In today’s episode:
I grew up thinking of all magicians as male, I am sure most of us have. It is the way they have been portrayed through media through stories, and truly it HAS in history been a man’s occupation. The top hat, the goatee, and infamous coat was imbedded in my psyche from childhood until today.
2700 bc marks a man that is the known to use the first ever performance of magic with the use of balls. From 400-1000 men were known to perform magic with the use of cups and balls AND at this time magic was associated with witchcraft, but I haven’t read about men being killed for it. In 1584 Reginald Scot publishes a book revealing conjuring secrets of magic that results in many of the books being burnt, 1876 the publication of Modern Magic written by professor Louis Hoffman releases, 1918 Houdini performs his first vanishing act, and so on.
Listen, there are SO many more male magicians and moments in history recorded online that I am not mentioning, the point is that hardly any of them are female. The first female to actually show up on this timeline was Dorothy Dietrich in 1980 who is noted to perform the first bullet catch in the mouth that was televised at that time.
I have personally been captivated by magicians my whole life, having featured numerous personalities on the show, and have always been truly curious about not how they do the trick (I don’t want to know, don’t tell me), but why they do it.
What passion fueled in them to become a magician? What are their fantasies or dreams? It is not an easy occupation. Truly I think of just the arthritis they must get in their hands shuffling cards all day long to practice. For a man it seems acceptable that he should choose this occupation. Long hours, being on the road constantly, the secrecy. For a woman it comes off as indecent. Not to me, to be sure but I know others in the general population who would feel this way.
What do I say about Billy Kidd? I was curious going into the show, my trained mind of a 37 year old who has established a dominant figure for a magician as being male was skeptical, but hopeful. I felt like a young school girl waiting to watch my first female magician.
Billy Kidd took the stage, and I was hypnotized. Her tricks were impressive, but I found myself looking more towards her story than the trick itself. She weaved humor, sadness, comedy and more into her act and it felt genuine. This is not me saying her tricks took a backseat, they did not. I was wowed by what she performed, but the theme and story weaved everything together so nicely. It felt real. I loved it, and I couldn’t wait to chat with her and nerd out a bit over how awesome I think she is, because she is.
Billy Kidd owns her own magician’s space in Bath, England. I am now dying to visit. If you can catch her while she is in town, you should. your heart will be lighter, and you WILL have a newfound respect for women in this profession.
Now, excuse me while I go practice my card tricks.
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