Subscribe to Fourth Estate Watch our YouTube Channel Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook

Bill Blagg brings magic to UW-Green Bay

Brittany Groth, Entertainment Writer
February 27, 2013
Filed under Entertainment

Changing reality one city at a time, magician Bill Blagg awes audiences with his unique style of magic. Blagg gave Green Bay a taste of the magic with his live performance at the Weidner Center for Performing Arts Feb. 23.

Blagg originality of his technique has captivated past audiences, and had similar reactions in Green Bay.

“Having a performer like Bill Blagg come to our campus is definitely an event that brings people out,” said Abby Panure, junior human biology major. “I looked forward to attending Blagg’s performance because I could have gotten called onstage to participate in one of Blagg’s tricks or illusions.”

Blagg’s success as a magician didn’t just appear from mid-air. He got started at a very young age.

“I got started in magic when I was 5 years old,” Blagg said. “My older sister received a magic set for her birthday, and one day I decided to sneak into her room and make it disappear.”

Blagg said he spent all day learning the tricks in his sister’s set and just couldn’t seem to put it down.

“My sister was so upset when I kept taking her magic set that eventually I received my own for Christmas,” Blagg said, “and it magically brought peace back to our house.”

Blagg attributes his success to  his relentlessness and refusal to quit.

“I made it by never giving up, and I performed magic any time I could,” Blagg said.

Blagg performed at garage sales in his neighborhood and for various family events — anything to be doing magic. His father brought Blagg to a magic store in Chicago called Magic Inc. for his eighth birthday, and it became a tradition for the two of them to go on his birthday every year.

“Eventually I started getting paid to perform shows at birthday parties, school assemblies and other events,” Blagg said.

Blagg invested everything he made into his show, and it kept growing to become what it is today.

The process of magic onstage is more than just a few words and wave of a wand. Blagg compares it to playing with big toys that fool the heck out of people.

“Presenting magic takes a lot of work from design, method, lighting and staging, but I love it all,” Blagg said. “I find it to be extremely rewarding watching something start from an idea on a napkin and turn into a feature in one of my shows five years down the road.”

Although the purpose of Blagg’s magic shows are to entertain and give the audience a unique performance, there are skeptics. Billy Piumbroeck, senior environmental science major, has his doubts about live magic.

“It’s always interesting to watch magicians do their tricks, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I believe they’re real,” Piumbroeck said.

Piumbroeck sees magic more as illusions, a belief he has in common with Blagg. However,  Blagg doesn’t claim what he does in his shows is real.

“It’s entertainment,” Blagg said. “It’s all about getting people to let go and enjoy themselves as opposed to sitting there trying to figure it out.”

Blagg ensures these illusions go as planned by dedicating a lot of time to practice.

Blagg said there have been times in practice where things have gone extremely wrong. Just this past year, Blagg was involved in a major accident during a practice. It ended up sending him into the pavement from 10 feet in the air.

“The worst part was my hands were locked behind my back, so the only thing that stopped my fall was my face,” Blagg said.

Blagg found it easy to maintain his composure because he was knocked out cold.

“Needless to say that illusion isn’t in the show yet,” Blagg said, “but I’m sure people would pay to see that accident happen again. I know I sure would.”

Blagg’s Weidner performance was just one stop on his tour.

“I have a blast performing at colleges because our show isn’t the cliche style magic show with card tricks, birds and silks,” Blagg said.

He will continue to use his high energy, funny and interactive style of magic to take audiences by surprise. For Blagg, taking the concept of magic and making it humorous and cool is what it’s all about