Magic can mean many things – quicker than the eye transformations, stunts that defy physical laws, and wonderfully unexpected acts. This last meaning fits the work of Feed The Children Foundation, an organization that supplies food and other basic necessities to 118 countries. Feed The Children was the beneficiary of the bash held at Barker Hangar on October 11 for the taping of the second annual World Magic Awards.
The interior of Barker Hangar, most often used for exhibits, was transformed into an auditorium with a spectacular stage set. The live-on-tape broadcast was emceed by How I Met Your Mother star Neil Patrick Harris, now a member of the Board at the Magic Castle, who performed a few magic tricks of his own. Fourteen magical acts received awards and mercifully, instead of making speeches like the Oscars et al, the magicians simply demonstrated their craft.
Best Illusionist Kirby Van Burch emerged from a flaming box, and proceeded to transform his wife/assistant Bambi into several animals. Best Original Cabaret Act Dan Sperry, made up like a punk vampire, worked miracles with handkerchiefs and birds of many colors. Best Stage Magician Greg Gleason presented his take on the classic trick of levitating his female assistant and passing hoops over her body to prove there were no strings holding her up.
Ed Alonzo, Best Comedy Illusionist, was the most endearing of the magicians, with his self-deprecating wit and Eraserhead hairstyle. He talked with a kazoo in his mouth, directed an invisible creature to jump into a bucket, and paid tribute to Houdini with an escape-from-the-box trick.
Florian Zimmer, Contempory Magician of the Year, brought up an audience volunteer to shoot the bullet that Zimmer would catch in his mouth. Also recruiting a volunteer was Comedian/Magician/Entertainer The Amazing Johnathan, whose thing was to be kind of nasty to his volunteer and even nastier to his ditzy female assistant.
If all those loyal and trusting female magicians’ assistants raise questions about underlying gender roles in the world of magic, at least Sos (male) and Victoria (female), Best Cabaret Duo, gave a unique twist to their act. Sos covered Victoria with concealment bags, from which she emerged each time with a new dress – but finally, she threw a bag over Sos and changed his outfit too!
Best Cabaret Magicians Roxanne (female) and Topas (male) reminded the audience, with their sleight-of-hand using tiny objects, that magic acts don’t have to be big productions. Best Teen Magician Kyle Escher exhibited his skill at tricks with scarves while also displaying a humorously morose personality. But Mark Kalin and Jinger (America’s Magician of the Year) brought back the thrills with a major spectacle of levitation.
Also featured were Jeff McBride (Best Classic Magic), a filmed feat of daring by Franz Hararay, another explosive act by Hans Klok (International Magician of the Year), and a special award, the Blackstone Tribute Award, to pioneering TV magician Mark Wilson.
Feed The Children founders Larry and Frances Jones made a brief appearance and were saluted with a standing ovation. They reminded the audience that providing survival materials to people in need is “the real magic.”The World Magic Awards will be broadcast on MyNetwork 13 on November 26.