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Vegas on TV / Magic / Wizard Wars / Penn & Teller / The Strip / Downtown / Downtown Vegas / The LINQ / Fremont Street / Fremont Street Experience / → All Tags
Wizard Wars, a magical reality competition series, returns to SyFy January 29 and the first episode will feature a pair of Vegas street performers. Going up against the "wizards" will be Greg Dow and Sean Scott, two performers who make their living entertaining tourists for the most part. While both do corporate and private events, they can also be found regularly on the Strip at The LINQ and Fremont Street. Read on to find out more about their careers before you tune in on Thursday night, or decide to track them down in real life.
VegasChatter: How did you get your start in magic?
Greg Dow: I got a magic set when I was a kid and couldn’t figure it out and got frustrated and then went to video games and didn’t pick it back up until I went to college. I always liked magic. I liked watching it. I bought some magic tricks and brought them back to my friends in college and they started getting impressed. After a few months of doing that, someone asked me to do a show. I did a pretty bad show but it was fun. I learned more magic and, when I moved back to Chicago, I started doing magic in restaurants and enjoyed doing that for awhile while I was working day jobs. I moved out to Vegas about 12 years ago and I started working for one of the big magic shops. I sold magic tricks and taught people how to do magic tricks for about 10 years. About three years ago I stopped that and went to performing full time which makes me much happier.
If you didn’t catch its first season, the premise is much like “Iron Chef.” In the first challenger round, two teams of two magicians take each other on for the rights to do battle with the wizards, who are all more established magicians. Akin to the food show’s secret ingredient, competitors are given certain items they must use in their tricks.
VegasChatter Reviews / Magic Shows / Jan Rouven / Classic Vegas / Shows / Entertainment / Magic / Tropicana / Riviera / Clarion / Vegas Moves / → All Tags
He’s dark, mysterious and speaks in a distinct accent. Known for Goth eye makeup, wild hairstyles, frequent shirtlessness and making things (and himself) disappear, he surrounds himself with sexy dancers and often performs on TV. His magic show at the south end of the Strip is pretty terrific (so you know it's not performed at Luxor). He’s Jan Rouven, the handsome master illusionist from Germany. And, his New Illusions show at Tropicana is taking on Criss Angel head to head. Or, wand-to-wand, if you will.
The Strip / Harrah's / Magic / Afternoon Shows / Mac King / Comedy / Entertainment / Shows / → All Tags
Mac King makes plaid cool. The kooky comedy magician who dresses from head-to-toe in plaid and endorses geriatric fave, Fig Newtons, turns on the charm in his afternoon show at Harrah’s. “The Mac King Comedy Magic Show” was recently extended for four more years, adding to King's 15-year reign at Harrah’s.
You may have the impression that Mac King’s show is a kids show, but the reality is that it’s fun for all ages. As cliché as that sounds, it’s the truth. Having seen the show a few years ago and again recently, I can definitely attest to the fun adults will have, too. Mac’s humor seems to have gotten a bit more adult over the years as he makes references or simply alludes to double entendres and snicker-worthy innuendos.
VegasChatter Reviews / The Strip / Riviera / Shows / Magic / Dirk Arthur / Entertainment / → All Tags
It’s out with the old and in with the new as Riviera gets an updated entertainment lineup. Jan Rouven has moved on to the Trop while the new magician taking his spot isn’t actually new to the Vegas scene.
Dirk Arthur has played all around town in venues at Silverton, Tropicana, Plaza and O’Shea’s. Most recently, he’s been playing in Laughlin and Reno and has weathered some criticism about how he keeps his animals. He’s gotten up to code and is now back in town with his Wild Illusions, featuring his signature big cats, along with some other critters.
The self-avowed conservationist and animal lover runs a brief video during the performance to show a bit about how he trains the massive and endangered animals he uses in his performance. It’s a wonder the Riv can handle the insurance such wild animals must add to the cost of a show, but they’re all securely leashed during the performance and Arthur does have decades of training experience.
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Raiding the Rock Vault has seen its ups and downs at
LVH Westgate. Las Vegas Sun’s John Katsilometes has followed the saga as one of the show’s creators, Asia frontman and bassist John Payne, was given the glam rock boot this summer by fellow Raiding the Rock Vault producer Harry Cowell. Other performers have come and gone over the show’s run. Of course, many of them were only contracted for short stints, but several of the more longstanding performers have had their contracts come to early ends.
Tonight will be the last performance of Raiding the Rock Vault, according to Westgate hotel officials. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, it’s a literal rock of ages, as in it takes guests through a rock’n’roll odyssey with a sampling of hits from the various eras. All the music is performed live by musicians and singers who used to make up the likes of bands such as Bon Jovi, the aforementioned Asia, LA Guns, The Offspring, Heat, Deep Purple, Quiet Riot, and many others. You might think it’s like a pre-retirement home for washed-up rockers, but this writer didn’t find that to be true. I’ve seen the show several times and was always impressed by the level of musicianship. The odd storyline the show struggled to incorporate seemed a little cumbersome, but the music was great. I’ll probably see it again at its new home at Tropicana where it begins November 1.
Vegas on TV / Syfy / Wizard Wars / Magic / Magicians / Penn & Teller / Rio Las Vegas / → All Tags
Debuting Tuesday, August 19, the SyFy show, Wizard Wars, will be the magic equivalent of Project Runway. The reality series, featuring Vegas magicians and Rio headliners Penn & Teller, will challenge the magically inclined to "come up with magic made from things you’d never expect.” Sounds like a fun "unconventional" challenge on a certain aforementioned show, right? Well, make it work designers.. umm.. magicians.
Penn & Teller serve as celebrity judges and executive producers of the competition-style show and the show's online description sums it up neatly:
Magic / Wizard Wars / Vegas on TV / Syfy / Penn and Teller / Murray Sawchuck / Nathan Burton / Tommy Wind / → All Tags
Back in February, a war on wizards was declared. Or, at least, a show called Wizard Wars was uncovered. You can read all the details here but the Cliff Notes version is it's a Syfy Channel magic-themed reality show pitting teams of two against each other in competitions based around the same item. Think Iron Chef except the secret ingredient is magic.
Wizard Wars was originally set to premiere in March, but was pushed back to a later date. We now have a few more details, including the new airdate. First, six episodes were filmed with lots of Las Vegas connections. Penn and Teller are judges while local talent Justin Flom and Shimshi star as the wizards which, in this case, are the "Iron Chefs" of the show and will be the home-team magicians that contestants will compete against.
Last night, the Vegas bar magician was featured on NBC's America's Got Talent and blew away all four judges with his close-up sleight of hand. Howie, Mel B, Heidi Klum and Howard Stern each weighed in with a yes vote sending the self-called "Ghetto Houdini" onto the next phase of the reality competition. The former Marine tells VegasChatter he was confident that he would move on and that it was the reaction of the audience that really moved him. If you missed it, here's his appearance:
Magic / Smoothini / PBR Rock Bar / Miracle Mile / Vegas On TV / → All Tags
Back in 2011, we declared him a magical must see in Vegas. Three years later, that still holds true. Smoothini the Ghetto Houdini is one of the best acts on The Strip. Unfortunately, you've probably never heard of him.
That will change in a very big way as America (ahem) is about to see just how talented (Ahem) Tomas de la Cruz is when it comes to magic. The former Marine recently auditioned for a major television competition and, let's just say, we will all need to show him our support to make sure he's got (AHEM) this.
VegasChatter Reviews / Magic Shows / Jan Rouven / Classic Vegas / Shows / Entertainment / Magic / → All Tags
Recently, we told you of our affection for the Riviera. We’ve appreciated its old-school charm and vintage-Vegas vibe enough to stay there three more times since January. Even if you prefer to stay elsewhere you should still drop in to experience one of their best offerings, Jan Rouven’s Illusions.
These days, it’s tough for aging Vegas properties to remain appealing. Shiny facelifts will only take you so far (cough...Tropicana... cough) and you can throw just so much at the wall, hoping for something to stick. Downtown’s Plaza has been the worst at that approach, with their mini-golf nightspot Swinger's Club and lingerie-themed Exposed Salon both gone and forgotten. And, that three-month-old Bier Garten has barely caused a ripple.