Magician unveils 'card effects'
As a kid, Bermuda's beaches were the highlight of Alexander Crown's visits. However, their appeal was not as strong as the New Yorker got older.
“I'd bring girlfriends and friends here,” said Mr Crown who paid regular visits to his aunt, Anca Marshall.
“After hitting the bars, there didn't seem to be much else. There weren't a lot of shows.”
Now, aged 30, he is back to rev up Bermuda's nightlife with two weeks of magic shows at Newstead Belmont Hills.
“This is a starting ground,” he said. “If the people of Bermuda like it, there is potential for the future.
“My idea is to bring something to this island that has been missing for 25 years. I've been in talks with the [Bermuda Tourism Authority] to see what I can do for Bermuda.”
Card tricks — he prefers the term “card effects” — sleight of hand, mentalism tricks and a lot of storytelling are all part of his 75-minute shows.
The Zanzibar Cocktail Lounge can only fit 32 people at a time, so he is promising an “intimate” event.
“That way the audience becomes part of the show, and it's different every night,” he said.
“When you are here and sitting in the front row, it feels like you are part of something.”
His Romanian grandmother, Elena Costantin, inspired him to become a magician. Mr Crown was born in the southeastern European country, however, his family moved to New York City when he was 1, shortly before the 1989 Romanian Revolution, which brought violence and civil unrest.
“My grandmother is a special person,” he said. “She can look up into the night sky and tell things about the future.”
Several months before he arrived, she predicted the exact date and time he would be born — October 10 at 10pm.
“Now I have 10-10-10 tattooed on my left arm as a tribute to her,” he said. “That's my lucky number.”
As a little boy, he loved watching her read tarot cards and when he was 5, unsuccessfully begged her to teach him some “tricks”.
“I didn't really understand what she was doing,” he said. “I'd try to steal a card when she wasn't looking to see if I could mess up the reading. It was fun until she caught me.”
In university, he started a company, The Blue Crown Group, selling customised playing cards. It soon expanded to performances, magic teaching and motivational speaking.
He refused to share with Lifestyle how he learnt his skills, insisting it would spoil the night for his audiences.
“Although my grandmother wouldn't teach me card tricks, she did teach me something very important. I don't want to say what it was here, because I tell that story to the audience. I will say my grandmother had storytelling ability.”
He divorced when he was 28 and it encouraged him to branch out. “At that point I decided I wanted to tour the world,” he said.
He sold his two cars, got rid of everything in his New York apartment other than a couple of card decks and took off for Europe.
Over the course of three years, he performed in 126 cities.
He thinks it is his stories — how his grandmother taught him various things; how a trick inspired a couple to fall in love — that really make his show stand out.
“I have been working to memorise a whole deck of cards in a minute or less, while solving a Rubik's cube,” he said.
“I think Bermuda is really going to enjoy this show because Bermuda hasn't seen anything like this before.
“There have been some illusion shows like this before, but nothing like what I am offering.”
• Alexander Crown opens tonight at 8pm in the Zanzibar Cocktail Lounge and runs through to September 29. Shows are 8pm Monday to Friday, 7.30pm and 9pm on Saturdays and 3pm on Sunday. Tickets, $100, are available on 236-6060, ptix.com or bermudashow.com