Show­case: That Magic Touch

From kids’ par­ties and low-pay­ing gigs to cor­po­rate en­ter­tain­ment and be­yond, it’s been quite a ride so far

More of Our Canada - - Content - By Bobby Motta, Toronto

Meet the amaz­ing Bobby Motta, ma­gi­cian, men­tal­ist and mind reader.

Magic was al­ways toyed with at fam­ily gath­er­ings when I was young. My un­cle was quite the joker, and when his prac­ti­cal jokes started to make my fam­ily go mad, he de­cided to learn magic. It was his out­let. It gave him the chance to be a joker, but this time ev­ery­one could en­joy it.

I don’t know if it was his first trick I ever saw or if it’s the only one I can re­mem­ber, but all I re­call is what I called the “Chi­clet Trick.” He had a false tooth, which was un­known to me at the time. The trick was sim­ply him pulling back his tooth and pre­tend­ing to pull it out, re­veal­ing the Chi­clet, which I thought was the ac­tual tooth. I would look up, see the dark hole where the tooth used to be, and then sud­denly the tooth reap­peared. I was hooked. I needed to know how that was done and how I could do it, too!

And so be­gan my crazy jour­ney through the world of magic and all that lies un­der its um­brella. For the first ten or so years of my adult life, I had no idea magic could ever make you money. I worked in the car busi­ness for many years, even­tu­ally own­ing a sub­prime lease com­pany and small deal­er­ship. The hours and work were killing me: 12-hour days, six days a week—i was mis­er­able. I knew there had to be some­thing more, but I was too ex­hausted to even ex­plore what that might be. With the sup­port of my wife, I sold the deal­er­ship and took a one-year hia­tus to re­group.

I al­ways knew I had a cre­ative side, but I re­ally didn’t know what area to tap into. My first ven­ture was a mul­ti­me­dia com­pany. I had two part­ners and we ran the place well, but I just knew it still wasn’t what I was look­ing for. A year later, while in Ve­gas, I guess you could say I re­dis­cov­ered magic. It sounds corny, but it was right af­ter that trip that I re­al­ized I ac­tu­ally re­ally en­joyed per­form­ing and that’s what I wanted to do. Not long af­ter­ward, I got my first paid gig—a stag party. Talk about an in­ter­est­ing start along a new ca­reer path! But oddly enough, from there, the in­quiries started to come.

It def­i­nitely wasn’t easy and, at the be­gin­ning, I would take al­most any pay­ing gig just to have more op­por­tu­ni­ties to prac­tice my ma­te­rial with a live au­di­ence. All week I would read and watch videos and prac­tice. And all week­end I would suf­fer through heck­ling kids and not-so-great-pay­ing gigs. Many times I would come home and tell my wife how hu­mil­i­at­ing my shows were. I re­mem­ber one night in par­tic­u­lar, I was do­ing a walk-around piece of magic in a restau­rant, and just as I fin­ished my ef­fect, a

boy of about six threw a ketchup-soaked French fry at my head, and it stuck. That was my closer. Many times I asked my­self what I was do­ing al­low­ing my­self to be hu­mil­i­ated and some­times treated like a clown, but then I put the kids’ magic case away and de­cided it was time to move up on the lad­der.

As soon as I be­gan to bill my­self as a cor­po­rate men­tal­ist, ev­ery­thing changed. I had found my niche and my au­di­ence. And so here I am. My growth as a cor­po­rate en­ter­tainer has given me the tools to shine in my weekly din­ner the­atre show, “Cryptic,” at Dave and Buster’s in Vaughn, Ont., where I now spend much of my time. Look­ing into the fu­ture, I am ea­ger to fo­cus on a full-scale theatri­cal pro­duc­tion. My ul­ti­mate goal is to con­nect with au­di­ences on a level that goes be­yond per­for­mance and be­comes a shared ex­pe­ri­ence—a fan­tasy ride into the un­known.

Canada is a great place to grow and per­form. Thanks to trail­blaz­ers like Doug Henning, there’s a path for new­com­ers to fol­low. I’m for­tu­nate some of Canada’s most in­flu­en­tial ma­gi­cians live just a block away from me, in­clud­ing David Ben, Chris May­hew, Jay Sankey, Bill Ab­bott and David Peck. These amaz­ing per­form­ers and cre­ators are just a few among the many Cana­di­ans who have added so much to magic and men­tal­ism, and are mak­ing their mark all over the world in the process.

Also, Cana­di­ans ap­pre­ci­ate arts and cul­ture and that gives per­form­ers here more of an au­di­ence. I can travel to any province and re­ceive an amaz­ing re­sponse to my art, and I hear the same from my peers. I would love to see Canada be­come a big­ger hub for magic—a more rec­og­nized breed­ing ground for the art form—be­cause our coun­try truly has what it takes. ■

Visit www.bob­by­motta.com for more de­tails.

In ad­di­tion to cor­po­rate events, Bobby per­forms weekly at Dave and Buster’s in Vaughn, Ont. Mar­garet At­wood (above right) is a fan, as is for­mer base­ball star Car­los Del­gado (far right).

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