AFE: In your own words, describe your job.
Joe: I’m a full-time magician, part-time web developer, and overtime dad and husband. I work from home, juggling family and business.
AFE: How did you get into the business and how long have you been doing this?
Joe: My freshman year of college I was roommates with a very talented Magician/Juggler/Balloon Twister/Stilt Walker/Motivational Speaker. We would swing by the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, put out a hat, and make balloon animals to earn pocket cash (crucial for a poor college student). Spectators would approach me after a gig and ask me to perform at their upcoming event. With a few magic tricks and a good balloon twisting foundation, I began to grow my repertoire. After graduating with an accounting degree, I took a job at Towson University, all the while continuing to work nights and weekends. In 1997, I realized that there wasn’t enough time in the week to work at the University and gig full time. I quit my job at the University, called my Dad to tell him I had made a “career” decision, and never looked back.
AFE: What’s the most memorable event you have ever worked at?
Joe: I’ve worked presidential inaugurations, main stages with huge audiences, night clubs, corporate trade shows, private parties, and so much more. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to work with the most talented people in the industry (and a few that probably should have not been in the industry). However, one of the most memorable events has to be a birthday party for an eight year old boy we will call Jimmy. Jimmy was having a magic-themed birthday party sleep over and invited all his classmates. I was supposed to arrive about an hour after the party began to perform a magic show and twist balloons. When I showed up for the party, the only other child there was Jimmy’s brother. I found the boys’ mother in the kitchen in tears. Evidently, Jimmy was not very popular and had few, if any, friends. I couldn’t exactly do a magic show without an audience so instead, I did some close up magic and spent the remaining time teaching mom and the kids how to twist balloons. By the end of the “show” we had filled the entire living room with crazy balloon creations and the kids were laughing and having fun. We all have had those times where we feel like the outsider and it was a great feeling to make things better, at least for a little while.
AFE: Why do you like doing what you do?
Joe: How can I not like doing what I do? Being a performer can be stressful at times. The peaks and valleys usually mean a December of working my butt off and seeing very little of my family. Other times of the year, however, I have flexibility that can be afforded by few other professions. I enjoy meeting new clients, working with world class performers, and navigating the business side of being a performer. When the creative bug hits me, I channel my energy into refining new magic routines and getting together with fellow performers to plan our takeover of the world, or at least, work on a new card sleight.