A “Spotlight on Local Magic” was shining for San Jose’s Ring 216 meeting of September 8, 2021. Bay area magicians Jay Alexander and Brad Barton appeared out of thin air – via Zoom – and talked about their public shows, told stories, shared some magic and answered questions for forty attendees.
First on the bill was Jay Alexander, proprietor of the Marrakech Magic Theater (www.sanfranciscomagictheater.com), where he performs over 400 shows a year (in non-viral times). Asked why he wanted a single performing venue, Jay explained the appeal of a solo magic theater, of which there are fifty in the country. Unlike cruise ships, people come to a theater ready to see a magician, and unlike working on the street, one can use all the theatrical elements: music, lights and even silence. Jay orchestrates the entire audience experience: he greets the people as they enter the lobby, does a little close-up, and then brings them into the theater, where he makes some of them stars in his show. For the Ring, he performed astounding selections from his act, reading and controlling the minds of remote Ring members Satvik, Gary G., and Fred R. — but no spoilers will be given here.
Brad Barton, Reality Thief, then talked about his shows “The Lost Church” and “The Gift” (www.thelostchurch.com). He began with a performance that charmed and astonished (and will also not be described here). Brad’s presentations have a philosophical tone as he encourages the particiipants to consider their dreams, their special memories, and the place for gratitude in their lives. He described his history at the small performance theater called the Lost Church, which became his home for more than five years with of sold-out shows.
Then Jay and Brad together answered questions about the life of a magician. They both painfully recalled their worst shows and spoke warmly of their best shows. David C. asked why they both chose mentalism, and in response they both emphasized the personal aspect for the audience – no other magic was as engaging and as powerful. In answer to a question from Perry Y., they both stressed the importance of recording all your shows and watching yourself work, much as you might dislike it. As Jay said, “If you hate yourself on video, how can you expect others to watch you?” Problem solved — their shows are a must for anyone in the Bay area and are a guaranteed good time.