At first, he thought it was heartburn.
Danny Silverman had scarfed down a burrito earlier in the day and was starting to feel chest pains. Must be the Mexican food, he thought. He ignored it. He was, after all, at a lecture run by renowned magician Asi Wind.
“He did two tricks, and they fooled me both,” said Silverman, a magician of 30 years.
Silverman didn’t make it to the third. He jumped out of his seat and asked an official at the Colorado magic convention to call 911. He was having a heart attack.
It wasn’t severe, though, and Silverman quickly recovered. He’s since worked with and attended shows headlined by Wind and on July 26-27, his venue, Smoke and Mirrors Magic Theater in Huntingdon Valley, will host the Israel native.
Silverman can hardly contain his excitement.
“A thousand other guys can do a card trick; but what makes Lady Gaga, Lady Gaga? It’s that indefinable something that certain people [have]. That even though they’re doing the same thing other people do it gets a better reaction,” Silverman said of Wind.
Wind, who could not be reached for comment, is certainly known for eliciting positive reactions. Equally adept as a magician and as a mentalist — a magician who reads minds — Wind has developed a reputation for brilliance among his peers.
Silverman recalled attending a party in Las Vegas full of some of the nation’s best magicians. Wind was there, and when he grabbed a deck of cards and started performing tricks, word spread through the gathering.
“Everyone at the party stopped what they were doing,” said Silverman, who is Jewish. “People started whispering, ‘That’s Asi Wind. That’s Wind.’”
Wind is one of the rare magicians to find admiration both in magic circles and the public. Ken Weber, a mentalist and author of the book Maximum Entertainment: Director’s Notes for Magicians and Mentalists, said Wind “does astounding things close up that are like I’ve never seen before.”
“The things he’s developed and the way he comes up with new material can fool me,” Weber said.
Wind’s resume speaks for itself. He works closely with David Blaine, perhaps the United States’ best-known magician, and recently earned the Merlin Award, one of the most prestigious honors in the magic community.
“I would recommend people go see him, because you’ll have a different view of what a magician or a mentalist is if you see Asi Wind,” Weber said.
People at Smoke and Mirrors will have that opportunity. Silverman said the magic theater is atypical from most in the United States, in that the performer is not looking down at the audience from a stage. Instead, the seats are elevated, with each row higher than the previous one. It’s constructed like an amphitheater, with the seats curved around the stage. Silverman, who credited the inspiration for the design to peers he met in Germany, said the farthest seat is about 20 feet from the performer.
The intimate setting has proven popular among guests, Silverman said. He believes it’ll be a favorable environment for Wind, a performer renowned for his stage presence.
The key components of his act include: solving two Rubik’s Cubes, one in each hand, at the same time without looking; instantly remembering a completely shuffled deck of cards; perfectly recalling a photo he has only seen for a few seconds; and memorizing the names of the entire audience.
Silverman recalled seeing Wind perform in New York City on his off-Broadway show Concert of the Mind. Wind greeted the audience at the door and asked people for their names and one random fact about themselves. Later in the show, he asked everyone to stand up.
“If your name is Danny and your favorite food is pizza, sit down,” Silverman recalled Wind saying. A man sat down to applause.
Wind was born and raised in Tel Aviv, before moving to the United States and settling in New York. He travels the world performing, both as a solo act and accompanying Blaine. For two evenings in late July, a small group of people in Montgomery County will get a taste of why Wind has become an international sensation.
“I’ve been in this business for long time, and I’ve seen a lot of people do a lot of incredible things. Asi Wind, without a doubt, is one of those people,” Silverman said. “Magicians will stop what they’re doing and watch [him].”
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