Olmedini el Mago has been performing magic for decades. After becoming a national celebrity in Ecuador in the 70s, he decided to follow his rising star to New York to expand that fame on an international scale. He wanted to be an internationally recognized magician, mentioned alongside the greats like David Copperfield and Lance Burton and feature in the pages of Genii Magazine.
The life Olmedini found in the US wasn’t easy. He struggled to get bookings, and his Ecuadorian fame hadn’t traveled along with him to his new home. But he was determined to make a life in New York, so as a last resort, he went underground—literally. He has been busking in the New York City subway for thirty years, and for the last ten years he has been busking in the New York City subway completely blind.
In January 2019, the New York Times published a photo-essay by Guatemalan photographer Jaime Permuth. Twenty years had passed between the first time Permuth met Olmedini on the subway and the morning he woke up with a sudden idea to track the magician down. Permuth succeeded, and they’ve been working together ever since, capturing moments of Olmedini’s life, from his East Harlem apartment to performing his magic show on the subway.
I first wrote about Olmedini in a brief segment in “The Eye,” my monthly column of magic news from around the world. From there I was able to create an interior feature, that quickly grew into a cover story. In this August issue of Genii, his feature appears immediately following the feature I wrote about David Copperfield’s Flag Day performance.
Featured in the pages of Genii, known and respected in the magic community, listed among the greats he has always emulated. At 80 years old, Olmedini’s dreams are coming true.