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Posted on Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Mixed-use theater and magic shop to open in Ann Arbor's Kerrytown

By Angela Smith


Kip Barry poses at the entrance to Kip Barry's Magic and Performing Arts Center in Kerrytown.

Angela Smith for

There is magic in the air in Ann Arbor, and it’s not just due to holiday cheer.

You may have noticed Kip Barry entertaining kids and adults alike with magic tricks and other delights. Barry has performed all over the world, but when not on the road, he has recently been spotted in Westgate shopping plaza in front of Just Baked, and on Main Street in front of Elmo’s as he amuses passers-by with everything from balloon sculptures to magic.

Barry is opening a more permanent headquarters in Kerrytown this month. At 325 Braun Court, it’s the site that most recently served as a local office to the Obama for America campaign. Barry is designing the two-story space to be a performing arts center and magic shop that he calls “reminiscent of vaudeville.” He's calling it Kip Barry's Magic and Performing Arts Center.

“I am opening a wonderful community-based combination magic studio/ performing arts center complete with a concession including cookies, cupcakes and soft drinks. A place to inspire creativity, imagination and the arts,” he said in an email to


Kip Barry plans to entertain and teach magic at his new theater, Kip Barry's Magic and Performing Arts Center.

Angela Smith for

Barry envisions the space to be utilized by small theatrical groups, birthday party guests, and students of magic where he will also be able to perform and teach. The intimate performance area will have a platform stage with traditional burgundy curtains, and professional theatrical equipment. The retail area will be stocked with what Barry calls the finest magic and novelties available.

“Classes will also be available for (everyone from) the beginners to the advanced conjurers.”

Barry says the newest establishment will be his sixth magic-related business; he’s previously owned a magic shop in Naples, Fla. - Kip Barry’s Magic, and tried a kiosk in Briarwood Mall. His performing history has taken him to every state and more than 60 countries.

Barry says his interest in magic developed as a 9 year old.

“I saw someone on TV, I think it might have been Marshall Brodien and that was all it took, I was off and running. My brother Pat bought me some little magic tricks from the local drug store and when I was able to fool him (my big brother!) I knew I had arrived.”

Performing was never a hurdle to him, “I also came from a musical family; my mother played piano bar professionally and I was singing standards at age 5.”

At the age of 15, Barry began working as a magician at Ted Carrothers Magic Studio in Toledo. He knew he was onto something when he had his first TV appearance that same year, on a show called "Kids Are People Too." At 18, he decided to attend the Chavez College of Magic in Colon, Mich.

Barry says he’s met some big names and traveled far during the past few decades, but that a family emergency has caused him to move home and “settle down to be near friends family and roots,” here in Ann Arbor. “Everything happens for a reason,” he explains, “and I am most excited about my newest project.”

Barry says he is picturing a cozy space, suitable for shopping and audiences of between 30 and 50 people. The main floor will house the theater, retail area and a concession area specializing in cupcakes. He was thrilled to find the area in Kerrytown where the atmosphere is decidedly family-friendly. “As an artist there isn't anywhere I would rather be!”

Barry expects that he will have the space ready to open in a matter of weeks. He'll start off selling gifts and magic and also offering snacks and refreshments. The shop will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 12-5 p.m. on Sunday. As for performances, he says the first one will be a Christmas-themed show on Dec. 5. Call Kip Barry's Magic and Performing Arts Center at (734) 985-5184 for details.



Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 2:34 a.m.

12/24/2003 DC Intox; Conduct which presents a risk 12/24/2003 Telephone Harassment 3/13/2012 Stalking or Cyberstalking (2 counts) 9/12/2011 DUI with property damage/ driving with suspended or revoked license 12/23/2011 Disorderly Intoxication - Public Place 2/1/2012 Issuing worthless check 2/5/2012 Defrauding an Innkeeper 2/6/2012 Defrauding an Innkeeper 2/12/2012 Scheme to defraud Open Warrant: Probation Violation Funny, but reading this guy's rap sheet the words "smart and compassionate" don't really come to mind

Jojo B

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 6:02 p.m.

Very well said, Skyjockey43.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 5:28 p.m.

Actually if I had committed the many crimes that your friend has, I would expect reproach. Actions have consequences. When you steal from people, harass people, and put people's lives in jeopardy by your actions, then you should expect negative reactions. I'm pretty sure if he had done these things to you, you'd be singing another tune. But since all of his victims are unknown to you, then he's just a loveable little fuzzball. And spare me this drivel about having made mistakes. Committing a crime is a conscious act by a human being with free will. It is NOT a mistake. Nobody has ever tripped over a rock and found themselves in the middle of the act of cyber stalking. And while I am not perfect, I am certainly not a criminal with this kind of lengthy rap sheet and an open warrant.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

tell me, what is it like to be perfect? what must it be like to never have made any mistakes? enlighten me, O he who is above reproach?


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

@bunnyabbot, you stated that "everyone is entitled to getting past past" problems. I suggest you take your own advice and leave the man's past where it belongs, IN THE PAST. I have seen Kip bring smiles to many children's faces. He is smart, funny, compassionate and I am truly blessed to have his friendship. he hasn't hurt you in any way. leave the man alone.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 8:55 p.m.

FYI, an open warrant as per the weblink above with the Sherrif in Florida is a current problem, not a past problem. Past would mean he has dealt with what he needs to deal with, current means things are unresolved. For some that might be a valid point to whether they want their children at one of his shows, have business deals with him or check into their hotel for a stay. It's public record and people have a right to know, it is what they do with the info that is their choice from that point.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 6:58 p.m.

To all the haters out there, and YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE: leave my friend alone. IF and WHEN you become perfect then you can throw stones but until then, if you can't say anything nice about this very good friend of mine, then kindly close your mouths!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 2:10 a.m.

That's great Mady. And I'm sure the cops, prosecutors, and victims of your friend will stand by every word they've said about him as well.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 12:39 a.m.

@mady, I think you omitted an exclamation point there. Seriously, though, your postings are not really helping this guy.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

Go ahead and vote me down. I stand by every word I've said. No apologies. EVER.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 2:52 p.m.

WatchOutFourCreeps, I'd be interested to know how you did that search. When I googled "Kip Barry" I didn't find those arrest records. Did you know his full name already? Thanks!


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

sorry once I got the first hit I had the name of a county and his full name and researched using his full name and Collier County Sheriff's Office where I hit on several links, then I searched just using his full name (which I got from one of the links) and just the word arrest, then his arrest info just filled the page of search findings from multiple locations.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 4:53 p.m.

No I didn't know his full name already. I searched using the search words "kip barry" then got nothing so I added "magic" and "naples florida" Finally I added the words "arrest" and "magician" You don't need to know exact words when searching you just want to add as many words into the search box so that you get hits on them and you don't need to add a coma between words. So with kip barry magic I expanded to include naples florida and arrest and for a form of the word I included the word magician. Once I hit on the first link for the sherrifs page it had his full name on it and I did another search using the info from that. it isn't rocket science and I am not in law inforcement and I am not as computer savvy as others. I do know from previous use though that if you want to look anyone up add the words arrest or arrested and you might get a hit. I am naturally curious and read a lot. I was using bing search engine

Paula Gardner

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 10:50 p.m.

Interesting turn of developments here. I've just looked at the links from WatchOutFourCreeps and also talked to the reporter. I'll admit this is not something I've experienced often. But here are two things that I'd like to share: First, I'm leaving the links up. The decision was made after consulting with Jen Eyer from MLive Media Group. We have no reason to believe they're not accurate, plus there's an active warrant (at least per the Collier County, Fla. Sheriff Dept website). Second, we run these types of retail reports as a service to the community. We've learned that readers respond to stories about store openings, so spend a fair amount of time reporting them. There's usually not a lot of active investigation behind them, but we do routinely ask about previous stores, etc. In this case, the writer had several questions and took several steps to verify accuracy, and that included internet searches. Kip Barry's full legal name did not come up during that process. Had that happened and had we known this information ahead of time, I can't say what our next step would have been - like I said, this is a unique situation in my career.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 6:59 p.m.

Paula...what I just posted also applies to you!!!!!


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 4:44 a.m.

Paula, You state that Barrys full legal name did not come up during that (interview) process, certainly using a nickname or stage name gives someone protection from their "past". But when I searched yahoo using just "Kip Barry Magician" the Florida arrest record was on the bottom of the first page, the 11th listing. Once that was opened his legal first name was included and I could do another search using that to find the exact links the other user posted including the open warrent. I could do all this without having known anything else but the info included in your article. Granted his record doesn't include sex offenses (but does stalking) and everyone is entitled to getting past past problems, however the difference for me is that warrant is still open, (unless something is not updated within Florida's record keeping). To me a warrant is a warrant is a warrant. having had to deal with my own stalker though makes that offense serious to me


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 3:14 a.m.

Given this turn of events, I hope is planning on interviewing Mr. Barry for his perspective on these legal issues of his.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 10:07 p.m.

and more:


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 9:35 p.m.

The internet is an amazing tool, a quick search led me to: Kip the clown/magician has an outstanding warrent for his arrest Maybe that was the "family emergency" that brought him back to Michigan


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 6:50 p.m.

take your hatred somewhere else!!!!!!


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 10:51 p.m.

and seldon, this info is accurate


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 10:50 p.m.

No I don't know him, nor do I look up anyone mentioned on however as someone who might be interested in organizing a childrens party I reserve the right to do my own background check onthem before I invite a grown man near any children


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 10:12 p.m.

I'm guessing you know this guy and have personal motivations for posting this, since I refuse to believe that you run searches on everyone mentioned on an

Homeland Conspiracy

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 7:48 p.m.

I want a balloon animal... Way to go Kip!!!


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 8:27 p.m.

homeland, you have excellent taste in balloon animals. I'm partial to his swan hats.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

Kip is one of my dearest friends, and I am a better person for knowing him. At a time in history when we need something to lift us up(see: recession), everyone could use a little magic in their lives. Your friends are cheering for you all the way! YOU GO, KIPPER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! as always, Madeleine, a.k.a. mady

G. Orwell

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

Unlike Obama, I hope Kip will be successful at his endeavors. Good luck.

mike gatti

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 10:42 p.m.

No you missed it. Karl Rove let them call Ohio and President Obama was successfully re-elected. So don't worry all is well!

G. Orwell

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 10:20 p.m.

David started it.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

G. Orwell, can you please leave the politics out of it?!?! take your negativity somewhere else!!!!

G. Orwell

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 4:58 p.m.

Running the country. It has been a disaster like it was under Bush. Actually, it has been worse than under Bush. I thought I would never say that.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:47 p.m.

(Obama won)

David Cahill

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 1:07 p.m.

This new business is a worthy successor to the Obama office. We Obama campaigners worked our political magic there; now it's Kip's turn. 8-)