Step right up, folks. Don t be shy.
Come just a smidge closer now, and ... POOF!! You re in a magic show.
It really happened ask any of the more than 200 people who attended the seventh
annual Afternoon of Close-Up Magic presented April 6 by the Toledo Society of Magicians, Ring 68, at the Holiday Inn French Quarter in Perrysburg. A sell-out for the third year, the show was presented to small groups seated in five rooms.
Close-up magic is sleight of hand and sleight of mind as performed at street fairs
and festivals, in malls, at restaurant tables, and private parties. Magicians are face to face, side by side, and sometimes surrounded by their audience.
You re not going to get away with anything when people are that close, says Martin
Jarret of the Old West End, a magician and community development consultant.
But the power of magic remains, he says, as performers defy the physical laws of
nature, doing what our senses tell us can t be done, and challenge the laws of the mind, knowing what can t be known.
Up to a point, anyway.
You re not going to make any elephants or airplanes appear in such close quarters, says Jake Dickey, president of the 30-member society. Otherwise, I think you could do almost anything, provided you have the ability.
The event started as a way for the local magicians to drum up business, Mr. Dickey
says. They d bring in potential clients and perform in hopes of landing a paying gig
Mr. Dickey was hired for the first time as a magician seven or eight years ago at a nursing home in Genoa. He was amazed: You want to pay me to do magic? he asked.
He was smitten at the age of 8 when his mom took him to a David Copperfield
show. Now 27 and a teller at the East Broadway branch of the Glass City Federal Credit Union, Mr. Dickey recalls that I thought it was the coolest thing I ever saw in my life. I looked at my mother and said That s what I want to do when I grow up.
He began practicing immediately. I put one of my toys in the fridge and probably
uttered some kind of incantation, and opened the door. To my surprise it was still
there. But it didn t deter me.
He s come a long way. During his performance, Mr. Dickey asked four people in
the audience to each give him a three-digit number. He asked another member of the audience to add them up, and voila! They totaled the number that he had printed in an ad in that day s edition of The Blade.
They were just blown away, Mr. Dickey says.
Christian Grisier of Bowling Green, another of the eight magicians who participated
in the event, says close-up magic removes the invisible wall between you and
the crowd that exists when the performer is on stage.
It s more challenging, too fraught with uncertainty for the magician who s away
from the relative safety, script, and crowd management that distance provides.
You have to be ready for anything, says Mr. Grisier, who works as a crew chief with
the 180th Fighter Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard at Toledo Express Airport.
Somebody grabbed his deck of cards once.
Another time, a little boy wasn t satisfied when the blindfolded Mr. Grisier told him
he was holding a dollar bill. Well, what s the serial number? the kid asked.
I told him the serial number, Mr. Grisier says.
Fellow performer Jerrod Tegtmeier of Oregon a University of Toledo student and weekend performer in the Flying Cat Circus in Chicago says that in close-up magic people test you more, because there s more interaction. You have to be able to roll with the punches when people don t do what you think they re going to do.
Good magicians know how to escape and we re not talking locked trunks and
You don t want to get out there without knowing how to back yourself out of a corner,
and it seems like magicians have to do that a lot, Mr. Tegtmeier says.
Contact Ann Weber at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6126.