By R.A. Dyer
Like Old West gunfighters, veteran magicians Michael Kaufman and Arsene Dupin dueled on stage in December: each one-upping the other with ridiculous rope tricks, eye-popping sleight of hand, dangerous knives and more.
Although Kaufman and Dupin typically perform separately, the longtime friends polished off their dueling magicians bit as a special holiday gift to Assembly 206. Their Battle Royale was the main attraction during the Austin club’s 2016 holiday banquet. Kaufman and Dupin appeared together as “The Mouth Brothers.”
“It was hilarious — I couldn’t stop laughing,” said one front-row guest. “What a bunch of goofs. The magic was great. It was really, really funny.”
There’s no dialogue in the Mouth Brother’s 35-minute bit. Instead, the magicians produce mouth loads, magically link and un-link ropes, make balls appear and disappear and even move onto illusions — all in silent pantomime. Kaufman, also known as Magical Mystical Michael, assumes the persona of the brash challenger. Dupin is the curmudgeonly veteran.
Kaufman and Dupin have been friends or more than 30 years, having first met during Abbott’s Get Together Convention in Colon, Michigan. Both are seasoned street performers, but they also have appeared at corporate events, on TV, at renaissance festivals and in comedy clubs. They’ve performed both on national stages and on those worldwide.
But their Mouth Brothers dueling magicians bit is a rarity. The December banquet show marked only the second time they’ve performed it publicly. The first was about three years ago, when they entered into a Central Texas magic contest.
“We just practiced a couple of hours and then we won,” recalled Dupin.
They also won the crowd during their December performance.
“I love the Mouth Brothers,” said another spectator. “I hope we get to see more of them.”
In other news: Will Mannis, the Assembly 206 sergeant at arms, was awarded the SAM Presidential Citation during the holiday banquet. Will has been a tireless leader for Assembly 206, having helped direct the club for several years. He’s also been involved in several magical productions in Austin, including the annual Magic at the Capitol presentations. He received the citation for his outstanding service to SAM and to the magic community at large.
The hard work of treasurer Tammy Dietz also was recognized during the banquet. Tammy was the main force behind the always successful potluck event, which is a perennial highlight of the Austin magical calendar.
A new slate of officers for Assembly 206 also were elected. They are President R.A. “Jake” Dyer, Vice President Albert Lucio, Vice President Dan Page, Secretary Steve Farmer, Sergeant at Arms Will Mannis and Treasurer Tammy Dietz.