Junior Frederick Lee has a few tricks up his sleeve

January 31, 2011 — by Aashna Mukerji

Wandering down the crowded streets of Santana Row on a Saturday afternoon, you might spot junior Frederick Lee surrounded by a group of people.

As you make your way over, Lee takes out his cellphone and shows a picture of the nine of clubs. He then pulls out a deck of cards and says that by waving his phone over it, he can extract that particular card from the deck. A card pops out of the deck face down and the picture on the cellphone disappears simultaneously—it’s the nine of clubs. Placing his phone aside, Lee rubs the card on the table until it vanishes—only to reappear in the picture on his cellphone.

The ability to make things disappear was fascinating to Lee when he was 5. Around the age of 8, he moved on, accepting that the task seemed impossible. However, Lee rediscovered the art of magic in his freshman year when he purchased some trick card decks on a whim at the Dollar Store and only then decided to pursue his passion for magic.

After repeatedly performing a few specific tricks in ninth grade, Lee felt that he wanted to improve and master the skills required to reach an advanced level of magic.

“I moved on to more impromptu tricks and other categories,” Lee said. “I’m still expanding my knowledge in magic.”

In addition to buying new tricks over the phone, Lee sometimes creates his own magic tricks with materials that he already owns.

“I have invested in a wide range of materials [that] I often look back at, and occasionally, I invent a new tricks,” Lee said.

Card tricks demand great dexterity and can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days to learn. Most magicians start out with simple card tricks and use those basic skills as a foundation for their more complicated routines. In order to prevent himself from getting rusty, Lee makes sure to revise his tricks whenever he feels the need to.

Lee has been performing magic for two years, usually on crowded streets in Santana Row on weekends from mid to late afternoon. He hopes to broaden his performance locations by including parties and restaurants. Lee plans to get business cards to spread his name.

To make his tricks more impressive, Lee usually performs them with items borrowed from the audience. He doesn’t perform his best tricks on a daily basis, choosing instead to save them for rare occasions.

“My most impressive tricks are ones that most people can’t explain,” Lee said. “To me, it doesn’t matter what the trick or illusion is, but how it is presented.”

Someday, Lee hopes to be as good as the professionals in the magic business. Since he first started practicing the art of magic, Lee most enjoys “the audience’s reactions, the connection that forms between the magician and the audience, and the hope of giving someone a gift they will never forget.”

Although he plans to pursue other interests in the future, Lee would still like to be a part-time magician.

“I could use magic in my [everyday] job to enhance a boring day,” Lee said. On the side, Lee hopes to “perform for a wide range of audience members, and of course, share the fun in experiencing magic itself.”

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