by Mella Noir | Featured Contributor
Have you ever met a raconteur? Definition: a storyteller, especially a person noted for telling stories with skill and wit. I wasn’t sure I had either…but, when you meet one it makes perfect sense.
I have and his name is V.
V is someone who can create almost anything creatively out of thin air. We met because at the time, he was known as “The Magic of V” and was doing a nightly magic show and would go right up to folks and mesmerize them with close up illusions: cards, coins, lemons – no matter what the object, V could read your mind and make it disappear or better but either way, he blew your mind. Manipulate cards via sleight of hand? Easy. Bend a quarter with his thoughts? Yep. Make you doubt your own eyes? Every time. He also has a certain way he handles people, he is deftly funny with them but never at their expense. His wit has always been part of the routine…
He had also for many years ran a theater where he had his own “intimate illusions” show and packed the room as the headliner. He was doing Murder Mystery shows before anyone jumped on that bandwagon.
Along with everyone else, I have always been astounded. But, magic was just in his spare time. Music and theatre are where he really shines. The Music of V is far more skilled than simply turning tricks…music is where he really loves to shine and he makes magic through that as well. He plays multiple instruments with ease and can adapt any song you request at a moment’s notice. Not only does he have a vast repertoire catalog in his head: he knows the history of each artist, the notes, the words…you can’t stump him. Try, I dare you. He can pick up any guitar and play it, same goes for the piano. Have a song in mind ? Challenge him and he will revise it old school, modern style or anything in between. Lady Gaga as a folky jazz tune? Done. That’s where the “raconteur” label comes from. He’s currently exploring this idea with his show at Capo’s Speakeasy, where it’s an intimate yet socially distanced musical interlude:
Call here to book a table: 702.364.2276 (CAPO).
V is the only person I’ve ever known or even heard of that can literally stand on a corner and create interest out of nothing. No matter if it’s a Rubik’s Cube he spins into submission with one hand or playing any Prince song you request…provoke him and he will do it. And give you an interesting history lesson or twist along the way.
He is a one man show, and he likes it that way. His style of both magic and music is intimate and up close – so that you are literally right inside the action. I’ve always been amazed by V and his ability to get your attention, lure you in and then captivate you with his skills.
Besides his passion for music and his abilities of illusion, V is a man who is most comfortable around animals. He has fostered countless dogs and cats in his lifetime and believes it is something every human being must do in order to have empathy for life itself.
He is also all about mentoring. For nearly 20 years, he’s been a magic mentor at a camp, where he helps shape minds, instills confidence and teaches people skills both fun and valuable. Quite a well rounded dude, I’d say…
Besides all this, V is always searching creatively for the next thing. He realized that nowadays in this new world, magic didn’t fit into it anymore…gone are the days when it is acceptable to pass various items to folks to touch and give back. Also gone this year is camp – for the first time in two decades, camp was cancelled. Heartbreaking for V and all the kids who so looked forward to their summertime routine, but it’s a new time and adaptation is a must.
That didn’t stop his constantly running creative flow, though. Unable to stop his inner magic, he currently has several projects on the go, including a rock opera based in the time of a virus and how it affects everyone within the world. He, along with his traveling dog, Sam are always roving around, meeting people and curating new stories to add to his theatrical mind (of course mostly online now, unfortunately not in contact…).
I asked him to share his top ten pieces of advice in music, magic, acting, life, love and business (any or all of the above, because whatever he has learned I want to adapt to my own life). Here is what he shared:
- Don’t Stay Where You Were Born. – We all think where we were born and grew up is the best place to be. But it’s probably not. Travel around and see what’s out there. But don’t just visit, live there. Too many of us think we have seen the world if we’ve only seen it through the window of a hotel room. But if you think you want to live somewhere, get a job there. Make some friends there. Go out in the community and do things. That’s the only way to really know if where you are is where you want to be.
- Adopt a Dog or Cat at Least Once in Your Life. – It’s kind of a moral obligation because they would not exist if we did not breed them into existence. It’s not fair to just throw them away if they’re not a purebred or perfect.
- Keep Upgrading Your Technology. – Don’t be one of those people that is using an old clunky laptop from 10 years ago just because you don’t want to upgrade. Don’t be the person that has their phone constantly filled with pictures so they can’t use it. This is a problem for most people who are over 40. They get stuck in a routine and never get out of it. Upgrade your devices. Learn new ways of communicating. You like social media? Cool. Try tik tok or Snapchat every once in awhile instead of just being on Facebook and Twitter. Spread your wings and fly out of your bubble. This logic also goes for the media in general. Who’s your favorite band? Is it a band that doesn’t even exist anymore and was popular 20 years ago? You may want to upgrade your tastes as well. There are great bands that exist right now that would blow your mind if you didn’t keep listening to the same 20 songs from the ’90s.
- Learn From Other People’s Mistakes. – When people tell me a story about the worst mistake they’ve ever made, I listen intently. I ask questions and really absorb any lesson that comes out of it.
- Stand Up for Yourself. – Always. Never let anyone speak down to you. Always remind people that you are a human being that has pride and respect for yourself. I don’t allow people to raise their voice to me, be aggressive, or to be disrespectful to me in ANY way. Life is too short to endure disrespect.
- Be a Mentor For at Least One Kid in Your Life. – By the time we are 30, we have life advice that could help someone growing up. Don’t hoard it to yourself. I have been a mentor to thousands of kids. I teach a magic course every summer and spend months teaching how easily we are fooled and manipulated. When a kid realizes how easily they can be fooled, they begin to look at the world differently. They begin to ask questions and not just take everything at face value. Kids who realize how easily they can be manipulated grow up to be adults who are more discerning and skeptical of claims without evidence.
- Don’t Believe Claims Without Evidence. – Just because somebody says something you want to believe to be true, doesn’t mean it is true. One of the most valuable classes I ever took in my life was “critical thinking”… It sounds negative, but it’s not. It is simply taking claims and using logic instead of emotion when it comes to their validity. Question everything. It is a lot harder, but when you start doing that you stop spreading misinformation that you “heard somewhere once”. Especially right now, spreading misinformation could hurt someone. Always check your sources.
- Live Your Authentic Life. – I know, a bumper sticker saying. It’s so easy to say something like that without any meaning to it. I mean live everyday honestly. Don’t pretend to be somebody you’re not just to fit in. Don’t agree with someone just because you want them to like you. If your job is not something that fills you with happiness, find another one. Again, it’s so easy to say something like that. “Just quit your job and find something you love.” I understand that it’s not easy. But is the alternative any easier? Does working a job you hate everyday for 40 years sound better?
- Remember That Life is Short. – We don’t really know what happens to us when we die. There may be an afterlife that is amazing. But the only thing I know is that this is the only life we have for right now. So every day we wake up and feel relatively good is a gift. Who knows where that gift is coming from, that’s not what this is about. But graciously accept that gift and live that day fully. Now I don’t mean go out and run a marathon, help an old lady across the street, build a homeless shelter, and adopt an orphan all in one day. Some days are just days. Don’t feel guilty if that day is filled with drinking coffee, watching TV, and doing laundry. But don’t take it for granted.
- Cut Negative People Out of Your Life. – Again, another easier said than done piece of advice, but it’s the most important. We all have that friend that loves to criticize and “neg”, but rarely tries to inspire. We get used to their constant jabs. Perhaps, so much so that it becomes a part of the relationship. I’m not just talking about friends, but family members, spouses, even co-workers. Those “can’t you just take a joke?” people can be toxic. Reset the relationship with a serious talk. If they continue with the same old pattern, walk away. Emotionally and physically. I will reiterate, your life is short. If people don’t respect you or see how special you are, they don’t deserve to be in it.
What I learned from V is: you never know what is coming in the future, so you have to be creative and adapt to the world and the people as it is and they are. We cannot control them – only ourselves. What can you do that flexes your magical mind and magical muscles? Ever wanted to learn to play an instrument or get onstage in a play? DO IT. Don’t worry so much about what other people think or say. They don’t know what is going on half the time and ignorance is bliss for most of them. Listen to children and animals. Usually ignored, they are really what can teach you about yourself and your emotional strength. It’s often about shaping others that shapes you. Don’t just talk – listen. It’s often in the non verbal that we really hear. Pay attention to those you care about, you never know when they may be gone from your sphere, whether temporarily or permanently…the time is now.
Thanks for the lessons, V!