Douglas student Billy Hsueh talks his upcoming benefit magic show
By Eric Wilkins, Staff Writer
Billy Hsueh is a stand-up guy, being a comedian, and as it turns out, he’s also a magician. The first-year hospitality and management student is one of the lead organizers of an upcoming magic show entitled “An Evening of Magic,” with the intention of sending two deserving kids to the renowned Sorcerers Safari Magic Camp.
“We [Hsueh and fellow performer Briana Carlson] were sent to camp last year, and we wanted to return the favour and send someone else,” says Hsueh. “Pay it forward.”
The former Dougie’s Got Talent contestant has been in and around magic for some time now.
“About six years ago, I was at a summer camp or something and they took us down to Granville Island… there’s a magic shop down there and the person over the counter started doing magic… I was like, ‘That’s so cool!’ So I just picked up a deck of cards and went from there.”
Along the way, Hsueh has rubbed shoulders with some talented company, three of whom will be joining him on stage for the May 25 show. Co-organizer Brianna Carlson is the reigning Junior Comedy Magician of the Year, Alex Seaman (a former Criminology student at Douglas College) is both the Pacific Coast Stage Champion and the Canadian Stage Champion of Magic, and as for Tony Chris, “He’s won a lot of awards,” laughs Hsueh, no slouch himself with the title of Card Magician of the Year for 2012. “[Chris] is a professional magician.”
Hsueh is pleased with the response to date and the way the show has come to fruition.
“Last year, [the charity event] was more like a pub night. [The show] had raffles and draws and games… it was food and just a little bit of magic. We wanted to make ours more about the magic.”
Hsueh hopes to raise approximately $2,000 from the show in donations so that two lucky magicians-in-the-making can attend the next Sorcerers Safari Magic Camp in Ontario.
“We basically look at what they’ve been doing by themselves magic-wise. Their dedication to the craft and how enthusiastic they are and how much they can get from camp. We tried to pick someone who could get just as much if not more [from camp],” said Hsueh of the selection process.
As for the experience itself, “It’s like taking summer camp, with all the archery and horses and whatever events, taking that all out, and then just putting magic into it,” beams Hsueh. “And Mike Segal (the camp founder) is an awesome guy. He’s hardworking and wants to see advancement in the art of magic for youth.”
Tickets for the show can be bought at the door but Hsueh advises magic enthusiasts to purchase them online to save possible disappointment. For the $15 fee, there will definitely be some worthwhile entertainment. “One of the performers is debuting two new illusions, so expect a good night,” adds Hsueh. “Come out to the show, it’ll be well worth it.”
Again, the event is called “An Evening of Magic,” and will take place May 25 at The Evergreen Cultural Centre in Coquitlam. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the show will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. (a bonus if you’re looking to keep your evening open afterwards). Tickets can be purchased through the event’s website at http://eveningofmagic.ca, and remember, this will be a charity event!