Professor Phelyx bringing magic to Walla Walla

Dori O'Neal, Herald staff writerApril 26, 2013 

Magic is coming to the Gesa Power House Theatre, performed by a guy who calls himself Professor Phelyx (pronounced Felix.)

Phelyx is touted as one of the top mentalist magicians in the country. To find out if that's true, you'll have to buy a ticket to the One Night Spectacular, which starts at 8 p.m. May 4.

Phelyx -- aka Dick William Hopkins -- was introduced to magic by his father, a homicide detective.

"The gravity of his job necessitated seeking out some levity, and thereby he studied magic and clowning through the 1970s and '80s," Phelyx said in a telephone interview. "Those formative years saw me visiting one of the last true traveling carnival sideshows and spending years admiring the exciting talents of many of the best-known buskers in the business."

That early exposure to magic led Phelyx down a career path that was decided when he was 8 years old.

"My father was very supportive and he helped me get my first paying shows and television appearances," he said. "My work evolved from working as a magician to employing a lot of the skills my father used in his work as a detective that he taught me."

Phelyx said he made his debut as a magician at age 10 for a Cub Scout event in his school auditorium.

One Night Spectacular show was gleaned from those childhood experiences as he mixes comedy and sleight-of-hand tricks with a smidgen of mind reading.

What also makes the professor different from other magicians is that he shares some of his secrets with the audience.

"Thematically, the show is all about me telling the audience how they are being fooled," Phelyx said. "Each of my shows is different from the last. But I don't do any overt hypnotizing, and mostly just have fun with the audience."

Phelyx is known for his signature effect of bending stainless steel forks in open air while an audience member holds the utensil.

He defines his entertainment style as a blend of circus and vaudeville. To prove his point, his show will be enhanced by a performance by circus aerialist Tanya Burka, who is a graduate of Montreal's renowned National Circus School. She also has toured with Cirque du Soleil.

Phelyx empathizes with skeptics who don't believe anyone can really read minds or bend steel with a thought.

"That's why I let the audience in on how they are being fooled," he said.

Tickets to the show cost $20 to $25 and are available at www.phtww.com or by calling 509-529-6500.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @dorioneal

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