Oct 102005
Authors: Margaret Canty

Recently a CSU student was discovered missing. Well, half of one anyways.

Benji Bruce, a freshman sociology major, makes his living in Fort Collins as a professional magician, performing Thursday and Friday nights at the local C.B. & Potts restaurant and at private events.

"When (Benji) is performing, you can tell he's having fun with it. It's effortless for him," said C.B. & Potts manager Steve Boothe . "(Customers) almost immediately warm up to him. I've only ever received positive feedback."

Bruce's tricks range from biting through quarters to making half of his body disappear.

"Whatever is impossible, that's what I can show you," he said.

Bruce, who has been captivated by magic since he was a child, first became interested in performing after watching his father's friend make a quarter disappear.

"It was just a simple trick, but as a kid it was the coolest thing," he said. "It really got me started."

Bruce has taught himself his tricks from books and DVDs and has even created a few of his own.

"I use other people's effects, but I adapt them to my own style, and sometimes I create my own," he said.

His hobby soon turned into a paying career.

"When I was 13 I began working in a restaurant performing close up. I'd just walk around to tables, show them magic and they'd give me tips," Bruce said.

After working in Colorado Springs, his hometown, Bruce likes the magic scene in Fort Collins even more.

"C.B. & Potts is the best restaurant I have ever performed magic at. Everyone's cool – the managers, waiters, even the customers," he said, "and I've worked at a lot of restaurants."

However, Bruce doesn't limit himself to performing at work.

"When he performs on our hall everyone is in awe. For the first two weeks, before anyone knew each other's names, we called just him the magician," said Cari Stepsay, a freshman open option major .

Bruce particularly likes performing for teens and college students because of their reactions to his tricks.

"I love making people experience the impossible. You can see the sense of wonder inside of them," Bruce said. "It's really fun."

He hopes to eventually perform with the "big timers" at hotels in Las Vegas.

"His tricks are amazing. They leave you speechless. It's like, 'Holy crap, I'm in Las Vegas,'" Stepsay said.

His advice to other aspiring magicians is simple.

"Read up on theories of magic and be yourself while performing," he said.

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