Friday, August 12, 2011
Society • Take a Break From The News-Enter The Magic World of Gerald Joseph
Antioch, California (8/12/11) Every city or town has a homegrown celebrity. In Antioch (located in the East Bay Area of the northern part of the state), when one thinks of the word, ‘magician,’ the name Gerald Joseph immediately comes to mind.
He has been performing here for over ten years and is equally at home doing a full stage show in places like the El Campanil Theater in Antioch, or a more intimate performance for an audience of kids. He sparkles wherever he performs.
He has branched out, performing in wider areas and has won several awards.
This writer, who loves to see magicians perform, and once played one in a movie, attended Joseph’s performance for kids this past Wednesday ( 8/10/11, at the new Antioch library on Lone Tree Way. And what a performance it was!
Pulling a rabbit out of a hat is the centerpiece of a magician’s image. While there have been many versions of that trick, Gerald Joseph REALLY pulls a rabbit out of a hat, and a big one at that. The way he did it baffled this writer, and Will Byrns who is a very competent magician in his own right.
In Joseph’s version, he has a kid from the audience hold the top hat, which is clearly empty, and to hold it firmly by the rims while the prestidigitator drapes a cloth over it. Then with some magic words, lifts the cloth and the huge live rabbit not only fills the hat but sticks out over it and the kid can barely hold the hat.
Now Joseph had taken off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves and he was not standing near a box or table. There is no way he could have slipped that rabbit into the hat unless the hand really is quicker than the eye.
He did several tricks this writer had never seen, such as drawing a picture of Sponge Bob, then the eyes of Sponge Bob began moving back and forth as though scanning the audience. Then, the drawing’s mouth suddenly moves and speaks a couple of words. Then Joseph erases the picture.
His comedy is delightful as his tricks sometimes take on a life of their own and he is totally dumbfounded as strange things take place.
He drapes a cloth over a table, then suddenly the table starts to rise, even past the top of his head. He does a Chinese Linking Rings routine using only 4 rings (usually there are 8) with a kid from the audience taking part. He does a very funny take on that ancient trick. It was his original routine with a new touch.
He did sleight of hand, and had a kid from the audience come up and pick a card. It was put back in the deck and the deck shuffled. Then Joseph solemnly announced that a wild beast was present who will help with the trick. He points to a basket…yes, a snake is inside. He put the mic to the basket and was terrified to hear a rattling noise.
He tells the young boy from the audience that he is giving him a magical branch that attracts snakes and that anything rubbed by it will prompt the snake to action.
The snake’s name, the magician informs us, is Slicker. (If we did not say the name right, we apologize to the snake. No notes were taken since there were no plans to do a story on the show.)
Joseph then spread the cards out next to the basket and asked the young boy to stretch out the magic branch, then edged him closer and closer to the basket and instructed him to touch his card if he sees it.
Just as the audience volunteer crept forward and touched the card, the lid of the basket suddenly sprang open and the (spring) snake flew out and into the air, accompanied by the excited shrieks of the children.
Joseph was terrified, and very cautiously approached the snake on the floor, gently lifted the head, and sure enough, Slicker the Snake had the card in its mouth.
Gerald Joseph is an excellent entertainer. This writer saw him over ten years ago. How he has matured and honed his skills during that time. He is genuinely funny with a performance filled with the unexpected, that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats.
He is now a much in demand magician. Just last month he did 40 performances and his booking schedule is always full.
Magician Gerald Joseph reacts to an unexpected rising table. Photo by Editor Will Byrns.