Magician appears for first time in Prescott

Presto! Now there's magic in the air. Or at least there will be on Saturday, August 8 at the Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center when magician Eric Giliam appears. Based in Phoenix, this will be the first time Giliam has come to Prescott for what he calls a rare opportunity to see a show that's fun for the whole family.

Giliam said he has been doing magic for about 12 years, getting his start after seeing a show by David Copperfield in Anchorage.

"[It] was the first magic show I ever saw... and I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen," Giliam said, adding that he started practicing tricks to his friends at school after becoming interested in it. "From there, I was pretty much self-taught and I just practiced more and more."

Giliam said his favorite trick is an illusion in which he swallows a ball whole, takes a cloth and obscures himself with it. When he brings it back down, he said the top half of his body is gone and the audience sees a bare waist with the ball on top of the waist.

The reason it's his favorite, Giliam said, is because of the audience's reaction, noting that their expectations are subverted.

"When a magician puts a cloth up, they're expecting him to disappear, change his suit," he said. "When they see the waist and ball sitting on top, it's like the most bizarre thing."

Giliam said that, on average, perfecting his acts take a couple months of practicing every day. Following that, he said it helps to read the audience and see how they like the trick. He said it's how he approves the tricks and illusions he does in his act.

Stating that he likes to go to areas that haven't had a lot of exposure to magic shows, Giliam mentioned a show he did in Sedona earlier.

"They don't have very many magic shows... they're really receptive toward the show and magic and I think Prescott's kind of that way too," he said. "There are not many magic shows out here very often. I'm excited to be able to perform here."

Giliam said this is the first time he's come to Prescott and brought up how he wants to go to all the small towns in Arizona to perform. He's been to about half.

Giliam also said how the upcoming show is different than other shows at the Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center, because it's a show for the whole family.

"Usually the shows here at Elks Theatre are geared towards adults," he said. "So it's a rare opportunity for the whole family to come to the show instead of just the adults."

Giliam's show will be at the Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center, 117 E. Gurley St. on Saturday, August 8. The tricks fly at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $23 and discounted to $19 for military, seniors, and children 12 and under and can be purchased online at www.prescottelkstheater.com, by calling 928-777-1370, or at the box office one hour prior to the performance.

Follow reporter Jason Wheeler on twitter @PrescottWheels. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2037 or at 928-642-5277