MAGICIAN DAVE McCREARY IS THE LAST MAN YOUíD WANT TO TAKE TO VEGAS. OF COURSE, THERE IS A LOT MORE UP HIS SLEEVE THAN MAKING CARDS AND MONEY DISAPPEAR. TASTES LIKE CHICKENíS HAIRIEST HOUDINI, FUNK AMPHIBIAN, CAPTURES THE MAGIC ON TAPE.
funk: Do you have a stage name like "amazing", "stupendous" or "magiclicious"?
Dave: No. I just go by "Dave".
f: Who is a better magician: Fruitpie or The Egyptian?
D: (laughs) Fruitpie, definitely. Heís nice. He does a magic show for you and then you can eat him, which is always good-- a magic show and dinner.
(An alarm goes off at Barnes and Noble when a girl tries to exit.)
f: When performing, what word works better: "Allakazam" or "Abracadabra"?
D: None of the "A" words work very well. I prefer "Hocus Pocus".
f: Do you think that Harry Potter punk has helped or hindered the magic world?
(The alarm goes off again for the same girl.)
f: For Godís sake, just take the girl downtown already! Sheís a crook!
D: (laughing) They donít know what theyíre doing. I donít think Harry Potter has anything to do with the kind of magic I do. Kids know what Harry Potter does and I donít do that sparkly wand stuff. I donít do kid magic. Not that I donít like kids, but why waste my time with kids when I can fool adults?
f: We all miss Doug Henning. Can you, or anyone for that matter, fill his Danskins?
D: (laughing) You know what? Even if you get the mustache and the hair, nobody can take his place. He cornered the whole Ď70s look, all the way into the Ď90s. He was on the cover of--
(The alarm goes off again for the same girl.)
--Magic magazine a couple months before he died, talking about his big comeback.
f: What was he doing before that?
D: He kinda freaked out and thought he was really magic. I guess he moved to the mountains and became a little weird. He was also talking about opening a magic-themed amusement park, but that folded. Itís kinda hard to open an amusement park when youíre dead.
f: Siegfried & Roy: spectacular entertainers or just goofy guys with a kinky cat fetish?
D: Both. I saw their show in Vegas with my wife. It was phenomenal but itís hard not to laugh at them. I donít even know which one is which, but the short little black-haired guy has a cod piece bigger than my head. I think heís exaggerating a bit. That might be where he hides the cats when they disappear.
f: Are todayís acts too over the top with the melodrama, half-naked chicks and pyrotechnics?
D: I respect David Copperfield, but thatís the one thing I canít stand. He does a trick that should take 30 seconds and heís dancing around for five minutes. Just do the magic and get off the stage. Thatís the problem with magic competitions; everybody thinks theyíre Copperfield. I see 15-year-old fat kids dressed in tuxedos that are three sizes too small, dancing around with birds falling out of their sleeves. Itís embarrassing. I go for the laughs.
(Once again the alarm goes off creating a quagmire at the exit. Confused, inept employees rush a family of five.)
f: Name your biggest influences?
D: They are names that mean nothing to those not into magic. Michael Lamar, Matt King, The Amazing Jonathan. I wouldnít say David Blaine is an influence, but I love that he is on TV now. I was getting so tired of all the stage magic on TV. I do close-up magic, so itís nice to see that type of magic on TV.
f: What got you interested in pursuing magic?
D: I have no idea. All through high school I messed with it. All kids like magic, and I just never grew out of it. I was in Myrtle Beach and I walked into a magic shop and bought my first hardcore magic book. It stuck with me. I tried guitar and working out, too, but nothing stuck except magic. I like being the center of attention, and thatís one way to get attention. If you can pull off cool tricks, people are going to like it. Iíve never had a problem entertaining people. The difference between a rock star and a magician is that rock stars are on stage gyrating; itís a sexual thing. Magicians do most of it with their hands and it looks like theyíre knitting. Itís not the coolest thing in the world, but Iím not the coolest guy in the world.
f: No. Youíre not, Dave.
D: (laughs) Thanks, man.
f: If you could have a conversation with any magician, living or dead, who would it be?
D: Dai Vernon. They called him The Professor. He was the man when it came to close-up magic. He died in 1992 and he was in his upper nineties. Iíve seen him perform on video tapes. Any close-up magician will tell you that Dai Vernon was the man.
f: Does your family support your aspirations?
D: My son tries to make his sippy cup disappear and reappear. Thatís my boy. My 12-year-old is sick of it and my wife is tired of cards and coins laying all over the house. Yeah, they support me. Theyíre just sick of seeing it. My dad loves it. Heís my biggest fan.
f: In your magical opinion, do dogs have lips?
D: (laughing) I was making out with my dog the other day, and I swear he had lips. But I could be wrong. He used a lot of tongue, so I may have mistaken tongue for lips.
f: Do you see yourself doing the Vegas circuit?
D: I went out to Vegas in 2000 and saw Matt King do comedy stand-up magic. Theyíre saying itís one of the best shows in Vegas. His show is simple and clean, so it reaches the young to the old, so he has a huge audience. It would be awesome to be out there doing it, but I donít know if I could get my wife to move out there. They have Caesars Magic Empire which is a magic-themed restaurant. Itís a blast. Iíd love to perform there.
f: Why is David Blaine so damn serial killer-creepy?
D: I donít know. He gets on my nerves. He has absolutely no personality, but thatís his thing. Heís good, but I like more personality. I think a lot of magicians were jealous because he wasnít doing anything new or that they couldnít, but he had his own show and they didnít. I have total respect for him. He doesnít use camera tricks, but they have all kinds of editing. Heíll perform the same card trick for 50 different people, but weíll see the best two reactions. They cut out the people that walk away because they think heís a freak. So theyíre not really camera tricks, but they do make themselves look better by editing.
f: So you have no fear of Blaine killing you in your sleep?
D: I hope not. (laughing)
f: What is your most complex trick?
D: Iím working on a straight jacket routine where I cut my arm off and toss it across the stage. Itís not that complex, but itís funny with a card trick intertwined. Itís fun for me and it goes over pretty well. Thatís about as complex as I get. Iím not into producing white tigers from my cod piece.
f: What is more important: the presentation or the props?
D: Thatís a good question. I use a regular deck of cards and regular coins. You can buy trick decks and fake coins, but most professional magicians use the real thing. I donít want to use anything that anyone with ten bucks can pick up at a magic shop and perform in five minutes. I want to do tricks that have taken me years to practice. I could show you 15 tricks in a row right now without any presentation and youíre going to get bored and walk away, no matter how good the magic is. But if you intertwine it with comedy, itís more entertaining. Presentation is more important.
f: Have you ever farted in your sleep and had your own stench wake you up?
D: Yeah. When I first started dating my wife I never farted in front of her for the first six months. Thatís the true test of love: farting. Once you can knock your girlfriend down and leave a skid mark on her forehead, that is true love. We were laying on the couch watching a movie, I had just started to doze off and ripped a big one and woke myself up. I was terrified and she just had this look of horror on her face. I said the heck with it and went back to sleep. Now she knows. I poop regularly, too.
f: You know how most tricks are done. Are there any that still baffle you?
D: I donít think so. That's the one thing that sucks about being a magician. The reason you got into magic is because you love magic and it fascinates you. You love that feeling of astonishment when magic happens. When the card changes or the girl reappears or whatever, you miss that when you become a magician and learn all the secrets. There hasnít been anything in quite awhile that has stumped me. I may have to watch it twice, but itís all basic mechanics. Especially close-up tricks. Nothing fools me anymore and I miss that feeling. But itís a necessary evil when you start doing magic.
f: What do you hope your audiences come away with after your performance?
D: I want them to think that I am the best magician theyíve ever seen. When I started doing magic ten years ago I didnít start doing it in front of people for five years. I wanted to be as perfect as possible. Most people have never seen a magician in person, so I have an advantage over what theyíve seen on TV because Iím right in their face. Iím not even close to being the best magician, but I can be the best theyíve seen in person. And thatís enough for them to book me for a show. I want the audience to have fun and get them to laugh. (laughs) Being a magician is so geeky. What can I say? I never learned to play guitar. I had an arsenal of guitars and never learned to play any of them. Except for the air guitar. I was good on that one. But banging out some Winger riff just wasnít cutting it.
CONTACT DAVE AT SLEIGHTOFSIGHT@YAHOO.COM