The Magic of Sterling Dietz


Competing at I.B.M. in Reno this year was a wonderful experience that gave me the opportunity to share my magic, with people I respect, from all over the world. The purpose of the following article is to encourage every young magician to stretch themselves magically, to find a mentor, to attend conventions, to fuel their passion, but most of all, to not just dream, but to put action and work, to their dreams. Always know that there is a Sterling with Roger Dreyer, CEO of Fantasma Magicbrotherhood of fellow magicians, waiting to give you all their support, and encouragement, toward the achievement of those dreams.


Along with winning First place Junior Stage, competing for the Gold medal, receiving the “People’s Choice Award”, and receiving the Fantasma Award for best up and coming young magician, it got even better….


As the recipient of the Fantasma award, Fantasma Magic brought me and my parents, on an all expense paid visit to the Big Apple. The trip to New York was filled with magic and surprises galore. Let me share with you my days in New York, and the opportunities that Roger Dreyer, and Fantasma Magic presented me with. The events of these days I would wish on every magician, both young, and old.


Welcome to New York, Fantasma Style!


Sterling with Simon LovellWe arrive in New York Sunday, just after midnight. We check into our hotel, get some sleep and arrive at Fantasma Magic by 10 a.m. There we are greeted by Roger Dreyer, CEO of Fantasma Magic who takes us on a tour of the store. We visit for awhile until our first surprise of the trip arrives. It’s Simon Lovell. Some say if he was a packaged product he would come with a warning label!  My time with Simon Lovell, author of sixteen books on magic, and over two hundred television credits, was something very special. For several hours, sitting at one of his favorite Irish Pubs, he so willingly shared his creative genius with me. Anyone who has been fortunate to spend time with this man knows that he doesn’t pull his punches or his sharp wit. After he had me stand on my chair and shout at the top of my lungs,”hey everybody, it’s my birthday” to everyone in the pub, we were ready to begin my education. We passed the next few hours discussing the philosophy of magic, what works and what doesn’t.  His thoughts and observations were just what I needed to hear at this time in the development of my magic. He was so kind to help me in tweaking the scripting on two of my current illusions, one old and one new. Three hours had passed; we had shared oysters, and a pint, when Simon says “its time to go”. He pays the bill and brazenly steps into the street to usher a cab with a skill obvious of a man well traveled.  I was to realize later that getting a cab in New York was an acquired skill similar to calf roping and dodge ball.


I was to spend time with Simon over the next few days, as we cemented our friendship. I came away from my time in New York with a friendship that I hope lasts for many years to come. Thank you, Simon.

Before my meeting and lunch with Simon, I was informed by Roger that he had set up an audition with a local video production company shooting footage for a possible spot on Criss Angel’s A&E production. Roger insisted I take his prized, original Al Flosso coin pail for luck, along with ten silver dollars. I brought back the pail and used the silver dollars for cab fair (just kidding).  I did card manipulation and Billiard ball manipulation, which seemed to go over well with the producer and his staff. What will come of it? Who knows, “It’s show business”.


I practiced for twenty minutes flagging down a cab, and it was back to the hotel to rest a bit before dinner.


That evening I went to Monday Night magic, as Roger Dreyer’s guest. Monday Night Magic has the distinction of being the longest running magic show, off Broadway. My dear friend and a magician who has sponsored and encouraged many of us young magicians, Robert Sode, drove eight hours to bring another upcoming young magician (Matt Schick) to meet me while in New York. After the show Roger Dreyer took us all on a tour of Times Square, and the city that never sleeps. Thankfully by two thirty in the morning, I was.


Tuesday morning I went to F.A.O. Schwarz to meet with Nanette DiFalco, VP of Public Relations for the New York store. We went over some last minute details of my performance for the following day.  Before I left she informed me to go shopping in the store as a guest of F.A.O., and pick out something for myself. I left the store with a great Zune Mp3 player.

Sterling with David Blaine

At one o’clock I jumped into a cab and gave the driver an address on Broadway, as instructed by Roger Dreyer, The CEO of Fantasma Magic. The address brought me to a door front on Broadway in downtown Manhattan.   My instructions were to knock on the door and ask for Houdini. As I approached the door a gentleman who identified himself as Lou was standing near the door.  Before I could say anything he approached me and asked, “Are you Sterling?” Yes, I replied. “Follow me”, he said, as he led me around back through the dark and cluttered alley. It was at this moment, that the thought crossed my mind that we were about to be mugged. (I was so glad I had returned Al Flosso’s coin pail). He led me to an ornate Iron Gate that opened into an entry filled with posters of great magicians. There behind a desk sat a young lady named Emily who greeted me, and offered refreshments. Lou then led me to a spiral staircase with 13 steps that traveled down below street level. There I was to observe a large area filled with young men manning desks and apple computers. Suddenly from behind one of the large computer monitors appears David Blaine. He introduces himself and welcomes me into his studio. After we exchange some pleasantries, we begin to talk about magic and one of his new projects he was working on in Mexico.


David then calls his team over to his computer, as he wants to watch some of my magic performances. It becomes very evident that David’s intensity and focus is on the magic. He finally very softly comments “I like it”. The funny thing is:  I believe him. After some time together, David excuses himself to a previously scheduled appointment. We say our goodbyes and he leaves me to hang with his creative staff of Doug, Dan, Nick, and James. We jam together, me doing some Billiard ball routines and Doug doing some nice close-up coin work. David has surrounded himself with like thinking magic minimalists with a common goal--to create magic that fries your brain.   All I can say is that it was a very special time, with some very special people. Thanks and kudos to David and his team, for taking time out of their schedule to encourage a young magician.


Charles and Regina ReynoldsThis is New York, its 4 o’clock, and Roger is in charge, if only by the scribbling of directions I’m to give to the cab driver--to the destination of my next adventure. I am off to Greenwich Village to Grove Street. There is a gate at the street with a button to announce my arrival. The gate gives a hum, and the catch releases, allowing me to enter. The gate leads into a beautiful courtyard, an oasis of plants and trees, in the middle of an asphalt city. A distinguished gentleman, many years my senior waves, and beckons me and my family to his porch. It reminds me of something out of a Norman Rockwell painting.


The man is Charles Reynolds. His credits in magic and the theatre are well known. For fifteen years he was the director of magic for Doug Henning. He has been magic consultant with the great Harry Blackstone, Jr. along with many others. He has a list of Broadway credits with years of experience in the art and production of magic. I sat on a couch in his parlor, enthralled as he shared his knowledge, and experience of magic, and the stage. His lovely wife, Regina joined us, and the hours passed all so quickly. We could have listened into the wee hours of the night as they were so giving. While watching my magic performances on DVD, Charles reminded me of my dad. They both have this intensity and critical eye on the performance, that makes me wonder if they can ever enjoy it as a normal lay audience does.


The time that I was given with Charles and Regina, is something that I will never forget, and always cherish. I take to the west coast another treasured friendship.


It’s 8 o’clock and we hail a cab to little Italy for dinner at Il Palazzo. Afterwards, a nice stroll to Ferrara’s for dessert to put the finishing touches on a wonderful day. It’s after midnight when we arrive back to the hotel, my thoughts of the day drift off “to sleep, perchance to dream”.

Nanette DiFalco and Roger Dreyer

It’s Wednesday and I sleep in to rest up for my three scheduled magic performances today, the first being at F.A.O. Schwarz. Roger has arranged for an AP photographer to shoot the event. After setting up, I warm up, with some close-up magic with the in store demonstrators of F.A.O. Schwarz, much to their delight. The crowd of shoppers begins to gather, shuttling their children to the front for an unobstructed view of the upcoming magic. Roger Dreyer is on hand to do the introductions, and it quickly becomes apparent, that he is Peter Pan trapped inside a grown man’s body. Like a pied piper or a carnival barker, he draws in the crowd, and tells them of the magical wonders that they are to be witnesses to. Even my interest is piqued, and I can’t wait to see the show.  No one flies or levitates that day. Just eight steel rings, a pair of scissors and rope, an egg and a bag, a miser’s dream, card manipulation, and my signature tear and restored newspaper. They loved it. I signed, for young and old, autographed posters for an hour after the show.


Fantasma Magic Performance We grabbed a late lunch, and then it was off to Seventh and Thirty-third by cab, the home of Fantasma Magic. Upon arrival with a quick glance around, you see JP and Magick behind the counter, demonstrating the latest and greatest card and coin magic, and answering questions of magicians and muggles, alike. Jim and the staff are getting the food, decoration, and seating prepared for the festivities of the evening.  Because tonight we celebrate, and honor, one of the greats of magic, Cesareo Pelaez. Many have come—I.B.M. President Phil Willmarth, and his wife, Robbie; Charles and Regina Reynolds, Simon Lovell; Robert Sode; David Bull; Rick Heath; Perry; Ann; Sonia; Katie and so many of the artists from the Cabot & Larcom Theatres in Beverly, Mass. Cesareo’s show, “Le Grand David”, is one of the longest running magic productions in the world. I sat and listened to this magus, who has lived for ¾ of a century as he signed posters and autographed his biography, “And There will be Wonderful Surprises” penned by Avrom Karl Surath.

Cesareo Palaez

As you sit and listen, his passion and love of magic becomes so eloquently evident.  I reflect on that evening, that I wasn’t around to shake the hands of some of the greats of magic, like Thurston, Benson, or Cardini. But I was there that night, to shake the hand, and share the stage with a great magician, beloved and admired by so many for his contribution to the art, we call magic.


I remember in Reno at Magic Underground, Mark Kalin’s touching acknowledgement of the impact that Cesareo had on his success in magic. After all, isn’t that the measure of living a life of significance?  Isn’t that the goal of the magic fraternity? To hand off the baton, to pass the torch, to mentor the apprentice, and to ultimately share the magic with the world.   A special thanks to the I.B.M. and Fantasma Magic for contributing to the dreams of this young magician called, Sterling.