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Performance Picks: Magicians, Flashlight Ghost Stories, and Queer Debauchery

WEDNESDAY

(flyer courtesy of Patrick Terry)

Wondershow
Wednesday, August 2 at House of Yes, 8 pm: $20

Ok. I know what you’re thinking. You want to see a magic show, but you don’t know where to go. Well, as it turns out there is one happening tonight. While you ooh and ahh over my magnificent mind-reading skills, Wondershow is gearing up to show you mind-bending tricks at the Bushwick venue with some of the bendiest bodies I’ve ever seen, House of Yes.

Wondershow is hosted by magician and mentalist Eric Walton. I would explain his work by relating it to someone else’s, but the event description calls him “incomparable,” and I don’t want a magic spell to be cast on me if I disobey. The show also features mind reader Eric Dittelman (of America’s Got Talent), knife-thrower The Great Throwdini, “Western variety arts” master Chris McDaniel, and ballerina/burlesque performer Aurora Black. For those ageless or nostalgic folk mourning the loss of the early 20th century burlesque and vaudeville shows that used to be so commonplace in areas like Midtown, surely you’ll be in for a treat.

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Druids, Faeries, and Sorcery of All Manner at the 5th Annual ‘WitchsFest USA’

At left, Indigo. Right, a man who, when asked, said "I think you know already." (Photo: Nicole Disser)

At left, Indigo. Right, a man who, when asked, said “I think you know already.” (Photo: Nicole Disser)

As one might expect, the 5th annual WitchsFest USA, which unfurled its freak flag over Astor Place on Saturday, was a hotbed for crazies. Oh, we’re not talking about the usual chatty theologians, fantasy-contact-wearing druid bachelors, springy sprites, and cute pagan moms wearing their fishnet best and proudly pushing faerie-winged kiddies through the packed street fest. No, you could hardly accuse these pagan faithful of being antisocial– instead, it was the Christian protest element, out in full force on Saturday afternoon, that earned the watchful eye of the police and the ire of a doting crust punk tribe.

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Five Crazy Things I Learned at the Occult Humanities Conference

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

Yep, this is actually a thing (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Last weekend marked a victory for goths, Tarot freaks, and magic nerds everywhere as the second annual Occult Humanities Conference convened at NYU for a sold-out marathon of lectures with names like “Blues Magic,” “Bohemian Occult Subculture in Britain’s 1890s,” and “The Cut in Ritual Psychoanalysis and Art.” And while, yes, in many ways this was an academic-ish conference, organized by Pam Grossman (founder of the esoterica blog Phantasmaphile) and Jesse Bransford (Chair of the Art & Art Professions Department at NYU), the convening of occultists and occult obsessives still managed to keep it real.

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