'Can't' not part of this magician's vocabulary

January 19, 2012 12:09:11 PM PST
Slight of hand helps magicians make audiences believe what they are seeing is real. A young Chicago area magician with disabilities is able to do just that.

Trent Rivas, 22, loves performing magic tricks.

"I started doing magic since I was 16 years old and now I've been doing it for like six years and how most people ask me 'What got you into magic?' and I say I would like to know that myself because I don't even know what got me into magic," Rivas said.

Rivas was born with 85 percent brain damage from a stroke. He also has OCD. His dad, Omar, says his son has achieved more than expected.

"Trent was not even suppose to be able to ride a bike. He rode a bike," Omar Rivas said. "He also rode dirt bikes and motorcycles and he functions like any other child with the exception of that he can't process properly. He reads at approximately a second-grade level, writes very little."

What he excels in is magic. Something that requires great skills say professional magician Fred Paul Bailey.

"To be a good magician, I think you have got to be able to relate to people and you have to have that inner desire and drive to want to entertain people," Bailey said.

In addition to performing, Rivas works part-time at P.J.'s Trick shop in Arlington Heights.

P.J.'s son, Brian Johnson, hired him

"He works in the magic section and performs magic, whether it be kids, adults, and then teaches them how to do the tricks they would like to buy," Johnson said. "Trent is great to have around. He is so enthusiastic, energetic, he loves being here, he loves entertaining our customers and he loves selling the tricks."

Rivas performs at parties and events. He will be performing Saturday at 1 pm in the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights for a fundraiser benefitting NADS, the National Association for Down Syndrome.

"He's is a perfectionist," his father said. "He knows what he wants and he has to get it to a point where it would be absolutely perfect for him. One thing I try to instill in Trent is to eliminate the word can't."