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Blue Springs, MO —
Kirk DeWeese is the magic man in Blue Springs
By Jeff Martin - jeff.martin@examiner.net
The Examiner
Posted Jan 16, 2009 @ 04:18 PM
It almost seems fitting that a magic shop – a magic shop in Blue Springs, no less – isn’t so easily seen from
Missouri 7.
And it’s difficult to tell if Kirk DeWeese approves of that fact, or if he desires to change it; perhaps he does, though for the
moment he offers no indication. Crowded in the back room of the Magic Supply Company, DeWeese is focused on only one
thing: encouraging his associate, Dwayne Roberts, to rise above the floor.
“Go ahead,” he says aloud. “Show him – but you have to close your eyes. Seriously. Close them. Turn your head.”
Eventually Roberts would rise about one inch off the floor. Even without stage lights and music and the typical pomp that
surrounds a magic act, the trick, one of 5,000 tricks his company sells both in person and on the Internet, mesmerizes.
Nevermind that outside the front door, Walnut Street stirs mutely into morning life, but that’s barely noticable: the purpose of
magic, of illusion, is to wrestle the mind away from the persistent grasp of the concrete world.
These are the concrete facts: The Magic Supply Company has been in operation since 1996 at the same location, tucked off to the
right in a small plaza just off Missouri 7. It’s unassuming and very easy to miss.
While business is steady, operating a “bricks and mortar” operation can be costly – especially when the realm of magic is on the
wane among the typical layman. It certainly doesn’t help that Internet sites offer personalized demonstrations and recordings –
performances that were once best left to magic shops where magicians young and old came to meet.
Two year’s after he opened the shop, DeWeese launched his company on the Internet. The site, www.magicsupply.com, has
become one of – if not the – most popular sites for both professionals and amateurs to purchase their goods. A quick glance on
Google for magic supplies lists DeWeese as second from the top – and that’s from among 492,000 related listings.
“I thought at the beginning of all this, whoa…There’s interest,” DeWeese said. “It just grew and the orders came in.”
And yet DeWeese still maintains his actual physical shop. And why not? On a typical Saturday, those who know of the store, who
cherish its intimacy and its huge collection of magic manuals and its card trick packages and supplies and the sprinkling of
playing cards stuck strangely on the ceiling above, step inside and trade tricks and licks. Or simply refine an act they’re working
on. Decipher directions. Shoot the breeze.
DeWeese continues to publish a catalogue as well, one of the last to remain. While there is a cost, the catalogue serves to satisfy
those magicians – pro or otherwise – who want to see the tricks in print. The 300-page book is one of three avenues DeWeese
depends on for business.
“We have 5,000 tricks, we’re never open and we get yelled at a lot,” he said, a statement DeWeese repeats about three times
during the course of the conversation. “It’s true. People want a quick gift, and they think of the magic shop but, dang, it’s only
Wednesday. They know they have to wait.”
DeWeese has been intrigued with magic since he was 10 years old. He ordered his first magic trick (which he’s since forgotten)
from a television advertisement, and like so many people, a childhood love has extended into adulthood. While this is not his
only source of income (he owns a computer store next door), it’s certainly the area of his life that he enjoys talking about most.
“It’s a great place to do magic, to talk about magic,” he said. “In the back room here, it’s a kind of headquarters, so to speak. Only
those permitted come back in here.”
One of those lucky few is Tom Burgoon, a Blue Springs resident who started practicing magic when he was 5 years old. Since
then, he’s become a professional, performing for large audiences, corporate events and in venues like cruise ships to Hollywood.
Early in his career, Burgoon performed at comedy clubs and stage events in Las Vegas, Reno and L.A. He’s performed for
President George W. Bush at the Inaugural Ball in Washington D.C.,
Burgoon, who appeared on the show Masters of Illusion on Comcast Channel 10 last week, will be the first to tell you about The
Magic Shop. Heck, he lives not far from it.
“The people who go there don’t know how lucky they have it,” Burgoon said. “It’s great to just go into a shop like that and be able
to see a trick performed, to get your hands on it.”
DeWeese sells a line of Burgoon products at the store, but Burgoon’s interest in the store is more than just a financial one. Most importantly, the shop is like a base, a touchstone, a place where he can go and hang out.
“It’s a great place to hang out, and it’s a great place to enter the world of magic because the guys there won’t let you buy
something that’s over your head,” Burgoon said.
While the Internet certainly has helped with sales, Burgoon isn’t looking forward to more and more magic shops closing their
doors. At any place in the country, Burgoon said he sees magic shops closing.
“Bricks and mortar, especially magic shops, close every day,” he said. “This place in Blue Springs is a rarity.”
But the Magic Supply Company reaches out to more than just adult professionals. DeWeese and friends also work with the
youth of Blue Springs.
Jordan Byrd, a 15-year old high school student, continues to work with DeWeese and others to create acts.
“Jordan came in here one Saturday like a lot of young kids do,” DeWeese said. “After he showed interest and some talent, we
took him under our wing. He’s got great talent.”
Both DeWeese and Roberts said they’re willing to help anyone improve on their skills – young or old.
“If they’re serious about it and show some promise, we’re willing to help where we can,” DeWeese said. “But there’s more to it
than just simple card tricks and waving your arms around. There’s an art to it.”
Helping the youth cultivate a talent and encourage them – that may be the hardest and most rewarding trick of all.