In the Westridge neighborhood of Chicago’s north side, among the boxy two up, two down, condominium buildings you will find Edd Fairman, Wizard of Sorts. From the outside his home looks exactly like all the others on the street but once you are inside you know things are different.
Immediately inside the door there is a framed magazine with a photo of a top hatted magician with the inscription, “To Edd, keep the faith.” “That is one of my magical heroes,” explains Fairman, who is currently wearing a suit coat, shorts and no shoes. “When I used to feel bad or silly about being a magician I would watch his act and it would make me feel like what we do is an art.” The “he” referred to is James Dimmare a Las Vegas magician who’s elegant act consists largely of making birds appear.
“Our acts couldn’t be more any different. He is very suave and I am a goof. I go for the laughs.” Fairman’s had his outfit on because he was just practicing a new magical routine where he makes cards appear at his finger tips even though he doesn’t want to. “The cards keep showing up even though I’m trying to get rid of them. I need the suit coat for the act but it gets too hot running around so I just wear shorts when I practice. I hardly ever wear shoes.”
Fairman grew up in rural Appalachia in central Pennsylvania where it was easy to run around outside in the grass without shoes. He attended Point Park University in Pittsburgh where he got his degree in theater. “I really try to use my theater training to create a fully fleshed out character on stage. I try to create a connection between myself and the audience. I’m not just some guy up there doing tricks. The tricks are there for a reason.”
Everywhere you look in the house there is odd old looking things and posters and art. In the living room there is a framed poster of the 1920’s magician Charles Carter. “I just love the look of the old magic posters. They always had such a dark tone to them” says Fairman. “But come downstairs that’s where the real fun stuff is.”
We go to the basement and inside a plain locked door is a room stuffed full with magic props, tricks and devises. Fairman smiles, “It’s kinda like a kooky warehouse. A lot of this stuff isn’t in my act but I like it so much. If you come see my show you will see that I don’t use much stuff that looks magical. I’m trying to keep it modern day and sleek. But I love this old stuff.”
Under a shelf there is a bed of nails. Fairman points, “I used that in an act with my sister. I would lay on the bed and put a concrete block on my chest and she would smash it with a hammer. My father and I made that bed and we pounded in the 1500 nails by hand because we didn’t have a air nail gun. I don’t do it any more because its tough to lug around. Not to mention you’ll never get that on a plane.”
There are trunks for making people appear and a sawing in half illusion and a straight jacket. “Ah that has just got back into the act,” says Fairman picking up the jacket. “I did a straight jacket escape ten or so years ago at Kennywood amusement park in Pittsburgh. I did it a few weeks ago at the Allstate Company Picnic up in Northbrook. It’s not like I’m old, I’m 33, but ten years does make a difference. Do you want to try it on?”
Fairman, who performs about 120 shows a year says, “Magic, fantasy, and science fiction are huge right now in movies and T.V. but I’m doing it live every week. People should come out to one of the many live magic shows in Chicago each month or hire a magicians to perform at their next event.”
You can see a video of Edd Fairman performing his brand of stand-up comedy magic at http://www.wizardofsorts.com
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Performing more than 200 shows a year, Edd is constantly in demand for the hilarious spin he puts on his classic magic routine, incorporating audience interaction and custom messaging to ensure high impact entertainment for audiences of all ages.