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Magician and entertainer Ryan Lawrence wants attendees at his "Vanishing Art" show to reopen their eyes and ears to what he sees as a struggling form of entertainment.

"I think in the 21st century, it's become more of the butt end of a joke than taken seriously," he said. "We're such a fast-paced world today that people just want to know one thing: 'how did you do that?' Why can't we suspend our disbelief anymore, even if it's just a few seconds?"

Scheduled to perform Saturday at Michigan City's Mainstreet Theatre, Lawrence, 32, was reared in Rock Island, Ill., and currently resides in west suburban Wheaton.

Lawrence was bitten by the magic bug when he received a magic kit as a youngster, began performing professionally when he was a teenager. Citing influential magic men such as Dai Vernon and Tony Slydini as influences, he has entertained audiences young and old in public and private shows throughout the Midwest and as far away as Arizona over the course of the last 15 years-plus.

Lawrence made his way to the region 11 years ago to attend DePaul University, where he received a master's degree in writing. He has also made a name for himself performing on Windy City stages from the Infamous Commonwealth Theatre to the Emerald City Theatre Company.

"Vanishing," according to its creator, has been more than a decade in the making. In addition to performing a variety of card and street effects and tricks, holding a séance inspired by Harry Houdini and telekinesis stunts, Lawrence will offer insight into the magic world from a universal and personal standpoint.

"Vanishing" made its debut last Halloween at the Fine Arts Building in downtown Chicago.

"I wanted to do things to show magic is not necessarily about 'bigger is better,'" he said of "Vanishing." "It's about the effect (magic) can have on an audience and really making them raise their eyebrows and go 'how in the world did he do that?' That's the real magic right there."

Joining Lawrence onstage Saturday is Chicago-based pianist and vocalist Brandon Zale.

"The Vanishing Art: An Evening of Magic" is recommended for audiences 12 years of age and older.

Ryan Lawrence's "The Vanishing Art: An Evening of Magic" 8 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Mainstreet Theatre, 807 Franklin St., Michigan City

COST: $11 adults, $10 seniors, $5.50 students

FYI: (219) 874-4269

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