The Magic Castle and Academy of Magical Arts Celebrate The Best of the Best in Magic

lance burton, magic castle, awards

Mentalism, close-up, parlor, stage… who knew there were so many varieties of magic? The world of conjuring tricks and sleight of hand is an entirely different industry and universe. While the film world has the Academy Awards, television has the Emmys and beauty has The Hollywood Beauty Awards… magic has the Academy of Magical Arts Awards Reception.

On stage for the first time since pre-pandemic 2019, the award ceremony looked a little different this year with a lineup of Fellowship honoree awards. Many were recognized for keeping magic alive during the COVID lockdowns via podcasts and YouTube series.

The show was hosted by Michael Carbonaro who kept the energy afloat in between speeches with a live band on stage for cues and a few “badum-chings.”

Carbonaro had a handful of strong jokes surrounding the Magic Castle’s new owner, Gearbox founder and CEO Randy Pitchford. Showing imaginary renovation photos of guests wearing Oculus headsets and robots in the parlor rooms, the audience had some good laughs to start out the night.

michael carbonaro, magic castle, awards reception

The audience was filled with many legends in magic. During the cocktail hour, many were eager to take out their deck of cards and show a few tricks. Including, Gene Urban who has practiced magic for over 42 years. A member of the Magic Castle since the 1980’s, he specializes in “jazz” magic; improvising. On the spot, he showed our a few guests an impressive card trick reveal.

Throughout the evening, guests were treated to a handful of performances from Lance Burton, Shoot Ogawa and more.

The audience “ooh’d” and “aww-d” as Shoot Ogawa transformed coins into a spoon and back, while another magician performed an incredible “bartending” trick; pouring a variety of drinks and cocktails from a singular shaker.

The honorees included legends and magic rookies:

Internationally renowned mentalist and longtime AMA board member Max Maven received the AMA’s Masters Fellowship Award, while also being inducted into the Magic Hall of Fame.

shoot ogawa, magic castle, awards reception

  • Also recognized, Shoot Ogawa and Simon Coronel
  • Performing Fellowship – Charlie Frye
  • Creative Fellowship – Martin Lewis
  •  Literary Fellowship – Jamy Ian Swiss
  • Special Fellowship –  Gloria Dea, Gary Buetler, David Sandy & Lance Rich, Tannen’s Magic Camp and Connie Boyd
  • Aaron O’Brien and Gonçalo Sousa were recognized with a Junior Achievement Award

It was clear, from the honoree speeches to the camaraderie of the guests that the Magic Castle is a family. Over the decades, the most legendary magicians have performed at and considered the castle their home away from home.

max maven, magic castle, awards reception

The Academy of Magical Arts (AMA) is a unique non-profit. The AMA’s membership—including the world’s most pre-eminent and celebrated magicians and illusionists—lives by the “Magic First” creed, devoted to the advancement of the art of magic and preserving its history.  Its headquarters and private clubhouse, the Magic Castle, has been an internationally revered gathering place for the magic brotherhood since opening its doors in 1963.

Located in historic Hollywood in an elegant, Victorian-era mansion, the Castle is an experience within itself—a remarkable meeting spot that captures a lost era and is timeless in its appeal, having hosted generations of magic enthusiasts from around the globe.

If you are lucky enough to visit this magical place, put your camera away and simply enjoy the art of magic!

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