NYC and the 109th Salute to Magic

I returned from NYC late last night, and had a whirlwind of a trip. I got to visit a city I love, catch up with lots of friends, and emcee and perform in the Society of American Magician’s 109th Salute to Magic show. It’s the longest running annual magic show in the US, and was an honor to be a part of it. We had an amazing line-up, and after working on mostly TV-related projects recently, it was refreshing to be back on a big stage.

I also got to see Basil Twist’s “Symphonie Fantastique,” which was incredibly thrilling. I first read a profile in the New Yorker about his insanely brilliant puppet work while I was in high school, and became obsessed. So to be able to see one of his signature shows was a dream come true. I got to tour the backstage afterward and even meet Basil. And I was a stammering fan girl for sure... Kind of embarrassing, but the whole thing was amazing.

The show is accompanied by Christopher O’Riley, whose broadcasts and music I listen to regularly, and being able to meet him and discuss his role in the show and his work, in general, was crazy. I spent quite a bit of time with him and some of the puppeteers, and picking their brains about performance art was awe-inspiring.

All in all, a phenomenal trip, but I’m happy to be back at home in LA with my bird (who’s very happy to see me [and vice-versa]) to film more videos, which will be up soon!

Vaudeville Past

While I don’t exactly come from a family of performers, I do have a bit of a performance linage. My mother was fourth in the nation in figure skating, which I literally JUST found out… Way to keep the cool stuff a secret, MOM! But anyway, her paternal grandparents were in Vaudeville, which was a live variety theater spectacular.

In the Roaring Twenties, they were on the Pantages circuit, one of the largest and most influential in North America. I always loved hearing their stories as told by family members while I was growing up.

My great-grandfather, Merrill, was the lead trombone player in the band, and my great-grandmother, Sylvia, was a dancer. Her most famous act was where she would do acrobatics on the back of a little person who rode a unicycle. Yeah. I know, right?

While I was in Criss’ Cirque du Soliel show, my grandfather passed away, and I inherited the Vaudeville photo albums. They were tattered and falling apart, and so when I was backstage after my act, I set about restoring them.

Here are some of my favorites:

Magic Jewels

Janie was the name of my great-grandmother, i.e. my mom’s mom’s mom, and she was quite the character. With a vibrant personality ripe from Texas, she would be adorned in fur and jewels even in the thick of summer. It was just her taste, and I admire her commitment!

When I started performing, my mother slowly began handing down some of Janie’s pieces to pair with my costumes (although her real jewels are in a safe). Displayed over antique magic books, here are the ones I like to make a habit of wearing: