by Mallory Moad
If there’s something you’re seriously interested in, maybe even a little obsessed with, you can probably find a club in which you can share your passion with a like-minded group. Fresno is home to numerous organizations that support the enthusiasm of pet owners, drivers of classic cars, writers of mysteries, gardeners, fans of various sports, and devotees of different forms of dance and music.
But there is one local club that is a little out of the ordinary. It’s inscrutable, fantastic, astonishing. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, may I present the mystifying and spectacular Fresno Magic Club! Abracadabra!The Fresno Magic Club was established 20 years ago by Norman Lambert, who remains a member to this day. According to club president Kyle Elder, “The purpose of the club is simple. We strive to create a group of individuals who share the love of magic as an art. We exist to help each other learn and grow together as entertainers.”
With a very open mindset, membership is not limited by gender, age, race, or anything else. In other words, everyone is welcome to join. “We don’t like to turn anyone away,” Kyle says. “All it takes is an interest in, or love for, the art of magic.” Although many of the 30 current members of the Fresno Magic Club are practicing magicians, it isn’t necessary. Being a fan of the genre is enough, no rabbit or top hat required. The Central Valley is well-represented in the club, something Kyle is proud of. “We have members from outside towns such as Madera and Hanford, even from as far away as Bakersfield.” Hocus pocus!
It’s about sharing, learning and support. “At our monthly meetings, members take turns showing a piece of magic they have been working on. If they wish, they can have other members share feedback” to help them make advances with their skills. One of the biggest perks of membership is presentations by professionals. “We bring in bigger names in magic to lecture and conduct workshops for our club members”, providing educational opportunities not easily found in smaller cities.
It’s not all work and rehearsal, though. There’s friendship and fun to be had, too. Throughout the year, members of all levels of expertise have the chance to show off their perfected techniques in public settings. Organizations that make donations to the club receive a variety magic show in exchange for their generosity, and the club regularly performs for the Fresno Boys and Girls Club. “These events allow members a chance to perform and gain experience in front of a real audience.” There’s an annual barbecue and swap meet, and occasional field trips to places of wonder, like the Magic Castle in Los Angeles. Shazam!
Magic has been around for millennia, from ancient Egypt to modern-day Las Vegas. Once viewed as something to be feared, over time it has gained world-wide popularity as a form of entertainment. Thanks to appealing personalities like Penn & Teller, David Copperfield, and Shin Lim (recent winner of America’s Got Talent), the public has not lost interest. It’s definitely a big deal around here and the Fresno Magic Club has a treat for Central Valley magic enthusiasts, just in time for Halloween.On Wednesday, October 24, well-known touring magician Richard Burr will appear (and maybe disappear) in a performance benefiting the club. In classic magician style, he will be accompanied by the lovely Josette for an evening of thrilling illusions in the intimate setting of Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater. Former Ringling Brothers clown, Funny Eddie, and Kyle Elder with his partner, a scene-stealing cockatoo named Frankie, will open the family-friendly show, An Evening Of Magic And Comedy. The production is on its way becoming a tradition. Last year’s show featured local performers and sold out quickly. Proceeds will go to the Fresno Magic Club to cover the cost of activities.
The times in which we live can be stressful. Once in awhile, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to wave a magic wand and speak an incantation that would change things for the better, even if just for a short time? Well, there’s an app for that. It’s called the Fresno Magic Club. Presto change-o!
My name is Mallory Moad. Pick a card, any card—there’s nothing up my sleeve.
For more information about the Fresno Magic Club, including events and membership, visit www.fresnomagicclub.com.