Friday, April 24, 2015

Lana's Illusion Debut

I was one of the performers in a variety show and I set up a video camera in the back of the room just so I could review it later. As it turned out my little 3 year old daughter rocked it and even though the video quality isn't the greatest I wanted to share this.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

My FCM cover story

       The Voice of FCM March/April – 2015

Personal profile of

Wes & Natalie Iseli

Wes Iseli• Ruckersville * VA •

I am honored to be on the cover of this
issue and happy to have the opportunity
to share with you my testimony, as it has
everything to do with how blessed I am to
be able to do magic for a living.
I got into magic when I was seven years old
and that was also the same year my dad was
diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. By the
time I was a teenager, I was performing
birthday parties and dad was getting worse
due to the disease. He was on disability and
since my mom worked night shift I was the
one who took care of him overnight and
magic was an awesome job to have because
I was home in the evenings to take care of
him. As a teen attending college for marketing
and doing shows on the weekends, I was
borrowing money from my parents almost
daily, then my car broke down so I ended up
borrowing their car for shows too. One day
I looked at my calendar and I had no shows
coming in the future, that same day my
mom came home with a couple of
applications for me... to help me
get a ‘real job’. I felt as if my
world was closing in. I went outside
and sat in my backyard and
started crying. I loved magic so
much and I also felt if I got a ‘real
job’ I wouldn’t have as much time
at home to take care of my dad.
So as I was crying, in my head, I
was asking God “How can I make
this work? I feel like magic is
what I should be doing, but how
can I make it all work?” After repeating
this question and crying,
I heard one word “RESTAURANTS”.
It was clear, with confidence
at the time, I kind of
thought, “wow I came up with a
possible way out of the slump”.
But it was all GOD! I borrowed
my mom and Dad’s car the next
day and went to a local town and
stopped at an Ihop. I asked to
speak with the Manager. He said
they had a face painter on kids
night years ago and they seemed to like it,
so he decided to give it a try. With one
weekly gig under my belt I went to another
shopping center and asked for a manager in
a Pizza Hut. She said she was the manager
and when I told her who I was, she hugged
me and said she had prayed for something
because there was a pizza shop across the
road that was taking a lot of their business
and she was looking for something that
could draw in more customers. I now had
two weekly bookings within two hours and
I hadn’t done a single trick. Over the next
couple of years I ended up working nine
restaurants six days a week and making
more money than both my parents. Plus on
top of that I was also receiving phone calls
for shows on the weekends. After about five
years to the date at the Ihop I had been
working, I met a waitress who was working
there while she was attending college to
earn a degree in religion. Her name was

I think me and my friends are up next.

Natalie and we started dating. After 2½
years of dating we got married and now we
have a beautiful 3 year old little girl named
Although restaurants are not my main
source of income nowadays, (we now travel
all over with a full evening illusion show
and recently I was hired as a magic consultant
and USDA certified animal trainer for
the TV show, the Carbonaro Effect), none
of this would have been possible if not for
that moment in my back yard when I just
stopped everything I was doing and asked
GOD for help. Dad passed away before I
met Natalie and before I ever performed my
first full evening illusion show, but he did
see me at the height of my restaurant career
and was super proud. I know he is looking
down on me and can see how far I have
come even since then, but I wish I could
share in those experiences with him and
have him just pat me on the back one more
Wes Iseli...
a shining light in Virginia
– by Dennis Phillips
Scripture tells us in Matthew 5:16 “…let
your light shine before others, that they may
see your good deeds and glorify your Father
in heaven.” The young, dynamic magic
ministry team of Wes and Natalie Iseli are
doing just that.
Wes was born and raised just north of Charlottesville,
Virginia in the foothills of the
eastern slope of The Blue Ridge. It has become
his base of operations which include
most of the East coast and Midwest of The
United States. He gave his heart to Christ at
a young age and found a way to use his
magic and business talents to serve the
He has ministered in churches all over the
region and has created Gospel Magic kits to
encourage others. In March 2013 Wes &
Natalie were asked to headline the FCM
convention in Ohio there they met Duane
Laflin and they became fast friends. Duane
offered to mentor Wes & Natalie, the convention
was a huge success for them, and
they were warmly received.
Wes also performs at family shows, theaters,
resorts, corporate work, schools and fund
raisers in non-church settings.
His primary market is Washington DC,
Maryland, Northern, Central and Western
Virginia through Richmond and the Hampton
Roads area.
Recently Wes and Natalie have been blessed
with a young daughter, Lana, and already
 she is a part of the team.

Natalie hands Lana a rose and steals
the hearts of the audience.

Wes travels in a Ford Econoline, with his
name on the side and towing a utility trailer.
He is assisted on stage by Natalie. If you
are lucky to catch him working his illusion
show, this is what I saw in last season’s
Wes uses a pre-produced opening by a professional
announcer and a musical fanfare
with a tympani drum roll as his introduction.
He is dressed in a casual black T-shirt with
long loose pants. His style is very much like
you are coming into his family room to see
a private personal performance. This certainly
is the contemporary approach to
magic. His speaking lines are extemporaneous
and tailored to his audience.
His first three effects were a personal “in-one”
warm-up sequence done on the apron
with the curtains closed. He did Sponge Ball
to Cube, a Dollar Bill Change and the Torn
and Restored Laundry Ticket. His patter reflected
how some recent incidences in his
life were magical.
The curtains opened and a music track
played. He opens with the Floating Box. As
music plays, the box floats up, it twists sideways
and rocks side by side in the air and
finally floats down and Wes opens it and out
comes Natalie. The audience welcomed her
appearance with warm applause.

This leads to a playful relationship with
each other. Wes and Natalie’s act is tailormade
for their audience. Their focus is on
the audience and magic and nothing gets in
the way.
From the opening Floating Box Illusion,
Wes goes into a talking sequence where he
produces a small rainbow colored streamer
from his fist, puts it into a crystal silk cylinder
and it becomes filled with eggs. He puts
an egg into a small plaid bag and lights the
inside of the bag on fire. The bag is pulled
apart and the flames gone and in its place is
a live dove. The dove is placed into a box

Natalie and Wes close the first half of the
show with the Sub-Trunk.

and the box is taken apart and the dove is
gone. It reappears inside a flaming dove
Wes brings up a young girl volunteer from
the audience and does several versions of
the Cut and Restored Rope. Knots vanish
and pop off and he then cuts the rope into
three pieces and does Professor’s Nightmare.
He gives her the three ropes as a souvenir.

After several other exciting routines, he
closed the first half of the show with a Substitution
Trunk (wooden crate) exchange accompanied
by a music track. After the
intermission the lights dimmed, the curtain
opened, the sound track started, and he did
the Hindu Basket with Natalie.
He then invited a woman from the audience
up to do “The Instant Magician”. Natalie
was the hands who performed the effects .

The second half continued to build excite-
ment with several original signature effects
by Wes.
For his final big illusion Wes did the Three
Part Cube Zag. He announced that he was
going to put Natalie in the box but she insisted
that he demonstrate what she was
supposed to do. Wes agreed for her to handcuff
him and also put on a Siberian Chain
Escape. After Wes was in the box, she
locked him inside and thrust three tubes and
three swords through the box. As two of the
tubes emerged, each contained a set of
handcuffs that Wes was wearing. The spectators
could see through each of the tubes
and Wes was gone. The tubes and swords
were removed and Wes reappeared.
His final trick was to take the cage of doves
and cover them with a square wooden tube
and remove the empty tube and they had
transformed into “Lucky” the rabbit.
The audience thoroughly enjoyed the show.
On the way to my car, I happened to be
walking behind the gentleman who had
transmitted his thoughts about his selected
card to the woman in the audience. His
young son, about 10 years old was walking
beside him. The gentleman kept asking his
son, “How did she know the card I picked?”
His son kept giggling and saying, “Awe Dad
it was REAL magic!”
In church or on stage, Wes and Natalie Iseli, and
now Lana, are a class act and a testimony
that God gave them talents and they
are being used for His glory.
A Tribute to Wes and Natalie Iseli
Wes’ and Natalie’s friend,
Ron Schneider, Charlottesville, VA
It was a sunny spring day in 1998 the first
time I visited “The Magic Shop” near the
grounds of The University of Virginia in
Charlottesville, Virginia. A young man was
behind the counter enthusiastically showing
a couple of UVA students a card trick. This
was my first meeting with Wes Iseli, who
was working the magic counter and demoing
tricks. I was quite impressed with his
magic skills, but what I immediately appreciated
even more about this young man was
his passion and how he connected with
these two students. He had then, and still
has, an ability to really connect with people
of all ages, gender and ethnicity, and this is
demonstrated in how he relates to and entertains
his audiences. This is still a great
trait Wes has, and it is because he truly likes
those people he entertains in a special way.
It is not an act for Wes, but a wonderful caring,
respect and love he has and shows for

Wes and Natalie even get the audience involved

Over these past sixteen years, Wes and I
have become more than just good friends.
My wife, Mary Lou, and I feel that he is
family to us. We have been totally blessed
to have him in our lives. That blessing was
greatly enhanced for us when we met his
wife-to-be for the first time. Wes had met
Natalie while she was a student at James
Madison University waiting tables in 2005
at the local IHOP in the Shenandoah Valley
city of Harrisonburg. The restaurant had
hired this young magician who was entertaining
the clientele doing walk around
close-up magic and creating wonderful balloon
sculptures for the children. This was
one of the restaurants where Wes began his
professional career in magic, and still does
some restaurant work between traveling
throughout the Mid-Atlantic area with his
stage act, doing corporate events, and
church and Gospel magic shows.
Then in 2008, Wes and Natalie were married,
and our family was blessed even more.
What a wonderful and talented woman Natalie
is, and what a great Christian influence
she has been on Wes. Wes’ walk with our
Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus, has truly been
enhanced with Natalie walking along side
of him. In fact, she does far more than walk
beside him, she brings many talents, including
becoming his assistant and quite good at
the magic art herself. Not only that, Natalie
has brought excellent organizational, administrative
and business management
skills to their success as full-time entertainers
in magic.
In December of 2011, God provided them
the Gift of one of His most special creations,
their beautiful daughter Lana Elizabeth,
who travels with them throughout a very
special magical world. She has been known
to steal the show on many occasions already,
and at three years of age is no
stranger to being on stage. Mary Lou and I
have 13 grandchildren, and now with Wes
and Natalie being like our own kids, Lana
has become our fourteenth grandchild in our
The Magic that the Iseli’s exhibit in all that
they do, not just performing, continues to
bless us. We dearly love this family, and we
are grateful that God has allowed us to be
part of their lives, and they to be such a loving
part of ours.
I love every aspect of magic; from the rich
history to current, from close up to stage;
and even making magic and creating new
effects that I sell on my website. It never
gets old performing for thousands of people
each month and getting to share my message
with folks from all walks of life. Whatever
your passion, make sure you take time
out to pray about it and truly ask yourself,
"how can I use this to help serve GOD?" I
feel that once you have done that and figured
out a way, the obstacles that stand in
the way in life seem to disappear as if by
Thanks so much for taking time out to read
my article this month. Please feel free to
send me a message anytime at as I love hearing from
you guys. Take care and God Bless. ✞

Sunday, April 19, 2015

FCM Magazine Cover

 I have been a contributor to the FCM Magazine for a few years now writing articles each month.
The FCM is an international orginization for Christian entertainers. Most of my articles are about marketing and making yourself memorable, a.k.a. helping folks create a brand.

This month I wrote an article that was unlike my past ones, it was my testimonial I deliver to churches. The editor of the magaizine told me he wanted another article right away. I asked if he liked the other one and he said yes I loved it, it would be good for a feature but I need another article. I was confused and said if you love it use that one and I'll write you another one next month. Then he explained to me he wanted to put me on the cover and my testimonial would be great as the meat of the article. I decided that I did not want to write four more pages of material in a bragging fashion or saying how great I am, so I asked two of my magic friends to write an article about me to be published in the magazine. One friend recapped our full evening Illusion show and the other talked about first meeting me when I worked in a magic shop in the late 90's and how he has enjoyed watching me grow as a performer.