Beginnings (Magic Live Conference 2023)

Beginnings (Magic Live Conference 2023)

Magic Live, the largest gathering of Magicians in North America, was back to their typically scheduled conference times in August of this year. I was excited to return—after a three-year absence, it felt good to return. The Orleans feels good. It’s undoubtedly not posh, but clean, comfortable, and familiar. I’ve attended Magic Live since about 2011. It started as an “every-other-year” event. It soon morphed into an every August get-together of the Art of Magic Enthusiasts: professionals, part-time pros, hobbyists, collectors, creators—anyone who loves the art and wants to partake of 3 full days of world-class lectures, talks, demonstrations, and shows. Seeing the shoulder-rubbing of average guys with the likes of David Copperfield and Penn & Teller feels great.

Each year, Stan Allen, the founder and creator of Magic Live, and his team build a fantastic conference around a theme. This year, trying to return to “normal” after the turmoil (especially in the field of live performance), they chose the word “Beginnings.”

One of my goals was to take as many pictures with friends as possible at the conference. And, honestly, I kept putting it off until about the last day and a half. But there were certain moments—or people—that I knew I wanted to grab a picture with. I wanted to be intentional about it. So, below, you’ll see selfies with friends—and if I can remember, how we first met, and a little, just a little about them. It’s a simple way to express my love of the art and those I consider my friends. So, let’s begin.



Las Vegas, Nevada

Nathan has starred in his illusion show on the Las Vegas strip for the last seventeen years. Nathan and I met in 1989 when we were each 16 years old. We were competitors in the junior stage contest (18 & under) at the Society Of American Magicians convention in Tampa. By age 18, I had moved to Nashville, and Nathan was touring the world. A couple of years later, both of us were married, and Nathan also ended up working on the General Jackson Showboat for Opryland in Nashville for a season. At lunch in Nashville, when we were both about 22, I asked him his long-term goal, and he responded with self-determination; “To have my own show in Vegas,” he told me. He eventually did just that. Over the last 34 years, we’ve seen each other every year or two—somewhere. Now, I do my best to connect with him and see his fantastic show when I am in Vegas. You can catch him at the Saxe Theater inside the Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino. Thanks, Nathan, for being my friend for all these years.

Los Angeles, California

I don’t know when we first met. But to me, he’s always been around. Mike is one of the art’s most prolific writers on the history of magic. He’s published over fifty books exploring famous magicians’ lives and ensuring lesser-known names in the art are kept alive. Mike and a business partner bought The Egyptian Hall Magic Museum in Nashville from my dear friend Dave Price in 1999. He moved most of the collection to his home in Pasadena, California, where he continued discovering new treasures. If you have a question about the history of a magician, Mike probably knows the answer. Thank you, Mike, for your deep passion for the art. A love of the history of the art. Telling the stories and always treating me with kindness.

Branson, Missouri

Duane was a pastor for several years and eventually felt God calling him to travel as a Christian Illusionist, which he has done now for the better part of thirty years. I first met Duane and his lovely wife, Mary, when I was a teenager—at, of course, a magic convention. As I have grown, I’ve been honored to share the stage with him several times at magic conventions. Duane and Mary raised four children while traveling, teaching, and preaching. He has the heart of a teacher; His lectures, books, and techniques have influenced Magi worldwide. He still preaches weekly in Branson when he’s not traveling. Thanks, Duane, for always being a positive person in my life.

Reno, Nevada

I was a teenage magician wannabe. I craved finding any magician on Television. There was no YouTube. I was relegated to the free upcoming T.V. listing in the newspaper. I can’t recall which show it was—, but I remember watching this hilarious magician in a white tux and tails with matching white tennis shoes—slightly askew. He was moving frantically around the stage but with determined grace. Over the years, I’d occasionally catch him on a T.V. spot—or read about him in an industry magazine. I never got to know Larry—but when I saw his signature dark beard and determined look, I had to stop and get a picture to tell him I still have that vivid memory dancing around in my mind. Well done, Larry! Thanks for your early inspiration to a young magician.

Nashville, Tennessee

If you’ve read my book, Sharing Wonder, you’ve been introduced already to one of my “bestest” magic pals. I was 17 years old, visiting Nashville to look at a college option. While staying with my mom and dad at my sister Shelly and her husband Phillip’s home in Nashville, I picked up the Yellow Pages (if you don’t know what those are, ask your parents) and looked up “Magicians” there were a half-dozen or so at the time listed. I called them all. I left messages with some, and others answered, “My name is Scott; I am thinking about moving here for college. How’s the magic scene in Nashville? Are there many opportunities for magicians?” Kevin is the ONLY one that was encouraging to me. “It’s great!” he exclaimed. “Plenty of work, you’ll do great!”. Eventually, I moved. And we met. And our friendship has grown ever since. He’s taught me so much, and as I have grown, we’ve shared deep and tough conversations and loads of laughs. He’s one of my favorite magicians to watch. He calls my wife every year on her birthday; he is one of my dearest friends. Thank you, Kevin. You are loved.

(Maryville, Tennessee)
Now Clearwater, Florida

I can’t recall the first time I met him. I know it’s been at least thirty years. And for many of those years, he came and supported me every time I played in Maryville, Tennessee. If there’s a magic convention, he’s usually there. He loves magic with a passion. He cares deeply for the art—he is brilliant and can be loud, opinionated, and brash—but he is always very kind. I am glad he moved near(er) to me! Thank you, Tom, for the good conversations and for reminding me that passion is still important.

Houston, Texas

This lovely lady is a fantastic performer, creator, and an all-around lovely person. She was among the busiest children’s performers in Houston for many years. Her Mary Poppins character delighted children and adults alike. She was the first female magician to star weekly at Houston’s popular Magic Island theatre. Again, I don’t know where I first met Trixie, and I don’t see her often anymore. But when I do, she is still the epitome of graciousness. Thousands of children will owe their first magic show to Trixie Bond. Thank you, Trixie, for showing Christ’s love in your words and actions.

New York City

David Kaye, aka “Silly Billy,” has been the premier birthday party performer in New York City for more than two decades. Performing for the likes of Madonna’s young children, Bruce Springsteen’s kiddos—and even to this day in the homes of the movers and shakers of NYC. He’s been a book author and a monthly writer for the magic industry magazines for many years. And an exceptional lecturer on the art of performing for children. Like many of my Magi friends listed here, I can’t recall the beginning of our friendship. He came to my school shows when I was on Long Island and then while he was in Central Florida. He’s stayed in my home. We’ve shared many meals and many laughs. He even referred me to the LEGO company several years ago, and I was able to perform as part of a worldwide promotion for them. We have vastly different lifestyles and social, political, and spiritual beliefs. But we have a lot in common, too. He loves to laugh, loves food, and has a deep love for the art of magic. Thank you, David, for being a seriously silly friend.

Los Angeles

Currently, in the finals of America’s Got Talent, Trigg is an amazingly creative performer. When we first met, I was MC’ing the Daytona Festival of Magic stage contest. (As I have done for more than fifteen years.) and Trigg was 19 and competing at the festival. He was thinking out-of-the-box then and has continued to innovate the art to greater heights. The future of the Art of Magic is in excellent shape with the kindness and talent of people like Trigg. Thank you, Trigg, for what you have done, what you are doing, and what you will do for this art we all love. And thank you for being my friend all these years.

Las Vegas

Stan has loved this art deeply since he was a child. For a decade, he performed on cruise lines around the world. In 1985, he started a little newsletter titled Inside Magic. A monthly publication that told what was happening, where it was happening, and who was doing what in this world of magic. That newsletter morphed into the monthly magazine called MAGIC. It became the magazine for the art. It was professionally produced and printed and helped elevate the art from living room status to Las Vegas headliner quality. In the spring of 1995, I was having dinner with my bride of nine months in our first sweet little home in Nashville. The phone rang, and I got up from the table to answer it.

“Hello?” I said as I put the receiver to my ear.

A soft voice responded, “Hello, Scott. Stan Allen here. An interesting article came across my desk the other day...”. I was pumped.

I sent Magic Magazine an article about working through college as a magician. It was titled Confessions Of An Educated Entertainer.

Stan continued, “...I just happen to have an opening in this October’s issue, and I’d like to run it. It’s very good.” I was on top of the moon. My first published article—and in this notable publication. I was so busy touring that I didn’t write much after that. But Stan encouraged me with his words and gave my self-esteem a much-needed boost. Later, he also published a great piece on our Pro Kids Show!. The magazine had a good run of twenty-five years. Magic Live! The gathering of magicians grew out of it, becoming the leading magic convention in North America. Stan has never ceased being kind to me. Even though he’s swamped at every Magic Live, he stops for a few minutes to chat with me. Thank you, Stan, for believing in a young man—and staying friends for over thirty years.


I’ve known Erick since he was a teenager—and I can’t remember where we first met. But, most likely, it was at the Daytona Festival of Magic. Erik is a skilled, sleight-of-hand artist, magic effect creator, photographer, rock climber, and dog lover, among other things. He is kind, full of passion, and a creative thinker. He’s launching his own branded “magician’s cruise” in 2024—that ought to tell you his level of thinking! He is a pleasure to hang out with. Thank you, Erik, for being my friend and encouraging me with your creativity!

Birmingham (England)

You may have seen Matt’s unbelievable work on social media platforms like Facebook. He does incredible illusions with Legos (and other objects) that will have you looking twice and scratching your head! I’ve seen him fool a room full of 800 magicians with his creations. I first met Matt at—you guessed it—a magic convention, but this one was in Northhampton, in the United Kingdom, in February of 2020. Matt teaches the Wonder and magic of science in school assemblies, churches, and other large gatherings. Matt is humble, brilliant, and astoundingly creative. The love of Christ shines bright through Matt, person-to-person, onstage, and through the camera lens. Thank you, Matt, for being a new friend!


Brock is not your average illusionist. He & Aunie have traveled the world with their unique combination of magic and physical stunts for over two decades. Brock shares the Gospel of Christ as an evangelist through these extraordinary techniques. Brock & Aunie popped in at Magic Live while filming their motorcycle YouTube series. He’ll be motorcycling on back dirt roads from Mexico to Canada over the next few weeks! Brock & Aunie recently went to Ukraine and helped refugees in the Middle East last year. Thank you Brock & Aunie for tireless service to cause of Christ.

New York City

I know Peter, but he doesn’t really know me. Let me explain. When I was a kid, my best buddy Mike, his mother, subscribed to the T.V. guide. (Google it if you don’t know). So, Mike and I would scour the guide weekly and find out if any magicians would be on Television that coming week. If there were, he’d fix the flashing 12:00 time on the front of the VCR, and we’d set the device to record the show the magi was performing on that week. That’s how I first saw Peter—in a recording of Robert Klien’s daytime talk show, I witnessed Peter performing a card trick. He called it the “invasion of the body snatchers” after the movie. It floored me. Later, I learned the trick, and since, it has always been one of my favorites. Here’s a video of that same card effect I shot at the Orleans seven years ago: Scott Humston-Arcade Cards. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RevdYcMfBxs So, what a serendipitous moment when he asked to share an Uber with me back to the airport from the Orleans. Thanks, Peter, for your dedication to the art—and for inspiring a boy magician with a genius card effect.

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