Illusionist Jason Bishop brings his versatile show to Beaver Creek
Ryan Summerlin December 27, 2011
You will not see a rabbit pulled out of a hat, when master illusionist Jason Bishop takes the stage at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek for three shows this week. Bishop is redefining the art of magic and is an illusionist for the next generation. From his breathtaking “Double Levitation” to his cutting edge “Op-Art” and “Plasma” illusions, his show features original high-tech magic, for audiences of all ages. Bishop recently answered some questions for the Vail Daily.1. Vail Daily: What makes you “America’s Hottest Illusionist?”Jason Bishop: People can answer that for themselves, but to me it means that I do the most modern show I can. I use iPods and iPhones in the show to do magic, as well as Plasma and LCD screens. The music is all from today, bands like Matt & Kim, Kings of Leon, Vampire Weekend and Travie McCoy, etc. It’s not a show that’s some cheesy ’80s or ’90s holdover. I combine all of that with audience interaction and the best cutting-edge illusions there are.2. VD: What do you hope audiences take away from your performance?JB: Enjoyment, pure fun and amazement. I want people to have fun and I want them to be amazed with magic and illusions that they haven’t seen before. I also want them to want to come back. To say, ‘I didn’t know a magic show could be that fun, I want to see it again.’ And, I really want them to notice the versatility of the show. That I do magic with big illusions, I float people and make them disappear, but I also pull a fish from an iPod Touch and turn a $1 bill into a $100 bill. I want people to see magic on all levels, with odd props but also borrowed items. That’s all important to me. Mostly though I want people to have fun, smile, laugh, be amazed, wonder. 3. VD: What was the hardest routine to perfect?JB: The Cards. I make playing cards appear and disappear in my hands, and then I bounce them off the floor 20 to 30 feet into the air. That’s an effect people usually leave talking about and enjoy. But it certainly took some time to perfect. 4. VD: What is the most talked about effect in the show?JB: There are a few, the cards, the fish but probably the most talked about is the “Double Levitation.” My assistant floats 12 feet above the stage with no support visible above or below her. At the end there is a pretty cool surprise. It’s a very special effect and lots of people mention it after the show. 5. VDL What was the first magic effect you can remember learning/performing?JB: Probably what’s called a “French Drop,” I still use it today. It’s a basic, somewhat simple sleight. But it’s still a technique that can easily fool someone. It’s a technique to place an object in your hand very innocently, and then cause it to vanish completely. It’s really a great technique. I do that with coins or a small rock, etc. I pick up a small object and make it disappear at will. 6. VD: If you could meet any illusionist, alive or dead, who would it be and why?JB: Alive; I think it would be cool to meet David Copperfield. I have a great deal of respect for him. Not living; would be guys that are forgotten but were HUGE in their days, I mean HUGE. Alexander Hermann or Howard Thurston, they were big just around Houdini’s time and they were both actually far better magicians than him. I’d love to have seen them, watch their shows and pick their brains. These guys were transporting 40 tons of equipment on trains and horse-drawn wagons. That alone shows their determination, plus their magic was actually really deceptive and sophisticated. They performed pre-TV and pre-movies, so they really honed their live performance abilities. They’d perform between two and 10 shows a day, which is nearly unheard of today.7. VD: What do you enjoy most about performing live?JB: I love doing the impossible right in front of people. No camera tricks, no special effects – just the audience and me, live; it’s really fun. Also, I love the unexpected things that happen every night with the audience, just those odd unique interactions that happen spontaneously with the audience members.