Smoothini the Ghetto Houdini, hailing from Washington Heights New York as a former Marine, is a close up bar magician who works in Las Vegas Nevada. His close up magic demo and personal life documentary was directed and filmed by Chris Aran.
Smoothini the Ghetto Houdini and Chris Aran were kids once
Before Smoothini the Ghetto Houdini went viral with millions of views on Youtube and awed the judges on Americas Got Talent, he was just a kid with a dream.
Smoothini, better known as my childhood friend Tomas De La Cruz, is a pretty damn good close up magician. These days, he’s working in Las Vegas Nevada blowing the minds of locals and tourists alike.
I met Smoothini in 3rd grade back in 1987. Our odd personalities made for an instant and long lasting friendship which frequently got us into trouble in school. We shared a love for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and we were constantly creating and dissolving clubs for comic book collecting.
There was a point where we even got into selling New Kids On the Block trading cards for profit because the girls in our class were into them at the time. With Tomas, there was always a business mindset and desire to go far.
So, his first magic trick? Getting out of trouble. His second magic trick? Convincing his parents to get him a magic kit. I got to see the dawn of his career. At the time it was just fun and games. Who knew where it would take him.
Our formative years were a good time and after several years of friendship I moved away. We lost touch and then reconnected during our early years in college.
His magic had tremendously improved and by that time I was at the School Of Visual Arts experimenting with films. We did a few little short films together for my classes and for a time our friendship seemed like I’d never moved.
Smoothini joins the Marines | Chris Aran becomes a Filmmaker
By the time I was graduating from the School Of Visual Arts with my BFA, Smoothini had decided the next step in his life would be to join the Marines. So, we lost touch again for a few years. I continued working in entertainment and about the time Myspace was a big form of social media, I came across his profile via a mutual friend of ours. So once again we reconnected.
Tomas had been overseas and continued his magic practice. He was really performing now, not just doing a few tricks for friends. That’s when it really hit me that Tomas, now almost officially named Smoothini the Ghetto Houdini, was going to take this as a very serious career choice.
At the time I was working with some people who were creating several documentary pieces on different artists and I pitched them the idea of doing a documentary on my childhood Ghetto Houdini buddy now magician, Smoothini. But that’s another longer story i’ll talk a bit more about on a dedicated page.
Smoothini the Ghetto Houdini needs a Demo | Chris Aran shoots and directs
Smoothini and I finished his documentary and it got him some attention. But it was such a personal piece he needed something that focused more on his performances than his personality. So he reached out to me and asked if I could shoot a simple demo for him. Of course I agreed and we took a day and setup performances all over the neighborhood where we grew up together.
It was a great opportunity to show off some of his best close up tricks and also give a little screen time to the places where it all started. We shot an entire day and within a week the demo was cut and ready for him to shop around.
Smoothini the Ghetto Houdini eventually gained enough traction and left his residence in southern California for the desert air and bright lights in Las Vegas where he currently works successfully as a close up magician. Then he left me a message and told me about how he was finally going on TV. Americas Got Talent called him up, and the rest was viral history we’ll talk about in the next article at: Smoothini the Ghetto Houdini on America’s Got Talent
Share via Email and Social Media
Sign up for Cool Stuff and Info on What's Coming Next...