David D’Angelo: Magician Extraordinaire
By Joe Olvera ©, 2010
When David D’Angelo was in the fifth grade his interest in magic was so strong that it’s all he could think about. His fondest dream was to travel throughout the world, to as many cities as he could, performing as a magician. Even though he was just starting out learning his future trade, he had every confidence that he would accomplish his goals.
“Today, I’ve been traveling for more than 30 years, and have visited and performed my magic in more than 250 cities across the world,” D’Angelo said. “Now, finally, Asia is opening up to me and I’m looking forward to making my name known in China. I’m even learning to speak Chinese.”
Born and raised in El Segundo Barrio, one of El Paso’s and the nation’s poorest communities, D’Angelo didn’t let that stop him from working towards his goal of becoming a professional magician. “Magic was the tool that allowed me to explore the world. It opened doors for me and I haven’t stopped since.” D’Angelo attended Alamo and Guillen, but graduated from Austin High School.
Every year, around February and March, D’Angelo comes to El Paso to perform his magic before school children. He combines his art with educational programs to entice the children, and to grab their attention. The magic has them wide-eyed in anticipation, while he gives them lessons without them knowing they are also being educated by the world-famous magician.
“Magic is a hook to get their attention,” D’Angelo says. “I give them magic with such lessons as ‘The Magical Amazement of Science,’ or ‘The Universal Wonderland of Mathematics.’ The magic helps to pique their interest in Science, Math, and other subjects. I also throw in self-esteem, drug awareness, and other elements to increase their attention span. Thus far, and through the years, I’ve done my show at more than 400 schools in El Paso alone.”
To D’Angelo, elementary schools are vital in what he’s trying to do. “We’ve got to catch the youngsters while they’re still young and while they’re still sopping up knowledge like sponges. For example, I was poor, growing up in El Segundo. But, kids in Tornillo, Texas, now, those kids are truly poor. Yet, they can also excel despite their economic condition. Tornillo Elementary is the poorest school I’ve ever served, but the kids there are super-smart.”
In order to become the best magician he could be, D’Angelo studied with a man whom he calls “magic’s greatest secret.” His name is Baltazar Fuentes, and, even though Fuentes never became world famous, he still is, in D’Angelo’s mind, the best there is. “He’s the Master of the Masters, as far as I’m concerned. He’s a well kept secret who has trained many other magicians in Mexico and the United States.
“Magic is the only thing that has ever made me happy,” D’Angelo said. “At the age of 25, I decided that’s what I wanted to be and I have done it.” He has worked the Norwegian Cruise Lines, and many other venues. But, the greatest thrill was performing at Magic Castle in Los Angeles. “There is only one Magic Castle in the entire world and, it’s in L.A. Magic Castle is a club for magicians and only the best perform there. I was honored to have been included and I have performed as a professional at that venue.
“Anyone who becomes a pro, loves performing there, it’s the ultimate for a professional magician because, there, you are judged by your peers, and they’re a tough crowd to please. It’s like a mecca for us, and I love it there. It’s like a Disneyland for magicians.”
D’Angelo said that he is always willing to travel to El Paso from wherever he is to perform his magic for schoolchildren. He may be contacted at 214-349-4946, or via email at MagicDavid14@yahoo.com. His future plans include traveling to Beijing, China, to Stockholm, Sweden, and to other world communities. He wants to continue traveling to learn as much about the world as he can, never really forgetting his wish to see the world. D’Angelo was able to do that, he said, “thanks to magic.”