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Use your illusion: Presenting prestidigitation at its finest

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It’s magic time again! Hocus pocus aficionados are revving up for the welcome return of the annual “Night of Magic” show. The January 26 spectacle marks the event’s sixth annual production as part of the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture’s Good Coffeehouse Music Parlor series. “They love it,” Richard Steven Cohn, the brains behind the show, said of audiences. “There’s people who are coming back year after year.” The upcoming show is sure to have another standing-room-only crowd thanks to its impressive lineup of talented magicians. “I’m so thankful and happy that the people that I know from my magic shows,” Cohn explained, “are glad to participate.” “It’s a family show but it’s not a kiddie show,” he continued. “These magicians are world class.” “We get a lot of people who bring their children,” he said. “Teenagers like it because it’s kind of sophistica­ted.” Later this month, the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture’s stage will be graced by Cohn and his wife, Alexandra Baltarzuk, who perform as the Magical Melodions. The duo is known for staging a unique blend of music and magic. “I’ll play the accordion for her while she does a jumbo three-card monte,” Cohn explained. “She’ll play the saxophone for me while I do sea sorcery. It’s a mix of “maritime magic with nautical melodies,” he said. They’ll be joined by international star Rocco. “Rocco is a master manipulator, which is a magician who works sleight of hand,” Cohn said. “Rocco is extremely creative. You can never tell what he’ll do magic with – it could be ice cream or fruit or pretzels or vodka.” One of his most popular tricks is “making little fireflies appear at [his] fingertips and fly around.” Joining him will be Peter Samelson. “Peter is known as the philosopher of sorcery,” Cohn said. “He has a long history of producing off-Broadway magic shows. He’s also a consultant for TV and theater. “Peter has some signature classics of magic that he does,” Cohn continued. “He’s a masterful performer of the famous Chinese linking rings – you have solid steel rings and they’re linked and unlinked. Peter does a beautiful version of that.” Samelson has earned raves for a clever trick in which he makes his image appear in a snow globe. The show will also feature Asi Wind, an emerging magician. “Asi Wind is a wonderful Israeli magician. He’ll probably do a combination of mind reading and pick-pocketing,” Cohn said. Rounding out the lineup will be Cardone, a ventriloquist. Cohn said he wanted to include a performer who is not a magician because it’s in keeping with how old-time magic shows were presented. “In a lot of the shows that I used to see at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in the 60s,” Cohn said, “they would always have one novelty act – something that was related but was a little different, whether it was a ventriloquist or a juggler or a mind reader.” The “Night of Magic” show is such a hit with Brooklynites that magicians have performed to a packed house every year that the event has been hosted. And this year’s show is expected to be no different. “Buy your tickets in advance because it’s going to be sold out,” Cohn said. “Night of Magic” will begin at 8 p.m. The Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture is located at 53 Prospect Park West between 1st and 2nd streets. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased in advance at Park Slope Copy, 123 Seventh Avenue. Contact the store at 718-783-0268. For more information about the show, contact the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture at 718-768-2972 or log onto www.bsec.org.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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