New, familiar faces performing for the free entertainment at Veishea

Magician Justin Willman will be performing as part of the free entertainment at Veishea at 11 p.m. Saturday, April 12.

Kendall Evans

Both new and familiar faces will be coming to Veishea this year for the free entertainment at the Great Hall in the Memorial Union on April 11 and April 12.  

Returning to the Veishea stage this year are Brian Imbus, hypnotist and mentalist, and Stevie Starr, the Regurgitator. New to Veishea are magician, Justin Willman and comedian Nicole Byer.

Brian Imbus

Imbus is no stranger to Iowa State, performing regularly at Winterfest and Veishea. Imbus first started getting into magic and performing around the age of 13. He was a sophomore in high school when he first really started to get into hypnosis.

“I saw my first hypnosis show when I was a sophomore in high school [and] didn’t believe in it, thought it was fake,” Imbus said.

At that same hypnosis show, Imbus’ friend ended up getting hypnotized in the audience right beside him. If it were not for his friend getting hypnotized right beside him, Imbus said he probably would have never gotten involved with hypnosis. After that show, he began to really study hypnosis and practice it.

At first, Imbus said he just tried to hypnotize anyone and everyone willing to be hypnotized. Doing this helped him gain confidence and get used to different people’s reactions while being hypnotized. 

Along with hypnosis, Imbus also does mentalism.

“Mentalism and hypnotism are two completely different things,” Imbus said.

He normally likes to do more mentalism for cooperate events, where people might not be as inclined to volunteer.

“I always look forward to Veishea,” Imbus said. “The energy is just awesome.”

Imbus is always trying to add new things to his shows to keep fresh and make it so that each show is different. He will be performing at 9 p.m. April 12.

Stevie Starr

Starr, the Regurgitator, has also been to campus and Veishea multiple times. Starr is from Glasgow, Scotland, where he got his start in performing after he won a local talent contest 30 years ago. Starr said he began to swallow things for fun when he was about five years old. He would swallow namely money to hide it from other kids at the children’s home where he grew up.

Starr said that he had always craved attention, even when he was at school. Performing and being on stage was right up his ally. Being a professional regurgitartor has allowed Starr to really stand out.

“No one else can [do it],” Starr said. “No competition.”

Starr took his regurgitating talents to “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2010 where he swallowed five coins with a number written on each coin. He then had the audience tell him which coin to regurgitate up, and he did it.

“I loved the expressions on Simon Cowell’s face when I returned the numbered coins,” Starr said.

Since his appearance on “Britain’s Got Talent,” Starr has performed all around the world.

“The good thing about my act is that [it] transcends language barriers, so I can go anywhere,” Starr said.   

Starr will be performing his regurgitating act at 11 p.m. April 11.

Justin Willman

This is Willman’s first time performing at Veishea. Willman first got started in performing after he broke both of his arms while riding a bike with rollerblades on. His doctor recommended that he learn card tricks as a form of physical therapy for his arms. Willman realized he was good at it and decided to stick with it.

“When I started getting into magic, it was the first thing I was really good at,” Willman said. “I was always mediocre at sports, I was mediocre at plays … magic was the first thing I was like, ‘People would actually want to see me do this.’”

After really practicing magic, Willman got his first gig performing at his sister’s birthday party. Since then, Willman has gone on to host “Cupcake Wars” on the Food Network and “Win, Lose or Draw” on Disney Channel. He also makes many TV appearances on a variety of shows and tours around the United States.

Willman said it can be busy, but he loves having something to do all the time.

Willman loves to perform and create a fun, party environment. He will be performing his magic act at 11 p.m. April 12.

Nicole Byer

This will be Byer’s first time appearing at Veishea. It is also her first time being in Iowa. Byer really started performing when she was in high school by getting involved with doing plays. She later went to college at a performing arts school where she then got into improvisation and comedy.

“It’s like a drug when you get those laughs,” Byer said.

She just wanted to keep getting more she said.

Byer did not always want to be a performer. When she was younger, she wanted to be an illustrator for children’s books. After taking an art class, she realized how talented the other kids in her class were and rethought doing that, she said. After doing her first play, she was hooked and realized how good she was at making people laugh.

Byer has gone on to perform regularly at the Upright Citizens Brigade, a comedy, improv and sketch theatre in Los Angeles, appears on the show “Girl Code” on MTV and also does some voice overs too.

“There’s no show not going to have laughs, I’ve been doing it for too long, I know how to save a scene,” Byer said.

Byer will be performing at 9 p.m. April 11.