As a reoccurring feature of the Magic Messenger we will highlight a member and ask them to answer a few questions about themselves. This month the "Spotlight" is on John Russell. John is a former President of the AAMC, serving several terms. At a later time in his life, John left his "Day Job" and became a full-time professional.
Where did you grow up / where have you lived?
I grew up in Southgate Michigan, and have lived mostly in what is referred to as "Downriver". Also lived in South Bend Indiana, Chicago, and San Antonio Texas. Currently live in Grosse Ile, MI
How did you get started in magic?
Like many magicians, I received a magic set for Christmas when I was in 2nd grade. I faithfully watched Mark Wilson and The Magic Land of Alakazam, and Milky the Clown, who also did magic on our local tv station.
What type of magic do you perform?
I perform stand-up, or stage magic mostly for adult audiences. RV Resorts, 55+ communities, assisted and independent living, and senior/adult groups. I don't do much in the way of close-up, and I regularly tell groups of magicians that I am NOT a "card guy".
What is your favorite magic book?
Henry Hay's "Amateur Magician's Handbook" really got me started; these days, anything by Christopher Barnes, one of the most creative magic minds out there, in my opinion.
Who is your favorite Magician of all time?
There's not just one. I was inspired by an autobiography of Houdini when I was in elementary school; Mark Wilson, Harry Blackstone Jr. These days, Scott Alexander, Rocco, and Shawn Farquhar all never cease to amaze and inspire me.
Do you have any words of wisdom for newer magicians?
Read books on magic tricks, biographies of famous magicians, and books on magic philosophy and performance. Practice. Don't just focus on one type of magic. Be as well rounded as you can. Don't buy a magic trick to see how it works.