Whenever a magician makes something disappear or picks someone’s card out of a deck, the audience always wants to know how the magician pulled it off.
At Princeton Arts Center in Johnson City, a group of 15 kids are learning the tricks of the trade from Matt Fore, a local magician who has spent the last 40 years making people scratch their head at the magic of the sleight of hand.
Ten-year-old Kara Mattie was one of two girls at this year’s Princeton Arts Center Magic Camp, but she wasn’t about to be showed up by the other boys in the room. While most boys have some sort of interest in magic, Mattie said it was fun to be one of the few girls learning the ropes.
“It’s kind of fun, cause sometimes I go to school and they’re like, ‘Show us a magic trick,’ and you do and they’re like, ‘How did you do that?’ and I’m just like, ‘I can’t tell you. Sorry,’ ” she said with a smile following Tuesday’s class.
Mattie was a returning magic camper after attending last year’s camp led by Fore.
Since she came to the camp last year and has a growing interest in performing magic tricks, Mattie said the camp was the perfect place for her to hone her skills.
“I watch magicians on TV, like Criss Angel, and I really like that and I just wanted to see it,” she said. “I like magician stuff because it’s just fun. It’s just fun to do.”
That’s a sentiment 11-year-old Grayson Boyer agrees with. Like Mattie, Boyer has experimented with magic tricks, but really wanted to learn the ins and outs of Magician 101.
“I just like magic. Blowing people’s minds and kind of knowing how they do it, so then you can do it,” he said.
During the camp’s first day, Boyer learned how to make a ball disappear, stiffen a rope, make a straw float in the air and a card trick, which was his favorite.
“My favorite one is having them pick the card, so I’m most excited on showing that one off, and I’m also excited about showing those other ones off,” he said.
After spending many years performing around the country, Fore said he decided to hold a magic camp for the first time last year after being asked by so many kids how to do the tricks.
“There’s always some kids that love magic. I don’t know why that is, but there’s just always a bunch of them that want to learn how to do them,” he said.
Fore was one of those kids, as he was bitten by the magic bug when he was 12. After buying his first trick — a color-changing knife — Fore said he was hooked.
“When you see something that’s impossible, it’s intriguing. How in the world can that be? When you realize that you can learn to do things that seem impossible when you see someone watch that, you get this rush,” he said.
Today, the kids will complete the camp and perform a show for their friends and family at the arts center. After completion, each young magician will receive a certificate from Fore.
With magic being the main focus of the camp, Fore said he hoped some of the kids would go home with a newfound love for the art.
“Most people that get started with magic, they grow out of it. There are some of us that never do, but I hope there are going to be some in here that 40 years from now, they’re going to be doing magic and they’re going to be performing and they’re going to say, ‘I got started at magic camp.’ That would be awesome,” he said.
Fore invites the campers to perform after his show at the Johnson City Public Library on Thursday at 3:30 p.m.