Video by Peter Champelli

At first glance, the Dealer’s Room at the International Brotherhood of Magicians-Society of American Magicians Combined Convention looks like any other convention. It’s a giant ballroom full of booths featuring colorful items, with even more colorful characters staffing them. But on closer inspection, this is anything but your run-of-the-mill trade show at the Galt House.

Just a day after winning the “Rising Star” award at the IBM-SAM Combined Convention, local magician Cody Clark took an hour out of his day to introduce Insider to some of the coolest new props and gadgets available to magicians today.

Clark has lately been performing at fringe festivals nationwide with his magic show “A Different Way of Thinking.” In the show, he uses magic to tell the story of how autism has shaped his life and how magic helped him find his place in the world. He’s overjoyed to have won the award for being a magician whose career is one to watch. He said it was “a big surprise and truly a great honor.”

Louisville has a rich history of magic. It was home to Vegas headliners Mac King and Lance Burton, both of whom are at the convention. King and Burton once worked together at Caufield’s Novelty, running the magic counter. They also worked together one summer at an “old west” themed amusement park called Tombstone Junction near Cumberland Falls State Park.

Cody Clark | Courtesy of Cody Clark

The first magic convention to come to Louisville was the IBM National Conference in 1954, which was held at the Kentucky Hotel. Most recently, the city hosted the 2008 IMB-SAM Combined Conference which was scheduled to take place in New Orleans but was relocated here when several of the theater venues failed to reopen after Hurricane Katrina.

Clark and Burton share Butler High School as their alma mater. Clark helped Burton this year with his magic seminar for teenagers on Tuesday. He said that he was so heartened to see so many young people at the convention. “This proves that magic is not a dying art,” he said.

He reiterated that idea while touring the Dealers’ Room with Insider and introducing us to the latest in magic technology. Some of it was low-tech, like recreating the linking rings illusion with plastic coat hangers rather than rings, but some was decidedly high-tech, like Jason Bird’s “Drone Alchemy” — a drone that will stab a participant’s chosen playing card out of the air. Bird appeared on the season premiere of “Masters of Illusion” just last week.

The convention continues until Saturday with public performances at the Kentucky Center on Friday and Saturday night. Tickets are $25.

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