An Interview with Kipp Sherry
My guest today is Kipp Sherry, a local magician from right here in Boise. Welcome to the show.
Kipp: Thank you. It's good to be here.
Host: You've been doing magic for over 40 years now. You must had got started at an early age.
Kipp: I've been doing magic since I was 8 years old.
Host: And who was it that inspired you to start doing magic?
Kipp: Chuck Jones the Magic Man! When I was six years old I was living in Semi Valley, California. Chuck had a Saturday morning kids show that was kind of like the Micky Mouse Club. He would do magic for a live television audience and mix it up with cartoons. Chuck Jones really amazed me and he is the one that was responsible for sparking my interest in magic.
Host: You started magic at such a young age. Do you still remember your first magic trick?
Kipp: Well I was inspired at age 6 but I didn't really start doing any magic till I was 8 years old. My first magic trick was one I created by accident. I found a half full bottle of Pepto Bismol in the medicine cabinet. I wrapped it up with a bath towel and turned it over and over again as I said every magic word I could think of. When I took the bath towel off, the Pepto Bismol bottle looked full. At 8 years old I didn't really understand how I did it, but it did convince me that I had the magic. Of course my mothers polite applause and faked astonishment encouraged me to continue learning more magic.
Host: How many different effects do you have now?
Kipp: I've probably forgotten as many as I still perform, but as of my last count it was just over 200.
Host: Over 200? That must have cost you pretty penny.
Kipp: When you spread it out over 40 years it's not really that much each year. Plus, I've created a lot of my own effects and that helps bring the cost down.
Host: Do you make any of your creations available to others, or do you keep all the secrets to yourself?
Kipp: Most of them are for my own performances, but I did release P-PIK Prediction Cards to the magic community in 2005. That particular effect introduced a reveal that had never been used before in the illusionary arts. It was so unique I called it the Egress Reveal. Hopefully that creation has inspired other magicians to look for more creative ways to create and present their magic.
Host: So with over 200 tricks up your sleeve you must have some favorites.
Kipp: Tricks up my sleeve? Was that an intentional pun?
Kipp: Well, “favorites” would fall into two categories. The technical side which I like, and the entertainment side which the audience likes. The audience really likes Close Up magic, and so do I. You know, the kind of magic that's done within inches of the audience. Audience members even work with me for some effects. I think this is the strongest type of magic since people are right next to me and they know I'm not using any smoke and mirrors, camera tricks, stage props, or trap doors. It makes the magic believably real. People also tell me they like levitations. I levitate borrowed money, cards, spheres, tables, myself, and invisible things.
Host: Invisible Things?
Kipp: Yes! Things you really can't see but if you cover them with a cloth then you can see their shape under the cloth. People also tell me they like magic that uses their stuff instead of mine, that way they know there are no gimmicks involved.
Host: Give me an example.
Kipp: Okay. For instance, I will ask someone to buy a soda out of a vending machine. Then I ask them to give me one of their quarters and the can of soda. They sign their quarter on both sides so it is clearly identifiable. Bang! I slam their coin through the bottom of their unopened can. Their coin is now inside the can. I show them that the bottom of the can is still solid. I show them the top of the can has not been opened yet. I show them all sides of the can so they can see that there are no openings anywhere in the can. Yet, when I shake the can you can clearly hear the coin rattling inside. To remove all doubt I open the can and pour out the soda. Without the soda you can hear the coin rattle a lot louder. They look through the opening and they can clearly see their coin with their markings inside the can. The only way to get the coin out is to cut the can open.
Host: So how do you do that?
Kipp: Very well thank you.
Host: I knew you wouldn't tell me but it never hurts to ask. So what is your basic philosophy about magic?
Kipp: Magic exists in the mind of the audience. It's kind of like Santa Clause. If you believe in Santa Clause then Christmas morning is a very exciting and magical time. But that magical morning is not quite as exciting once you know how Santa Clause really works. Magic is very much the same. If you know how an effect really works it looses it's magic. But if you believe, then you experience the excitement and magic of the moment. My job as a magician is to make that magical moment happen for you.
Host: Most children believe in Santa Clause when they are young but they stop believing as they get older. Does that mean that magic is more real for children than it is for adults?
Kipp: Not really. Every adult has a child inside. My job is to let you experience that child again. I'm often hired to do a birthday party for the children but the parents all stand around and watch the show too. The parents enjoy it as much, if not more, than the children do. After all, a child is still a child. An adult doesn't get many opportunities to experience their child inside so it's an emotion adults experience rarely, instead of daily like a child.
Host: Interesting. Tell me this; if I see one of your shows, have I seen all your shows, or do you mix up your shows a little?
Kipp: I like to mix them up, a lot! It keeps things fresh. In fact, what I really enjoy doing is creating a show around a particular theme that centers around the event I am hired for. For example, I customized a show around a Harry Potter theme when a library hired me for a sleepover event for the release of the new Harry Potter book. I customized a show around culinary arts when the Department of Correction had an event to introduce their latest job training course for inmates. I constantly customize my presentation when I do trade shows by making the effects relevant to the product or service being offered. Since the human mind recalls images easier than words, magic is the perfect media to make a lasting impression for any message. Creating custom shows keeps my creative juices flowing, and my customers really like the way I tie things together in a personal way for them.
Host: A moment ago I asked you how you did the coin in the can. I'm sure you get that kind of question a lot. Do you ever share your secrets? I mean, if you really inspire someone to pick up the art of magic, will you help them along?
Kipp: That's another joy of mine. I believe in passing on the art to the next generation of magicians. I give private lessons all the time. My memberships with the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Society of American Magicians allows me to use their programs and resources for mentoring as well.
Host: I really like your slogan, “Bringing magic within reach of everyone”. How did you come up with that?
Kipp: It actually has a two fold meaning. 1) Since I prefer close up magic, the effects are within reach of everyone. 2) Since my prices are reasonable, the cost is within reach of everyone. Families have fixed incomes so I keep my prices within their reach. I believe corporations shouldn't be gouged just because they have an expense account. They still need to show a good return on their money. And I donate about 10% of my performances freely to charitable events and health care facilities. It's my way of making the community I live in a better community for everyone.
Host: Any closing thoughts?
Kipp: Many people feel that you get what you pay for. So if you want a good show then you have to pay a good amount of money, and alternatively if you don't pay much then you don't get much. Am I right? Well I'm breaking that stereotype and my customers agree. I truly am bringing magic within reach of everyone. I love what I do, and my audiences also love what I do.
Host: I've seen your magic and I love it too. You truly are an amazing magician. I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with me today.
Kipp: Anytime. It was my pleasure.
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