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The tricky business of a Santa Monica street performer
The tricky business of a Santa Monica street performer

Bill Okal's opening line is one of the oldest tricks in the close-up magic book: undersell your talent, then dazzle them with your best cards. "I really only do two tricks," the Bakersfield resident says apologetically to the two families standing in front of him on the Santa Monica Pier on a recent Saturday morning. He taps on three brass demi-cups perched upside down on a weathered cabaret table with pom-pom trim. "One is with cups, which I'm sure you've seen before…. The other, if you're ready for this, is the legendary egg trick of Max Malini!" The 76-year-old magician cups his hand to his ear. "Folks, this is not television, I need a little more enthusiasm if we're going to make...

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