Van Pappas and Jason Wieloch interview Jan Levie of Handy Entertainment for Between 2 Trains: A Business Podcast.
Testimonials | Press are elusive — can you ask for them? Sure. Will you get them? Maybe. People who are mesmerized, enchanted, thrilled beyond their wildest dreams are busy, too. They want to leave reviews, the want to give you a testimonial, but people already have too much to do. What works for you? For me, so far, the best solution has been to have an assistant on hand who can actually get reviews on the spot. Here, below, are a slew of them that we’ve copied from reviews and testimonials that satisfied clients have left for us:
by Julie Silber
The Atlanta Jewish Times
Jan Levie Can See Your Party’s Future
BY EDDIE SAMUELS JUNE 28, 2016
Now a staple of Atlanta-area celebrations, Jan Levie and HandyEntertainment.xyz were not always known as providers of arcane entertainment. It all started with a Halloween event at Montgomery Elementary School in Brookhaven at which she was tasked with performing a few scary stories for the children.
“One of the parents had to step away, and she asked me to fill in,” Levie said. “She had some kind of crystal ball, and I couldn’t really tell what to do with it, so I told someone to stick out their hand, and I read their palm. It was astonishing; people started lining up.”
That night gave Levie the first inklings that she had more to offer telling fortunes than a few PTA performances, and A Handy Little Company was born in 2009. It grew into her current venture, HandyEntertainment.XYZ.
“By October 2009, I was applying for my occupational license. I wanted to apply as a fortune teller, but it’s illegal in many cities, so I got the license as an event entertainer,” Levie said.
“I went to Rabbi Joshua Lesser before I started the business to ask what he thought and make sure what I was doing was OK,” the Congregation Bet Haverim member said. He cited two passages of Torah: “It says stone the soothsayers here, and it says lift up your oracles, so it’s not entirely clear.”
Perhaps best known as her character Naja Elieva, Levie began making a name for herself, bringing a long-forgotten style of performance to celebrations throughout Atlanta. With a variety of characters at her disposal, Levie still most often performs as Elieva, a character born of a myriad of influences.
“Naja Elieva is my name in pig Latin, as devised by my at-that-point 9-year-old son. A woman told me Najia in Arabic meant ‘G-d is my savior,’ and Elieva from the Hebrew Eliava ‘G-d is my father,’ Levie said.
The other characters come almost entirely from client ideas or concepts for different events.
Originally focused on the iconic elements of fortunetellers, such as Tarot, palm, tea leaf and coffee ground readings, the performances and products have become more varied. Levie still offers the same style of performances on which she built the business, but also new products, including her signature chocolate ganache “lipsreading” kits.
Fortune telling is not a field that has seen a great deal of innovation over the past few centuries, but Levie said she has been making strides to incorporate modern practices. “I’ve been targeting technology companies because part of my goal is finding places that you wouldn’t think of doing what I do and putting it in there.”
Levie remains best known for her fortune telling at events, including her “Zoltar Live,” which mimics the appearance of the classic carnival machine, and her palm readings, the very thing that launched her business.
At the core of the process, evident to anyone who visits the HandyEntertainment.xyz website, is a sense of humor. For example, the front page includes a link to “sign up for our stupid and sporadic newsletter.”
Even as her business grows, Levie believes that the personal touch is paramount to her success.
“It’s a question of trust,” she said. “It’s not something people read an ad and say, ‘That’s what I want.’ It’s all reliant on somebody knowing someone who knows me and how I work.”
Levie is looking to expand. “I’ve been developing auxiliary jobs; I do it all myself at the moment.”
She hopes to be able to break down her production into small jobs and provide some work experience for people with developmental disabilities.
MAAP Member Spotlight February 2015
Jan Harlin Levie
Jan Harlin Levie is an entertainer at HandyEntertainment.XYZ, Event Entertainment.
Q. What do you do?
A. My name is Jan Harlin Levie and we are HandyEntertainment.xyz, We entertain. Our clients are creative and innovative rule-breakers, brilliant and elegant. They are whimsical, piercingly intellectual, fierce and imbued with a singular sense of humor. We show people a side of themselves that they never knew existed, help them discover options and gifts they had never dreamt of. We tell fortunes through palm reading, Tarot cards, Lip Readings, Chocolate Lip Readings, handwriting analysis, wax castings, tea leaves, coffee cup readings and more. We can provide strolling entertainment, capture client data at trade shows and conventions, interact in German and French, and put everyone at ease. We collaborate on multimedia projects, live performance art and productions for very simple parties as well. We utilize costume and props to enhance the theme of your event or production. We are fully licensed and insured and your satisfaction is guaranteed.
Q. Why do you do it?
A. I love what I do. I get to help people celebrate their most monumental moments, to use elements of theater, design, writing, light, technology, music — just to name a few. I get to make things all the time!
Q. Where have you lived and which city was your favorite?
A. I’m from Indianapolis, Ind., and have made Atlanta my home. I also lived in Laguna Beach, Calif., Bloomington, Ind., and New York City, as well as London, Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin. I have dreams about Amsterdam and Laguna, but Berlin and Paris are part of me.
Q. What do you wish everyone knew about your industry?
A. I wish everyone knew that there are no limits in the entertainment industry. It’s the same way I feel about the world.
Q. What do you wish you knew 15 years ago?
A. That there would be a moment when my family and friends who are LGBT&Q would no longer be marginalized, and that the words “and Allies” would become part of the name of an LGBT organization! I am so proud to be counted, too! Knowing that learning the rudiments of writing code is not akin to hacking off my right arm would’ve been helpful to know. …
Q. What music are you listening to now?
A. The Five Browns and the cellist Ernst Reijsiger.
Q. What are you reading?
A. I’m a serial reader — been plugging away at Bob Dickinson’s “Selling the Sea,” Seth Godin’s “The Icarus Deception,“ and Alan Morinis’ “Everyday Holiness,” and my fave blog, “Barking up the Wrong Tree” by Eric Barker.
Q. What’s your favorite thing about Atlanta?
A. The TREES, the greenery and THE BELTLINE!
Q. What’s the best advice you ever got?
A. “Everybody cooks with water” and “Just do it!”
Q. In the Hollywood adaptation of your story, who plays you?
A. Johnny Depp.
Tickled sky-blue-pink that Handy Entertainment, (aka A Handy Little Company) was the featured vendor this past March in the Q-Spot Blog!
Read about us in The Dunwoody Crier article: Local fortune teller entertains …