Last evening, The Orpheum Theatre in Downtown L.A. was host to The Academy of Magical Arts' 50th Anniversary Awards Show. The 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.
- AMA General Manager, Joe Furlow, and a video recording of Neil Patrick Harris present an Award of Merit to past AMA president, Randy Sinnott.
- Christopher Hart presents the Parlour Magician of the Year award and a $1,000 prize (in honor of Billy McComb and Jay Marshall) to Johnny Ace Palmer.
- Mike Caveney announces that 2018's Magician of the Year is comedy magician, David Williamson.
- David Zimmerman and Bob Dorian present Junior Achievement Awards to Kevin Li and Griffin Barry.
- Andrew Evans returns to the stage to perform Jim Steinmeyer's Quantum Mechanics effect. Does not lay down phat beats this time.
- 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.
- 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.