The Allan Slaight Awards highlight and reward outstanding achievements in the deceptive arts. Founded in 2008 by amateur magician-cum-media-mogul, Allan Slaight, the foundation has pledged $50,000 a year, over five years, to be awarded to magicians of merit in the form of cold hard cash and engraved iPads. Magic site, Magicana, has been tasked with organizing the awards, and has been announcing a winner every day this week. Now that all the hard work is done, we’re going to swoop in and announce the winners all at once.
The foundations highest honor, this award recognizes a lifetime of exceptional commitment to the magical arts. This year, English biochemist and magician, Dr. Edwin Dawes, joins the likes of Johnny Thompson, Max Maven and Ton Onosaka as an award winner.
Dawes has spent a lifetime recording and studying the history of magic, and is considered by some to be the most prolific writer of magic history alive today. He’s also a skilled magician in his own right.
You can see a profile of Dawes and his accomplishments, as well as his acceptance speech here.
The Sharing Wonder award recognises an outstanding performance of magic by an exceptional artist. Past recipients include Penn & Teller, Darcy Oake and Derek DelGaudio. This year’s award went to Michael Carbonaro, who has spent the last decade and a half entertaining audiences on the stage and on television. Starting with an excellent performance on The Chappelle Show back in 2004, Carbonaro has gone on to carve out an enviable career for himself. His excellent magic/prank show, The Carbonaro Effect, has been running for 68 episodes and is still going strong.
His award comes with $15,000 and an engraved iPad. You can see a profile of Carbonaro and his acceptance speech, here.
The Sharing Secrets awards recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of magic study and research, the kind conducted by previous award winners including Richard Kaufman and John Lovick. This year, the award has been expanded to cover organizations, allowing Cape Town’s College of Magic to cinch the win.
At the foreground of South Africa’s booming magic scene, the College of Magic is a non-profit, public benefit organisation that offers its students the opportunity to study magic in a beautiful Victorian homestead built in 1899. Those students will now hopefully reap the benefits of $10,000 and an engraved iPad. You can see a profile of the college, and an acceptance speech from its faculty, here.
The International Rising Star award is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s an award recognizing an emerging international magic talent. This year, the award goes to American magician Noah Levine.
Levine is a Brooklyn-based magician who specializes in sleight of hand and “unnerving coincidence” tricks. He’s performed at numerous venues around the US, made a number of TV appearances, and performs his show, Magic After Hours, every week at Tannen’s. He’s walking away with $5,000 and an engraved iPad. You can see a profile of Levine and his acceptance speech here.
As Mr. Slaight is a Canadian, it’s only right that one of the awards made in his name goes to a fellow syrup eater. Thus, the Canadian Rising Star award, which recognizes outstanding work by an emerging Canadian magician.
This year the award goes to “magic minimalist,” Nick Wallace. Wallace is a sought-after performer in the corporate gig scene, and has been making waves in the world of theatre with his star turn in STRANGE&UNUSUAL. Previous winners of the award include Mahdi Gilbert, Luc Langevin and Eric Leclerc.
The award also comes with $5,000 and, you guessed it, an engraved iPad. You can see his profile and his thoughts on the award here.
Everybody here at Genii Online would like to congratulate these talented and hardworking magicians on their well-deserved awards.
In TruTV’s The Carbonaro Effect, sprightly magician Michael Carbonaro performs tricks on unsuspecting members of the general public, usually to hilarious effect. The show has been on the air for nearly four years now, and with each season the tricks grow bolder and more elaborate. Carbonaro insists that the tricks are always performed on live members of the public and never rely on post-production effects or editing, so how does the team raise the bar each season?
The secret, if this interview with The Interrobang is to be believed, is in how Carbonaro and his team approach “writing” a magic show.
Most of the time you sit in a writers’ room and you get together and try and come up with things that you can do. But we’re just the opposite. We sit around and try and figure out things that we can’t do, and then figure out how to do them.
And, of course, it helps that people are hardwired to seek a connection between events. Carbonaro frequently uses social pressure and priming to make his chosen mark more susceptible to being duped.
I have to think of what would fool me. If I was talking to somebody and they’re right there rocking in a chair next to me and then somebody turned that chair around and that was a scarecrow now that I was just speaking with, and he hadn’t left and I was staring right there, that would freak me out. And lo and behold, it worked.
“They’re putting the pieces together in the head, just the pieces that I give them,” he continued. “And they put that together to form an illusion.”
Picking the right mark is an important part of the show, and over the last four years, Carbonaro and his team have developed a keen eye for members of the public most likely to give huge reactions that will make the final cut.
Well, the golden ticket is if somebody just walks… If I was at the Reptile House or if I’m at the ice cream parlor, we try to get somebody to just be on their ordinary day coming on in. I mean, this guy that I was cloning rats for, it was like the last day of the season that we were shooting. And I think it might be the best reaction of the season, ’cause the guy that I got, who was the one that we’re gonna show on television, he was off the chain. He was so unbelievably dumbfounded, and this is just like a regular dude coming in to buy crickets for his lizard. Like, he’s just there on his regular day and he happened to encounter me. That’s the golden one. That’s the best … and if they don’t recognize me. ‘Cause now we have that that comes into play, too. But that’s the golden one, is if someone just wanders in on their regular day and has something happen to them.
Even if you’re not a fan of The Carbonaro Effect’s prank-show approach, this is still an interview with a genuinely skilled magician with an impressive degree of insight into the psychology that makes the art possible. I strongly recommend you read it.
Actor, comedian and magician Michael Carbonaro was meant to play the Foxwoods Casino in November of last year, but a family emergency forced him to postpone the show until March 31st. That’s this Saturday, for those of you who happen to be the area. The 7pm showing is down to single seats only but the 10:30pm show still has tickets available.
Carbonaro has been working on the small screen since 2004. His candid-camera and magic mashup, Magic Clerk, was a regular feature on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno for over a decade before he branched out with his own series, The Carbonaro Effect, on truTV in 2014. Carbonaro’s magic skills are impressive, but it’s his comedic timing and incredibly good poker face that makes his show so good.
Michael Carbonaro Live starts at 7:00pm and 10:30pm at The Fox Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino on Saturday 31st. Tickets start at US$40.00 plus a small booking charge. His next show is at the Wilbur Theater in Boston on April 14th. You can see more tour dates here.