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The Month Ahead

What to see, read and listen to in November

Five shows to help you cope with the torments of autumn

For a few misguided souls, November is a time to don cozy sweaters and bask in the technicolor explosion of fall foliage. For the rest of us, it represents, well, itchy sweaters and dead leaves. Fortunately, November also happens to be a great month for concerts.

Coldplay’s barnstorming tour in support of their album Mylo Xyloto wraps up this month with dates in New Zealand and Australia.

• Seminal grunge-mongers Pearl Jam continue their U.S. tour, heading from the Southwest to Florida, with Glen Hansard (the incurably heartsore Irish troubadour from the hit movie Once) in tow.

Green Day‘s touring rock opera American Idiot does a monthlong run in England, while legendary metal band Motörhead will do 10 U.K. shows with fellow headbangers Anthrax.

• Finally, Dweezil Zappa, son of weirdo musical genius Frank, will be performing his father’s work this month in venues across Western Europe.

(Did we mention all of these shows will be safely indoors?)


A British master magician reveals a few sleight mishaps

This month Simon Drake will deliver the marquee lecture at London’s International Magic Convention. One of the U.K.’s more illustrious illusionists, Drake was the star of the hit British show “The Secret Cabaret” and now runs Simon Drake’s House of Magic, a sprawling London entertainment complex. He has also worked with a slew of high-profile clients, from Richard Branson to Ringo Starr; however, not all of these ventures have gone smoothly.

Opening at a Peter Gabriel concert in London, 1980: “I missed my footing and fell through a hole in the stage. The audience thought I had just vanished into thin air. There was a huge reaction. I hadn’t vanished but instead landed on the base of my spine on a scaffold bar in the orchestra pit. I eventually came back onstage, having found a ladder at the side, only to find roadies with flashlights looking down the holes.”

Advising on the Nicolas Roeg film Castaway (which involved coaching famously hard-living actor Oliver Reed in sleight of hand), 1986: “Oliver’s entourage included, among other red-nosed comrades, a farmer who drank away his farm. Trips to the dreaded ‘cider shed’ entailed having to sip cider, which was like brandy and had mold floating in it. Oliver insisted you drink it, and he was a hard man to argue with. The tricks I had to teach him involved palming cards, coins and other objects. However, my best trick was the waterproof ‘poacher’s pockets’ I made inside my jacket, which I would chuck the cider into while Oliver wasn’t looking. I literally squelched when I walked.”

Co-starring in Iron Maiden’s “Raising Hell” TV special, 1993: “We put [lead singer] Bruce Dickinson in a huge, iron maiden-style torture device. His hair got caught in a hand-cranked worm drive, even after repeated warnings to keep his head to the other side. This resulted in an egg-size bald patch. But in time it grew back and Bruce held no hard feelings.”  NOV. 17

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