Students launch magic club on campus

Annie Bruce, Reporter

Almost 10 years ago, Justin Dresner’s grandpa returned from a cruise with a magic tutorial DVD. After sitting in front of the TV for close to three hours, Dresner was hooked.

“I grabbed all of the tiny little knick-knacks and doodads that I needed to do all of these tricks that were around the house and just started practicing,” the Bienen sophomore said. “I like being able to walk up to people and pick up pretty much anything that’s on a desk or a table … and be able to do something kind of neat with it.”

Dresner is now bringing his passion for magic to Northwestern’s campus by starting an organization called Smoke and Mirrors: NU Magic. Created by McCormick junior Jamie Chen, Weinberg sophomore Thomas Grudzinski and Dresner, the group is looking for about 20 students who are interested in learning and performing close-up magic.

“We want to promote the magic culture in the community,” Grudzinski said. “We want to bring people entertainment (and) allow more people to appreciate both sides of performance magic, both actually enjoying tricks being performed for you and enjoying the subtleties of actually performing the tricks.”

Grudzinski, who first became interested in magic during his freshman year of high school, met Dresner and Chen last year through their shared interests. The three founders performed magic tricks around campus during Winter and Spring Quarter of last year to generate interest for the group, Grudzinski said.

After about 48 students expressed interest at last week’s activities fair, they will now go through an audition process in order to become involved with Smoke and Mirrors. Students will be taught a series of card tricks, given a couple days to rehearse and will then perform the tricks around campus, while being evaluated by Dresner and Grudzinski.

“The people who appear to be the most eager and willing and excited to know and learn about magic will become our members,” Dresner said.

Throughout the year, members will learn sleight of hand, card and coin tricks and perform across campus, particularly during high-stress periods, such as midterms, reading week and finals.

“We want to break off into teams … and give people a little bit of a break from the monotony of student life by showing them a couple of magic tricks and bringing a little bit of excitement to their day,” Dresner said. “I want to use this club to try and create an extraordinary experience for anyone who is approached by one of our members.”

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