Trick Schtick

So-called patrons of the arts might think they're the bees' knees, but we think kids know better. Sure, museums have their charm, but they aren't half as fun as the things kids are patrons of, like cartoons, boogers and magic. Let's face it: When kids get excited about something, they go all out, and magic is no exception. Sawing little sisters in half, sending text messages to David Blaine's suspended chamber during his 44-day starvation trick in London and storing top hats and white rabbits in the attic until Pops discovers them years later while looking for his old Soloflex. These are the charms of youth.

Our buddy Jim was huge about magic as a kid, but he was a bit more reserved about it. It started with the first David Copperfield special he saw on TV when he was 5, and, over the next six years, he amassed a small stack of self-recorded magic specials on VHS, all featuring the man of copper. When he heard Copperfield was finally coming through his hometown of Pittsburgh to perform live, he begged his mom for tickets. She eventually caved and took the family. The show was beyond Jim's wildest dreams, but, near the end, things took a turn for the worse. At the time, the most recent TV special featured a trick in which Copperfield plucked a stranger out of the audience and guessed her phone number by illuminating digits on the wall behind him. In Pittsburgh, another stranger took the stage and was put through the same trick, but when the lights flashed behind the stage, Jim was shocked to find it was the same phone number from the television show.

The boy was almost as heartbroken as when earlier he found out about Copperfield's divorce from Christie Brinkley. As far as he was concerned, David Copperfield--who had previously jumped into Niagara Falls, flown in midair without wires or mirrors and even guessed Jim's card through the fricking TV--was getting plumb lazy. But that night at the live show changed everything. Jim was never the same about magic afterward. He taped over his TV specials with pirated movies from Cinemax, and he cleaned out the white rabbits from the attic.

Of course, it's been years since the nasty affair, and Jim has gotten over the fact that the magic trick was, ahem, pre-planned. In fact, Jim says he'll probably check out Copperfield's latest live show, An Intimate Evening of Grand Illusion, this weekend at Fair Park's Music Hall. Copperfield's latest performance includes a few more "total stranger" tricks, such as "13," which will make 13 people simultaneously vanish from their seats in the audience, and "Reunion," which will bring someone's long-lost relative back in a way that would turn John Edward green with envy. Still, if Jim's story shakes your trust in the "total stranger" trick, Copperfield also promises to float through steel and personally handle black scorpions, so even if the show is fake, it should still look pretty darn cool. The "how did he do that?" factor is the selling point of all of his material anyway, so sew your sister back together and head out for a night of pre-planned amazement.

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sam Machkovech