(Close Window)
Topic: It Ain't Sideshow But...
Message: Posted by: Todd Robbins (Jul 13, 2005 02:05PM)
I'm doing a new show. It's a seance show. It will be part of the NY International Fringe Festival here in New York City this August. All the details are at:

And don't worry, I have not abandoned the world of freaks, geeks and wild, wild women. I am currently working on a couple of TV projects in this area.

By the way, I will be seen on Criss Angel's new series on A & E, and starting on July 18th, a promo for the History Channel's Weird U.S. will be airing. I'm blowing fire in that one. Oh, and tomorrow I'm filming another scene in the new Nicole Kidmean movie. I'm playing a sword swallower from Hubert's Museum.

And lastly, I just taped a segment for Wild West Tech as an authority on vice in the old west. Thank goodness for penicillin. Without it, the research might have killed me!
Message: Posted by: Stephon (Jul 13, 2005 03:07PM)
Slacker ;^)
Message: Posted by: Todd Robbins (Jul 13, 2005 03:24PM)
I have to keep active as part of my work release program.

I conned the feds into believing that posting here on the Café is doing community service.
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Jul 13, 2005 06:47PM)
My bill for .29 cents as your official proof reader...

On your site, a 'return' should be 'returned'. Credibility on the line! Somebody we don't know might not be illiterate!


Message: Posted by: Cadabra (Jul 13, 2005 09:22PM)
I can't wait for this show Todd!
Your shows are one of the few reasons that I'm glad I live in NYC.

btw, anyone trying to go to http://www.darkdeceptions.com should instead go to http://www.darkdeceptions.net
Message: Posted by: BDead (Jul 13, 2005 10:02PM)
Oh a Seance show,cough,Derren Brown rip off,cough,cough.
Message: Posted by: Todd Robbins (Jul 13, 2005 11:58PM)
Yes, it's true. I have ripped off Darren Brown.

He was the first and only person to ever do a seance show.

Man, BDead you have busted me big time! Once again, my unethical nature has been exposed.

Well, if I'm going to take the fall, I'm taking everyone with me. It's true that Eugene Burger, Max Maven, Tony Andruzzi, Docc Hilford, Penn & Teller and Jamy Ian Swiss (not to mention Ed Fowler, Sandy Spillman and Leo Kostka at the Magic Castle) all ripped off Darren Brown by doing seance shows.

Many of them tried to hide this fact by doing these shows before Darren was even born. But theirs, and my, cleverness has been out witted by the great BDead! I feel ashamed.

Maybe I should just give up this show and go back to hammering a nail into my nose and walking over broken bottles in my bare feet. No,wait, I forgot that I ripped off those too from Darren...when I started doing them thirty years ago.

Man, I don't know what to do, but I'm certain BDead will guide me to enlightenment.

Thanks Doug and Albert for the heads up on the typos.
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Jul 14, 2005 12:10AM)

Did you have to hit him right between the eyes! A quick rap on the knuckles may have worked. :) I know, you were going for the big finish. Well done!
Message: Posted by: BDead (Jul 14, 2005 12:13AM)
I did'nt say Derren invented Seance shows,nor the human blockhead.However for someone who is often quite critical of people wishing to learn his glass walking,face in glass or blockhead act,Its reasonable to admit the recent sucess of his Seance show has played a large part in your decision,aswell as the content of your show.
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Jul 14, 2005 01:20AM)
Wow! Bhead can read MINDS! He knows EXACTLY what you were thinking when you decided to do an act of a particlar genre! Ok Bhead, if you can read minds what am I thinking about you right now.....

When people want to learn a specific act it is important to know the history of that act and pay due respect to the creator. If you want to do blockhead you should know about Melvin Burkhardt, if you want to do mental flossing with a balloon you should know about Mr Robbins and communicate with him

But seance acts are not a specific act, they are a genre of performance that are hundreds of years old. To suggest that Mr Robbins owes something to Derren Brown because he did an act 12 months earlier is just stupid.

Thinking that Mr Robbins would do a seance show because of Derren Brown is the same as saying that anyone who has started doing card tricks in the time since David Blaine's specials was copying him!
Message: Posted by: Slim Price (Jul 14, 2005 01:47AM)
Will everyone who believes in Telekinesis please raise my hand...
Message: Posted by: KN_Magic (Jul 14, 2005 03:06AM)
On 2005-07-14 02:20, Nicholas J. Johnson wrote:
...anyone who has started doing card tricks in the time since David Blaine's specials was copying him!

Oh, no, rumbled! What am I going to do now?

I'm sure Todd's Seance will be dramatically different to Derren's, as is his blockhead presentation, glass walk, and glass eating. Oh wait Derren doesn't do the glass eating does he. Or perhaps he does, but keeps it secret in case people rip him off ;)
Message: Posted by: Cholly, by golly! (Jul 14, 2005 03:43AM)
I may be wrong but this may not be the best section of the Café to insult Todd Robbins.
Message: Posted by: KN_Magic (Jul 14, 2005 07:43AM)
Cholly, by Golly,

Just in case you adressed your message to me (I know how it's difficult to guage tone in emails/messages), I no way way MY message meant to insult Todd. I have the utmost respect for Todd and all of the showmen here. I hope that one day I would have one-thousanth of the natural talent and hard earned skills that Todd has, but am aware that it will take me years to learn and may not even come close.

I think Todd's reply (14th July 05) states his argument concisely and accurately.

Message: Posted by: Todd Robbins (Jul 14, 2005 07:50AM)
Out of respect for you and anyone else that might be wondering about the timing of me doing this show, here's the how it came about.

In 1970. my first magic teacher, Herb Fiedler, took my family up to the Magic Castle for Brunch for my twelfth birthday. He was able to get the Houdini Seance Room for our party. We didn't have a seance, but just being in that room was intriguing.

Five years later I became a member of the Junior Society of the Magic Castle. The Houdini Seance was always something that interested me and on my 21st birthday I finally got to attend one. The medium was Sandy Spillman. He was a soft spoken man of dignity. He was perfect in the role.

A number of years later, I stumbled upon the Invocation and attended the last Invocational. The discovery of Bizarre Magick was an eye opener.

I got to know Tony Andruzzi a bit and met Docc Hilford at that convention. Several years later, Docc invited me to perform at one of his Weerd Weekends. At that gathering, Jeff Payton did a red light seance. I also met Ed Fowler, the man who created the Houdini Seance at the Castle. He taught me his GREAT medium's grip.

I was now hooked and started working on seance ideas. This was 1993.

The next year, on my birthday, I gathered thirty of my friends together in a rehearsal hall in New York City. I set up tables, lit candles, turned off the lights and put them all in the right mindset for an experiment in table tipping. I was pleased to watch tables dancing around the floor and was surprised to find several of the guest in tears with memories of departed loved ones flooding their minds.

Carl Herron (Brother Shadow) and I have talked about this mental phenomenon and it is the basis of his non-gaffed seance. It's a powerful thing and instruction on this can be found in his book Have Seance Will Travel.

At the same time that I was playing around with the seance concept, I was also working on putting together a sideshow theater show. I started doing a late night once a week show called Sideshow Saturday Night in 2002. The idea was to use that as a showcase for a full run of the show that I called Carnival Knowledge. There was no interest in this from producers, so I started to turn up the heat on doing the seance show.

I was just getting ready to close down Sideshow Saturday Night and prepare for mounting the seance show, when a producer came up to me and offered to make Carnival Knowledge happen. Once again, the seance was shelved.

We did the off-Broadway run of the show and toured it around. Then last fall, I was the guest of honor at the ICBM gathering in Connecticut. Being around all these Bizarrists rekindled that seance desire.

When the tour of Carnival Knowledge hit a booking snag, and I found myself with a chunk of open time at the beginning of the year, I decided to get serious about the seance show. I submitted it to the Fringe Festival (I did an early version of Carnival Knowledge there in 2000) and was accepted. it is appropriate that the run of this Festival is right around the time of my birthday.

And that's how I came to rip off Darren Brown.

It's interesting to note that the second half of Darren's recent live show featured Mr. Brown hammering a nail into his nose and walking over broken bottles in his bare feet.

You know, since no one knows who BDead is, and this person has only posted a few times, and each time it has spurred me on to write at length about a topic and raise awareness about it,some might think that I created this alter-ego just for publicity sake.

Of course,I would never do such a thing. Barnum did this kind of thing, but I would never resort to such a dark deception.
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Jul 14, 2005 09:13AM)
On 2005-07-14 02:47, sanscan wrote:
Will everyone who believes in Telekinesis please raise my hand...


My family is looking at me and wondering why I'm laughing at the computer. I'm glad I wasn't drinking coffee!

Thanks for a great laugh.....Kevin
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Jul 14, 2005 09:56AM)
Todd...thanks for that background stuff! I have decided that when I croak, I'll make an appearance every other show. I'll be the big orb of ecto over your right shoulder.
Message: Posted by: Todd Robbins (Jul 14, 2005 10:44AM)
Doug, I'll keep a shut-eye out for your appearance.
Message: Posted by: Scott Xavier (Jul 14, 2005 12:47PM)
Please, everyone knows Derren stole the idea from me. It is true derren is such a good mind reader, he uses NLP and extracts thoughts from my head before I have a chance to impliment them!
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Jul 17, 2005 06:35PM)
We have all been there Todd.
Years ago I pulled a bent nail out of my head as a climax to the Blockhead ! Shortly after this a chap called Geller started bending things and credit went to God (Should have been me!!!) He made a name for himself on my shoulders,,still I got my own back when he scratched his own neck and his head fell off.


Doug 765 through this weekend! Grand total so far 11,021. Only two bad days.
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Jul 17, 2005 10:26PM)
Holy crap! Not a bad investment say's I...arrrrr lad...ya be doin' me proud.
Message: Posted by: Todd Robbins (Aug 8, 2005 01:31PM)
This is just a quick reminder to all my bizarre friends, tha my new show, Dark Deceptions: The Seance Experience, will be opening this Saturday. We are doing five performances as part of the NY International Fringe Festival.

As for the show, using Spiritualism trickery, I create the illusion that the dead have returned and walk among the living. In this seventy-five minute performance, I present what sitters in a 19th century séance would have experienced.

A chill will run up and down the spine as the innermost thoughts of audience members are revealed, a spirit message appears on writing slates, tambourines rattle and bells ring as they float through the air, a malevolent poltergeist is exorcised and ghostly apparitions materialize and vanish.

Are you afraid of the dark?

You will be!

Five performances only:
Saturday, Aug. 13th at 5:30 pm
Tuesday, Aug. 16th at 11:15 pm
Thursday, Aug. 18th at 8:45 pm
Saturday, Aug. 20th at 12 noon
Wednesday, Aug. 24th at 11:30 pm.

All performances will be at the Player’s Theatre, 115 MacDougal St. (between Bleeker & W. 3rd St in Greenwich Village). Tickets are only $15 and are available at http://www.fringenyc.org or by calling 212-279-4488. (outside of NY, call 1-888-fringenyc)
Message: Posted by: MattTheKnife (Aug 20, 2005 04:24PM)
Well I saw Todd’s new show Thursday night. And let me tell ya… WHAT FUN! It was totally different than what I was expecting. When I originally went to purchase the tickets I was thinking that it was going to be a more traditional séance. But then I noticed while ordering online that they had it posted that the theater sat around 250. So I assumed that it would be a spook show.

Well while it was a cross between the two it was truly something unto itself. For those you that know me you know that I’ve been performing séances for a number of years now. Mine, as are most, are played out in a serious setting. Well Todd’s is all comedy. It’s stamped with his delightful brand of humor that’s always worth your time. That’s not to say that it doesn’t have it’s dark moments… because it does. But it’s done as a dichotomy between the serious and the humorous. It plays off of the fact that much of this is frightening but at the same time it’s a bit silly to take it seriously.

But whatever it is to you, you’re bound to have a great time! Why this week alone the likes of Copperfield and David Blaine have been in attendance just to name a couple. So don’t be left out on this one. If you’re in the NYC area then go and check out Todd. He’ll never steer ya wrong!

-Matt (TK)

PS- The last two shows are tonight and Wednesday. They’ve had tickets left at the door but they’ve been selling out before the show so make sure to get there early… or better yet, just order them right away before you go either online or over the phone.
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Aug 20, 2005 05:54PM)
This HAS to come West!!!!!

HAS to...as in "BETTER *** WELL COME WEST!"