Written by Jesus Figueroa
“Myth: Legends of Burlesque” an incredible showcase of talented burlesque dancers and mystifying magicians begins with an introduction from creator William Draven and ends with a spectacular act. Draven is from Ohio but has achieved success through both magic performances and producing shows. “A lot of blood, sweat, and tears. I’ve paid my dues. Biggest advice I can give is to follow your heart,” Draven said.
All that is worked for should be achievable and all that is achieved should be worked to maintain and the busy schedule Draven keeps is testimony to how true that is. “I’m married to the craft first, my wife second. Everything I do in life essential to living, eating, sleeping, working, bathing, shopping, etc, is done around my craft,” Draven said “I never stop dreaming. I keep several notebooks for ideas, I write everything down. The good, the bad, the sometimes undefined, and store it for later. I never leave my house with out a coin or a deck of cards. I build my life around my craft,” he said. The philosophy behind Draven’s point of view came from his father who told him, “You will always find the time to do the things that matter to you the most,” Draven said. The dedication to Draven’s craft show through the presence he has on stage. His performance is not only masterfully worked but is always improving.
“I never buy into any of my own marketing, and I’m always looking at every performance with a critical eye. When I say I don’t buy my own marketing I mean I never believe I am as good as they say I am,” Draven sad, “I don’t believe in the concept of a “perfect show”. To me that doesn’t exist. After each show I always review every little detail. Everything from what I did to plan for the event, to what I did while on stage. I pull things apart, I critique myself, and I always find things that I can improve upon,” he said.
The more Draven performs the better he becomes, “There is always something to learn from, something you can improve upon, or something you can do better. When you stop looking for those things is when you need to retire,” Draven said, “While I’ve been blessed to accomplish some of my goals, I still have a long ways to go. I want to tour the world, I want to produce magic for TV programs, and I want to walk in the shadows of the greats like Copperfield, Henning, Thurston, Blackstone, and Burton who came before me. Most of all I want to be respected by my peers for my contribution to the craft. That’s what drives me. The need to be better, and the need to add something of value to a proud tradition that has existed before me, and will continue to exist long after I take my final bow,” he said.
The time has not come to see Draven’s final performance. There are still stages he needs to visit and dreams he needs to achieve. He works diligently and feels fortunate to be able to do what he enjoys. “I grew up in the middle of Ohio. Not the best place to be if you want to be in entertainment. I got to where I am today because people took a chance on me,” Draven said, “They gave me an opportunity to do what I do. They taught me, polished me, broke me, and educated me. I’ve never forgotten that,” he said.
The show goes on and thrills the audience. Each act is spectacular and as the night goes on the incredible magic acts just keep coming.
“I know each act from various other sources. All of the magicians I’ve worked with before on other projects, many of them before at Anime Expo during ‘Magic Macabre.’ My stage crew I know from being loyal gamers at the Table Top Game Room, which I also manage for Anime Expo,” Draven said, “I am routinely honored that Eric Fisher, his brothers, and friends, would gracefully give up their precious time to helping me run my show. Believe me things would not be as smooth without them!,” he said.
Each of the sexy burlesque acts have their own story and adds to the show, “As for most of my burlesque dancers; I know them from working other venues in which we both shared a stage together. The only two that I hadn’t worked with was Nova Snape, and Stella Chuu. I met Nova at Anime Conji in San Diego. After talking about burlesque and entertainment careers she mentioned she would love to be a part of a production at Anime Expo sometime. Unbeknownst to her I was planning Myth at the time so I made the offer to perform with me. I’m glad she said yes,” Draven said, “As for Stella I’d say right place right time. She was coming to Anime Expo anyways, happened to be a burlesque star, and asked if I had room to put her on stage. After reviewing some of her videos I was an instant fan. How could I say no to a Pinkie Pie striptease?! At the end of the day I’m just lucky to know such an amazing group of talented people who never said no to me when I asked them to help me out,” he said.
The show is amazing and the audience tends to enjoy each performance. The screams, the cheers and the enthusiasm are heard throughout the entire show and yet Draven continues to push himself to be better and better.
“I started wanting to be a magician when I was two and a half years old. It was 1983, David Copperfield vanished the Statue of Liberty on national television and watching that show is my earliest memory. Ever since then it grew from hobby to passion and passion into career. One of these days I think I’d like to thank David personally for inspiring me, if I ever get that opportunity that is,” Draven said. Draven has worked his way up and had been performing for the Anime Expo in “Magic Macabre” and now “Myth: Legends of Magic and Burlesque.” He also performs in front of Hot Topic on City Walk Friday through Sundays from 5 – 10 p.m. usually doing street magic. “A lot of blood, sweat, and tears. I’ve paid my dues. Biggest advice I can give is to follow your heart,” Draven said.