Showing posts with label Magic Genii. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Magic Genii. Show all posts

Friday, March 8, 2024

Majinga Is Gone But Not Forgotten


On Tuesday, March 5th 2024, my friend Michael Stroud, passed away. Michael was known professionally as Majinga the Magician and was a very popular California based illusionist. I really want to emphasize that word ILLUSIONIST, because many use the moniker, but they don't perform illusions. Michael/Majinga invested in tons of illusions and he used them and performed them!!!

If you never were lucky enough to meet Michael or see him perform, then you really missed out. But there is some good news. He left behind a huge archive of video footage. One of the first things you'll notice about Majinga is that he is not your typical magician. He was in truth, a theatrical magician, and he really believed in the theater part. He didn't wear business suits like so many of today's performers, he wore costumes. He wore hats. He wore masks. Any costume he wore also had many additional little accoutrements. 

He was born in Warrensburg, Missouri, April 29, 1967. His interest in magic began when he was entertained by two German magicians while on board a flight. I asked him once if this was Siegfried and Roy and he was unsure but at the same time said, "it might have been." By age 11, he presented his own magic show. Later, Wayne Rake from the Jokers Wild Magic Shop in Maryland would become Michael's first mentor. 

One of Michael's big claims to fame was his performance of the Bian Lian, Chinese Mask Changing Act. This is a very difficult thing to learn let alone performer. Michael became a master at it. He featured this very act at Chinese Festivals all over the West Coast.

Another more main stream claim to fame was his credit as a co-author of the book, The Klutz Book of Magic, and later, The Rubber Chicken Book, also published by Klutz. 

For years, Michael was known as Magic Mike. But in 1997, he decided to create a new character called Majinga who would by a gypsy-magician like character. He created the show Magique Bazaar along with Fontain Riddle who did all the music for the show.  His performing partner Magic Genii would join the show in 2000. Together, they performed this show, along with nearly a dozen cast members, at the Gaslight Theater in Campbell, California.

Michael never stopped creating new characters, or new takes on performing. His method was to always add elements of theatricality, even to the smallest of effects. Today, almost no one does apparatus magic, yet this was a staple in Michaels shows. 

In 2023, Michael health started to decline suddenly. It was a huge shock to everyone, though he kept his diagnosis rather private. In November he was diagnosed with ALS. 

In the near future, Magic Genii, Michael's performing partner and wife,  is planning on having, not a broken wand ceremony, but instead a Wand Retirement ceremony. I have to admit, I really like the sound of that. It helps to keep Michael/Majinga's memory alive, permanently. He would have loved that!

Please watch this tremendous performance by Majinga and Magic Genii of their  Mask Changing act.