Magic Magazine’s Article
Before WWII, magicians who weren’t touring the continent with full-evening shows or jumping from town to town playing split weeks on the vaudeville circuit often developed special programs in order to play for the cream of society at top hotels across the nation.
Now Ivan Amodei, who in 2005 took first place in Close-Up Magic at both the IBM and SAM competitions, continues that tradition with a new show called Intimate Illusions, a ninety minute presentation of mystery, comedy, and magic.
The show has settled in for an open-ended run at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, at the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive in the heart of Beverly Hills. Held in one of the venerable landmark’s tasteful salons, Amodei transforms the room into a sophisticated salon of sorcery in an Italian renaissance setting. He entertains up to 100 audience members with his one-man show, skillfully accompanied throughout by a solo cellist, Irina Chirkova, whose elegant dress and musical wit provide a complete score underlining every beat of Ivan’s magic with music, sound effects, and aural commentary.
Irina is soon leaving the show to play for Celine Dion, but Ivan has been working with a trio of talented musicians, each of whom makes a distinctive contribution to the production. From the moment Ivan takes the stage with the world literally at his fingertips — in the form of a spinning globe — to the final impossible mathematical prediction utilizing random spectatorsuggested numbers and a trio of calculators, the cocktail-attired audience seem enthralled by his talent as both magician and raconteur.
They learn a little about his heritage — an early version of the show was titled Made in Italy — and about escapist Houdini, savant Kim Peek, and archer William Tell, whose famous feat with the apple is recreated with a marked after-dinner mint, a surgically sharpened dart, and a volunteer from the audience. A popular effect in the show involves the selection of a handful of Scrabble tiles chosen from an oversized container holding more than five thousand of the game pieces, which prove to spell out a personal detail of information known only to the spectator.
— Mark Nelson