A magical life

Wayne Houchin

Photo by Vic Cantu

For Chico magician Wayne Houchin (pronounced HOW-chin), life could not get any better. The 29-year-old has been touring the world for six years with his wife and business manager, Fran, performing and teaching magic to others. The CN&R caught up with him before the start of his 2012 tour at the Empire Coffee train-car café. Check www.waynehouchin.com for more info.

You actually get paid to travel the world doing magic?

Absolutely. I’m literally living my dream. Fran and I visit about 15 countries per year. I perform publicly, and Fran does the lights and sounds. Afterward I teach my techniques to a select group of magicians at the same venue. Chico is our home, but we’re only here about a week each month.

Do you focus on certain kinds of tricks?

Yes, I’m a sleight-of-hand specialist who uses cards, coins or other small props. I perform to intimate audiences of about 50, very close up. I have about 15 standard tricks and dozens of others I can sprinkle in. I don’t do the flashy, special effects with big props. It’s great because my whole show fits into one bag.

How did you get a global following?

The world-famous magician Criss Angel had me visit him in Las Vegas before the first season of his TV series Criss Angel Mindfreak. I taught him techniques like sleight of hand. He introduced me to other magicians and magic fans. It snowballed into so many requests that it allowed me to tour the world like I do.

What do you like best about touring?

The fact that I get to do magic shows for a living. I also love New York, Washington, D.C., and in Europe the food is great.

Do you sell products?

Yes, I’ve made several DVDs and have written a graphic novel that also teaches magic. I mostly sell them at my performances or through magic shops around the world. I don’t sell them on the web because I don’t want my secrets to become common knowledge.

How did you get your start in magic?

When I was 6 my dad folded a $1 bill and made in into a $20. At 12 I was performing at retirement centers, and at 16 I did my hanging straightjacket escape in downtown Chico.

What’s in the future for you?

We’re still finalizing some 2012 stops, but I’ll be performing in Italy, France, Switzerland and Belgium. Fran and I may do a dual, hanging straightjacket escape in South Africa.