Metal Magic

Loud rock music, sleight of hand, and life in a trailer. What a combo!

It isn't the rabbit living in his bathroom, the videotape he sent to Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, the three shots of Jägermeister he had as a lunch appetizer, the Eighties hair band pictures carpeting his walls, or his habit of making Marlboro Lights vanish in midsmoke. It isn't even, really, his cryptic answer to the basic reportorial question: What is your name? "Let's just leave it at Trixx," he said tersely.

No, the man who calls himself Michael Trixx is so damn perplexing because of his brazen cocksurety.

He is roundish, long-haired, profoundly tattooed, and a chain-smoker. Looking, talking, and partying like a bloated Kid Rock, 36-year-old Trixx, who shares a cramped one-bedroom trailer (not a double-wide) with Hocus Pocus (his rabbit) and five birds, was sprawled out on his couch one afternoon this past May, explaining with stone-faced seriousness and absolute lucidity the Michael Trixx Website, the Michael Trixx T-shirts ($15), the upcoming DVD, and the master plan to expand the Trixx brand from its seasonal headquarters in Islamorada to a national audience.

Trixx with two of his birds. He guarantees at least four birds in every show
Jacqueline Carini
Trixx with two of his birds. He guarantees at least four birds in every show
Michael Trixx, a.k.a. Michael Costa, levitates a Budweiser to one of his rock and roll favorites, AC/DC's "Have a Drink on Me"
Jacqueline Carini
Michael Trixx, a.k.a. Michael Costa, levitates a Budweiser to one of his rock and roll favorites, AC/DC's "Have a Drink on Me"

At one point he wobbled up from his perch on a couch and put in a videotape. It was Criss Angel, the star of A&E's show Mindfreak. Angel, a buff, hard-edged longhair with a rough Long Island accent, seemingly walked on air, hovering at least 30 feet over a parking lot. A small crowd watched from below, awestruck. Trixx shook his head respectfully. "He's pretty much the only one who's kind of got a rock style. Kind of like me. But not really."

Twenty minutes later, Trixx, seeking to demonstrate his own sorcery, walked outside into the midafternoon quietude of the Sea Breeze mobile home park, a mish-mash of ramshackle trailers and half-trailers within earshot of Overseas Highway.

He placed a small coffee table on the ground. He grimaced and his eyes bulged as he seemingly used mind control to lift the table off the ground for about 30 seconds.

He lowered it. It appeared normal — weighing about ten pounds.

A middle-age man in a tank top walked toward him.

Trixx turned toward the table, his eyes bulging again. The table rose and hovered about a foot off the ground. Trixx's hands were at least two feet from it.

The man, a neighbor, watched, shaking his head in disbelief.

"Anywhere I go," Trixx said later, "I'll attract attention. I can amaze people."

The Friday-night crowd at Snook's Bayside didn't look like the type Trixx would amaze — let alone amuse.

Snook's is classic Keys; a bar/seafood restaurant overlooking the water on the bay side of Key Largo. About 30 people were there — mostly older couples and families. They were vacationers catching the sunset, relaxing after another sun-blasted day, deciding whether to order grouper or yellowtail snapper. It was Margaritaville mellow, and the entertainment matched the mood — an older guy was wailing out easy hits. (Think Lionel Richie or Jimmy Buffett.)

Then the longhair arrived. He was wearing a leather vest and a top hat, and lugging a magic trunk. He quickly erected a stage prop. It was a huge hand-painted mural of himself. He held Hocus Pocus in one hand and a fiery torch in the other.

After a brief "Hello, Snook's," Trixx declared that music gets him "fired up" to do magic. He promptly cranked Aerosmith. Mouthing the words to "Walk This Way" and with the wave of a finger, Trixx transformed a flame into a white flower. Then he strutted across the stage to a Black Sabbath tune as he rapidly folded and unfolded a newspaper; a bird appeared.

Most of the tricks were set to rock; many were about the wonders of drinking and smoking. It was a parent's nightmare.

He grabbed a shot glass, poured in some Jack Daniel's, and placed it under a cup. It multiplied. Two shots. Trixx smiled broadly and then downed one of the shots. To the AC/DC classic "Have a Drink on Me," he tried a levitation trick. It was the table maneuver, except this time, the object hovering in midair was a glass filled with Budweiser. Next he did a riff of smoking gags to the sounds of Mötley Crüe's "Smoking in the Boys Room."

The whole sweaty, smoky, boozy event lasted about 30 minutes. Trixx was right; it was, for sure, totally unique — a bizarre kind of rock/magic hybrid.

But what was really bizarre came after the show. There was Trixx, a Hell's Angels-like creature who looks like he could eat small children, hopping from table to table, smiling and chatting amiably with old-timers and young moms, doing extra tricks for small children, collecting tips in his top hat.

Of his ability to entertain the seafood-eating, sport-fishing, retired-vacationer-from-Michigan crowd, Trixx said with his typically supreme confidence: "Anywhere I've been. Cape Cod. Sarasota. Upstate New York. I do it. I can play any crowd. I can make a name for myself anywhere."

But just a few weeks after the Snook's gig, Trixx, back in his trailer, said the days of playing for anyone anywhere might be ending. After ten years of toiling in the minor leagues of magic, he was ready.

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