Chris Harristhal has been making magic since he was six years old. His big brother borrowed a book of magic tricks from the library and learned how to make a silk handkerchief appear. Harristhal remembers being amazed – “figuring it out drove me nuts” – and was determined to learn the secret. He doesn’t know how many times he checked the book out, but he mastered that trick and many more. Decades later, Harristhal practices employment law by day and his alter ego, Kristoff the Magician, amazes people all around the world with elegant magic.
Harristhal grew up in Ely, MN and his family owned an outfitting business near the Canadian border. When it became apparent that magic was a serious obsession, his mom made a vest for his act. His first gigs were church-sponsored appearances on Native American reservations when he was in junior high school. He performed the first time in a bar when he was only 16. “It was a fun way to make money,” he remembers, “better than washing dishes for my family’s business.” He mastered new tricks throughout college and law school, calling gigs “cross-training” for developing trial presentation skills. Now, when he’s not trying high level cases for Larkin Hoffman Law Firm, he performs at everything from small cocktail parties to black-tie events attended by hundreds of people.
Magic is more than moonlighting to Harristhal. “There’s no such thing as a bad magic show,” he quips when asked to list his favorite appearances, “I love to watch peoples’ jaws hit the floor.” He also loves to make them laugh. He’s a comedy magician, working stand-up into both parlor magic for large groups and strolling, close-up magic for guests mingling over cocktails. Kristoff’s dexterous sleight of hand layered with clever mentalist trickery and charismatic comedy delights audiences, peppering their astonishment and disbelief with lots of laughs.
Kristoff is a magician for hire and travels frequently for gigs. He’s performed at birthday parties, corporate events and posh celebrations in Eden Prairie, Manhattan, Los Angeles and South Beach. His magic has amazed European cruise ship passengers and Venetian bar patrons. Harristhal takes his act on the road for trade shows and conventions, too. Corporate representatives get more attention at exhibits when Kristoff attracts a crowd. Card tricks are his strong suit and sleight of hand is his forte. He’s skilled at making things appear, vanish and levitate. Magically, of course.
Harristhal is also a magician with a big heart and supports good causes with his act at fund-raising galas. He’s performed both parlor and strolling magic shows locally for the Angel Foundation, Wishes and More, Achieve Services and Bridging. He also recently donated appearances to silent auctions benefiting a local school and the American Cancer Society.
Harristhal is a Magician Member at The Magic Castle in Hollywood. Becoming a full member at the exclusive “most unusual private club in the world” required an audition before a panel representing the Academy of Magical Arts. He hobnobs in his tuxedo with the other members when gigs take him to the area. That black-tie goes well with some of his other favorite things: Italian cars, his boat, fine cigars and Irish whiskey.
Interests burgeon into expertise for Harristhal. He latches on to subjects, then studies and practices until prowess evolves. He’s a former Boundary Waters Canoe Area guide and visits the area regularly to canoe and camp with his wife, Colleen, their six boys and their dog. It’s natural for an Ely boy to trap and hunt. Harristhal gives his prey a sporting chance, riding into Colorado elk country on horseback to bow hunt. He’s an avid runner and doesn’t slouch when he travels, logging pedometer miles around the globe with his wife. Bora Bora tops the exotic locales he’s explored with scuba gear. His karate uniform sports a black belt. He speaks Russian and weaves Slavic incantations into his magic act. One wonders what might pique his curiosity next. But for now, he’s a successful attorney at Larkin Hoffman and a sophisticated magician with diverse hobbies.
Practicing law and performing magic require a few common traits. Intellect, an instinct for nuance and interest in details come to mind. But one skill set seems more compatible with travel, adventure and learning new things, so it’s a safe bet that making magic will win out in Harristhal’s later years.
Find amazing videos on his facebook page (Kristoff the Magician) and get more information at Kristoffthemagician.com