Astoria resident was ‘Born’ to make magic

Photo courtesy of John Born

Astoria resident John Born can pick pockets, read minds and make objects disappear and reappear with ease.

Born has made magic his career and has given lectures on the subject in 20 countries and 200 cities around the world. The Wichita, Kansas, native grew up an athlete, playing basketball, baseball and soccer. His younger brother, Mitchell, began to learn magic from their grandfather, Allen Fitchett, who practiced magic as a hobby for 35 years.

At age 12, magic began to appeal to Born and he would often steal his brother’s magic books and props when he was sleeping.

“I eventually performed for my grandfather, who was super excited as I believe he was looking for someone to share it with [and] pass it down to,” Born said.

The aspiring magician worked at a local magic store throughout high school and college as a resident magician. There, he perfected his craft by performing close-up magic, mentalism and sleight of hand at conventions. Close-up magic is performed in an intimate setting and usually includes the manipulation of cards and coins.

“Close-up magic and mentalism is much different than performing from the stage as it creates far more opportunities for completely unique interactions [and] improv,” Born said. “It also tends to get a much stronger response as incredible things happen in their hands and right in front of their face.”

In close-up magic, he said, the audience participates in magic rather than just witnessing it. After moving to Astoria in 2005, Born traveled the world to cities such as Rome, Zurich, London and Dublin to give lectures on magic. He was also crowned the champion of the International Brotherhood of Magicians Gold Cups competition where he beat 30 other magicians from around the world after performing for judges for one week.

Now, Born performs at high-end private events across the tri-state area.  He has published three books since 2006, including a 560-page book titled “Cheating at Texas Hold ‘Em,” an intricate look into how cheating at poker works and how to protect against it.

After many years of performing at private events, Born wants to give New York City residents a chance to watch him in action. “Miracles and Mind Games” will be a “very exciting” and “really unique” magic show that encompasses the skills and tricks Born has been showcasing for years. Though he does not have a venue or date locked down, the show will be open to 30 people and will take place sometime in 2016.

Born has visited many countries and cities across the world but he is proud to call Astoria home.

“I think Astoria is a great place to be. Since I do a lot of work in the tri-state area it gives me great access to the highways to skip the city traffic,” Born said. “I am also a huge fan of the restaurants here, and being from Kansas, I really appreciate the more quiet, neighborhood feel Astoria provides.”

Watch him in action at Highline Ballroom in Manhattan in the video below:

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