Jimmy Ichihana blew into town last August and quickly became an active member of the New York magic scene. With proficient card skills and an upbeat and helpful attitude Jimmy made a strong impression at the weekly Saturday gathering at Cafe Rustico and in the Magnets group that meets on Monday nights. He also became a regular performer at the "Taste of Magic" close-up show which is held in a variety of New York restaurants. But the winds of fate and circumstance have blown again and Jimmy is about to leave New York to relocate to Melbourne, Florida.
"When he performed his audition for Taste of Magic, we were all floored," said Kent Axell, the show's Director. "The magic community rarely sees such an unusual combination of skill and modesty. There’s an overwhelming sense of charm and talent with Jimmy. There's a certain "it" factor, and the best part is it doesn’t even feel like he knows it. You get this wonderful and refreshing sense that the star performing for you has no idea how talented he is."
Growing up in Herkimer, New York Jimmy became interested in magic during childhood and at age 13 convinced his parents to send him to Tannen's magic camp. He was enthusiastic but not yet as thoroughly outfitted as some of his fellow campers. "I arrived with one or two decks of cards, but my roommate rolled in with doves and a rabbit," he remembered. Yet Jimmy credits the camp with introducing him to "the real world of magic." [Story Continues]
Prior to moving to New York, Jimmy followed his passion to Madrid where he spent the year working as a teacher, primarily so he could have exposure to the Spanish magic scene. Although he knew no one from the Spanish magic community before moving there, he launched himself right into it on his second night in town when he found his way to a show at Woody Aragon's Teatro Encantado, featuring a performance that night by Aragon, Gabi Pareras, and Kiko Pastur. From meeting fellow magicians at that event he was able to find his way to the Monday night meetings of the SEI, the Spanish magic society.
"Every Monday night we'd meet in that club for two to two-and-a-half hours and then ten to fifteen people would all go out to dinner talking about magic until two in the morning. I could do a trick with the Ascanio spread and all of a sudden people are showing me nine different variations. It's all taken so seriously there. Nothing about magic is trivial in their eyes."
According to Jimmy magic plays a more significant role in the popular culture there than it does in the United States. "Seeing Juan Tamariz in a sold out 2,000 seat theatre is unlike anything else. He's doing card magic and he's a rock star. Woody Aragon will perform an hour-and-a-half show of all card magic to a theatre of primarily lay people and the show will end with a standing ovation."
Not surprisingly Jimmy's own repertoire includes effects by the Spanish card magicians, like Woody Aragon's Any Card at Any Number, and Dani DaOrtiz's ace cutting sequence. He also performs his own variations of tricks by David Acker, Chris Mayhew, and John Bannon, to name a few.
In New York Jimmy would often session with other magicians and in his short time on the scene helped many of them advance with their card magic. "I always feel that no matter who Jimmy is talking to, he is prepared to learn something from them," said Kent Axell. "He’s prepared to teach them things, but there never seems to be that power dynamic of teacher and student with Jimmy. It always feels like two peers sharing even if he’s the one really doing all the sharing."
Jimmy's next steps in magic remain to be seen, although he is currently investigating performance opportunities in the Orlando area. "He’s going to go spread his happiness in magic elsewhere and that’s ok," said Axell. "We’re sad to see him go on both a professional and social basis, but
we wish him well in all of his projects, and he’ll always have a home with us here in New York."