RJ Owens – Magician: Here’s how it all began…
RJ came into magic out of penchant for being a smart aleck. Let us explain…
RJ’s father was the principal of RJ’s grammar school as he was growing up. RJ of course, was a model student…if that model was a marriage of Dennis the Menace and Eddie Haskell with a little Pugsly Addams thrown in for good measure.
Rapscallion? Ne’er-do-well? Hellion? Possibly.
An example, from which to be made? Definitely!
RJ’s father suspended him from school for a week, when he was 10. Part of his “punishment” was to sit at the public library from 7:00am – 3:00pm daily. Whilst there, RJ was to complete 3 book reports daily. RJ figured out he could finish the book reports by 11:00am most days which left 4 hours to his own devices.
Now, a little more backstory… RJ grew up in a small town in California, population 2700. The “public library” had a total of 427 books. It had one magic book. The Art of Magic by T. Nelson Downs.
RJ was hooked!
RJ’s first performance was when he was 11. RJ was paid $25 to perform at a birthday party. He still remembers every effect he did that day. As a matter of fact, RJ still performs the same Cut & Restored Rope routine albeit with modifications learned from George Sands when he was 16.
As a teen RJ, was a member of the Monterey Bay Sahareens. He was the youngest member by at least 30 years. It was while a member of that group that RJ realized the utmost importance of routine creation and making an effect his own. It was also with the Sahareens that RJ learned to love the laughter. He learned that magic should be awe-inspiring AND it could also be highly comedic.
It was also in his teens that RJ got his chops. RJ worked. RJ worked a lot! From the ages of 15 through 18 RJ was the busiest magician in Monterey County. He was performing 5 to 6 shows a weekend, not to mention the handful of corporate events during the weekdays.
Then came college.
Let’s just say that during his freshman year magic took a backseat to the fairer sex…and the fairer sex took a backseat with RJ…that is until RJ performed Bottle Through the Table whilst on a date at a local restaurant. It caused quite an uproar amongst the servers…which drew the attention of the manager. He came over and asked to see it again…RJ declined but offered to show him something else. He had NOTHING on him…but with a little quick thinking RJ performed a classic routine with creamer tubs. Then another classic, Cups and Balls, with coffee mugs, napkins and a fork. It worked! The manager asked if RJ would be interested in coming in on Friday and Saturday nights and for Sunday Brunch. He offered him a meal each night AND $75.00 an hour. What an offer, Cash and no more Ramen noodles! A whole new world of performing appeared…right before his eyes.
What a crash course in performance and technique! In the trenches, audiences weren’t always nice. If they saw something…they told RJ AND everyone else within ear-shot. At first RJ blamed the loud mouths…then RJ realized he could only blame myself. He needed to refine his craft, technique and routines for a much closer audience and much less forgiving audience.
It was then RJ learned the most important fact of his career: HUMAN BEINGS ARE THE ONLY MAMMALS THAT WILL LOOK YOU IN THE EYE WHEN YOU SPEAK TO THEM.
If you’ve got something important to say…people will listen but more importantly, they will look. This not only allowed for the “dirty” work to take place but also provided that “connection” with the audience. The magic became personal. More importantly it became theater on an intimate level. This revelation changed his life in more ways than just my performances. RJ changed his major from Molecular Biology to Theatre Arts. Not a huge switch as he had been acting since the age of 10 and was minoring in the subject. Performance was and still is his passion. RJ can honestly say magic put him through college. It paid his tuition and his bills quite well. No student loans or grants.
During this time RJ also started getting cast in an assortment of roles, from plays to television to feature films. He finished college and moved to San Francisco. Still acting. Still performing magic. As a matter of fact, magic landed RJ a consulting and acting job on a popular tv series which lasted for 3 years.
It was in San Francisco that another avenue of magic presented itself:
This was an awesome find! A milieu in which RJ could combine his skills as a magician with his knowledge of theater to write full presentations that not only presented killer effects but also branded the clients products in a most memorable way. RJ has been a Trade Show Presenter for hundreds of major corporations. RJ has chosen to continue to work with a very select handful of clients, some of which are going on a 10+ year relationship.
As RJ aged, he has not only come to a greater understanding of his persona and skills but has also realized where he is best suited to perform. From the year 2000 until 2011 RJ produced his own shows in various venues around San Francisco. Many have enjoyed lengthy runs. The highlight a being producer and performer in “Magic at the Rex”, which still performs weekly at the Hotel Rex in Downtown San Francisco. This venue is amazing! They transformed the hotel’s Salon into an intimate 60 seat theater complete with Video Monitors for Close Up performances. RJ shared the stage with two very unique performers. One is a Finger Flicker the other is a Mentalist. The three completely different styles of performing and material were so complementary to the whole of the show that it afforded them the luxury of being SOLD OUT every week. You can’t ask for a better pat on the back than that.
All in all, Magic has made RJ what he is today. Is he successful? That depends on your definition of success. Moreover, RJ is Happy! When one can wake up in the morning knowing full well that his “Job” is also his passion…what more can one ask for?