I was invited, along with about a dozen other media types, by my good friend, Steve Dacri, to watch his one-man show in the Shimmer Showroom at the Hilton Hotel. Dacri is a Master Magician, and is considered by many of his peers as one of the top three up close and personal magicians in the country today! And, I must say, after watching him work once again in front of a huge audience, there is no question he well deserves the title.
Dacri, however, almost didn’t make it to the show a week ago Wednesday. In January, he returned to his home in Las Vegas, following an extensive tour in the east, and was not feeling well. After a few days of lounging around the home, continuing to feel bad, his wife, Jan, said enough is enough; let’s go to the doctor. The rest as they (I’ve always wanted to know who they really are) say is history. He underwent emergency colon surgery where they removed a couple miles of his colon (kidding) and pronounced him clear of the big “C” word. He is good to go now, thank God.
Steve has been doing his “In Your Face” magic act for umpteen years actually ever since he was six, growing up in Worchester, Mass. His first trick was from a “Mandrake the Magician.” magic set given to him by his parents, Ever since that first trick, Dacri knew that one day he would be performing on thousands of stages around the world. He studied under the tutelage of some of the greatest sleight-of-hand artists in the world: Tony Slydini; Dai Vernon (known as “The Professor”), The Spongeball King, Al Goshman; and the renowned Frank Garcia.
While on the Spongeball influence, I would venture to say that there is none better at the trick working today than Dacri. Allen Funt, who at one time was on national television with a great and funny little show called, “Candid Camera,” used Steve to be part of a gag on a frustrated new secretary for the great magician “Blackstone.” You’ll actually see this bit of magic on the two screens set up inside the theater as the opening act. It is pure magic and very hilarious. By the way, the screens are used during his show so that the audience can watch his hands via the magic of television.
Dacri is so fast with his hands, that you’ll try to catch him, but will never succeed. In one amazing trick with an actual (I say actual, because many acts use plants in the audience) Steve takes a ring from a lady (that night) and does some tricks with his magic purse, etc. To make a long trick short, he loses the ring. Wow, the lady at first laughs, but then gets a wee bit upset. The comedy is there, with her face, his supposedly frustration and the audience wondering just where the ring has gone. I can not tell you the ending, but let’s just say it’s amazing. The man with the magic hands was presented with a very high honor, when, on April 29, 2002, was given the title of, “Member of the Inner Circle with Gold Star,” a designation reserved for the elite of the magic world. Steve was presented with this prestigious award in London by President of the Magic Circle, Michael Bailey. Dacri has won many other awards over the years, and is also most proud of the two “Merlin Awards” presented to him in 2008 and 2009.
Steve Dacri and his “In Your Face” show appears in the Shimmer Showroom at the Hilton every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $49 plus tax and fees. For reservations call (800) 222-5361.
THIS AND THAT QUICKLY:
A nice thing happened to a friend of mine a couple of week’s back, while impressionist Bob Anderson was performing in The Club at the Cannery Hotel/Casino in North Las Vegas. Vince Falcone, who has conducted for the best in the world from The Man himself (Frank Sinatra) to Steve Lawrence, etc., and is known as “The Conductor to the Stars,’ is also Anderson’s conductor. Well, this particular evening this writer had set Vince up for a surprise. Mrs. Robert (Vera) Goulet, Nancy Barr, Peter and Barbara Justl accompanied me to the show as part of the surprise. Peter Justl is a fine architect (he was working on the Boyd Gaming project, ‘Echelon” when the construction was put on hold) and oil painter. Peter has done a number of special portraits for his friends over the years, and had just completed doing one for Falcone at the request of Vinnie’s wife, Annette. Vince had no idea what was coming next.
As Anderson was introducing members of the band, he turned to the side of the stage and waved, telling Falcone that someone was here to see him. To make a short story, shorter, Peter walked out on stage with the portrait. You could’ve hit Vince with a sledge hammer and it wouldn’t have fazed him. He was totally surprised and honored.
It was fun surprising a friend. Anderson, in a special tribute to Mrs. Goulet, performed his unbelievable impression of her late husband, singing “If Ever I Would Leave You,” which was beautifully done. Bob Anderson is a master on stage as a singing impressionist. There is none better and he should be performing 52 weeks a year in Las Vegas, rather than Branson.
Well, my man, Mark Martin, didn’t quite make it to the checkered flag in time to take first place during the running of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Shelby American 400 last Sunday, but he did finish fifth. As mentioned in last weeks column, the eventual winner was the favorite to win, Jimmy Johnson in his Lowe’s sponsored Chevy. The speedway was nearly 100 percent full on Sunday and I would guess more than 100,000 attended the Saturday race. Heck, there was even another 40 to 50,000 watching practice and qualifying on Friday. It was truly a great weekend of racing.
Danica Patrick, who was the big attraction on Saturday during the Nationwide race, showed she could duel it out with the big boys, and was holding her own when another driver screwed up, She had nowhere to go but crash. Patrick will now concentrate her driving skills with the Indy Racing League for a couple of months.
Well, gang, that’s about it for another week