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There’s only about three seconds between astonishment and disappointment when it comes to magic, said Justin Flom, one of America’s most sought-after magical sensations.

Take his word for it. Flom was about 8 when he learned the classic trick where a few foam balls vanish after a cup is placed over them.

“It blew my mind. The feeling of wonder that washed over me was incredible,” he gushed during a phone call last week.



But when he found the balls tucked inside the cup, the illusion was shattered.

This is the true reason magicians keep secrets, he said. It’s got nothing to do with egos or blood oaths — magicians want to give their audience that feeling of wonder, and knowing how the trick is done forever ruins it.

Flom has certainly been amazing and astounding audiences since he hit the public eye five years ago, something he will do when he returns to Lynchburg for a performance at Liberty University this Saturday.

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“He’s a pretty popular magician that uses his illusions to share his faith,” said Erin Diaz, assistant director of student activities for the Christian university. “We know that students here follow his videos and social media, and each time that he’s been here, we’ve seen hundreds of students show up to watch him perform.”

Despite what people might initially think, magic and faith fit together rather well, said Flom, a Christian. Just like Jesus used parables in the Bible, Flom said he can use magic to “catch people’s eyes so they listen with their ears so God can touch their heart. Magic becomes a word picture, a visual, in-person word picture of truth.”

Growing up with a father, uncle and great-grandfather all practicing amateur magic, Flom said he spent much of his time cutting both his sister and mother in half in the family’s backyard.

“The neighbors thought we were the weirdest family on the block because we’d be doing all these magic tricks in the driveway,” he said.

Flom’s family would also travel to underdeveloped countries around the world, performing magic as part of their church’s missions. These trips became a crash course in performing in front of big audiences, he said, and helped solidify his decision to pursue magic as a career.

The magic he performed with his siblings was more cutesy than anything else, Flom said, a far cry from the mind-blowing tricks he now performs on the late-night and daytime TV circuits, and for celebrities ranging from John Legend and Chrissy Teigen to Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian and the entire Seattle Seahawks team.

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Flom also entertained more than 15,000 people during ABC’s CMA Christmas television special in 2013.

“In over 25 years of producing these types of shows, I have never seen a person who is warming up the crowd receive the only standing ovation of the night,” Robert Deaton, executive producer of the Country Music Association’s award show, said of Flom in a press statement following the event, “especially with artists like Luke Bryan, Jennifer Nettles, Mary J Blige, Lady Antebellum and others on the same stage.”

Flom said his magic is up close, in your face, and done with everyday objects like dollar bills and Pringles cans, taking commonly performed magical tricks but giving them his own twist, like linking lifesavers together instead of rings.

“I’m not bringing any magic boxes or sparkly ladies that are being sawed in half. In fact, if I saw anybody in half, it’ll probably be with a couple of Dr. Seuss books and it’ll be my daughter,” he said referencing a video featuring his then 4-month old, Haven, that caused a stir when he uploaded it on his YouTube channel last year.

Those in the magic community say Flom has cracked the code on performing this kind of magic on large stages — after all, he was the first magician to ever perform card tricks for a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden.

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But he didn’t start out that way. When Flom moved to Branson, Missouri, after graduating high school and built his own theater, he performed with many of the glitzy Vegas-style props.

“What I learned was people were way more impressed and receptive to the magic when it involved one of them onstage or when it involved everyday objects,” he said. “[With] these big, flashy boxes people could kind of tell that maybe they were tricked out in some way.”

Flom eventually ditched the props and zeroed in on relationships with people, sleight of hand and good stories. He turned his attention to creating videos on YouTube and from there his career blossomed.

He landed an appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in 2013, opened for Florida Georgia Line on its tour, sold a TV show to SyFy, starred in a series of magical commercials for Coca-Cola and even published a children’s book.

“What sets Justin apart is his storytelling,” Diaz said. “There are a fair amount of magicians out there who can do amazing things, but Justin ties stories into his tricks. Because of that, his show is more than just a magic show.”

Living in the modern age of magic, something that Flom said has almost been sped up thanks to the internet, keeps his love of illusion alive. A trick that would have taken a month to learn can now be perfected quickly through constant replays on YouTube.

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This new generation of magicians continues to push the art form forward, unveiling entirely new possibilities for Flom to tap into. “It’s really great because I’ve got a foot in both worlds,” said Flom, who still considers himself an old-school magician even though he uses the visual techniques of new-school performers.

“When I create something now, I have to kick myself to make sure I remember the way it was done in the past and see if I can blow it up now.”

Like cutting his daughter in half, a trick Flom — who recently moved from Vegas to Nashville in the hopes of giving his child the same kind of upbringing he had in Minnesota — said he developed throughout much of his wife’s pregnancy.

“The truth is music, jokes, magic, they all reflect back on what’s happening and there’s always things happening, so there will always be new tricks,” he said. “People are developing magic now that uses iPhones and people are developing magic that uses smart watches and things like that. It’s exciting.”

Right now, Flom said he is learning how to eat fire and put a blowtorch out on his tongue.

“Crazy stuff, absolutely crazy,” he said. “I’ve already failed once; I burned all the skin and hair off my chin. People ask what happens when magic goes wrong. That’s what happens. You burn all the hair off your chin.”

And although Flom is more than happy to put himself in precarious positions for the sake of a good trick, he has no plans of roping his daughter into those routines.

At least not yet.

“I definitely won’t let her eat fire until she’s at least 1½.”

Source : http://www.newsadvance.com/the_burg/features/magician-justin-flom-bringing-his-show-to-liberty-university-this/article_90cd662f-4841-5eae-bdd8-a394c3613df4.html

Magician Justin Flom bringing his show to Liberty University this weekend
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