Day 105: Magician Joseph Tran


Tonight’s first, watching magician Joseph Tran at Missouri Southern State University, was a special event! Not only did my mom and sister accompany me, but my five year old granddaughter, Aubrey, saw her first magic show as well. And my son, Nate, and his sweetheart, Megan, were able to attend also. Four generations of my family shared a first along with plenty of laughs and raised eyebrows.

I’m seeing a pattern with MSSU entertainment. Or perhaps I should say, with the college circuit. All the performers that we’ve seen so far are very skilled in their craft AND wonderful comedians. Tonight was no exception. Joseph Tran had us laughing before he astounded us with his sleight of hand.

Joseph is touted as one of the youngest and best regarded Southern California magicians today. He was recently chosen among his peers as the Magician of the Year in association with the Magic Castle Young Magician’s Program, the most prestigious academy of magic in the world. He has been performing professionally since his early teens and began practicing magic tricks at the age of five. Incorporating humor, illusion and cutting edge technology into his routine has made him one of the most sought after entertainers in the Los Angeles area. He now tours universities across the US and performs on international cruise lines.

He was entertaining, playing off his Asian heritage and inviting the audience to laugh with him at the stereotypical portrayal of Asians in films. Joseph hails from Southern California but for the first few minutes of his routine, he cleverly led the audience to believe he recently came to the US and learned to speak English. Moving in and out of an Asian accent he charmed and amused us. I’ve always loved good illusions and magic tricks. My son has had a lifelong fascination with illusions and magic as well and grew up watching greats like David Copperfield and David Blaine. He became quite skilled at performing magic routines and I hope tonight’s show will renew his interest.

Joseph primarily does close up sleight of hand magic on his university tours, using decks of cards to amaze his audience. He’s the first illusionist I’ve ever seen who used twitter as part of a card trick. He encouraged those of us with twitter accounts to pull out our cell phones and witness that 31 minutes before the start of the show, he revealed the four cards that four random members of the audience drew from a deck of cards that they passed around. And I’m still pondering over his final trick, which involved a volunteer from the audience coloring in a drawing of “super hero” Joseph, who then removed his shirt and slacks to reveal the super hero costume underneath in the exact same colors that young Precious had just used as she colored.

We had a fun evening. And although I laughed and cheered and clapped for Joseph, along with everyone else, I really enjoyed watching Nate and Megan smile and whisper together after each trick. Most of all, I cherished having Aubrey perched on my lap, watching attentively, holding up her little hand each time Joseph asked for a volunteer. I loved seeing the spark of interest in her eyes as she practiced moving her hands the way Joseph moved his and made the show program “disappear”. She’s already a magical child. I suspect her daddy will be dusting off his book of illusions and teaching his young daughter her first magic trick. I can’t wait for the daddy-daughter duo to perform their first show together!

magic show 3e

Day 91: Comedian Juggler Nick Pike






As one who is always on the lookout for firsts to do, I have really come to appreciate the many opportunities that are available in Joplin. I realize how unaware I have been of the events, performances and exhibits offered in my city, most of them for free. I have discovered that Missouri Southern State University, via their Campus Activities Board, brings in quality entertainers every couple of weeks. These shows are open to the public and admission is free. This is perfect for me! I saw hypnotist Michael C Anthony there in February. For today’s first, I had the pleasure of watching comedian juggler Nick Pike.

When I scanned through the program during Michael’s show in February, I saw a list of upcoming events. I was intrigued. The magician looked good as did the mind reader coming at the end of April. A comedian juggler though? I wasn’t sure if I would catch that act. With 365 firsts to do, however, I decided I would attend and invited my mom and sister to accompany me.

I am so glad I decided to go! Nick Pike was extremely entertaining, combining juggling, humor and danger into an amazing show. Hailing from England, Nick has been juggling since the age of 11. His one man variety show has been performed thousands of times at festivals and events around the globe, from London, England to Sydney, Australia. He has been a headline act on all the major cruise lines of the world. In 2010 Nick was a quarterfinalist on America’s Got Talent, making it into the top 48. In recent years he has appeared on the college scene, touring the country and entertaining at as many colleges and universities as possible. He was just crowned the APCA Juggler of the Year for 2014.

What I know about Nick is he can juggle anything! My son, Nate, can juggle. I’ve tried. It’s not one of my talents. Nick opened tonight’s show juggling oranges and progressed through batons and then meat cleavers! He kept up a running commentary, in a delightful British accent, that was hilarious. He’s quick witted, incorporating remarks and people from the audience into his performance. If he dropped an item, he did a little soft shoe dance routine, which became endearing. As if juggling from the floor wasn’t difficult enough, Nick proceeded to amaze us by juggling atop a 6 foot tall unicycle. His coordination was astounding.

For his final act, Nick spread pieces of broken glass on the floor and removed his socks and shoes. Donning a black hood, he picked up the meat cleavers and pulled the hood down over his eyes. I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch either! Nick walked barefoot over the shards of glass, eyes covered, hands tossing sharp objects into the air. His routine was flawless and at the end of his daring walk, his feet uncut. What a relief. We stood to applaud and cheer.

This was a very fun show. I am grateful to MSSU’s Campus Activities Board for bringing such talent to Joplin. I will be back in two weeks, for the magician!