DANNEMORA - The world of magic has captivated Eric Maynard since he was a little boy. Now 18-years-old, Maynard still finds himself fascinated with what started as a hobby more than 10 years ago.
"I've always thought magic is one of the coolest things," said Maynard. "It's really the best hobby in the world because it can entertain anyone of any age, from the elderly all the way down to little kids."
Though Maynard said it was his older brother who first introduced him to magic by showing him a card trick, it was his uncle, Las Vegas magician and inventor Perry Maynard, that really got him hooked.
"He showed me the basics," said Maynard, adding he then began studying sleight of hand tricks and illusions in books and on the Internet with his uncle's encouragement.
It wasn't long after Maynard's uncle encouraged him to perform at the Royal Resort in Las Vegas for what he called his "first professional act."
"It was a 10-minute skit at a place where one of my uncle's good buddies performed," said Maynard. "It was their open mic night so they allowed me to come up and do some rope magic tricks."
"I had a great time. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime kind of things," he added.
Since then, Maynard said he's been able to return to Las Vegas, performing with such magicians as Bill Robinson, Rudy Uresti and the acclaimed magic couple, The Dyamonds.
"The more I was able to perform, the more comfortable I was with performing," said Maynard.
Maynard's act has evolved over the years, he said. When he was first starting out, Maynard admitted he "didn't know much about how to entertain."
"Eventually, I learned to respond to the audience's reactions," he said. "I wanted to interact more with them so I merged comedy with my performance. There are some tricks that I do that it's pretty obvious what I'm doing, but the part that adds to it is when some people don't know about it, others do."