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Hotseat - Jessy the Magician

786_hotseatFrom safe fire burning tricks to being handcuffed and blindfolded and safely escaping from a bag, Jessy the Magician knows how to enthral an audience with his tricks and optical illusions. Known as "Jessy the famous French magician," this illusionist has been entertaining audiences around the world and recently in St. Maarten with entertaining and eye-catching tricks. He spoke about himself and his work in this week's Hotseat.

Tell me about yourself.

My real name is Gerard Lasnier, but my artist names are Jessy Garden, Jessy Magic and Jessy the Magician. I was born in Poitiers, Vienne France on November 28; the year is a secret, but I tell everybody I am 54 years old because the clock is broken (laughs). I have five children. My first son was born on August 5, 1968; the second in 1971 with the same wife. I also have three girls Jessica, who was born in 1988; Kelly in 1991 and another daughter, who was born in Thailand in 2002.

How did you get the performing names Jessy Magic and Jessy the famous French magician?

I got that name many years ago when I began to travel. I went to Asia and Vietnam for one year; Japan for two years; South Korea for two-and-a-half years and Japan for one year. During that time, I would take holiday every few weeks in Phuket and Koh Samui.

I had started a new website at a time when I had a girlfriend named Jessie, whom I had liked so much that I used the name Jessy Garden. Most people call me Jessy or Jessy Magic because my company is called Jessy Magic and my website is www.jessymagic.com

How would you describe yourself?

I am a gentleman. I am always in a good mood. I like to tell jokes and smile. I don't do drugs, I don't smoke or drink. Sometimes I would drink white wine or champagne, but I only take one or two glasses.

Where were you educated; and what did you study?

I went to school when I was a child; but when I turned 14, I wanted to work in electronics but realised that it was not the job for me. I then worked and studied making bathrooms and designing homes, and I received a diploma for this. I also worked as a bartender in Poitiers and in Paris for 15 years. During this time, I always did magic shows.

How and why did you get into magic?

When I was seven years old, my father and mother started playing tricks for me. They showed me that I could do it too because I had good hands and fingers. It was too expensive for us to buy the books and tapes to learn magic at that time so I practised every day for 10 years. When I learnt enough, I started performing for friends' birthdays and weddings and I really enjoyed it. After that, I decided to attend a magic academy to learn more about magic.

What do you like about magic?

I like everything about magic; but most of all, I like when I perform live for people and I like doing things like making animals come out of fire. Many people watch magic on television, but it is only when they see it live in person that they are surprised. I like performing cards and coin tricks.

What differentiates you from other magicians?

I think there are many magicians who are better than I am; but I always smile. I am very funny and I have created some magic tricks myself. I can perform magic in English, French, Japanese and a little bit in Korean. I recently started to learn Spanish and after that I want to learn Chinese.

How often do you perform?

Too often! I have performed all over the world. I have performed in Saint Tropes, Cannes, Menace, Thailand, Courchevel, Megeve, Meribel, Geneva, and in New York. In St. Maarten, I performed at Brasserie in Cupecoy; a restaurant in Oyster Bay Beach Hotel; Academy Dance School in La Chapelle, Orient Bay; Waikiki Beach; Spinnaker in Marigot and Kokomo as well as at many other places and events.

Who are your all-time favourite magicians and why?

My all-time favourite magicians are David Stone and Francois Chapman. They are very good and they usually perform new magic tricks.

Funniest moment doing magic...

It is usually funny when I perform a magic trick for a customer and I think I made a mistake; but of course I never make mistake so it all ends up being a very big surprise.

Most embarrassing moment as a magician...

I've never had an embarrassing moment; but during a performance, everyone needs to stay in front of me and not behind me.

What do you do when you are not performing?

I enjoy meeting female friends.

Hobbies...

I enjoy bowling, swimming, sailing, joking, speed walking and Pétanque (a French game of boules where the goal is to throw hollow metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet (literally "piglet").

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Well, if the wind comes from the North, I will go to the South; but I don't know where I will end up in the years because the wind changes very often (laughs). But I like the Caribbean and I can see myself living here for a very long time."

Favourite type of music...

I like almost all types of music. I listen to blues, jazz, rock and classical music.

If you could invite three famous people (dead or alive) for dinner, who would they be and what would you cook for them?

I am not sure who I would invite, but I like to cook and l cook very good French food.