Lee Darrow, C.H., D.I.
I was born sometime in the Jurassic Period (that’s the period between math and geography, I am told) and missed being an April Fool’s Baby by all of an hour and ten minutes (which a number of my friends dispute, loudly!).
I was born in the hospital (because I wanted to be near my mother), have one brother (a child prodigy on the organ who is now an Emmy-winning musician in Phoenix, AZ). My late father was a member of the original class of the 517th Parachute Infantry Regimental Combat Team, having lied about his age to “get in the fight” during WWII (they are still, to the best of my knowledge, the ONLY unit in the Airborne who graduated without a single washout). He was awarded the Purple Heart at the Battle of the Bulge and the Bronze Star by Presidential Edict. My mother resides in Phoenix, AZ.
Sex – in favor of it.
Age - for a mayfly, I am incredibly old. For a mountain, I have barely begun. For a man, I am just right. (with apologies to Chiun, Master of Sinnanju).
The “C.H. after my name means I am a Certified Hypnotist by the National Guild of Hypnotists, the largest professional hypnosis organization in the world. I am also the author of two eBooks focusing on stage hypnosis safety and other concerns – “Stage Hypnosis Safety: A Primer” which has been used by a major insurance company as the basis fortheir liability insurance underwriting program (which includes the first online stage hypnosis safety certification course and online safety exam) and “Backstage Considerationsfor the Stage Hypnotist” which is the forerunner of the previously-mentioned publication.
I became interested in science fiction at a very early age, having read Heinlein’s “Red Planet” at about age 5. My first convention was the MiniCon just prior to DisCon 2 in D.C. I am a charter member of the Dorsai Irregulars, Ltd. a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation that provides convention services, such as Art Show coordination, Security and even personal protection services. As one of the original three members of the Klingon Diplomatic Corps, along with founder Robert Asprin and George Hunt, I have had the honor to bodyguard the entire original cast of Star Trek (ask me about jogging thru Grant Park in Chicago in Klingon drag, chasing George Takei sometime!) including the infamous “RiotCon” in New York City. I’ve attended most local (and many regional) conventions over the last 30 years or so and have either lectured, performed, or both at many of them. My Dad, having worked for Rick Yeager (who drew the Buck Rogers comic strip for years) gave me an “in” that I didn’t know I had. In high school, at Oak Park and River Forest High School, I had the honor of being the first elected President of the Club back in about 1967. That club has gone on, uninterrupted, ever since and is not the longest-continuously-running science fiction and fantasy club in Illinois. I have to admit, I never saw THAT one coming! I am also a part of the group of fen that dragged a high school kid named Tom Smith to his first convention and to his first filk, so any blame or gratitude that you might have on that count is yours to express – politely, please.
As a magician, I have been a member of the Magic Castle and have performed for a variety of groups and celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, the Chicago Bulls, the Chicago Blackhawks, JJ’s Morning Crew on Detroit radio, 9 appearances on Mancow In The Morning (while he was in Chicago), BB King (at Mancow’s show), Dennis Rodman’s New Year’s Party at Navy Pier and was the official magician to Medieval Times (Schaumberg, IL) as well as doing tours as a magician/hypnotist for Sandals and Beaches Resorts as well as eight trade show appearances for Siemans, Ltd. of Canada. I specialize in close-up magic and mentalism (pseudo-mindreading) and had the surprise of having Tony Andruzzi actually publish an entire issue (minus one required Max Maven piece) of the New Invocation Magazine. Other routines of mine can be found scattered throughout various magic newsletters and I was, for a time, a Moderator on www.themagiccafe.com, moderating their discussion board on stage hypnosis.
In my mundane life, I chase our rescued house sparrows around the house, Harry, Ariel and their broods along with Mysteria, a Dutch Retriever, whom we rescued last Summer from the street and live in a house on the South Side of the city within a few miles of our Con Chair. I am also the Technology Sales Specialist for every K-12 school in the United States at Quill.com in Lincolnshire, Il (which is a bear of a commute from east 83rd Street in the city!). I am also a cancer survivor and an activist against leukemia, cancer and fibromyalgia.
However, my greatest accomplishment, supporter and help as a professional in my performance work, as well as helping me become a better human being, is convincing Nanci Ponne’, who is a former Miss Chicago and three-time Gold Medal Winner at ISIA World Championships in figure skating to become my wife. Her experience as both the publisher of the, now in hiatus, Chicago Talent Directory ™, her training as a graduate of the Goodman School of Drama and her keen eye for finding details that would escape most normal humans elevates her, in my eyes at least, to the level of the superheroine that she played during her post-college days – Wonder Woman!
Without her sage advice, her critical eye and her experience as a trained actress and entertainer, I would not be anywhere near where I am, today, either as a performer or as a person. Without her help, I would still be stumbling about the stage without focus, would have little to no organization in my life and would probably be doing street magic somewhere and not being able to pay my bills. She has my eternal gratitude, if nothing else, for putting up with me before I was diagnosed and treated for my mild case of ADD (which was probably caused, in part, from my years in the martial arts – years that included going three rounds with Chuck Norris in my 20′s – and actually scoring a pointon him before getting handed portions of my anatomy best left unmentioned in polite company!)… In fact, she was the one who pushed me to go and get a solid, clinical diagnosis that proved that I do have ADD as well as a form of dyslexia called dyscalculia or, sometimes, numlexia, which I am currently working to overcome as well.
How in the hell I got Nanci to agree to marry me is still a mystery to me – although parts of our wedding ceremony have been seen in 31 countries on RealTV (we were the folks who FLEW our rings down the aisle using the falcon from Medieval Times…) and I did ask. which, according to her, no one else had bothered to do during her life, so that may have something to do with hr putting up with me for all of these years…
One warning, I am an incorrigible punster. If you dislike puns, do NOT incorrige me! If you want the funny version of this, including an eyewitness of the infamous “toe-socks” incident, ask me – or attend the Opening Ceremonies…