I do, "like" being a verb there, so it was a treat to catch the act of professional magician Arthur Trace at a holiday party the other night. He performs around the world, including Malaysia last week, but I crossed his path in the convivial atmosphere of a River West townhouse, where he worked impromptu and wowed the field.
Despite the casual tableside setting, Trace's card and coin skills were flashy and flawless. Even for this relatively informed observer, someone familiar with (and looking for) standard sleights like the double lift and Hindu shuffle, and actively resisting all the steering and misdirection, it was hard to keep up with the master.
Trace was friendly and engaging, a pro's pro who can work a room in all senses of the phrase. He's risen to some esteem in the eyes of his peers, having recently finished third in a worldwide sleight-of-hand competition (I once finished ninth in a local such contest, although there were only eight entrants). He keeps up with his colleague Teller ("Penn and") at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, a performance space and private club for professional magicians.
Trace will premiere a stage show at the Athenaeum Theater in Chicago in spring 2008 before he moves to California. Meanwhile, you can catch him on TV tonight receiving an award from Lance Burton at the recently taped 2007 World Magic Awards. The show airs at 7pm CST on affiliates of My Network TV, including WPWR-Channel 50 in Chicago.