Illusionist wraps up Welcome Weekend

MAGIC: Modern magician uses props, illusions to wow student spectators

Illusionist and mentalist Sean Bott performed a free show Tuesday evening in the Memorial Union Ballroom to a room full of laughing students funded by the University Program Council.

“It was a lot of fun,”UND sophomore Jake Dalton Vivier said. “My favorite part was the “Sharknado” jokes.”

Vivier was one of a handful of lucky students who assisted Bott on stage during the show. Bott selected him out of the audience after asking everyone to pick a number for his “Lady Luck Love Lottery” sketch.

He predicted that his lottery winner would be wearing a black t-shirt, orange shorts, have a fondness for Little Mermaid jokes and have “almost Lego-man-like black hair.” Vivier’s black t-shirt stated in big bold pink letters, “I’ve got whozits and whatzits galore.”

“Being on stage was a lot of fun, but awkward at first,” Vivier said.

In another sketch, Bott asked students detailed questions about their dream vacations, and accurately predicted all their responses.

A volunteer student later pulled a note out of Bott’s wallet, which correctly predicted their answers before the show began right down to spending $259 teleporting everyone in the room to Tahiti to watch “Sharknado.”

After the 90-minute show, Bott stuck around to perform a few more impromptu sketches. A crowd of about 20 people, including the UPC volunteers, stayed late to watch the encore.

“I love North Dakota,” said Bott, who is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah. “I spend four weeks here every year. I like the people. Every school I’ve performed at in the state has been very cool.”

Bott has been performing for 12 years and touring the country for six. He mainly performs for colleges and corporate office parties. Unlike at other schools at which he has performed, no UND students were arrested for visible drunkenness during his show here.

“The people I perform for make me laugh. I find inspiration for my shows all over the place,” Bott said. “I’m not psychic, but I’m very good with people.”

Bott was recruited to perform at UND by the UPC’s performing arts coordinator Cassy Landborg. She had previously seen him perform a 10-minute performance at a showcase some time ago.

Landborg then worked with Bott’s agency to negotiate a payment plan and get a contract signed. He was recommended to her by magician Dan Martin, who has performed at UND every year for the past six years, according to Landborg. Since Bott happened to be touring in the region this summer, he was able to perform at UND at a discounted rate.

The process of booking a performer is generally pretty similar every time for Landborg. She’s especially excited for comedian Eric O’Shea’s performance on Friday, Sept. 6; dancer Xclusive’s show on the following Friday, Sept. 13; and comedian Michael Ian Black in the spring.

Jaye Millspaugh is the multimedia editor of The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].