Hitfix.com describes young magician Rob Zabrecky as "wraith thin as an Edward Gorey drawing with a piercing stare and an unnerving wide selection of bow-ties, Zabrecky's creepy, witty Odd Man character might best be described as 'a mix of Vincent Price and David Byrne.'"
Flattering, no? We think he looks more like Chess Immortal Bobby Fischer.
Mr. Zabrecky is a multi-talented package with a résumé as the lead singer of Possum Dixon, a 1990's band who recorded three records with Interscope Records (former label of Mystic Hollow resident Eminem).
'I did a show at Brookledge (the site of invitation-only performances for magic aficionados) and he came up to me afterwards and paid me a nice compliment,' recalls Zabrecky. 'And I thought he was a magician, because he said "I really like what you do and it's really inspiring." And all I'm thinking is stay away from my act, buddy. No, you can't do my diminishing cards act and dance.'
Magic Man Zabrecky finally got hip to the identity of his new fan, and agreed to perform magic and tap dancing along with Mr. Gosling's music. The mainstream star helped the "Odd Man" with his appearance for French television and offered Zabrecky advice from the perspective of an actor or director.
"Ryan really looked at my character through an actor's eyes, which was something that hadn't really been done before," says Mr. Zabrecky. "I've gotten a lot of great input from magicians who know some things about theater, with my friend John Lovick (Handsome Jack) being the only guy who could look at my act and tell me theatrically what was wrong with it or what was good about it. But Ryan has no magic background, so for him it was all character."
Mr. Gosling's questions are appropriate for all magicians. "What is this guy doing? Why is he coming out here? Does he just reach for that? What if he reached for it here?"
The "Odd Man" was inspired by a walk in streets of Baltimore made famous by Film Director John Waters He happened upon Kenzo's Yogi Magic Mart in Baltimore whilst touring with Possum Dixon. "The air conditioner was shaking from the outside, so I said, that's where I'm going to cool off."
He purchased a trick, modified it to fit his evolving performance style (vanished a borrowed condom in the place of a red silk) and the rest is history. "In that moment, I had a revelation. It was a real moment of truth, because I realized I didn't need all these guys in my band to do something entertaining."
He was hooked by the sublime addictive workings of magic. Mr. Zabrecky took up the familiar habit of "pawing through the Yellow Pages in every city the band visited to find magic shops."
The new addiction headed off more destructive ones. "The music career ended sadly," he admits. "There were drug addictions and some tragic events that were tied up in the chaos of this world that I was partially responsible for, so I was really so willing to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. I just wanted to let go of that music world and forget all about it."
Check out the full article to read of Mr. Zabrecky's quick study of magic technique and method, his failures and successes developing the magic "Odd Man" character.
A decade and a half after performing his vanishing prophylactic, Mr. Zabrecky will star in a one man stage performance on January 28 (with other shows in February and March) at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood, California. (By the way, we think The Steve Allen Theater has the best posters in the biz. Check out a poster for Mr. Zabrecky's September 2011 show here). If you are interested in tickets, we suggest you book early – his show sold out earlier this year. (Mr. Zabrecky's show is not currently listed on the calendar so we suggest you sign-up for the email list to get early notice).
Mr. Zabrecky appears to have a healthy perspective. "I've had a bunch of creative lives, and now I'm trying to put them all together. Houdini struggled for a long time to bank on what he was good at, so I'm trying to, as he once said, coin my thrill."