VACAVILLE — There’s something magical about talking to Alex Ramon.
The Richmond-raised illusionist had his own cabaret show, “Illusion Fusion,” and was the first magician-ringmaster with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. He appeared, and disappeared, in Disney Live! for 2½ years.
He’s also the youngest person to receive the Milbourne Christopher Award given to others such as Siegfried and Roy, David Copperfield and Lance Burton. The award recognizes notable contributions to the art of magic.
Ramos accomplished this before celebrating his 30th birthday.
On July 27, he stops in Vacaville for his first show at the Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre. It’s a new show, appropriately called #New Magic.
He recently chatted with the Daily Republic and shared the following.
Q: It took you two years to master The Acoustic Levitation (featured in #New Magic.) Is this the longest it’s taken you to perfect an illusion?
A: I worked with illusion designer Jim Steinmeyer. When we first started the idea of using sound, we spent about 10 months to a year discussing it. We kept elaborating on it. From the first time we talked about it to the final stages, it was about a year. After that, to build the prop, rehearse with it and work it out, it was about another year. I just put it in the show.
(The debut of the illusion happened in front of 1,500 magicians at the Society of American Magicians and the International Brotherhood of Magicians convention the weekend of July 4 in St. Louis. Ramos was pleased with the response.)
Q: Are there illusions that just don’t work and you have to leave them behind?
A: Yes and no. Yes, because sometimes you work on the routine and it’s not reading right or playing right. The premise is missing. You give up on it in a certain way. But then you adapt it and make it clear.
Q: Who was the first magician you studied?
A: The Japanese magician (Haruo Simada). This guy was such a strong and powerful presence on stage. Very few magicians can match his skill level. I met and worked with him when I was about 17. I still have an autographed poster of him hanging in my bedroom.
After that it was Tony Clark. Tony Clark had a show in Lake Tahoe at the same theater I had my show (“Illusion Fusion.”) They released a video of his show. I watched it every day.
Q: You were introduced to magic at 13 when a co-worker of your father’s showed you a card trick. What was it that fascinated you so much?
A: I had never seen a magician. I had never seen a magic trick. As a teen, you can process cerebrally that can’t happen. It challenged me mentally. I wanted to know how someone could do something that seemed impossible. My dad bought me a magic book. I lived with a deck of cards in my hands through most of high school. The cards had a blue back and my fingertips would turn blue.
Q: Who is your favorite magician?
A: David Copperfield is the best. He is amazing. He’s one of my favorites. Shimada and Tony Clark, too. If you want to be great, you have to study the greats.
Q: Tell me about getting the Milbourne Christopher Award.
A: It’s a huge honor. Only 20 (people) have received the award. They are heroes of mine. It’s chosen by committee. Someone has to nominate you. They don’t hand it out every year. The whole committee has to decide.
Q: You have done so much and you’re not even 30. Where do you go from here?
A: The way I see it is for every dream, you must have ambition and goals installed in you until you get the highlight. I’m always thinking of my next goal. When I got off the road with Disney, I started putting my show together. With Disney, it wasn’t my show. Less than eight months later, my show was a No. 1 attraction. My next goal was to tour. Now that the tour is going, I have another goal. I’m working on a new show, completely different from anything I have ever done. There are so many things I want to do. I want to do it all. Maybe a magic series on TV.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.