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Magic to the masses: Check out what Joel Ward has up his sleeve at Jean Cocteau Cinema

California-based magician Joel Ward will perform at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe.

California-based magician Joel Ward will perform at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe.

SANTA FE, N.M. — Joel Ward performs well over 100 shows per year. That is down from his record 500 shows, when he was performing at a casino doing two shows a day, six days a week.

Now, the Los Angeles-based magician is currently touring colleges and small venues with his magic show.

“These are all places I would have never seen,” he says during a recent phone interview. “I’m fortunate that I get to see so much of the country.”

Ward will perform three shows in Santa Fe this weekend.

“I met George R.R. Martin when he came and saw my show at the Magic Castle in Hollywood,” he says. “He liked my show and asked if I toured it. Now I’m booked.”

Ward got interested in magic while he was in elementary school in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Calif. He says that one day a magician came to his school to perform.

“I was the shy child in back that wanted nothing to do with this,” he says. “The magician pulled me up on stage and I helped him with a trick. He told me after it was over that I was a magician. I went home that night and told my parents. They were supportive.”

Ward worked his way up the ranks performing at birthday parties through his high school years. He then moved to Los Angeles and has been working steadily since.

With stints across the world, Ward wants to bring entertainment to the masses. He traveled to Thailand earlier this year for a few shows.

“It’s interesting to see how each area reacts to magic,” he says. “In Thailand, a lot of people looked at me very skeptically and as if I was using witchcraft. It took some getting used to.”

Ward works for months, sometimes years, on new additions to his show.

“It’s always evolving,” he says. “I try to add at least one thing new for each performance. Whether it’s the way I stand or what I say, there’s something different each time.”