as a ballroom dancer.

I will remember Mikael for his warmth and comedy. Thank you Mikael for making me laugh!

A Magical Weekend

This past weekend was a fun a busy one.  On Sunday I entertained at the Mermaid Event Center for two fund raisers.

One was presented by the Women of Tomorrow Organization as they raised money for Haiti Earthquake relief.  They called the benefit Bowling for Haiti and had a nice turnout and raised some money as they had fun with their families.  They had a nice silent auction and I was happy to see some good bids on the 2 magic DVD’s I made that teach for kids. I think they also had some interest in the magic set I donated. The Women of Tomorrow Organization is a group of dedicated women who want to impact their community as well as the world.

The other benefit was for Kendra B. who is dealing with Cancer. This very sweet young girl is experiencing cancer and her family and friends really are pulling together to support her.  If you would like to contribute to either of these groups please contact me and I will direct your check to the right people.

One of the main organizers of the Kendra event came up as I was leaving and told me how much fun the magic brought to the event. They had pizza, balloon twister, a DJ and some games and I was glad to contribute a bit of time to bring some smiles to the faces of the people there.

One lady and her two kids were really enjoying the magic and she said that her dad is a life member of the Magic Castle and that he is a person who helps organize events there. She said that my magic was as good as any they saw at the Magic Castle so that made me happy to hear. I just do my best and enjoy  bring a smile to people. I look forward to being of service to you and your guests. Please check.