Masters of Illusion come to Tahoe

Dan Sperry will perform at Masters of Illusion. | Courtesy Masters of Illusion

An illusion is defined as something one perceives to be happening that really isn’t. This can be anything from a visually observed image, such as an optical illusion, to hearing or feeling sensations, that do not exist. As such, magic is a common language among all ages, cultures and peoples of the known world.

June 27- Sept. 2 | 8 p.m.
Harrah’s Lake Tahoe | Stateline, Nev.

“I think everyone can understand that something was the color red and now it’s the color blue. You were standing in one place and now you are in a different place and another person is there. There was nothing somewhere and now all of a sudden there is,” says Masters of Illusion magician Farrell Dillon, who performs alongside Dan Sperry, Michael Turco and Tommy Wind this summer.

There is a reason why magic has been referred to as one of the oldest professions.

“One day there was a person who knew how to make fire and the rest of the people didn’t,” says Dillon. “And on that day, the magician was born because he held the secret. If I could go back to the 1920s with the knowledge of magic that I know now, I’d be the greatest magician that ever lived.”

While the most powerful weapon a magician has is typically the element of surprise, the age-old art of deception depends on a constant and progressive evolution of the craft.

“If people don’t know what they are going to see, they don’t know how to catch it,” says Dillon. “The more times you see a show, the more likely you will catch on, but you won’t ever catch everything. I’ve been watching magic since I was a little kid and even if you know, it doesn’t take away from it. It’s still a never-ending supply of imagination; anything I can imagine, I can make possible somehow.”

Tahoe’s Magical Orbit

There must be something in these crystal-clear, turquoise waters to arouse the imagination of possibilities beyond our grasp, because if it wasn’t for the mysterious depths of the Lake of the Sky, Dillon would never have become the grand illusionist he is today.

It was on a family vacation to Lake Tahoe that Dillon first saw Tony Clark perform his legendary Phantasy magic show at the Horizon Hotel & Casino Resort, which closed in 2014. On the way out of town, he stopped by The Crowe’s Nest, a now-defunct magic shop in South Lake to purchase a videotape called, “The Art of Card Manipulation,” starring Las Vegas sleight-of-hand magician Jeff McBride. He practiced everything on that VHS before picking up Volume 2 the following year. However, it wasn’t until years later that Dillon performed for anyone other than family members.

“My sisters were ballbusters,” he says. “They’d make me super nervous trying to figure out the trick. When I could finally fool them, I knew I was pretty good. So I stopped being afraid to perform magic for people.”

When Dillon landed his first professional gig at Magic Castle in Hollywood at the age of 21, he had the opportunity to book private lessons with none other than Clark who had landed in Burbank after completing a successful run of Phantasy 2.

After spending a few months living with a juggler in a doublewide while performing for transients at Seven Feathers Casino Resort in the tiny, truck-stop town of Canyonville, Ore., Dillon got his big break with “Masters of Illusion” television program on CW network that currently airs on Friday nights.

It was 2011 when he joined the mind-blowing spectacle of the live show, a flamboyant fantasy for all ages featuring everything from card tricks and sleight of hand to mind reading, voodoo and comedy magic to grand illusions such as disappearing motorcycles, vanishing women and people changing places. And if you’re lucky, Dillon might even escape a straight jacket while surfing.

As far as whether real magic truly exists, the master prestidigitator himself admits there are all sorts of things in the universe that he does not understand.

“What’s the process of where we come from? What predates the Big Bang? What’s past the wall of nothing?” asks the father of two. “To me, there is nothing more beautiful in life than a true mystery. It took me a long time to be comfortable with not having all the answers to things. Now that I’m okay with not knowing everything, I find beauty in not knowing.” | caesars.com/harrahs-tahoe