SURREY â€” Twenty-year-old Billy Hsueh may be one of the youngest magicians to score an award from the International Magicians Society.
The blossoming illusionist, who attends Douglas College for hospitality management, was honoured with a gold medal on Sunday, Aug. 3 for his sleight-of-hand tricks at the Pacific Coast Association of Magicians (PCAM) awards banquet in Coquitlam.
The annual competition takes place in a different Pacific Northwest city each year, and Hsueh has traveled as far as Burbank, California and Seattle, Washington to get there in past years.
â€œI did a routine â€” essentially itâ€™s called cups and balls,â€ Hsueh told the Now over the phone. â€œItâ€™s actually Starbucks oriented so I make the ball vanish, it appears under the cup, everyone checks it out and itâ€™s all good and then I do it again and then I put the ball away. Essentially, the ball keeps returning under the cup. At the end, I produce a cup of coffee from the same cup Iâ€™ve been using, and from the ball that Iâ€™ve been using, I make a second one appear and then inside the ball, which Iâ€™ve been handling the entire time, I produce two sugar cubes.â€
The magic prodigy started practicing magic at the age of 12, and has snagged a few other awards in previous years for his talent.
Last year, he snatched up the silver medal at the PCAM awards for his platform magic and in 2012 he took home the Stan Kramien Showmanship Award of Excellence. Hsueh also won the 2011 Vancouver Magic Circleâ€™s Dick Gardner Award for his close-up magic.
Hsueh, though working another part-time job and attends post-secondary school, hopes to make magic a full-time gig. The 20-year-old student is the second vice-president of the Vancouver Magic Circle, one of the largest magic clubs in all of Canada.
For now, Hsueh does gigs for the City of Surrey, as well as weddings, trade shows and other private events. Though heâ€™s still developing as a young magician, he says heâ€™s coming into his own and developing a style.
â€œThe persona that I adopt is that itâ€™s not me doing the magic, itâ€™s like the magic is happening around me,â€ he admitted. â€œMost of the time itâ€™s a mix â€” I try to be comedic and smooth and slick. Essentially, its organized chaos.â€