Tuesday, June 25, 2019

From the Bloc 11 Cafe: Interview with magician Evan Northrup

Magician Evan Northrup at the Bloc 11 Cafe

From the Bloc 11 Cafe: Interview with magician  Evan Northrup

I met Evan Northrup at my unofficial office at the back of the Bloc 11 Cafe in Union Square, Somerville. Northrup certainly has a stage presence. He speaks in an upbeat cadence and flashes a winning smile. I have never interviewed a magician before, but from my childhood I remember some darkly attired men, pulling an unfortunate bunny out a top hat, or of the enigmatic smile of an attractive woman about to be in cut in half, and miraculously brought back to her whole state.

Northup portrays magic as a mixture of slight of hand and practical psychology. His mission statement is to bring the magic of life to his patrons.

Northrup has volunteered at the Artisan's Asylum outside of Union Square for a number of years. He finds inspiration for his work from many of the creative types who work there. As he goes from work space to work space, he picks up ideas from this high tech buffet of- the- grid inventors, artists, and artisans.

Northrup used to live in Somerville. Like many artists I have interviewed he has left our city to live on Beacon Hill in Boston. It is ironic of course—but he and his wife found a better deal there!

Northrup is not only a magician, but he provides stage craft and illusion services to such theaters in Boston as the LYRIC STAGE, and the HUNTINGTON THEATRE. He told me, “ I once developed a metal illusion for a production of ' Beauty and the Beast. ' It was basically a framed wood enclosure that included metal to ensure stability for the Beast.”

Northrup, who is a graduate of Brown University, recalls some of the very first projects he provided magical design, and special effects for.  He reflects, “ My very first production was at the Gloucester Stage. They were putting on a performance of 'Carnival.'" At the Huntington Theater in Boston, Northrup was involved in the production  of“I was most Alive with You”--a production performed by members of the deaf community.

Northrup is not your dad's musician. He sees magic through many different lenses. He told me,  "Respected scientists now study magic's effect on the brain. MRIs are employed to see how the brain reacts when it is exposed to magic.” So Northrup infuses many different sources in his work.

Northrup said in the past he did his act for children, but now he likes to do it for adults. He reflected, “ I like to get adults off-guard. I want to challenge their assumptions."

Northrup performs in many venues—weddings, private parties, but he seeks more corporate work—to make the daily nut. He is working on an idea using magic to explore the dining experience. He envisions diners choosing what they want to eat, and then have it materialize on their plates--also an appointment of floating candles could be thrown in the mix.

Northrup is a student of the “ Spanish School of Magic.” In this school of thought there is an emphasis on magic theory. Northrup said, “ American magic is more procedural. The Spanish School has  more contextual content with magic—rather than simply tricks.'

Northrup performed a few tricks for me at our table. One that I took interest in was when he changed one dollar bills into twenties. Boy—would I like to know that guy's secret!

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