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Vancouver man the first non-American to be president of magicians' society


A Vancouver man is the first outside of the United States to be made president of a very specific group: the Society of American Magicians.

Rod Chow follows in the footsteps of greats like escape artist Harry Houdini.

He said it all started with card tricks, then his act expanded to include money. His website describes him as a "master money manipulator" who is "sophisticated, stunning and sensational."

The magician who's often found performing at the Richmond Night Market or around Vancouver's Chinatown seems to have caught the attention of his peers.

Now he's the president of a major magic organization, a group he said he "really respects."

"All of the presidents before me were greats in magic," he told CTV News in an interview Wednesday.

As for how he rose to the top in a society previously only led by Americans, he said it was a time-consuming and difficult process.

"I worked my way up to this position. I had to serve on the national council for years," Chow said.

"This is something that I've always wanted in life, and I have a big responsibility but I am prepared to carry this out and do great things."

According to its website, the Society of American Magicians is the "world's oldest and most prestigious magic organization."

Membership includes a monthly magazine "filled with magic news," free lectures, meetings, conventions and discounted liability insurance.

While those outside the magic community may not be familiar, the society is actually 120 years old. It was founded inside a magic shop in New York, and more than 47,000 people worldwide have had memberships.

The group says the ideals it promotes "include the elevation of the Art of Magic, the promotion of harmony among magicians and the opposition of the unnecessary public exposure of magical effects."

"The SAM offers the opportunity to unite and associate with leaders in the World of Magic – not only professionals, but amateurs, manufacturers, magic dealers, book authors and magic collectors," its website says.

It costs between US$25 and $79 to join, depending on membership level, and the society offers discounts for college students and those in the military. Those assembly dues are annual, so to stay in the group, magicians need to pay the fee each year.

Those who aren't sure they're ready to commit can buy a four-month trial for US$20.

There's also a Society of Young Magicians, with membership for youth aged seven to 17 at US$20 a year, or a trial membership for $10 for six months.

With a report from CTV News Vancouver's Alissa Thibault Top Stories

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