Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cyril's sleight-of-hand adventures now a TV show

(Published June 9, PDI-Super)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

Acclaimed “cyber magician” Cyril Takayama thought that magic was “absolutely real” when he was around six.

The 38-year-old magic trickster recalls growing up in Los Angeles, where he was tutored by a real magician from Magic Castle, which counts many of the world’s greatest illusionists as members. The experience changed his life, making him pursue magic more seriously during his teen years. He eventually landed small gigs in Japan, which led to a tour, TV specials, and his popularity online.

At the launch of his weekly, six-episode AXN show, “Cyril’s Family Vacation: Hawaii Edition” (airing Sundays, 8:30 p.m., starting June 10), Cyril performed a few illusions (including gradually “refilling” an empty soda can, and emptying a cup placed on a volunteer’s head). He also talked about some secrets of his craft, as well as his penchant for “telling stories through magic.” Clips of Cyril playing his different characters—Grandma Magi, Uncle Richard, and Cousin Tiny—were also shown.

How would you describe the fellowship between popular street magicians?
I don’t feel rivalry against any other magicians; I think it’s great that there are more magicians are out there, especially at this day and age, creating more programs and doing more magic. Magic can be interpreted in different ways. There’s really no need to feel a sense of competition in any way. I think it’s great. We all need a little bit of magic in our life. I think, the more we have it, the better the world is.

Do you come up with your own tricks, or do you and fellow magicians learn from the same source?
I think I speak on behalf of a lot of magicians when I say that there are things that we create as artists, for ourselves. But then, we also work with a lot of other magicians and artists, helping to create and develop ideas and understand the structuring so that it’s more effective. The more strength that we put together as magicians, the better the routine becomes. For myself, I have a team of consultants and magicians that I work with, that often helps me develop each of the segments that we do.

What’s the trickiest trick to perform?
I think the trickiest ones involve performing for kids. Because kids always feel that they have the answers. So it’s quite tricky. But it’s also rewarding when you accomplish what you want to do.

How long does it take to master a trick?
As an artist, I feel that I’m never satisfied with the magic. Something that I might have worked out today might be improved a week or a year from now. So nothing’s ever perfect. But in general, the simple things could take hours. And sometimes, more complicated illusions or routines could take any time between months to years. You might be working on a project and then get stuck. Sometimes, you might find the answer to that a year or three years down the line.

Tell us more details about the show.
“Cyril’s Family Vacation” is a brand new show that we created where I basically take my “family members” out to Hawaii. We play crazy tricks on some unsuspecting tourists. We got some really great reactions while we were out there. I just want everybody to enjoy the show when they’re watching with the entire family.

What’s your favorite trick?
Personally, I like doing classic magic—manipulations, stage magic, magic that’s performed to music and choreographed on stage. But that’s not going to be seen on this show. This is completely different… it’s street magic, but I would classify it more as kind of like a hidden camera program. We’re not exposed so the people that we’re targeting had no idea that the magic was about to begin. Especially because it wasn’t me that was performing, it was my “family!”

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