The Third AnnualSpellbinders, the International Festival of Magic returns to Reno, Nevada, October 14, 15 & 16, with unbelievable, mind-boggling feats of magic taking place all over town, from the very biggest stage illusions to intimate close-up miracles, and everything in between. And it’s all free!

The Line-Up

Not just the usual suspects.

All acts may be subject to change without notice.

Brian Gillis World’s Best Close-Up Magician
Victor & Diamond The Soul of Magic
Jon Armstrong Close-up Master of Whimsy

Brian Gillis

Now if this guy is the best, what are we supposed to call all those other magicians who are performing in Spellbinders this year? Fans, that’s what. After being nominated repeatedly by the Academy of Magical Arts in Hollywood, CA, as Magician of The Year, Brian was finally named “World’s Best Close-Up Magician” by the esteemed World Magic Awards on television and they didn’t make this pronouncement lightly. Other luminaries of show biz feel the same way about him. Johnny Depp proclaimed Brian “the best I’ve ever seen,” and legendary King of Late Night, Johnny Carson, said, “Brian Gillis is my very favorite magician.” Once you see him perform you’ll understand what all the fuss is about and why he has won so many awards in the world of magic. (Does he sound familiar? He was the voice of Subway sandwich commercials for years.)

Victor & Diamond

This dynamic duo have been circling the globe for years performing their distinctive style of magic, and as is so often the case, they’ve developed a look and style and feel for magic that is immediately identifiable as their own signature style. They are favorites at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, CA, the mecca for magicians, as well as casinos, theaters and cruise ships around the world. They have appeared on “Good Morning America” and CNN’s “Show Biz Today.” In Japan they were named “Best Act for T.V.” by NHK network, and the Pacific Coast Association of Magicians awarded them Gold medals for Stage and Showmanship. They have also been Gold Medal Finalists for the International Brotherhood of Magicians and they received the Shanghai International Festival Award in China, which just goes to show that great magicians can transcend all language and cultural barriers in any corner of the world. Victor & Diamond are truly International Stars of Magic!

Jon Armstrong

When he appeared recently on “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” on the CW network Jon charmed the socks off all parties involved. In fact, it was Penn Jillette himself who pinpointed Jon’s extraordinary appeal. Penn described it as “whimsical” and that’s precisely what makes Jon Armstrong so special.There isn’t anything Jon can’t do with a deck of cards. But, what’s made him famous are his friends. Or, to be more specific, one friend in particular-- a Tiny Plunger which appears to be just as capable of performing impossible feats of prestidigitation as Jon is. In numerous television performances, or at the World Famous Magic Castle in Hollywood, CA, Jon’s unique gift is his ability to draw you into a world of his own creation, a world where anything is possible and the idea that inanimate objects may possess extraordinary skills seems perfectly acceptable. He is genuinely just as delighted by what occurs as his audiences are.
He has also appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” and “The Tonight Show,” FOX-TV’s “Masters of Illusion” and even ABC’s “Bachelorette.” (You’ll have to ask him about that one. He may not tell. But, the Tiny Plunger will.)

Jonathan Goodwin Death Defying Feats of Death Defiance
Bruce Gold The Urbane Sophisticate of Comedy Magic
David & Dania Masters of the Quick Change

Jonathan Goodwin

It’s difficult to categorize this cheeky Brit because he does so many different kinds of things-- all of them exceedingly dangerous. He makes his Broadway debut this November in the smash hit production, “The Illusionists,” as the one and only DAREDEVIL. Chained up underwater, set on fire, buried alive, or having a live scorpion sealed inside his mouth, it’s all in a day’s work for Jonathan Goodwin. There is no stunt too crazy, too life-threatening or too ill-advised for him to attempt. That’s why the BBC gave him his own show, Dangerman: The Incredible Mr. Goodwin, and when it became a runaway success on American television no one was more surprised than Jonathan himself. He couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. After all, hanging by his heels from a rapidly ascending helicopter is just another day at the office for him-- an incredibly dangerous, pulse-pounding, wet your pants, hazardous to your health kind of office. Come see him tempt fate as he lays his life on the line for your enjoyment. (Seriously, what’s wrong with this guy?) BONUS CRAZINESS: Watch for Jonathan to do something totally deranged out on the streets of Reno to officially kick off the start of Spellbinders.

Bruce Gold

You may recognize Bruce immediately from his award-winning commercial for the “Got Milk?” campaign that featured him as a hapless magician who’s set upon by octogenarians. He was cast because he IS a magician and (more importantly) he’s able to laugh at himself. His smooth charm allows him to get away with tricks that are so demented no one else would ever attempt them. (There’s a reason Bruce is the only guy around who will try to read the mind of an audience member with his own patented Psychic Toaster.) His work both in front of the camera, as well as behind the scenes, has brought him together with the biggest names in entertainment, including Oprah, Lance Burton and the legendary Orson Welles, and taken Bruce around the world many, many times as he performs live for more than 50,000 people every year. More recently, you may have seen him on “Penn & Teller: Fool Us,” and “Masters of Illusion.”

David & Dania

We’re only going to say this once-- do not look away for even a second during David & Dania’s performance . Don’t blink, don’t sneeze, don’t rub your eyes-- or you’ll miss their lightning fast transformations that absolutely defy explanation. What they do is the closest thing you can get to a CGI video effect in real life. It is truly a mind-boggling thing to behold. And it ought to be. They’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on their original creations and then invested months and months of painstaking rehearsal to perfect it.
They’ve performed for kings and queens, for presidents and politicians, and they’ve appeared on television scores of times from “America’s Got Talent” to Oprah Winfrey to Ellen DeGeneres. The reaction is always the same-- these famous celebrities are simply left speechless by David & Dania’s performance because they’ve never seen anything like it.
That’s why Katy Perry reached out to them to help her perform a slew of fast costume changes during her recent tour. David & Dania were thrilled to work with her for months, teaching her some of their innermost secrets of Quick Change. Most recently, they appeared on the CW’s “Masters of Illusion” and Oprah had her crew follow them around for a week to include on her popular OWN network show, “Where Are They Now?”

Tom Frank Industrial Strength Magic
Andrew Goldenhersh An Offbeat Gold Medal Winner
Larry Wilson Master of Magical Madness

Tom Frank

Tom is the kind of guy who likes to sink his teeth into something and refuses to let go until he has wrung every single drop of entertainment out of it. He is a master of Close-Up Magic as well as Platform Magic, and has honed his considerable skills at “audience management” in the toughest crucible a performer can ever endure-- street performing, or busking. For 10 years he was a beloved fixture at Universal Studio’s CityWalk where he could always be found blowing the minds of disbelievers. Tom is recognized for his near obsessive focus on one of magic’s oldest and most revered routines-- the Cups and Balls. He has mastered every conceivable nuance of this classic, and never passes up an opportunity to learn more about it or meet an obscure performer who can show him something about the Cups and Balls that he may not know. In fact, Tom’s unhealthy fixation led to him designing and creating his own line of Cups and Balls that he felt were truly the very finest in the world. The Phoenix Cups and Balls that he produces are so exceptional, and recognized by magicians across the world as an example of the finest craftsmanship, that many of the sets are purchased by collectors who have no intention of ever using them for performance. They just buy them and put them on display in their glass cabinet. But, given the slightest encouragement Tom will bring his own set of Cups and Balls out and do things with them that you never imagined possible, all the while regaling you with tales of the history and origins of one of magic’s classics.

Andrew Goldenhersh

This unusual magician has the distinction of being the only performer ever nominated as both “Close-Up Magician of the Year” and “Parlour Magician of the Year” by the Academy of Magical Arts for twelve consecutive years. (Don’t feel bad-- he won “Parlour Magician of the Year” twice; it’s just quite remarkable to be nominated in both competing categories so many times.) Although he is born and bred in the US of A, he is extremely popular in Japan and spends a significant amount of his time there, in fact becoming fluent in Japanese. As you watch Andrew’s unique style you begin to see the influence of the culture from the East-- in his movements, in his pacing, even in his storytelling structure of his routines and the way they unfold as delicately as petals falling from a cherry tree. This East Meets West kind of mash-up guarantees that the magic he does is beautiful and absolutely mystifying. Long after he finishes his performance, the magic will resonate with you in a persistent way. And that’s what he’s aiming for.

Larry Wilson

What can we say about Larry Wilson that hasn’t already been said about the Zika virus? He seems to be everywhere, he pops up when you least expect it and nobody knows how to get rid of him. That turns out to be a stroke of luck for Northern Nevada. Since founding the nonprofit Education Renaissance of Nevada Initiative five years ago his relentless commitment to bringing arts and education to our community has launched a transformation that affects everyone in the area.
As legend has it, Larry came to Reno to produce and star in the psychedelic tour de farce, “Wonderland,” at Harrah’s Reno. He did not intend to stay here. But, he and his family fell in love with the place-- the people, the town, the cheap parking-- and decided to stay. (There is no truth to the rumor that he got stuck in the Spaghetti Bowl and just gave up trying to leave.) Spellbinders is the first yearly event the nonprofit has produced and they have a number of exciting new events waiting in the wings. But, you’ll have to wait because Larry desperately needs a nap.
Once again, this Third Annual Spellbinders marks a rare occasion to see Larry performing with his legendary assistants, The Flying Cavettis, with whom he has been nominated three times as Stage Magician of the Year by the Academy of Magical Arts. Once again, the Flying Cavettis will not be performing under their own names (as dictated by the terms of the Witness Relocation program) but, they have agreed to sharing a dressing room with Larry, as long as they get their own bathroom. Well, la-di-da!

The Where & When

Why? Because it's free, and it's magic.

Libraries

Masters of Close-Up Magic - FREE!
Tom Frank / Brian Gillis / Andrew Goldenhersh / Jon Armstrong

These World Champions of Magic will be appearing at the Washoe County libraries listed below. Each magician will rotate each day to a new library so you can see them all. Seating is limited and first come, first served, so come early!

Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts

The Gala Show - FREE!
Saturday October 15th

International stars of magic, Victor & Diamond, Jonathan Goodwin, David & Dania, Bruce Gold, The Flying Cavettis, and Larry Wilson will appear at 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm. Tickets are available for free at a Washoe County Library near you. Just ask for them (in a whisper.)

Support The Arts!

Spellbinders is brought to you by ERNI (Education Renaissance of Nevada Initiative), a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

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The Sponsors

These are the people who make the magic happen.

Spellbinders is made possible, in part, by the generous support of all of our sponsors. Please show them your appreciation by supporting them in turn. Together we make Nevada shine.

©2016 The Education Renaissance of Nevada Initiative