Metal Magic

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

The result: "I had to rework my entire show."

Two months later, in October 2005, Trixx was sweating backstage at a comedy club in Macon, Georgia. He was prepping to open for a comedian named the Disgruntled Clown.

The thought of talking onstage terrified him. But this was McBride's chief instruction: "Tell your story." For his whole career, Trixx had been Teller, the mute, and now he was trying to be Penn, the gabby one.

Mago George, a.k.a. George Iglesias, says Trixx has at least ten years before he's Vegas-ready
Mago George, a.k.a. George Iglesias, says Trixx has at least ten years before he's Vegas-ready

Though Trixx usually loosens up with a drink, this time, he says, "I had a few extra. That helped a lot." Then he went onstage, and unveiled Trixx 2.0.

"It rocked," says Trixx, "like never before. Amazing. They were going crazy."

Not long after the raucous applause, the club's owner approached him. There was going to be a change. Trixx — not the clown — would be the headliner the next night.

When he went on, he again got a huge response from the Georgia crowd.

As he headed back to the Keys, after a week-long run, he had a new fantasy. He wasn't jamming with Tommy Lee in front of thousands. He was pulling rabbits out of hats in front of roaring fans in Vegas.

During the next five months, Trixx prepared. He performed new tricks for his Keys audiences, his music was increasingly tied to the action (when doing smoking tricks, he played "Smoking in the Boys Room"), and he honed his story.

He booked studio time.

In 1998, Trixx mailed a videotape of one of his shows to Mötley Crüe's Tommy Lee and then-wife Pamela Anderson. A week later he received an e-mail from Lee and gratis backstage passes to the Crüe's next show.

This past June 21, Trixx went into a studio north of Boston to record a new DVD that would have more riding on it than a backstage pass. Talent scouts would see it, as would casinos and club owners and television booking agents and other magicians. Trixx planned on sending it first to his teacher, McBride. "If he likes it, shit, that could change everything," he said. And then he would roll it out. "Conan, Letterman, Leno...."

The Trixx DVD arrived in Miami and Vegas on June 27. It was 32 minutes long, had more than twenty tricks, included the story of Trixx's magical conversion, and was backed by snippets of twelve songs (all rock, except for themes from The Pink Panther and Sanford and Son). He used four doves, one rabbit, two cigarettes, two shot glasses, one bottle of Jack Daniel's, and at least eight beer bottles. There was some levitation.

McBride reviewed his student's work. He praised Trixx's technique, his gags, and the voice. "It's like adding lyrics to music," McBride said, gushing. "Trixx has such a unique style. He can bring magic to an audience which so needs magic." He concluded. "It's just a matter of time. I envision him as an opening act for rock bands. And yes, I think Vegas is a possibility for him."

Trixx was understandably ecstatic. "That's so awesome," he said.

But McBride was, after all, his teacher — his paid teacher. The rocker had spent $1200 to attend the McBride School of Magic. Ultimately the only way to truly get a sense of Trixx's magic was to scrutinize the video with the hard eye of a magician.

George Iglesias, a.k.a. Mago George, comes with strong references from Miami's magic elite — Merlina, Wil, and Fantasio. A star magician in his native Peru, he moved here last year. Why? It was a first step toward his ultimate goal: Vegas.

A shared Vegas lust is one reason he's a good evaluator for Trixx. Then there's the 27-year-old's bio. As a teen, he was the protégé of Jorge Lam, a legendary Chinese-Peruvian magician. Per the instruction of his mentor, a fourteen-year-old George spent five hours a day standing in front of a mirror, practicing his technique. "So I could move my hands faster than the eye," he says. By age 21, he'd created Peru's first school of magic. In brief, George was ideal — a hard-core magic geek.

George, who is tall with spiky hair and looks like he could be in a boy band, reviewed Trixx 2.0 at his sister's house in Kendall. Like Simon Cowell, he pulled no punches. At times during the viewing, he couldn't resist breaking the magician's code. "Ugh," he said during a bird trick, "he should have placed the fake hand on the other side of the bag."

He groaned when Trixx produced a beer bottle. "That's so old." Yet he smiled at the musical choices and listened attentively to Trixx's speaking parts. Some maneuvers he called "pretty clean"; other times he'd frown and say, "That was dirty."

"The guy's got potential. He's got a good character and good energy and lots of tricks. But he needs a story," George said. "You see how we were getting tired of watching tricks? He needs something to tie it together. For Vegas?" He paused. "He's not even close. Years. Maybe ten years."

Ten years. That was astonishing. George shrugged. "This is magic."

He then smiled and told a story about Lu Chen, a Taiwanese magician who, he said, "blew people away at the International Brotherhood of Magicians convention." After Lu performed brilliantly — he turned a cell phone into a dove — George approached him and asked how long he'd been working on the act. "Seven years," George said. "And that was an eight-minute act!"

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