Detention hall is usually one of the worst places to be stuck during high school. But for lifelong Ventura resident Beau Matthews, one of his many afternoons in D-hall set him on the course he has devoted his life to achieving: becoming a star magician.
Matthews, 27, has built a fast-growing reputation as an ace trickster on the private celebrity party circuit throughout Southern California. Having headlined events for the likes of rappers YG and Kyle as well as veteran comedian/actor Jamie Kennedy, Matthews will be taking a bold step toward broader stardom on Friday when he presents an elaborate solo show at the Scherr Forum Theater inside the Thousand Oaks Performing Arts Center.
“It all started when I met Kyle the rapper in detention in high school, where I was put for messing with a deck of cards during class,” says Matthews. “My teacher took the deck away and locked them up, so I picked the lock when she wasn’t looking and got them back, and that’s how I got detention. My mom didn’t even care; she just wanted to know how I did it.”
Matthews started performing after receiving a magic kit as a gift for his seventh birthday, and his grandparents furthered his obsession by buying him magic books by Bill Tarr, which taught him card tricks. Soon he was wowing his classmates at school, which helped him overcome his early strong shyness.
“I’m a big fan of magic and mystery, and loved learning about famous magicians and tried to figure out why I liked Houdini so much,” recalls Matthews. “Another magician named Max Malini did close-up magic for celebrities, like taking out a hat and showing it empty before putting it on a table and lifting it up to reveal a block of ice. He would also just walk up and bite the button off the jacket of a mayor in a town while on tour and then restore it to the jacket, all without even introducing himself.”
Matthews’ website is filled with videos of him entertaining people on the streets of Ventura and Hollywood with tricks such as picking up a crushed beer can and making it appear to be full and sealed again before pouring out a new round of beer from inside it. Recently, he successfully jumped off the Ventura Pier — before a crowd, with no lifeguard or safety backup in place — while handcuffed and encased within 100 feet of rope. The stratagem was to set himself free from the cuffs within three minutes or less in the same way that legendary magician Harry Houdini did decades ago. A confirmation call on the following Monday revealed him happy to be alive and well after the experience.
That trick, and a penchant for oddly tinted eyeballs to brand himself the “evil magician,” are an effort to stand out from social media clutter.
He notes that when it comes to succeeding at magic, practice is essential to perfection.
“I find the biggest steroid-using, most intimidating individuals to tie me up,” says Matthews. “I practice everywhere, even if I’m at the gym I’ll practice on them. I also love going out on the street in places like Hollywood and filming myself practicing on strangers.”
“The whole point is to get attention because there’s so much noise out in social media and you gotta be different somehow, or it won’t matter if you’re the best in the world,” he continues. “I don’t believe in evil or the Illuminati but I know some people believe in it and that gets attention, so it’s cool. I wear a chain with a symbol of the pyramid. The bottom is the biggest section and there’s a peak, which represents that 80 percent of magicians are bad, and 20 percent are good. The more knowledge and skill you have, the better you are; and that applies to business, magic, getting women. It’s all the same.”
Beau Matthews: King of Modern Magic performs on Friday, June 15, at 7 p.m. at the Thousand Oaks Performing Arts Center, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd. For tickets and more information, call 805-449-2787 or visit www.civicartsplaza.com.