Lamont Ream is a unique patch on Boulder’s entertainment quilt.
The 67-year-old magician once graced stages as an escape artist, and has since become more known for his dinner shows at both Murphy’s Grill locations in the city. Now, he’s in the midst of having is legacy documented by filmmaker Taylor Keating.
“We started filming in early January, it was a growing interest for me and Lamont,” Keating said. “As we kept filming, we felt it was a story worth telling.”
As beloved has Ream’s performances are, they aren’t enough to warrant an entire short film. “The Incredible Lamont,” details Ream’s home life, where his performances might be just as magical.
Ream as a roommate —sort of. He’s a caretaker for his longtime, mentally handicapped friend Abel Romero. Romero’s brother married Ream’s sister, and when Romero’s father died, Ream moved in to take care of him.
When Romero was 8 years old, a treehouse fell on him causing severe brain damage and stunting his mental growth. Essentially, Romero is an 8-year-old boy in the body of a man in his 60s. On top of that, Romero also has schizophrenic tendencies. When he first moved in, Ream was walking into a battle he had never fought. Now, it’s an aspect of Ream’s life that’s just as defining as the persona he’s made escaping from handcuffs and showing off his latest trick. In “The Incredible Lamont,” Keating recreates a moment that tested Ream’s ability to perform this new role.
Romero was taking a shower when he slipped and fell in the tub, coming “just inches from hitting his head on the faucet.” Romero proceeded to scream in pain and fear for 40 minutes as Ream tried to help him out of the tub.
“Taking care of Abel has given me a deeper understanding of life’s curves and how to deal with them. We’re all handicapped on some level,” Ream said. “I mean, I’m a technological dinosaur. I don’t have a computer and have a landline phone.”
This selfless side is something that Keating hopes to capture in his film, which is set to finish filming in September. The two have bonded over their starving artist lifestyle — Keating is living out of his van as he creates this passion project.
“He has this innocent, childish humor that makes him a great fit for Abel,” Keating said. “It’s my responsibility to tell his story.”
The next step is to film Ream’s big return to stage shows — a medium in which the magician hasn’t worked in 12 years. On Saturday at the Canyon Theater within the Boulder Public Library, Lamont will make his sort-of comeback to big shows. The performance will be filmed for an integral part of the documentary.
It’s a leap forward for the frail-but-jolly magician, but it is one that he’s excited for.
“I prefer close-up performances because of how intimate they are,” Ream said. “Even though there are going to be around two hundred people there, I’m still going to be bringing people on stage, so it won’t be too different.”
The Saturday show starts at 3 p.m. and is donation-based. The funds will go to help the production of the film. Ream also encourages people to donate to a GoFundMe page which has been established.
It might seem like a tough sell to see an aging magician who hasn’t performed in this capacity in 12 years, but Keating is confident that the show — and film — is something the public wants. By his own rough estimate, Keating thinks at least 100 Boulderites have seen Ream perform for a “good chunk” of their lives, if not for all of it.
The process of making the film could be seen as a testament to Ream’s impact on the community. And his wholesome outlook on his life, according to Keating, adds to his popularity.
“I feel fortunate that, for so many years, this has been my livelihood,” Ream said. “I just want people to remember to be incredible. You need to follow your passion. Life is short and our time here is very limited.”
If you go:
What: The Incredible Lamont
Where: Canyon Theater, Boulder Public Library
When: 3 p.m. Saturday
Cost: Free entry, $10 suggested donation