We were invited to a magic show. We didn't know what to expect because we had walked by the red building with the magic signs for years, but didn't know anything actually happened behind them. As we entered 357 Palisade Avenue the influx of hellos and hugs were overwhelming. The magicians were so excited to share their craft and we promised not to give away any of their tricks. This is the story of the magic behind the red doors.
On the third Thursday of every month, the Chicken Wing Jam comes together to share their magic. Normally magician groups are called rings, but they decided to be a little different. But their is also another meaning to the Chicken Wing Jam. They get chicken wings from across the street at Fortune Chinese Food, which happens to be amazing (I have never had them before). Then everyone brings a food item and the feast and performances begin.
They are a group of primarily latin and hispanic women and men who are magicians and clowns as their profession. Some have had previous careers and found magic, others do this part time, and most make a living bringing joy to the masses. We connected with one of the founders of the group Orlando Cuevas who invited us into this secret group.
Orlando also known as “Silly Willy,” leads the group as the director and founder of New Jersey Magic Academy. He has taught magic for over 20 years and has been performing magic for the past 35 years. During the day he is an art teacher and I am sure takes his passion for magic to the schools. He also teaches a magic club in his school. Mike “Mickey Magic” Gomez’s and Robert are the other founders of the Chicken Wing Jam and they are all jokers if I ever saw one.
What makes this group amazing is the camaraderie, openness, and love they have for each other. There was a boy who came to watch because he wants to be a magician and had a magicians outfit shirt. There is a women’s clown group that travels from one of the five boroughs in New York Ciy. The founder of New York Clowns, Cyrus Zavieh, also known as Cido the Clown, works in a hospital in Elmhurst and travels to Jersey City to be part of this group. You can feel his energy when he talks, how jolly he is, and he has a clown laugh, which makes you laugh. I think he had the best show of the night with an amazing light show. He took something so simple and then took it to another level. Everyone’s mind was truly blown by his creativity.
This trick happened to be a version of something someone else had performed at another Jam. According to Orlando, nothing in magic is new. What new magic is is a better version or an updated trick. Like Cido, other performers took tricks from a previous meeting and made them their own and then original sharer liked it so much they were going to use the updated version.
I want to thank everyone at the Jam for allowing us into your inner sanctum, sharing your stories with us, and letting us watch like we were one of you. They are a welcoming and open group and know I know where I
will be getting my chicken wings.
If you want to participate in the Chicken Wing Jam, have a child who wants to learn magic, or need a magician for a party check out NJ Magic Academy.