The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

West performs magic at West

 

Amanda Tafolla-Sutton

Miss Kitty the Library Lady and Magician, Keith West get help with their magic act by audience member, Sophia Hogan. The show was held at West Elementary as part of a grant from the Western Library Association.

Students gathered at West Elementary Wednesday to be awed by the magical performance of Keith West and Miss Kitty the library lady.

West, a magian and illusionist, said he first started practicing to be a magician at age ten. By age 12 he said he was already making money performing for audiences. West continued his pursuit and perfection of his craft by working his way through college, performing shows

West calls Des Moines, Iowa home, but spends most of his time traveling, putting on Vegas-style illusion shows and comedy performances.

For the last 23 summers, West has performed a series of magic shows at libraries throughout the Midwest to promote summer reading with Miss Kitty. He also performs a special anti-bullying program in schools.

According to Sidney Public Library Director Andrew Sherman, West's show was made possible by a grant from the Western Library System (WLS), one of four regional library systems established and funded by the Nebraska Library Commission.

The Western Library System's purpose is to foster cooperation, and support all types of libraries in the Western region through training, consulting, networking, and promotion.

As part of the 2016 summer reading program, "On Your Mark, Get Set... Read!," the magic show tied in reading and visiting your local library with fun interactive performances.

"Each one of us," West said in his performance, "can find adventure between the covers of the books at the library, you can do or be anything there."

West chose students from the audience to participate in the show, pulling a little girl in a pink dress from the audience West and his assistant Miss Kitty the Library Lady use red foam balls, that magically multiply to teach students the importance of summer reading.

"We are going to visit the library, twice a week and pick out at least three books to read each time," said West.

West and Marie continued their tour after Sidney's performance, heading directly to Kimball and Gering for shows Wednesday.

"By the time the tour is done," West said, "we will have traveled through three time zones and over 150 miles from here."

In the last act of the show, West levitates a member of the audience and tells the kids,"we live in the only place in the world, where you can do and be anything you want, all you have to do is believe in yourself."

 

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