Israel-born magician Asi Wind overcame dyslexia to become mentalist.
While scientists have disproved the idea that we use only 10 percent of our brainpower, there is no question that we could do much more with the mental equipment that we have. Just ask the Israeli-born magician Asi Wind, who is presenting a new show, “Concert of the Mind: Exceeding Human Limits” through Oct. 30 at the Axis Theatre in the West Village (1 Sheridan Square; $49, www.axiscompany.org).
Co-created by William Kalush, “Concert of the Mind” includes such feats as remembering the names of everyone in the audience, memorizing a completely shuffled deck of cards, and simultaneously solving two Rubik’s cubes (one in each hand) without glancing at either one.
Wind, 34, who grew up in the city of Hulon, near Tel Aviv, was born dyslexic at a time when the disability was not yet well understood. “My teachers treated me as if I were stupid,” he told The Jewish Week, “and I believed them. This created in me a desire to feel special, to have a supernatural power that no one had discovered.” He determined to show that he was “worthy and capable to do something magnificent, to do things that would fascinate and amaze.” Wind was entranced by the rabbi in his synagogue, whom he viewed as a showman, and whom he resolved to imitate by becoming an entertainer.
While also honing his skills in drawing and oil painting, Wind soon gravitated to the world of magic and illusion. His military service consisted of performing for the soldiers on army bases throughout the country. At the age of 21, Wind was hired for a Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) celebration that toured the West Coast of the United States, a show that also featured the Israeli rock star Shalom Hanoch and the Israeli singer-songwriter Dana Berger.
Following the tour, Wind came to New York, where his brother was living, and decided to make the city his home. After doing street performances in Washington Square, he got bookings for corporate events all over the world, including London, India and Thailand.
Unlike Guy Bavli, Uri Geller, and Ehud Segev — Israeli mentalists who have performed widely in the United States, and are all known for spoon bending — Wind insisted that his shows are thoroughly original. “I don’t hide behind tricks or masks,” he said. “I want people to walk away inspired, to believe that they can do more with their minds, lives and ambitions.”
While people may see the show and believe that Wind is superhuman, he said, the real message, according to the performer, is that “everyone can be superhuman if they put their mind to it.”
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