IBM Gold Cups Close Up Competition 1st Place

I’m 80% Certain This Is A Dream

The picture you see above was taken at 7:45 on July 7th of 2018. It’s the president of the International Brotherhood of Magicians awarding me first prize in the IBM Gold Cups Close Up Competition.

I’m floored and humbled and beside myself and still can’t quite believe it’s real.

For those of you who are not magicians you should know that this contest is a really big deal. The IBM is the largest magic organization in the world, and their annual convention has one of the top prizes in magic. Winning the competition is a dream for a lot of people, and I am extremely fortunate in that I am now getting to realize that dream.

I was up against some incredibly stiff competition. There were people who had come all the way from around the country and the globe to compete in this competition. The second place competitor is this ultra awesome guy named Chong who had traveled from China to compete. We spent all night after the awards showing each other great magic. He does things I am damn sure is impossible. I am so glad to have met him and even more fortunate to have his friendship.

I think it’s only fair that I let everyone in on a couple of things involved in winning an award like this.

The first is that I didn’t do it alone. My routine comes out of my Theater Show Please Shuffle The Cards, but that routine has been examined and improved by some of the best in the business. I was fortunate enough to work with some top current masters in Magic to dramatically transform it from the dumb idea it was into the award winning piece it is now. I hope I get to share the real details about that soon.

Secondly I hired a pair of magic consultancy groups The Magic Firm and Michael Close. Brent Braun is a close friend of mine, but hiring him was instrumental to making this routine better. When you hire an outside consultant you give someone a vested interest in telling you the truth. Brent can see through bullshit and give it to you straight better than anyone in the business. Michael Close has a legendary reputation in magic as being one of the guys who can help fix all of your choreography and motivation to make things just work. Michael was a key part of a lot of the way the final routine looks. I am indebted to both.

Thirdly, the director for my show made key alterations to the script and the jokes that caught the eye of the judges. Nickey Winkelman is not just my score keeper on The Quiz Box. She is not just a close personal friend. She is an insightful and devastatingly smart performer who doesn’t know a damn thing about magic. That’s the most important part. It took a non-magician to look at the act and remove everything that is me getting to deep inside my head about the magic. She made me realize that certain things didn’t matter that much, and other portions of the act mattered so much more than I thought. Without her this would have been very different.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the International Brotherhood of Magicians for trusting me with this award. Being an international champion is pretty cool.


Post Script: This particular honor was made especially sentimental for me because the picture at the top of this was taken by Tom Vorjahan. He sponsored my admittance into the IBM. In addition to that in the crowd during this event was Bob Bolivar who sposonered me into The Magic Castle where my iMonte routine first started to become an idea. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect evening to make this happen.