Over the last year, our resolution has been get to know our community a little better. What you like, what you dislike, who you are. We've learned from talking to you, there's a lot to enjoy by meeting our community.
And maybe it was the open bar talking, but our corporate Christmas party was a blast. We like to think that professional magician Diamond Jim Tyler helped keep things merry and bright.
See how stylin' he is? Once he proved he didn't really break our watches and iPhones, we figured we had to do something for him. So, after the jump, we've got Ten Questions with the lovely and talented Diamond Jim Tyler. And videos too!
1) Who are you, Jim?
My name is Diamond Jim Tyler. I am a magician and so much more. I love that my job allows me to use my various talents. Not only do I perform magic, I create the effects that other magicians perform. I also write magic books, create magic DVDs and tricks, and utilize these routines to lecture all over the world. I also do much of my own packaging and design so I use my artistic skills as well. I wear many hats... and none of them are top hats. If you want to know my secrets, then you'll have to buy my books. I've learned that the best place to hide a secret is in a book because few people will look there.
2) What do you think is your best trick?
There is no best. That is subjective. The tricks I am most excited about are the ones that I am developing which are top secret until I am ready to show them. However, there's video footage of two of my routines that I am very proud of. These two routines helped me to win the award for Best Close-Up Magic at the Texas Association of Magicians convention in 1999. The footage is from the Magic Castle in Hollywood, CA. For those that don't know it, playing the Castle is like playing Carnegie Hall for a close-up magician.
3. Playing the Magic Castle is very impressive! But what's the craziest thing that ever happened to you while performing elsewhere?
I was the house magician for Pappadeaux in Dallas, where I performed three nights a week there for five years. One night this table kept giving me the strangest looks every time I would pass by. I didn't know if they were curious to have me come over or was hoping I wouldn't. After thirty minutes of table hopping and avoiding them I thought I'll go by this table for a visit. After introducing myself and they began to speak I realized that all eight of them were from Jamaica, and were very superstitious. So when they heard people screaming at the other tables and were witnessing fire come from my hands from afar they were thinking this could be real or it might be voodoo. I thought I would show them something light-hearted like the old sponge ball trick. I always do a gag where I put a ball in two different people's hands and tell them to make a fist around it. I make a magical gesture and ask them to look in their hand. When they do, nothing has happened but I exclaim "They switched places!" which always get a chuckle from them and/or me. On this night after handing them each a ball, I said, "Watch what happens when I snap my fingers." Upon snapping them the power went out on the entire block. They leaped from the table shouting, "He's the devil!"
4) We heard you were a fan of the site! Do you credit us with teaching you all the secrets of comedy?
I am a fan of the site and a customer. There are presents under my tree this year that came from Woot. I've been doing magic and comedy since the days before the internet. However, I will say that the writers at Woot are very much wits or at least a half of one.
5) Tell everybody how you scored this sweet blog post.
You hired me to work your company holiday party. It’s a good thing I was there or everyone would have been bored stiff. Just kidding, you all were a fun, lively crowd. However, I was disappointed that you weren’t all wearing funny t-shirts and carrying around the latest gadgetry. A few were but most weren’t. Plus, there were no flying Woot monkeys!
6) We saw you combine comedy with magic in a way that charmed the entire staff. Do you consider yourself a magician that does comedy or a comedian that does magic?
I am a magician first and foremost. You can ask my wife because I tricked her into marrying me. I honestly think I was born to be a magician. My parents tell me that I knew every card in the deck by the age of two and that I was doing card magic at the age of five. I began performing professionally at the age of sixteen while in High School and began to perfect my craft. I paid my way through college performing magic and earned a degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. The last year I was in college I learned that I had Hodgkin’s Disease, a form of cancer. After beating the cancer I returned to school and finished my degree but began pursuing my magic with full force. One should do what they love. I use humor to take the sting out of some of my effects. I don’t want people to think that I have powers or that I am better than them. I’m simply smarter and better looking than most.
7) Where have you performed? How extensive is your magic experience?
Dallas/Fort Worth is my home base so half of my shows are around the metroplex. However, I will literally travel anywhere in the world for a client. To date I have performed in half of the US States plus fifteen other countries. This year I was a headliner at the world’s largest magic convention in history, with 4000 of us there, held in Blackpool, England. I also performed all over Australia, New Zealand and Germany this year. I have played the Magic Castle in Hollywood many times, the Magic Circle in London and the Improv Comedy club here in Addison.
As far as experience goes I have performed for the who’s who of Corporate America, on TV, for celebrities, etc. In the magic world I am a magician’s magician creating several effects, DVDs and books. Two of my most popular products right now are my works called Bamboozlers: The Book of Bankable Bar Betchas, Brain Bogglers, Belly Busters & Bewitchery- Volumes 1 & 2. These books were written for non-magicians to teach people how to liven-up situations in bars, restaurants, or get-togethers with common objects and no sleight of hand. If applied correctly the books will line your pockets with other people’s money or at least allow you to win a free dinner or drink. The books are for sale on my website. Volume One will soon be out of print and I am writing Volume Three now.
8) Any embarrassing moments that make for great stories?
Considering that I have been practicing magic since 1975 and performing it professionally since 1986 I’ve had lots of funny things happen. One time I was hired to do a stand-up show at a church. One trick that I do sometimes is called “Silk to Egg” and it is a classic. The effect is one where a small handkerchief visibly changes into an egg. Then the magician teaches the trick by showing how it is a fake plastic egg with a hole in it. After teaching everyone how the trick is done, the fake egg becomes a real egg and is cracked open for all to see. This is a trick that I like to use toward the end of a stand-up show because it is very strong.
It is not wise to carry a real egg in one’s pocket so I keep the egg elsewhere until I am ready to begin that effect. Once ready I’ll sneak the real egg into my pocket and commence with the trick. Well, for some reason, on this night I stuck the real egg in my pants pocket before the show. After my first effect I jumped off the stage to bring a volunteer onto the stage with me and I heard the egg crack. I was mortified. Typically I wear black and no one would have known I had a broken egg in my pocket and I could have skipped the trick and would have tried to ignore my gooey crotch. The show must go on, right? But on this day, I was wearing khaki pants which telegraphed to everyone a huge wet spot on the front of my pants. Rather than have them think that I peed myself I told everyone what happened. They all had a good hearty laugh at my expense. So it is good not to take things too seriously. What’s the saying? "If you can’t laugh at yourself, then you have no idea what you look like sleeping."
9) What do you consider to be your finest moment as a magician?
I’ve had lots of highlights over the years, like my first award. My first book Pockets Full of Miracles is really what launched my name into the magic stratosphere. That book is now out of print and sells for over a hundred dollars a copy. Dover books has leased the rights to this book and will mass release a softback version of it come the first quarter of 2011. I do sell a DVD version of the book and is probably my all-time best-seller.
Each time I perform in another country I also feel very proud. I am lining up a tour now where I will knock out Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland come this March. One of the coolest things I have done recently was act as a movie consultant for the major film called Mirrors starring Kiefer Sutherland. Watch this video to see myself, Kiefer and the director Alex Aja discussing the movie's mythology. This promo piece was used all over the world to promote the movie.
10) Finally, any advice for magic fans? And for that matter, how can people see you live?
The best advice I can give to magic fans is to try your best not to copy someone else’s style or lines. Be creative and develop your own character. And try not to make the magic about you and how wonderful you are. People will forget what you say or do, but they will not forget how you made them feel.
And if folks want to see me live, then they have to hire me to perform for them. It is rare that I do public events like the comedy clubs. One day though I would like to have a one-man show here at a hotel in Dallas where people could come and see me and experience what it is like to be fooled by a sleight of hand magician who is just inches away. When my touring slows down, I’m going to see if I can make that happen. So for now if someone wants a private show or lesson they’ll need to contact me directly. For more about me and my magic go to www.djtyler.com.
We can tell you that Jim's absolutely great at his job, and we recommend him highly for your corporate function in the new year, And speaking of the new year, we're still wanting to learn more about all of you! Done something great? Something ridiculous? Something Woot-related? Let us know! Maybe in 2011, you'll be the one answering the next ten questions!