Zoot Suit Magician to bedazzle Putnam County Fair-goers
Stephen Dixon will be hard to miss -- and resist -- during three days of the upcoming Putnam County Fair.
His beguiling attire will make him stand out in the crowd -- he wears a 1940s-era Zoot Suit, which also contributes to his performance moniker, the Zoot Suit Magician.
Dixon will be strolling the fairgrounds in Eleanor from 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 8 and Sunday, July 9 and 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, July 10, mesmerizing fair-goers with his sleight of hand, snappy patter and showmanship as well as his sartorial splendor. He will also perform three, 30-minute stage shows daily Saturday through Monday.
“Cards are my specialty, especially the close-up stuff,” the 59-year-old Dixon said from his Marietta, Ohio, home last week. “I also do coins, cups-and-balls stuff -- a little bit of everything.”
A professional magician for about 40 years, Dixon said he performed periodically over a decade at The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs. He also performed at the White House once in the early 1990s, at the specific request of first lady Barbara Bush. He has entertained on cruise ships, the Delta Queen, television shows, at resorts and even regularly on a Parkersburg radio station for a while. “The first radio show was a comedy routine,” he explained, “where I sawed a woman in half with a chainsaw -- we weren’t even in the same room when we did it -- and put her back together with duct tape.”
Dixon has also displayed his magical prowess in conjunction with drug and alcohol awareness programs at schools, juvenile facilities and prisons throughout the region, including some West Virginia sites, he said.
And the origin of his distinctive choice of apparel?
“For years, I performed in a tuxedo and then in an Asian-style coat. I was about to open for B.B. King’s daughter at a blues and gospel music festival one time. One guy there told me, ‘If you’re going to do a blues festival, you have to wear a Zoot Suit.’
“So, I looked into it, ordered one and had it custom fit. Everybody seemed to like the look, so I kept it and it’s been my look ever since,” Dixon said.