Guest author: Theory 11 review of Award Dinner

October 24, 2010

by Jonathan Bayme


Magic awards are a dime a dozen. Many of them are handed out by local magic clubs. Some of them are distributed by regional groups. And a select few are handed out by meaningful, multinational organizations. Whenever I hear of a magician getting an award, I ask myself what award it is and who is giving it. Sometimes, the award is meaningless – a kind gesture, but of little significance.

This is not one of those times. This one means something. This time, the award is prestigious; the organization well-respected; the recipient well warranted. This evening, I was pleased to join Steve Cohen as he accepted the Gold Medal the National Arts Club. The society was founded in 1898 and is headquartered in an elegant mansion in New York City’s Gramercy Park. The society’s members include three former Presidents, foreign dignitaries (the late Princess Diana), Martin Scorcese, Uma Thurman, and Robert Redford.

The society has never before provided an artistic award to a magician. That changed tonight with an elegant, formal reception and dinner to present Steve Cohen with their annual award. I was honored to join Steve tonight as he received the award, and the entire event was an evening I will not soon forget. I was privileged to sit near Dick Cavett at the ceremony, which many of you may know as an entertainer, producer, and great friend to Johnny Carson, Slydini, Doug Henning, and Dai Vernon. The stories he told before dinner had me speechless, captivated.

Please join me in extending congratulations to Steve Cohen, a great friend of theory11 and someone I truly believe is doing something different; something unique; and most of all, something that is advancing the reputation of this artform we all love.