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Friday, April 10, 2009

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Josh Beckerman, Entertainer

When Josh Beckerman was four years old, his father asked him on camera, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” And he answered, “I want to be an Actor and a Magician.” When he was in sixth grade he got into a fight with the kid who lived across the street from him, he thought he won the fight, but he ended up breaking his pinky knuckle.

Josh had a cast on and could not go to soccer camp that summer, so instead one day his dad took him to a magic shop where he bought him a few trick decks of cards. The tricks were really cool to Josh, but they were trick decks-gimmicks, so you could not give the audience the deck of cards.

Later, when Josh was 16 a magician taught him one sleight-of-hand move with a deck of cards, a kid in his Spanish class taught him another sleight-of-hand move, and Josh saw David Blaine on tv. Blaine did this one trick, and Josh declared: “I can do that!”

Josh returned home to his Dad, and said, “Dad, think of a card. If I get your card, you get me a Jeep Grand Cherokee.” (The Laredo, not The Sport, cause that was the cool car in the 90’s)…Well, Josh got the card his Dad thought of, but never got the car, but from that day on, Josh created a many tricks based off these sleight-of-hand moves, and the David Blaine trick, and went around his High School entertaining everyone. Josh's nickname became “The Cardboy”. Then he went to Bucknell University, where he was a Business major/Film Studies minor. The first two weeks of Josh's freshman year, he knocked on every freshman dorm room, introduced himself and said, “Wanna see a card trick?” He’d entertain all the drunkards at all the fraternity parties, and his nickname became “The Cardman.”

Josh graduated with a Business degree, but decided to pursue Entertainment instead of finance. He did stand-up comedy for 9 months in NYC, but then quit. He was working in the Finance industry, just as an assistant, paying his rent, then entertaining nights and weekends. Today Josh is a full-time Entertainer, entertaining at all types of private parties. From Bar-Mitvahs and Weddings, to Corporate Events and Cocktail parties. Peachy Deegan interviewed Josh Beckerman recently for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: How did you transition full-time into entertainment from business?
Josh Beckerman: It was an easy transition, for I was entertaining nights and weekends while I was working during the day. All I did was quit my day job!

Who inspires you professionally?
There is not just one person that inspires me. The people that inspire me are those people that are following their dreams, and are passionate about what they do. Someone who wakes up every morning, excited, and cannot wait to get to work, wherever it is.

What are some of your most entertaining stories from college?
I have thousands of entertaining stories from my entire life, not just college. In fact, I probably have more entertaining stories from out of college. In terms of college though, when I look back on it, I can't believe I had the balls the first two weeks of my freshman year to knock on every freshman dorm room, introduce myself, and show everyone magic. I've always wanted everyone to know me! I entertained a lot of drunk people at many fraternity parties during college. I once did a trick where someone took a card, and it ended up behind them 20 feet away on the deck of a fraternity house, to this day, the guy still contacts me randomly, because he still cannot figure out how I did it..and that was 7 years ago! Also, lets just say one of my first "times" with a gal there was a deck of cards in my hand, and that aint no joke! :)

How would you classify your entertainment for those that have not seen you?
Well, I specialize in walk-around close-up magic/comedy, meaning I go to a party, and show different groups of people mind-blowing magic, right in front of them, and make them laugh at the same time. It is very intimate and entertaining at the same time. My goal in life is to make people laugh and smile, and I use magic as a tool to accomplish that, along with my hilarious personality and sense of humor. :)

Where do you enjoy performing most in Manhattan?
Every time I leave my apartment I am performing. Be it in a Starbucks or Duane Reade, or a private party. I enjoy performing at restaurants, bars, clubs,..any where there is an audience really!

Who have you enjoyed performing for the most?
I have performed for celebrities, billionaires, homeless people, five-year olds, you name, it. I treat everyone the same, and I enjoy performing for anyone and everyone!

What are the characteristics of the best and the worst audience?
The best audiences are the ones that are amazed and laugh a lot (they tend to be drunk at a lot of the events I am at too!). The worst audiences are the onces that shout at me "I know how you did that!?" (usually they don't).

What is your favorite place to be in NYC?
I love all of NYC, it is the greatest city in the world. The reason I love it so much is each area is so different: Upper East, Upper West, Midtown, Flatiron, Chelsea, Gramercy, West Village, East Village, Soho, Lower East Side, Chinatown, Tribeca, Financial, etc etc..The people and the vibes are so different, and I love it ALL!

What is your favorite shop?
Don't have a favorite shop, I go to Starbucks and get tall black eyes (cup of coffee with two shots of espresso) every morning, that gets me through the day..and then some...

What is your favorite drink?
I drink everything, but I have a thing for Vodka (Belvedere, Grey Goose) on the rocks..

What is your favorite restaurant?
I love a lot of restaurants, in fact I also write about NYC restaurants for my site, My favorite NYC restaurant has to be Momofuku Ssam in the East Village.

What is your favorite NYC book?
I just read Time Out NY and New York Magazine.

What is your favorite thing to do in NYC that you can do nowhere else?
My favorite thing to do is dine out in all the great restaurants that NYC has to offer. I also love walking all over NYC, and hitting Central Park in the Spring/Summer.

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
Underrateed- the people. I think people who don't live in NYC think New Yorkers are mean, but we really are nice!
Overrated- the apartments! For the prices we are paying, it has to be the silliest thing ever. For the price of a one bedroom, you can have a full mansion and estate in other parts of this country. NYC apartments are overpriced and too small.

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
Besides me being a top Entertainer, and having an extensive knowledge of EVERY NYC restaurant (, they should know I am all about positivity and they should be too. I want everyone to have fun and enjoy life! Also, I am single, if I tickle any of your single ladies fancy out there. :)

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?
They can contact me via email -- or call me at 516-527-6659

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