10 Tricks Up His Sleeve

male with a deck of cards
male with a deck of cards

By Naevi Tingey

Allan is a software engineer at Northrop Grumman by day and, as of a few years ago, a magician by night. Whether performing magic or engineering new software designs, Allan loves pushing the boundaries of possible. Read on for 10 things that helped Allan set sail on his magic journey.

1. A Lasting Impression

Allan has always been a performer. At 5 years old, his dad introduced him to community theater, and he’s loved stage shows ever since. After watching a David Copperfield TV special as a child, Allan developed a lifelong interest in magic.

2. The Magic Castle

As an adult, the Magic Castle — a private magicians’ clubhouse in Hollywood, California, that is home to 4,800 members of the Academy of Magical Arts (known as ‘the Academy’) — rekindled Allan’s passion for magic. Allan first learned about the Academy after winning two entry tickets to the Castle in 2013. “The club is very exclusive, and you have to audition to join,” said Allan, who took magic classes and worked for months to prepare a 15-minute audition to join the Academy.

Whether performing magic or engineering new software designs, Allan loves pushing the boundaries of possible.

3. Abracadabra!

During Allan’s audition, he showcased close-up magic, including cards, coins and rope tricks. After a nerve-racking evening, he and the six others who auditioned with him learned they had made it into the Academy. “I was so excited — all seven of us passed the audition, which is a very rare occurrence,” said Allan.

4. Magical Inspirations

Allan’s initial interest in magic was piqued by his favorite magician, David Copperfield, and his ability to get great reactions from the crowd. Today Allan said this has shaped his personal performance style. “I tend to be a more comedic and exaggerated version of myself; I like to just have some fun,” Allan said.

5. Members Only

As an Academy member, Allan — who lives in the Los Angeles area — enjoys bringing his family to experience the Castle and attending the Academy’s special performances and lectures at least once a month. “The Magic Castle is full of non-stop magic experiences including a house ghost named Irma, a magic piano that takes song requests and optical illusions all around,” said Allan. “Everywhere you look, there is some type of magic going on.”

6. Magic Momentum

One of Allan’s favorite tricks is called “the saltshaker through the table,” which uses misdirection to make a saltshaker disappear. It was the very first trick he learned in his magic class and performed for his wife, Colleen; it remains a favorite because of his wife’s initial shock and amazement.

7. Behind the Scenes

Allan’s wife is his number one supporter and favorite audience. “Colleen has so much fun watching all of my magic tricks but does not want to know the secrets behind them,” said Allan. His wife helps behind the scenes to make Allan’s magic come to life by building props for his tricks and her reactions still fuel his lasting passion for his magical hobby.

8. What’s Up His Sleeve?

Allan likes to debunk the idea of having tricks up his sleeve by performing magic in a short sleeve shirt. This allows him to demonstrate impressive magic tricks for his audience with “absolutely nothing up my literal sleeves,” said Allan.

9. Mixing Magic and Work

At work, being a member of the Northrop Grumman Management Club — which organizes development, community and networking activities — has helped Allan develop his management skills and is a way for him to connect with other leaders. And recently, it was also a way for him to share his magical passion at work. With Allan’s help, the Management Club hosted an event at the Magic Castle — which Allan said was a full circle moment for him.

10. What’s Next?

Magic will always be a part of Allan’s life, and he continues to work toward new goals. “I hope to perform on stage at the Magic Castle — I’ve just got to pass one more audition,” said Allan. As he continues his magic journey, he hopes to be an example and inspiration for others to follow their passion.

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