The Fourth AnnualSpellbinders International Festival of Magic returns to Reno, Nevada, October 12th - 14th, with unbelievable, mind-boggling feats of magic taking place all over Northern Nevada, from the very biggest stage illusions to intimate close-up miracles, and everything in between. And it’s all free!

The Line-Up

Not just the usual suspects.

All acts may be subject to change without notice.

Alex Ramon National Stage Magic Champion
Dean Hankey Super Hero of Magic
Pop Haydn Certifiable Genius

Alex Ramon

Talk about living the dream. Alex Ramon developed a deep connection with magic when he was just 13 years old. Alex’s father took notice of his son’s natural talent for magic and bought him a 370-page magic book for Christmas that allowed Alex to take his talent to the next level. Ramon continued to refine his skills as an entertainer and entered his first competition at the age of 16. Alex won second place and began to make a name for himself as a talented magician in the San Francisco Bay Area. Seen as a popular and acclaimed magician, Ramon was asked to be the spokesperson for a popular, statewide library showcase. He could not turn this opportunity down as he had a strong connection with books; he learned the art of magic by reading. The teenage magician traveled across the state of California and performed more than 250 magic shows a year. Still in his teens, Alex won many top awards and honors for his phenomenal magic, including San Francisco Bay Area’s Best Stage Magician, the coveted Lance Burton Award, and was named National Stage Magic Champion by the World Magic Seminar in Las Vegas. At age 23 Alex became the first magician and the second youngest Ringmaster in the 139-year history of The Greatest Show on Earth® when Ringling Bros. chose him to star as the Magical “Zingmaster” in their show, “Zing Zang Zoom.” During his two-year tour Alex Ramon crisscrossed America performing in the largest arenas in the world, such as Madison Square Garden and The Staples Center, and brought smiles and wonder to people 10,000 at a time. In 2012 Alex took the next step and created his own full magic and illusion show, “Illusion Fusion,” at the Horizon Casino Resort and ran for over 2 years as the #1 attraction in Lake Tahoe, NV. He comes to SPELLBINDERS in the middle of a whirlwind tour just long enough to dazzle you and then be on his way.

Dean Hankey

Does this guy look familiar? That’s because he’s a fixture in Northern Nevada where he’s been performing his unique brand of prestidigitation for the past 30 years in casinos, theaters, fairs and trade shows. (His expertise at using magic to promote businesses as diverse as IBM and American Express has earned him the nickname of “The Marketing Magician.”) Dean also is known for the magic effects he’s created for other famous performers and that he sells to up and coming prestidigitators. He knows magic inside and out, and is frequently called upon to train non-magicians to perform on television and in the movies. Dean has appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX News and CNN beating the drum for his special niche using the principles that magicians employ to persuade the public that the impossible is possible. “Marketing gurus call these techniques ‘persuasion,” Dean says. “But, I call them the willing suspension of disbelief.” These are the same techniques Dean’s used for years at casino showrooms like Harrah’s, Peppermill, Bally’s and Hilton, entertaining huge groups of executives from Fortune 500 companies like Apple and Prudential Life. Those of you who are aficianados of melons no doubt will recognize Dean from years as the Master of Magic at the Fallon Cantaloupe Festival as well as his hypnosis show that was a staple of casino showrooms at Lake Tahoe.

Pop Haydn

Returning fans of SPELLBINDERS have learned that the Academy of Magical Arts is one of the most respected bodies of magical authority in the world. Many of the performers appearing in SPELLBINDERS have won a Gold Medal from the A.M.A., some have even been named Magician of the Year more than once. Pop Haydn, a Certifiable Genius by his own admission, has won more Gold Medals from the Academy of Magical Arts than any man, woman or invertebrate, alive. He has been named Magician of the Year an astounding seven times (and he shows no signs of slowing down.) This abundance of approbation may stem from the fact that he does not come from the 21st Century (which may give him a slight temporal advantage over his peers.) Pop insists that he is a time-traveller from the Victorian era, and his speech, manners, and attire give credence to this outlandish claim. Finding himself trapped in a modern age has not deterred Pop from making good use of his time. He has appeared on “Masters of Illusion” on the CW network and on the Discovery Channel, started a specialized school for magicians founded on his acknowledged mastery of con games, scams and swindles, and last year he ran for President as the candidate of the American Confidence Party promising to “outsource the Congress and the Senate to third world nations with cheaper politicians who are used to a much smaller scale of graft.” He is still awaiting a recount.

Misty Lee Wicked Witch of the West Coast
Shawn Farquhar Two Time World Champion of Magic
Michael Finney Comedy Magician of the Year

Misty Lee

Raised in Detroit near notorious 8-Mile, Misty credits her “school of hard knocks” upbringing as inspiring her macabre sense of humor and interest in the so-called “dark arts.” She began performing magic when she was just sixteen but was quickly disillusioned by the ever-shrinking costumes given to her by the local talent dispatch. She tried to swear off magic, but her Musical Theater and Improv backgrounds proved a fertile ground for magic. “It followed me,” Lee says. “Magic for me is like a tick – it dug right in, and it refuses to let go.” Misty’s no-nonsense approach to prestidigitation, her creativity, and her affinity for fearlessly speaking her mind has honed her career, and has won her both respect and friends among magic’s best and brightest. Misty moved from Detroit to Los Angeles in 2005. In 2011, Misty Lee became the first-ever female Staff Medium to perform the famed Houdini Séance at Hollywood’s Magic Castle. This summer Misty appeared on “Penn & Teller: Fool Us,” while prepping for the launch of her own full stage illusion show, “Bold Magic,” which opened to great acclaim in Los Angeles. Magic’s ‘Wicked Witch of the West Coast,’ Misty is also a professional vocal actress with extensive training in theater and Improv. She can be heard in an array of cartoons and video games, including Bioshock Infinite’s kid-killing Nanny, and Aunt May on Disney XD’s Ultimate Spider-Man. The only magician ever admitted into the Institute of Analytic Interviewing, Misty Lee underwent training alongside CIA, ATF and Scotland Yard agents with ‘Truth Wizard’ J.J. Newbury. Her mastery of Cognitive Interview techniques and skill for reading both Microexpressions and Body Language has enhanced her ability to deceive on stage and inspired her nickname of ‘Human Lie Detector.’ “Some people say it makes me Sherlock-ian and scary,” admits Lee with a grin. “I think it just renders me a bit annoying.” We’re positive SPELLBINDERS fans will find her irresistible.

Shawn Farquhar

This is one Neighbor from the North who may need to build an addition onto to his home to hold all his awards and trophies. He has won Magician of the Year twice from the Canadian Association of Magicians, the Grand Prix D’Honneur from the Pacific Coast Association of Magicians, and then-- as if he hadn’t won enough-- the International Brotherhood of Magicians awarded him both Stage Magician of the Year and Sleight of Hand Magician of the Year, making him the only magician in history to have won both world championships. (Just so he wouldn’t feel like a slacker, the Federation Internationale Societe De Magie awarded him Grand Prix World Champion of Magic at the proceedings in Beijing, China, in 2009.) He is a prolific creator of magic and, as evidenced by his many accolades, he is adept in many styles of magic. You may have seen him recently on “The Ellen DeGEneres Show” or “Penn & Teller: Fool Us,” where he did exactly as the title of the show instructed. He fooled both Penn & Teller so badly that they were laughing at themselves and wouldn’t even attempt to explain how Shawn had accomplished the magic that he performed. (You, of course, are more than welcome to theorize ad nauseum. Good luck with that.) Shawn returned to their show for a second appearance this year and fooled Penn & Teller again. Badly. Looked like Penn was gonna cry.

Michael Finney

This powerful World Champion comedy-magician began his performing career right nearby (albeit, a few years ago) when he was chosen to star in “Riding High” at Del Webb’s High Sierra in Lake Tahoe. He honed his chops in that show for a year and then spread his wings and he hasn’t touched down since. In no time at all he became one of the most in-demand comedy-magicians, appearing in casinos, on cruise ships and comedy clubs all over the world. Along the way he picked up two Gold Medals from the Academy of Magical Arts, including Comedy Magician of the Year, and another for the World Comedy Magic Act of the Year at the Desert Magic Seminar. He appeared on NBC’s “World’s Greatest Magicians” and “World’s Wildest Magic,” and was seen recently on the CW network’s “Masters of Illusion.” But, that wasn’t quite enough. Michael wanted to give something back to all the people who had given him so much. So he founded The Michael Finney Foundation to raise money for children’s charities and support military veterans groups like Hope for the Veterans. To date, Michael’s foundation has contributed almost $1,000,000 to a variety of charitable causes. Michael Finney is the archetypal Road Warrior of entertainment. He nevers stops giving back. He comes to us tonight after a successful tour of the Middle East where he was entertaining our troops in Kuwait as part of the Armed Forces Entertainment.

David & Dania Masters of the Quick Change
Michael Ammar Magician of the Year
Larry Wilson Master of Magical Madness

David & Dania

The mostly highly anticipated act of last year’s SPELLBINDERS returns again… for the first time ever. (Atmospheric conditions of epic proportions conspired to preclude their arrival in the Silver State.) We’re only going to say this once-- do not look away for even a second during David & Dania’s performance . Don’t blink, don’t sneeze, don’t rub your eyes-- or you’ll miss their lightning fast transformations that absolutely defy explanation. What they do is the closest thing you can get to a CGI video effect in real life. It is truly a mind-boggling thing to behold. And it ought to be. They’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on their original creations and then invested months and months of painstaking rehearsal to perfect it. They’ve performed for kings and queens, for presidents and politicians, and they’ve appeared on television scores of times from “America’s Got Talent” to Oprah Winfrey to Ellen DeGeneres. The reaction is always the same-- these famous celebrities are simply left speechless by David & Dania’s performance because they’ve never seen anything like it. That’s why Katy Perry reached out to them to help her perform a slew of fast costume changes during her recent tour. David & Dania were thrilled to work with her for months, teaching her some of their innermost secrets of Quick Change. Most recently, they appeared on the CW’s “Masters of Illusion” and Oprah had her crew follow them around for a week to include on her popular OWN network show, “Where Are They Now?” (We could have told her that-- in Reno for SPELLBINDERS Oct. 14th, 2017.)

Michael Ammar

At the turn of the millennium, Magic Magazine listed Michael Ammar as one of “The Most Influential Magicians of the Twentieth Century.” It’s no wonder, as Michael’s awards and achievements are unequalled in the world of magic. Competing against magicians from 22 countries, Michael became only the second American to ever win the Gold Medal for Close Up Magic at the Federation Internationale Societe du Magie (FISM) which magicians consider the Olympics of magic, in Lausanne, Switzerland. Since that time he has amassed numerous awards including six Gold Medals from the Academy of Magical Arts, and been named Magician of the Year at Tannen’s Magic Jubuilee for his extraordinary skills. He has performed for presidents and premiers, superstars and celebrities around the world. Michael appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and scored the highest ratings of the week. His legendary television appearances include two performances on the “Tonight Show,” as well as “Worlds’ Greatest Magic,” “Masters of Magic,””The World Magic Awards,” and “World’s Greatest living Magicians.” His reputation as a creator and teacher of magic has brought him to the attention of the very biggest magic performers in the world who regularly hire Michael to train them. These luminaries include David Copperfield, David Blaine, Criss Angel and Siegfried & Roy. Think about that for a second. This is the guy the very best magicians in the world go to when they want to learn they very newest, coolest, most challenging magic. That’s a lot of pressure. On the other hand, fans of SPELLBINDERS just have to show up and watch. That seems a lot easier. (And a lot less stressful.)

Larry Wilson

For the past three years, Larry Wilson has sneaked into the cast of SPELLBINDERS as the only performer without a Gold Medal to his name. Therefore, we take great pride in announcing that last November Larry Wilson was named 2017 Comedy Magician of the Year by the prestigious Forte Awards. To everyone’s astonishment Larry has been nominated in the same category once again this year. If he wins the title a second time does this mean he will have to be addressed as “Your Grooviness?” Not technically. (However, it’s always a good idea to err on the side of decorum.) The Forte Awards don’t take place until November so you’ll just have to wait breathlessly to find out if he emerges as the goat or the G.O.A.T. Since founding the nonprofit Education Renaissance of Nevada Initiative six years ago Larry’s relentless commitment to bringing arts and education to Northern Nevada has blossomed like a beautiful topiary to capture the imaginations of thousands of Northern Nevadans. SPELLBINDERS continues to be the flagship event of the nonprofit, and Larry hopes that he will not be upstaged once again by all these young whipper-snappers. Larry’s legendary assistants, The Flying Cavettis, with whom he has been nominated three times as Stage Magician of the Year by the Academy of Magical Arts, may, or may not, be appearing with him. Who can say really when dealing with elemental forces of nature such as the Flying Cavettis? We can guarantee that if you think you smell the Cavetti’s signature musk-like scent they are, no doubt, likely to be in close attendance. Consider yourselves warned.

The Where & When

Why? Because it's free, and it's magic.


Masters of Close-Up Magic - FREE!
Pop Haydn / Shawn Farquhar / Michael Ammar / Dean Hankey

These World Champions of Magic will be appearing at the following libraries in SIX different counties on Friday and Saturday. PLEASE NOTE: Showtimes are different at each library. Be sure to arrive early so you can get the best FREE seat.

Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts

The Gala Show - FREE!
Saturday October 14th

International stars of magic Alex Ramon, Michael Finney, Misty Lee, David & Dania, Shawn Farquhar, The Flying Cavettis, and Larry Wilson will appear at 3:00pm and 7:00pm. Tickets are available for free at a Washoe County Library near you. Just ask for them (in a whisper.)
Or CLICK HERE if you want to get them even easier.

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Spellbinders is brought to you by Education Renaissance of Nevada Initiative, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Feel free to make a donation HERE knowing that you are helping their mission to bring the arts and sciences to Northern Nevada. (Your donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.)
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