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A Sleight Departure for Man and Beasts

November 09, 1995

Metropolis, a nightclub across from UC Irvine, has pulled a lot of stunts to arouse patrons. One night, 900 candles lit up the dance floors. Then there were the "Showgirl"-like dancers of both sexes who strutted and preened in front of the crowd.

But on a recent Sunday, Metropolis veered into new territory by having magicians Toth and Medden bring their glitzy act to the club.

Five magicians, four dancers, a 30-member tech crew, twin Siberian tiger cubs, a 750-pound tiger, two lions and a black leopard performed tricks usually found in Las Vegas.

To accommodate the act, the club spent $1,500 constructing ramps to the stage. The Venus Room, next to the sushi bar, served as the backstage, where the animals waited and equipment was readied.

Club producer Joe Mozdzen said the toughest stunt was making it possible for Toth and Medden to appear through a smoke chamber without the aid of a curtain. The rest--including swallowing flaming batons and sailing over the audience--was easy in comparison.

Mozdzen said the midnight audience, about 600 people, seemed mystified by what they saw.

"It was a surprise to them because that level is out of context for a nightclub," he said. "Seeing it up close and at all angles, the audience could appreciate the magic more.

"But the animals were still the most popular things. They paraded them around, and they got to be petted."

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