Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Project 365 (243/365): Bing Lim-It

.:243/365: Bing Lim-It:.

I saved Mr. Bing Lim-It for last because he is the man I consider to be my mentor through the years I’ve been doing magic. He has had a very storied career in magic, and his story serves both as an inspiration and a cautionary tale in the mercurial world of magic.

A magic hobbyist since he was seven years old, Bing Lim-It was always fond of the art thanks to the inspiration of his idol, Lou Hilario, whom he saw many times on television back in the day. As he grew in magic, it took him almost two decades before he donned the tuxedo and top hat and became a professional magician, when he became a professional magician in 1987.

In 1998, he opened up a magic shop in Virra Mall, which eventually supplanted his professional magic career. The shop can currently be found in the third floor of Shoppesville, and is very popular because of his wide range of merchandise, from magic items to instructional videos to... ahem, marital aids.

Bing was practically as old school as can be: nearly every stereotype you could come up with for the traditional stage/parlor magician, he exemplified it, be his very deliberate but graceful movements, or his look and costume. As one of the country’s top performers, his experiences have gone far and wide, and earned him a lot of accolades along the way.

Through his long career, he has had countless performances, highlights among them being the time that he performed for Cardinal Sin and his card manipulation routine was hailed as “a miracle” by the late archbishop; as well as the stage show he had at the NAIA Tarmac. He became known for his specialty of fire production and fire-related effects, which allowed him to stand out among his contemporaries, as well as his patented “70 tricks in 30 minutes,” replete with rapid-fire productions, manipulations, vanishes, and all other manners of magical routines. Choosing Lance Burton (And particularly, his candle act.) as his international source of inspiration, Bing exuded elegance and skill when performing routines, and had a distinct look that made him seem larger than life. Over the years, he has created or redesigned numerous effects, the secrets of which are probably lost with him or the lucky persons who would purchase the item in question he himself actually used to accomplish such effects.

Eventually, after his wife was injured in 2005, Bing contemplated retiring on his 20th anniversary as a magician, but ended up retiring a year earlier, having his last show on October 1, 2006. He wanted a definite end to his magic career, going out still at the top of his game, well before his star power as a premiere performer waned, and leaving many others clamouring for more from the man. For the past four years, it’s hard to count how many people begged him for “one last show,” and it seemed like no price could possibly make him don his suit and top hat again. As far as he is concerned, his professional magic days are behind him, but one can see that his skills are still sharp despite four years outside the limelight, whenever he teaches his customers magic routines after they purchase from him.

Considered a hermit by many, Bing Lim-It is a controversial figure: someone who preferred to work alone, rather than to belong to any particular group of magicians. To this day, I honor his request of never officially taking part in a magic group, and I certainly see the wisdom behind it. As a performer on the outside looking in and extending nothing but goodwill towards the magic community, my perception of magic groups has always been positive, and I have continued to be insulated from all the pitfalls and horror stories that others may have felt compelled to bring up over the years.

While a man as complex and as nuanced as Bing Lim-It may prove to be an individual who will always perplex and polarize those who know him or even just know of him, those who have taken the time to take a close look at the man know that behind the apparent veneer of jadedness lies a human being who has seen it all and done it all, and the wisdom that he imparts, whether or not you may agree with it, is born from the many experiences he has had that has shaped him to become the person that he is today. With this in mind, it becomes rather clear why I continue to honor and respect him, because while it’s so easy to focus on the idiosyncracies, the firebrand demeanor, and the self-assured opinions, there is an inner gentleness to Bing Lim-It: a kind soul longing to see the spark of magic continue in all the right ways, for all the right reasons. A longing that repeatedly gets extinguished yet keeps on reigniting, each time fainter than the last.

He is a walking paradox: on one hand, an accomplished magician; on the other, one who would rather leave those days behind him. Despite this, all the while, he runs a shop that reminds him of what he would rather leave behind on a daily basis. When one sees the full breadth of the human condition in him, one begins to see the many lessons he has to teach, without him ever having to utter a single word.

For that, I choose to honor him today, a day removed from National Heroes day, to commemorate everything he has put forth for the sake of the industry, then and now. To you, Bing Lim-It may be controversial, but to me, Bing Lim-It is my mentor.

1 comment:

Mindbender said...

beautiful peice Kel! Wonderfully written... the force is strong in you...