The Universe has answers for you my friends, they may not always be what you want to hear but the signposts are there, you just have to be open to them...
This week a sign clobbered me on the head...
So... almost two years ago (crazy!) I started the journey toward my one man show LIFE AND OTHER DECEPTIONS, it was raw and it was rough but it was real. It was also one of the hardest things I have ever done, anyone who has ever attempted a one person show will attest to that...
The reception was terrific and I was proud of what we created. And humbled by the support I received from all of you, thank you...
It's been like trying to hold a tiger by its tail. Now I have this 2 hour show, what should I do with it? I'd recently had a few meetings about the future of the LAOD, one of which sanitized it a bit, I wasn't sure which way to go.... when out of the blue a chap I know, Justin Hurwitz, sent me his thoughts on the show...
Now this was unprompted, out of the blue, he was cleaning out his hard drive found the notes he'd made after getting home one night after my show and thought I'd like to read them. he so eloquently put into words what I had been trying to convey... he said:
As I entered the Two Roads Theatre a few minutes late, it never crossed my mind that I would be walking out of there a few hours later, riddled with tear induced happiness. After all, I was just there to see some magic. I couldn’t have been more wrong...
I was there to see Steve Valentine in “Life And Other Deceptions” an immaculate blend of magic,comedy and his life stories. It became evident quickly, this was not limited to a night of just magic tricks no. It was a remarkable rendition of one man struggle between his two biggest passions. One, he had learned as an underprivileged child and the other was a dream he had yet to realize. He seamlessly transitioned us through his youth and into his young adulthood while performing mind blowing magic tricks he had honed to perfection during this phase of his life. Enthralling, story after story, placed me right there beside him as he figured out his place in life.
We then jumped the Atlantic and landed firmly in Hollywood. The magical land where he had hoped to bring his second dream to fruition. Acting is not a job you can fill out an application for, and then be hired and put straight to work.
There lay the dichotomy.
He would do his magic until the acting thing panned out and took over. This seemed like a feasible and logical plan.
Yet it was the beginning of a grand battle and inner turmoil, one he was not acutely aware of yet.
Magic opened many doors for him, he was one of the best prestidigitators of his time. But it also slammed the same doors, right back in his face. He took us through this tumultuous phase of his life, vividly and truthfully.
It finally erupted in an epic break down in front of a bunch of spoiled 12-year-olds. He was done. Through. 100 percent certain he was through with magic forever, as he hung up his cape and destroyed his collection of tricks and props he had amassed over the past three decades. A magician could not be an actor...an indignant foolish believe he had thought, unfortunately was proving true. As his latter dream blossomed the former was now something he stayed far away from.
Was he happy? Maybe… Only on the outside I believe. A true love can never die or go away, no matter how much you may think you want it to.
He had achieved amazing things and was making a phenomenal impact on Hollywood.
And that is where most Hollywood stories would end, but when you have a passion burning inside of you, it is always looking for any weak spots, any vulnerable moment, where it can burst through and prevail. But he was stubborn. 13 years stubborn
On a trip across the globe to participate in his new career, a weak spot presented. It led him to a small magic store, where in a moment of what could only be the work of some higher power, he is being ushered out of the store by an old man. That is when the miracle happened. First, recognized the voice, then aged the face 40 years, and then made the connection. He was 12 years old again. He had come full circle. He was face-to-face with the man, who had allowed him to join a magic club, which is where his love for it began.
As I watched his face, as he watched all the videos of the man, and others of the era, I was overcome with emotion. He was someone I only know casually, yet he was completely showing himself inside and out, to a bunch of strangers in a small Playhouse. It doesn’t get any more real than that. It did have a happy ending that was fit for the town where this one man show was being performed. His two beloved passions we’re both in full bloom and were more powerful than ever as made clear by this brilliant performance. I was dumb struck by the magic I had seen, but more satisfied with the beautiful life story I had just been told, once and for all, proving that magic is real !
Thank you for that Justin, I needed to hear that, the show stays as it is... minus some judicious editing of course, we should always be editing...
Oh, and I'll be performing a short tight version of Life and Other Deceptions this August in the Palace of Mystery at the world famous Magic Castle, Hollywood.
Yep, full circle...
Jamie was obsessed with the magic. I’d meet with them after and do a few extra tricks for Jamie. It was fun to just take that extra time to connect, and then I’d disappear into the night… to do the things a teenager does when he’s alone in a resort and running a nightclub (yes there’s a script coming on this adventure, but FOCUS) anyway, I didn’t think any more about it.
Now CUT to 2016 and I get a tweet from a dude asking me if I was the same Steve Valentine from Yugoslavia… nervously I say yeah … why? Turns out it’s this kid, Jamie, and now all grown up. He told me how he had often talked about that holiday, and me, throughout his life and how it had inspired him to… wait for it… become a professional magician. I’m especially proud to say, he’s an incredibly brilliant and successful magician, soon to be bringing a show stateside.
I immediately felt two things, I felt really really old, and really really happy. You just never know how your actions affect others. We sent a few lovely messages back and forth on twitter and I wished him the best. It was especially good to hear, because quite often we get so stuck on fighting and working for our goals, that we don’t even realize the powerful ripple effect we all create.
Now CUT AGAIN to last week, and my friend Dan is in Vegas, calls me and asks, “What’s the name of that kid you mention in your show? The kid from Yugoslavia days? I say Jamie Allan, and Dan says “he’s standing right next to me, wanna FaceTime”? Suddenly there he was, this little boy, all grown up (I feel sooo oldddddd) and he started talking about he things HE remembered about that vacation, exploring, with his dad the backstage area, and discovering the room with hundreds of props and tricks that I’d brought to Yugoslavia with me (that’s a yet another story…)
What had stuck in his mind was something I’d completely forgotten, THE TRUNK, I had a massive trunk packed with magic tricks. I had decided to bring as much magic with me as possible and work it all in. For me, back stage was just an incoherent mess of props, but for this little boy it was an Aladdin’s cave and treasure chest of miracles… He even remembered some of the tricks that were there. Instantly I was 18 again, and all those memories of the amazing few years I spent there, before the war, came flooding back.
I’m so grateful to Jamie for reaching out and to the fates who stood him next to my friend in Vegas.
A happy thought that came from this was: Even if you feel your own life is an incoherent mess… it could still be inspiring to others! Yes, I’ll admit that cheered me up a bit :)
But I think the universe was sending a reminder that we don’t live life in a vacuum, it’s not about us, and that it really is the journey, and not the destination that matters, because destination is, by its very nature, the end.
Aside from starring in probably the scariest Disney Channel movie ever - DON'T LOOK UNDER THE BED (I still can't believe that make up was approved, it's terrifying...)
I was thinking about the last time I truly tried to scare or gross someone out. Then as I watched my kids play Halloween pranks on each other, I had major flash backs to some of the naughtier, scarier and grosser pranks I played on my friends when I was a kid... who am I fooling, I still do them now! They're easy to pull off and yes they are classic gags, but if you've never seen them, then they're new to you!
So check out FIVE GROSS HALLOWEEN PRANKS, and go have fun... oh and we are not responsible for the effect, or damage, to you or your victims/friends - you're on your own :)
so.. I'm not one to get all soppy (English term, google it) but sometimes life throws you a nod, a wink and an ironic tip of the hat that stops you in your tracks. I think it's important to recognize these and wink back. But also to breathe it in and contemplate.
Last night I met the music legend Alan Parsons from... Wait for it.. The Alan Parsons Project. We talked for quite a while, he's a great dude with a passion for magic as well (all the smart ones have)
Alan was kind and funny and real. It got me thinking about how important music is to us throughout out lives and how you never know who you can help or touch with your creativity. Whether it's music, magic, humor or just a kind word.
Case in Point: in 1980 I was a mere kid (yes I was ) but the APP had released an album called Turn of Friendly Card, a terrific piece about the dangers of gambling addiction, The TV commercial had a magician doing some slick stuff with a deck of cards, I loved it And tried to duplicate the tricks, one of many inspirations in my journey as a magician, it turns out that I had met, years later, the magician they'd hired for the shoot and I didn't even know it... Weird.
But here's the thing, in May 1983, my dad Bruce, suddenly died of heart attack. It was shocking for us, and for a teenager who was just beginning to know his father, devastating. I would lock myself away in my room and blast The Alan Parsons Project, the music helped me deal with it, and especially the song Old and Wise, a gorgeous piece that was as if my dad was speaking directly to me. Even now when I hear that song I feel his presence. The power of the music and lyrics helped this pimply, skinny, lost, boy get through a brutal time.
So.. Talking to Alan last night brought this all rushing home. It's May, and dad died 33 years ago this month .
And today I blasted Old and Wise.
And I felt my father in the room.
We never know who we touch with our work. There is no such thing as a small kindness. A casual compliment or a little help. Everything we do in this life can be so important for someone else.
Thank you Alan.
In Hollywood there's not a lot for tourists to do. Guided tours, restaurants and sweaty night clubs.. A bad waxwork museum and a good waxwork museum.
But then what?
You hope to catch a celeb to complete your visit.. at one point you'd even be happy seeing THAT GUY who was in THAT MOVIE at a Starbucks..
#nakedwithadeckofcards gives visitors to Hollywood a new experience, something cool to do. Spend the night with a celebrity, hang out with Steve Valentine and occasional celeb and music pals and laugh and have your minds blown. It's intimate and it's about access.
I love live entertaiment, I wish there was more of it. It's visceral, it's immediate, it's dangerous. This is my attempt to bring it back!
Our hope is that #naked* will run indefinitely . You can help make that happen.
Amazing responses to our Kickstarter Naked with a Deck of Cards campaign, so flattered and touched that so many are supporting!
We are well on our way, 11 days left, every $ goes straight to the show budget!
Please spread the word
Join this illustrious group with excellent taste in live entertainment!
Huge thanks to Marc and Marci Levine, Tammy, Adam Smalley, josh harrison, Shawn Farquhar, Edward Shinn, Markus Steelgrave and Angelique, Rob Hollander, Steve Silverman, Damona Resnick Hoffman, Ann Marie Fleming, Jessica Spuehler, Chris Haston, Terrell Chafin, West Yarbrough McDonough, Michael Yanovich, Pete Biro, Craig Shaynak, Andrew Immerman, Duppy Demetrius, Daniel J Frey, Jasmine Amiri, Kate Zenna, Marc DeSouza, Yoshi Melrose, Danalyn West, Elaine Tipping, Brendan Hykes, Chantelle, Jason Andrew Davidson, John Bauman, Pamela Weinstein, Michael Lent, Candice Carella, Adam Bialow, Maurice Lord, The Magic Apple, Lisa Harlan, William Rugh, Jeff Hobson, Hillel, Jeffrey Berman, Diana, Steve Shaffer, Tim Krubsack, Fred Becker, Diana Taweel, Danielle Burgio Merrill, Sandy Morrisa, Robert Roe, Mary Gilligan, Amy, Joan Lawton, Becca Schack, Andrew Hill Newman, Svetlana, Shawn Thomas, John Castaldo, Peyton List, Wendy J Weiss, LA Edwards, Jeff Kleeman, Adrian Lacroix, Larry and Toni Witzer, Jennifer Hensley Prest, Anthony Loi, Jack Shea, Stan Allen, Leslie S Klinger, James Barron, Alicia Yeargin, Marlon Young, Andrew Mayne, Katy Shelor Harvey, Brett Marks, Genea Michael, Abraham Sanchez, Deborah Dillon, Megan Krantz, Jeanna Crawford, Miranda Doerfler, Zeen, Xine Zanillo, Joe Monti, Hullabaloo, Douglas Nelson, Makayla Montelongo, Larry Wilson, Derek Hauser, Ben Fast, Arlene Wszalek, Den Shewman, Donal Chayce, Ron Rappaport, Jessica Anderson and the girl who got the ball rolling, Krista Carpenter
So grateful and humbled, You all rock.
and the hits keep coming...
Paul Daniels was and is my greatest inspiration in the world of magic, actually in the world of live entertainment. Anyone who has seen me perform will see his enormous influence.
As a kid, all I wanted to do was meet him, that dream didn't manifest until years later, when we met at the Castle awards, and hit it off famously. My little inner kid magician was jumping with joy. I then bumped into him in New Zealand while I was filming Avalon High, and we had a great time.
Paul and Debbie being such wonderful warm and genuine people. I was struck by how much Paul reallyyyyyy loved entertaining and magic, he was always ready to perform, he wasn't in the biz to make a quick buck, he was in it because he adored the profession.
Then when Inna and I hit london we visited their home and Paul and Debbie took us out for a most wonderful dinner. I'll never forget it.
Along this entire journey I learned and listened and laughed and marveled. Paul was kind enough to offer help on two of my magic DVD's, for which I will be eternally grateful.
I remember watching the David Nixon show in which Paul made his first appearance, he stormed the stage, surprising Nixon and effectively ripping the show apart. He was brilliant. The dawn of new type of conjuror, brash, fast witted AND skillful. Looking at the footage now its clear that Nixon was really passing the baton. This is a star making turn and a perfect example of a talent, taking an opportunity and making the most of it.
I offer, along with millions world wide, my deep gratitude for the laughs and friendship to Paul Daniels, my life would have been incredibly different if it weren't for you.
and to Paul's family and Debbie McGee, I offer my deepest sympathies and my love.
Your talent, your energy, sparkled briefly on this planet and left a wake and memory that will last forever. Thank you for passing through.
We are all brought up to believe we must be one thing..
But what if there's more?
What if you love more than one thing... what do you become then?
My entire life, I've been torn between two disciplines... acting and magic, both powerful forms of art and expression, both beautiful experiences and both fraught with danger as a career.
Since I was a skinny little 5 year old in Southend on Sea, England, my career paths have been wide and sweeping and as much as I tried to pick one... as much as I tried to 'decide', fate kept shoving them together.
Even when I denied one passion entirely, it crept up from behind, grabbed me by the throat and said, 'boo!'
I've have been both a master magician headlining Las Vegas and the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a busy actor with over 200 hours of TV and Film to my name. It's a constant battle.
Naked* With Deck of Cards is a funny, loud, angry, dramatic and mind-blowing expose of my insane journey, the people who helped and hindered, the literal life and death moments. It's my way of exploring the the conflicts we all face on this road, and it will be a rollicking night of pure entertainment.
We have only 30 days to raise the budget!
Please support live arts ( we may even film this... ) and PLEDGE to support
Naked* with a Deck of Cards.
FOR MORE DETAILS GO TO KICKSTARTER HERE;
OR WATCH THE MOVIE BELOW
What's in it for you?
Aside from just being a part of something new and fun, we have tremendous rewards, and of course, my undying gratitude. :)
The Oscars were great fun, and at a time of awards and celebration we should also remember that acting is considered by many as play, and play is the key to the future of our children...
What the hell am I talking about? To me, all social inclusion and attitudes toward diversity start in the playground, and that's why Shane's Inspiration is such an important charity. They understand that we need to show children, through the power of play, that we are all the same, no matter skin color or physical ability. That's why they created the incredible all inclusive playgrounds. chances are you or your kids have played in one without even realizing.
My friends at #shanesinspiration asked me to shoot (on my iphone) a quick shout out and so I decided to take it a step further, it was a blast to work with such a great young actress, no idea where she gets her talent from...
seriously though, please help support shanesinspiration.org