You’ll never see Cosmo Solano on America’s Got Talent. Not for lack of skills or talent—the magician has trained with industry legends and produced magic products for other professionals. Southern California-based, long-time magician and peer John Abrams recently introduced Cosmo as a guest on his podcast, The Variety Artist with John Abrams, as “one the great close-up magicians of our time.”
Competition just isn’t Cosmo’s thing. Nor is the scene in L.A. or Las Vegas, both places he’s lived and performed in over the years. “I could work in L.A. I could work in Vegas in a second. I could go to New York,” Cosmo says. “But I love it here.”
The magician knows it may sound strange to some, but fame doesn’t do much for him. ”I tried to make that something I was motivated by, and I just didn’t have any passion for it,” he says. “It’s more important to me that I just have an audience in front of me. That means everything.”
Since September 2017, that audience can be found at Cosmo’s Magic Theater off South Circle Drive, which the Pueblo native opened with his wife, Carrie. It’s an unexpected location for a totally unexpected venue. Spectators enter the lobby through a red velvet curtain and are transported to a space that exudes 1920s exclusive lounge. Dozens of antique-framed posters of magicians such as Harry Houdini and Carter the Great cover the walls, and chandeliers hang from the ceiling.
But that’s only the beginning. A hallway leads to the 70-seat theater where Cosmo performs sleight of hand and other classic tricks while threading in heartwarming and humorous tales from his history. He also hosts private 12-person “Close-Up Room” shows. (Based on the oohs and aahs and enthusiastic applause tonight’s crowd is giving him, most would be excited to get in on those performances as well.)
Cosmo calls becoming a magician, “almost accidental.” He began playing around with kids’ magic kits at the age of 5. By 12, he’d come across a “really difficult book on sleight of hand,” and since it was the only book he had on the topic, he started studying it.
At the same time, Cosmo also had a passion for drawing and sculpting and someday wanted to be an animator or cartoonist. “I had a reputation at school all the way from first grade on to being the kid who was the artist. So I had it in my head that that’s what I was going to do.”
Some rough teen years led Cosmo to drop out of high school, get his GED and move to California, where he thought he might be able to do something with art. But the entrepreneurial 18-year-old living out of his car quickly learned that magic would make him money.
He got a job in a magic shop and began to work on his skills—and a goal to become a member of the world-famous Hollywood Magic Castle when he turned 21.
“I had to do a 12-minute audition,” he says. “I got about three or four minutes in … and they stopped me.” What followed was an invitation to join the exclusive club. “It was such an awesome experience. I remember it like it was yesterday.”
Fast-forward to today. Cosmo seems just as excited about magic as that 5-year-old with a stack of plastic cups and a pile of foam balls, even with its innate frustrations.
“I have a theory about magic: The reason that most of us work so hard and practice it so often … is because we can never really do it,” he says. “We’re always faking it. You know, you can’t really put a coin in your hand and blow on it, and [have] it disappear. We’re trying to emulate that, and we’ll never hit it, so there’s a bit of frustration that goes along with it. It’s like, ‘Ah! It still didn’t disappear when I blew on it. Well, I’ll have to hide it over here.’”
Perhaps then it’s a tenacious hope that fuels magicians like Cosmo to continue impressing the rest of us with illusions of just what might be possible.
“I realized a long time ago that those of us who are super passionate about it are just sort of reaching for that Holy Grail kind of thing,” Cosmo says. “One of these days, that coin’s just gonna go away.”
Find Cosmo’s Magic Theater
Get show info and tickets at cosmosmagictheater.com
Try This Trick
1. Materials needed:
• Small clear glass or see-through plastic cup
• Two blank white notecards (no lines)
• Glue stick