War may not be good for much, but some friendly, high-spirited competition helped Nathan Kranzo become the prolific magic creator he is today.
Growing up, a friend showed him a simple card trick, which started a long battle to one-up the other. Of course, they had only library card tricks to go with, but they quickly escalated from 21-card piles and four robbers to much more.
Professionally, Kranzo honed his chops in his native Michigan and surrounding areas. After playing many of the northern resort towns, he toured across the country.
Now, Kranzo is a gregarious yet groundbreaking performer. He has performed worldwide and has been a regular at the famous Magic Castle in Los Angeles. He has also consulted for "The Virtual Magician" and for Penn ad Teller's "Off the Deep End." A list of the places he's lectured looks like an itinerary for a Travel Channel show -- it includes Osaka, London, Las Vegas, Montreal and Monterrey.
As engaging as Kranzo's performance is, his creations are more so. In fact, they are downright crazy. He earned his nickname, "Monster of Magic," with effects such as Box Monster and his work with Loops. Effects such as "Moving Tan Line" -- which is exactly what it sounds like -- drew rave reviews from Teller and Homer Liwag.
Kranzo has written pages upon pages of notes with his original presentations and twists on traditional effects. His publication "The Gig" focuses entirely on restaurant magic and is crammed with the real-world strategies he's picked up. Other effects have been published in Magic Magazine, Genii Magazine, Penumbra, Antinomy, Channel One, The Linking Ring and MUM.
Kranzo said he uses two separate places in his mind for his performance and creation.
Performance is very different than creation to me," he said. "I love both and instantly wanted to create my own effects when I started learning magic. I strive to be an excellent entertainer and think mostly about the effect and the audience experience. Along the way the want and need to NOT follow the common path kicks in, and the creativity just happens out of necessity."