Discover the magic behind the 3rd annual Steamboat is Magic festival |

Discover the magic behind the 3rd annual Steamboat is Magic festival

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The much-anticipated Steamboat is Magic festival is back for its third year.

Some of the magic industry’s hottest performers and world-class musicians, including Pop Haydn, Karl Koppertop, Dave Cox and Jon Armstrong, take the stage at the Chief Theater Friday through Saturday.

Friday's performance begin at 8 p.m. with the show "Pop Hadyn in the 21st Century," featuring Whit “Pop” Haydn, who was named 2015 Stage Magician of the Year at the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood.

New this year will be the addition of a few more family fun shows on Saturday with a 1 p.m. show featuring Koppertop, who has performed on national television and on stage in over 20 countries. Cox will take the stage with his quick wit, spellbinding magic and side-splitting comedy that might include a live bunny rabbit at 3 p.m.

At 6 p.m., Armstrong will perform his new show "Comic Amazement" with his buddy known as the 'Tiny Plunger,” a show that Scott Parker, executive director of the Chief Theater, said recently wowed Penn and Teller on "Fool Us." Armstrong has also been a TV guest star on The Today Show, Masters of Illusion and many others.

From card tricks to mind reading, from the strangely funny to the silently comic, Explore Steamboat asked two of the magicians to chat about the magic behind their acts.

Recommended Stories For You

Karl Hein (Koppertop)

Discovering magic:

"The first magician I saw was at Sunday School, and I was both amazed and curious as to how his miracles could be done," Hein said.

On the mind during a show, secrets uncovered:

"There is a fine line between mystery and disappointment in any magical performance," Hein said. "So over the years, I have learned to construct routines that are highly unlikely for me to mess up, and when I do, I now have the experience of knowing how to make it all look like part of the act."

The future of magic:

“Advances in technology do make some new effects possible, but technology also makes some older effects no longer impressive because they can just be explained (correctly or not) with modern tech,” Hein said. “I think most major changes in magic have come from evolutions of the mediums magic is performed in. Currently, short online videos are a popular trend in keeping with the times. My best guess is that bringing magic to virtual reality will be the next frontier that will lead to new innovations.”

Rewarding aspects of performing:

"Simply put, it’s making a positive difference in people’s lives by giving them a different perspective on the reality they think they know," Hein said. "Most of the time the effect on someone’s day-to-day life is trivial but occasionally a magical moment can be transformative even if you don’t find out about until years later. Sometimes, it's been the impetus for the first smile or true laugh of someone coming out of a dark experience."

Pop Haydn

Discovering magic:

"I am 68 years old and have been doing magic since I was nine," Haydn said. "Whatever the early impulses that led me to become a magician, everything has changed over the years as I have progressed as an artist. If you ask a painter what painting he saw as a child that influenced him toward art, he would say it was more that he always liked to draw and paint. I have always liked to create magic."

On the mind during a show, secrets uncovered:

"Our craft isn't dependent on mystery," Haydn said. "That is our product. We create arguments for the impossible. I don't think of having ‘secrets.’ I am much more interested in helping people to enjoy the magic than I am worried about them ‘figuring it out.’ In my show, my main concern is to hook people's interest, engage them and make them think."

The future of magic:

"The rules of storytelling don't change, regardless of how the story is presented," Haydn said. "Magic is the same. Magic is a burlesque of charlatanry. Whether presented on a television commercial or in a 19th century medicine show, the sophistry and deceit is the same, and it is ripe for making fun of it with magic. Magic reminds us how easy it is to be taken in by the unscrupulous and reminds us that just because we can't figure out how something is done, doesn't mean there isn't an explanation."

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.