Home and Garden Show Magic

Jeff Evans draws a big crowd at the Lewis County Home and Garden Show.  Photo credit:  Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce

Jeff Evans draws a big crowd at the Lewis County Home and Garden Show. Photo credit: Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce

The Lewis County Home and Garden Show celebrated it’s 50th anniversary this year!  This is my 5th consecutive year performing for the event, but while talking with vendors I met Rick who says he first participated in 1971.  Impressive!

This was the Show’s first year in a new location, the brand-new Northwest Sports Hub in Centralia.  This state-of-the-art facility hosts multiple indoor basketball courts, soccer fields, and baseball fields.  It’s huge – the Home and Garden Show exhibitors took up only half the space.  On Saturday a portion of the indoor turf field was transformed into a playground with inflatable games and rides.

The “speaker” area featured presenters like Cisco Morris with gardening tips and ideas, the Home Depot “Kids Club” you build-it workshop, my magic show, and more.  The entire event is superbly produced by the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce.  I’ve been a member of the Chamber since 2000.

Multitasking:  spinning a plate on a mouthstick, juggling two balls in one hand, spinning a ball on my other finger, while spinning a ring on one leg

Multitasking: spinning a plate on a mouthstick, juggling two balls in one hand, spinning a ball on my other finger, while spinning a ring on one leg

Be the first to find out about my public magic shows in your area:  be a fan at www.facebook.com/jeffevansmagic.  Yes, I’m also available for private parties and corporate events in western Washington and beyond.  Call me, Jeff Evans, toll-free 877-412-5064 or send e-mail to jeff[at]amazementproductions.com to learn more.

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Seattle Street Magic

Magician Rick Anderson performs close-up magic for the SCAA attendees in downtown Seattle

Magician Rick Anderson performs close-up magic for the SCAA attendees in downtown Seattle

When you hear the words “street magic” you may conjure up an image in your mind of David Blaine or Criss Angel approaching some unsuspecting people on a street corner and blowing their minds.  Normally this is an unrealistic scenario, because a magician with that much skill normally has a better gig than roaming around downtown mind-freaking people.

Conference attendees enjoy free food, music, & entertainment on a sunny Seattle evening

Conference attendees enjoy free food, music, & entertainment on a sunny Seattle evening

But, that’s pretty much what my friend, magician Rick Anderson, and I did for the Specialty Coffee Association of America‘s Block Party in downtown Seattle.  The City of Seattle closed down Melrose Avenue between Pike and Pine Streets.  Nearby restaurants set up food tents along one entire side of the street and offered free food to all SCAA attendees with a name badge.  There was also a huge beer garden area, a live band, and, of course, coffee.

Seattle magician Jeff Evans shows guests from Costa Rica how we roast coffee beans in the Pacific Northwest

Seattle magician Jeff Evans shows guests from Costa Rica how we roast coffee beans in the Pacific Northwest

The flagship Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting House is located at the corner of Pike and Melrose.  Conference attendees could visit and see Howard Shultz’s pride and joy in person.  It is described as a “one-of-a kind coffee shrine in our hometown that captures the past, present and future of Starbucks.”  The Roastery is where Starbucks Reserve coffees worldwide are roasted and packaged.

Starbuck's Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room features one-of-a-kind coffee

Starbuck’s Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room features one-of-a-kind coffee

You don’t need to host 2,000 delegates from around the world to have magic for your event!  To learn more, call Jeff Evans in Olympia at (360) 412-5064 or toll-free (877) 412-5064 or send e-mail to jeff[at]amazementproductions.com today.

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Portland Umbrella Festival

Rhys Thomas is one of my all-time favorite performers, so it was a treat getting to see one of his new routines as he emceed the Festival

Rhys Thomas is one of my all-time favorite performers, so it was a treat getting to see one of his new routines as he emceed the Festival

This was the 4th year for the Umbrella Festival in Portland.  One of the co-creators of the festival, David Lichtenstein, is a super nice guy and trick roper/comedian/juggler who lives in Portland.  We worked the Canyon County Fair together a couple of years ago and he thought I’d be a good fit for his Festival.  So, last fall he called and put me on the bill for the matinee and evening show on the final evening of the Festival.

"Leapin' Louie" Lichtenstein owned the crowd with his hilarious - and highly skilled - whip cracking accompanied by the Smut City Jelly Roll Society

“Leapin’ Louie” Lichtenstein owned the crowd with his hilarious – and highly skilled – whip cracking accompanied by the Smut City Jelly Roll Society

The venue for the Thursday through Sunday shows was the Alberta Rose Theater in Portland.  It was the perfect size for this style of variety show; small enough that everyone can see and enjoy the performances, yet large enough (200-something) that there is high energy feeding back to the performers.  Nice lighting and acoustics made it a pleasure whether you were on stage or in the audience.

Artistry in motion with juggler Steven Ragatz

Artistry in motion with juggler Steven Ragatz

Umbrella Festival producers David and his friend, Noah Mickens, are not only excellent performers in their own right, but are also great at booking other talent.  Somehow they finagled some truly great variety performing artists into appearing on the bill, and that resulted in two fantastic shows I was able to be part of.  (And those were just Sunday; there were shows Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, too, all with different performers!)

Audiences were overly generous and appreciative both programs.  I don’t do many shows where people have paid good money out of their own pocket to see entertainment, and it truly makes a difference.

When I see a really outstanding variety performance, sometimes I have a bit of the opposite reaction you might expect:  it makes me a little sad.  It makes me sad because I know I’ll never be that good.  But it also makes me happy because I’m thankful I have a career that gives me total freedom of creativity.  It’s inspiring to hang out in the green room and chat with people who have devoted their life to their passion and succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

It’s hard to pick a favorite because there were so many different styles of performing.  But I will:  Nanda rocks.  Each one of these guys is supremely talented at juggling, dance, choreography, martial arts, acro, etc.  (Usually in a team there is one person who excels at one special skill.  At the finale when all four execute simultaneous backflips and end in their ninja warrior poses, it’s apparent that all four of these dudes are “the man.”

However, it is their crazy sense of comedy and the originality that they bring to their creations that makes Nanda my Best of Show pick.  Just when you assume you know what they’re about to do next, WHAM – new music kicks in and you need to change your perspective to keep up.

Nanda's calculated chaos of comedy, high-energy kung-faux fighting, and irreverent pop-culture parodies hit the target

Nanda’s calculated chaos of comedy, high-energy kung-faux fighting, and irreverent pop-culture parodies hit the target

Nanda doesn’t have a lot of videos on Youtube, so you can’t really “see” their act online.  And I think that’s a good thing.  Although based in Washington and Oregon, they don’t do a lot of public shows or touring.  When you have the opportunity, pay for a ticket and see them perform.  I laughed my head off while being amazed and impressed the whole time, something that doesn’t happen very often.

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Festival of Illusions

The small coastal town of Lincoln City, Oregon is known for it’s beaches, sand, kites, and touristy downtown with lots of small neat shops.  It is also the unlikely location for one of the few week-long magic festivals in the world:  the Festival of Illusions.

Lincoln City Cultural Center signThis year’s performers included Joe Black, Henrik Bothe, Steve Hamilton, Jeff Evans, and Louie Foxx.  The week is held during spring break, so many families are vacationing in the area.  (Lincoln City is home to the Chinook Winds Casino, a golf course, Devil’s Lake, and lots of recreational activities.)  A two hour “Magic Class” was held each morning hosted by “Cha-Cha the Clown” (Gina Wollrabe).

Ably emceeing and acting as “coordinator of fun” for all of the shows and activities was Laura Green “the Juggling Queen”.  After the Friday morning magic workshop, the kids had an opportunity to perform on stage.  I wasn’t able to stay for that, but know that kids had magic, juggling, clown, and circus-arts skits planned.

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Cub Scout Magic

"Blue and Gold" magician Jeff Evans

“Blue and Gold” magician Jeff Evans

Cub scouts and boy scouts love magic.  Who doesn’t want to learn secrets, entertain their friends, and be the life of the party?  The month of February is the anniversary of scouting, and the Blue and Gold banquet is the party!  It brings families together for an evening of recognition and celebration.  The Arrow of Light ceremony is frequently part of this event and marks the “graduation” of a cub scout into the ranks of boy scouts.

Arrow of Light ceremony for Cub Scout Pack 205 of Olympia

Arrow of Light ceremony for Cub Scout Pack 205 of Olympia

Parents are there for the occasion, and sometimes grandparents, community leaders, or older scouts who have been part of a scouting event during the year.  There may be songs, skits (mercifully short), and awards.  And each time I’ve been to a blue and gold banquet they’ve also had a magician.  (I know, what a coincidence!)  Anyway, this year I’m doing three of these, and I always have a blast.

Caution:  scouts are an enthusiastic bunch and can get a little carried away.  To keep and hold their attention, you have to bring your A game.  Personally, I love these high-energy shows!

Cub Scout Blue and GoldBlue and Gold magic show at South Bay Elementary in Olympia

Cub Scout Blue and Gold magic show at South Bay Elementary in Olympia

 

Learn more about my magic shows for cub scouts and boy scouts in western Washington online or call me, Jeff Evans, in Olympia at 360-412-5064 or send e-mail to jeff[at]amazementproductions.com.

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Illusion Factory

Tim Flynn emcees the Illusion Factory magic show

Tim Flynn emcees the Illusion Factory magic show

About five+ years ago a Seattle magician named Tony Comito began producing a public show at Egan’s Ballard Jam House.  It was successful and, over the years, featured most of the working magicians in the area.  Tony moved south to warmer climates, and magician Tim Flynn took over around 2013-ish.  I performed at the Jam House and it was, in fact, jammed with people!  It was  a relatively small space and seated about forty guests.  However, it became more work to fill the space with enthusiastic audiences so Tim decided to tinker with the formula.

Illusion Factory magicians Tim Flynn, Darrell Fisher, and Jeff Evans

Illusion Factory magicians Tim Flynn, Darrell Fisher, and Jeff Evans

Flash forward to the present:  The Illusion Factory is the brain child of magicians Andrew Jensen, Jay Boiselle and Tim Flynn.  Andrew Jensen has been quietly perfecting his magic skills over the past few years and wanted to be part of a larger show and see more magic out in the local community. Jay Boiselle is the owner of Seattle Juggling & Magic Shop and has had a long time interest in magic and seeing magic grow as an art form.  Tim Flynn books the talent and acts as emcee for each month’s show.

Close-up miracles with Steve Dobson

Close-up miracles with Steve Dobson

In addition to two featured stage performers, several top close-up magicians perform prior to the show.  Steve Dobson is the “resident” master of close-up magic, and if you have the opportunity to watch him, he will fool you.  It’s a rare treat for me to be completely taken in by magic, and Steve does it time after time.  I bet there were five close-up magicians working tables that night, so if you attend you’re pretty much guaranteed to receive a personal performance just a few feet away.  (Done right, this is always my favorite style of magic to experience!)

As I took the stage that evening, I realized something special:  everyone in the room had paid money, driven across town, and made room in their schedule to enjoy a magic show.  That only happens a few times each year.  Needless to say, a good time was had by all!

 

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Portland Convention Magician

Gensco/American Standard Dealer Meeting

HVAC dealers, installers, and service pros at the American Standard Dealer Meeting at the Portland Hilton

Gensco has creative and fun dealer meetings.  Last year their theme was a “Tailgate Party” at the Tulalip Casino in Marysville, WA.  Everyone – no, really, everyone – dressed up representing their favorite sports team:  the Seattle Seahawks!  I performed as a rabid Hawks fan complete with face paint and green & blue hair.  It was impressive to see so many Hawks jerseys and the excitement as the Seahawks marched towards what would be their Super Bowl victory.

 

Judy with Gensco takes home the Cup!

Judy with Gensco takes home the Cup!

This year Gensco they invited me to their meeting at the Portland Hilton Hotel with the theme, “Do you feel the need… for variable speed?”  The newest American Standard heating and air conditioning heat pumps now feature variable speed for quieter and more efficient operation.  I performed strolling magic during the welcome reception in the tradeshow area and then entertained on stage after dinner.

Fitting with their “need for speed” theme, the following morning their keynote speaker is a group called Afterburner.  The are Top Gun fighter pilots who discuss how to work as a team to create and execute mission plans as it applies to business.

The view from my "cubicle" at work :-)

The view from my “cubicle” at work :-)

Looking for great entertainment for your annual meeting or convention?  Located in Olympia, magician Jeff Evans performs from Seattle to Portland and beyond helping make corporate events fun and unforgettable.  Learn more at www.amazementproductions.com or call Jeff direct at (360) 412-5064 or send e-mail to jeff[at]amazementproductions.com.

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Overlake Country Club Magic

Overlake Golf Night of Magic

The Overlake Golf and Country Club is located in Medina, Washington, just outside of Bellevue.  I’ve performed for several events there, ranging from high school grad parties to staff parties to the Club’s Night of Magic.  They always do a first-class job of decorating and making the banquet room classy and festive.

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2014 Holiday Magic Shows

Photos from a very busy and fun holiday season!

 

If you’re not already, be a fan on Facebook to stay up to date with the latest news, photos, and public shows.  December  is always a very busy month for me, and it’s never too soon to plan ahead for your holiday party!  Call me in Olympia toll-free (877) 412-5064 or send e-mail to jeff[at]amazementproductions.com

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Oregon Fairs Association Convention

Magician Jeff Evans at the Oregon Fairs Association covention

Magician Jeff Evans at the Oregon Fairs Association covention

Always fun hanging out with the Northwest’s best variety performers!  Here are some photos from the Oregon Fairs Association convention held in Salem, Oregon.

 

Each year I perform magic for  county fairs throughout the Pacific Northwest.  Organizations like the Washington State Fair Association and the Oregon Fairs Association host annual conferences where their members get together to conduct business, receive training, meet with colleagues, and book their entertainment.  So while taking care of business is the main goal, it’s also kind of a family reunion where fair managers and board members get to see their friends from around the state. For entertainers like me, it’s a chance to hang out with the musicians, jugglers, magicians, balloon artists, hypnotists, stilt walkers, comics, acrobats, and more that we occasionally get to work with on the road.

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