Park Bum-soo Junior Reporter Dalpeng_i@hotmail.com
Do you believe in magic? If I asked you that question, most of you would probably say “Well.. I stopped dreaming about magic stuff when I was...”, right? But is that really true? What do you think when you are stuck in really heavy traffic on your way to a date that you are already too late for?
Or what if you relieved yourself at a public toilet only to find that there were no tissues around you? What would you think of? Believe it or not everybody has his or her magic world somewhere deep in their mind. So I would like to lead you to the world of magic. The only question is “Are you ready me?”.
Bagdad my magic cafe
Where to see magic The popularity of magic started when the TV program ‘Hogisimcheanguk’ revealed the secrets of magic shows.
And sure enough, it caught many viewers’ attention. Just a few months ago, the world-hit movie ‘Harry Potter’ attracted many to the world of fantasy. But of course, I am not here to talk about wizardry or witchcraft but magic, or magic tricks, I should say. These days, you have the chance to see magic shows with your own eyes.
There are some notable places showing true magic shows. In Shinchon, there are two leading magic-cafes called Bagdad Magic Cafe and Alexander Magic Bar, and in Daehangno, there is Masul Lamp. These places mostly take the form of cafes, so you can have a nice cocktail with an amazing magic show as a side dish.
Alexander magic Bar
Where to learn magic
If seeing is not enough for you, you can have the chance to do it yourself by learning it. There are various ways for you to become a magician. As always, there are books.
A famous young magician Lee Eun-gyeol has written his first book about learning magic. Not only that but also there are many books that show you the actual secrets of magic with full color photos. The internet is another good place to check out. Amateurs and professionals have made private homepages to teach you magic tricks.
For example, Chung Young-keun (firemagic.com.ne.kr), an amateur magician demonstrates many magic tricks with his own photos, some revealing the tricks, and secrets. Some sites are either paid or free membership and some are totally free.
There are also tons of cafes such as in Daum or Freechal related to magic. Some even have 60,000 members registered. One famous Internet cafes is ‘Masul-Hakkyo’ in Daum. The sites also show great magic and also teach you how. Magic schools are widespread too. Magic-cafes usually also have magic schools attached, or you can learn magic in the cafe itself.
The reporter met Seo Ki-won, a representative of University Union Magic Club.
He is also representative of Hankuk Aviation University Magic Club and instructor at Bagdad Magic Academy.
1. How did you start your career in magic? At first, I did not know anything about magic. But I had a chance to work part-time at Bagdad Magic Cafe. At that time it was only for the money but as I worked, I had the opportunity to learn about magic and get experience. Since then, I have just been absorbed in it.
2. What do you think magic is? I think magic is about fun and enjoyment. Seeing magic should be fun and performing it should also be enjoyable. I believe magicians should perform magic only for the audience’s enjoyment instead of concentrating on trick skills themselves.
3. Do you have any wishes for the future of magic? I hope this society accepts magicians as true entertainers and not just clown or ‘tantara’. Magicians do have the right to have more respect than they get these days. Also I hope we can have a magic-specific theater like the theaters we have for plays and other performances, since magic stages need special equipment. I hope we can have our own place to perform magic to give people more chance to experience magic and have fun with it.
4. Do you have any role models? Lance Burton and Houdini, the creator of escape magic. 5. What’s the merit of being a magician?
The biggest advantage is self-confidence. In order to be a magician, you have to stand in front of people, keep their attention and move them in the way you want. During that process a magician gets self-confidence himself or herself. Like the magician Lee Eun-gyeol, one of the best young magicians in Korea, he started learning magic just to be more active.
6. What do you think is the definition of Magic?
It seems to me that to magic fans the trick skill itself is most important, while most people feel that is just trickery or cheating. But to me magic is something fun. Fun both for spectators and magicians. It is much more than lying or cheating, since those things make others feel bad. Watching magic should not have such feelings, because like I said before, it is meant to be fun.
Lee Eun-gyeol: A tall, young, good looking and ambitious magician who will lead the Korean magic industry in the new century. He won the first place at World Magic Contest in Nagoya, the first Korean who has done so, and SA Magic Contest in South Africa. He also works as a VJ on the KMTV network.
Seo Ki-won: A professional magician at Bagdad Magic Cafe. Even though his career is only about three years old, he leads a club named Jocker with 100 members at Hankuk Aviation University and has helped establish a lot of magic clubs in other universities. He also worked as a public relations representative for magic during the World Cup.
Oh, Eun-young: A founder and owner of Bagdad Magic Cafe. She charms audiences both through her amazing magic performances and beauty. She is the second woman magician in Korea. She is not only a magician but also a stewardess, model, and reporter.
Jung Eun-sun: A leading Korean magician of the first generation. She has her own magic school, has also made magic teaching CDs and published lots of books. She has inspired many people to take up magic including Oh Eun-young.
There are lots of magic competitions you might want to check out. First of all, there’s the Federation of International Societies of Magicians (FISM) competition, a magic Olympics. It’s like a paradise for magicians. And Lee Eun-gyeol is participating in next year FISM in the Netherlands. There’s also the Society of American Magicians (SAM) competition, which Lee won this years. Apart from that, there are many other magic competitions that are happening all over the world.
You might get a little upset that magicians are just ‘muggles’ not someone special and it is a pretty widespread belief that magicians are just clowns or ‘tantara’.
And people tend to doubt even the existence of magic before they get to know what it really is. Magic is not just about cheating people, it is about entertaining people. Magic-related stuff, both seeing and performing, can be real entertainment if we know and understand it well.
So, are you bored with routine entertainment? Just say the magic word and look for magicians!!