Aaron Liss (grade 11) was named one of 12 recipients of Bethesda Magazine's Extraordinary Teen Awards. Congrats, Aaron!
Read Aaron's profile from Bethesda Magazine by Dina Elboghdady.
Aaron Liss keeps a deck of cards in every room of his house, and he's got at least 40 more on hand at all times. "I realize that's an insane amount for most people, but not for a magician," says Aaron, 16, of Silver Spring. "I use a new deck every week or two. Practice wears out the cards."
When he was 12, Aaron began fiddling around with cards, practicing sleight of hand with the aid of YouTube videos and how-to books. His first magic gig came soon after at a friend's bar mitzvah, where he strung together enough tricks to create a routine. He's since integrated magic into community service, performing at The Children's Inn at NIH, the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington and the Bender JCC of Greater Washington.
Last year, the Society of American Magicians named Aaron a winner of its Stars of Tomorrow Competition in the "close-up" category (performers work close to the audience rather than onstage.) His prize: $200 and performances last July at the society's annual convention in Indianapolis.
"He handles a deck of cards better than more experienced magicians," says George Schindler, the society's dean.
As a junior at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Aaron gives up his lunch time on Fridays to run a magic workshop for younger students. "He is patient and kind with them," and teaches them how to "sell" the trick, says Rabbi Marc Blatt, who supervises the workshop.
On the side, Aaron has filed for three patents, one for a toy top that accelerates before it slows down. He's also developing a mobile app for beginner magicians. Aaron says magic, like patents, requires inventiveness. You have to do more than learn a trick, "you have to make it your own."