James Mitchell has been confusing his audiences for just over 10 years. As he strolls among customers each Sunday night at Granite City, he leaves each guest with a playing card and a puzzled expression.
He has polished his magic act, not with the mere tap of a wand but with a decade of dedication. “With any entertainment, the more you do the more experience you gain, and therefore you can deliver a more quality entertainment,” he said. “And from my standpoint, that means being able to read the audiences and providing them a real good, close, interactive performance that can be funny at times.”
Mitchell and about five friends will continue polishing their acts Wednesday, March 8, at a community event at Byron Health Center. This will be the third Night of Magic for Byron residents and friends. The show is open to the public; admission is free. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and seating is limited. The magic begins at 7 p.m. Byron Health Center is at 12101 Lima Road on the north side of Fort Wayne.
For the Fort Wayne Magic Club, this isn’t their first time shuffling the deck. “We are part of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, and we’re the local chapter of that,” said Mitchell, the president of Ring 221. “On any given night we’ll have a dozen people at a meeting.
“We get together to fellowship, to challenge and grow, and really to continue top shine a light on the art of magic.”
Mitchell described the group as a “mix of hobbyist magicians, part-time performers and those who make the bulk of their living with magic.” As for Mitchell, he described himself as “a part-time professional.”
One of the magicians used to work at Byron, did a magic show for the residents, and then asked his friends to join in. “It’s a little fundraiser for us; they make a donation to the club,” he said. “And we rally around and give both the residents and the staff and families a little bit of a show.”
He said the event also serves to educate the public on what Byron has to offer.
As the new director of Life Enrichment at Byron, Nichole Miller arranged the show. “It’s an opportunity for our residents and for the members of the community to have an evening out, watching magic,” she said. “It’s a time for our residents to share with the wider Fort Wayne community. Our residents enjoy getting to visit with members of the community.”
She said there will be some refreshments, probably popcorn from the magic popcorn maker.
Seating is limited, so Byron recommends that guests arrive early to get a good spot. The magic and comedy will fill about an hour.
Mitchell and friends are happy to help. “We’d like to keep the tradition going,” the Ring 221 leader said.
Anyone who would like to add the magic to their own event can find contact information at ibmring221.com