beyond brookledge

See the Amazing Johnathan next weekend at Beyond Brookledge

Much to the delight of sick and twisted people everywhere the Amazing Johnathan is touring again! Next weekend he'll be in Riverside, California at Beyond Brookledge!

Magician Johnathan Szeles is one of the most talented, brilliantly funny, brutally ascerbic, fantastically creative people alive -- and boy are we glad he still is! In 2014 Johnathan retired from magic and gave up performing. Poor circulation led doctors to give him 18 months to live. Here we are 36 months later, and every time I've seen Johnathan over the last few years he looks better and better.

Johnathan and his absolute rockstar wife Anastasia both love performing at Beyond Brookledge, which is perhaps the greatest 3 days of magic and variety planned in any calendar year. You'll be wowed by both their performances next weekend!

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Drugs and Alcohol = No Job

You may have seen the Wainwright Training videos on Boing Boing's in-flight entertainment channel on Virgin America.

While they probably won't be offering sensitivity training, Mark Fite and Jim Turner, one-half of Los Angeles' best sketch comedy troupe 2 HeadedwDog, will be appearing at Beyond Brookledge this May, in Riverside, CA.

Beyond Brookledge is a fantastic three-day magic and variety extravaganza thrown by Erika Larsen and Bob Self at Riverside, California's unbelievable Mission Inn May 19-21st. Once a year those two curate a weekend of dazzling entertainment, and amazing community, around the acts from Erika's private shows at the theater in her home, Brookledge.

You'll instantly feel like you are among friends, and spend a weekend hanging out with some of the most amazing magicians, makers and variety performers on Earth.

The Amazing Jonathan will probably make fun of you.


Beyond Brookledge, May 19-21st at the iconic Mission Inn Read the rest

Beyond Brookledge, May 19-21st at the iconic Mission Inn

Erika Larsen curates the best live shows I have ever seen. Bob Self puts on the most amazing events. Once a year the two of them throw Beyond Brookledge, an amazing private weekend of magic and mayhem. Read the rest

Karl Herlinger talks to his fist

The format for Scot Nery’s weekly BoobieTrap show is the wackiest I’ve ever seen. It’s vaudeville on steroids with Nery as the amped up and kooky ringmaster. The performers range from jugglers to contortionists, magicians and poets – but the first time I attended, the standout talent was a wooden dummy named Joey and his human named Karl Herlinger.

I’ve seen ventriloquist acts before, but these two had an edge that kept me thinking for days on end, and at times I forgot about who was controlling whom.

If you stop and think about it, the very idea of ventriloquism is pretty darned crazy. These performers choose to get in front of theaters full of people and have heated conversations and arguments with themselves. It’s hard enough to captivate an audience with story, dance, or musical talent when all you have to worry about is yourself, but imagine having to simultaneously play the role of two distinctly different personalities, while controlling a hidden levers that create the illusion of emotions in a wooden dummy.

The strange combination of skills that must come together to pull something like this off has to be the reason we don’t see more great ventriloquists. This is a difficult and dying art.

I’ve hung out with Karl a few times since I first saw his show and I appreciate that his abilities go far beyond controlling inanimate objects and throwing voices. There’s definitely meat on the bones here and though his lip control and manipulations are very, very good, it’s the storytelling that makes you want more. Read the rest

Feast your eyes on Handsome Jack and his new book

If you don't know who Handsome Jack is, let me get you up to speed.  He is perhaps the most famous male model in the world - and has made the time to be a world class magician.  Read the rest

Brett Loudermilk teaches sword swallowing

Last weekend, at Beyond Brookledge, I had a chance to hang out with actor, comedian, and proud sword swallower Brett Loudermilk! Brett is a high energy, fantastic performer with a pretty intense sense of irony. He keeps me laughing.

I'll keep my magic to card tricks, but if you want to learn to swallow a sword... Read the rest

Beyond Brookledge is less than one week away

I'm excitedly preparing to head down to Beyond Brookledge!

This from event organizer Bob Self:

Gaze upon this year’s Beyond Brookledge giclée poster (which will be gifted to event attendees along with a few other treasures May 20-21st at the Mission Inn in Riverside). The art is by Ragnar who also created the imagery for the Beyond Brookledge 2013 and 2014 posters.

As always, visual treats will be abound throughout the weekend-long whirlwind of magic, music and comedy. Connoisseurs of Walking Your Octopus creator Brian Kesinger’s art, board game aficionados, and devotees of the alternative histories of acclaimed author Tim Powers are sure to be pleased with the event’s mysterious and exhilarating goings-on.

A few tickets (very few) are still available at… but they are only recommended for those who are daring enough to plunge headlong into an art and entertainment wonderland.

Event co-producer Bob Self says, “You’ve never experienced anything like this… except maybe in your most spectacular dreams. Leave your expectations at home, because nothing can prepare you for what will happen when you join us.”

And corn dogs!

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Join Puddles Pity Party at Beyond Brookledge, May 20-22

Puddles, the sad clown with the golden voice, will be one of the many, incredible performers making this year's Beyond Brookledge more fun than ever.

Beyond Brookledge is an amazing collection of performances, in a spectacular place, put on by a community of artists who are just a ton of fun to hang out with. Every act is wonderful, the entire weekend is an experience. This year Beyond Brookledge will be held May 20-22nd at the Mission Inn, in Riverside, California. I can not wait. I hope my motorcycle makes it this time.

Bob Self, of Baby Tattoo, co-produces this event along with Erika Larsen, and had this to say about Puddles, and the event in general:

A (nearly) 7 foot tall (unfathomably) sad clown with an (unexpectedly) inspiring voice will be serenading attendees of this year’s Beyond Brookledge with a special presentation of Puddles Pity Party during the annual weekend-long magic and vaudeville gathering at the (eerily) gorgeous Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside, California May 20th through 22nd. The shadowed corridors and windswept turrets of the castle-like venue will be echoing with melodies and awash with teardrops as Puddles performs the songs that made him famous along with some new surprises that are sure to become infamous. If that sounds like hyperbole, it’s not… the combination of the Mission Inn, Puddles, and all the other Fellini-esque denizens of the ‘round-the-clock theatrical whirlwind is sure to result in something so grand that it will be as hard to describe as it will be impossible to forget.

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See Anastasia Synn at Beyond Brookledge

This video, of Anastasia Synn performing at Scot Nery's Boobie Trap, a fantastic Los Angeles area variety arts review, gives me the willies!

Anastasia's gleeful routine literally had me squirming in my seat doing that peeking-while-fake-covering-my-eyes thing at last year's Beyond Brookledge, a weekend-long magic and variety arts celebration Mark and I have both shared many times. There is something absolutely unique and beautifully twisted in the way Synn draws an audience in. She's clearly having a ball, while poking a skewer through her arm!

I asked Ana what she likes most about performing at Beyond Brookledge, and she told me...

...along with my super talented husband (the Amazing Jonathan), I have been fortunate enough to be part of beyond brookledge since it's premiere. Every year gets better and better as our ideas for installations and performances need to surpass the year before. It is something that challenges me and that I look forward to all year long. This year I'm bringing a bunch of new tricks to the table as well as some good friends and world class performers that will definitely add to the experience. Erica Larsen and Bob Self have created a gem on earth, something I am proud to be part of and as an artist, give my heart and soul to.

Anastasia performs her own stunts, tricks and illusions, as well as working with her husband, the Amazing Jonathan, and the many other performers at Beyond Brookledge.

This is your chance to be immersed in performances, and community, with the most amazing magicians, comedians, and performance artists you'll ever find hanging around a 5 star hotel having a blast. Read the rest

Come to Beyond Brookledge 2016

I'm excited really excited for this May's installment of Beyond Brookledge!

Both Mark and I are huge fans of Erika Larsen and Bob Self's amazing weekend of magic, comedy, variety and amazing people! In addition to the massively, exhaustingly entertaining 3 day stay in Riverside, California's Mission Inn, last year I returned home inspired, and with a lot of new friends.

Beyond Brookledge is an extension of Erika Larsen's amazing Brookledge Follies. The follies are a single evening's performance at a very small, private stage in Los Angeles. Tickets are never for sale, seating is nearly impossible to come by and the show is over far, far too quickly. Beyond Brookledge is an amped up, immersive three day version of Erika's magical evening.

I had a chance to speak with Erika last week, and one of the few secrets she could share about this years performance is that the event will be carnival inspired! She advised me to expect something along the lines of a dark, tired carnival years after their hey-day has passed.

I would watch shows curated by Erika every day, if I could! I've already bought my ticket for 2016's show!

Beyond Brookledge 2016 Read the rest

Baby Tatooville No. 9: The Grand Finale

Recently, a merry gang of happy mutants gathered for the ninth and final time to revel in Bob Self's incredible Baby Tattooville event.

Over the past nine years, artists, entertainers, creative minds and enthusiasts have been gathering together at Baby Tattooville to create art, and to celebrate one another while spending 72 hours in a reality where everyone is a kindred spirit. I have never been fortunate enough to be able to attend, and now I may never have a chance: Bob decided this installment will be their last. Boing Boing has been following these events since 2007, and I should have paid attention sooner.

This year Baby Tattooville featured Anthony Ausgang, Sas Christian, Olivia De Berardinis, Ron English, Camille Rose Garcia, Bosko Hrnjak, Marion Peck, KRK Ryden, Mark Ryden, and Isabel Samaras. I am certain you'll recognize a lot of familiar faces in these photos. Some of my favorite performers were there, too! Musician Marquis Howell II, and the fabulous contortionist Bonnie Morgan were among them.

As you can see from these brilliant photographs by Mark Berry, Baby Tattooville No. 9 was amazing.

Congratulations to Bob and his entire team! What an amazing run! Bob is still planning events and you can participate in the magic.

In fact, if magic is what you want I suggest you join us at Beyond Brookledge. I've already bought my ticket! This time I don't want to miss out.

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Weekend of Wonder: The incredible animatronic sculptures of Thomas Kuntz

Artist Thomas Kuntz constructs fantastic animatronic mechanisms that recreate scenes from the best nightmares you've ever had.

The Boing Boing Weekend of Wonder is coming. Join us!

The editors of Boing Boing have always wanted to create an event where people can enjoy a weekend of wonderful, magical, mindblowing, inspiring experiences. Guess what? We're doing it, and you're invited.

49 Boxes: a most incredible shared experience

Michael Borys' magical participatory experience is art, and puzzles, and story, and music—and so much more.

This amazing print on wood by artist Zelda Devon is one of many things I loved at Beyond Brookledge

Titled “We See What We Seek,” the tale behind this work of art captures perfectly what was so special to me about this event.

Motorcycle helmet review: Bell Star Carbon, a lightweight, high-end track helmet

Bell's lightweight, high-end track helmet is well ventilated and extremely comfortable. Read the rest

Beyond Brookledge - A weekend of entertainment beyond your imagination

Beyond Brookledge is a three-day entertainment extravaganza of music, magic, and performance. I went last year with my daughter Jane and we both loved it (see photos below). Part of the fun is that the performers are also attendees, and everyone mingled at meals and other times. It's hard to describe how special and fun this event was.

This year, Beyond Brookledge is taking place May 29-31 once again at the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa, Riverside, California. A ticket includes 2 nights hotel accommodation, scheduled meals, ‘round-the-clock entertainment and social activities with renowned magicians, musicians and comedy performers. I can't recommend it highly enough. I plan to go again this year, and Jason will be there too.

(I had such a fantastic time at Beyond Brookledge that I asked the co-producer, Bob Self, to partner with us on our upcoming Weekend of Wonder).

Boing Boing readers can get a 20% discount by using the Promo Code BOING on the online registration form.

This year’s lineup includes:

Amazing Johnathan

Mac King

Michael Davis

Billy The Mime

2 Headed Dog

Jonathan Pendragon

Bonnie Morgan

Scot Nery

Marquis Howell & Bibi Poubelle

Anastasia Synn


The Automata of Thomas Kuntz

Kristian Hoffman

Here are some photos from Beyond Brookledge 2014:

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