Roger Lopez is CEO of Black Platinum Illusions, LLC. He is a professional magician and is a member of The Society of American Magicians and The Mile High Magicians Society. He is known as a world card expert and named Top Magicians Denver for 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. His unique performances have been seen by hundreds of thousands online, and in person around the world. He volunteers his time to a variety of charities like Children's Hospital, HOT 107.1 and Jammin 101.5 FM Back to School Events, Feeding Denver's Hungry, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and The American Legion to name a few.
In Episode #4 of Everyday Heroes: A COVID-19 Podcast, we meet Roger Lopez, a professional magician, who specializes in close-up magic. He describes his experiences during the pandemic, and he shares his work with a quick performance. You can follow his work at http://www.rogermagic.com/.
“Memories heal the living. We pray for the living.”
Angela: On May 20, 2020, the New York Times reported that the United States of America has had a sharper rise in unemployment than other countries during the COVID pandemic. At this time, the total number of deaths due to COVID-19 in the United States was over 95,000. This is the context of our fourth episode of Everyday Heroes, a conversation with Roger Lopez, a professional magician who has performed at many charity events.
Angela: I'm Angela Rothermel. I'm here with Roger. Hi, Roger.
Roger: Hi, everyone.
Angela: Can you go ahead and tell me exactly what do you do?
Roger: My name's Roger Lopez. I'm a professional magician. I do shows here locally in Colorado, in the city. I do some events in Las Vegas, and I definitely try to use my platform as a way to give back to the community. So slight-of-hand is my forte.
Angela: And I guess you're using your magic in what capacity, since the pandemic?
Roger: That's been very difficult, because I'm considered a close-up magician. So I'm usually doing things right there with you, right in front of your eyes. I do a lot of charity events where we raise funds for different causes, whether it's children's hospital or someone with the need for... They might have cancer. There's been numerous amount of different charitable causes that I donate my time for. And now that the pandemic has hit, it's been a halt on everything, put the brakes on everything. And it's difficult to do close-up when you're either stuck at home or nobody else can get out. So I've been lucky enough to do a couple of live broadcasts on my Facebook, things like that, just to cheer people up, give them a little bit of a different avenue to follow, while they're on stay at home orders. I'd like to think that posting some videos or some images or something cheerful helps in that regard. But it's been very difficult to do any type of charity events. I've had a lot of things canceled. I was supposed to go out to Iowa to do an event out there, and that's not happening right now. Everything's been postponed... Las Vegas got postponed again. So right now it's just… trying to spread that cheer online is the best way that I've found to help people out.
Angela: Have you been impacted personally by COVID-19?
Roger: As far as personal impact, yeah. We've known a few people to have passed away from it.
Angela: I’m sorry.
Roger: And other friends that have been sick and battled it and came out ahead. But my fiancé was quarantined for 14 days, so she works at a hospital. So she came in contact with some potential virus. So she was stuck at home, and definitely, it has impacted me a lot, especially with even just working, going and doing a show for a party or an event where I do charge or whatnot. It's not available at this time, so it's difficult to, to make money. And that's not what I do it for.
Roger: I definitely do it to help people out and love it, but there is a revenue stream or income that comes in, and it's not hitting right now. So it hurts the pocketbook a little bit. I've been blessed to do my other side jobs. So I do some construction work on the side to combat this whole thing. That deemed me an essential worker. So I was able to stay working during this time. I don't know what would have happened if I hadn't had that option.
Angela: So, describe a typical day for you.
Roger: As far as preparing for shows, things along that nature, even meeting with you guys, I have to get ready. I have to have my cards ready to go. You got to make sure that I can bring something to the table all the time. I usually have them on me anyways, but I still have to be prepared, depending on the show. If I'm doing a charitable cause, I have to make sure that I'm well-dressed, well-groomed… get ready for the event. Mentally prepare, I think is the biggest thing for me, because if it's a show with 300 people or more, it can get nerve wracking. I'm a professional, but you still get those butterflies going. You just want to be prepared for everyone, just getting ready for the day.
Roger: If I have a show I'm preparing, from the moment that I find out about it to the day that I'm actually doing the performance, so it's a mental challenge. Because I want to make sure that my routine is correct, that my health is in good order as well. There's a lot that plays into it because I can't go on stage if I'm sick or not feeling well. So, I haven't been hit by this virus, knock on some wood. I haven't experienced it, but it impacts you on a day to day, because I want to go out there and do magic for everybody, like I've always done. I go out and "Hey, pick a card, and check this out” and “oh, here's another super card trick," but then they see what I do. Then, they're like, "Well, okay, let's keep going."
Roger: I miss the interactions with people, definitely. Usually when I go out with some buddies, "Hey Roger, go do some magic for these people." Okay. And I can't do that right now. When you're doing close-up magic, slight-of-hand, in the way in the capacity that I do, it really brings a spark to people. It really brightens their day. I've gone to hospitals and done magic for the kids that are sick. And you just see that it brings that twinkle, that spark, that happiness, that joy that you don't get from their everyday routines and monotony of being in the hospital, or even just regular old life for people.
Angela: Could you go ahead and show us an example of your magic?
Roger: You want to see some magic? Sure.
Angela: Yes sir.
Roger: All right, Angela. Well, let's try this here. Let me mix these up a little bit. I'm going to bring the camera down so you can see my hands a little bit better, all right?
Angela: Great. Thank you.
Roger: All right, so let's try this here. Since we're on a live type of deal, a Zoom call here, let's try something with you, Angela. Do me a favor. There's four suits, right? There's Hearts, Clubs, Spades and Diamonds. Can you name two of those out loud?
Angela: Diamonds, Spades.
Roger: Diamonds and Spades. Out of those two, pick one of them.
Roger: Diamonds. Remember that. Even or odd?
Roger: All right. One, three, five, seven, nine, pick three of those.
Angela: Three, seven, one.
Roger: One, three, seven. Out of those three, one, three, and seven, pick two of them.
Angela: Three and seven.
Roger: Three and seven. Pick one of those.
Roger: Seven. And you said the suit was what?
Angela: Diamond. What? How did you do that?
Roger: Pretty cool. Right. All right, let's try something else here. Isn't that crazy? It's just a little fun here.
Angela: It's cool.
Roger: I’ll show you a couple of other… All right. Let's try something else here for you. I thought of a couple of routines that I think you might want to see. So I'm going to test your memory first. See how well your memory is. I know, right? That's what everyone always says. They laugh at me. I don't have a memory, but here we go. So I've got a three of Hearts. You see that one there?
Roger: Perfect, let's leave that right there. So you know I can't move it now. Make sure I don't touch it, or do anything to that three of Hearts. I also have a ten of Clubs. Okay. That's going to go with the three of Hearts. Now, I won't touch either one of those. I’m going to get two more. Anywhere you want. Just say the word stop for me.
Roger: Right there. Perfect. This one there. This one is a Queen of Spades. So far we have a three, a ten, and a Queen. And then the last one here, I'll show it to you here. An eight of Clubs. Do you remember all those cards?
Angela: Three of Hearts, a ten, a Queen of Spades, and an eight Clubs.
Roger: Pretty close, but you'd be wrong. I've got four aces here for you.
Angela: I have a terrible memory. I told you.
Roger: No worries, but we're good with the aces here anyways. So let's try this here for you. Let's think here, since we've got the aces out, I'll show you a couple little things here. We've got the Ace of Diamonds. You see that there?
Roger: All right, perfect. I'm going to set that right there. So you know I can't touch it. You know what the other red Ace is? The Ace of Hearts, right? Perfect. I'm going to set that with the diamond. Now the two black ones, well those are actually go down here because I've already got the Diamonds and Hearts out here. All right. Let's see what else I've got for you. I've got a couple of fun ones. I just thought it would be fun to do over the internet. Of course, it's a little bit different, especially when you're doing it online, than you would in person, but I'll give it a shot for you here. Let's see here. All right. How does this one go? I remember now. Okay, so I've got four aces out. Can you still see those okay?
Angela: I do.
Roger: Perfect. I've got one stack here. Another stack here. Another stack here, four stacks there. So now what I'm going to do is I'm just going to take the Ace of Clubs. I'll put it in there somewhere randomly and I'll push it down for you to see it go away. Now I'm going to take the Ace of Diamonds. I'm going to set that, well let's see here.
Roger: Let me see here. I don't want to do this. Yeah. I want to take the Ace of Diamonds. Set that here. There it is. I'll push that there. The Ace of Hearts. I'm going to go ahead and put that in here. Sorry, these cards are slippery, and then the Ace of Spades goes there and that one goes away as well. Okay.
Roger: Now, what I've done here is I flip the card face up. I don't know if you can see it, but it's a seven. And it’s just telling me that seven cards away from there, something should happen. So let's take a look at that one, two, three, four, five, six, seven is that first ace. Now, just like I flipped that seven. I now have the next ace face up. Now the Ace of Hearts, that one's a little bit different. So I'm going to spell it out here. See if it works out. A-C-E, Ace of, H-E-A-R-T-S. You've got the Ace of Hearts. And then, Angela, what's your favorite number? Any number.
Roger: Eleven. All right. So let's do that. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, and eleven. See?
Roger: Right? Now, out of those aces, let's see here. Let me try to show you something a little bit different as well. I think you'll like this. So I'm considered to be a world card expert. Top 100 in the world. Top magician Denver, three years in a row. You can always check out my website. It's Rogermagic.com. So definitely check that out later on. And you'd be like, "Oh my gosh, I Zoomed with that guy." Right. But here we go. So I've got the aces here. Here's the first one, the second one, the third one and the fourth one, one, two, three, four aces. I'm going to take them. I'm going to mix them up a little bit. And the Ace of Spades, my favorite, will be the top card.
Roger: I'll take it. I'll send it underneath. It'll remain on top. I'll take it. I'll cut it through like so. It’ll still be the top card. I'll put it into the middle right in here. Little snap, still top card. I take it. I set it down. It's still here. Take it, you set it under. It's still here. Right? Take you set it underneath again like so, and boom. Still right here. You take it, you set it down, and it's still here. Now what I'm going to do is I'm going to take all of the aces and I'm going to hide them with a 10 of Spades here. A 10 of Spades there, a ten of Spades here, and a ten of Spades there. I should be able to show you only 10 of Spades, but you shouldn't have seen any tens and you should have seen any aces. You should have only seen a King here, a King here, a King here, and a King there. I don't know.
Angela: Wow. I don't know how you did that. This is amazing.
Roger: Just a couple of little slight-of-hand effects for you. It's definitely a lot of fun. COVID has definitely put a damper on being able to share that type of experience with people. Because I see you're smiling right now and that's good, right? You're feeling better, right?
Angela: It's a little mind blowing.
Roger: That's really good. I'm glad you say that. It's about giving back and helping people out. And when that's not available to do, it really just bums me out. I can't wait to really get back out there, because when we do, it's coming back strong, you know what I mean?
Angela: Yeah, definitely.
Roger: I've been blessed to be able to do a few radio shows and interviews and usually I'm out there, getting those requests, and right now all the studios are closed. The radio stations aren't really having people come in, and it certainly makes it tough to be able to promote and help those that need it. There's been a lot of times we've raised $30,000 for a charitable cause where I do go back and give to the kids to the hospitals, or feeding. I've done a bunch of events like with Feeding Denver's Hungry. And we gave out 2,500 slices of pizza to the homeless and hungry. Just little things, the little popularity that I have can give back. I think it's important that we remember that we're here to help one another, especially in these hard times.
Angela: What are some of your wishes for others during this time?
Roger: Certainly wish everybody's blessed and are able to help one another. There's a lot of people right now that don't have their jobs. They don't have the ability to provide the proper income that they used to have. They can't work at home. They can't be an essential service provider. And I think it's just key that we're recognizing our friends, because it's hard to ask for help. And I think that's one of the most difficult things is being able to swallow that pride and say, "Hey, I need help." I think we need to make sure that we're able to communicate openly with one another and just help each other out where we can. I mean, not everyone has a million bucks to give out, but just a smile, some support, text message, messenger message, a Zoom call, anything just to communicate and let people know that you're in the same boat and you're there if they need them, even if it's just a shoulder to cry on or talk to or whatever it may be.
Angela: Have you been practicing any social distancing?
Roger: Yeah, definitely. As I mentioned earlier, I do a side work, and we have to have face mass on all day, and it makes it really, really tough to breathe, especially in the heat and in the construction field, we're doing a lot of different projects, whether you're walking up six stories of stairs and you've got that mask on, you can't breathe or moving this or that. Even one of our projects at work. One job is at Cherry Creek, and they've shut down the staircases. So the stairs that you use to walk up and down the building, there's two. One's used to go up and the others to go down. So you can't cross each other in the middle of the staircase, which is unique, smart, just to keep that social distancing. Same with just going out to eat, anything like that. Mainly been drive through all that, or if we can support the local community shops, we've been doing that too. So I think that's key.
Angela: When I go to the grocery store, I wear a mask, and I get winded honestly, because of a heat of the mask and everything. And I'm just like ... I don't know, it's something to get used to for sure.
Roger: Absolutely. And…
Angela: I couldn't even imagine being in the sun and working construction.
Roger: I even got yelled at one time because I had my mask on, I had it on like I'm supposed to, but I had it here under my nose. Yeah. That doesn't fly with the inspectors.
Angela: What else would you like us to know?
Roger: We have to support each other. I think that's the biggest thing. Help one another out. Of course, check out rogermagic.com. But other than that, sorry, shameless plug.
Angela: No, definitely.
Roger: It's important to definitely just be there for one another. We don't know when this is going to be over, if it's going to get worse. And I know that a lot of the things are reopening right now, and I know that a few States that have done it already are seeing increases in numbers with COVID. So I think it's crucial that we continue to social distance and, until we actually have the vaccine or whatnot, we need to be mindful of one another. I don't think you need to drive in your car with a mask on, when you're by yourself.
Angela: I agree.
Roger: But just be conscious of one another and help each other out.
Angela: Yeah, definitely. All right. Well, thank you so much for joining us today.
Credits EVERYDAY HEROES: A COVID-19 Podcast. Featuring Angela Rothermel and guest. Produced by Michael T. Starks. Editing Services by Brian Torres, Irlend Productions Independent, LLC. All Images and Footage used with Permission & Licensing, Provided by Adobe Stock and Pixabay.com. "Say a Prayer for the Living" Music, Lyrics & Performed by Michael T. Starks. Special Thanks to Karilyn T. Starks. Ionogen Media, LLC Copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved.