I first met Vitaly Beckman at an artist conference in Vancouver a few years ago. We were both running booths, him for “An Evening of Wonders” me for “Eva Cassidy: How Can I Keep from Singing. We would stand for hours on end manning our booths, it wasn’t long until we were chatting. We've remained friends ever since.
Vitaly was born in Russia. He moved as a young boy to Haifa, Israel and lived there until he followed his brother at the age of 20 to Vancouver. He mentions Haifa, and I immediately am reminded of my time there – walking along the beach at 3 am with my friends. Men from the Israeli army showing up in a Jeep and machine guns pointing at us. Yelling at us to get off the beach. Did we want to be kidnapped by the PLO? Something I’ll never forget. At 19 it wasn’t scary as much as exciting. But I digress. Back to Vitaly.
Vitaly is a Mechanical Engineer by trade, or he has a degree. He couldn’t find work in Vancouver. (He and a lot of other people.) He had always had an interest in magic and so began performing. His first professional gig was performing at his brother’s potluck. Now his name is on a Marquee.
So I ask him, when did it all start? This love of magic. He’s been drawn to it since childhood. But he started when he was 14. “What was your first trick? A card trick?” I ask. “No. I found card tricks boring.” His first illusion was to paint a leaf and have it come to life on the page. Wait what? That was your first illusion? How the heck did you figure that out? How old were you? “Fourteen.”, he says. Wait. What? I’m dumbfounded. He goes on to explain that he learned by watching the greats on television. No courses. No Hogwarts School of Magic. Watching TV. I stopped him right there. I said “Listen Vitaly, most people could watch David Copperfield 100 times and never figure out one illusion. Especially at 14. How did you do that?” He told me something changed inside him. He stopped watching and developed a laser focus. A passion for the art. Ambition. He was able to see. It didn’t happen overnight, but it happened. Vitaly is a self-taught Magician. Even as I type this I’m still amazed by it all. Talk about born to be.
Vitaly is currently on the road touring “An Evening of Wonders”. Wowing audiences all over North America. While his Mechanical Engineer degree collects dust in the attic. Which is wonderful. The world needs more magic. Doesn't it? I ask him what his show is like? “I want my show to move people. To be similar to a great piece of music or art that people listen to again and again.” He performs for the love of performing. The thrill of taking the audience on a journey. He compares his show to a great meal. Each illusion building on the next. An appetizer. First course. Main course. Dessert. Visual and emotional satisfaction for the audience.
Do you have a favourite illusion? “Not really.”. I get that. People ask me my favourite song from Plush Red Chair and I find it difficult to put one ahead of the other. They are all my babies. My creations. Each on owning heart real estate. He says his strongest illusion is the one he’s most known for. The illusion he performed on Penn & Teller’s “Fool Us”, which he won by the way. He erases peoples faces from their driver’s license and replaces it with someone else. Fun and illegal. So far he’s gotten away with it. Is that why he travels state to state – always one step ahead of the law? (I’m being funny)
I couldn't be happier for Vitaly's success. He deserves all the acolades. He is such a nice person. Charming. And incredibly talented.
Vitaly is on tour until May 2018. His shows sell out – so get your tickets now, if you still can. He will be in the Vancouver, BC area this weekend.
You can follow Vitaly on
Have a magical week!