A variety of performers will attempt to take area residents on a magical journey of tricks and illusions meant to boggle the mind during a one-night-only event in Jamestown.
Big Time Productions and 59LucyLane.com are set to host "Magical Extravaganza" at 6 p.m. on Saturday at the Spire Theater. The event will feature chief illusionist, Dr. Uriel Ben-Itzhak, a resident of Sinclairville who has been practicing magic since he was 8 years old. He will be joined by apprentice magicians, Angelo Giuffre and Corey Osborne, as well as two assistants, Ylsa Giuffre and Skylaraven O'Brien.
According to Angelo, its exciting to be able to broaden the range of entertainment offered to the community because it's the first magic show the Spire has hosted.
Pictured from right to left are: Ylsa Giuffre, assistant; Dr. Uriel Ben-Itzhak, chief illusionist; Skylaraven O’Brien, assistant; and Angelo Giuffre, apprentice magician. The group is shown demonstrating a levitation illusion.
P-J photo by Dusten Rader
"It's fun because I've been getting to learn a bit of magic myself," Giuffre said. "I've always been fascinated by magic, and picked up things here and there, but Uri has taken a bunch of us under his wing as apprentices so we get to learn all the secrets behind the tricks."
"I'm really excited to be in the show because it's an amazing show," O'Brien added. "All the tricks are really good - it's going to be fun."
Ben-Itzhak's interest in magic began when his mother introduced him to Harry Blackstone Jr., master illusionist and son of the "Great Blackstone," Harry Bouton Sr.
"I couldn't believe I was meeting Harry Blackstone Jr.," Ben-Itzhak said. "The first trick he taught me was how I could take money in my hand, rub it, and you'll rub it into nothing. It's the very first trick I learned when I was 8 years old, and I've been doing it ever since."
Ben-Itzhak, who considers himself an illusionist, performs a wide variety of magic tricks in his show, such as card tricks, cups and balls, change bag and more. He invents a number of his own tricks, and develops many of his own props, such as his 10-foot-pole-out-of-a-hat trick. He presents his show in hope that his audience, who may not believe in magic, comes to realize that magic is a beautiful art, he said.
"Illusions are something that make people think they are seeing one thing when they are really seeing something else - and we're going to do some big illusions here," Ben-Itzhak said. "I hope that people walk away from my show saying, 'Wow, that man is an artist, boy I'd like to be able to do that.'"
In addition to being an illusionist, Ben-Itzhak is a standup comedian, story teller, performing artist and public speaker. He is also diagnosed with Asperger's, which is a high-functioning form of autism.
"I wanted to do something to overcome Aspberger's," Ben-Itzhak said. "My folks were told when I was young that I needed to be put in a special class, and my mother was devastated. But, my father said, 'Hm, no, let's not concentrate on his disabilities, let's concentrate on his abilities - let's see what he can do.' I have no math skills whatsoever, but get me on the stage or talking to people, and I'm in my element - this is where I belong."
Ben-Itzhak is also available for private events and parties. For more information, call 962-4310, email firstname.lastname@example.org or search for "Hyam A. Shyster" on Facebook.
Tickets to the "Magical Extravaganza" are $10 presale at the Labyrinth Press Co. or $12 the day of. Groups of four may also purchase presale tickets for $5 per person. The Spire Theater is located at 317 E. Third St. in Jamestown. For more information, call 450-7357 or visit www.in-spire.us.