For people like Nino Cruzillini, there is no ceiling.
The 52-year-old Lake Geneva area magician has amassed a list of accomplishments through his skills as a mentalist, hypnotist and escape artist.
He beat a record once set by Harry Houdini, hypnotized strangers in mere seconds on TV and performed for famous local politicians and celebrities, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson and former Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.
Some may argue that Cruzillini accomplished one of his greatest feats when he was 23, by quickly recovering from a brain tumor after he added self-hypnosis and “mind over matter” practices to his treatment plan.
“Neurologists were amazed and couldn’t explain how the tumor was disappearing,” said Cruzillini. “To me and my wife’s surprise, I unexpectedly went home within weeks and not months as told — and without brain surgery!”
Next up for the self-described “world’s fastest comedy hypnotist and mystic” is a tour to demonstrate two new magic self-help programs, as well as continuing his run of weekly performances every Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Grand Geneva Resort and Spa.
In the following Q&A, Cruzillini reveals what led him to a life of magic and the “golden rules of the art.”
Note: The following has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Resorter: On your website, www.ninothemagician.com, you cite your family as an influence. How did they inspire you to pursue magic?
Nino Cruzillini: I’m grateful to my late father, who wasn’t a magician but showed me simple card tricks at around age 8. I recall his persistence throughout the years for not only teaching me a trick, but how to present it properly. He also pushed me to be better at anything I put my mind to, (including) being a magician and escape artist. He never grew tired of tying me up or timing my handcuff escapes.
His younger brother, my uncle, knew more about magic would visit, talk magic and teach me coin and card tricks. ... I recall my grandfather — a magic novice — performed a hat and tissue ball trick at a family gathering. I was amazed and asked him how it was done. Excited after he revealed the secret, I practiced it for days.
What do you think sets you apart from other magicians?
I’m not an Illusionist with big boxes, dancing girls or smoke and mirror. (Onstage) it’s just me, the audience and a few common objects with a goal of showing them real magic. No two shows are ever the same, meaning you can help with reading my mind, having your thoughts predicted, see children laugh helping me make things appear and disappear, then watching complete strangers magically fall into a safe hypnotic trance in seconds. ... A secret is how I design my hypnotism act not to embarrass audience members, but to empower and teach everyone how they, too, can use this personal mental magic power to help themselves.
Do you ever reveal the secrets behind what you do onstage?
All magicians would agree you never reveal magic secrets to the general public. Why? Because each takes years to perfect, and some laymen tell me they don’t try to figure it out because it ruins the magic experience.
The exception is when I’m among fellow magicians. We talk magic, share secrets, and help each other improve on them. Another exception is when I’m teaching magic classes. But I first lay down the Golden Rules of the art: 1. Practice in front of a mirror. 2. Never tell how a trick is done. 3. Don’t perform the same trick twice for the same audience. 4. Be the magician. Give your magic meaning. ... 5. Before you show a trick to anyone, refer to Rule 1 and practice, practice, practice!
For more information on Cruzillini, visit his website or call (815) 790-1042.
For more about his weekly Grand Geneva shows, visit www.grandgeneva.com or call (262) 248-8811 to RSVP.