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.

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


Magic Castle Cabaret Performer News & Info

Magic Castle Cabaret Performer News & Info

Magic Castle Cabaret Performer News and Info

The new Magic Castle Cabaret is open and thrilling people with great performers and decor that blends a bit of Disney with Hogwarts. As one who is often seen adding a bit of magic at the Cabaret, I couldn’t be more delighted by the line-up of performers. Below is a look at Magic Castle Cabaret performers taking the stage in the coming weeks.

I try and get to the Cabaret 1-2 nights a week to add some closeup magic before or after the main show. I hope to see you there!

For Reservations & More Cabaret Information Call


Magic Castle Cabaret Performers Line-Up
September 2019

September 11-14

Mark Collier

Mark has been delighting audiences in Santa Barbara for years with his comedy and great magical skills. He will make you laugh while bamboozling you.

September 18-21

Hannibal & Chef Anton

Cabaret members and guests are in for a treat. Hanibal is a special performer and this week he’ll be mixing it up with the Chef. It will be very entertaining!

September 25-28

Joan DuKore

To make it as a lady magician playing the strip in Las Vegas says you have tenacity and skills. Joan has both. 


Lot’s fo fun is in store for Members in October, including Arlene’s week-long Halloween Bash. Make your
reservations early. 

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 Gene@SantaBarbaraMagic.com

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

3 + 10 =

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 Gene@SantaBarbaraMagic.com or call 805-729-8459 for availability and pricing. 

Magic Castle Cabaret News & Update – November 2018

Magic Castle Cabaret News & Update – November 2018

Magic Castle Cabaret News & Update

November 2018

Gene Urban
Santa Barbara based magician and Magic Castle performer

 Magic Castle Cabaret
News and Updates

Are you looking for the latest Magic Castle Cabaret news & updates? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

I visited the Magic Castle Cabaret this week and talked to Arlene Larson about what’s happening.

Below is the latest news about this amazing addition to the Santa Barbara area.


I am always impressed with Arlene Larson’s positive and upbeat attitude. As you may have read in a previous article, the Magic Castle Cabaret is temporarily closed as the Larson’s work with the City of Santa Barbara to meet some building requirements. Nothing serious, yet the hoops and paperwork can be daunting.

They will be meeting with some officials in early November to learn more and complete the final requirements. Since they have not met yet, I can not give you a timeline of when the place will reopen. I can tell you it will be worth the wait.


The organ pictured to the left is one of many sweet items that adorn the Cabaret and add to the amazing ambiance of the place. 

Magic Castle Cabaret News & Updates  November 2018

The construction crew is very busy these days. Members and guests are sure to appreciate all their hard work including:

  • They are busy building out the show room, refinishing the wood floors, hanging frilly wall paper, building custom booths and adding lots of fun items to make it spectacular.
  • The Cabaret will have a special gift shop too. Arlene combed through pictures of European castles and mansions to get ideas for the space. I can only say it is looking fine!
  • Milt has been collecting chotskies from various Hollywood movie sets for years. The gang is adding these items to the place giving more fun things to enjoy.
  • After the gang finishes more interior work they will complete the new patio.
  • Members received their new membership cards this past week too.

FYI: Arlene has been getting lots of inquiries about booking the Cabaret for private events. She can’t do much until they re-open, but keep it in mind for 2019.

Thanks for taking the time to read this Magic Castle Cabaret News & Updates article. I am anxious for the place to reopen so we can start making even more magic happen in Santa Barbara.

If you have questions about membership information, please call 805-845-0555.

Best to you,

gene urban magic castleGene Urban… exceptional magic & mentalism
Available Worldwide