Tuesday, July 17, 2012 | 11:59 p.m.
While Robin Leach takes his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy, many of our Strip and Las Vegas personalities have stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. Our thanks to them all. We continue today with Flamingo headliner magician Nathan Burton, who has been globe-hopping for some interesting TV appearances.
It’s incredibly nice of Robin Leach to trust me to fill his shoes. How he conjures up each day what he does is beyond me because I didn’t just wave a wand to pull this out of the hat!
It’s been a big year for me; lots to fill you in on in addition to my thoroughly enjoyable Flamingo headliner residency run.
My international performing quota was filled this year with a trip to Shanghai to perform on the live finale of “China’s Got Talent.” As a veteran of “America’s Got Talent,” I was thrilled to be part of this international show, boasting the largest TV audience ever: 1.5 billion. That’s even more than the Super Bowl.
Filming live television is always a challenge, but filming the world’s largest TV show -- where no one spoke English -- was a whole different story. The non-glamorous side of this trip was the freezing stadium, the rigorous traveling and the constantly changing filming schedule. But I would do it again in a heartbeat. (Check out this video. Warning: It’s not in English.)
Another fun TV shoot we did was an episode of “Storage Hunters" in April. Without giving away too much, I can say that my role was as the “magic expert.” The man who purchased the unit was surprised to find something that possibly belonged to Houdini, and I helped verify whether his suspicions were correct. Watch the episode Aug. 5 on TruTV.
My favorite TV project of the year was taping an episode of “Coming Home" on Lifetime, which aired June 27 (check for reruns). I was honored to orchestrate a surprise reunion between two children and their father who had been serving in Afghanistan for the past year. The younger son, Isaiah, loves magic, so it was a perfect surprise for the family.
During my show at the Flamingo, I brought Isaiah and his sister onstage; they helped me make it “snow” over the audience. Then it was time for the final surprise, when I made a snowmobile appear -- with their father sitting on top of it! As you can imagine, my audience and I were in tears as the kids leaped across the stage into their father’s arms.
The look on their faces will stay with me for a long time. It’s the chance to help create such memories that gets me up in the morning and keeps me loving my job. And it was especially great to be part of such a worthwhile project: to do something for a military family who make so many sacrifices on our behalf.
In April, I had the pleasure of hosting the “Best in Show” charity dog show benefiting the Animal Foundation. The Animal Foundation is the country’s largest animal shelter and takes in an endless number of needy animals every day. I toured their facility and wanted to do something to help.
On the day of the event, my team and I got to hang out backstage with dozens of adorable canines, including my favorite, a beautiful St. Bernard. We then performed some illusions in the middle of Orleans Arena. Our grand finale was an appearance of none other than the distinguished Robin Leach.
We also have an exciting addition to my show at the Flamingo. This year, I teamed with the talented Armando Vera to create a “VIP Close-up Magic Experience” for our audiences. Audience members can upgrade their tickets for entry into an intimate close-up magic show at 3 p.m. before enjoying my show at 4.
Earlier this summer, I opened up a second show starring hilarious juggler Jeff Civillico, who has performed in my show the past few years; audience members are always asking for more. “Jeff Civillico: Comedy in Action” plays at 2 p.m. at Imperial Palace and is the most hilarious one-man show in town.
Being a Las Vegas entertainer is never dull and always fulfilling. I am incredibly lucky to be able to do what I love every day, and I thank you for allowing me to share my updates with you. Stay in touch on Twitter @NathanBurtonCM and NathanBurton.com. Or, best of all, come see my show “Nathan Burton Comedy Magic” playing daily at the Flamingo at 4.
Our thanks to Nathan for making magic not only onstage at the Flamingo but also here at Vegas DeLuxe. Be sure to check out our other guest columns today from chef Kerry Simon and Bettie Page fashion queen Tatyana Khomyakova and return Wednesday for Australian singers Human Nature, hair guru to the stars Michael Boychuck and chef Steve Martorano.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
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Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.