The Rutherford Report—Local Magician Gets Close Up With Fans

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“Any sufficiently
advanced technology is indistinguishable
from magic.”

—Arthur C. Clarke
Local Magician Gets Close Up with Fans

An encounter with a professional magician at Dave and Busters in Ontario nearly two decades ago lead The Phil Factor—a.k.a. Phil Jennerjohn of Rancho Cucamonga—to pursue magic as a profession.

Phil, 44, had always dabbled in magic and has fond memories of his grandfather performing tricks for him, but he didn’t catch that magic fever until he met Gilbert Hoffner performing close up magic at the restaurant.

Close up magic, as Phil explained, is an “in your face,” intimate form of magic performed directly in front of a small audience—sometimes only two people at a table.

“In my opinion, it’s the most difficult type of magic to perform,” he said. “There’s typically nothing to hide without people seeing, and that’s what they love about it!”

Phil couldn’t get enough magic after he and Gilbert became friends, and pretty soon, he was seeking out a local restaurant where he could wow customers with the magic tricks he was beginning to perfect.

After getting turned down by multiple eateries, Phil finally scored his first gig at El Gato Gordo in Upland. He worked there until the restaurant closed, and along the way, he built a reputation as a world-class slight of hand artist and top-notch entertainer.

He branded himself The Phil Factor about five years ago because he wanted something catchy and memorable.

He currently performs for customers at The Heights Bar and Grill in Upland from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Fridays, and he is in constant demand working various private parties and corporate events throughout Southern California on weekends and evenings.

“It’s a domino effect,” he said. “My client base has just grown and grown over the years.”

He also performs at the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and has hosted his own Dinner & Magic shows at the Citizens Business Bank Arena VIP Club and San Antonio Winery.

Phil likes to use comedy to make people laugh like while incorporating the magic tricks he has learned over the years. He has developed new many tricks throughout his career, and he recently unveiled a trick he’s been working on for two years.

“You are constantly honing and refining the routines and the magic you do,” he said.

Of course, there are some whoops moments like that time at the Magic Castle where he tossed a billiard ball in the air to turn it into a deck of cards and the crowd clearly heard the ball thud when it hit the stage floor.

“I just said, ‘Sometimes magic sounds like a ball landing on the floor.’ Everybody laughed and I moved on.”

Phil has a day job working at a local distribution center, but he is devoted to performing his magic shows as often as he is hired.

“I am a magician by trade and an entertainer by heart; I truly love what I do,” he said. “Someday I will retire and devote even more time and effort to it.”

To learn more about The Phil Factor, visit his website at or visit his Google+ account at or his Yelp page at
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