An Exploded View of Life
by Jack Thompson
Some people simply view the world differently. For this fairly innocuous viewpoint, they are unfairly labeled as weird and different. You tend to get picked on as a child. That's a universal statement that can apply to countless people. The second half of this complex equation is where the road splits in two. How you respond to this bullying determines quite a bit about who you become and how your life unfolds. Case in point: Ray Adams, Comedic Magician and Wizard Extraordinaire.
“I was picked on quite a bit as a child and I readily admit I was weird and different, so I drew into my own world that I could control and design for myself,” Adams said. “My first magic trick was a gift from my Mom at 4 years old to help me heal after another round of bullying. I will never, ever condone bullying but I will say that I personally used it as my fuel to make something good out of something awful.”
Even as a young kid, Adams was fascinated with not only how a magic trick works, but why it works.
“I have an exploded view of things, that's just how my brain works and so I took what was initially a coping mechanism and turned it into a life long passion and a very enjoyable career, “ Adams said.
His life transformed into a wondrous and ever evolving laboratory. His Grandmother used to bring him junk from Good Will, or what most would describe as ‘junk,’ and Ray would take parts of toys and repurpose/ make them into something new. He could pull things out of the garbage and turn them into something wildly intriguing. He can't remember how many times someone said to him, 'You made this out of what?!’ He also stopped counting the number of times he has super glued his fingers together.
So, he set out on a quest to become his very own kind of a magician. But then something happened that changed everything. He was introduced to the fine art of stand-up comedy. Another life long fascination had begun– and as usual Adams finds a way to make it his own.
“I learned a lot early on from watching great comedians, timing and delivery and this ultimately becomes the basis for everything I do now. It is said that comedy is the enemy of magic. It's very hard to have a moment of magic and a moment of comedy at the same time but you can use comedy as your misdirection tool and to disarm and reel in the audience. A good comedic magician can make a laugh happen even when it shouldn’t happen and that's what I strive to do,” Adams said.
From one of his first moments on stage, stealing a scene and getting a big laugh in his High School's production of “You Can't Take It With You”, Adams thought to himself, this could be my life.
“I had an accidental awakening at a magic convention. I was performing a trick and I blew it in front of a room filled with magicians. I got a laugh though, brought the house down and that's when I realized that with my ‘funny bones’ it was a lot better for me to be an entertaining performer than a smooth magician. It also dawned on me that the performers that worked to be different and funny were talked about and remembered a lot more! Although it takes a lot more skill and control to entertain and disarm the audience by not looking pretty. My act is 20% planned and 80% improvised and a complete surprise to me– or so it seems.” Adams explained. “In reality, those numbers are reversed and the audience doesn’t know.”
Perfectly communicating the idea is equally important if not more so than just performing the trick. For each new creation for his stage act, 10,000 hours of work must first be done inside of his own exploded view of life. Shutting out everyone and having herculean concentration allows Adams to make something out of nothing.
“Every routine is a passion project and I will keep working on it until I like it. I know no one else is going to like the trick if I don’t. I keep working until it's just right,” Adams said.
Being an “official wizard,” as Adams has come to be known, requires a multitude of skills and an altruistic mindset. Creating wonder and attempting to inspire is not for the faint of heart and is an all in scenario.
“My goal is to share an over arching message that love is like butter, it's only good if you spread it,' Adams explained. “I am a maker, I'm part of a sub culture that can make elaborate props out of garbage. I'm the closest thing to a living Wizard than most people will ever meet.”
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