The 2022 Valentine Awards

This is my 2022 Magic Valentine Awards Presented in Association with Vanish Magic Magazine.

This is the next in my series of magical Valentine Awards . The original article was published in Vanish International Magic Magazine. As you will notice the piece is written in a very tongue in cheek manner, however I am very serious about each of the five awards, and they come right from the heart. The official Awards are going to be mailed to the recipients shortly. The next awards will be issued in the February 2023 issue of Vanish. I know that I am stating the obvious but needless to say absolutely no influence can be made on our decision through any means. That was just me being a wise ass and taking a sideways swipe at certain other awards!

I know many people feel that too many awards are already being presented, however, I plan to fly in the face of this defeatist thinking. This column represents the first annual presentation of the Valentine Awards. The goal of these awards is to send out “Valentines” to members of the magic world whom our board of directors, board of trustees, and president feel deserve acknowledgment for their contribution to our community. Members of the Valentine Association have voted on the various nominations, and a highly respected accountancy firm carefully tabulated the results.

I rather like the high-toned and impressive stance of the opening paragraph. However, total transparency requires me to acknowledge that I, and I alone, comprise all the individuals referenced in the above statement. Unlike many other magic awards, I wish to clarify that cash payments, first-class airfares, and other expenses may directly influence my future choices for nominees and winners. Some ideas are just way too good not to appropriate. 

Having cleared up those initial details, let me say that it has not been an easy choice of award winners due to the continued erratic influence of the COVID pandemic that has hovered over the year’s activities. Therefore, the prevalence of virtual shows and events dictated by the current medical climate is duly reflected in these awards. However, some brave souls who persevered with live events are also celebrated in our choices. With no further ado, let me launch into our five awards, thus eliminating the powerful sense of tension and anticipation my readers will almost certainly be experiencing.     

The Zoom Communication and Virtual Fellowship Award.

Lance Rich

This award was pretty much a no-brainer to choose. With live shows, conventions, and club meetings so severely impacted in 2021, it is awesome that so many people have used the Zoom platform to create a feeling of fellowship amongst their fellow magicians. I think it appropriate that this year’s Valentine goes to David Sandy and Lance Rich for their spectacularly successful Magic Collectors Corner Zoom meetings. The Zoom cast that David and Lance created has been a source of delight and enrichment to magicians around the globe. From obscure props and arcane principles to up to the minute news, these themed meetings were a ray of sunshine to magicians amidst the wintery skies of our plague-infested boredom. The broadcasts were jam-packed with matters of interest to all the participants. David and Lance must be congratulated on creating a sharp and professional product that showed everyone the standards to which the Zoom platform could aspire. If you missed out on these events, check out their Facebook page for details about this ongoing series of events. Great job, guys, keep them coming!

David Sandy

I want to point out two very close contenders to this award, both of which deserve special mention. For 52 weeks last year, Drew Cardella has produced and hosted a lively and entertaining Zoom meeting every Wednesday. He continues this series in 2022, and if you wish to attend, I suggest you contact Drew at for full details. One other honorable mention in this category is the Magic Castle. With the Castle’s doors closed for almost the entire year, the Castle shared superb video meetings and events for its members. The talented team of folk at the Castle threw themselves wholeheartedly into producing first-class entertainment for their members. They did a great job, and as an out-of-town member of the club, I hope this video content continues indefinitely as it made me feel much more included in club activities than I did previously. 

The Best Reason to Be Wary of Mentalists Award

Guillermo del Toro

While it has been a box office disaster, the Guillermo del Toro remake of William Lindsay Gresham’s Nightmare Alley is still a must-see event for many magicians. Gresham’s 1946 gripping novel was a masterpiece of pulp fiction that was as dark as one of Shin Lim’s tabletops. In 1947 the book was transformed into a movie starring Tyrone Power. Sadly it was also a box office catastrophe. The ‘47 production is now rightly considered one of the finest examples of cinema noir to be found. Will Guillermo’s movie achieve the same belated acclaim? Who knows, but a new black and white cut of del Toro’s movie is now being shown, and it is getting rave reviews. Whether you view the various movie versions or you read the novel, this story will make you very cautious of the dangers of getting too carried away with your mentalism or believing your own publicity.

Magician of the Year Award

Carisa Hendrix

There are many possible winners in this category, but I am sending a Valentine to Carisa Hendrix, aka Lucy Darling. Ms. Darling won the hearts of the magic world with her funny and polished comedy magic show when she performed it live. Without apparently pausing for a breath or a muttered, “Darling….” Carisa moved her performance into the virtual show mode, proving a well-built persona, carefully constructed comedy, and powerful magic work in whatever medium you perform them. Carisa is smart and funny, and I am looking forward to seeing what she does next. I give a very close second in this department to England’s Nick Einhorn, who took the virtual market apart and created magic for it that shone. Einhorn is a skilled performer whose grasp of this new performing platform was a total success.

Best Online Magic Store

Joshua Jay and Andi Gladwin

This award goes out to Joshua Jay and Andi Gladwin of Vanishing Inc. for the world-class job they do. While it is easy to lament the disappearance of brick-and-mortar magic stores, I find much that I like with the new breed of magic superstores on the Internet. The speed and efficiency that dispatch orders is exemplary, and on the very few occasions I have had any problem, their customer service proved outstanding. In honesty, Penguin Magic is also a terrific purveyor of magical items, but I must rate Josh and Andi a hairsbreadth ahead; maybe it is those daffy little “Thank you for ordering” videos the guys make.

I think it is time to accept the fact that those physical magic stores we all enjoyed so much in our early magical days are going the way of the dodo. If you have a great brick-and-mortar store in your town, then, by all means, support them. Don’t just pop in on a Saturday morning, though, shoot the shit, and leave four hours later after buying a deck of cards; buy something! Over the years, I was lucky enough to visit magic stores and be served by Jules Lenier, Al Flosso, Denny Haney, Pat Page, Michael Skinner, and Ken Brooke. I loved the expert advice and wisdom they provided, but those days are virtually gone.

Best Live Magic Event

This is an easy award to give out, and the winner is Bill Smith for his Magic Collector’s Expo 2021. Magic collectors events like this have a great heritage in the magic world, but Bill knocked it out of the park last year. The cherry on top of a already delightful magical sundae at the Expo was a visit to David Copperfield’s legendary Las Vegas Magic Museum.

Bill Smith

The Orleans Hotel and Casino housed the many lectures that comprised the body of the Expo. Still, it was a chance to visit David’s museum that resonated with every magician who had ever forced a playing card. The event sold out and received enthusiastic accolades from all who attended.

The 2021 event will be a tough act for Bill Smith to follow, but I feel he is moving solidly in the right direction by taking his Expo back on the road and visiting us here in Austin, Texas. The Expo will feature a tour of the spectacular Houdini Collection at the Ransom Center at the University of Texas and a special performance by Ray Anderson in Esther’s Follies. Of course, being Texas, barbecue, and tall stories will add to the fun! Very few registrations remain for this spectacular event that runs April 13th-16th, so snap one up by visiting   

Well, this is my five Valentine Awards for 2021. I hope, but don’t particularly care, if you approve of them. What is essential is to remember, as hinted at before, send me a first-class return ticket, have a paper bag full of unmarked $20 bills waiting for me, and you too can be featured amongst next year’s winners! Actually both myself and Vanish Magic Magazine wish to thank all our Valentine Award winners for their contribution to the Magical Arts.

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About Magicians and all Things Magical…

~ by Nick Lewin on February 23, 2022.

One Response to “The 2022 Valentine Awards”


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