We had the good fortune of connecting with David Kovac and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi David, other than deciding to work for yourself, what else do you think played a pivotal role in your story?
I’ve never given myself anything to fall back on. Sure, the path of a performing artist or entertainer may be non-linear and unpredictable, and not every effort will succeed. But creative people who persevere and pay attention tend to fall forward, and at least they land closer to their dream. Those are the personalities I’ve always admired and tried to learn from — good old fashioned show biz pros who live a decisive life and end up with with plucky stories, real friends, and maybe even a signature piece or two.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Everybody wants to be famous. But famous people ruin parties. I always thought it would be ideal to make a living in good old fashioned show business. In other words, develop a talent and create an act, then find an audience and put on real, live shows. And do this until you can actually excel at it — which takes many years! Then do it for many more years, and see where it leads you. With any luck, it will take you around the world and you’ll meet some pretty fascinating characters. Such a life may not always be glamorous (real showbiz is rarely glamorous), but it can always be beautiful. Sounds perfect, right? My story, sadly but not unfortunately, involves some pretty serious physical obstacles. Upon completing my conservatory theatre training, I started painting my face and juggling on the streets of Chicago. I was practicing and performing juggling with knives, fire, basketballs and hats for hours each day (without a qualified teacher or circus instructor, I might add) and I eventually ended up with some pretty serious repetitive stress injuries. Due to the very real nerve damage in my left arm; I was ordered by a surgeon at Northwestern Hospital to stop juggling immediately. It sounds funny, but it was actually pretty tragic — I couldn’t use my left arm, and the same thing was starting to happen in my right arm. The graceful part was that I happened to know some fellow variety artists that could do magic, and they agreed to teach me some new skills. Over the next decade or so, I began substituting clever feats of prestidigitation and original comedy for the juggling routines. Every actor should have an act, but it might not be the act you had originally planned. This year I was nominated for Stage Magician of the Year at The Magic Castle. It only took me a quarter century!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Naturally, being a variety performer, I am partial to live entertainment venues that feature comedy, music, magic etc … I would heartily recommend The Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, Illusion Magic Lounge in Santa Monica and a relatively new offering in Encino called Magic Bar LA. Just check out the website first, so you know the line up. Magic Bar LA, for instance, is an intimate bar room type set up where featured performers share an extended set of close-up magic and whatever other talents they might possess. (It’s a cool concept because only 20 tickets can be sold for each performance and the audience has cocktails and popcorn and laughs a lot!) I’m hoping some of these venues — along with The Magic Castle, of course — will come back strong and continue to bring people together to celebrate in high style for many years to come. In terms of music, I’m a fan of going out to actually listen to the artists, so I’m partial to legit rooms like Blue Whale, Baked Potato Club — even Vibrato Jazz Grill has some excellent acts, depending on your mood and the atmosphere you’re after. My wife and I like to get dressed up for a night on the town, and we have a healthy respect for live music and, of course, delicious food and drinks. (We don’t look at our phones and devices once we get out of the car; it’s all about the conversation, the adventure.) If you really want to knock someone out, book an entire evening at The Cicada Club. It’s an elegant, indulgent evening of great cocktails, fancy dinner and dancing with a live orchestra in a vintage deco building downtown. (It’s pretty swell to see people of all ages and backgrounds show up in formal attire just to have fun.) We really miss socializing in smart, fun environments during these pandemic times. A better day will come, though, and we look forward to seeing you out and about!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Thanks for asking this important question. A the very least, I should mention The Academy of Magical Arts in Hollywood, CA, Marj and Jewel Walker (famed theatre educators and mentors), The Theatre School of DePaul University, The Milwaukee High School of the Arts, and Bonnie Shadrake of The Noble Fool Theatre and Cabaret in Chicago. Oh, and Denise McGowan (former entertainment director at Navy Pier, where I performed over 1,000 public shows).
Other: My wife and I are currently practicing “social media distancing.” However, I’m in the process of setting up and coordinating new social media accounts, etc … for David Kovac Entertainment. Please stay tuned. Meanwhile, enjoy the quiet.
David Linsell, Paul Sherman, Tony D’Orio, David Rice, Taylor Wong,