By Morgan Bryce
Sharing the Bible and its truths through magic is the full-time occupation of Joseph Lawski, better known as “Joseph the Magician,” who performs periodically at downtown Opelika’s La Cantina.
Through card and sleight-of-hand tricks, Lawski’s performances at the restaurant have become a beloved tradition by customers and Opelika families alike according to marketing coordinator Jennifer Collins.
“We have sort of built a family night around the nights that he is going to be there. We have kid’s meal specials and it’s just a good opportunity for the family to come out and enjoy something together,” Collins said. “He does table-side illusions and it’s something that (people of) all ages can enjoy.”
Lawski’s career and interest in magic spans nearly 30 years, but can be traced back to his childhood.
Born and raised in Germany, Lawski emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1960 when he was 13 years old, enamored by the romanticized stories of the American West and dance moves and music of pop culture phenom Elvis Presley.
Settling in Columbus, Georgia, Lawski would attend Eddy Middle and Baker High schools. During high school, he met Aflac founder John Amos and his wife, a connection that later blossomed into a job in the company’s computer programming department.
After graduating high school in 1967, Lawski was conscripted into the U.S. Navy, serving for more than a decade.
Following his honorable discharge from the Navy in the early 1980s, Lawski pursued a full-time career in magic, eventually becoming a working member of the Los Angeles branch of the prestigious Magic Castle Academy.
During a professional act in 2008, Lawski endured a fall that crushed his humerus bone, a debilitating injury that led him to God and the path he was bound to take for his magic career.
“I did a lot of praying after my injury. I was asking the Lord, ‘how am I going to feed my family now?’” Lawski said. “In the Book of Matthew, there’s a verse that God pointed me to (4:19) about being fishers of men. He asked me, ‘will you mention me and let me be a part of my act?’ And, of course, I said yes.”
Lawski now presents his act to audiences of all ages across the Southeast. Based in Hilton Head, South Carolina, he uses his platform to share the Christian faith with those unfamiliar with its message.
“I’m a Christian – I don’t claim to be a part of a certain denomination. I believe in Jesus and I believe that God created us in His image to be perfect, which we aren’t and never will be,” Lawski said. “So, when I’m able to tweak someone else’s heart for the Lord, I get applause from everybody in heaven. And that tells me to go for it and keep going.”
Lawski’s most notable act is “Jesus in Your Pocket,” a card trick that immerses participants in a brief Bible study and “serves to break the ice” for Christians attempting to witness to others.
In the future, Lawski said he plans to add a magical coloring book to his catalog for children to use. The book will contain images from some of the Bible’s most well-known stories.
For more information or to keep up with Lawki’s scheduled appearances at La Cantina, like and follow the business on its social media pages or call 334-203-1418.