By Dianne R. Davis
Photos by Dianne R. Davis or Burt Davis unless otherwise indicated.
Dirk Arthur Brings “Wild Magic” Back to Vegas
Remember the days of Siegfried and Roy and their majestic tigers? Now Vegas is about special effects and laser lights. Most of the magic is slight of hand smaller tricks. Good news. Dirk Arthur Wild Magic is now playing in the Westgate Theater. The tigers are back along with some giant magic tricks.
Dirk Arthur and Snow Leopard
Photo courtesy of Dirk Arthur
The requisite dancing girls open the show and reappear in skimpy costumes throughout the show. Not too skimpy for the kids who are sure to love this production, but it is Vegas and they segue between the large tricks. There is fire, there are tigers, there is magic. A few birds and a duck. Yes, a duck. And what's a duck without an Affleck joke. Things appear and disappear as do the animals.
The old standards like the straight jacket escape are included. The scarf acrobatic number is sure to delight those who haven't seen this new Vegas standard act. And Dirk disappears and shows up in the audience. Standard fare, but enjoyable as we still haven't figured out how any of this is done.
Dirk Arthur and Shabba
Photo courtesy of Dirk Arthur
Dirk Arthur isn't new to Las Vegas. He has performed here on and off through the years. His stage persona is pleasing, the ladies are fine, but of course the real stars are the tigers. And a leopard as well. Dirk uses the platform of his show to talk about the animals and it is clear that their well-being is a priority to him.
The magic is not just about the animals. It is big magic with a disappearing car at one point and a helicopter that appears later on in the show. The show is enjoyable and suitable for all ages. It runs Monday through Saturday at 4:00 p.m. In the International Theater at the Westgate.
Kevin Lepine's show, Hypnosis Unleased opens at Binion's on October 9, 2015.
A special area has become his morphed into the Lepine-Goldman Theater where he and his audience volunteers will entertain as people react to his hypnotic suggestions. This reporter caught up with the high energy performer for a few questions.
Dianne Davis: When did you first get interested in hypnosis?
Kevin Lepine: I was always interested in it. Probably since seeing Ben Kenobi use the force.
DD: How did you study, learn?
KL: When I was 20 I was accepted into the Michigan Holistic Health Centers Hypnotherapy course.
How did you come to performing in Vegas? Where did you start and what were the steps?
KL: I had a six month - one year offer to do corporate events here in Vegas. In that time frame I met Michael Johns who started Hypnosis Unleashed years ago. I was brought in as a fill in, then with his guidance I was given my own night, Thursdays, when Hypnosis Unleashed was at the Harmon Theater. By the time the Harmon closed Michael and I were splitting nights. Michael decided to move on to other ventures and allowed me to carry the Hypnosis Unleashed name forward. I was able to open at Hooters and stay there for three years until I got the option to come to Binions.
DD: Your last show in Las Vegas at Hooters was decidedly raunchy. Will that tradition continue?
KL: Oh yes! Always adult and twisted fun. Yet I always make sure my volunteers are never embarrassed or humiliated.
DD: What makes a good hypnotist?
KL: It isn't just about hypnotizing people. It's about understanding and caring for your volunteers. Being able to read the volunteers perfectly to find your superstars for the night. Keeping all of them safe and comfortable while entertaining the audience. It's a bit tiring!
DD: Will participants do anything that they will be sorry about later?
KL: Never! I need them to have the time of their lives. If they have fun then their friends want to come back and try it too. If I take advantage of them or they regret the experience then no one is coming back.
DD: Who should volunteer to be hypnotized?
KL: Anyone. Being hypnotized for 45 minutes is like taking a three hour nap. We go through phases of hypnosis in our day to day lives every day.
DD: s there anyone who should not volunteer to be hypnotized?
KL: It's safe for everyone, but you do move around on stage and I need you to be able to clearly understand me. So no one with heart problems, medical conditions, pregnant or to drunk to understand me!
DD: Who should see your show?
KL: Everybody and two of their friends! It is an 18+ show because I do use adult language, I create some adult situations. No one ever gets naked but I do say f**k a lot.
DD: How is the relationship between you and other hypnotists in Las Vegas? Friends? Competitors? Is there room for all?
KL: It's great. Anthony Cools and Marc Savard have been great friends. We go to lunch and all talk regularly.
DD: What sets you apart?
KL: My energy and my stand-up background. I was dubbed the Rock Star of Hypnosis because of how I conduct the show. It's very fast paced with stand up added into the hypnotic fun.
DD: What are your goals when you get on stage?
KL: To make everyone feel that they were part of the experience. My audience has given me their time, their vacation time. I want them to feel it was well spent.
DD: Are there specials for locals?
KL: Locals are always half off at the box office.
DD: Your assistant is lovely. Is she related to you?
KL: My main assistant is the incredible Emily Lauren. I met her when we started working together three plus years ago. We started dating two years ago and she agreed to marry me next year. I am also lucky to be able to work with the incredibly talented Erica Van Lee and Norma Wood when Emily isn't available.
DD: We know you are Lepine. But who is Goldman?
KL: I'm adopted. Ten years ago I decided to find my birthparents. My father, Howard Goldman, always had a love for hypnosis. We became close very quickly. His family and my family have blended on many levels. He also helped me understand the business side of my life way more then I can explain. So to thank him and celebrate him in my life I added his name to the theater as well.
DD: Why did you select Binions for your show.
KL: Binions is one of the original 'Vegas' casinos. the Steakhouse is great and the BBQ restaurant is unreal! You can get your picture with a million dollars. Its a great place to be. I'm excited to be a new chapter in it's incredible story. The reason the show is at 8:30 p.m.is so everyone can come down to the Fremont Street experience, see the light show, check out the nightly street party and come see classic Vegas before and after the show.
DD: Where can the public get tickets?
KL: Binions box office or Binions.com.
DD: Thanks Kevin. I know how much fun the show is and how it is different every time because the audience changes. I'm looking forward to seeing it again.
Dianne R. Davis and Kevin Lepine
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn