I flew into Chicago Thursday night to perform at a St. Baldrick’s event being held by Sigma Alpha Epsilon at Loyola University.  It was a fun (and very bald) crowd.  It was CRAZY windy and VERY cold.  Here’s a video summing up the event!

I’ve been doing a few new things in the show and, along with some new music, the show is becoming really exciting to perform.  You’ve gotta see some of this stuff!

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The Magic Newswire is a blog/podcast for magicians.  There you will see interviews with entertainers like David Blaine, Lance Burton, Neil Patrick Harris and many others.  I was recently interviewed about playing colleges and about my recent trip to Korea.

You can listen to the interview via flash HERE.

Want to keep up to date on the newest videos?  Subscribe here!

New T-Shirt!

Men's Fitted American Apparel MK T-Shirt

Sport Michael Kent’s rubber chicken logo on this awesome black soft, fitted shirt. The chicken logo represents one of Michael’s most popular routines – “The Chicken Trick.” The back is blank.

For stylish weekend comfort anytime, guys will want to live in our Fitted T by American Apparel. Made of ultra-fine, combed ring-spun cotton, that gets softer with each washing. Lightweight for summer comfort or winter layering. Grab attention with this vintage fit that loves to hug skin. (Size up for a looser fit).

  • 4.3 oz. 100% ultra-fine combed organic ring-spun jersey
  • Vintage fit (size up for a looser fit)
  • Made in the USA, by American Apparel

$25 at Cafepress

My good friend Jon Petz produces “Miracles and Magic,”  a benefit show every year for “A Kid Again,” which is an organization that helps kids who are fighting illness do fun activities despite all their medical bills and stress. Part of that show is an opening night party at a Martini Bar, happening tonight. The martini bar, Martini Park at Easton, is a SWEET environment for entertainment. Tickets are $100 each and all proceeds go to the charity. I donated my time to the cause, along with a gang of other magicians, local and national. To promote the event, some of us appeared live yesterday on Columbus local television Fox28 and ABC6 with Johnny DiLoretto.

To learn more about the show, http://miraclesandmagic.com

It’s back to the grind performing around these 50 United States.  I started off my return from Korea performing at Indiana University Southeast.  We had a small crowd (about 50), but the Student Programming Council was thrilled with the turnout!  The mascot at IUS (I think would be cooler if the initials were IUSE), is not the Hoosier.  It’s the Grenadier.  I didn’t know what that was.  I thought that’s the stuff they put in coke to make homemade cherry coke.  I was informed that is GrenaDINE and that a Grenadier is a person in the war who throws grenades.  So I had some fun with that onstage.  Here are some photos from the show.

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The photos were taken my by friend, U-Gene Dinsmore, a professional wrestler who I met in Korea. After the show, U-Gene picked me up in his sweet ride and we grabbed some food.

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From there, I headed back to Ohio to perform at Walsh University’s Lil Sibs Weekend. I had a great time at Walsh. The students and staff there couldn’t have been nicer. I also did one of the more fun shows I’ve done in awhile – it was very high-energy. Normally for a larger crowd (this was almost 400 people), the energy doesn’t have to be as high because I’m normally on a larger stage and the sound and lights do all the work. I can be a little more subtle and let the laughs come. But for this show, there were tons of kids in the audience and the room was big and dark with a riser stage. (Side note: Walsh did an EXCELLENT job of setting up this multi-purpose room for the event). I was running around and yelling the whole show. One of the high-lights was when Dominico, a 9 year old, gave me a $20 to use for the trick. We then learned that someone else had lent the $20 to him and I was trying to give him advice on how to spend it. He wouldn’t stop doing that snappy thing you do with your hand when you’re trying to pack your dip. It was awesome.

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I did my own intro to this show, which is something I started doing in Korea. I come out, as if I’m part of the staff (at Walsh, I wore one of their T-shirts). Since I’m not famous, they have no clue what Michael Kent looks like as I’m reading about MK’s accomplishments. Then I leave the stage, take off the t-shirt, and take the stage again, saying, “It’s me….I’m him.”

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It was a fun show and I hope to return to Walsh again!

Finally, you can now receive FREE text message alerts from me if you want (standard txt rates apply). Basically, they’ll just let you know if there are really exciting things happening or if I’m performing in your area. Don’t worry, I won’t be texting the crap out of you with stuff like “I just ate a WHOLE habanero pepper!” Although that WOULD be pretty amazing. Click the thingy below if you want to sign up to receive the text messages.

That’s all I’ve got for now.

peace love and habaneros,
MK

Ellusionist.com, a web site for young magicians to learn stuff, has written about me on their blog.

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“It was an incredible 15-day tour on 10 US Army bases,” Kent said. “I was doing college shows and I loved doing them, but I wanted to give back more. These people were so appreciative it was really fulfilling and it became difficult to leave each night.”

Read the full text here.

While I like to make fun of magic, I really am a lifelong student and fan of the art.  There were MANY tricks/routines/illusions that could have made this list, but here are ten.

10. Zig Zag Lady Illusion
This is a classic illusion that many people envision when they think of an illusionist. It’s one of those illusions that, even though it has been exposed many times in print and television, it is still baffling to watch. The basic idea is that a girl enters a box standing up, is cut into three pieces and the middle part of her body is slid away from the rest. I’ve never owned this illusion, but always wanted to – if nothing else, just for the classic magic cliche appearance of the thing. It would be a neat thing to have in my house. Here’s the illusion’s inventor, Robert Harbin, presenting it as it was intended – as a talking routine.

And here it is, being performed in the wind quite poorly by a magician who is apparently afraid to look at his audience.  Notice that the audience still says “Wow.”

9. Self-Levitation (as performed on Television by David Blaine)
I learned this levitation when on an old dubbed video I watched when I worked in a magic shop in 1995.  Eleven years later, David Blaine performed it on television and stunned a world-wide audience.  The trick itself is not that amazing when you see it live.  Did Blaine use the camera to his advantage?  Yes.  You can’t perform it like he did there.  But the reason it made this list is simple.  This one trick took the magic-world by STORM.  I was working doing magic 4 nights a week in restaurants in 1996 when this aired and every night I would get asked at least 3 times “Can you float like David Blaine?”  No other single magic trick has had that much of an impact in my lifetime in a social situation.  Taking magic to the “street” made it more accessible to non-magicians and this one trick is the perfect mascot for the “street magic” movement.  In reality, it is difficult if not impossible to perform for strangers on the street without a film crew there to make you a desirable person to be approaching strangers.  I still get asked “Can you make the Statue of Liberty disappear?” referring to a trick that Copperfield did in 1983 which speaks to the power of one trick, but anyone under the age of 30 has replaced that question with “Can you float like David Blaine.”  Blaine is solely responsible for making magic exciting again for young people in the late 90s and into the new millennium.

8. Tom Mullica’s Cigarette Routine
Wow.  I remember watching this routine on “World’s Greatest Magic” and just thinking “There’s no way!”  Years later, Mullica put out some DVDs explaining how to do the act.  Even after that, no one could do it.

7. Multiplying Bottles (Ken Brooke Routine)
This is a classic.  It just LOOKS like magic to me.  I perform it in almost every show.  My routine is similar to the routine that most magicians perform, mainly because we’re all studied the same manuscript from the legendary British Magician, Ken Brooke.  I’ve developed several other original routines for the bottles over the years, but none of them get the impact that Brooke’s routine gets.  Here’s a great performance of the Ken Brooke Routine by Nick Lewin:

And this is a quick edit of my performance of the Bottles:

6. Steve Martin’s “Flydini”
This routine is the blacksheep of the list, in that it is the only thing listed here that is solely a comedy act rather than a trick/illusion.  Famous Comedian/Actor/Writer/Director Steve Martin started his career doing magic, and this act still makes me laugh every time I see it.  True inspiration:

5. Floating Ball (Teller)
It’s probably safe to say that Penn & Teller’s show one of my favorite magical acts of all time.  Right now, Teller is doing a trick with a red ball that almost made me cry.  It certainly made me rethink the idea of beauty in magic.  The classic “Don Wayne” Floating Ball has been performed by many of the best, including David Copperfield & Lance Burton (who changed the concept by floating a bird cage).  But I had the chance to see Teller’s version in November and it was far beyond incredible.  By the end of the bit, you actually believed that the ball had a life of its own.  The entire audience sat in complete silence through the routine in utter AWE.  All you need to know about Teller’s performance is in this interview with Teller, A man, a ball, a hoop, a bench (and an alleged thread)… TELLER!

4. Sponge Balls/Sponge Bunnies
Yes. I know. The very mention of “sponge balls” sounds lame beyond compare to the average hipster magician or magic-fan. Everyone wants to be doing magic with real-everyday-items. I certainly understand the argument. That said, I also have performed sponge balls thousands upon thousands of times for everyday audiences and it is one of the most memorable things that an audience member can experience. This is proven to me on a weekly basis when I see an old friend from college who asks me “Hey, do you have the balls with you?” You can imagine the multitude of responses I have come up with over time. I, myself have the ability to suspend my disbelief when a magician performs sponge balls for me and I can actually make myself believe that the magic is happening even though I know how the trick is done. Brian Gillis has a really great sponge ball routine. Here’s a video of yours truly performing the sponge balls for United States Army Soldiers in Seoul, South Korea. This video was taken when I didn’t know the cameras were rolling.

3. Sam the Bellhop by Bill Malone
Story tricks can be long and boring. But Bill has taken the old idea of a story trick and turned it into something that is enjoyable throughout, and can definitely be described as “cute.” It’s one of those routines that, if you do it (Malone has released the rights to the routine available for magicians to purchase and perform), people will always ask you to perform it for them again. I once developed a story replacing the characters and places in the story with those in Columbus, OH (my hometown). One day I will re-examine it and make a video for you. Here’s Bill’s version:

2. Cups and Balls (Ricky Jay/Penn & Teller)
Many magicians would be surprised to know that I’ve never once performed a Cups and Balls routine. Often referred to as the oldest conjuring trick in magic’s history, I LOVE a good Cups and Balls routine. Sadly, most Cups and Balls routines are predictable and boring. Here are two of my favorite: a historical look at Cups and Balls by Ricky Jay and a transparent version with Penn & Teller (where, even though they’re showing you how it’s done – you’re still impressed).

1. David Copperfield’s “Snow”
In my show, I end the performance with a satirical story about my father and the stars. It’s basically a spoof on the “Snowstorm” routine that many magicians perform. It is a fact that when 80% of magicians are performing this effect, they are (knowingly or unknowingly) attempting to channel David Copperfield’s “Snow.” Yes, it is mellowdramatic. Yes, it may be a little cheesy. But I’ve seen it several times, both live and on television, and it’s very powerful. Art is designed to elicit an emotional response from the audience. This one does a pretty damn good job.

Here is a video of my spoof routine.

Here are some videos shot at AFN The Eagle on Yongsan USAG in Seoul, South Korea.