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Markham Economist & Sun Dec 5, 2006
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Dec 5, 2006
Chris Traber More from this author

Adolfo Bilotta fondly recalls the first time he was bewitched by magic.
At 16, on a family vacation, he was introduced to the mayor of an Italian town.

He was cajoled into demonstrating the repertoire of magic tricks he'd studied since Grade 3.

So impressed was the mayor he invited his young Canadian visitor to perform at a community festival.

Pleased with the fact he was being paid to mesmerize what he thought would be a handful of locals, Mr. Bilotta was himself spellbound when he stepped in front of an audience of more than 2,000 enthusiastic "fans".

"It was my first exposure to a large audience," the 28-year old Markham hypnotist and magician says. "It was a great rush."

Returning home, the Father Michael McGivney Catholic Academy student threw himself into prestidigitation, adding and perfecting illusions. His first professional break was a gig as a walk-around magician at a popular restaurant chain, entertaining patrons with close up conjuration.

Never thinking magic would become a full-time occupation, Mr. Bilotta, whose stage name is Adolfo B., continued to amaze restaurant audiences part time.

He built accounts and networked with other talents and soon realized booking acts, in addition to performing, would offer additional security in the tentative world of show business.

A business administration degree from Seneca College gave him an entrepreneurial perspective.

Still, the work of peers continued to inspire him to stay in front of an audience instead of backstage.

He attended a performance by a hypnotist and knew immediately he had to learn the art.

"I was fascinated," he recalls. "It was a show and a half."

Ever the showman, he knew the science and fun of hypnosis would add a welcome dimension to his act. Accordingly, he enrolled at the Canadian College of Holistic Health and graduated as a registered hypnotherapist.

By 23, he was also certified by the American Board of Hypnotherapy.

Mr. Bilotta continued to ply his magic while working at day jobs.

Postings with Manpower and then Bell Express Vu taught him sales, marketing and how to deal with people, he says.

Finally, he decided to devote himself completely to both the show and business ends of the entertainment industry.

With the contacts he had collected, he developed a website where the various talents he represents could be booked.

Working from his Toronto Magic office in Toronto during the day, he is an agent, representing more than 500 entertainers across Canada.

Evenings and weekends, he is Adolfo B.

The dual purpose lifestyle suits him well, he says. And, true to every magician's oath not to reveal the secrets of the trade, he only hints at how the wizardry really happens.

Hypnosis, for example, is not all that mysterious, he says. The power of suggestion occurs in everyone's lives on a daily basis.

"If you're driving and you tell yourself that you can't miss that exit, you've eliminated everything around you, you're focused on something specific," he says.

"If you are interested in buying a jacket and your friend says that you shouldn't, you probably won't because of the power of that suggestion."

Hypnosis, based on suggestion, persuasion and a subject's willingness to change, is a powerful clinical and entertainment tool.

Mr. Bilotta says the technique can be successfully applied to help individuals stop a habit or lose weight.

On stage, the consequences can be hilarious when audience members are hypnotically convinced they're Martians or they've lost their butts and can't sit down.

Demonstrating his elegant, classic brand of magic, Mr. Bilotta amazes with close-up card illusions, mind reading, fork bending and more.

A traditionalist, he enjoys the magic of David Copperfield, Penn and Teller and David Blane.

New age illusionists such as Chris Angel, who promotes freaky and potentially dangerous magic stunts, aren't doing children who mimic the tricks, any favours, he says.

Mr. Bilotta does borrow some of the new illusions.

At one point, he demonstrates how artists such as Mr. Blane "levitate".

A true craftsman, each of his magic tricks draws the stock question: "How'd you do that?"

It's a universal response, he says.

And, the answer is always the same. "It's magic."

For information or to book Adolfo B, contact the Toronto Magic Company - visit or e-mail


Adolfo Bilotta finishes our sentences

· If I could have dinner with any historical figure, living or dead, it'd be ... Jesus. I love the guy. He plays a big role in my life.

· The three things I'd take to a desert island are ... a deck of cards, business cards and my laptop computer. I've got to keep the business running.

· What the world needs now is ... more family time. It's all about work, work, work. Families aren't as close as they should be.

· Few people know that I ... play piano by ear. I never took a lesson and have composed 12 tunes.

· The thing I'd most like to do before the end of my days is ....leave something that will continue, family, kids and a business that will keep growing. Magic can continue after I'm gone.

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