by Jim Spencer and Shirley Lorraine
Five world class professional entertainers will materialize on stage in the ballroom of Oxnard’s River Ridge Residence Inn at 8 p.m. on Saturday, January 30 to present a rollicking evening variety show filled with comedy, magic, ventriloquism, laughter, puppets and surprises. And the public is invited.
The show caps off the third annual, four day, international convention of variety artists held each January in Oxnard. It is known as KAX. The title comes from combining the first letters of the co-sponsors’ names – KIDabra International and Axtell Expressions of Ventura (K+AX = KAX).
Attending the conference will be magicians, comedians, ventriloquists, jugglers and other entertainers from all parts of the globe. They gather to learn the latest tactics, tips and techniques to further their individual success as professional, family friendly entertainers.
The gala show at the end of the conference is where the best of the best perform for their peers. But the hosts are throwing open the doors to this part of the otherwise closed conference so the public can enjoy the talents of these world class entertainers.
The gala will showcase the talents of a cast drawn from the ranks of acclaimed international variety artists. From England serving as Master of Ceremonies will be award winning magician Jimmy Carlo. Other participants include Jay Johnson, humorist and ventriloquist, whose Broadway hit, The Two and Only, garnered a Tony Award, plus MAGIC icon Stan Allen from Las Vegas. Former Ojai residents Dave and Shania Brenion will share their innovative, colorful and nifty approach to the entertaining attributes of balloons. From New Jersey, the comedy magic of Christopher T. Magician will round out the play bill.
Admission to the show is only $15 for adults and $5 for kids under 13. Tickets for the show are available at the hotel KAX registration booth Friday and Saturday, and at the door.
KAX cohost KIDabra International is a world-wide association of kid show and family performers. Its membership includes magicians, ventriloquists, jugglers and all types of variety performers who focus on AAA performances – Always Age Appropriate. KAX is a midyear edition of the conference KIDabra has been presenting for over 20 years on the East Coast.
Axtell Expressions, the other co-host, is the alter ego of Steve Axtell, who many consider to be the creative successor to the Muppets’ Jim Henson. For decades Axtell has been creating puppets, ventriloquist figures, illusions and animatronic characters for entertainers around the globe. The opportunity to tour his magical Ventura based studio is one factor that keeps drawing world class performers to the KAX convention each year.
For more information go to www.kidabra.org/kax/gala.