Magic has been a part of every single culture since the dawn of civilization. It has been used to ward off evil spirits, invoke inspiration, perform religious rituals and entertain kings and queens.
The power of magic is what drew retired Hollywood actor Joshua Lozoff back into the spotlight, this time as a magician. Lozoff will be bringing his one-man magic show called “Life Is Magic” to the Cole Auditorium on Sunday, Oct. 15, at 3 p.m.
“My whole presentation has been influenced and inspired by seeing all the different places in the world that study magic and focus on magic. Every single culture in the world has had some version of magic,” said Lozoff.
Lozoff has been sharing magic with audiences for 20 years. However, he began a professional acting career when he was a teenager living in Durham. He immersed himself in the film industry when it came on the scene in Wilmington. After graduating high school, he moved to California and went on to have a featured role on the TV show “Cheers” (as Gino Tortelli) and in movies “Clueless” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
After 14 years, he left show business, moved back to Durham and became an EMT. He also started traveling for volunteer work in Latin America, and then … POOF! That’s where the magic all started.
A Magical Experience
“I watched a street performer in Bolivia doing magic tricks,” Lozoff said. “It was this amazing experience, not so much because of his skill, but for the experience he was creating for everyone gathered around. People were amazed; they were laughing. I was watching people who didn’t even know each other connect.”
Lozoff said the experience stuck with him long after the street performer’s act ended. He came back home and started thinking about the one card trick he learned as a kid.
“I couldn’t shake this feeling. And then I knew that I was being called to pursue magic as an art form.”
Lozoff’s journey into magic took him back to the West Coast to be an apprentice to a retired magician who happened to be a family friend. His teacher eventually sent him all over the world to expose him to magic as it is performed in other cultures.
“I learned magic in Japan. I studied magic from a performer in Guatemala, and I spent time with magicians in India,” Lozoff said. “What I learned from them was less about specific tricks and more about approaches to magic and how to think about magic.”
Reading the Room
As an actor, Lozoff had learned to be very observant. This helped him when he started performing magic tricks.
“So much of magic is about paying attention and picking up on subtle cues and reading body language and things like that,” he said. “You can do things that look like magic or appear psychic if you just pay close attention and if you care about the people around you.”
Connecting with people is the crux of Lozoff’s magic performance. He calls his show “Life Is Magic” because he wants his audiences to leave feeling like they experienced something wonderful about life and people.
“We connect with each other without even being aware of it. We can read each other’s body language and subliminal cues using our own intuition,” Lozoff said. “A lot of the things I do on stage are inspired by just how incredible we are as human beings and not just clever props.”
A Show for Everyone
“Life Is Magic” will leave lasting impressions on all ages.
“There aren’t very many things that you can go out and do for an evening and bring your grandmother, parents and teenagers, and they can all enjoy it together,” Lozoff said.
Lozoff doesn’t mind if people in the audience want to try to figure out the tricks. Whether it’s real or an illusion, it’s still a magical experience for the whole family.
Tickets for “Life Is Magic” on Oct. 15 are $10 to $20 and can be purchased at the Cole Auditorium Box Office. The Box Office is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.richmondcc.edu/showtickets. For more information, call the Cole Auditorium at 910-410-1691.