A Night Like No Other
2008 World Magic Awards
Primetime Network Special.
by GAY BLACKSTONE
The best and brightest in the industry have their special night in a two-hour, nationally televised (USA) awards show - The 2008 World Magic Awards, airing November 26th on MyNetworkTV. With a standing room only audience of show business luminaries, this production has all the excitement of a live stage magic show combined with all the challenges of shooting a primetime television special. (read more)
We transformed a huge airplane hangar at the Santa Monica airport into a theater, adding everything needed to put on this complicated show - from audience seats to our spectacular moving set. My good friend, Magic Castle board member and Emmy-nominated actor Neil Patrick Harris hosted as well as performing some tricks of his own. Neil kept the evening moving and participated in one illusion to hilarious results. Unlike other awards shows, there are no acceptance speeches, but each artist performed their best material for the live crowd.
We had celebrity presenters introduce each act; including "Ghostbuster" Ernie Hudson, "LA Law"-yer Corbin Bernsen, ex-"Duke of Hazard" John Schneider and wrestlers The Miz and John Morrison. Lance Burton performed from Vegas and introduced Jeff McBride - winner of the Classic Magic award.
Thirteen other magicians performed keeping the show moving briskly and the audience on the edge of their seats as they ohhed and ahhed and laughed and cheered.
Best Illusionist Kirby Van Burch arrived on stage from a flaming cabinet, and his wife Bambi assisted in materializing exotic animals from a leopard to a python. Extreme Goth Dan Sperry made miracles with colorful disappearing doves - he was awarded Best Original Cabaret Act. Best Stage Magician Greg Gleason floats his assistant on jets of water, a new take on the levitation trick.
Ed Alonzo, Best Comedy Illusionist, was a crowd favorite with his self-deprecating wit and wacky hairstyle. He kept them laughing throughout his entire performance.
All the way from Germany, Florian Zimmer had an audience member shoot him in the mouth with a paintball gun. Where it ends up is amazing!
Teen magician Kyle Eschen stole the show with his hilarious deadpan delivery and audience interaction.
The Amazing Johnathan and his ditzy assistant Psychic Tanya, made fun of the audience volunteers and performed his signature comedy shtick, much to the delight of audience.
Sos and Victoria dazzled with their quick change, cycling through over 20 outfits. Roxanne gave everyone a turn with her impression of a spider and Topas made an impression with his sleight of hand. Kalin and Jinger (Magicians of the Year) brought back the thrills with a major spectacle of levitation.
From a remote location Franz Harary escaped death by airplane and appeared on stage to accept his award for Best Escape Artist. Last years Magician of the Year, Hans Klok did a spectacular set escaping a variety of traps.
This year's Blackstone Tribute Award went to pioneering TV magician Mark Wilson and his lovely wife, Nani Darnell.
Overall it was an exhilarating and very rewarding show, made more so because it's a benefit for Feed The Children, an organization that supplies food and other basic necessities to 118 countries.
For information visit the website (click here)
Kalin & Jinger • Magicians of the Year
Kirby VanBurch • Best Illusionist
Dan Sperry • Best Original Cabaret Magic
Greg Gleason • Best Stage Magician
Ed Alonzo • Best Comedy Illusionist
Sos & Victoria • Best Duo Caberet Magic
Florian Zimmer • Best Contemporary Magician
Kyle Eschen • Best Teenage Magician
Jeff McBride • Best Classic Magic
Roxanne • Best Cabaret Female Magic
Amazing Johnathan • Best Comedy Magic
Franz Harary • Best Escape Artist
Topas • Best Cabaret Male Magic
Mark Wilson & Nani Darnell • The Blackstone Award
Hans Klok - Special guest and 2007 winner, Magician of the Year