(Close Window)
Topic: REVIEW - The Unseen - a two-man mind reading act
Message: Posted by: Demitri (Jan 29, 2008 01:41AM)
The Unseen - a two-man magic and mind reading show

Starring: Oz Pearlman and Ken Salaz

Where: Dave & Buster's - Times Square, NY - The Empire Room

Friday January 25, 2008

The Unseen show was a special limited engagement, featuring Oz Pearlman and Ken Salaz. I have been a fan of Oz's work for many years now, in fact - he has been one of my main influences in my card magic for quite some time. Regrettably, I did not know much about Ken Salaz, save a few videos I'd seen on YouTube and some word-of-mouth stuff I caught here and there. After last night, I can say with certainty that I will remember this talented performer for a long time to come.

I had originally thought the show would feature both men performing an individual set. I was happily surprised when it was actually a two-man show, with both performers working together at the same time, though still presenting their own twists on each effect. The entire show was a fantastic blend of magic and mind reading, lasting roughly 75 minutes.

The routining, pacing and flow of the show was perfectly seamless. Each routine built itself as an extension of the one that came before, making the entire performance more than just a demonstration of one "trick" after another, but more of a demonstration of the possibility of something. Neither performer comes right out to claim any kind of gift or supernatural ability - they leave all the
deliberation to you, showing you something amazing, and then sending you on your way to decide what it truly was.

I made a point of remembering each and every effect during the show, wanting to keep it all fresh in my mind so I could come to these forums and post a shot-for-shot detail of the show. Shortly afterwards, on the train ride home - I realized such an endeavor was pointless. The sum total of the show was far more incredible than the parts that it contained, and to just give a blow-by-blow would not do the show any justice. Instead, I would like to say a few things about each performer, and mention a few highlights (there were MANY - I just narrowed it down), so readers will get a good sense of what to expect.

Oz Pearlman, for me, has always been a phenomenal close-up magician. His work with card magic is second to none, and I have been a fan of that work for some time. In the last few years, we've all seen him begin to branch out into the art of mentalism. I was quite excited to see his shift live and in person, and I was not at all disappointed. Oz is the consummate performer, engaging, charming, and instantly you get drawn into his performances. You can't help but to enjoy watching him work. His turn towards mind reading shows just as much promise and entertainment value as his work in traditional magic, and if this is only the beginning of that journey, I for one, can't wait to see where the rest of the trip goes.

Ken Salaz, I can't say more about as far as what I know of him. I can only speak from my experience at this particular show. Even without a knowledge of past performances, his showmanship is incredible. Like Oz, he pulls you in. There are moments where you laugh along with him as he performs, only to watch him change and instantly you can let any skepticism fall away and get drawn into the possibility that maybe, just maybe - there's more to what he's doing than what you think. In the 75 minutes I sat in his audience, I became a Ken Salaz fan. If you catch him live, you will too.

While both performers can, no doubt, work a crowd by themselves, the real power and enjoyment of this show was how they both worked together. Both men have different approaches to their craft, but the two worlds meet seamlessly in the middle, and the result was an evening of mystery and wonderment that I (and I'm sure the rest of the audience) won't soon forget. Ken and Oz play off of each other throughout the show, and the mixture of serious demonstration and abundance of humor makes for an incredible duo. To the best of my knowledge this show was one of a handful the two have performed together. From my standpoint, you would never think that. Both men work so well together, you could easily believe they have been a working team for many years.

As one of the few members in the audience who is on the other side of the curtain, it's sometimes very easy just to fall into my knowledge and continue to watch the show as "one of them". From the moment the show began, until the final "curtain" was drawn - I was not only able to forget the knowledge I had and enjoy the show purely for entertainment/mystical value - I actually found myself confounded on more than a few occasions when I did sink back into that knowledge. The "Romeo" effect as I call it, was one of the moments that absolutely fooled the hell out of me.

To open the show, a small audio cassette recorder was displayed and held in full view as both Oz and Ken asked members of the audience to shout out a random 3 digit number. A sealed envelope was also held in full view throughout. One young lady was told that her number was the closest - in fact, as the envelope was opened - the number chosen before the show was revealed to be only 2 digits away from the young lady's number. However, this was not nearly the end of the demonstration. The young lady was brought up to the stage. The tape from the recorder was then played - which was a previous recording of Oz not only offering an exact description of the young lady present on stage, but a prediction was revealed on the tape about her selection that was absolutely spot on. Needless to say this was a VERY strong opening - and one that immediately set the tone for the rest of the show.

Although I had made a point not to have myself selected for a demonstration (for obvious reasons), my wife and I were called up to assist in a demonstration. To protect the integrity of this show from any possible exposure, I will simply say that my wife and I were offered an opportunity to demonstrate how a couple can share experiences/sensations felt by only one of the two. While I have had some experience with the particular routine, they offered a very clever finale to the routine, complete with a rose for me to give to my wife as a souvenir. Even having seen (and performed) similar feats, I have to say that their take on the premise was exceptional. My wife, who as we all know, is too often my own guinea pig - was quite entertained by the effect, as was the rest of the audience.

Two standouts moments for me were routines that offered a mixture of magic with the mindreading that dominated the overall theme of the show. One was an exceptional demonstration of the bill in lime - which was a wonderful spin on the traditional routine. The second was a divination of a thought of drink which resulted in the production of a real bottle of wine, complete with a matching year! Both routines were expertly performed, the bill in lime routine being an effective and oft-times funny routine centered around the idea of winning prizes. Though it might seem out of place to some, I thought the inclusion of these elements was a great addition. It remained pure to the theme of the entire show, while still offering a few moments of traditional parlor magic.

Picking the greatest highlight was incredibly difficult for me. The last two routines were equally mystifying and entertaining. If I had to choose between the two, I would go with the closing effect which resulted in the revelation of a prediction sealed in multiple envelopes (the final one being stapled shut on all 4 sides) matching the random choices of 3 separate spectators. While the foundations of this effect reach way back into the annals of history - the updated spin and presentation of this age-old classic made for a blistering finale.

After the show, Oz and Ken stuck around to speak with the audience. I was able to get their autographs (which was great), and talk with them for a few moments. Sadly, my wife and I were somewhat rushed as we had to catch a train back home. I wish we'd had more time to speak with both performers, but in the few moments we had, both were incredibly gracious and approachable. It's wonderful to see that their professionalism and charm remains even after the curtain goes down.

I believe it's obvious that I found this show to be highly entertaining. This particular run of The Unseen was in limited release, but in my brief conversation with Ken Salaz, I was informed that the show will be starting up again in March. I, for one, will be in line for the next show. If you're looking for an evening of strong magic and mindreading, you'll get in line with me.

Highly recommended!!!

The Unseen - show information - http://watchmagic.com/theunseen/

Oz Pearlman's website - http://www.watchmagic.com
Ken Salaz's website - http://www.astonismentinc.com
Message: Posted by: Demitri (Jan 31, 2008 03:22PM)
My apologies - I misspelled the link for Ken Salaz's site. Here is the correct link: