August 2023 David Ranalli is a globe-trotting magician, entertainer and motivational speaker. His latest show, DECEPTION: An Evening of Magic & Lies, is now playing to sold-out crowds and rave reviews. Ranalli most often performs at corporate events, private parties and YouTube, and he has residency in Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael in Carmel, Indiana, through February of 2024. Some of Ranalli’s work has been featured on TEDx, Entrepreneur, and TV commercials. He regularly performs for the world’s top CEOs, media personalities and athletes. Ranalli believes that magic has the power to inspire people and wake them up from a world designed to distract them. His jaw-dropping illusions will make you laugh, think and feel a sense of wonder. He designs his shows to be interactive and to immerse you in the experience. He uses a variety of secret techniques and gets inspiration from art, science, communication and hypnosis. I spoke with this remarkable magician who graciously performed a few of his tricks for me, over a Zoom call no less, and left me completely amazed, baffled and believing that there is magic all around us. We just have to be willing to see it. Don’t miss a minute of the magic! Get your tickets at feinsteinshc.com. Janelle Morrison: I read that you got into magic at an early age while growing up in Chicago. David Ranalli: I started doing magic when I was 13. I snuck in to meet David Copperfield at one of his meet-and-greets. Then I started looking up local magic shops and I found a good one where there was a lot of community. So, I would go and just hang out and learn on Saturday mornings. Then at 14, I started doing magic in a restaurant — going table to table. JM: The world is full of cynics and hecklers. How hard is it for you and your colleagues to make people believe that magic is real? DR: The fact that they stopped believing is part of the problem but that is why I stay employed. For me, it’s about connecting with what is real and what’s so magical about that in the first place. For instance, a bubble is very magical. Just because we know how it works doesn’t make it not magical. To me, magic is very real. JM: How much of performing magic is understanding human nature and psychology? DR: I feel like is a customer service job for the soul. I try to touch on things where I can use psychological elements and also imaginational elements and make a game out of it so people have fun. And hopefully, I’m able to say something interesting about human nature at the same time so that people walk away and say, “I’ve never really thought about that.” I hope that as I continue to make my work more artful, it comes across that we are creating life as we go. The best thing that we can do is try to push back the negativity and feel that sense of wonder … and feel like every day we’re getting a chance to do something amazing. JM: Does the onset of new technology such as AI hinder or help your industry? DR: CGI screens exist because magicians helped innovate screens back in the 1800s. There is no right answer or correct way to approach this. We could argue that what we’re doing right now, virtually, is not the correct way to communicate and that technology can be overloading because we’re shoving electricity in our faces several hours a day. I think that technology, in terms of my craft, is yet another way to play with people’s perceptions. It’s another tool. But at the end of the day, I can just directly read your mind and write down on a piece of paper and that will get a way better and more impactful reaction than me trying to incorporate some complex technology into it. JM: Do you prefer smaller, more intimate venues over larger ones to perform your magic? DR: Even the biggest stadiums can feel intimate if the performer does it right. There’s something about getting the energy right in the room, and the venue fits the vibe for what I’m doing. JM: What do you enjoy most about performing at Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael? DR: Feinstein’s is by far the best residency I’ve ever had. I really love the venue, the team and the people who come in. I also love this stage and how it functions. And it goes without saying: the food is amazing! I try to give as many people as possible personal attention before the show. With that “customer service” thing in the back of my head, I want to engage with people and give them a “moment” so they feel they got something personal from the show. I try to make the show as energetic as possible. There’s a collective thing that happens that you have to be there for. Watching magic on TV is certainly not the same experience. You have to “buy the ticket and take the ride” as Hunter S. Thompson would say. Experience the magic of David Ranalli live at Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael! Tickets for his upcoming show on September 28 are available at feinsteinshc.com.