Magic never far away in ‘crazy’ life

web-where are they now - close family kew beach
Lisa, Ava and Michael Close are seen at Kew Beach recently. Lisa was a 16-year-old magician when she was featured in a 1986 edition of Ward 9 Community News (now Beach Metro Community News).
PHOTO: Scott Murdoch

When I sat down with Lisa Close (née Moore) in 1986, she was a high school student being driven around to children’s birthday parties on weekends by her Dad with her magician’s top hat, dove, rabbit and linking rings in the back seat.
At 16, she had already invested $600 of her own money into her craft, racked up hours in a magic shop and performed at community centres and private festivities where she charged $30 for 30 minutes.
She was only 11 when her Dad, Ross, started bringing home the magic tricks that sparked her interest; two years later, she placed third out of 12 in a competition performing before a live audience.
“I would like to be a magician’s assistant because that role is more complicated and there is more to do,” Moore said in the Dec. 16, 1986 edition of Beach Metro News (then Ward Nine News) when she was a Grade 11 student at Malvern Collegiate.
In 27 years, she has rarely let magic out of her sight. Even as a driver for an armoured car company after high school graduation, she squeezed in some tricks. “I worked nights,” she says, “so sometimes I would have a kid’s magic show during the day and then drive around all night in my 25-ton truck toting a gun!”
In 1992, the ambitious 22-year-old who grew up on Waverley Road, met magician Michael Close at a magic convention in Niagara Falls, New York.
“I was an attendee and he was a guest performer,” she remembers. “We became fast friends and regularly saw each other at conventions around the US.” By 1995, they were an item. Seven years later they were married and following their passion in Las Vegas, where she landed a job demonstrating magic in shops located in the major hotels on the Las Vegas Strip and, later, became an assistant to Mac King, a headliner at Harrah’s Hotel and Casino.
Next came tours of the U.S. and Canada doing speaking engagements.
“Michael lectured, I did the back-room sales. It was a great chance to meet and connect with magicians all over North America,” Close says recalling their 60-city 90-day tour in 2005. They also lectured in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Amsterdam.
In 2006, the couple decided they wanted to adopt a child from Guatemala. After completing necessary local legalities, they flew to Guatemala City to wrap up the procedure. What was supposed to be a six-week stay while paperwork was completed turned into “eight months, 16 days and 10 hours — but who’s counting?” laughs Close as she hugs seven-year-old Ava in the Richmond Hill home they moved into in June. They had headed back to Canada in 2011 after the harsh U.S. economic downturn made it hard to find work in the entertainment-driven Nevada city and settled in Mississauga.
Now, Close enjoys her part time job as a demonstrator at The Browser’s Den of Magic and full-time responsibilities as Art Director and Graphic Designer for the glossy 72-page magazine, M-U-M, edited by her husband, which reaches about 5,000 magicians world wide every month.
In mid-July, she says “crazy” described their summer to that point. “We moved to Richmond Hill, went to Washington, DC for a magic convention and had to finish the magazine on deadline while on the road and unpacking boxes in our new place. It’s been crazy, but we love our life!”
Lorie Murdoch wrote a series of articles under the Persons of Note banner in 1986 and 1987. She decided to follow up with some of her subjects to see where life has taken them, in a new column which will appear occasionally in beach Metro News.

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