Archive for the ‘Tour’ Category

Lady Houdini video

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Lady Houdini promo video featuring Kristen Johnson aka The World’s Premier Female Escape Artist. The Lady Houdini show is a completely self contained production that plays great outdoors or inside. The touring show provides it own stage, 30 foot tall truss tower for a thrilling aerial stunt, enough sound reinforcement for 1500 people, outdoor rated, waterproof LED lighting and of course Kristen’s infamous Full View Water Torture Cell. The Lady Houdini production is great for Fairs, Festivals, Colleges, Corporate Events, Churches, Music Festivals & Sporting Events.

The great escape: Lady Houdini at the ECA Fair

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

JOHN D. RUSSELL, Morning News
FLORENCE, S.C. — Some of us try to escape aspects of our lives.

Kristen Johnson makes a living of it.

Johnson, known more commonly by her stage name, Lady Houdini, is bringing her escape show throughout the week at the Eastern Carolina Agricultural Fair.

And similar to her namesake, famed illusionist Harry Houdini, she makes her bones with a water torture routine. Unlike Houdini, though, she does not cover the water tank with a curtain, instead showing the 140-gallon tank in full view, eliminating skepticism.

Once submerged in the water, she escapes from handcuffs, chains, leg irons, shackles, chains and locks, all the while holding her breath for more than three minutes.

“Sometimes we run the risk of people thinking it’s easier than it is because we make it look easy,” she said. “It’s a constant mind battle, holding my breath isn’t the hard part. It’s a psychological thing of being locked in the cell and not panicking.”

Although Johnson has only been an escape artist for 13 years, she already has surpassed Houdini’s 1,000 rumored water torture cell escapes. The waters, however, haven’t always made for smooth sailing.

She went unconscious twice, once while performing for the halftime show of an National Basketball Association game. Her body shut down due to a hypoxic seizure caused by lack of oxygen.

“The lights go out and you don’t remember anything,” she said. “I think out of more than 1,100 attempts. Two failures isn’t too bad.”

Her entry into being an escapologist started when she wanted to play a more active role in her husband’s illusion show. She was his assistant and soon felt the desire to be a more equal partner.

Today her husband, Kevin Ridgeway, keeps the show going between her escapes with his interactive mind tricks.

He said being together 24/7 is a blessing for both of them.

“She’s truly the star of the show and I have no problem with that,” he said. “I’m always concerned. Fortunately I know how hard she trains and is always prepared. There’s a big trust factor, and I know she’ll be prepared for what she has to do.”

Feature story on NPR News on Kristen Johnson aka Lady Houdini

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Lady Houdini’s Escape Acts Breaks
Through Not Just Handcuffs

Kristen Johnson is no “lovely” magician’s assistant. She’s Lady Houdini, an escape artist who has successfully performed thousands of public feats and has broken Harry Houdini’s record for most water escapes ever.

“Kristen Johnson is currently the only female anywhere in the world attempting the water torture cell,” says her husband, magician Kevin Ridgeway, to an audience at the Western Idaho State Fair in Boise. “Additionally, she is the first person in history — male or female — to ever attempt this escape in full view.”

Johnson calmly walks onstage, slips off her heels and climbs the ladder to the top of a clear cylinder.

The grandstands go quiet as Ridgeway shackles his wife’s ankles and wrists. Two heavy metal chains crisscross her torso, locked in place with four padlocks. Lady Houdini puts her feet in the chilly water. She closes her eyes and begins to breathe deeply. And with a final breath, she plunges into the water.

Johnson pulls a bobby pin from her hair and begins to work on getting the handcuffs off. After nearly three minutes Johnson has picked every lock and freed herself from the chains.

“The world’s premiere female escape artist — give it up for Kristen Johnson!” Ridgeway exclaims.

Johnson first publicly performed this escape in 2003. She’d spent a year preparing. She practiced picking locks, and she worked with a dive master to slow her heart rate and hold her breath.

“I use a shallow water free diving technique where I take a number of breaths so I can take in more oxygen and oxygenate my blood,” Johnson says.

Johnson became an escape artist after taking a break from her job at a Fortune 500 company to help her mother run an entertainment business. It was during that time she met Ridgeway. He wanted to put together a show and he really wanted her to be in it.

“I am not a dancer. I’m not graceful. I’m not Vegas showgirl, that’s not me,” she says.

She envisioned being an equal partner.

“It was important for me to be a strong example for young women in particular, so I thought I would do something most women don’t do, and that is the escapes,” she says.

Nonwater escapes using ropes and handcuffs are fun she says, but the water cell is emotionally draining.

“When you hear the lid get locked on and know that there is only one way out and that you have the only means to get out, psychologically that’s the hardest part,” Johnson says.

At the fair in Boise, Johnson performed this water cell escape three times a day, five days straight. Each time, she goes through her routine to focus. The water has to be just right. She can’t be dehydrated, hungry, sick or tired.

Memories of blacking out twice while in the cell remind her of the danger. That danger wasn’t lost on audience member Rochelle Fowler. She helped lock Johnson in the water cell. Fowler admits she was skeptical.

“There’s got to be some hocus-pocus to it, but no, right there … I clicked her handcuffs to make sure they were just a little bit more tighter. My husband is ex-police, so I’ve seen real handcuffs. There wasn’t anything fake about it,” she says.

Fowler says she was surprised to find herself crying as she watched Johnson. She was ready to rescue her.

“It just was nerve-wracking and then to see her finally escape, I just went ‘Oh, thank goodness!’ I thought I was witnessing something horrible about to happen,” Fowler says.

While in Boise, Lady Houdini performed her 1,100th water torture cell escape. That’s something she never imagined herself doing.

“I’m not a strong athlete. I’ve never been musically inclined. I just wanted to do something that was going to inspire other people,” she says.

Johnson hopes others will see her do amazing feats and decide to tackle their own challenges.

Rochelle Fowler watches with tears on her face as Lady Houdini works to break free. Harry Houdini made the water torture cell famous more than 100 years ago.

Rochelle Fowler watches with tears on her face as Lady Houdini works to break free. Harry Houdini made the water torture cell famous more than 100 years ago.

 

http://www.npr.org/2013/08/29/216858624/lady-houdinis-escape-act-breaks-through-not-just-handcuffs

Lakeside, Ohio

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Hey gang…Just wanted to post about the great camp we were part of last week at Lakeside, Ohio. The best part is we are right back there again this coming Tuesday. Neil, his staff & volunteers have put together an incredible camp at the beautiful Lakeside Camp at Chautauqua. The Q&A earlier in the afternoon really allowed us to get to know the students well ahead of the show. For those that will be there this week, See you Tuesday.

Smash Magic Tour in full swing.

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

The 2013 Smash Magic Tour started 10 days ago in Bear Creek, North Carolina. It took a short break for the YFC Impact Conference in Ocean City, MD and the Eggtravaganza in Indianapolis. Tomorrow morning we head out for the west coast & Texas leg of the tour:

4/5 Gilbert, AZ Sun Valley Community Church
4/6 Carlsbad, CA Daybreak Church
4/7 Long Beach, CA Family Church Signal Hill Campus
4/9 Anna, TX Pin Oaks Christian Fellowship
4/10 Decatur, TX Victory Family Church Decatur
4/11 Crandall, TX Central Baptist Church
4/12 Kingwood, TX Strawbridge UMC

Tickets can be purchased at smashmagic.com/tour/

 

LADY HOUDINI TO PERFORM AT FINAL STAMPEDE GAME

Friday, April 6th, 2012

BOISE, Idaho, April 3, 2012 – Ridgeway & Johnson, the international touring duo featuring the World’s Premier Female Escape Artist, Kristen Johnson, a.k.a Lady Houdini, will attempt the World’s Only Full View Water Torture Cell Escape for the halftime show during the Idaho Stampede-Bakersfield Jam game, April 7 at CenturyLink Arena. The game begins at 7 p.m. (MST).

This will be Johnson’s second time coming to Boise, as she performed in the Ridgeway & Johnson show on their own stage for a standing room-only crowd during the Western Idaho Fair back in 2007.

Lady Houdini is inching closer to breaking Harry Houdini’s record for the most Water Torture Cell escapes ever performed, which historians and magic aficionados worldwide estimate to be just over 1,000. Her attempt in Boise will be Lady Houdini’s 976th attempt. This year also marks the 100-year anniversary of Houdini’s first Water Torture Cell Escape, which took place on September 21, 1912 at the Circus Busch in Berlin, Germany.

The escape consists of Lady Houdini holding her breath under water for up to 3 minutes, 18 seconds while she methodically picks padlocks, handcuffs and leg shackles that hold her in the water cell. She has struggled twice, and during one performance, she suffered a hypoxic seizure. She has only been denied the escape three times out of 975 public attempts.

Hot Hearts Beaumont, TX

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Hot Hearts in Beaumont, TX was an incredible youth conference. 5500 teens from Texas filled Ford Park Arena. The event featured speaker Clayton King, funny man Kacy Benson, Christian Stanfill, rapper Tedashii, Family Force 5 and yours truly, Living Illusions.

Kristen kicked of the event with her aerial stunt. She wrangled herself free from a straitjacket while upside down at about 30 feet in the air. Next she pulled herself up and released her feet from the footloops holding her in place. Now hanging by her hands, she let go and did a High Fall to an awaiting stunt airbag. Christian Stanfill led worship for both days. It was moving and got everyone praising God together.

Clayton King really brought home the message. Throughout Friday & Saturday over 1000 came forward and gave their life to Christ. Kacy made people laugh till their sides hurt. Together Kristen and I did several illusions. Kristen also did her Rope Tie piece where she ended up with a gentleman’s jacket on underneath the ropes and knots he had just tied himself. I brought my straitjacket out for a comedy bit. Sorry about the $50 guys.

Family Force 5 rocked the house Friday night. They are good friends of ours and it was great seeing them and catching up. Solomon really knows how to work the crowd. They had them in a frenzy.

Saturday morning we got serious and talked about people’s lives. A teen named Tyrin came up and I hope he never forgets what transpired on that stage. Remember, When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

The afternoon session started and it was time for Kristen’s Full View Water Torture Cell. This was her 893rd attempt. She did great, the crowd was eerily quiet, then erupted with a standing ovation as she escaped that watery grave. The crowd was loud and it was humbling to see the outpouring of appreciation from the crowd. After the water cell I gave the message ‘You’re The Love of My Life’. The true story of Kristen’s incident in the water cell 4 years ago, the extra time I had with my father before he passed away and how God wants to use us, in spite of our failures. Wrapping the message up with my coke can illustration seemed the perfect way to drive the message home to everyone.

Tedashii closed the conference Saturday afternoon with an impressive performance. The bass was thumping, his lyrics were right on target and the crowd was really into it. He reminds me of rapper LG Wise. I talked with him after the show. He’s legit and I hope our paths cross again this year.

Thanks to Adam, Reed, John, both Micah’s, Lee, Andrew, Cindy with Ford Park and everyone else I forgot for helping make the weekend a huge success! You guys made our job easy and we greatly appreciate each of you. To the teens and youth leaders…you guys are awesome. The outpouring of love & support in just the past 2 hours on Facebook has been overwhelming. We love you guys. Texas ROCKS!!!

Kevin coke can

God, Family, Stryper
Peace out,
Kevin & Kristen

Can’t Get Enough of Ridgeway & Johnson

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

WOW…what a very humbling and incredible review we got while performing at the Kentucky State Fair. The following is from the office of public relations for the Kentucky Expo Center.

http://kystatefair.tumblr.com/

There are things that we, as collective humans, come across that make us happy, sad, cry tears of joy, shout expletives, nervous, cry tears of panic. Normally, we are in no place to experience this cavalcade of emotions. We are having a bad day. We are busy. We are in a hurry. We are here just for a good time. These things touch our lives and we never forget.

I wrote this immediately after walking out of today’s 3:00 p.m. Ridgeway and Johnson show. As you bloggers are aware, we, the blog writers, are people too. We like things. We dislike things. We love things. We hate things.

We, or I, love Ridgeway and Johnson.

The show is to be experienced, not reviewed for entertainment quality. Yet, regarding entertainment, this show had it all. Audience participation, humor, ridiculously awesome tricks (sorry, but “ridiculously awesome” just kept popping up as I watched the show three times) and a show finale showstopper guaranteed to make you look at your watch and look up… look at your watch and shake your head.

The entire show is a showcase of every illusion, magic trick, card ruse and the classic “stuff-a-pretty-girl-into-a-box-that-my-3-month-old-son-would-struggle-to-fit-in.”

The 3:00 p.m. show ended in a fashion befitting $100 seats at the MGM Grand (in Las Vegas). Kristen Johnson, the world’s premier and only current female water torture cell escape, performed her signature trade. Bound with two Smith & Wesson shackles and padlocks galore, Johnson jumped into the 140 gallon tank on a single breath, but not before a simple, quiet moment with her husband (the other half of their name, Kevin Ridgeway). One cuff at a time, Johnson removed her shackles.

Let’s not leave any room for disbelief. Every single second that passed by, as a spectator, was gruesome. I felt for her. I longed to leap out of my seat at every wince and grab an ax to bust her out. But quietly and with a couple shakes of her head, Johnson managed to ease closer to taking her next breath.

I won’t spoil the end because it simply cannot be missed. It cannot be described effectively enough.

Orlando Salvation Army Event

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

We arrived in Orlando yesterday and checked into the Wyndham Resort. We had driven 16 hours from Indianapolis and had to navigate through the flooding in Nashville.We pray the waters there recede quickly.

After some good sushi at MoonFish I went to check out the convention center where we are performing today and tomorrow. Rounding the corner I run into Bernie & Rick. These guys are in the Salvation Army and provide live production for SA events around the country. We have worked with them numerous times. It’s always refreshing to know we’ll have an awesome team working with us.

This event is the Territorial Youth Workers Conference. We’ll be sharing the stage with Ron Luce- President and founder of Teen Mania Ministries, Mark Oestreicher- former President of Youth Specialties, Greg Stier & Jennifer Keitt. the Salvation Army always puts on first class events. We continue to be impressed with what they do and we have made lifelong friends along the way with them.

Tonight we have a 20 minute set, which will consist of Kristen’s Full View Water Torture Cell. After her escape I will share the true story of the incident she had in the water cell almost four years ago. In the audience that afternoon was my father whom I had not seen in over eight years. Also in attendance was an emergency room physician. The events that unfolded that day were nothing short  of a miracle. They show that when we let God be in charge, he can turn around a negative situation and change it into something positive and life changing.

The whole story will be part of a new book coming out by John Eckeberger, called The Secrets We Keep. I’ll keep you posted as to when it will be released.

K&K

Who is Living Illusions?

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

LIVING ILLUSIONS, the international touring production featuring Master of Illusions, Kevin Ridgeway and Premier Escape Artist, Kristen Johnson is a one of a kind Christian event jam packed with illusions and escapes featuring dazzling special effects, breath-taking illusions, incredible lighting and death-defying escapes insuring the audience a wave of emotions not soon to be forgotten. From Kevin’s hysterical comedy to Kristen’s charm, this award winning team is sure to capture the audience’s hearts as they share the Gospel in a unique an innovative way creating an inspirational evening.

LIVING ILLUSIONS is the largest show of its kind in the Christian marketplace and the only show currently touring and performing the Water Torture Cell escape immortalized by the great Harry Houdini. Kristen Johnson, recognized as the World’s Premier Female Escape Artist, is the only female in the country attempting this suspenseful escape on a regular basis. Among illusionist, escapologist and historians there is no disputing the fact that she is only the 5th female in the history of the world to even attempt it. You won’t even find this daring escape in the largest stage shows in Las Vegas. Another first you won’t find anywhere is that they perform this amazing escape in full view. Every escape artist including Houdini himself covered the water cell with a veil not allowing the audience to actually see the escape. Since most have never witnessed this daring event first hand, they’re mesmerized as they watch an audience member help shackle and chain Kristen with locks, Smith and Wesson handcuffs and leg irons before she is immersed into a watery grave and the lid padlocked into place above her head. Her record underwater on one breath is currently 3 minutes 18 seconds.

Kevin Ridgeway and Kristen Johnson were given the top award in their field during the 4th Annual International Escape Convention where they unveiled their futuristic 360 degree Full View Water Torture Cell Escape to their peers. Kristen was also featured as the only woman on the Discovery Channel produced TV special Inside the Houdini Museum, highlighting the life and escapes of Harry Houdini. For this documentary style show which aired numerous times on the Travel Channel and Discovery Channel, she performed the Spike Escape, as she was handcuffed under a ceiling of 13 razor sharp spikes with only seconds to escape before they came crashing down and slicing through her body. Each year along with their LIVING ILLUSUIONS faith based show for churches and conferences the duo also performs numerous general market shows at large arenas, fairs, festivals, sporting events, theaters, colleges and high schools across the country. In 2009 the couple was featured numerous times on national and international television including CNN Headline News, the new Hollywood taped series Master of Illusions where they performed the finale for two of the episodes as well as the subject of a special feature on Inside Edition which was shot on location at one of their theatre shows. The in-depth interview produced by CBS New York, titled Lady Houdini gave Kristen her new moniker as the show aired in 206 markets across North America.