Magician’s got some new tricks; ‘Castle’ star making music

Rhode Island native Mat Franco is taking advantage of his downtime. Come next month, the magician, who last year won season 9 of NBC’s America’s Got Talent, will begin a residency at the Linq Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Franco flew to Miami briefly to perform a private show for VIPs, and we were able to catch a few minutes with the sleight of hand specialist.

Safe to say he was happy to be here after a long winter up north.

“I love Miami,” said Franco. “The first time I went was with some friends to see a Dolphins game a few years back. I also performed my stage show at Miami Dade College during one of my college tours. I love the food, beaches and nightlife. ... It’s an awesome vibe.”

Since winning the reality-competition series — plus $1 million clams — life has sped up considerably. He just spent the past two weeks on the road with a full production crew filming his new AGT spinoff titled Mat Franco’s Got Magic, which NBC just announced last month. The two celebrity filled shows are due out this fall.

“I grew up watching magic on TV, that was my initial exposure to it,” Franco said. “ So to have specials of my own is surreal.”

Franco’s career suits his high-energy personality.

“I love having new stimulating challenges on a regular basis.,” he explained, adding his act may seem smooth, but it’s not as easy as it looks. “The catch for me is that it needs to be engaging in some way. Cool tricks are fun, but the presentation needs to have more than just that. For me, a great magic routine needs to be either interactive, funny, clever, or some combination of those.”


Castle actor Jon Huertas doesn’t play a rock star on TV, but he is one in real life. He released his debut “urban pop” album, Grown & Sexy Music, two years ago and was in Miami this past week meeting with Sony Music Latin Executives about several upcoming projects for his indie music label MIDRATS Entertainment. Huertas, who grabbed a casual lunch at Mike’s At the Venetia, and then later hung out at the Vagabond Hotel bar on Biscayne Boulevard, said he loved the scene here. He also added that he’s going into the studio to collaborate with his buddy Seamus Dever, who plays his partner on the ABC show.


Haute Living magazine hosted its annual Haute 100 event celebrating Miami’s most “influential residents” at Tamarina restaurant Wednesday night. Who might those elite people be? Power couples Dwayne Wade and Gabrielle Union, Loren and JR Ridinger, Chris and Adrienne Bosh, and Ray and Shannon Allen, that’s who. Guests — who included Diddy’s mom, Janice Combs — hobnobbed at the Brickell World Plaza hot spot while sipping Dom Perignon. Prior to the sitdown dinner, guests ogled timepieces from Swiss watch manufacturer Ulysses Nardin.

by the shore

Famed fashion photographer Pamela Hanson, whose lens has captured the likes of A-listers Susan Sarandon, Angelica Huston and Jessica Biel, will be in Miami Beach Tuesday to shoot the ad campaign for the new and improved Shore Club, currently undergoing a major renovation, which will include luxury residences.