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Monday, March 02, 1998
By Fariba Nawa, The Argus
With sparkling eyes, children watched Alan (The Amazing) Kahn spiraled balloons into swords and swans in a lickety-split.
More than a dozen impatient children lined up to order a custom-made balloon from the straight-faced magician before his magic show recently during the afternoon rush in the Fremont Main Library.
Clad in a pink tie-dye shirt and a matching floppy hat, Kahn took his orders like a waiter.
What would you like? he asked a black-haired boy.
A dog, the boy answered emphatically.
What color? Kahn asked, pointing out the rainbow of elongated, deflated balloons.
The boy chose dark blue. And the order was completed.
Kahn stuck his blimp pumper into the balloon, pumped a funnel and twisted it into a tiny dog with a tail and ears.
Founder of First Impressions Entertainment Group in Fremont, Kahn does more than create shapes from balloons. With his wife as a partner, the tall, lanky 32-year-old paints faces, puppeteers and performs tricks.
A public relations specialist, Kahn makes the bulk of his income from entertaining.
"It's fun. I'm not the kind of person to sit behind a cubicle and push papers," he said while pumping balloons.
While his wife goes to her other job as a subcontractor for the National Aeronautics and Space Agency, Kahn books appointments for their weekend performances.
The duo are hired and paid up to $150 at birthday parties, company picnics and other celebrations.They also display their talents and tricks in festivals but Kahn said his favorite place is the library where he performs for children.
In the children's section of the library, toddlers and teens filled the reading room waiting for Kahn's magic show.
The entertainer used props and audience participation to delight the spectators with magic.
Kahn held up in his hand a droopy plastic flower and it perked up as he turned to face it.
But when he looked away, the flower sagged. The children giggled and cheered.
Then the storyteller read a black-and-white illustrated book Round Trip and as he flipped the pages upside down, the pictures continued the story about a journey into the city.
In the next trick, Kahn showed two adult-size, yellow rubber gloves and turned one into a child-size glove in the palm of a skeptical young girl.
This is the imagination magic show, Kahn told his admiring audience.The performer said he likes to do tricks for children to see the expression on their faces.
"Magic is part storytelling," Kahn said.
And the longtime Fremont resident seems to concentrate on engaging his audience rather than impressing them with fantastic tricks.
Kahn even shares the secrets of his magic in his business advertising kit. There are precise instructions for card, coin and hat tricks in a booklet of Kahn's 25 Magical Miracles.
A magic lover since childhood, Kahn observed his father -- a magician on the side -- do tricks at parties.
The ambitious son started his magic career at age 14 in San Jose.
Kahn said he and his friend rode their bikes to the library and showed off their tricks to patrons. Those tricks helped him pay the bills in college as he continued to perform.
Kahn made a name for himself in the area and now he's one of the few magicians in the Tri-Cities that entertains full-time.