As a relatively recent transplant to the States from the UK, where magic has been steadily making a comeback in recent years, I was initially surprised at how few Americans had seen professional magic live, and the common antiquated views I have encountered about magic. Most of the magicians I respect and take inspiration from are American, yet public perception has gone downhill since David Blaine's Street Magic created a buzz almost 20 years ago. I did a little investigating: A quick "magicians NYC" Google search revealed a plethora of dated stereotypes that led the public to find magic far from cool.
Against this backdrop, I am thrilled that magic is slowly beginning to recapture the US public's attention through television and movies. Competition shows like Penn & Teller: Fool Us, Wizard Wars, and America's Got Talent showcase many world class magicians. Adrian Brody brought Houdini to life in a mini-series for the History Channel, and even Hollywood has joined in over the last few years with The Prestige, The Illusionist, Now You See Me, and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.
But big/small screen aside, nothing comes close to seeing magic live, and I hope we also see a resurgence of close up magic as a popular form of entertainment in the US. There are no pause or rewind buttons, post-editing, and an accomplished magician can control your whole experience of wonder and even influence your memory of what happened long after the performance.