Free magic: Magician to lead free online workshop for ages 8 to 12 on Oct. 31

  • Magician Scotty Swan is seen here doing a magic trick with fire in downtown Springfield.  Scotty Swan

  • Scotty Swan is a puppeteer as well as a magician.  Scotty Swan

  • Magician Scotty Swan is seen showing a trick to a girl in Troy, New York, during his last in-person show.  Scotty Swan 

Staff Writer
Published: 10/22/2020 6:30:23 PM

When Scotty Swan, 45, was a child, his mother hired a magician named Sky to do magic tricks for his birthday party. Sky was one of the only African American magicians in Springfield at the time and the first that Swan had ever seen. As a young person of color, Swan was inspired by Sky’s performance, which led to him becoming a full-time magician himself as an adult.

“He wore this white tuxedo with matching roller skates and he would have box illusions,” Swan said about Sky. “He was the roller skating magician … I’d never seen a magic show up close in real life up until that time. I got a magic kit and I started learning these tricks in this box. As I got older, I kind of forgot about it and fast forward to 1997, I got reintroduced to magic and I started picking it up again.”

Later in life, Sky and Swan bonded over their shared interest in magic.

“We just kind of hung out and a few years after that he passed,” Swan said. “I’m glad I got that chance to hang out with him as an adult. It’s like the student becomes the master. He passed the torch … He was Batman and I had to be the new Batman.”

Swan’s first magic show was at Shriners Hospital for Children in Springfield in 1999. Since then, he’s lived in Los Angeles and Las Vegas in pursuit of his magic career, having had TV appearances in the past such as “Extreme Gong,” a revival of the 1970s talent contest “The Gong Show.”

In 2014, Swan moved back to Springfield, where’s he’s worked as a magician through events and busking street performances. He works as a family-friendly entertainer using sleight-of-hand tricks as well as puppetry for his shows.

“There’s a lot of random improvised silliness,” he explained. “It’s not just straight magic, trick after trick after trick. I interact with people and they end up being part of the show. I just kind of feed off the response that I get from the crowd. My kid show is almost the same as my street show. I’m a family performer, but it’s not like a kid show. Even though there’s puppets and silly stuff, I don’t talk down to kids like most performers do … If I can win one jaded teenager over, then I’ve done God’s work.”

But the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has proven challenging to Swan as a full-time magician, he said. His last in-person performance was to a small crowd in Troy, New York in September that included masks and social distancing.

“All of my gigs were canceled,” he added. “A lot of magicians and a lot of entertainers, we had to adjust. Zoom came just in time. We are all learning how to shift from live to online. It’s a weird transition, but it’s what we have to do now to maintain our livelihood.”

Swan has moved his act online and is now offering a free WOW (Discover Magic licensed) interactive workshop that was co-created by famed magician Michael Ammar. The workshop teaches life skills and magic to youth ages 8 to 12 and will be taking place with Swan on Oct. 31.

“I’m really happy to be able to bring it to western Mass.,” he said, adding that he’s the only magician in the local area who has the license to teach the national workshop. “It features custom created props. You can’t go online or go to a magic shop and buy these tricks.”

Swan said the live 20- to 30-minute Zoom workshop will involve teaching three magic tricks using items that can be found throughout the house. Besides learning magic tricks, the workshop also instills life values such as patience and kindness through the program.

Through the free workshop, Swan hopes to spread the word about his other paid magic lesson offerings, including an eight-day Discover Magic course that puts students in classes based on their different skill levels.

For more information about Scotty Swan visit www.theweirdshow.org.

Chris Goudreau can be reached at cgoudreau@gazettenet.com.




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