Although my interest in magic began not long after I could read or write, there were still concrete reasons that I chose to become a magician instead of a musician or actor. I firmly believe that an illusion can inspire a sense of wonder into onlookers that cannot be replicated by any other form of entertainment.
Most partygoers, when told that they are about to witness a magic show, expect to see a man with gloves, a cape, and a mustache pull a rabbit out of a hat. In reality, however, magic is a form of entertainment that comes in countless varieties and can be tailored to fit almost any crowd’s wishes. A properly trained, versatile magician can wow audiences at a birthday party, a corporate fundraiser, and anything in between.
Performance magic can be separated into two basic categories: close-up magic and parlor magic. Close-up magic is a fantastic choice for events that place the guests in a mingling setting, as the magician can simply walk up to groups of guests and help to make the party more interesting or even break the ice for those in attendance. Because close-up magic requires an arsenal of tricks that can be done without a stage or large setup, illusionists that are doing this type of performance often use card tricks, money magic, and other pocket-sized props to wow their audience.
Magicians that are hoping to be able to pull off a trick on the spot (when in a more casual setting) should know at least a couple of good close-up tricks; not only are they the most convenient stunts as they can be done anywhere, but they also tend to be the easiest form of magic for an aspiring trickster. Although there is no shortage of tough card tricks for an expert to master, most new magicians can learn a basic card trick or two in less than an hour. Before moving on to the more advanced stage magic that will put you under a spotlight, try starting with some close-up magic to hone your skills and your performance style.
The second form of magic that a magician-in-training should consider is parlor magic, which is far closer to the “rabbit out of a hat” performance that some onlookers might expect. Parlor magic can work in any setting from a birthday party to a Vegas-style show, and the magician will often tailor their choice of tricks to the audience in front of whom they will perform; a show with an adult audience might have more elaborate effects and tricks than a show for children so that the older audience stays entertained.
While parlor magic can be done without a great deal of fanfare, magicians with a bigger budget can add guest entertainers, lights, live music, and much more to their shows. With the right support and staff, a parlor magic show can become an event that is centered around magic but includes all kinds of impressive performers.
At the end of the day, magic is something that everyone can enjoy in some form. A well-trained illusionist can inspire a sense of wonder in children and adults alike, and might even make them laugh while doing so. Additionally, although they already know the secret of the trick, the performing magician can gain a great deal of joy and satisfaction from completing an impressive trick and wowing the audience.
One performance that stands out in my memory was my 2013 show at Third Federal Savings & Loan. It was the company’s 75th birthday and I knew I needed to do something special enough to make the night memorable for all of the 1,200 employees present. I can still recall the looks on the employees faces when I used mentalism to predict the colors of the 75th anniversary logo and then made a few of the company’s retired employees disappear and reappear for special recognition at the ceremony. By combining my illusions with a performance from the Grammy-winning Pointer Sisters, I was able to pull off one of the coolest parlor magic shows of my career.
Although it took me years to get to a place where such high-level performances were possible, even the simplest of tricks can be fun to practice and perform in front of a crowd. While magic can be one of the most awe-inspiring forms of entertainment, it is also one of the easiest to begin (and the hardest to master). So pick up a deck of cards today and start teaching yourself some tricks; before long, you can be getting gasps and applause for your stunts as well!