Anthony Istar offers modern magic and mentalism shows, specializing in close-up magic performances throughout France and Quebec.
Q & A
In the mind of a magician
How did you get into magic?
In 2005, an amateur magician performed an absolutely exceptional magic trick that blew my mind. He had a deck of cards in his hand, locked in a box, and asked me to name one at random. I’ll never forget my choice: the 7 of hearts The magician took the blue-backed deck out of its case, and in the middle was one that remained face up: the 7 of hearts. And to hammer home this new reality I was struggling to conceive, my card was the only one with a red back… Impossible! I’ll never forget the sense of wonder I felt that day. In just a few minutes my life was turned upside down. All I could think about was becoming a magician.
What do you like about magic?
I feel like I have a superpower: creating a sense of wonder in the mind of the audience. The feeling of wonder when an object miraculously appears in your hand, only exists in magic.
Why did you specialize in mentalism?
Mentalism is one of the most beautiful forms of artistic expression in magic: nothing compares to a brilliantly executed performance in mind reading. You get close to another’s spirit when you really look into their eyes, sense their heart beat and observe their incremental facial expressions and hand movements before revealing the secret inside their mind.
What are your sources of inspiration?
There are plenty of them. The Spanish school, with its intelligent, generous, spectator-oriented magic, the finesse and precision of the Korean school, the elegance of French magic, the humor and genius of English mentalism and, of course, American showmanship. Every country, every magician, contributes something.
What’s your fondest memory of magic?
I’ll never forget one of the children I performed for in Vichy who said to me, “This is the best day of my whole life! If I could, I’d take you into my world and introduce you to all my friends.”
Which trick do you enjoy performing the most?
Mind-reading is my absolute fav! What I love most of all is the suspended moment of rare intensity, just before revealing the word someone has in their mind. In that split second when they can see in my eyes that I know the answer. In that there is a very real connection made.
Do you ever mess up a trick?
This is one of the most amazing things that people often don’t know about magicians. But we often make mistakes in our magical performances. Magic is a living art. Every situation is unique, every audience is unique and often unexpected things happen. The subtle nuances of each experience just make the magician have to be prepared, on their toes, to pivot when necessary.
The only way to avoid making mistakes is to never take risks. But the risk is paramount to the live performance. As Lao Tzu said, “Why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up”.
What’s your best-kept secret?
My parents’ egg roll recipe. A secret jealously guarded from prying eyes 😉
What’s the most difficult magic trick in the world?
Multiplying dollar bills. I’m still having a bit of trouble. In the meantime I earn a living by offering magical experiences for events like weddings, anniversaries, corporate dinners, etc. 😉
Anthony Istar toured throughout France with his theatrical mentalism show “Historia” in 2013 & 2014. The show told a poetic autobiographical story about his inspiration to become a magician. Audiences were riveted with a host of imaginative surprises that combined mentalism, close-up magic and a fully-immersive experience. The show was wholly written, produced and financed by Anthony Istar.
In 2019, Anthony began the production of a new show, combining art, magic, mentalism and storytelling in a unique context including audience participation. He expects the show to launch later in 2024.