The Eighth AnnualSpellbinders International Festival of Magic returns to Reno, Nevada, November 18th & 19th, with unbelievable, mind-boggling feats of magic taking place all over Northern Nevada, 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.
Peter Samelson insists that he doesn’t do magic; he only helps people to see it. He is an illusionist/entertainer/philosopher, blending simplicity and sophistication as he provokes thought and inspires wonder. He can frequently be found performing in New York City at the longest running off-Broadway magic show in history, Monday Night Magic. (He is also one of the producers and founder of the show.) It’s no surprise that Broadway is his bailiwick. Peter has a theater degree from Stamford, and being “a theater guy” has contributed significantly to his distinct point of view about magic. He recently won a Merlin Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the New York Times christened Peter “the soft-spoken conceptualist of sorcery” so it is not surprising that he has distinguished himself not only as a magician, but as an artist. He has performed atop the Great Wall of China, for Mexican peasants and Grand Prix drivers, Princess Stephanie of Monaco, the jet-set of Paris and the fishermen mending their nets on the beaches of Cartegena. He is the author of one of the seminal works on Theatrical Close Up Magic and he demonstrated those skills to good advantage when he appeared on “Penn & Teller: Fool Us.” Peter also designs for TV, film and theater. He created magic for Sam Mendes productions at BAM and the Old Vic (London) and recently for two Broadway shows, Leap of Faith and Harvey. He has also created and starred in three critically acclaimed Off-Broadway shows; The Magician, PaperWork and Radnevsky’s Real Magic.
Many people will tell you that magic is the frat house of entertainment– it’s a bunch of rowdy boys who won’t let girls in. Sometimes it takes a woman who will not be denied to shake things up a bit. That’s exactly what Suzanne did in 2010 when she became the only woman to win the coveted Close Up Magician of the Year award from the Academy of Magical Arts in Hollywood, California. Once you’ve seen her flawless, captivating, story-telling/sorcery for yourself it doesn’t seem that hard to believe that she broke this glass ceiling in magic. But, in 2010 it was difficult for some magicians to imagine a woman could compete at this level. But, Suzanne’s been weaving her spell for more than 30 years across the MidWest and she knew precisely what she had hidden up her sleeve. She wasn’t always a magician. She started out as a computer programmer (which, if you think about it, is a kind of magic, too) but, after taking a class in Close Up magic she quickly discovered she had a gift for performing. She’s not the only one. Besides the A.M.A. she’s made quite an impression on some of the best magicians in the world, not the least of which were Penn & Teller when she appeared on their t.v. show, “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” and did exactly that with her signature routine, “A Mother’s Love.” (Yes, she fooled them. She fooled them both so badly she left them shaking their heads in disbelief.) She comes to us from Minneapolis/St. Paul so don’t be surprised if she describes the weather in Reno as “balmy.”
Michael Trixx has been featured on NBC’s America’s Got Talent and has won many magic awards including South Carolina and Florida State Championship of stage magic. He has amazed audiences across the US , The UK and Mexico. Due to his past (and present) passion for Rock N’ Roll, the amazing effects you will witness are backed with many of Trixx’ favorite tunes and his high energy. Trixx combines his two passions, Rock N’ Roll and Magic to give an unforgettable performance. Live doves and parakeets appearing and vanishing from thin air, levitations, and confetti blizzards all make for a rockin’ good time. Michael’s unique style will keep you on the edge of you seat and possibly prevent you from blinking. This show consists of many classic and modern magic effects including the appearance and vanishing of many live birds, levitations, productions, vanishes and confetti blizzard from literally nowhere. He is an entertainment fixture of the famous Florida Keys where he performs year round and where he was first voted Magician of the Year. The Rockin’ Magic of Michael Trixx is a high energy, must-see show!
As many long time fans of SPELLBINDERS know, there is an “Olympics of Magic” held every three years in a different city in Europe, Asia or America. It is the Federation Internationale Societe des Magie, or, as it is commonly known, FISM. It’s not open to the public; it’s exclusively for magicians as they compete amongst themselves to determine who is the greatest in the world. The level of stress surrounding these competitions is off the charts. In 1997 something happened that would change the face of magic. A young woman, Juliana Chen, became the very first woman in FISM’s 50 year history to win the Gold Medal and the first person of Chinese heritage to do so. She began her performing career as a ballet dancer at China’s Arts Academy and then joined the Guangzhou Acrobatic Troupe where she flourished until a career-ending injury altered her life path forever. Determined to continue performing, she sought out some artistic form of expression that wouldn’t place undue stress on her knee. She found that expression in magic and devoted herself to becoming the best with the same commitment she brought to ballet and acrobatics. Typically, she pursued the most difficult and technically demanding branch of magic– Manipulation. Her skill and ability with playing cards is second to none and her ground-breaking Gold Medal win at FISM was proof of that. She then went on to win Gold Medals at the International Brotherhood of Magicians, Spain’s Congreso Nacional de Magic, and Germany’s Magic Hands, as well as being named Best Magician in China.
This Jersey Boy has done pretty good for the son of Italian immigrants who came to Paterson, New Jersey, in search of the American Dream. The legendary master magician, Slydini, took Rocco under his wing and tutored the young novice, and it definitely shows in the precision and deliberate pace Rocco establishes in every performance. The defining moment in his career came when he picked up a copy of Bobo’s Modern Coin Magic and discovered some of the lost arts of pure manipulation. Rocco developed this mastery into a style that has become his signature throughout the world. In 1986 Rocco won the coveted Golden Lion’s Award at the Las Vegas Desert Seminar, but that was just the beginning. Rocco became the first American to ever win gold medals twice at the prestigious Federation Internationale des Societes Magiques, competing in 1994 and then again in 2006. That launched the never-ending tour that has become Rocco’s life, taking him to every corner of the world, most recently to China where he captured the hearts of audiences in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. Once you’ve seen him you’ll understand why.
Keep checking back here because we’re adding new spectacular performers every day!
Dan Sperry is hailed as one of the most popular and in demand illusionists of this generation. Combining his unique and edgy illusions with his unhinged, shockingly eccentric sense of humor and audience interaction have made his performances a truly unique experience that has been dubbed by the Chicago Sun Times “The hottest act since David Blaine or Criss Angel.” When he appeared on Broadway in the record breaking run of the phenomenal “The Illusionists” one reviewer captured it all when they wrote “Sperry is totally icky, yet, totally awesome at the same time.” He’s known as the “Anti-Conjuror” because he goes against every stereotype that comes to mind when you think “magician.” Dan has toured worldwide with “The Illusionists” for the past five years and appeared on numerous television shows like “America’s Got Talent,” “Masters of Illusion,” “Penn & Teller: Fool US,” “Cake Wars,” “The Today Show” and MTV. His viral videos have been enjoyed by millions of people. It has been said that Dan Sperry presents magic for people who love magic, but, loved by people who HATE magic.
You might say this guy was born to be a magician. Lorenzo’s father was one of the Hall of Fame Disney Imagineers responsible for the magic taking place all over the park. It’s only natural that Lorenzo should jump into magic as a member of the Academy of Magical Arts Teen Program and, in no time at all, he was traveling all over the world performing incredible sleight of hand and delighting audiences everywhere. He has won two Gold Medals from the Society of American Magicians in separate years (America’s oldest magic association founded by Harry Houdin in 1902.) Lorenzo toured the globe aboard the most luxurious ships of Princess, Celebrity, Crystal, Seabourne and Norwegian for cruise lines for over 20 years. You may also recognize him from his numerous appearances on “Masters of Illusion,” “Comedy Express,” and the legendary Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon where Lorenzo frequently appeared as his alter-ego, Brad Hoover, the suckiest act in magic. He currently holds the distinction of serving on the Board of Directors of the Magic Castle in Hollywood, California.
What can be said about Larry Wilson that has not already been said about cheese? Like the eponymous milk product, Larry improves with age. Much like a delightful Parmesan Reggiano he is nutty and can be found both fresh and mature. (He has been known to have a sharp bite.) And, after a grilling he produces a result that is acclaimed by one and all (unless lactose intolerant.) He can be enjoyed at almost any time of day, with or without accouterments. Larry’s performance, like a fine Pecorino, is smooth and pleasing, and audiences are universally fondue of him.
The world of magic and ombromania has always fascinated Hans DAVIS, nicknamed by the Americans “The Shadow Master”.
As a child, Hans DAVIS was already intrigued by the world of prestidigitation. He attends his first magic show at school, when he is only 6 years old. He saved every penny in his precious piggy bank so that he could later buy a box of magic apparatus.
Hans devoted himself to the mastery of manipulation, the most difficult branch of magic to master. At the age of 23 he wins his first two Gold Medals at magic competitions in Belgium and France with a manipulation number that he had been perfecting for 3 years.
Little did he know what was in store for him. While performing at the European Festival of Magic, Hans is amazed by the performance of Prasanna Rao, a Hindu artist who is a leader in a much less widespread discipline: Ombromania.
A new passion is born within him and Hans devotes himself to this Art which has fallen into obscurity, hoping one day to equal the perfect technique of his mentor. Hans was looking for other shadow figures so as not to do what others do, to be sure to find his own style and to try to have his own personal shadow figures for the most part. Subsequently during a French television program, he discovered another ombromane master by the name of Bablu Mallick, who was completely different from Prasanna Rao and all those who existed in the world.
At the age of 26, Hans makes an audacious move performing pure hand shadows in competition and wins the Grand Prix des Arts Annexes at the Magic Congress in Brussels as well as the 1st Prize of France, thus propelling him on the international scene in countries such as Italy, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and England.
After this European success, in 1995 he participated in one of the greatest Magic Festivals in New York: “The Tannen Magic Jubilee” and thus began a career in the United States, performing in Hollywood at the Magic Castle, the home of the Academy of Magical Arts, Universal City Walk through the “Wizardz Dinner Theater” at Universal Studios in Los Angeles and “Magicopolis” in Santa Monica. His triumphs carry him to Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing, Harbin, and beyond.
To this day, Hans DAVIS travels the planet thanks to his passion for his Art because over the course of his travels, he has also built up a unique collection in Europe of nearly 600 objects, lithographs, posters, books, paintings, imagery, unusual objects with motifs of shadows made with the hands that he introduces to an audience of all ages and origins during exhibitions – shows.
All acts may be subject to change without notice.
The Where & When
Why? Because it's free, and it's magic.
These World Champions of Magic will be appearing at the following libraries in SIX different counties on Friday and Saturday. PLEASE NOTE: Showtimes are different at each library. Be sure to arrive early so you can get the best FREE seat.
You missed out!
Masters of Close-Up Magic - FREE!
Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts
The Gala Show - FREE!
Support The Arts!
Spellbinders is brought to you by 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 is tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.) Learn more at nevadashines.org
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.
Subscribe to our mailing list!
©2022 The Education Renaissance of Nevada Initiative