Wednesday, June 1, 2011

OHventurer Of The Week: Michael Kent

Photo by Michelle Black Photography

The OHventurer of the Week is a recurring feature where we highlight true OHventurers from across Ohio. They have awesome jobs that take them all over Ohio (and beyond) and feed their thirst for adventure in their off-hours. Adventure never stops for the folks featured in this series.

This week’s OHventurer of the Week is Michael Kent.

Hometown: Urbana, OH
Current Town: Hilliard, OH
Twitter: @MichaelKent
Occupation: Magician/Comedian

Growing up in Urbana, OH, Michael Kent said that he became interested in magic at the age of three, when he learned he could make himself disappear by covering his eyes (see where the sense of humor comes in?). Billing himself as a "Magician, Comedian, and Smart@$$," Michael Kent travels the state, country and WORLD performing his one-of-a-kind magic acts to audiences of all kinds. His unique blend of comedy and magic is popular especially amongst college students, like at one of his recent shows at Marietta College in Marietta. Most recently, Michael has appeared on Fox 28 in Columbus, and performed at the Columbus Comedy Festival and Ashland Middle School in Ashland, just to name a few.

In March, Michael had the opportunity to travel back to his hometown of Urbana to raise money for the Champaign County Arts Council. Urbana is a small town about an hour west of Columbus and was recently named as Best Hometown by Ohio Magazine. Michael said that an old candy shop called Carmazzi's on the Urbana downtown "Monument Square" holds a special place in his heart. It is one of the oldest (if not THE oldest) businesses in Urbana, having first opened in 1893. Michael says that Carmazzi's means so much to him that he has a watercolor painting of it hanging in his kitchen. For dinner in Urbana, Michael recommends Cassano's Pizza which he said has the best thin-crust pizza there is. And, for airplane buffs like himself, Michael said that Urbana is home to a small airport called Grimes Field, where they are restoring a WWII B-17 Bomber in one of the hangars.

But Michael has certainly come a long way from his upbringing in the tiny town of Urbana. Living near Columbus, Michael said that one of the coolest places he gets to perform is at The Franklin Park Conservatory. "It is an amazing place to perform," he said. "It makes me feel like I'm in the rain forest of Costa Rica." Being a proud a alumnus of The Ohio State University, Michael said he loves when he gets the chance to do his comedy and magic shows at Ohio State's campus. He is eager to perform a show at the brand new OSU Student Union and possibly a show exclusively for the OSU Marching Band, of which he is a proud former member. Another dream of his is to take a ride in the Goodyear Blimp in Akron.

Worlds away from Ohio, Michael had the rare opportunity to perform his magic for the soldiers stationed at Camp Bonifas at the Demilitarized Zone between South Korea and North Korea. "It's a weird mix between tourism and war zone," he said. "You're sitting there looking at razorwire fences and signs warning you of land mines, but at the same time there are tour buses." He noted that the military audiences there were extremely appreciative of the entertainment. Additionally, Michael has performed at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, an exclusive magic club that he said is impossible to describe and is every bit as mysterious as it sounds.

While Michael Kent has had the wonderful privilege of traveling the state and country performing his magic at hundreds of college campuses, he admits that his profession unforuntaley prevents him from enjoying the outdoors as much as he would like. On times he has between his traveling, Michael loves playing outdoors with his dogs Keela (pictured below, a soft coated Wheaten Terrier) and Rhubarb (a six pound Yorkie). Michael also enjoys golfing. He said that his favorite course in Columbus is the Airport Golf Course, an inexpensive municipal course that's fun to take visitors to. "It's not often you have commercial jets flying 500 feet above your head as you're teeing off," he said.

Photo by Amy Parrish Photograpy

A lover of travel, Michael Kent has the perfect job that allows him to captivate audiences with his magic and captivate his own fascination with the world around him. "I try to be a tourist and see the things that make each place special," he said. Always on the move, you can catch Michael Kent on his YouTube Channel on his blog, or even by booking him for a show near you!

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