Magic will be in the air this Thursday. Nate Staniforth, a magician from Ames, Iowa, will be performing his magic show here in Oxford on the Proud Larry’s stage for the first time.
Part of the “Breaking Magic” series on the Discovery Channel, Staniforth is used to touring and creating jaw-dropping illusions for audiences of all sizes and is excited to wow the showgoers here this week.
Proud Larry’s is a more snug venue than a large amphitheater with balconies and seats to fill hundreds, and the intimate show this week is likely to be an intense and electrifying spectacle.
“The magic varies because every night is different and every audience is different,” Staniforth said. “I can say that it will be one of the strangest nights they’ve ever had. A series of strange moments.”
Magic, in Staniforth’s eyes, is much more than throw-away entertainment. It’s a device he uses to make people feel.
“One thing that magic does really well is that it sort of forces you to live in the moment for a second. Like, when you go skydiving, nothing else matters. It’s all fused within the moment,” Staniforth said. “It shouldn’t feel like a night at a comedy club, it should feel like a free fall, you know? A jolt of electricity, and I love that about it.”
However, Staniforth said he understands that magic’s ability to make people feel can be a double-edged sword.
“One time at a show, this guy shouted out, ‘You’re the devil!’ and stormed out. But that’s one thing that doesn’t happen at something like a symphony, for example,” Staniforth said, laughing.
Although he doesn’t want to be seen as a satanic figure, it’s that very kind of bewilderment he said he likes to evoke from his audiences with his tricks. Staniforth’s response to those who have negative feelings toward magic is a direct and honest one.
“Magic is fiction in the same way that you don’t get upset when you see Peter Pan and recognize that the characters are not real. I’m not trying to insult intelligence or pretend to be something I’m not. I’m an artist.”
In addition to his live shows, Staniforth is on a simultaneous book tour, promoting his memoir “Here Is Real Magic,” which Square Books will sell at Thursday’s show.
“It’s a wild time right now. I’ve toured for a decade, but never while promoting a book. It makes this entirely different,” Staniforth said.
“Here Is Real Magic” centers not around card tricks or pulling rabbits out of top hats but around Staniforth’s own life experiences with finding the magic in everyday occurrences. After years of touring and practicing his craft, Staniforth takes readers on a journey from beginning magic as a child to regaining his ability to be amazed by the very thing he loves.
“The book really is about wonder and how to find it – especially after you’ve lost it,” he said. “I’ve found sometimes that as you get older, it gets harder and harder to be amazed by anything.”