Professional Whip Artistry Training & Entertainment

Professional Whip Artistry Training & Entertainment

  • Tag Archives Whips & Wands
  • Whips & Wands – A one-of-a-kind, comedic combo

    IMG_4386In 1993, Gery Deer and Jim Karns met while working at an engineering design center in Vandalia, Ohio. The two had a common friend, co-worker, Dan Shotwell, who happened to be talking with Gery about Gilligan’s Island when Jim overheard from a cubical next door and joined the conversation.

    While Gery remained with the design center only a short time, Jim stayed on but it was the start of a lifelong friendship and a future neither of the men could really know was about to happen. Gery, already a well-established whip artist, was performing all over the area and had been giving whip lessons for several years. Jim, an accomplished stage performer, had undertaken classic magic as his calling card. Over the years, Gery and Jim found ways of working together, both on and off stage.

    A few years later, it would be Jim who fabricated the famous “Zorro Candle Contest Board” used in The Whip Artistry Studio for practice on the famous competition – which no one ever won. He also later joined Gery’s family music and variety show, The Brothers & Co., as a bass singer, writer, comedian and magician.

    It wasn’t until 2007 that Gery and Jim first combined their talents into a show that featured only the two of them – Whips & Wands. Utilizing some of the most basic classic magic, they wrote new routines around them that included their comic timing, natural gift for stage banter and, most importantly, brought their two primary talents together – magic and whip artistry.

    wandwslideThe first show was, in a word, terrible. Trying to capitalize on their Brothers & Co. content, they included music, and separated the magic and whip acts into different parts. Each performer was on stage separately, unless they were singing, and it left audiences cold, to say the least. Add to that the fact that it was a 2-hour performance – far too long for anything of that kind – and you have a disaster, albeit one with a good deal of promise. They would keep trying and refining until they discovered that the funniest and most engaging of their shows kept both men on the stage as a comedy team. Sort of Abbot and Costello meets Indiana Jones and David Copperfield. It seemed to work.

    Years after that first performance, Jim and Gery would learn about another dynamic duo who combined their show for a time – Lash LaRue and Harry Blackstone, Senior. At a time when promoting a movie meant sending the actor on tour, Blackstone and LaRue teamed up to do a full stage show, separately but on the same bill. While Jim and Gery combine their work in a kind of “Martin & Lewis” package, Blackstone and LaRue kept their shows individualized, one playing after the other on the same stage at a showing of a feature film.

    whipsandwandsToday, Gery and Jim have refined their show into a 45-minute, high-paced family act that includes everything that made each performer popular in the first place. The music has been removed and now the show consists of a combination performance of whip artistry and magic, sometimes combined, but always in a funny context. There is plenty of audience participation and even one magic trick that no one even sees coming, making it a fantastic finale.

    Whips & Wands contains the full talent of Jim Karns (two-time IBM Ring 324 Magician of the Year) and Gery L. Deer, champion whip artist and one of the fastest and most accurate in the world. This is a one-of-a-kind show and this Christmas, it’s coming to Columbus, Ohio’s Franklin Park Conservatory for two performances on Sunday December 29, 11am and 2pm. The show is free with general park admission and great for the whole family!

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