When Messado was a child, he went to a magic show at a neighbor’s house. When the magician asked for volunteers, Messado screamed and waved his arms eagerly, hoping to be one of the lucky kids picked. But it didn’t happen. The magician ignored him.
“I was heartbroken. I still am, 25 years later,” Messado said. “Back then, I decided if I ever became a magician, I would make everybody a part of it.”
That drive to involve has driven his take on performing magic. The creator of Messado Rings has transformed a traditional parlor or stage trick into an up-close, personal moment of magic, leaving spectators feeling like they just did the impossible. And he designed a set of durable rings and dizzying routines that will teach anyone how to create the same magic moments with their own spectators.
Messado Rings will be available on Nov. 19. The set includes a durable, heavy-duty set of rings, a leather case and an instructional video featuring the moves that have made Messado a rising star.
Messado got his start in magic about 15 years ago during a trip to Atlantic City, N.J. He applied, and was hired, for a dealer position at the Sands. He was told he had everything the casino was looking for, and would be hired at $25 an hour.
One catch: He had to cut his hair.
“At the time my hair was to the middle of my back. I was like Samson, that’s how I felt when I was young. I told him I didn’t want to cut my hair, and tried to haggle with him. He said that those were the rules, so I told him that I regretfully decline.”
Dejected, he and a cousin made their way to a Houdini’s magic shop in the Tropicana Casino. The shop featured regular, hourly magic shows for only $3, so he and his cousin stayed and watched one.
Then another. And another. After the third show, an employee noted that he must really love magic (he did) and whether he knew any tricks (he did). Messado showed the employee his version of a Larry Anderson trick he learned. That led to an impressed manager, another application, an audition and, a month later, a new job working as a retail sales associate in magic.
It was during that first demonstration that he learned that presentation was an important part of magic.
“It was a trick off of Larry Anderson’s ‘JawDroppers,’ where I renamed it ‘Guardian Angel,’ where everyone has a guardian angel that watches over them, and I’ll have ’em come down and check … the magician I performed it for was blown away. That’s when I figured out one of my strong sets was presentation.”
It was in that job where Messado discovered the linking rings. He watched Anthony Salazar perform the routine over and over.
“I was always blown away by it,” Messado said. “I thought it was a really cool trick. He used smaller rings. He taught me the basics, and showed me how to link and unlink.”
He also noted that not a lot of other magicians were working with rings. Most others stuck to cards or coins. Realizing rings were largely left alone, Messado decided to make the rings his thing.
The store had bigger rings sealed in a package, and a set of smaller rings loose. Messado took those rings outside regularly and performed with them as a pitchman, snaring customers to step inside the store. Inspired by Salazar and Chris Capehart, Messado practiced every day, whether as a pitchman outside the store or an apprentice at home.
His skills grew with every movement. Before long, he started piecing together his own routine, developing his own moves — and after discovering some of those moves were created by Shoot Ogawa, he was able to meet and perform for Ogawa and his teacher, Masahiro Yanagida. Messado said he was blessed to be able to learn from them, and said he stands on their giant shoulders.
Sticking with the smaller rings, so that he could easily carry them and be ready to perform at the drop of a hat, he developed flourish-style ring movements that added to the magic. His routine includes a number of visual moves, including one where a ring slowly rises as it spins around another ring. He began fooling himself regularly, especially with his version of a jumping link that jerks up.
“One of the main reasons I wanted to do the rings is that it looked like one of the closest things to real magic. I used to say to myself, ‘I wish I could walk through walls.’ With rings, you can pass metal through metal, and that was pretty cool. As I practiced, and passed metal through metal, I got to where I couldn’t see (the gaff). I thought that if it was fooling me, I knew it would fool a lot of people.”
With that first magic show in the back of his mind, Messado developed routines that let the spectator hold the rings themselves. They get a chance to search the rings themselves for a gap they think is there, but never find. And when they make the rings link themselves, “they are completely destroyed in the best way,” Messado said.
“I never liked the idea of ‘lookit me, look what I can do’ in magic,” Messado said. “I wanted people to know they could do anything, or the impossible. It really creates a beautiful moment of magic for them.”
Now Messado is a performing magician that works a busy schedule of corporate clients and childrens shows. Before the introduction of Messado Rings at the most recent Magic Live conference in Las Vegas, he was known as an excellent performer with a stand-out ring routine.
Since that conference, his reputation has spread worldwide. He earned impressive reactions from David Copperfield and Jeff McBride, and his rings became one of the most talked about items at the conference.
Messado said the reach of his rings have stunned him. People from all corners of the world on the Internet have reached out to him — including a fan in Peru who sent a video of a Messado-inspired ring routine.
“My magic made it from Philly to Peru in a day or two,” Messado said. “Words can’t express how much joy I feel in my heart from all the love I’ve received from the magic community.”