Magic in the Air: A Night of Wonder with David Minkin at the Biltmore Hotel

David minion at the biltmore

There is no blueprint for becoming a magician. How anyone gets their start is part chance and part myth, adding to the impossible nature of the things they do. The only thing true for any established magical performer is that you have to constantly reinvent yourself. There are no overnight sensations in the world of magic and David Minkin is no exception.

Minkin has been involved in the magical world for quite some time. His prowess in the field has spanned from awards to television. In 2007 he was awarded international champion of close-up magic by the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the world’s largest organization of magicians. Since then he’s gone on to make guest appearances on television with the most notable being his leading role in Magic Outlaws, a 2013 Travel Channel show where three magicians go on a road trip performing magic across the US. Although it was short lived it would ultimately lead to one of David Minkin’s most personal television appearances.

Photos by Laura Grier

In 2016, a documentary titled Magicians: Life in the Impossible was released. An introspective look into the personal and professional lives of four magicians all at different points in their journeys. Shot over the course of four years the documentary pulls back the curtain on the mysterious lives they lead and what it takes to make a career out of the impossible. While others lift the veil for the camera, Minkin remains distant, purely focusing on his craft and sharing the discipline it takes to achieve the next level. Our magician moves with a focus and level headed-ness that is unique only to him. Instead of explaining his life, we get glimpses at what it looks like. For him the act isn’t separate from daily life.

Upon arriving at the Biltmore Hotel it’s easy to be swept away by the history that surrounds its visitors. Now in its 101st year it’s hard not to imagine all the stories that have passed through, adding to the mystery of the impending show. The group in attendance meets just outside of the hotel bar and is ushered up to the second floor, passing multiple ballrooms and mural-esque framed photographs reminiscent of The Shining.

With a maximum occupancy of 65, the show is up close and personal, leaving every attendee with a sense of awe. Throughout the show Minkin weaves in personal stories of his life with magic, communicating in a way only he can. He commands the room, speaking to the group in such an inviting way the majority of the people spill more details than needed. He smiles and takes it all in stride. 

When asked about what he takes away most from each evening at the Biltmore, his response was warm and genuine, “I enjoy meeting the people after the show…That’s the most satisfying part. Before the show, there’s a feeling of excitement to share this stuff, and when you receive gratitude afterwards, it makes it all worthwhile. The set is a perfect example: We worked for months on it, so I could welcome them into my Victorian living room. Just before the doors open, I pause and look at that beautiful set and it gives me such a feeling of pride. My show has never taken a higher form than it now has at the Biltmore. After 17 years of doing weekly ticketed shows around SoCal, I feel like my show has finally found its true home.”

This intimate event is now in its second month at the Biltmore with a 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. show. At 90 minutes it’s perfect to catch after dinner in Little Tokyo or before getting a drink in the Financial District. His Magic & Wine show in Orange County is ongoing and offered on his website and he’s also available to be booked for private corporate events. Magicians: Life in the Impossible is available on Prime Video.

Author: Israel Vento

Israel Vento is a writer, artist and librarian based in LA but born and raised in Ohio. His inspirations range from Sylvester Stallone to fredbread. In his free time he laughs at memes, plays basketball and cooks 4 dishes really well.