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The “Ring 96” competition featured seven magicians performing an array of magic including card tricks, escaping from a straightjacket and making certain items disappear and reappear with a wave of their wand.
Paul LaGreek, the host of the event, described the competition as a magician’s “version of ‘America’s Got Talent.’”
“Ring 96,” a chapter of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, held its annual stage competition on Saturday in the community room at Farmers and Merchant Bank in Seal Beach.
Many magicians also added comedy to their act, which was a huge hit with the senior audience members, who were the majority. There were only two children and three college-aged adults; the rest of the audience was over 50 years old.
Although this event was set up for the magicians to perform and show off their personal skills and talents, an unlikely person stole the show.
Four-year-old Mia Terronez, an audience member and assistant to the performing magician Chris Fleming, helped with a few basic magic tricks that had the audience laughing and talking about how cute she was.
While assisting Fleming, she told the audience his hidden tricks and proclaimed that she did not want to be a magician, but she wants to become a spy when she is older. Terronez said her favorite part of the show was “getting to go on stage and winning M&M’s.”
Cliff Gerstman, one of the performing magicians, said he was introduced to magic by his uncle at the age of seven. He said his favorite thing about performing magic is not the applause at the end of a trick, but the expressions on the audience members’ faces.
Gerstman said he thoroughly enjoys the “what the f–k” look that stains the faces of the audience as he is performing his escape from a straight jacket or the chains on his wrists.
“I used to watch a show called ‘The Magician in the ‘70s,” Gerstman said. “There was this one episode where he needs to escape from a burning building while chained up and I remembering thinking, ‘I want to do that.’”