David Kwong is Bringing the Magic to Honors Institute

David Kwong has taken two nerdy obsessions and turned them into one pretty cool career.

He’s an illusionist who studied the history of magic at Harvard University. He’s also a veteran puzzle creator and has constructed crossword puzzles for the New York Times, the LA Times and other national publications.

He marries the two obsessions with what has become his signature trick: he constructs an original crossword puzzle with a hidden message in front of a live audience. Watch him do it.

“I found my voice,” he said in a 2013 interview with the LA Times. “And that voice has landed me these major feature films and corporate engagements. Now it’s very clear: I’m bringing something new to the art form. I’m not your birthday party magician in a purple suit.”

Kwong will bring his particularly puzzling illusions to the 2016 Honors Institute, June 20-25 at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, where he will show us how we can all solve problems, find order and make situations work.

His fascination with magic began as a child when he watched a simple trick performed in a pumpkin patch — and saw that his parents were stumped. He taught himself the basics with a children’s magic set and sleight-of-hand books.

After Harvard, he worked briefly in marketing for HBO before moving to Hong Kong, where he performed magic at corporate parties and cocktail hours. He then relocated to Los Angeles to work as an archivist for magician and actor Ricky Jay.

Kwong then followed his passion for film to DreamWorks, where he worked as a member of the animation story department. When he was asked to consult on a string of magical films — including “Now You See Me,” “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” and “The Immigrant” —he saw a unique opportunity to make magic his full-time gig.

He formed the Misdirectors Guild, a group of magicians who consult on film and television projects that need expertise on illusion and subterfuge. He brought his puzzle expertise along too, serving as a puzzle consultant for television and film, such as “The Imitation Game.”

Don’t miss this magical experience — register for Honors Institute by May 27.

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