Category Archives: Blog

Romeo and Juliet

I was born in New York City. My mother was a professional Broadway dancer (until she was expecting me). My father was a professional costume designer, working on Broadway and in Film. He was also a Magic aficionado.

One evening, my parents attended a Broadway play that a colleague was in, “Winterset” by Maxwell Anderson. The lead character was named Mio. They liked that name and gave it to me when I was born. I’m often asked if Mio is my real name or a stage name, and the truth is that both are true!

When I was six or seven, my father would sit me on his lap in the kitchen and teach me Magic with cards. He brought me to Magic conventions and Magic shows, always explaining how things were done as they were happening.  At the time I didn’t realize I was privy to classified information! Although I never thought of being a Magician when I grew up, I felt I knew some great card effects and secrets!

Growing up, I was fortunate to go backstage at Broadway plays and onto the sets of major motion pictures with my Dad. He was the costume designer on Robert De Niro’s first film, “Bang the Drum Slowly” and he brought me to Yankee Stadium for several days of filming.

Following my graduation with a BA in Theater from SUNY Binghamton in 1980, I pursued a career in acting and directing. I directed an original play for my senior thesis and directed an off-off Broadway production. Many Magicians take acting classes to improve their performance.  I come from a theatrical background and it has been invaluable to the furtherance of my career.

Having grown up in NYC all my life, I was curious about the rest of the country, so I went exploring… this photo is from Santa Fe, New Mexico where I lived for two years and played the role of Benvolio, cousin to Romeo, in a production of Romeo and Juliet.

In my late 20’s, I was living in Dallas, Texas, when an amazingly talented Close-Up Magician, Brad Cairnes, serendipitously moved in next door.  Upon meeting, Brad showed me a card effect which just happened to be one that my Dad had shown me, so I showed him my version, Brad showed me another, then another, and away we went!

We became fast friends.  Brad taught me the fundamentals of sleight-of-hand Close-Up Magic and said, “if you learn these seven moves, you could be a professional Magician,” which at the time sounded simplistic but to me was no joke! I took Brad at his word and delighted in the opportunity to perhaps shape my life into a previously unthought of direction, one that seemed super exciting in its limitless opportunities!

After a year of constant practice, I left Dallas and moved to Florida. In the beginning, I only knew a few effects… about twenty minutes of Close-Up, but I made them very entertaining! I attended seminars, purchased books and videos, had private lessons and continued to strive to improve and expand my repertoire. It was when my technical skills caught up to my presentational abilities that I was really able to put it all together and move on to the next level!

To this day I continue to attend seminars and workshops with the leaders in the fields of Magic and Mentalism to master new effects. I now have two, 50-minute Mentalism Stage Shows, and at least that in different Close-Up effects.  I often get asked back by the same clients and referred to new clients!

 

 

 

 

 

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How I get my gigs.

People often ask how I get my gigs. My career has progressed with a recurring theme; the importance of word of mouth and how ones’ quality of work (an impressive performance) begets more work… which is the cornerstone of any business.

It all started when Dan Marino’s wife Claire called me.  A friend of Claire’s had recently seen me perform and recommended that she have me at Dan’s birthday party.

Dan so enjoyed my presentations that he asked me to entertain at his upcoming Foundations’ Celebrity Golf Tournament.  At the dinner that night, Mario Lemieux saw me and asked me to come to Pittsburgh for his own foundations’ Celebrity Golf Tournament, where I met and entertained Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Johnny Bench, Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, John Elway, Mike Schmidt and many others.  Mr. Schmidt asked me to entertain at his Cystic Fibrosis Foundation fundraiser and at several more functions over the years, both for himself and his foundation.

All of these legendary athletes are perfect gentlemen and a true pleasure to entertain, their warm-hearted generosity is apparent in the work they do and the foundations that bear their names.

I am happy that I can, in some small way, repay them for the hours of entertainment they’ve provided me! My work brought me to them and they in turn were moved enough by my Magic & Mentalism to literally “move“ me around from place to place!

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I had the honor of performing for the manager of the NY Yankees!


I was working a party in the private room in Arturos, a fine restaurant in Boca. When I was done the owner asked, “there’s a Yankee at one of my regular tables, would you like to go over there?” I asked if it was a player and she said she thought it might be a coach. She took me over to the table and it was no coach; it was the manager, Joe Girardi!

Mr. Girardi was having dinner with his wife, Kim and another couple. I asked Kim to name her favorite card and the instant she named the seven of hearts, I reached over and pulled it from Joe’s collar.

I performed “Card to Wallet”, showing my favorite Met, Tom Seaver, as Tom’s picture came out of my wallet ahead of the signed card. After I pulled Mr. Girardi’s signed card from a sealed envelope, I showed him my Game Cards collection from my website and said I’d like to add his card to my collection. Mr. Girardi said of course, so I pulled a “copy” of the signed card from my pocket for him, then another “copy” from my jacket as I said to Kim, “if Joe loses that one here’s the original”, then I pulled a third signed card out and gave it to his friend. When I turned the three cards over they were all random cards! I pulled his real, signed card from the empty envelope and said, “I’ll keep it after all!”

I performed the “Real Dice”, reading all their minds, then the “Invisible Deck”, and I borrowed a dollar from Joe and floated it. I ended the performance with his cell phone as I asked him to search for anything on Wikipedia. I said “Joe is well traveled, he wouldn’t search for a place, he’s been all over. It’s something close to his heart”. Joe smiled uneasily, and I continued, “Something dear to you”. Joe shook his head in disbelief. “Did you search for your son, Danti?“

Yes! He had searched for Danti Girardi, his son! They all blew up! His wife said everything else was great, but when I knew what Joe had searched for, it sent chills down her spine and that was the most amazing thing!

Mr. Girardi asked for my card and said his daughter would love this. Maybe the team will too!

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Performing at the Mario Lemieux Foundation Celebrity Golf Tournament

I first talked about my performances for the Mario Lemieux Foundation, and how important it was to me in this post.

After the 18th hole and the days round was finished, the players would slowly gather four by four in the clubhouse. The only ones in there beside the players were the staff and me.

After entertaining for several hours, I had gathered a collection of cards that were stuck to the ceiling of the clubhouse, and the manager looked up and noticed the four signed cards : Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Mark Recci, and Lynn Swann!

He took the cards down, framed them , and then put them back up on the ceiling in exactly the spots they had been in!

Please pardon theses these slightly blurred photos.

Framed cards - Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Mark Recci, Lynn Swann

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What is like to be a Magician on a Cruise Ship?

Working on cruise ships has afforded me the special opportunity to see and visit parts of the world I otherwise may never have!

Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Hawaii, the Caribbean, the French Riviera, the Mexican Riviera, The Amazon, Venice, Europe, and a host of other destinations have all been the sights of my performances and adventures!

I was able to swim with dolphins in Cozumel, cuddle with stingrays in the Caymans and fulfilled one of my life dreams, to catch King Salmon and Halibut in Alaska, which I did while performing on board Regents’ ship, Seven Seas Mariner, for the summer season.

On the ships I often worked close up in the lounges, and here a group of passengers is about to see my unique version of card to ceiling!

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Signed Cards Collection Growing: Mario Lemieux, Johnny Bench and Michael Jordan!

It was while performing for the Mario Lemieux Foundation Celebrity Golf Tournament that I had the pleasure and honor of performing for three gentlemen whose careers represented the very pinnacle of their respective sports when they played: Mario Lemieux, in his prime, arguably the best hockey player ever; Johnny Bench, perhaps the best catcher ever to play baseball; and Michael Jordan, well there is no argument, the best basketball player ever. These three greats all signed cards that appeared unexpectedly, some said impossibly, in a sealed envelope, in a zippered compartment of my wallet!

I was honored to be asked back by Mario the next year to perform, to again be able to contribute to the success of this great cause.

The Mario Lemieux Foundation was created in 1993. In that year, Mario was enjoying the greatest season of his brilliant career and on pace to establish a new NHL scoring record. Then he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease.

For me, Mario’s story goes to show the fragility of life, and also the will to persevere, and in turn to help others; just as I love to share my magic with others, to give them a glimpse that says the impossible is possible!

Mio the Magician and Mario LemieuxMio the Magician and Johnny Bench
Mario Lemieux's iconic "66" (the number of his jersey)
Johnny Bench's signature in one of Mio's Game Cards
Michael Jordan's signature in one of Mio's Game Cards

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Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass Performance

I had the pleasure of performing for the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass during their annual collectors trip to Tacoma and Seattle, where they also visited the home of Dale Chihuly, the foremost glass sculptor of our time.

Coincidentally I performed for Dale on several occasions in Florida, and here is a photo from one of them.

Mio the magician performing to sculptor Dale Chihuly

I entertained all 95 collectors at the Tacoma Art Museum with my stand up Mentalism Show, “Extraordinary Moments “.

I was thrilled to receive a standing ovation!

I had a chance to visit the Seattle Space Needle, awesome views of the city and the Bay!

Mio at the Space Needle, Seattle
Tacoma Art Museum

The views from my hotel room of the Space Needle at night:

The Space Needle Seattle

The Space Needdle