Keeping the magic alive in Snowmass
New York, Amsterdam, London, Los Angeles — Snowmass Village?
It might be surprising, but those are a few of the stops that Snowmass’ own bar magician Doc Eason made on his offseason tour this fall. But if you’ve ever seen one of Doc’s shows, you know that the entertainment is on par with any of those locales.
Doc started performing magic after watching Bob Sheets do a gig at the old Tower Restaurant on the Snowmass Village Mall. He had come out to Colorado on vacation and at the time was running a health foods store, where he would make health drinks to order at a bar-style counter. As he watched, he noticed Sheets offering guests cocktails between tricks, and he realized that what he and the magician each did for a living was not so different.
“I was kind of doing a little show,” Eason said. “Suddenly I see, this is about learning how to sell.”
Eason started doing bar magic at the Tower not long after that, and did so for 27 years until the famed restaurant closed in 2004. But over time, Eason realized there’s another layer to the magic experience, one that the audience is not only observing but is also participating in.
“It’s not about the tricks,” he said. “It’s about connecting with people.”
Eason certainly has made some connections over the years. Sit through a couple of his shows, which he does every Tuesday and Thursday at the Artisan at Stonebridge Inn, and he will learn your name and where you’re from and invite you to participate in at least one trick. Multiple people will say they saw him perform as a kid, and many are now bringing their kids to see him. Others have gone on to become magicians or performers themselves.
“They’ll never ever forget the time they spent at the magic bar,” Eason said. “Everybody here is here to have a good time and a memorable time.”
Although the show can be tailored for kids, it’s intellectually challenging, and Doc bills it as an adult show first — which has some age-appropriate humor if the right crowd is present. Doc likes to tease his audience, explaining how a trick is done in part but never revealing it fully.
Something about his delivery makes you stop worrying about how it’s done and just feel awe. Ask Matt Ferro, whose excitement was written all over his face during a performance on Jan. 6.
“This is some of the best close-up magic you’ll ever see,” said Ferro, who himself was a performing magician in high school and has studied Doc’s writings about bar magic.
Ferro’s experience speaks to the impact Eason has had on his industry. In Los Angeles on this most recent tour, Eason performed at the Magic Castle, where the greatest performers in the biz showcase their talents in a historic mansion. Guest acts rotate and aren’t featured often, but Eason is there four times a year. He also gave five lectures while in Germany, performed on a cruise ship and went to Burning Man with his son, Elijah, who is now following in his father’s footsteps and performing magic in Las Vegas.
Back in Snowmass for the season, the man who makes a living by the art of illusion called traveling the world with his son “unbelievable.”
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“Everyone is cheering for everybody — yeah, you want to win, but you’re just having fun,“ team roper Tommy Ding says of the Snowmass Rodeo.