The recent re-emergence of mauled illusionist Roy Horn underscored one of the reasons that magic has regained some of its former glory with blasé audiences: A performance might still turn deadly. Real danger is almost absent from the litigious entertainment world except in the strange, old-fashioned corners of the industry. But last fall, half of the incredibly famous and incredibly weird Siegfried and Roy duo was almost killed in public by his own beloved 600-pound white tiger. Can any Hollywood movie top that in adrenaline power? That might explain the excitement over the New Wave Magic show, currently mesmerizing audiences with updated illusions at the Ramada Marco Polo Resort Hotel (19201 Collins Ave., Sunny Isles Beach), or maybe the cynically hip are just letting themselves sincerely enjoy magic again? Yes, there's a cheetah involved, and a python too, but there are also choreographed tricks, levitations, a bevy of Las Vegas-style showgirls, and comedy routines. Kevin and Caruso are the magicians behind the high-energy cabaret show. (Caruso's the silent one.) The team has 15 years of worldwide experience producing magic shows and won a very respectable "show of the year" award from the cruise industry 5 years in a row. (Though one does wonder whether having a captive cruise ship audience doesn't make for inordinately gushing reviews, or whether plain old hypnotism is at work.) Most important, though, they make magic look real and appear to have a hit on their (sleight of) hands.
Unless you're the victim, a little audience participation is always good. One of the show's more popular aspects is a hilarious gag involving Elvis and absurd statements plucked from randomly selected audience members. Apparently the King is still with us and has taken to chasing shapely dancers in Sunny Isles Beach. Performances in the Persian Theater take place at 8:00 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays with a 2nd show at 10:00 p.m. Saturdays through October. Tickets cost a very un-Vegas-like $18.95 for adults and $13.95 for children. Reservations and discount coupons are available at www.kevinandcaruso.com, or call 800-600-MAGIC. -- By Margaret Griffis
Jamming Jazz Sounds
Naming a band that sounds similar to local group Sonido Batido is difficult for frontman A.J. Khaw. Easier to describe for the pianist/physician is the unique music the trio strives to create. They combine the juicy rhythms of Latin tunes with more stark and artistic compositions of classical Japanese and Asian songs. The result is very much like the group's name, which means "sound mixture" in Spanish. Thriving on collaborative improvisation, they can take a traditional Japanese children's song and turn it upside down, yielding a 15-minute jam. Joining Khaw will be trumpeter Hiroshi Yasuda and percussionist Emilio Subdiaz. Though it's been only about 3 months since the trio formed, the Sonidos have been playing steady gigs at local joints. Look for a chilled-out jazzy feast with touches of samba, salsa, and legendary songs. The combo performs at 8:00 p.m. at St. John's Church, 4760 Pine Tree Dr., Miami Beach. Admission is $12. Call 305-613-2325. -- By Juan Carlos Rodriguez
British multi-instrumentalist builds an audience
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As a musician, it's a given that you know what you're doing if you have an instrument named after you. Okay, maybe you created the instrument and named it, but that is still pretty cool! English singer/songwriter Vic Saul plays guitar, mandolin, keyboard, and percussion, plus some fretless stringed contraption christened -- yep, you guessed it -- the Saul. He has also toured the U.K. with the Jools Holland Band. Holland is the keyboard player who shared his dazzling skills with legendary British pop band Squeeze during its heyday in the '70s and '80s. That fact alone gives Saul instant cred with us. Whether you like him or not might be a different story entirely. The best way to find out: Catch one of his live gigs on his 6-city Florida tour. At 8:00 tonight Saul stops into North Miami's Luna Star Cafe, 775 NE 125th St. Cover charge is $7. Call 305-892-8522. -- By Nina Korman
Fade to Black
It's difficult to describe a "neorealist musical," as French auteur Jean-Luc Godard calls his A Woman is a Woman, except as he does: "a contradiction in terms." In early '60s Paris, Angela (Anna Karina, then Mrs. Godard) is a stripper who decides she wants a baby. When her lover wants no part of it, Angela goes after his best friend (Jean-Paul Belmondo). But wait, there's more: a musical score that abruptly starts and stops and characters embroiled in wacky interludes. The film screens at 7:00 tonight and 2:00 p.m. Sunday during the final weekend of the Cinema Vortex film series. You can also catch German underground director Lothar Lambert's documentary on actress Eva Ebner, Thank God, I'm in Films! at 9:00 tonight and 4:00 p.m. Sunday. Or check out Superstar in a Housedress, Craig Highberger's documentary on gender-bender Jackie Curtis of Warhol fame, at 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. tomorrow. All films unspool at the Shores Theater, 9806 NE 2nd Ave., Miami Shores. Tickets cost $8. Call 305-614-5700. -- By John Anderson