Magician Adam White didn’t learn the intricacies of hand magic and fooling audiences through a digital platform.
The 25-year-long veteran performer took the hands-on approach of checking out and buying books where detailed descriptions of magic tricks were presented, through which he could look at the steps of a trick and visualize what it would look like when the magic came to life.
“I didn’t have a lot of money growing up, so I read about magic tricks in books,” White said following a Wednesday, June 27, performance before a crowd of approximately 30 children inside of Hruska Memorial Public Library. “With a book, you can read what the magic trick is and how it's done, and then you can imagine what it should look like … Videos can be convenient, but I always find it more difficult to hit a timeline and rewind when I can just re-read something.”
The Lincoln native made his pit-stop in David City as part of his booked summer which includes traveling around Nebraska, Kansas and South Dakota, an endeavor that will rack up as many as 20,000 miles on his vehicle by year’s end.
White’s show incorporated a fair share of magic with constant silly humor, which left young attendees giggling from start to finish during the hour-long performance. Being held inside of the library, naturally, there was a reading theme associated with the show.
“The ‘Magic of Reading’ show is designed specifically to help keep kids interested in reading, giving them different ideas about how to become better readers and just helping them to know they can learn wonderful, wonderful things through books," he said.
White’s performance is one of many being held at the library over the next couple of months in conjunction with this year’s Summer Reading Program, which started in June and concludes at the end of July. Dozens of different presentations are held during the duration of Summer Reading, said Lucy Watts, fourth-year children’s librarian, noting the magic show was purposefully timed.
“We decided to bring in this act because this is our library’s birthday celebration week, so we wanted to do something a little different and fun,” Watts said of the 22nd celebration of the library calling its current location at 399 N. Fifth St. home.
One hundred-eight readers are taking part in this year’s program, she added.
One of the reading-related components of White’s show was an activity called Punctuation Pandemonium, where several children stood in a line and held signs depicting periods, commas, quotation marks and exclamation points.
White designated each punctuation symbol – personified as faces – a specific noise and when he made that noise the sign holder with the indicated symbol had to rapidly raise the sign above his or her head and then lower it.
Reading a story for several minutes, White periodically inserted symbol noises, slowly at first and then more rapidly as the tale progressed. By the end, participants were wildly lifting and flailing their signs about as laughter filled the room.
It fit perfectly into White’s goofy persona.
“As an adult you have to not be afraid of looking like an idiot in front of them,” he said of performing in front of children. “Because nothing tickles them more than watching a grown man be a fool and making mistakes and being silly. That’s the whole idea -- to make them laugh and just have a good time.
Lisa Bales and her two kids, Ellie, 9; and Merritt, 6, complimented library staff’s efforts to provide wholesome, fun summer activities for children to participate in.
“They do a great job of letting us know about all the summer programs,” she said. “They give out these little passport books that show all of their events, and then I just book all the dates in my phone so we won’t forget. And this is one of our favorites.”
Since beginning his career as a 16-year-old in Lincoln performing for crowds at Rock ‘n’ Roll Runza along 14th and P streets for fans on Cornhusker football game day, White has performed his magic/comedy routine before crowds of all ages.
He said he hopes all who watch leave feeling a little better than they did prior to his show.
“Magic helps us all to be kids again, and it really is an intellectual art form,” he said. “When you are a musician you can sometimes kind of be playing in the background, but when you are watching or performing magic, you have to be paying complete attention to what’s going on. So it’s always engaging and just a whole lot of fun.”
Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.