You have likely not heard of performing magician Robert William Calonkey. But you may have heard about Rob Lake.
The Norman, Okla. resident was awarded a Merlin award in May from the International Magicians Society for best international stage magician. (A lot have been winning such awards lately.) He talked with The Oklahoman about the award, how he was inspired by, and trained with, Branson magicians Kirby and Bambi VanBurch (who also recently won an award) and how he split time between magic and a degree at Oklahoma University. According to the story, business didn’t pick up until he changed his performance name:
Calonkey got an agent, launched his own Web site and produced a promotional video, which he sent to numerous venues. The response: Nothing. It wasn’t the talents he was offering, Calonkey’s agent told him. It was his name. As a stage name, Calonkey was a clunker.
After brainstorming with friends, Calonkey came up with his current name. He sent out the same promotional materials with the new name, and the phone “started ringing like crazy,” he said.