HER Fea­ture

Young ma­gi­cian gives back through hobby

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Contents - Story by Beth Reed, pho­tog­ra­phy by Grace Brown

An ac­ci­den­tal hobby has turned into a fun way to give back to the com­mu­nity for 15-year-old Adrian Steel­man.

The teen has spent the last six years hon­ing his magic skills which he uses through­out the com­mu­nity to bring joy to oth­ers. But it wasn’t some­thing he orig­i­nally set out to learn years ago.

“It’s a funny story, ac­tu­ally,” he said. “Ba­si­cally, my dad wanted me to learn how to deal in poker, so I went to YouTube. I looked up some shuf­fling and deal­ing videos, and then in the sug­gested col­umn, I saw a magic tu­to­rial for be­gin­ners. I thought ‘Why not?’ and I learned a magic trick. And then two, and then three, and it kind of spi­raled from there.

“Af­ter a while, I stopped do­ing YouTube be­cause YouTube can only get you so much. So I started buy­ing books and DVDs and re­ally get­ting into it. I found this magic shop in Lit­tle Rock called Mr. Magic’s, but now it’s closed.” Ac­cord­ing to his fa­ther, Terry Steel­man, the hobby was un­ex­pected. “It was a real sur­prise to me and Mom; we’re not per­form­ers and see­ing him just take it to a whole new level has re­ally been in­ter­est­ing,” he said. “His sis­ter was a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed in the fam­ily va­ca­tion that it was all about magic. We went out to Las Ve­gas — drove there — and spent a few days. Then we went out to Cal­i­for­nia and went to the Magic Cas­tle.”

That first trick Adrian learned was a sec­tion of The Am­bi­tious Card, which is still one of his fa­vorites to per­form for oth­ers.

In fifth grade, he per­formed in his first tal­ent show at Hot Springs School Dis­trict be­fore mov­ing to Lake­side. In sixth grade, he won his mid­dle school tal­ent show and has since won sev­eral school shows, as well as Gar­land County’s Got Tal­ent.

Cur­rently, he’s work­ing on an act that com­bines his pas­sions for magic and play­ing trom­bone. This act has won him a few tal­ent shows al­ready.

“The ba­sis is I’ll play a lit­tle mu­sic and then maybe I’ll make some­thing ap­pear out of the bell or some­thing like that,” he said.

Adrian is a mem­ber of Ring 29 of the In­ter­na­tional Brother­hood of Ma­gi­cians — the lo­cal chap­ter of the world­wide club. Ev­ery year, the or­ga­ni­za­tion holds a con­ven­tion, which he was able to at­tend in 2017, but the lo­cal chap­ter meets the first Thurs­day of ev­ery month in Lit­tle Rock.

“We get to­gether and talk about magic, share some new tricks that we’ve learned and then Jim, the pre­vi­ous owner of the magic shop, still has a lot of in­ven­tory so he’ll sell some stuff,” he said. “There’s me and my friend Car­los in it, and we’re both 15. We’re the youngest.”

His icons in­clude ma­gi­cians who uti­lize other el­e­ments of en­ter­tain­ment into their acts, he said.

“I like Matt King and his com­edy,” Adrian said. “And then Lance Bur­ton — he’s more se­ri­ous magic so I like to in­cor­po­rate that into my stage and then in­cor­po­rate more com­edy into my close-up.”

The young ma­gi­cian’s fa­ther said at least once a month his son goes to nurs­ing homes or per­forms street magic down­town, as well as other per­for­mances.

“Me and Mom are re­ally proud and we can’t be­lieve he does such a won­der­ful job with it,” Terry Steel­man said. “Also per­form­ing his trom­bone, he’s quite ac­com­plished.”

In ad­di­tion, Adrian makes a point to visit his Pre- K teacher, Carol Gibbs’ class to per­form for the stu­dents. Gibbs said Adrian is a won­der­ful en­ter­tainer.

“From a young age, you could tell that Adrian was a very curi- ous stu­dent,” she said. “He al­ways wanted to know more about why and how things worked. He en­joyed chal­leng­ing him­self and was al­ways the stu­dent who would try to build the tallest tower or tell the best story.

“He has al­ways eas­ily drawn in an au­di­ence. When he vis­its our class­room, my stu­dents im­me­di­ately con­nect with him be­cause he’s so warm and funny. They all want hugs at the end of his per­for­mances be­cause they can feel the love and pas­sion from him that he has for his tal­ent and for this com­mu­nity.”

Gibbs said she loves that her for­mer stu­dent is not afraid to work on im­prov­ing his tal­ent.

“He learns new magic tricks all the time to in­cor­po­rate, or he is com­mit­ted to im­prov­ing his cur­rent tricks,” she said. “I never miss an op­por­tu­nity to in­vite him to my class­room at Langston. I have in­cluded him in other com­mu­nity events as well, in­clud­ing a se­nior cit­i­zens din­ner last year. He doesn’t meet an au­di­ence that he can’t en­gage with. He left that group as happy and in­trigued as he does our Langston stu­dents.”

Adrian said he hopes to con­tinue per­form­ing through col­lege at chil­dren’s birthdays and wher­ever else he can.

“I like to do a lot of card magic be­cause that’s where I started and it’s still a strong point of mine,” he said. “But then I do a lot of coin magic, Ru­bik’s Cube magic. And then away from close-up, I’m work­ing on my trom­bone magic and then a lot of kids magic. I do a lot of kids shows.

“If I can get a kid to laugh, that’s the great­est.”

For any bud­ding hob­by­ist, Adrian said prac­tice re­ally is the key to suc­cess re­gard­less of what one’s try­ing to ac­com­plish.

“You’ve got to like what you’re do­ing and you’ve got to work at it,” he said. “The eas­i­est thing is to give up and the hard­est thing is to keep per­se­ver­ing and get­ting bet­ter. Prac­tice, prac­tice, prac­tice. Prac­tice makes per­fect — the say­ing is there for a rea­son.”

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