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International “Wonderist” Chris Funk to amaze audience for Lester Center anniversary in Prince Rupert

Not a traditional illusionist or magician Funk says his tricks are mind puzzles

It is not an illusion that internationally renowned magician Chris Funk is coming to the Lester Center stage on Oct. 14 to celebrate as one of the acts for the 35th anniversary gala of the performing arts theatre.

Funk, who self-defines and uses the moniker “Wonderist” has had audiences scratching their heads in bewilderment on more than 30 television shows such as America’s Got Talent, Masters of Illusion, and Hell’s Kitchen, among many others.

“I call myself the Wonderist because whenever I say illusionist, people think I’m cutting someone in half. When I say that I’m a magician, they think I do a kid’s party, or I’m going to come out perform the linking rings and restored rope and all these traditional things that you would assume as magicians to do.”

“Redefining Magic” is the name of his show and he promises audiences a fresh new way of experiencing magic.

“My whole approach to magic is basically just redefining the stigma that it goes around magic and illusion. So you’ll see things in a very different way. I incorporate live music into my show which helps kind of change the flavour of the show. I won’t do anything that people automatically assume or link to performing magic.”

Funk said he makes his shows interactive and all about the audience.

“They help make the impossible take place and at the very end of it, they’re just left with this journey that I’ve taken them on. They leave with this sense of “Wow, what did I just see? That was awesome.”

Magic captured his interest from a young age, he told The Northern View and was an escape from being bullied as a youngster.

With an early talent for music predominant in his childhood, he would come from school and practice violin instead of carousing with other kids.

“I studied musical instruments — so those were my friends.”

When he was 16, someone taught him a card trick that changed everything for him.

“It changed my life because it changed the perspective of people wanting to see me do something as opposed to kick my butt. So I fell in love with it instantly,” he said.

“It taught me people interaction and taught me communication skills. It definitely changed me at a young age. It encouraged me to live outside of this bubble that I was living in.”

He performed his first illusion show when he was 19 and amazed himself when he discovered people would pay to see the fascination of his act.

From there, he said he kept pushing at it and found his life’s calling turning professional 13 years ago.

“I’ve never looked back. It’s been the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. [It’s given] incredible opportunities.”

The Wonderist grew up in Winnipeg and four years ago he and his wife made Chilliwack their new home. He said he will barely be home for the next three months as he is booked with shows. He was on the road performing for 209 days in 2019. He has been all over North America, all around the world from “Europe to Sri Lanka and everywhere in between.” But, it will be his first time showing his tricks in Prince Rupert and Kitimat.

“I call them tricks. I have no problem calling them what they are. Basically, I’m just creating a puzzle that people can’t figure out either on the spot or ever. So, they are tricks, optical illusions, or mind puzzles, whatever you want to call it.”

He said he doesn’t have a favourite trick but brings in different genres and elements the spectators don’t expect. It’s the “awe” factor that drives him forward.

“It’s one human aspect that links us all,” he said.

“If I’ve made someone not think about their bad day and I can transport them somewhere else for a while, then I’m happy.”

As for the shows on the North Coast, he offers advice to the audience.

“Get ready to escape reality, to laugh, be part of the experience and have fun.”

K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist
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