of the trade
Riggs wows visitors
at Broadway Hotel & Tavern
performs cards tricks and sleight-of-hand
(December 2007) Mentalist Joe Riggs can go through
30 to 40 forks at the Broadway Hotel & Tavern in one night. As a
part of his performance, he bends and twists a fork in front of a customer
by twirling it in the air and seemingly with only the power of his mind.
by Amy Casebier
Joe Riggs mesmerizes
customers with sleight of hand and
mind. In this trick, Riggs makes the
card levitate for Kathie Petkovic.
I let them have it, said Riggs, 28. Hundreds
of people say, I still have your fork.
Riggs performs at the Broadway every Thursday from 5 p.m. until closing,
and every Friday and Saturday from 7 p.m. until closing. In addition
to being exclusive to the Broadway, Riggs performs at corporate events,
weddings and private parties in area homes, he said.
My phones been ringing off the hook, he said. People
come from Ohio and Chicago who have heard about me.
Riggs mixes features from both magic and mentalism to create his own
unique brand of entertainment.
A magician uses sleight of hand and misdirection with cards, coins and
other props to entertain. However, a mentalist specializes in the human
Riggs performs psychokinesis, which is any form of
mind over matter through invisible means, he said.
Mentalism is almost like real magic, he added. Most
people freak out when they see it. Its really something you have
to see in person.
When Riggs was 9 years old, he saw a magician up close and immediately
became obsessed with magic.
I became a magician to do tricks for friends, he said. I
never considered doing it full time. It was a hobby.
However, following a surgery in 2002, Riggs became dependent on the
Vicodin prescribed to him for the pain.
I got badly addicted, he said. I was taking 20 to
30 a day.
After he lost everything, Riggs moved to Florida and checked himself
into a six-month rehabilitation program. Riggs discovered he had an
aptitude for mentalism during his stay there. He was reading a book
from the centers library by famous mentalist Uri Geller when he
came across an instructional chapter for bending flatware. When he completed
the directions, Riggs was surprised to find that his fork had bent a
Riggs moved to Las Vegas after he successfully completed the rehabilitation
program. There, he found some mentalists and studied under them for
Originally from Indianapolis, Riggs moved to Madison, Ind., in December
of 2006 to take custody of his daughter, Raven, 7.
Im here for her, he said. I didnt want
to take her out of school.
Riggs began working as a mentalist in August of this year. An added
bonus of living in Madison is that it gives Riggs access to Cincinnati,
Indianapolis and Louisville, Ky.
Its something youve never seen up close, he
said. Its something theyll remember forever.
Although Riggs mixes in classic magic with his mentalism, the magic
portions are advanced and unusual.
by Amy Casebier
Riggs has practiced
magic since age 9.
It really ends up being a strong form of entertainment,
Many people keep coming back to the Broadway for more, Riggs added.
Im practicing nonstop, he said. I want to always
have fresh illusions. People have requests. Things that I do have become
signature, like levitation.
Riggs has about nine and a half hours of material he has developed over
time, he said.
His favorite part of the job is giving people something I know
they will never forget, Riggs said. Just interacting with
people all night and making an impression thatll last.
As to whether people seem to enjoy magic or mentalism more, it is hard
Magic makes them happiest, Riggs said. Mentalism makes
a bigger impact. Mentalism keeps them coming back. People can remember
mentalism exactly as it happened.
Riverboat Inn owner Kathie Petkovic can recall a particular trick that
Riggs performed for her one time. He asked her to write the names of
different relatives on separate pieces of paper and then put them in
a glass. Riggs then said that he would remove the piece of paper with
Petkovics grandfathers name on it. As he proposed it, the
correct piece of paper rose from the glass.
He blows my mind; I just love it, she said. I highly
recommend it to anyone. I tell all our guests to go. They all come back
For more information about mentalist Joe
Riggs, including video clips of some of his performances, visit his
website at: www.myspace.com/defythemind.
Back to December 2007