Our Town Totowa - September 2020

Page 16



“When I was 8 years old, I walked into a magic shop looking for pranks, like smoke bombs and other stupid gags. The magician behind the counter showed me a trick and because I was so amazed, he taught me how it was done. I started performing that trick for people and once I saw the reactions, I was hooked.” Gianni Palumbo, a Totowa native and graduate of Passaic Valley High School, says magic has been his passion ever since. Now 22 years old, he is a professional magician, performing at parties and other special events, and has developed tricks of his own. Palumbo’s favorite trick is known as the “East Indian Needle Mystery,” which involves the magician swallowing a bunch of needles followed by a large length of thread. The magician then brings everything back up with the needles threaded on the thread. “The first time I saw this trick it blew me away. It is actually a very old trick and it is one that was made popular by the great Harry Houdini. I spent years trying to figure out how it was done and I now perform my own version,” Palumbo said. “The reactions I get when I perform this, are some of the best. It combines the element of danger with magic. What more could you ask for in entertainment?” Palumbo’s greatest influencer in magic is another former Passaic Valley student, world-renowned magician David Blaine. He says Blaine makes magic look casual and cool. “The stuff he does is absolutely amazing. With his first street magic special, he revolutionized magic. Prior to that special, people were used to seeing magic on big stages.” Palumbo got the chance to meet his idol twice, once at a gym and the other time after seeing him live. The greatest advice Blaine gave him involved making magic more natural. Palumbo said that magicians tend to verbalize everything they are doing. If a magician is going to make a rock disappear, they say something like, “OK, so here I have this rock, I am going to put it in my hand, and on the count of three it will vanish.” “A person who had actual magical powers wouldn’t go through all this process,” Palumbo said. “They would perhaps just pick up the rock, get your attention, and make it vanish. By performing this way, it is more mysterious and has a higher rate of actually surprising the audience.” While magic has a long history, one story that sticks out for Palumbo involves magician Jasper Maskelyne. He was part of a special unit for Great Britain in World War II that focused on the action along the Suez Canal. “With his extensive knowledge of illusion, Jasper was able to devise large-scale illusion systems that virtually made tanks invisible from the air, hid entire buildings full of ammunition and supplies, and even made an entire city vanish and reappear.” Palumbo prefers to work with ages 10 and up and since the pandemic began he has been performing on Zoom and other online platforms. “They are a lot of fun and I’m hoping to provide people with some entertainment with everything that has been going on. TikTok is currently my most successful platform where I have almost 70,000 followers,” he said. People can visit his website, www.giannipalumbo.com, to get a better look at some of his work, find his social media links and get contact information.

OurTown Totowa | SEPTEMBER 2020


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