Live Entertainment During Covid19

Live Entertainment During Covid19

Let's Make Magic Happen

Close-Up Magic During Covid19

Let's Make Magic Happen

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hosting covid safe entertainment

Live Entertainment and Covid19 – How to Host A Party?

How do you host a party during Covid19 that is safe and fun? This question has come up a lot for those of us who perform.

As a “close-up” magician, I’ve had a lot of discussions with friends and clients about “safe entertainment” and entertaining during the Coronavirus. Let me share some of the solutions and ideas that have come up.

Can You Host A Safe Party During Covid19?

zoom magic show

How Do I Approach Performing at a
Party or Event?

I recently performed at a small family gathering, 18 people. Each of the 3 family groups had been isolating and they felt safe with each other. This is not always the case.
From my standpoint, I wanted to create a safe environment for all concerned, me included. So, how did we do that?

The Setup:

  • I cleaned all my props and sanitized them.
  • I used a new deck of cards that I opened in front of the guests.
  • I set up and performed from a table that was 6’ in front of the first row of guests.
  • All of us wore masks… including the kids.
  • I passed around a bottle of spray sanitizer and we all did our hands.
  • I checked with all the guests to make sure they felt safe and comfortable. There were no objections, yet if there had been we, as a group, would have worked to resolve them.

The Show:

If you have ever been to the Magic Castle in Hollywood, you have likely been to the Close Up room and Parlor Theater. I adopted a modified approach to this time-tested performance style.

I work from a table without any guest seated with me. I can bring someone up to shuffle the deck, choose a card, inspect coins. When the guest comes up, I simply scoot back a few feet to keep things safe.

The Magic:

I am fortunate to have performed at 1000’s of events and under a lot of circumstances, most recently during Covid19. This gives me options.

Much of the magic does not require spectators to touch things. Where it is necessary, I have sanitized the item. Since we all use sanitizer prior to beginning the show, things should be as rather safe.

The show is highly interactive, even without the usual contact. Guests will read each other’s minds, make objects travel in time, and lots of other impossible things. This is what differentiates my magic from most others…

Guests perform much of the magic versus the magician doing everything.

Conclusions About How To Host a Covid Safe Party.

During the past few months, we’ve learned a lot about how the Covid19 virus is transmitted. Most experts agree that if we take precautions, we can keep ourselves and others out of harm’s way.

As a performer, I am dedicated to maintaining my personal health as well as my audiences. Together, we can create magic on many levels and have some fun in the process.


Our Specialties

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What Gene Will Do For You

Gene will add moments of wonder and awe to your event. There is a reason so many party planners and hosts bring Gene in for their special events… Guests love him! He has a warm performance style and a way with people that is wizardry in itself. Top that with Gene’s incredible magic and you have entertainment that is like a fabulous desert… tasty and delicious.

Wedding Magic

“You made a magical night even more so. Thanks you!”

Ali Magic

“You made my sweet man happy. What a gift you have.”

Close-UP party magic

“Our guests couldn’t stop talking about you”

Magic Castle Fun

“You were a hit with our Magic Castle guests and members”

Get In Touch

Gene Urban

Santa Barbara, CA


What Is Magic?

What Is Magic?

An Essay

What Is Magic?

Challenging Our Cherished Beliefs

I am deep into a great book entitled The Magic Rainbow by Juan Tamariz. You are probably saying, Juan who? He is not a household name unless you are a magician.

If you are a magician, you would most likely have studied Tamariz. He is among the greatest teachers of our craft, a genius who provokes magicians and others to think, probe and doubt cherished beliefs about most everything. While reading The Magic Rainbow, Tamarez caused me to rethink the meaning of magic.

What is Magic… the old definition.

As you can imagine, that’s a question that comes up a lot in my world and work. Like many, I had adopted the classic dictionary definition:

The power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious forces,  a supernatural-phenomenon,

the use of trickery to make odd things happen.

Until recently, I had not given the “what is magic” question much brain space. Instinctively I knew I didn’t particularly appreciate how some perceive my craft. It can be a bit uncomfortable as exemplified during a recent experience in Maine.

While sitting at a sports bar in Damariscotta, Maine I showed the bartender a couple of tricks. Her response was not unusual: disbelief, bafflement, and perhaps a little fear.

The fear came out in her words… “You are the devil, get out of my bar.” I started to rise when she said, “I’m kidding, you don’t have to leave, but you are the devil.”

What is Magic… the Tamariz definition.

Most explanations of “Magic” are about the verb, not the noun, nor the feeling or experience. Tamariz has a simple definition that, to me, allows for more creativity and expression.

“Magic is the art of making the impossible, possible. 

It is an art that, at a symbolic level, allows the dreams of man to come true.”

As both man and magician, I prefer Tamariz’s characterization. It offers hope versus fear and extends the opportunity to everyone, not just makers of magic and graduates of Hogwarts.

The Power of Yes, of Intention

When I am working, I like to empower people, especially post Covid when so many people feel powerless. As an extension of Tamariz’s definition, I like to add the power of intention and yes to the equation. 

Years ago, my business coach introduced me to the concept of intention and goal setting. I found it to be a bit like magic. I claim something to be, set a strong intention and it happened. 

In my current work, I often as a spectator to perform the impossible by saying “Yes” to it. Can you read a person’s mind? Say yes. Can you make a coin vanish? Say yes. Can you do the impossible? YES!. 

The bottom line is they do make magic happen. It feels amazing and empowering for everyone involved.

Let Us All Make Magic Happen

Naturally, I use magical thinking to do wondrous things with playing cards, coins, words, watches, balls, cups, and thoughts. In my world, we challenge the word “can’t” and replace it with “how.”

I ask you to join me in magical thinking. Where can you make the impossible happen in your own life? Is there an obstacle you thought impossible? Pretend you are a magician and ponder how you can make the impossible possible.

Examine life’s roadblocks with the eyes of a person who makes magic happen. Perhaps you’ll see new opportunities and change a few “cannot” into “yes I can” moments.

Until we meet again, I wish you great moments of magic and wonder.

Gene Urban


what is magic
what is magic?

Magic Castle Cabaret Performer News & Info

Magic Castle Cabaret Performer News & Info

Post Note: 2021

The Magic Castle Cabaret is Currently Closed. There is no information about reopening.


Magic Castle Cabaret Performers Line-Up

November 15-18

Dave Cox

A veteran magician, Dave Cox will make you laugh while he fools you. If he looks familiar, you may have seen him on Masters of Illusion. 

January 22-25

Raven & Migz

Back for another run, Raven & Migz blend magic, mentalism and fun. 

Jan. 29 - Feb 1

Jon Armstrong

Jon is an actor and award-winning magician. He is sure to sell out his week at the Cabaret so make your reservation early. 

February 5-8

Richard Burr & Josette

A classic magical act that has entertained around the world. Richard is a Guinness Book record holder too. 

February 12-15

Chris Capeheart

Best known for his skill as a street performer, Chris brings a lot of talent and experience to the stage. 

February 19-22

Mark Haslam

Mark captured the hearts of Cabaret members last time he was here. His English grace sets him apart from the crowd. 

The Magic Castle Cabaret is a private members club. If you are not a member, and would like to visit this special place, there are ways.

As a member, Gene can offer you a guest pass or take you as his personal guest. Please feel free to contact him to explore one of these options. 805-729-8459 or

Naturally, if you are hosting a party, putting together a corporate event, planning a wedding reception, Gene Urban would love to make magic happen for you and your guests. Contact Gene today to check availability.

Contact Gene Urban

13 + 14 =

Magic at Satellite Wine Bar

Magic at Satellite Wine Bar

Magic at Satellite Wine Bar

It’s happening on Thursday Nights

Good news for magic lovers. There is magic at Satellite Wine Bar on Thursday nights from 6:30 to 9:30 pm.

The Satellite Wine Bar is located at
1117 State Street.

Santa Barbara magician Gene Urban has performed in 21 countries, is a performing member of the Magic Castle in Hollywood, CA and is now bringing magic to the Satellite Wine Bar.

Gene leads the fun with close-up magic and mentalism performed behind the bar and tableside.

“Gene is the real deal. Watch out though, your mind might just explode”
Satellite Guest
ABOUT GENE — Gene got the magic bug while attending UCSB. It never went away.

Gene specializes in close-up magic and mentalism. People say his magic is crazy good and the mentalism beyond explaination.

ABOUT SATELLITE WINE BAR — In a very short time, Satellite Wine Bar has made a lot of friends.

The proprietor, Drew Cuddy, loves wine, especially farm wines. Satellite is a farm to table to glass experience. The difference keeps people talking and coming back.

The food at Satellite is equally exceptional. Chef Emma West hand selects her ingredients from local farmers markets. From there, she adds her own magic.

“Drew’s wine journey began at age 15 with a trip to Italy, evolving into annual home-stays with Italian winegrowers each college summer. He’s enjoyed working on many small family-run wineries and across Italy, France, Spain and, most recently with Medlock Ames Estate Winery in Sonoma, California..”

Satellite Wine Bar

1117 State Street

Santa Barbara, CA, 93101

(805) 364-3043

Magic Castle Cabaret News Info February 2019

Magic Castle Cabaret News Info February 2019

I am excited to announce the latest Magic Castle Cabaret News for February 2019. It is great news!

I am told that Arlene and Company have satisfied the City’s requirements and are ready to bring even more magic to Santa Barbara. How better to do that than have a big Valentine’s weekend party with the festivities beginning on Wednesday the 13th and continuing into the night of the 16th.


Wednesday Feb. 13th

Wednesday will be a special party by invitation on with a sneek peak for the press, Angel members and a few others. It is sure to be a great night of magic, mingling and fun.

Valentine's Night

Valentine’s night will be our grand opening with one of Arlene’s famous parties. One of the top magicians in the World, Steve Valentine, will be astounding people with his unique style of magic. He is a real treat. In addition, there will be music, complementary champaign, a full no-host bar and light food faire. This is a special event so reservations are a must. Arlene has also made this a charity event with part of the proceeds going to Friendship House. Tickets for this special event are $150.00/person and open to members and their guests only.

Friday & Saturday Night

The doors will open at 5:00 pm on Friday and Saturday night to celebrate our grand opening weekend. There will be lots of magic happening with special cabaret style show at 7:30, 8:45 and 10:00 featuring the amazing Steve Valentine. Mark Collier will be doing bar magic and other special guests will be there to help you have a great night. Reservations are a must as we have limited seating and a lot of interest from members.

FYI: Santa Barbara Magician Gene Urban will be performing at the Magic Castle in Hollywood and not able to make magic happen at the Cabaret this weekend.

Magic Castle Cabaret News
The February Line-Up

The Magic Castle Cabaret will begin regular business hours after the Valentine’s Grand Opening week. Doors open at 5:00 pm on Wednesday-Saturday nights with closing time scheduled for 10:30.

For Reservations & More Cabaret Information Call

February 20-23

Cabaret members and guests are in for a treat as the MCC welcomes the magic of Andrew Goldenhersh.

A lot at his bio will tell you that Andrew is a world class performer.

Andrew is held in high esteem by his peers in entertainment, including Las Vegas superstar Lance Burton (who calls him a “genius”) and the world renowned David Copperfield (who licensed and performs one of Andrew’s signature routines). The celebrity list of whom Andrew has entertained includes Johnny Depp, Ringo Starr, P!nk, Sheryl Crow, Rod Stewart, Dustin Hoffman and Nicolas Cage.

Doors open at 5:00 pm and the fun continues till about 10:30 pm. Reservations are a must.

February 29th - March 2nd

The Cabaret’s featured perform will be Terry Lunceford, a Sand Diego based magician and regular performer at Hollywood’s Magic Castle. Here is a bit about Terry…

Terry Specializes in fast paced comedy where the audience members share in the magical experience. He is a master of Sleight of Hand, a skilled emcee, a television consultant, and an international lecturer.

Doors open at 5:00. 

Hope this update is as exciting for you as it is for me. If you have questions about the Magic Castle Cabaret, please call 805-854-0555 directly. 

I am excited about performing at the Cabaret too. I wish I could be there for the grand opening week, however I’ll be at the Hollywood Magic Castle performing that weekend. No doubt, I will be dropping by often and look forward to meeting and seeing you there. 

Do You Need Magic At Your Own Event, Adult Party, Wedding or Trade Show

If you are planning a corporate event or party, I’d be delighted to help make magic happen for you. I am based in Santa Barbara and available world-wide for your needs. Just drop me at line at or call 805-729-8459 for availability and pricing.