POSTED IN: Life & Love
June 9, 2013

My Life as …
Yeats, a purveyor of amazing Family Entertainment and comical Horror Magic

Photo: Aduro

Amazing audiences as a Family/Corporate Entertainer

Yeats has been studying and performing magic for over 30 years and has always enjoyed finding ways to draw out the “ohhhhhs” and “awwwws” from his audiences through the pure amazement of his illusions.

According to Yeats, there are certain standards for stage performers in the commercial world of magic. “I don’t know the audience before doing a show,” says Yeats. “I don’t know if they would enjoy my sense of humor.”  So, a Yeats Magic Co. production has to be clean, interactive, and conducive to a corporate or family or even a children audience.

Yeats Wong of Yeats Magic Company - Life of Elle Calgary

Yeats has performed at the Calgary Stampede and Heritage Park. He has performed for tax accountants, community groups, and cultural associations. His shows are catered to people who want to see something amazing and “be part of the experience of seeing something impossible … – things appearing in thin air, things disappearing, and people floating”.

A More Twisted Kind of Entertainment – A Brush With Death

A Brush with Death at Club Paradiso - Life of Elle Calgary“I set up A Brush With Death because I thought there would be a few people out of there that would enjoy my twisted sense of humor.” This comical horror illusion show debuted four years ago at Club Paradiso, a little night club now known as Lolita’s Lounge. “It was an experiment at the time. It was supposed to be an one-off thing,” but the show completely sold out and A Brush with Death returned the following year again and again.

“It got to a point where the night club couldn’t accommodate the number of people who wanted to see the show,” says Yeats.

Yeats’ inspirations for his show come from the performance of Penn and Teller and Harry Anderson. “These guys would perform the weirdest, most shocking kind of magic. They didn’t really care if they offended people.”

A Brush With Death gives Yeats a chance to explore and exploit his darker side. “[A Brush with Death fans] actually paid for the privilege for seeing something edgy and shocking or risky or dangerous.”

A Brush With Death, according to Yeats, is about playing with a type of entertainment that is normally taboo. “We will play with a little bit of gore and a little bit of blood, the concept of death, and contacting the dead.”

A Brush with Death - Photography by DMacStudios - Life of Elle Calgary

“We do dangerous and risky things – the sort of stuff where you’re suppose to say ‘Yea, don’t do this at home’ … the sort of things that could leave the performer maimed or injured.” The audience of A Brush with Death have a morbid fascination. It’s part of human nature: everybody has a bit of this morbid fascination.

Think about the phenomena behind car accidents. “I’m sure [bystanders] empathize with the family and people involved and are wishing the absolute best for those victims,” says Yeats, “but people slow down at a car accident just to get a glimpse of something scary”.

“[Fans] coming to the show don’t want me to get injured or hurt”, but there is a morbid piece of their personalities that is attracted to the dangers and taboos that A Brush with Death plays with.

The acts in A Brush With Death are more dangerous than those in a regular Yeats Magic Co. show. “I don’t bring knives to a Yeats Magic Co. show,” says Yeats, despite being portrayed above as a knife wielding entertainer. “But A Brush With Death may involve knives, swords, steel spikes, guillotines, large blades, and even fire arms. On the other hand, as a professional performer with decades of experience, I am rehearsing and planning every aspect of these shows to be safe for myself and for the audience.”

A Brush with Death - Photography by DMacStudios - Life of Elle Calgary

Guest Performer, Michael Berends – Oct 14, 2012 : A Brush With Death Show

“A Brush With Death is first and foremost a comedy.” Yes, there is gore, blood, and dangerous acts, but a twelve-year-old can come out to the show and enjoy it. “We allow minors as long as they are accompanied by an adult” and the adult knows that there will be some “mature” content at an A Brush With Death show.

An audience member should understand that everything in A Brush With Death is an illusion and that’s there is no real blood. “When you know that what I am doing is an illusion and that I’m not a freak who is slicing his arm open with a knife … I’m doing something [that looks very much real but] without any camera effects … that’s where the amazement and fun comes in.”

A Brush With Death is much more than just gory horror illusions. “We explore the fun in mystic energies, contacting spirits, and dangerous stunts. I don’t want you to see any REAL blood and gore in the show at all. It’s about having fun with Death.”

A Brush with Death - Life of Elle Calgary

Did you know?
A Brush with Death - Photography by DMacStudios - Life of Elle CalgaryElle of Life of Elle Calgary runs the sounds and music for the A Brush With Death shows.

Despite her involvement behind the scenes of the show, she is still sheltered away from the secrets behind the illusions of A Brush With Death. Only magicians are privy to the internal workings behind A Brush With Death.

“This is going to be our fourth year of A Brush With Death. This show is going to feature Jimbo Jordan, one of the top street performers in Calgary and a world-class busker.” He will be entertaining the crowd with some really interesting pieces involving the exploration and the entertainment of finding of his own pain threshold.

Ryan Pilling is one of the foremost comedy magicians in Western Canada.” He has lectured on Comedy Magic entertainment and has written a book – Finding the Funny – on Comedy Magic. This A Brush With Death show is a chance for Ryan to explore the darker side of magic – he will be exposing the tricks of fraudulent psychics for the entertainment of the audience.

A Brush With Death is a continually evolving experiment for me,” says Yeats. There are always new effects every show, but these pieces are experimental and the feedback from the audience is what Yeats uses to evolve the growth of A Brush With Death as a comedy, horror, and illusion show.

A Brush With Death is back at Fort Calgary for the June 14th show. “I’ve brought this show to many different venues in Calgary, but there a few things about Fort Calgary that I like.” The Burnswest Theatre of Fort Calgary brings the audience closer to the stage to build an intimate connection with the show and the performers. The theatre has the right distance for you to see all the freaky things happening on stage and see the performers’ expressions.

Yeats also loves Fort Calgary for its deep historical atmosphere. Just steps away from the theatre is the Deane House – one of the most haunted locations in Calgary. “I’m not a big believer in ghosts and evil spirits or anything like that, but if you wander around Fort Calgary when it’s late or quiet and you’re by yourself, you can’t deny that there is an atmosphere or energy in the area that is really conducive to the theme of a A Brush With Death.”

Show Information

A Brush With Death - Comedy Horror IllusionJune 14, 2013
Doors open at 7:30pm.
Show begins at 8:00pm. Approx 80 minutes.
Tickets: A Brush With Death

UPDATE: As of June 12th, A Brush With Death is 90% sold out!


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