Do You Believe in Magic?

There is a considerable difference between somebody who does magic tricks and a true magician. And that is exactly what Holstein got when Bill Blagg, magician extraordinare, came to the Clausen Center last Saturday night. He quite simply wowed the audience with his perspective shattering take on reality.

Magic. Illusion. Sleight of Hand. Call it what you will, Blagg has it in spades.

Kids sat on the edge of their seats and clapped like crazy. Grown-ups gathered in clumps during intermission and after the show trying to figure out how he did what he did. Oh, some of the illusions we’d seen before, specifically the growing rope which Sue Lorenzen cut into pieces again and again to no avail. She was on stage with him – up close and personal as they say – and she still couldn’t catch the trick. And that was fine. That’s OK. There’s nothing wrong with illusion.

Mark Twain once said, “Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.”. I’m not sure he was referring to a magician’s enchantment, but a willing suspension of disbelief does wonders for the soul now and then.

Then was now last Saturday as Blagg gave an amazing performance complete with his own wide eyed wonder and heightened sense of fun. How did he make that squashed up banana disappear? How did he make that magic marker squeak? (It’s a sickness, man.” he deadpanned to the convulsed audience.) How did he put sand in a bowl of water, stir it up, and then take it out again dry as a bone? That is magic, my friend; with a capital M.

Happy incredulity was the name of the game all night long. The best moments came with his dancing handkerchief routine done to the accompaniment of a blasting rendition of “Everybody, Dance Now”. The hanky frolicked all over the stage and refused to be put back in its case. The little devil kept popping up and making a monkey of the magician. There had to be wires, of course, but who saw them and who cared anyway? It was a delight.

And then there was young Jake Breyfogle’s turn on stage with the Incredible Soy Milk Carton. Chocolate milk was poured into it and he was asked to drink a glass to show the audience it really was what Blagg said it was. Jake downed the whole thing in one long continuous gulp with nary a pause for a breath. “Yep, it’s chocolate.” he said. Then Blagg proceeded to pour out glasses of white milk, Coke, 7-Up, Fanta, etc. which were handed out to members of the audience to confirm they were the real thing. At the end of all this, Jake and Blagg tore the carton apart to show there were no secret compartments and he left the stage clutching it as a memento of the night. What a deal!

And what a night for folks of all ages. One youngster was heard to say to his grandfather, “You are the best Grandpa in the world to bring me here.” Kudos to the committee for bringing Bill Blagg to town. It was an evening of fun for everyone and one that could well bear repeating.