Not every teenager spends their 16th birthday at a magic shop in Chicago, but Nathan Colwell of Schererville did.
“When I was six I watched a show called The Wiggles and there was a character that would occasionally do magic tricks. Because of that I went to the library and checked out some magic books. I just kept looking up things and never stopped,” said Colwell, who specializes in card magic.
Colwell was invited to perform on June 3 at the 3rd annual Barely Legal Show, a celebration of young magicians, by Indy Magic Monthly owner Taylor Martin.
“They’ve traveled down to Indy Magic Monthly several times. I’m always amazed as it’s nearly a three hour trip down and back,” said Martin, who started Indy Monthly Magic about six years ago at Theatre On The Square in Indianapolis. “He is always more than willing to show something in the lobby, he really listens to the other magicians and is constantly improving his performances. He’s learned that it’s not always the method, but the performance.”
Martin and Colwell met about 15 months ago at Magi-Fest in Columbus, Ohio, which is coordinated by performer Joshua Jay. Colwell has won two scholarships from Jay which abled him to attend Magi-Fest at no charge.
“We try to go to Indy Monthly Magic every other month. We like to support the arts and local businesses. But it’s also important for him to see other magicians perform and expose him to different magic styles,” said Karen Colwell, Nathan's mother, who homeschools Nathan and his sister.
Nathan started performing at local nursing homes at age nine. A few years later he started networking with family, friends and local magic clubs to perform at other venues such as birthday parties, Chicago Toy and Game Fair, banquets and festivals.
“Wherever I go I’m always performing. I have a 'cardiction',” said Nathan smiling. “I buy my cards in bulk. I probably go through two to three deck of cards a week.”
I.B.M. stands for International Brotherhood of Magicians. The closest chapters are located in Evanston, Indianapolis and Lafayette. The club is a social and networking outlet for magicians. The club also hosts lectures.
“There is always a theme, like bring your best street magic trick or coin trick. Then we test tricks for other magicians to critique it for peer review,” said Nathan.
Nathan said he spends four hours a day working on his magic and attends about three to four magic clubs a month.
“He gets a lot of joy from it,” said Karen. “Right now I’m trying to teach him how to manage himself—that he be the one who talk to the clients and do the scheduling. At this point he knows what to ask—ages of participants, what kind of venue, etc.”
Colwell and his family are regular eaters at Villa Del Sol Mexican Restaurant located in Merrillville. He was doing a trick for a table next to him when the owner asked if he would like to come in on the weekends and perform for customers.
“People love him. They think he’s amazing. On the weekends people come in ask for him—he’s a good kid,” said Sharyl Gutierrez, manager/owner of Villa Del Sol.
Nathan performs every Friday and Saturday between 6pm-9pm at Villa Del Sol Mexican Restaurant.