Abracadabra, you’ve been robbed

In a bid to curve his smoking cravings, Nick Kesidis replaced a packet of cigarettes with a deck of cards. Helen Velissaris meets a man who keeps you in a constant state of disbelief

Nick Kesidis isn’t what he seems. On the outside, he’s a cool, trendy 27-year-old Clifton Hill Greek boy that wears bright red Chuck Taylors.
On the inside, he’s a cunning pickpocket, a master of illusion and slight of hand.
He’s a magician.
But before you read on, please forget all preconceptions.
Nick isn’t a typical magician. He doesn’t go around wearing black turtle necks. He doesn’t stare deeply into your eyes. And he doesn’t make superficial beauties disappear.
In fact, he doesn’t have a beauty to disappear. Period.
Here’s the story of One Lonely Guy.
Nick took up magic as a way to quit smoking. Replacing his pack of cigarettes with a pack of cards he’d curb his cravings with a new addiction, magic.
“I didn’t want to smoke, because I couldn’t breathe and I was pale and scary. Every time I felt like a cigarette I would reach for my cards,” he told Neos Kosmos.
“That’s where it all started for me; I just fell in love with it.”
The young man has moved on to magic full time only after starting two years ago.
You might have seen him on Chapel Street entrancing his audience, one stolen watch at a time.
Not many magicians like street performing. Nick revels in it. As a way of gauging his abilities early on, street performing was an outlet for Nick to road-test his tricks and wit on a keen audience. After all, it’s very hard to grab an audience, keep them there and finally convince them to pay.
Street performing taught him to adapt and change tricks. When he’d be surrounded 360 degrees, people behind him could possibly see the move or slight of hand. That taught Nick to work on more clever and secret ways of executing the trick.
That experience pushed him to move away from the typical magician’s safety net, of a stage, props and a drunk audience.
“I don’t like being mechanical in my approach or controlling my environment. That’s why I love doing street performing,” he says.
He’s the kind of magician who doesn’t rest on a few tricks. His pursuit of tweaking and creating new tricks gave him an early notoriety in the magic world. As an unknown, audiences would boast of these crazy tricks, dumbfounding the magical elite.
Now about to embark on his first Magic Festival, Kesidis is gearing up for a five night spectacle.
His show entitled One Lonely Guy is a comedy oriented magic show that will certainly be different every evening.
Detailing his show Nick sums it up by saying, “It’s a straight up and down comedy magic show that’s about me. I basically wanted to have a few laughs”.
Laughs probably at his expense.
The show’s name comes from Nick’s lack of luck with the girls and his somewhat nerdy love of magic.
“The first half of the show is very comedy orientated. It’s about me being a lonely guy and struggling to meet girls.”
In fact, the reason he is perusing these shows comes from a sad beginning.
“The night before a show my girlfriend leaves me. I didn’t want to get out of bed the next morning. But I had this show and I thought to myself, right… shave, shower, get your suit on, do this show.”
Nick did do the show and from that, found inspiration for his Magic Festival show.
During his performance, he was doing trick after trick and the audience just laughed.
“I just put the cards down and I just said ‘I’m a lonely guy’, he says.
It’s around the idea that magicians stay home on a Friday night playing cards. We’re losers.”
His abilities certainly don’t disappoint. The newsroom at Neos Kosmos was treated to a mini show and convinced many straight thinking journalists that their eyes were playing tricks on them.
We did check after the show; we still had all our watches and wallets. Turns out he’s a nice magician.
For all those who want to see Nick Kesidis in action, he will be playing five shows at the Melbourne Magic Festival.
The show One Lonely Guy will take place at Northcote Town Hall, 189 High Street, Northcote. Tickets for the show are $29 and can be purchased online at www.melbournemagicfestival.com or by calling (03) 9481 9500.