Monday, June 14, 2010

Josh on Magic

"I don't have a specific memory of when I first got into magic, but I remember seeing magicians as a kid growing up in Maryland and loving them. My brother and I would get magic books from the library and do simple tricks for each other. Our first major trick was the old hide a carrot in your palm, cover your hand with a handkerchief, and stick needles into the carrot pretending it was your thumb. We did it to my Mom to freak her out. 

"While my brother ended up having a passing interest in magic, I could not get enough of it. I started doing shows for my family during the holidays or other family events. I used to prepare for these shows by going to the magic shop or to magic meetings. Yes, magicians have magic meetings. It's crazy, you have 50 year old men drinking beer and smoking next to 12 year olds talking about card tricks. A lot of time, the kids are the best magicians because they have nothing but time to perfect their skills. 

"At 14, I started doing magic professionally. I got my first job doing a 45 minute show for $45. I thought a dollar a minute was pretty good back then. The thing is that I was so excited that I did an hour and a half show and pulled out every trick that I knew. The local newspaper, The Carroll County Times, came and from that, I got more work. In high school, I had a show every weekend and was making more money in a weekend than my friends were making all week. I was amazed that I could do something I loved and make money from it. 

"To make my parents happy, I went to college to study graphic design, but the plan was always to do magic professionally. During college, I got involved with a start-up and then after I graduated and came to D.C., I split my time between the start-up and my magic career. D.C. is a great city for magic because there are so many meetings and conventions here that need entertainment and it is a great town for networking. Magic has always been my full-time focus, even if it was not my full-time job. At a certain point, I realized that I needed to quit my job to focus fully on my magic career. I decided that I would give myself a year to try and make it as a magician. After the first two months, I realized that I wanted to make this my life. That decision was so liberating for me. 

"People here are fascinated when I said that I am a magician. It is such an unusual profession anywhere, but especially in D.C. It always sounds like a joke. People say, 'No really, what do you do?' For me, the real pay off to magic is the reaction from people, whether I am telling someone that I am magician or seeing their response to a trick. You do the same trick you have done for ten years and every time, people are fascinated by it. It never gets old. I have also learned that the way that someone responds to a magic trick says a lot about their personality. Some people get mad at magicians when you really fool them. Not to stereotype, but these are largely lawyers, doctors, and accountants who get frustrated because they don't like not knowing how something is done. Other people are capable of not caring about how it is done and just enjoying it as a form of entertainment. Every once in a while, someone calls me an asshole, but this is the only profession where an insult is actually a compliment. It usually means, you really got me. 

"I would encourage everyone to learn a little magic. I think that just like having a joke, everyone should have a magic trick. It's a great, fun thing to know and you don't have to be a magician to do it."

You can see Josh Norris perform every Sunday night from 6-8 p.m. at the Kemble Park Tavern at 5125 Macarthur Blvd NW. See Josh perform one of his tricks on a man at a barbershop here


McKenzie said...

Dude, I love magic. Nice to see that you found someone who takes this seriously and not one of those cheesy, rabbit-out-of-the-hat kid's birthday guys. Although, his story might be pretty awesome, too.

ArrDev said...

Does this post make anyone else think of Gob from Arrested Development? I can't stop hearing the Final Countdown as I read this.

Gob said...

@ArrDev Yes!

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