2010-06-26 / Top News

Magician Entertains Crowds at Library

Magician Gordon Russ teaches the crowd at the Mackinac Island Public Library the “magic” word. Magician Gordon Russ teaches the crowd at the Mackinac Island Public Library the “magic” word. Magician Gordon Russ kept the crowd in fits of giggles while simultaneously amazing them with his acts of illusion at his Tuesday, June 22, show. The magician from the metro Detroit area has been performing magic professionally for 23 years and this was his fourth year performing at the Mackinac Island Public Library. He has performed in countries all over in the world, including Australia and China, but now primarily performs in Michigan and the surrounding states.

Mr. Russ was introduced to magic by his father when he was a child. His dad taught him a few tricks, he said, and his love grew from there. His magic evolved by teaching himself using books, videos, and attending the occasional lecture.

“Then I did a show for the National Honor Society in high school and a lady came up afterward and asked if I did kids' parties,” he said. He agreed. “Then people keep calling you back, so you keep doing them.”

Clara Conatser of New Orleans assists in a magic trick as the missing scarf is found in her sleeve. Clara Conatser of New Orleans assists in a magic trick as the missing scarf is found in her sleeve. The magician said he chose a comedic theme for his show because he found that is what works for him and audiences respond well. Mr. Russ has many different types of shows, including the comedy magic show, holiday shows, adult stand-up, and even educational shows for assemblies at schools.

“I have some assembly programs. I do a geography show, a reading show, a Michigan show,” he said. “When you do an educational show, the kids are at school and they're in a learning situation so when I do the geography show you can talk about the equator, the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere, and when I do that I am stretching the balloon showing the equator -- it will still snap me -- but I am telling them that's the equator and teaching them about latitude and longitude.”

Audience assistant Tristan Greenlee from Mackinac Island watches with amusement as Gordon Russ performs a trick with the rings. Audience assistant Tristan Greenlee from Mackinac Island watches with amusement as Gordon Russ performs a trick with the rings. His favorite tricks are the ones for which he chooses a child from the audience to help.

“When you have an audience helper, you never know what's going to happen,” he said.

During his show on Mackinac Island, he had three helpers, one each from New Orleans, Virginia, and Mackinac Island. Each audience member brought their own twist to the show and had a chance to participate in the magic - they even left with some magic kits of their own so they could start putting a few tricks up their sleeves.

George the Raccoon, the magician's trusty sidekick, came “alive” and stole the show with his lifelike movements and personality, along with his ability to make the audience roar with laughter.

Audience assistant Jillian Wilkie from McLean, Virginia, assists in a trick using the magic wand. Audience assistant Jillian Wilkie from McLean, Virginia, assists in a trick using the magic wand. Mr. Russ' show slowly evolves and changes over time, according the magician, so each show will have some of the old favorite tricks as well as some new things.

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