Believing in Magic

I’ve had a friend for maybe 35 years, Ted Silverberg.  Ted has a friend, Craig Shoemaker.  Craig is a world class stand up comic and tv star.  He was working a club in Kona and Ted connected me to him.  Craig suggested we go see his good friend, Paul Kozak, a comedian and magician that had a show room here near the Mauna Lani resort.  So, Craig, his wife Mika, my wife Linda and I go off to see Kozy…and I was blown away by his act and the man himself.

Funny how life works out.  Turns out Kozy knew our work as photographers.  We struck up a friendship.  I found I really like this guy…full of life, life lessons, fun and human kindness.  We ended up doing business with him and showing some of our work in his beautiful showroom.

One day I get a call from Kozy.  He tells me that Genii Magazine is doing a cover story on him and would I take the cover photo?  Now, I have tried to be a magician for about 50 years…close up stuff designed to delight my kids when they were young.  I studied hard, read everything I could, went to countless shows, practiced, practiced, practiced.  Truth is, I was just not very good at it…and if you are going to be a magician you had better be absolutely excellent at it or you will get run out of town.  I ended up perfecting a few really basic tricks and that was the end of my magic career.

Never in a million years did I suspect I would have anything ever to do with the cover of Genii Magazine…the standard bearer magazine for the magic community.  Then I get that call from Kozy.  I run up and take some test shots…needed to do that because I rarely take people photos…I am a landscape guy.  Kozy liked the shots.  I liked the shots.  I shared them with my photo business partner and mentor, CJ…who like any great coach…said, “Nice shots…but you can do better”.

So, Linda and CJ and I show up for the shoot at Kozy’s showroom.  We have enough equipment with us to cover the Super Bowl.  I am not good at lighting…CJ is.  He and Linda worked the lights.  I worked the camera.  We got our shots.

Now, Kozy is covered in tattoos…really interesting tattoos.  I guess when I was a kid I had dreamed of being the photographer for Playboy and eventually saying those famous words “Ok, it is time to lose the shirt”.  Well, I got to use the line, even though Kozy is not the prime target for that line.  He dropped the shirt and looked great…and those shirtless shots MADE the photo.

Genii Magazine came out with my photo of Kozy on the cover of the September 2020 issue.  My first cover shot.  His lifetime achievement award.  A partnership effort involving Kozy, Linda, CJ and me. An opportunity created by a friend and a friend of a friend.  Magic.

I just found this blog in draft form…not sure why I never posted it. Kozy has now moved his show place to Queens Market Place in Waikoloa, just around the corner from our gallery. I see him all the time. He is doing great. That was not always the case. Kozy has had more ups and downs than my tripod.  He had a major addiction problem back in the day and over came it…sober for decades now.  If you ever want to be inspired…go see Kozy. He will be my friend for life. You might find the same.

So, believe in magic.  It is out there.  It is real.  And a little bit of magic can sometimes change your life.  I know…I found the magic of Hawaii and people like Linda, CJ, Ted, Craig and Kozy.


Don Hurzeler