native Ben Seidman thrills crowds with his magical shows
throughout the country.
The crowd of
kids and adults gathered around Ben Seidman as his fingers fluttered
around the deck of cards. His lean digits were like a hummingbird
about to land in the courtyard of Lynden Sculpture Garden. After a few
waves and moves in a shuffle that would make a chemin de fer croupier
envious, out pops the correct card previously selected by one of the
youngsters. Applause all around.
Seidman fell in love with magic when he was a youngster. As he
recalls, it all began when a man wearing a multicolored costume pulled
a small object out of his momís ear. In retrospect, it was probably
weird and invasive, he says, but he had never been more mystified. He
then went on to do his first magic act at age 6. "Iíd like to
think that Iíve gotten much better since then," he laughs.
Seidman, now 27,
eventually graduated from Shorewood High in 2003 and from UW-Eau
Claire in 2007. He spent his final year of college at UNLV, which he
admits was a blatant excuse to study magic with the worldís best.
His folks, Susan and Michael Seidman, have been supportive all along
his career path ó one that has included a stint as resident magician
at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
sort of came to me. I met and performed for some of the
decision-makers, and they liked the idea of having something
unique," he says. "Las Vegas is known for elaborate
production shows, but at that time there werenít very many places to
see magic up close."
For Seidman, it
was the experience of a lifetime. "I was out of college two years
and suddenly performing at one of the nicest hotels in Las
Vegas," he says.
Seidman lives in
Los Angeles where heís been performing at the Magic Castle in
Hollywood and the Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach. Yet, most of
the time heís on the road, doing much of his own booking.
business is a constant roller coaster. Sometimes life is nonstop
travel; other times Iím writing and creating material at home. But
in general, home is whatever hotel I happen to be staying," he
says. "When I call the front desk to ask for a wake-up call, the
receptionist sometimes asks my room number. Thatís not fair. I donít
remember what city Iím in, let alone the room number."
casino audiences differ vastly ó depending on the level of alcohol
consumption, he laughs. "When you have a regular show, but you
arenít a celebrity, people will come to watch but donít know
entirely what to expect," he says. "This can be great, or
terrible. If someoneís idea of magic is putting girls in boxes and
their idea of comedy is telling fart jokes, thereís a good chance
theyíre not going to like my show."
confide how his tricks work ó not even to his parents ó because he
doesnít want to rob anyone of those moments of wonder. "I donít
think itís fair to tell. Good magic is one of the only ways we can
feel like a kid again," he says. Heís noticed people view magic
differently, guessing that about 30 percent of his audiences think
they want to know how tricks are done. "But they donít. If I
were to tell them they would just regret asking," Seidman says.
him, the most fun about being a magician is just being a magician.
"The simple act of doing magic tricks for a living? Itís
craziness! Anytime I find myself in a conversation with a celebrity or
staying in a five-star hotel that a client paid for, I feel like an
impostor and I wonder how I ended up here," he says.
finds fun moments within the creative process, particularly when
working on a television show. For instance, he recently found himself
covered in liquid latex operating power tools and wondering what heís
doing with his life. That was the same day he ordered several live
animals, a human torture chamber, three walnuts and a Pippi
Longstocking costume. "How could that possibly not be fun?"
he asks. "Besides, have you ever asked for a 50-gallon milk can,
2 quarts of spray adhesive and a chicken? Itís safe to say I have a
entertainer, Seidman realizes every audience is different. Adjusting
for age is elementary for him. "In any performance situation, if
something feels off, itís really fun to change the approach or the
tone and steer the night back into laughter and amazement," he
says. "The key is to treat every gig like itís just as
important whether youíre performing in front of 2,500 people in a
beautiful theater or 30 squatters in an anarchist collective in Salt
Lake City." And, yes, that happened.
Learn more about
the not-too-simple Seidman at www.BenSeidman.com