Q&A with Magician Michael Peterson

Get to know club favorite Michael Peterson! This magician has a great story to tell, and will be performing at the club on February 4th and 5th this month. Get your tickets online now.

Q: Tell us about yourself as a magician.

A: I have been doing magic for about eleven years now. In the beginning, I immersed myself in all things magic. Books, videos, websites, anything that had to do with magic. Not too long after, I was lucky enough to meet a magician who became my mentor, and best friend. He pointed me in the right direction, and introduced me to a lot of great magicians who helped me learn (thanks Steve).

Over the next couple years, I continued to learn and practice magic. I  practiced so much that my hands would cramp up. I performed all I could, and did a lot of street magic and shared magic with the kids in the group homes where I worked. In 2002, I got an amazing offer to go to Turkey as a guest of the Turkish government and perform at the Izmir Illusion Festival. It was an amazing experience, getting  to go there and share magic.

I continued learning and performing magic, and started getting paid magic shows at schools, banquets, birthdays, and even doing shows in bars as well as doing a lot of street magic. A few years later, I went to England. I did not take the exchange rate in to account, and ran out of money pretty quick (lucky I was staying with my sister). I started performing in pubs to earn money, making tips, as well as people buying me meals and drinks. Met a lot of great people and I was treated like a celebrity because of magic.

About a year after that, I moved back to the bay area, and eventually, magic lead me to performing at California Magic Dinner Theatre, which has allowed me to perform with some of the greatest magicians in the world. A magician told me when I first started doing magic to "enjoy the ride" -- I certainly have so far.

Q: What started your interest in magic?

A:When I was about five or six, I saw a commercial for something called “TV Magic cards” -- This guy named Marshall Brodien was doing all this crazy stuff with a deck of cards, saying how easy it was. My Mom got them for me, but it wasn't as easy as it looked on TV. Even though I wasn't good at doing magic then, I absolutely loved watching it.

Q: Tell us about your first performance as a magician.

A: I was twenty-nine, working as a youth counselor in a group home when I was told that we were taking the kids to a motivational weekend retreat, and that all the kids and staff had to do something in a talent show. I had been into magic for only a few months at most, but ended up doing a magic show in front of more than 200 people. I was pretty nervous, but the show went over quite well and everyone liked it. The most important thing I learned from that first performance is to always check your zipper before performing.

Q: Name a magician that has inspired you the most and why?

A: It sounds corny, but I would have to say Harry Houdini. I found a little book about him in the class library when I was about twelve (I still have it). I was absolutely amazed at everything Houdini did; it all seemed so impossible. Harry died more than 80 years ago, but his fame never faded away. He was an amazing man.

Q: What is favorite style of magic to perform?

A: I am a comedy-close-up kind of guy! I love the intimate interaction that makes it seem so impossible that these amazing things can happen right in front of you while having a good laugh. I love experiencing it as much as doing it.

Q: What is your favorite magic memory to date?

A:It's a toss up between a girl who literally jumped out of her shoes and performing in Izmir Turkey for more than 1,000 people.

Q: What's the most important thing about magic to you that you'd like the public to know?

A: I want people to experience magic, not just watch it. Something I absolutely love is seeing someone in absolute disbelief of something they experienced. I have worked very hard to be able to do what I do and want nothing more than to entertain people, giving them a special memory that they will recall and tell their friends through their life. Pretty much everyone has a story about something amazing they experienced, I want to be the person in the story.

Gerry Griffin