Young magician pulls off new trick

Vancouver Magic Circle president youngest in the history of the International Brotherhood of Magicians

At the ripe old age of 20, magician Alex Seaman has a ways to go before reaching grizzled veteran status, but a quick glance at his list of past performances you'd be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

His magician's resume reads like that of a seasoned road warrior or an adolescent Chad Kroeger. The list includes: Port Coquitlam Car Show, the Vancouver Police Department's Police Mutual Benevolent Association, 1st Port Coquitlam Beavers, May Day Selection Tea Banquet, Westwood Plateau Golf and Country Club, Pitt Meadows Heritage Hall, family reunions, talent shows, spring carnivals, pre schools, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and the Canadian Lebanese Association of British Columbia. There are many more. He's even rocked an Applebees and Boston Pizza to their greasy foundations.

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This year, Seaman added another notch to his magician's belt, which, to his credit, is not diamond encrusted. In February, then only 19 years old, he became the president of the Vancouver Magic Circle and the youngest president in the history of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, which includes the Vancouver chapter.

"Magic is, has and always will be my passion," says the young magician, who studies criminology at Douglas College when he isn't busy perfecting his craft, teaching magic lessons or performing at kids birthday parties.

Sadly, Seaman's duties as president of the Vancouver Magic Circle sound less than magical: chairing the organization's executive meetings and the circle's general meetings and, wait for it, overseeing various committees. But bureaucracy and protocol are only a small part of the Magic Circle, which meets once a month at a secret location to conduct magic workshops, hold friendly competitions and bask in the camaraderie of fellow magicians whose art form has been under siege for years by the high tech sorcery of the Internet and video games.

Part guild, part workshop, part historical preservation society, the Vancouver Magic Circle was founded more than 70 years ago, with a mandate to carry on the traditions and foster the art of magic. In its early days, the well-dressed group would meet at the Devonshire Hotel and later Hotel Vancouver, and its annual banquet was considered a major event on the citys social calendar, each year attracting some 600 people, including the mayor and chief of police. It wasn't until the 1970s that women were allowed into the circle and the formal dress code relaxed. Past members have included H.B. MacLean, inventor of the MacLean Method of Handwriting; broadcaster Ken Hughes; Leon Mandrake and his son Lon; Dr. Grant Gould, who owned the West End apartment where actor Errol Flynn died in 1959; Juliana Chen, the World's First Lady of Magic; and two-time world magic champion Shawn Farquhar. Currently, the circle counts 120 members in its mystical midst, up from recent years, making it the largest IBM branch in Canada.

The Courier first talked with Seaman six years ago for a cover story on the Vancouver Magic Circle. He had recently joined the organization as a junior member and said he enjoyed learning about the presentation of magic — something that still captures his interest.

"There's a huge difference between doing magic to know the secret [of the trick] and then there's learning magic to actually be able to perform it and share it," says Seaman, who first became interested in magic when he was 11 and took a trip to Victoria, where he visited Tony's Trick and Joke Shop. He spent an hour and a half in the store before leaving with three magic tricks.

At school, he quickly became known for his magic pursuits, performing at talent shows and for classmates. "I'd have to be really quick with my scheduling between classes to allow time knowing I'd be late for class because I'd have a circle of people all wanting to see something."

Besides busy lunch hours, Seaman also credits magic for giving his self-confidence added sparkle. "When it comes right down to it, you can do something that a fraction of the population can do. It's a marketable but very unique skill set that almost nobody can replicate and that sort of puts me in my own category of individuality and give me a really unique outlook. So there's a lot of confidence with that, especially when it comes to public speaking."

And its paying off. Last year, he snagged trophies for Pacific Coast Stage Champion and Canadian Stage Champion of Magic.

However, despite a steady stream of gigs, and the pride and accolades that come from being a champion magician and the youngest president in the history of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, there's still one thing Seaman can't make magically appear — money.

"I think if I had a calculated amount of how much I've spent [on magic], I'd probably launch myself into a depression."

For more information on Seaman and the Vancouver Magic Circle, go to gottabemagic.com or ibmring92.com.

mkissinger@vancourier.com

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