Oxnard magic show to raise funds for arts programs

Audiences can witness one of the greatest magic shows Ventura County has ever seen on Friday before it disappears before their eyes.

Artists from across the country will perform six acts of magical feats in the one-night-only SPELLBOUND Magic Mashup benefit show at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center.

“I think people see magic as a guy doing a bunch of tricks, trying to trick them,” magician James Lantiegne said. “All the artists we have there could say they don’t care if they cheat on you. They care more about whether you are having fun.

The event, which begins at 7 p.m., is organized by the House of MAGIC Foundation for the Arts, co-founded by Lantiegne and based in Santa Paula, and the Oxnard Performing Arts Center Corporation. Proceeds from the event will support magic and other arts programs in Oxnard and Santa Paula.

One of the programs, Project Magic, teaches magic to patients with hand injuries as a form of physical therapy. The program, started by David Copperfield, also teaches magic to children with autism and Down syndrome.

“Magic is ambidextrous,” Lantiegne said. “It’s a question of coordination between the brain and the hands.”

A poster for Friday's SPELLBOUND Magic Mashup benefit show at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center

Other revenue-funded programs include Nardcore Academy, which teaches audio engineering to aspiring disc jockeys and musicians, and Arts Exposure, which introduces young artists to professionals.

Considered a “cheap Buffalo Bill Cody,” host Fred Blanco, or Wildcat Jackson, will use his acting skills and magic to create a carnival-style atmosphere.

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He will be followed by Shawn McMaster, who uses sleight of hand magic and audience participation to set up a comedic routine.

To conclude the first act, Lantiegne will use magic and a guillotine to tell a story. Entitled “The Magic Life”, the performance will take the audience on a journey through its past.

Quick-change artists Stoil Stoilov and Ekaterina Stoilova combine color and music to create high-energy magical feats at the start of the second act. The husband and wife duo have performed to audiences around the world.

Next, Michael Douglas, a Las Vegas magician known as Mondre, will perform his award-winning dove act.

To wrap up the show, award-winning magician and illusionist Ron Saylor will perform the Wakeling Sawing in Half routine.

Saylor will tie her assistant to a table while two members of the public hold her in place. After placing a box with his assistant, Saylor will drive two knives into the box. He will then cut it in half and try to put it back in one piece.

“It’s my all-time favorite illusion,” Lantiegne said.

Special guest Barry Morrow, screenwriter of the film “Rain Man”, will also speak about psychological and social disabilities at the event.

Tickets for the family show start at $15 and can be purchased at spellboundmagicshow.com.

Brian J. Varela covers Oxnard, Port Hueneme and Camarillo. He can be reached at brian.varela@vcstar.com or 805-477-8014. You can also find him on Twitter @BrianVarela805.

Brian L. Hartfield