It's getting to be an annual tradition: Alex Ramon and "Illusion Fusion" at Walnut Creek's Lesher Center.

Yup, it's the Richmond-raised conjurer's "Step Aside!" shout out to "The Nutcracker" and "A Christmas Carol" as the wizard in his walk and dazzle in his delivery spins the magic in two shows on Dec. 8.

Ramon does a Friday night gig in Tahoe, packs the whole show up, zaps into The Creek, then skedaddles back to Tahoe for a Sunday matinee.

Even in this newfangled Photoshop/Skype world, it's a magnificent feat, and Ramon is loving every minute of it.

"I'm a natural runner," he boasts. "To be honest, my genetics allow me to stay fit without trying too hard."

This is a man who can hack you in half with a saw and refuse to tell you how he did it, so caution is advised.

"There are only two ways to saw a woman in half: a fake box or a fake saw," he insists. "Or, there's a third way, the way I do it, with a real box and a real saw. It's classic magic."

At the post-show meet-and-greet, people often try to get Megan Doyle (also an East Bay native) to spill the beans. They ask her, "So, you're OK, huh?" Ramon claims they're dying to know the secret ... which is not even up for discussion.

"She has to have attention to detail, stay fit, sign a confidentiality agreement, not be claustrophobic and be willing to do what I say," he says.

Ramon is a perfectionist and he and his crew often rehearse new tricks for months.

"One illusion, we rehearsed for three months before an audience saw it. Another one, we didn't feel comfortable until we had performed it for six months. Our job is to make the impossible seem easy and effortless."

Ramon's experience with Disney LIVE! and the first magician and youngest ringmaster with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus set him up for becoming master of his own destiny -- and his own show -- at the age of 27.

"Disney gave me training with production complexities and Ringling Brothers polished me up," he summarizes.

His family, years before, gave encouragement.

"My Mom drove me all over the state," he told this paper in a 2007 interview. "I did my first performance for my dad's 50th birthday."

It's a long way from where he is now, having learned six different languages for the internationally touring Disney show and shouting "Zing Zang Zoom" a total of 33,000 times in front of 10,000 people at a time while jaunting across America with the circus.

The glory -- "Alex Ramon is redefining the role of an Illusionist!" heralds Live Entertainment producer Kenneth Feld -- has come with some pain.

"I missed my brother's wedding and my sister's graduation and my nephew's birth," he mourns. "Family things like that are the hardest."

At the Lesher, Ramon will rely on a large crew and illusion creator Jim Steinmeyer.

"In the field of magic, he's a legend. He's a brilliant writer and scripts my show, too," Ramon says. "Last year, people saw us building the show. Now, all the elements are in place."

In today's techno-savvy world, Ramon faces a constant challenge to keep up with FaceTime, homemade drones, modern robotic electronics and one old-fashioned competitor: David Copperfield.

"We're adding a brand new illusion we just rehearsed in Tahoe," he says. "It's a penetration with an audience member where three steel hoops penetrate their arm without them knowing it!"

Illusion Fusion
WHERE: Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek
WHEN: Dec. 8, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
TICKETS/INFO: http://www.lesherartscenter.org/alex-ramon-illusion-fusion/