‘I’ve got the magic in me’
Mark the Magic Man dazzles diners at The Brick
Q: Have you always been interested in magic?
A: No, but I’ve always been an entertainer. Even when I was a little kid, I would always get up on my dining room table and pretend to be Elvis Presley or Johnny Cash. I was also an only child so my parents almost didn’t need TV. I would be a wrestler for them some nights and go back in my room and do costume changes even. The idea of magic didn’t bite until college.
Q: What in college pushed you into doing magic as an entertainer?
A: I actually graduated from here (GC), but before that I had a suitemate in a smaller school who took me to a magic shop up in Atlanta. That’s when the bug really bit. So while most people were partying at night, I would go to the magic shop and hang out all night.
Q: How did you get started with performing at The Brick?
A: I always tried to work at The Brick. Mitch and Frank owned it at the time and Mitch always thought, “We don’t really want the kiddie thing going on at The Brick.” When he passed away, Frank had asked me if I just wanted to come and work the wait, because at the time, the wait was around 30 to 40 minutes. From then it’s been every week for me.
Q:Did you always have in mind to entertain at restaurants?
A: That’s kind of funny, actually. When I was in Atlanta, I met a couple of guys who were magic entertainers. One of them kind of took me under his wing. Well, he left Eddie’s Trick Shop and started his own trick shop down at Little Five Points. He called me one day and said a guy in Helen had a job for me. What I figured out was, yeah it was a big show, but it was in a restaurant. So that’s where it all started.
Q: What is your prefered type of magic trick to perform?
A: Living in central Georgia, I have to perform it all. I have a bigger show where I make a car appear underwater and then I have the show I do at The Brick where I use cards, coins and sponge balls.
Q: Where do you usually perform?
A: I work all over Georgia. I did a show here in Milledgeville last year. We did Dublin, Eastman; all of southeast Georgia. We did Augusta, Georgia College, and we just booked Georgia Military College. So all around Georgia.
Q: So what is your absolute favorite trick to perform at The Brick?
A: The sponge balls has been the trick that’s made me the most money. More people request that trick than any other. It’s not that I’ve tweaked the trick or anything. I mean, you can buy it at any magic store. But if you walk up to people and say, “Hey do y’all want to see a trick?” They can say yes, or they can say no, and it really sucks if they say no. So I walk up with a ball and I go, “Hey have you ever seen one of these?” Boom! It’s gone! And without inviting me over, they invite me over, in a way. That look on their face is what keeps you going.
Q: I was noticing in The Brick the numerous amount of cards on the ceiling. Are those from you and what is that trick specifically?
A: That trick was what made me the household name here. Before that, I was just this crazy guy that did balloons. But with that trick, you sign your name on the card you choose, you put the card back in the deck and then I throw the deck up to the ceiling and your card sticks there. When that happened, everybody would bring people to see their card on the ceiling. So then it would bring more customers to The Brick.
Q: Are you involved in a community or society of magicians?
A: Yes I am a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Society of American Magicians. I don’t attend a lot of meetings, since most of them are in Atlanta or Macon, and I do have to work here. But yes, I am involved.
Q: Where do you see yourself in the future with your magic acts?
A: I don’t think I ever want to leave Milledgeville. I mean, me and my family live out on the lake and we love it out there; it’s home to us and my kids. But I would like to be on the road, and of course, do The Brick every now and then. In order to make the jump from the restaurant, or the birthday parties, there’s a point where you just have to cut it off. Not forever, but you need to take the leap of faith into bigger magic acts. But I do want to do the big show; that is the goal at the moment.