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We all have heros.


People we look up to. People we respect. People we wish to learn from.

Good things, bad things. Good people, bad people

My Name is Meraux Dantes. For those of you who do not know me, I am a New Orleans native. I have done magic since I was eight years old. I have been performing professionally for roughly eight years. I remember seeing Bill Malone’s Sam the bellhop, and Rene Lavand’s It can’t be done any slower and saying to myself, “ That is what I want to do for the rest of my life.” Gazzo has also been a very big influence in my life as well. I first heard of Gazzo at a very young age. My father, a vagabond who was no *** good, but he would tell me stories of a magician he saw in his travels that would do these amazing things. Magical things. vanishing soccer balls and producing large oranges from cups that were too small, and huge melons from underneath his hat.

I now make my living and support my family with this deck of cards.

One day I was surfing on the web here and came across Gazzo’s site, beathecheat.com. I saw the contact number. Decided against it. Then decided against that too and thought... “ What the Hell?”

I had the sand to dial it up. I got an answering service and I left a message.

I got a call back from’em one day a few weeks later and we talked for about an hour or so. We spoke of kings and queens and many things. Towards the end of the conversation I said that I was going to be coming to Key West and wanted to know if he may want to get some coffee or a drink or something. Gaz paused for a moment and said, at the end of the month he was going to be leaving for England, That he was going to give the cups and America, a much needed and long break. Disappointed and a bit shocked, I let Gaz know my disappointment but thanked him for all he had done and overcome and that he was appreciated. I was then told that in a week he was meeting with one other guy to teach the cups and balls and that the invitation was open if I wanted to make the journey down.

Without question, I packed my **** and got outta dodge.

When I met Gazzo, It was 11 O clock. I was sitting outside of Sippin’ coffee shop. My coffee in hand, I watch the dark blue Torrent pull up in a spot. He walks over and shakes my hand. He grabs a coffee and we sit and talk for a bit waiting for the other gentleman, Brandon was his name. I tell Gazzo why I am there and how I know of him. The coffee shop bell rings and Brandon walks up. We all shake hands and I offer to buy Brandon a tea. Chai drinker. Nice Guy, from Ireland. He had only done magic as a hobby. Had heard about Gazzo from some friends who had worked in the Renaissance Festival circuit. Brandon was tired of working with a partner and wanted a solo show and was told that Gazzo could help. We talked for a while and decided to meet tomorrow morning at 10am.

I spent the night with a Gentleman named Burt. Nice Guy that reminded me of my old man, ‘cept skinny and short. I went to sleep to the playing of Burt jazzin’ the blues on his electric guitar, reminded me of New Orleans. I was on the floor of a lovely house, in 108 degree heat , hotter than two hells due to the Burt not wanting to turn the air on. But, I was just thankful for the room. I woke up the next day with my sinuses killing me. My nose bled for about 5 minutes. I quietly showered, got my clothes on and walked out to my car. Gazzo was pulling in the driveway. I walked up to the driver side door and Gaz, asked if I wanted to get breakfast.

We ate at a place called The Banana Café. I met an old friend who had moved to KW and she waited on us. She was awful. Our order was completely wrong. But, it was funny to watch Gazzo try and straighten it out.

I have to be honest. Gary Osborne, is nothing like Gazzo. Gazzo is the quick witted insulting British comedian from across the pond. Gary Osborne is about the complete opposite. Although, funny and still quick witted, Gary is very much a listener. A people watcher. He very much likes to hear what you have to say, If you have any spot of intelligence. He plays chess and has a very high interest in boxing. Osborne is a very strategic thinker.Osborne is a good friend. Someone you would to get coffee with. I am happy to know them both.

The days were, Breakfast at 9am, we would work and get drilled till around 6 or so. Worked all day, all night. We would break for lunch and coffee. Gazzo was very “easy peasy.” schedule wise, Yet firm, and got down to business with sleeves rolled up when appropriate.

Day One, We started with the intro to the props. After getting aquatinted with the balls and cups we dove into the first vanish. We didn’t even put on our pouches until the third day. We drilled hard on the vanish and the removal and display of the balls. Pacing and projecting your magic. Presenting. You would be surprised how hard it is to, one at the time, remove, display, place down, remove, display, place down, hold out, remove, display, place down and then vanish fricking ball. All that took a whole day. An then time after the lesson on our own, over and over and over again, an then half the second day. Put we can do it no problem now *** it.

Day two, we reviewed the vanish. Again. and Again. Then we worked on tipping the balls in the hand and then vanishing them. Projection and Presenting. Chest height, not waist, head up, smile, communicate, display. Have fun.

Day three. We worked on part two of the routine. After the balls vanish and reappear under the cups. We worked on steals and false loads, wand spins, cup management, prop management on the table, wand placement, short and long distances. Cup gags, line gags, gag gags, body movement, body placement, body language, too much? Not enough? Concealments, really transferring them ball, false transferring the ball.Project, Present, Display. When you messed up, you started over. If you forgot where you were, you started over. If you remembered and did alright, you stated over. It was great.
That night Gaz and I went and pick out our fruit for the next. It was wonderful.

Day four, Another review. Every day was a review. Now we started to piece it all together. Don’t lift the load to the cup, don’t move the hat yet. Move the hat now, step forward, relax now, cup placement, wand placement, finger movement, ball concealment, body language, be personable. We touched on the tossed out deck, spoke over the egg bag, three card monte, fast and loose, the cups, locations to work, the top change, the zarrow shuffle, hat lines crowd building, project, present, and display.

We drilled on foundation more than anything. With a weak foundation, you are weak, and will always fall.

We went on to finishing the whole routine over the rest of the week.

Project, Present, display.

Pace, timing, body language.

Where you look they look.

Basics. All day, All night.

Gazzo’s teaching abilities are incomparable. The lessons taught, were learned and will remain engrained in my mind and muscle memory when performing. The way he communicates his points and reasonings are adapted so that you “personally” can understand. Brandon and I are very different people and when Gazzo used and analogy to communicate a point he used two, one that pertained to me and Brandon both personally.

Funny story,

Every now and then we would head into town for supplies with Gazzo. Well, Gaz would just leave the keys I the ignition with the doors unlocked as well as the windows down too. Now, I come from Louisiana, were we keep a very sharp eye out for that kind of thing... Brandon thought it was crazy too.
We vocalized our concerns to Gazzo, who didn’t seem to think no one would want to steal his brand new 2008 rent a car. Well, while on the hunt for soccer balls, Gazzo parked and went into the shop, Brandon and I hadn't ate yet and went into a sandwich shop. Now when I came out Brandon was sitting in the car, I came up to the door and the light bulbs went off.
“ Do you think he’d get ****ed?” Brandon asked.
“ Shiiiit... Yeah. Yes, he would. Prolly”. I answered.
I grinned and looked at Brandon.
“ Get out of the car.” I said.
Brandon laughed and wrapped up his sandwich. I drove the car all the way around to the back of the building. I came back around to see Brandon sitting on the sidewalk. As I walked up Brandon asked, a bit tongue and cheeked, yet slightly concerned. “ Do you think he left us?” I grinned and said “ I dunno, I don’t think so. Didn’t he go to that shop...” Blah ze Blah... 10 minutes later, Gazzo walks out of the shop and asked a very a “matter o factly “ where the car was.
We didn’t know. We thought he had left. We searched for 20 minutes for the car, arguing with him that he should have locked the doors. Brandon and I holding it in less and less, Gazzo finally made his way around the building and found the car. We laughed hard. We told him that the other car was better but this would do we guessed. Gazzo, laughed... in a “ I’ll get you back, when you ain’t looking.” kinda way. He loved it.
... he hates me.

Many more stories came from this trip.

I learned more than I ever thought I would, I had the time of my life and I very grateful.

A childhood dream came true for me. Gazzo’s lessons will last longer than one of his hand made poacher’s pouches.

Gazzo, is unfortunately back in Europe now. He now is performing a new street show with partner Billy Kidd. I wish them the best of luck...

Thank you Gazzo. You are appreciated. More than you know.

I mean that.


S.A.N.C.T.U.M Chapter 18

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Lawrence O
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Nice story. Encounters with people whose work we have love for is always moving. You told a simple story in an nice way and served well your heroes as you made me feel knowing their magic better.
Magic is the art of proving impossible things in parallel dimensions that can't be reached
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Profile of MDantes
Thank you Lawrence.
S.A.N.C.T.U.M Chapter 18

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Profile of isaacfawlkes
Great story

I have known Brandon for a few years while he was working Ren fairs. He is a great guy. I hope both of you are putting the invaluable knowledge that Gazzo imparted upon you to good use.

As a street worker he is a master.

If you see Brandon Tell him that I said Hi

Isaac Fawlkes

Bill Palmer
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I don't know Brandon, but he sounds like someone I would like to know. I do know Gazzo. You did the right thing. Never be afraid to contact someone. The worst they can do is say no.

And most people are willing to say yes.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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Profile of NurseRob
Great Story MD!! I hung on every line, wondering how incredible it would have been to have Gazzo work on your C&B routine. Truly a once in a lifetime chance. I would seriously soil me britches just to see the man perform in person, much less spend some time learning from him. Thanks for sharing your experience, sounds like Gazzo is one helluva good guy, very cool!
Ut imago est animi voltus sic indices oculi ~
The face is a picture of the mind as the eyes are its interpreter ~Cicero
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Profile of MDantes
He is one of a kind.

He spoke highly of you Bill, Mentioned you a few time and how you guided me a bit.

I will tell Brandon hello for you Isaac.
S.A.N.C.T.U.M Chapter 18

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