Spellbinders, the International Festival of Magic, returns to Reno, Nevada, October 20 - 24, 2015, 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!
Not just the usual suspects.
All acts may be subject to change without notice.
(If Your Uncle Actually Had Mind-Blowing Skills.)
Lennart Green, master card mechanic, medical doctor and restorer of violins, is a man of innumerable talents and all of them involve his extraordinary hands. It is true that he was named World Champion of Magic at the Federation Internationale des Societes Magiques in 1991, the most prestigious competition of its kind in the world, but, that wasn’t actually the time he fooled them. In 1988 he first caught magicians’ attention when he competed at FISM and blew everyone’s minds. In fact, the judges were so gobsmacked by the inexplicable miracles he performed that they erroneously concluded he could only accomplish the astonishing things he did using gimmicked cards or stooges, and promptly disqualified him. An international ruckus promptly erupted in the world of magic. Three years later he returned and performed the same act, but, this time, he insisted that the Judges provide the deck and shuffle the cards themselves. Lennart fried them again and they apologetically awarded him the gold. When you’re that good, it’s hard to keep it a secret.
Bob Sheets excels at so many kinds of magic that it is difficult, at first blush, to categorize him. But, watch him working a crowd at the bar and there is no doubt that he is in his element. From the time he established himself at Marco’s Roman Lounge in the shadow of the Hotel Del Coronado through his tenure at the famed Tower Bar in Aspen straight through to founding the Brooke Farm Inn of Magic, Bob is the guy who has dedicated himself to being the life of the party—any party, (even if he has to throw it himself.) He is an irresistible force of nature. In the course of all his adventures Bob developed a unique set of skills that allow him to work in very unorthodox situations that would stymie the average magician. His colleagues speak in reverent tones of Bob’s ability to take absolute control of any bar crowd— effortlessly. His legendary Card Stab routine propelled him to First Place at the International Close-up Competition at London’s Palladium and he has never paused to look back. Who’s got that kind of time? In recent years he has gained notoriety for his astounding presentation of the classic street swindle, the Three Shell Game. Once you see him perform it (and explain it) you’ll never fall prey to a street swindler again (unless it’s Bob Sheets, in which case, you’ll be laughing so hard you’ll feel like you definitely got your money’s worth.)
Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, Shoot began studying magic at the age of 10, making pebbles from the river in his backyard appear and disappear. From these humble beginnings he went on to develop a signature style of magic that has garnered him acclaim on television and in 43 countries. He is a very disciplined artist who devoted himself to many years of rigorous magic training, until he felt he was ready for America (and America was ready for him,) and, when he felt he had developed his skills sufficiently, he took the plunge, moving to Los Angeles in 2003. His ability to charm an audience served him well since he spoke very little English at that point. But, that didn’t stop him from winning Close-up Magician of the Year from the Academy of Magical Arts that year, or from winning the title again in 2006. His handling of the Ninja Rings has been acclaimed “the world’s best close-up linking ring routine,” and in 2008 the Academy of Magical Arts agreed with that consensus when they awarded him Parlour Magician of the Year. He now speaks English like a native Californian, dude.
You may have seen him on CBS' "Good Morning" show or seen the trailer for the feature documentary about his life, "Dealt," to be released next year, but, we can confidently say that you have never seen anything like Richard Turner. Winner of this year’s Close-Up Magician of the Year from the Academy of Magical Arts and also holder of a fifth degree black belt in Wado-Kai karate, Richard Turner doesn’t do anything halfway. At the age of seven he became obsessed with the t.v. riverboat gambler “Maverick” and began a lifelong journey that continues to this day. Dai Vernon, one of the most revered Close-Up magicians in the world, (sometimes referred to as “The Professor,”) had this to say about Richard Turner-- "I doubt if anyone can equal him. He does things with cards that no one in the world can do-- no one." (Did we mention that Richard’s completely blind?)
This is one of those guys who is difficult to categorize. His magic is outstanding. He won the Gold Medal at the largest magic competition in North America, the International brotherhood of Magicians, as well as being named Magician of the Year and Comedy Magician of the Year by numerous organizations. One of the Grand Prix winners of FISM said, “Not only did he fool me, he fooled me twice AND it was entertaining, too!” He is a truly hysterically funny performer and he seems to accomplish that without the least bit of effort, almost as if he’s funny in spite of himself. But, Stephen Bargatze is much more. His personal story of overcoming a childhood accident that left him with a speech impediment touches audiences in a profound way and his hilarious antics transport them from sympathy to sidesplitting laughter in seconds. As an inspirational speaker he speaks to around 60,000 students a year. No one is immune to the charm of this Tennessean native.
This exquisite beauty took the male-dominated world of magic by storm when she became the very first woman to ever win the coveted Gold Medal from the International Brotherhood of Magicians, a prize they have awarded only a handful of times in the competition’s long history. See her perform for yourself and we think you’ll agree the Brotherhood made no mistake. Other, no less prestigious, awards Jade has received include France’s Mandrake Award and Female Magician of the Year from the International Magicians Society in Las Vegas. Jade carries on a long tradition in magic of bringing Eastern influences to her presentation, reflecting the beauty and delicacy of her cultural heritage (and she's fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin and Californian so you can go up and say "Hi!") She appeared most recently on “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” on the C/W channel and charmed the socks off all parties involved.
No other dove worker performing anywhere in the world today has received the acclaim that has been bestowed on James Dimmare. The Academy of Magical Arts has voted him Stage Magician of the Year-- twice. (That’s right. Twice. That’s all a magician is allowed to win. After two wins you’re ineligible. Who knows how many times he would have won otherwise?) He also won the prestigious Siegfried and Roy Golden Lion’s Head Award-- twice. (That’s right, Do you see a pattern developing here?) Magic societies the world over have showered him with adulation. From the moment this debonair bon vivant hits the stage, accompanied by the strains of Gershwin’s greatest music, every single move he makes is sheer perfection. And the birds! They keep coming and coming-- from the air, from a silk, from nowhere at all-- until you simply cannot keep count. Dressed in top hat and tails, resplendent in silk evening scarf and brandishing his elegant walking stick, Dimmare embodies every inch the classic picture that pops into your head when you think “magician.”
Kyle & Mistie Knight
Las Vegas illusionists, Kyle Knight and Mistie, have traveled to over 70 different countries performing their own unique style of magic. Kyle began performing magic to pay his way through college and has been recognized for his skill by the Society of American Magicians, the International brotherhood of Magicians and the Houdini Society. When he joined forces 12 years ago with Mistie, a Miss Las Vegas winner, their sum became greater than either of them alone. Together Kyle Knight & Mistie perform magic with a bold and modern style and a touch of irreverence, and allow their audience to get up close and involved in ways they’ve never seen before. The husband and wife duo have headlined in “World Stars of Magic” in Las Vegas, at the famed Magic Castle in Hollywood, and are regular performers in the Walt Disney Theatre on Disney Cruise Line. On national TV, the illusionists were the only challengers all season to win the grand prize on SyFy’s magic competition show “Wizard Wars”, and wowed the judges appearing on “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” on the CW network.
Although it is true that Christopher Hart has played a starring role in more than one big box-office movie hit, he isn’t stopped on the street by fans as often as you would expect. That’s because only part of him is a movie star-- his hand, to be exact. And it just may be the most famous appendage in show business. Christopher (or, to be more precise, his hand) played the role of Thing in both Addams Family movies because he has the most world’s most expressive (and talented) hands. You might say it was the role he was born to play. Just wait until you see what those hands can do! It’s like watching a ballet of fingers. And it’s not just our opinion. The Academy of Magical Arts voted him Stage Magician of the Year. Twice. (Yeah, that’s right-- twice.) His act is so unique that it’s impossible to imagine anyone performing it except him. The fact that his hands never actually speak is a big bonus for Christopher. He’s able to travel all over the world speaking the language of magic which transcends all barriers. He comes to Reno hot off a whirlwind tour of 28 cities in 30 days across mainland China and his hands aren’t even chapped.
This charming, albeit slightly weird, magician has managed to cram several lifetimes of experience into a very few years. He was the lead singer and songwriter for the alternative band, Possum Dixon, who released three albums for Interscope Records and toured extensively around the world. But, on tour in Baltimore, Zabrecky happened to stumble into a local magic shop and the path of his life was forever changed. He began to incorporate weird bits of magic into his artful pop performances and when the band broke up he took advantage of the change to pursue his love of magic. In no time at all Rob had established himself as a favorite performer at the Magic Castle, home of the Academy of Magical Arts and they voted him Stage Magician of the Year in 2011 and 2012. MAGIC magazine said about him, “Zabrecky’s magic could easily be the plot line of a Stephen King novel, if Stephen King wrote comedy.” His absurdist and deadpan humor have delighted audiences from Tokyo to New York City. You may also recognize him from television where he has appeared as everything from a creepy hotel owner to a slick funeral director. At long last, the Odd Man comes to the Biggest Little City.
Since he first burst forth upon the magic scene in the early 1900’s, this Emmy Award nominated performer has baffled audiences around the world, who keep asking, “Just how old is this guy?” From his early appearances with superstars like Ann-Margret, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Smokey Robinson to hundreds of television appearances (when it was only on radio) to his psychedelic smash hit, Wonderland, at Harrah’s Reno, he has always found himself surrounded by those who say, “No, seriously, how old is he?” This appearance marks a rare occasion to see him 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, and, who, in recent years, have risen to the pantheon of performers who can now refuse to perform unless they get paid. It has been said of Larry Wilson that he is the first post-modern deconstructionist magician. (However, it’s usually Larry who’s been saying it.)
The Where & When
Why? Because it's free, and it's magic.
Masters of Close-Up Magic - FREE!
Lennart Green / Bob Sheets / Shoot Ogawa / Richard Turner / Stephen Bargatze
Tuesday through Friday, October 20th through 23rd
These World Champions of Magic will be appearing twice a day, at 4 pm and 5 pm, 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!
- Spanish Springs Library (No Friday shows)
- Northwest Reno Library
- Sparks Library
- South Valleys Library
- North Valleys Library
Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts
The Gala Show - FREE!
Saturday October 24th
International stars of magic James Dimmare, Rob Zabrecky, Jade, Christopher Hart, Kyle & Mistie Knight, The Flying Cavettis, and Larry Wilson will appear at 2:00 pm and 7:30 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.
Feel free to make a donation here knowing that you are helping their mission to bring the arts and sciences to Northern Nevada. (Your donation may be tax deductible. Please consult your tax adviser or accountant.)
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.
©2014 The Education Renaissance of Nevada Initiative