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Not Revealing Magic Secrets with AJ Sacco

October 17, 2016 by Constance Fred
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A magician never reveals their secrets…but they do answer other magic-related questions. That’s why we sat down with Chicago Reader’s 2016 Best Magician in Chicago, AJ Sacco!

AJ Sacco
AJ Sacco, photo credit Katie Hovland

Constance Fred: What first drew you to magic and then what kept you?

AJ Sacco: The first time I “fooled” someone with a magic trick injected a huge boost of confidence into my 6 year old body. It’s been a life-long pursuit chasing the dragon of that first high. Seriously, though: with the world’s knowledge in our pockets, it’s incredibly difficult—and even more important—to be able to instill wonder and curiosity into a person.

CF: What does magic offer that no other art form does?

AS: Magic is a melting pot of all other art forms. It blends choreography, dialogue, design, poetry, comedy, history, science, and then adds deception and the art of subterfuge. The best magic hits all six senses (the sixth one that only yogis and Bruce Willis know about).

CF: What tends to surprise people at magic shows? What common preconceptions about magic tend to get blown out of the water for first-time audiences?

AS: I think the general public tends to distill magic into two categories: 1) plastic kits they buy their nephews for the holidays, and 2) big haired, flamboyant men with tigers and floating women. Chicago developed its own style of magic back in the 60’s. It is called close-up magic or conversational magic. I love the moment at a show when people realize they aren’t seeing what they anticipated. It brings them out of their comfort zone and they become emotionally engaged in the performance.

AJ Sacco, photo credit The Inconvenience
AJ Sacco with McKenzie Gilliam and Erica Verbarg, photo credit Matthew Gregory Hollis

CF: What’s been your most daring illusion to date?

AS: I’m not an illusionist, I don’t float or cut people in half. For me, the most daring thing I do is approach a group of strangers and within 5 seconds establish a rapport strong enough that they feel comfortable dropping their guard and trusting me to entertain them. It’s a rush.

CF: What’s a big impossible illusion that you’re working on or dreaming of?

AS: I have a goal of getting people to start a mosh pit at one of my shows. I like performing with bands and injecting spoken word and culturally relevant topics into my act. The impossible illusion is finding the right band that’s passionate about being my lovely assistants.

CF: Can you tell us ANY tricks of the trade? Even a little hint or tidbit?

AS: I’ll leave that to YouTube.

CF: Any upcoming performances of yours we should know about?

AS: I’m at Bordel in Wicker Park every Friday night. I’m a regular performer at the Chicago Magic Lounge, and I fly across the country for corporate events and weddings.

AJ Sacco, photo credit
AJ Sacco, photo credit Jackie Trezzo

Not enough magic for you? Make sure to check out these magic shows in Chicago:

  1. The Magic Parlour featuring The House Theatre ensemble member and Death & Harry Houdini star Dennis Watkins
  2. Magic Chicago
  3. The Magic Cabaret
  4. Check out Andrew Hinderaker’s world premiere of The Magic Play at Goodman Theatre