by Mallory Moad
To be a successful magician, it takes more than skills. You need something extra, something memorable that sets your act apart from the others. Siegfried and Roy had white tigers. Penn & Teller have a guy who’s really tall and another who remains silent. Newcomer Shin Lim has an unruly mop of hair and stylish clothes. Tiger guys, big guy/quiet guy, hair guy – you know who I mean, right?
With award-winning local magician, Tim Mannix, it’s comedy. He’s the funny guy. He’s also the rabbit-with-eye-makeup guy, but I’ll get to that later.
Originally from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Tim became interested in magic when he was nine years old. He asked for a Marshall Brodien’s TV Magic Set for Christmas and Santa delivered. In high school, Tim would ride the bus downtown to a magic and novelty shop. “I’d stay for hours on end purchasing magic tricks with my newspaper route money,” he says. Afterwards, he’d visit what he calls “the BIG library downtown” to check out whatever books on magic he’d not yet read. “Riding home on the bus I was in hog-heaven with magic books and new magic tricks. I was passionately hooked!”
That passion became profit when Tim performed his first paying gig at the age of thirteen. The audience was made up of the patients, family, and staff of Saint Anne’s Home for the Elderly. “I was so excited and overjoyed that I could call myself a professional.” He continued performing part-time through high school and college, doing kid and family magic shows on weekends. His perseverance paid off and by 2004, Tim was making 100% of his living as a working magician. Thank you, Santa Claus!
Sometimes parents can feel a sense of dismay when they realize their child has chosen a career in the arts. Jobs in this field aren’t as lucrative as those in the sciences or finance. But Tim’s mom and dad always had his back. When he was a kid, riding that bus to the library, his dad bought him a utility shed to use as a studio. Although his mom was a little skeptical at first, she would eventually be bragging to her friends about how her son was a professional magician in Los Angeles.
So how does a boy from Oklahoma end up in California? Surprisingly, there was no magic involved. He and a friend simply came to the Golden State on a lark in 1983. The friend went back home, Tim stayed. He worked as an extra in a few movies but soon discovered the competitive nature of “the industry” wasn’t to his liking. Having a theater background (he majored in theater arts at the University of Oklahoma), he had a strong attraction to live performance. He returned to his love of magic, and after much hard work and devotion to his craft, Tim eventually became a performing member of the famous Magic Castle. “It was a lifelong dream of mine and it finally came true.”
In addition to being funny, Tim is also versatile. He performs for all ages, and his shows for kids are as entertaining as his presentations for adults, and he enjoys both equally. Appreciating the straight forwardness of children, he says, “Kids are very honest and have no filter. That’s why they’re so good for training purposes.” Tim describes his style as “reminiscent of the Ed Sullivan era, kind of a Dom DeLuise meets Jack Benny,” but I think it’s more like Jack Benny meets the Energizer Rabbit. He’s been called maniacally charming, top-notch, and delightful. Whether he’s dressed in a baseball jersey and red sneakers and promoting reading to kids, or more formally attired and performing smooth sleight-of-hand for a group of grownups, he just…keeps…going.
So what about those rabbits? Tim explains, “They’re Dwarf Hotots, a breed that features an entirely white coat, except for a circle of another color around each eye.” Called Petey and Maybelline, their names are a play on their unique, lined-eye appearance. Yes, they are adorable. Well taken care of (and perhaps a little spoiled), they even have an enclosure that allows them to enjoy sunshine and green grass, weather permitting. Tim’s definitely an animal lover, and while he shares the stage with two bunnies, he shares his house with three lovable dogs: Dachshund mixes, Chloe and Ernie, and Nina, a feisty Chihuahua. All are rescues.
Tim will be bringing his feel-good, fun-filled show, Hoodwinked, to Fresno’s Rogue Festival this month with some new effects including mind-reading (oooooohhh!) and audience participation (aahhhhhh!). The show isn’t geared towards kids, but it’s not inappropriate, either. While youngsters might not understand all the patter, they will enjoy the tricks and illusions. I don’t know if Petey or Maybelline will be there, but that bus-riding kid from Oklahoma will definitely be present, having a whale of a time with the rest of us.
My name is Mallory Moad, and I believe in magic, Santa Claus, and dreams that come true.
You can see Tim Mannix in Hoodwinked at Hart’s Haven Used Bookstore, 950 N. Van Ness Avenue. Performances will take place on Friday, March 1 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, March 2 at 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.; Sunday, March 3 at 6:30 pm. and Saturday, March 9 at 5 p.m.
Tim will also be offering three off-Rogue shows this year. He will be will be presenting an evening of table magic in an intimate setting behind Hart’s Haven Used Books and will take place on Saturday, March 2 at 8:00 p.m., Thursday, March 7 at 7:00 p.m. and Friday, March 8 at 6:00 p.m.
For more information on Hoodwinked and other Rogue Festival performances, visit the Rogue website.
The Rogue Festival is here! This is our final preview article of the year. You will be able to find all of the performer preview articles in our Arts & Entertainment section along with a guide to Rogue article that went up on Monday. We also have a Rogue Festival event page with many of their press releases, an article about this year’s Muse! Rogue show reviews should start going up tomorrow, and maybe even some video interviews!