It might sound unusual – a GCC-based magician, illusionist and mentalist – but Javier Saba is just that. He’s known as one of the more innovative magic men in Asia and while he doesn’t do anything too out of the box, he smoothly performs the seemingly impossible, close up.
This means there is no room for error, making his tricks even more technically astonishing and entertaining. With 14 years of experience in this industry, Javier is adept at navigating any crowd – even, rumour has it, a GCC royal family. This month, however, his audience is the Mövenpick Hotel brunch-goers, to coincide with the hotel’s annual American festival.
Ahead of his arrival in Bahrain, we speak to the charismatic close-up magic man himself.
How did you end up becoming an illusionist?
In 2001 I decided to devote myself to being an illusionist but it started by accident. I had a bar back in Spain where one of my best friends would usually come every week to do some magic for me. One day he did something that blew my mind and that is what made me want to learn magic. I ended up converting my business into a magic bar.
Are you part of the Magic Circle?
I belong to the American Magicians’ Society, which updates its members with the best illusions. I also create my own magic shows.
How did you end up performing magic in the GCC?
I was booked more and more for corporate events in Abu Dhabi and Qatar. I never thought I would end up performing magic in this part of the world because in some Arabic countries the word ‘magician’ is taboo. The best part of my job is being able to travel anywhere and be accepted.
What’s your favourite trick?
All the illusions I perform are astonishing. There is no special or best one. I don’t do hard tricks – I just try to do the seemingly impossible and create the wow factor everywhere I perform. I just perform the next generation of magic.
What can guests expect at Mövenpick Hotel this month?
I just want to add to the massive success they are having with their brunch. They do have one of the biggest brunches in Bahrain so let’s add five-star entertainment for everyone. I am preparing new illusions for the people who have never seen me before. Close-up magic will add a unique form of entertainment to the event, allowing all the guests to interact. In my experience this type of performance is the perfect icebreaker for a brunch or social event.
What’s been your favourite reaction from someone watching you so far?
We are human beings. We all react in different ways. I have had people sending me emails the following day asking me about the previous night’s illusions, as they could not sleep. I even remember a lady who cried as a result of the strong emotion she felt when I guessed what three digits she had in her mind. In my experience the best reactions occur when people participate in the performance.
Magically speaking, who else do you admire?
I do admire all magicians who perform and fool me. There are many magicians from whom I have learned, so it would be unfair to mention just one name.
If you weren’t an illusionist, what would you be?
Right now, I cannot imagine my life without magic. It has become part of me. Every time I leave the house, even just going to grab a coffee, I’m always prepared. Most people already know I am a magician as they have seen me perform somewhere and they often ask me to do something for them. I really enjoy this lifestyle – not only does it allow me to present and test out new illusions, but it is also a way to know how people react, as well as being a form of socialising.
See Javier perform
Catch him at the hotel all month
November 5 and 6
Javier shows up on two days of this event, celebrating the syncopated rhythms of the US. The Thursday Night Out (BD27 net, 7pm-11pm) sees Professor Cunningham and His Old School also perform. The Friday brunch (BD35 net, 12.30pm-4pm) also continues with the theme.
November 12 and 13
Relive the ’60s era of Hollywood this weekend and feast on buffets fit for celebrities. Find Javier at the themed Thursday Night Out (BD27 net, 7pm-11pm) and Friday brunch (BD31 net, 12.30pm-4pm).
Thursday Night Outs
November 19 and 26
The themes might be over but Javier is still in town to perform at November’s Thursday evening feast affair from 7pm-11pm. It costs BD27 net per person.
November 20 and 27
These weekends also don’t have a theme, just pure indulgence and unadulterated fun. It runs from 12.30pm-4pm for BD31 net.
Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain, Muharraq (1746 0000).