Bringing Closeup Card Magic to the Stage with Jimmy Ichihana
August 29th, 2019
audience, card magic, closeup, community, fool us, magic, stage
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Jonah sits down with Jimmy Ichihana this week to discuss community, embracing your interests, and bringing card magic to the stage. Jimmy is a sleight of hand performer from Florida who has performed at the Magic Castle and has appeared twice on Fool Us.
While Jimmy grew up in New York, his love for magic began in California where his uncle showed him a card trick that fooled him badly and cemented his desire to learn magic. Jimmy went on to attend Tannen’s Magic Camp where he had the opportunity to see insane magic that inspired him to continue learning and push further into magic.
It was during his time working at a summer camp in Hancock, NY that Jimmy’s love for closeup card magic took hold. He spent two summers being the resident card magic instructor which ingrained his passion. Soon after he discovered the Paul Harris book, had the opportunity to see some amazing lectures, and witnessed Tamariz performing in Kitchener, Ontario.
When Jimmy first went on Fool Us, he submitted a routine that he had fallen in love with. It was a fun take on a gambling routine that didn’t require knowledge of gambling. However, as his friend pointed out when he was accepted to the show, he didn’t have any patter to go with the effect. Thankfully, Jimmy had the support of the Orlando magic community, his friends, and family to help him develop patter for the routine. It was through them that Jimmy realized he could combine his love of math with the routine.
The next time Jimmy appeared on Fool Us, he performed his version of Henry Evans’ trick, Ten Exact Cuts. The effect had actually been a suggestion from his friend who realized it fit into the types of tricks Jimmy likes to perform. However, Jimmy recognized he would need to make the trick his own and spent a longtime developing it so it didn’t feel like a copy of Evans’ trick.
As performing close up tricks on a stage that large, he wasn’t worried. By bringing people up to join him on stage, and by virtue of people in the audience knowing it was for a show, he was able to play to the spectators on the stage with him.
Bringing Card Magic to the Stage
For awhile now, Jimmy has been taking his close up material and moving it to the stage. During this journey, he has had to change the way he approaches not only the presentation but also the methods he uses. Moves and displays that only work on the table now need to be scrapped in favor of methods and presentations that allow Jimmy to play to fifty plus people. This shift has completely changed his mindset when approaching magic, and he has had to expand his magic toolbox.
When searching for material to bring to the stage, jimmy recommends figuring out which effect you want to transmit to the audience first. Then, everything your saying and doing should build towards that effect. The best way to figure out what needs to stay and what should be scrapped is filming and watching back the performance; if you are bored at any point, the audience is too.
Alongside his wife, Jimmy briefly moved to Madrid to learn in the Auxiliares program – a program where the Spanish government gives native English Speakers student visas. Being on a student visa and unable to work more than twenty hours a week, Jimmy was able to immerse himself in the magic scene and experience a whole different culture.
Dedicated closeup theaters, libraries stocked with magic books, magic shops, and club meetings. Madrid was akin to a constant magic convention. Whether he wanted to see, do or jam magic, there was always somewhere he could go. Additionally, for the general public in Spain, going to see a magic was similar to going to see a movie or concert with friends.
What do you like about magic in 2019? What do you dislike?
Jimmy likes how welcoming the magic community is. No matter where he is, he knows he can find people he can bond with over some aspect of magic.
Bob and Val Swadling
Take Home Point
Jonah enjoyed hearing about the moments that shaped Jimmy’s transition to the stage and his solutions for avoiding aspects of magic people generally hate.
Jimmy reminded the audience that you don’t have to let other people define whether or not you’re doing too much card magic.