A Las Vegas magician did not have a good night at the NHL Awards Show in Last Vegas. The poor guy was tapped to perform a relatively simple card arrangement trick to reveal the winner of this year’s Selke award for the best defensive forward. In ice hockey. That’s the one with the sticks. And the ice. 

Anyway, as you might have grasped from the title of this article, the reveal doesn’t go entirely according to plan. Fortunately, recipient Anze Kopitar knew it was his time to shine, and was already on his feet, so at least things couldn’t possibly get any worse.

Oh. Oh no. Oh nooooo.   

Screw ups are an unavoidable part of the business, and to be fair to him, our boy handles it like a pro. I would have curled up into a ball and never moved again. They would have had to roll me out of the venue. 

I’d hadn’t heard of the Museum of Comedy’s Old Comedian of the Year competition until ten minutes ago, but I’ve been searching for an opportunity to show you folks more of the amazing Ada Campe since I came across her back in march, so it’s now a prestigious award worthy of a news article. 

The alter ego of Dr. Naomi Paxton, Campe is a hilariously unhinged magician whose shtick is pitched somewhere between a classic theatre dame and that crazy aunt who always turns up to Thanksgiving with three cats, two bottles of brandy and a loaded revolver. Her twitchy intensity and throaty vocal delivery are enough to get me laughing, even before she breaks out her psychic duck.

So what counts as “old,” in this business? 35, apparently. Hands up if you suddenly feel ancient. The competition was open to anyone over the age of 35 who has been performing non-professionally for at least five years. Dr. Paxton makes her living as a public speaker, academic, and author.   

If you were hoping to see Campe live, you’re in luck. She’ll be performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. 

Last evening, The Orpheum Theatre in Downtown L.A. was host to The Academy of Magical Arts’ 50th Anniversary Awards ShowThe Magic Castle’s official Twitter account live-tweeted the event, the results of which I’ve compiled into the blow-by-blow summary you see below. Enjoy.

  • The show kicks off at 7:10pm with a short introduction by host, Larry Wilmore, followed by an appearance from Magic Castle founder, Milt Larsen.  
  • A video montage of the last 50 years of AMA award shows plays, accompanied by Liberty Larsen singing It’s Magic.  

  • Wilmore presents a slideshow called The Afro Years, showing famous magicians who sported afros at some point during their careers.
  • Academy of Magical Arts president, Jim Steinmeyer, presented a Performing Fellowship to Ray Anderson.
  • Johnny Thompson presents the Close-Up Magician of the Year award and a $1,000 prize (donated by the Dai Vernon Foundation) to Richard Turner. 
  • Max Maven presents an Award of Merit to Denis Behr. 
  • Andrew Evans arrives on stage, raps throughout the entirety of his performance. That is not a joke.

  • Traditionalist magician, Michael Weber, presents a Performing Fellowship to sleight-of-hand wizard, Eric Mead.
  • John Lovick presents a Creative Fellowship to veteran magician and producer, Chris Kenner. 
  • John Gaughan presents the special fellowship to Ken Klosterman for his work in collecting and conserving magic antiquities. 
  • Marawa the Amazing impresses the audience with her superb hula hoop performance.  

  • Genii Magazine Editor in Chief Richard Kaufman presents a Special Fellowship award to fellow man of letters, Peter Lane. Lane is the executive Librarian of the Magic Circle in London. 
  • GeniiOnline and Genii Magazine owner, Randy Pitchford, presents the Lecturer of the Year award and a $1,000 prize (in honor of Don Lawton and Carl Ballantine) to John Carney. 
  • Joan Lawton presents a Media Fellowship Award to David Ginn. 
  • Liberty Larsen presents an In Memoriam video that contains far too many names for just one year. 

  • FISM Manipulation World Champion, Yo Kato, entertains the audience.
  • Siegfried and (Marvin) Roy present the Lifetime Achievement award to Haruo Shimada, a venerable Japanese magician who once performed for Emperor Hirohito. 
  • Steve Valentine  presents the third and final Award of Merit to Wayne Dobson. His acceptance speech is very well received.

  • Larry Wilmore returns to the stage to perform some magic. It ends badly. 

  • Goldfinger and Dove announce that Shoot Ogawa is the 2018 Stage Magician of the Year. Ogawa also recieves a $1000 prize in honor of Sam Fehrenz and Judith Spohr. 
  • French “black art” performers,  Les Chapeaux Blanc, perform the final show of the night. It goes down well.    

Michael Carbonaro presents the first ever Magician of the Decade award to, who else, David Copperfield. 

  • But Copperfield can’t get away with just one award. Dick Van Dyke turns up out of nowhere and presents him with the Masters Fellowship award (and they even dance a little jig!).

And there ends a truly magical evening. Congratulations to all those who walked away with an award or an award nomination, and thank you to whoever is running the Magic Castle’s Twitter account for the timely and tireless coverage.  

As noted in the text, Randy Pitchford is the owner of Genii Magazine and GeniiOnline. 

Since 1967, The Magic Circle has been doling out an annual award for “Close Up Magician of the Year.” In 2017, Cambridge native Matthew Le Mottée, took home the award with his fresh but traditionally-inspired style of “dapper magic.” This year he won out against a record number of competitors, making him the first magician to win the award twice, never mind twice in a row.

So what is dapper magic, exactly? As Le Mottée explains in the interview above:

It’s more about the presentation and the way I approach magic. It’s sort of harking back to a few hundred years ago where people would have magic shows in their parlor and would have magicians show their friends magic. My style is an original take with an original twist. 

The award is already paying off for Le Mottée. He’s been invited to take part in a show in Chigago, followed by an exclusive convention in Buffalo, New York. 



Magic is the art of deception, and Reverent Bill Wishart of St Martin’s Church, Edinburgh, is a master of pulling the wool over people’s eyes. Quite literally: His tricks almost all involve knitting needles.

The 52-year-old magician, who performs under the stage name “Bill’s Ministry of Magic,” won this year’s Harry Kidd Cup for parlor, stage or stand-up comedy magic after he impressed judges of the West Lothian Magic Circle with his comedy magic routine, The Blades of Death. In the routine, he performed tricks with titles like “The Crochet Needles of Doom,” “Knitty Knitty, Bang, Bang,” and the “Disecto Arm Chopper.”

Wishart is the very image of a minister-turned-magician, performing all his tricks in a sparkling waistcoat accompanied by a podium with his stage name spelled out in Comic Sans. Just looking at him is giving me flashbacks to my days in the Boy Scouts. 

“It’s wonderful that the judges, distinguished fellow club members with many years’ experience of magic, enjoyed my act enough to award me the trophy,” Wishart told the local media. “To say I’m chuffed is an understatement.” 

Wishart is also a keen guitar-player, and often plays gigs with his church band, “Yo Stooshie.” 

The Magic Circle tends to be hyper-secretive about most of its goings-on, but the London club was kind enough to share some exciting news about one of its talented members. Matthew Le Mottée was recently recognized as The Magic Circle Close-up Magician of the Year, making him the first to receive the honor for two years in a row.

Out of the record number of entries for the 2018 competition, eight magicians were selected to perform live at the club’s headquarters. Each eight-minute routine was evaluated for both skill and originality, and the 28-year-old Le Mottée took the crown once more.

Even though he’d impressed the judges last year, he told the Eastern Daily Press that he was even more nervous for the second go. “There was definitely a lot more pressure this year,” he said. “Even though nobody was given any background on the magicians, so there was no bias, I knew all the members who had seen my performance last year or were watching the live stream were expecting something just as good if not better.”

Seems that he exceeded those expectations. Congratulations, Matthew!

Every two years, the New England Magic Collectors association honors those who “display long-standing and exemplary accomplishments in the disciplines of magic collecting and magic history” with the Founders Award. This year, NEMCA has honored The American Museum of Magic in Marshall, Michigan.

The plaque awarded to the American Museum of Magic reads:

For 40 years, from April 1, 1978, the date Robert and Elaine Lund opened their beloved American Museum of Magic, the museum has been the home of the largest publicly displayed, private collection of conjuring artifacts, posters, books and memorabilia in the world.celebrating the lives of magicians and their contributions to the art of magic.

For four decades, the American Museum of Magic has collected and preserved rare and valuable treasures from magic’s storied past, becoming an irreplaceable research center for collectors and historians, as well as a renowned public attraction 

The museum officially opened in 1978, mostly as a way for Bob and Elaine Lund to store and showcase their ever-increasing magic collection. After Bob’s death in 1995, Elaine formed a non-profit organization called the American Museum of Magic, Inc. in order to preserve the museum’s legacy after she had passed. Now, the collection of historical magic ephemera is overseen by a board of directors, and continues to honor the Lund’s legacy to this day. 

For more information on the history of the museum and the award they received, visit the Founders Award page at For admission and museum scheduling, visit the official page for the American Museum of Magic.

Every year, the Magic Dove Magic Shop in Cocoa, Florida hosts a competition looking for the best and brightest names in Florida magic. Dozens of performers come to the Cocoa Village Playhouse and put on their best acts over the past weekend, and after a stiff competition, the winners have been chosen. The 2018 Florida Magicians of the Year for each division are: Megan Waryk (Junior), Autumn VanVorhis (Youth), and Tood Bogue (adult).

All three winners appeared on Orlando news station to talk about their experience competing for the title, and what magic means to them. Megan has been doing magic for two years (you can even see a bit of her act in the embedded video above), and while she appears a bit TV shy, she shows a lot of confidence and courage for a nine-year-old. Autumn is 15, and has been practicing magic for eight years already, and talks about why she loves getting to see people’s reactions.

The focus then turns to Todd, who has clearly been doing this for a while—he even has a trick prepped for the anchor to help out with. Todd has a series of shows in Florida: every Wednesday he performs at the Royal Floridian Resort in Norman Beach, and the first Friday of every month at the River Lanes Family Entertainment Center in Titusville.

Check out the full article on for more info about the magicians and contest, and visit the Magic Dove Magic Shop on Facebook to find events and learn magic.

Do you have a favorite conjuror or illusionist that you feel deserves special commendation? Has a magician’s performance in 2017 impressed you more than the rest? Now’s your chance to give them the recognition they deserve by nominating them for the 2018 Allan Slaight Awards, hosted by Magicana.

Since 2015, the Allan Slaight Awards (named for the late Canadian media mogul and magic aficionado who recently had his collection of magic posters hosted in an art gallery) has attempted to highlight the best names in magic and to award “outstanding achievement in the pursuit of the impossible”. Each of the five awards are attached with monetary prizes, furnished by the Slaight Family Foundation, and judged by an independent panel through Magicana.

Here are a list of nominations and prior winners, as provided via press release:

Sharing Wonder ($15,000) recognizes exceptional magic performed for the public, whether in live performance, on television or online. Past recipients include Derek Delgaudio (2017), Darcy Oake (2016) and Penn & Teller (2015) 

Sharing Secrets ($10,000) recognizes work that advances the study of magic as a performing art, whether in print, on video or any other medium. Work related to the history of magic and its practitioners will also be considered. Past recipients include John Lovick (2017), Richard Kaufman (2016) and Mike Caveney (2015).

Rising Star – Canadian & International ($5,000 each) recognizes emerging talent in Canada and abroad. Past recipients include Edward Hilsum (2017), Eric Leclerc (2017), Jorge Blass (2016), Luc Langevin (2016), Henry Vargas (2015), and Mahdi Gilbert (2015).

Lifetime Achievement ($15,000) recognizes a person, company or organization that has demonstrated a commitment to advancing magic as a performing art, and made major contributions to that goal throughout their or its lifetime. Past recipients include Max Maven (2017), Ton Onosaka (2016) and Johnny Thompson (2015). 

If you know of a magician who is deserving of any of these awards, you can send your submissions to Magicana via their award nominations page. Nominations require a little more than a name and a couple YouTube links, though—you must provide information about yourself, as well as information about your nominee, which may include a brief biography (under 750 words) and an explanation for why you believe they deserve to be nominated. Links, clips, documents, and other samples of the magician’s work may be attached as well.

Nominations will be accepted until March 15, 2018 at midnight, with winners contacted in the spring.

For more information on the awards, the nomination process, previous winners, and frequently asked questions, head over to Magicana for a full breakdown.

Penn Jillette is a bit of a Renaissance man—in addition to performing magic with his partner Teller, he’s hosted television shows, starred in a nearly-published video game, and even written and produced his own documentaries. In fact, Jillette’s love for documentaries is why he’s hosting the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards today in Brooklyn for the second year in a row. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Jillette waxes about why he’s so jazzed to host this year.

“Hosting this show is very simple for me,” Jillette told THR for a written article in the publication’s montly magazine, recently reprinted online. “It’s not a career move, it’s not a financial move. I just like people who make documentaries, so I want to be around them. I get to rub elbows with people who are really doing smart, good stuff. I don’t get to do that very often. I live in Vegas.”

The awards show, which will honor the nonfiction work of nominees from around the globe such as California Typewriter, a film about cats in Instanbul called Kedi, Cries from Syria, and much more. Jillette, who has produced documentaries such as The Aristocrats (which examines the history of the famous dirty joke) and Tim’s Vermeer (about the 17th century painter), finds himself drawn to these films on a deep, emotional level.

“All we care about is other people and all we want out of art is to get a glimpse into someone else’s heart,” says Jillette. “In documentaries, for better or worse, they often deal with a really bad thing, but for much of the film you’re able to put aside the context and really relate to the people onscreen.”