While all but a couple open-to-the-public BJ Hickman Magic Shows were cancelled due to COVID-19 since March, two things came from one of those shows that New Hampshire native BJ Hickman will remember for the rest of his life.
"Since I was about 12 years old, growing up in Manchester, my college years at Keene State, and during my career in radio broadcasting, there has never been a week when I haven't done at least one magic show," recalls Hickman, "until 2020. This was going to be one of my busiest years ever, then suddenly the cancellations started coming in every day."
"Firstly, I was grateful when the Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce decided to proceed with an abbreviated, safe, drive-in style version of the long-running Cochecho Arts Festival this summer. It's my longest running gig, 46 consecutive years!" Hickman proudly remarked.
Hickman has performed every year for Dover Chamber events since 1975.
He said, "The other thing that came from that gave me goosebumps." A few weeks prior to that show, Hickman had received an email from a man whose son was a big fan of Hickman's magic shows. Six year old Simon wanted to be a magician himself some day and was in the process of learning a few tricks to impress his grandmother when she came to visit.
Although they had often seen Hickman's show more than once in a given year, they had heard of the drive-in style Dover Chamber show (the magician's only show left that was open to the public during this Pandemic), reserved their spot, and told Hickman to watch for them in the audience.
"Well," Hickman said, "Simon and his family were (parked) in the front row, Simon was dressed up as a magician, and holding up a sign that had several phrases brightly displayed. I couldn't resist having him (socially distanced) help out with one of my tricks and we met briefly after the show."
The phrases on the sign were right out of Hickman's magic show. Hickman said, "I would never have thought anybody would remember things so specific from my show, how flattering is THAT! I get the audience to shout out, 'We've seen that before!' when I get ready to do the Linking Rings trick. 'This is re-pic-ulous' is from my multiplying pickle trick. 'Slow Motion' is from my Ovaltine container snake routine, and 'Oh get back in there' is from some bits of business I do prior to my invisible floating mouse trick. Wow!"
Hickman's next "open to the public" show is scheduled for 1:00 on Saturday, October 3 for the Wolfeboro Parks and Recreation. Details, reservation information, and contact information via https://www.wolfeboronh.us/parks-recreation.
BJ Hickman is a Dover, New Hampshire based magician who performs throughout New England, in Los Angeles including Hollywood's Magic Castle, and seasonally in Palm Beach County, Florida. Hickman can be reached at BJ@BJHickman.com.
Photo caption: A poster displayed by 6 year old audience member Simon at BJ Hickman's magic show for the Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce Cochecho Arts Festival this summer.