August 08, 2012 - By Trevor Keiser
Anthony Grupido’s magic is hot. (click for larger version)
Like Houdini, Anthony Grupido is looking to make a name for himself in the world of Magic.
At age 16 and heading into his senior year at Lake Orion High School he is already a professional magician, escape artist, balloon man and juggler.
"I've been practicing magic since I was eight. I saw Lance Burton perform live in Las Vegas, he pulled me up on stage and made a birdcage disappear and I thought that was really cool," Grupido said. "That inspired me."
Grupido was also a star on the varsity wrestling team until an injury put him out of commission, but with wrestling aside he was able to put more practice into perfecting his craft. After watching David Blaine perform "street magic," Grupido took his magic to the streets as a freshman, which gave him more exposure and made it possible for him to start doing magic full time.
Having met both Blaine and Burton, Grupido said they are his "indirect mentors."
"David Blaine actually talked to me online for a little bit we did a little Skype call. I e-mailed Lance Burton and told him how he inspired me with my first stage show," he added. "He sent me a book called "Advice" that he signed. It was how to become a professional magician."
Grupido does everything from kid's magic on up to adult. If you've been to Applebees during Kid's Night on Tuesdays or Leo's Coney Island during Magic Night on Thursdays, then you've probably seen him.
I usually stroll table to table give a quick performance hand out a balloon animal then pass out a business card," he said. "That gives me feedback and I get shows from it."
Grupido says he makes enough to offer a very steady income.
"It's a unique talent so it does pay off very well if sold correctly," he added. "I make double what an average high school student would make and I work 8 to 12 hours a week."
But like any business owner he's had to invest money and time into his business.
"I've invested well over 10,000 into hours perfecting it," he noted.
Grupido also said he has the lowest prices and if his price is still too high, he is willing to negotiate and work out a deal. At 16 years old, it's not about the money.
"It's more about having a good time entertaining," he said. "Doing what I do."
When it comes to his performances, Grupido said he likes to do everything big and make it unique. His card tricks for example are original.
"If I use a trick I've seen before or someone else has taught me, I make it my own and add my own special effects to it," added Grupido. "I don't like to be regular but want to stand out in everything I do."
He also enjoys giving the thrill factor during his performances, whether it's being hung upside down and breaking out of a straight jacket Houdini style, or spitting out fire.
The straight jacket is my signature piece," he said. "Nothing has ever been able to confine me from straight jackets to handcuffs. I've even been chained once, he said. "I can get out of anything. I know how to pick locks."
One of his goals he said is to star on America's Got Talent before the age of 18.
After high school Grupido plans to either go to college for a business degree and performing arts degree or if has enough money and is well known enough to risk not getting a business degree he wants to go to the Colon Magic School in Colon Michigan.
"This is what I am going to do for the rest of my life," he said. "I couldn't dream of doing anything else."
For more information on Grupido visit www.handsleight.com
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.