As a Seattle high school senior in 1984, Dwyane Faux thought he was on his way to becoming a doctor. But one weekend, having nothing to do, he stumbled upon a balloon art seminar that changed his career path.
Shortly after moving to Los Angeles in 1987, Faux, 33, met a magician who taught him the tricks he could apply to his trade. Today, with the uplifting successful of his Westside business, Top Banana, his medical ambitions have faded.
"In high school, I did balloon art as a part-time career. I enjoyed doing it because it was creative. I was primarily on the street making up to $300 a day but also I was booking some parties.
"From there, I moved down to L.A. where I met some balloon artists who also did magic. One of the people I met taught me performing philosophy: the job of a magician is not to trick people; it's to entertain them through the performance of tricks. The philosophy also allows me to observe a trick or something in a magic shop and decide whether I want to add it to my repertoire.
"So far, my overhead is not intensive. Most tricks are $50 to $200. I have one trick, a levitation table to float kids up in the air, which cost $750. That's the most expensive individual trick I own. Most of the stuff you buy you don't have to replace. I enjoy being solo, but some of my customers have requested a stage show with large illusions in it and an assistant. My out of pocket costs to put that show together will be somewhere between $7,000 and $10,000.
"I probably have gone through about 40 tricks but I keep about 20 as active tricks that I use in my (solo) shows. On an average week I will do four to six shows a mix of kids shows and corporate events (using) six different tricks for a kid's show and 12 to 15 for an adult shows. There is certainly a bigger call for magic right around Halloween through the Christmas holiday season. But there are parties and events year-round.
"Specialty tricks include cut-and-restored rope, several card routines and making coins disappear. I also shove a pin through $100 bills that I borrow from audience members, give them back the bill, pull the pin out and the hole vanishes right before their eyes.
"My rates for an hourly show vary anywhere between $195 and $350 depending the type of show."
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