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MAGIC Live! – Wednesday morning session

August 19th, 2009 by Rob James

The opening video this morning was a trailer for the newest product from “Dan & Dave & Dave” – shot out in the desert with the extra Dave being Mr Williamson. More good stuff with Dave looking intense in the desert.

We were introduced to our host “X-files man” Jonathan Levit who spoke a bit about Guy Hollingworth’s show which has been a big hit here. There are going to be two public performances of it at the end of the week with tickets being given away for free.

Bill Schmeelk talked us through some of the old magic catalogues (AKA “dreambooks”) and the ads offering professional magic with no skill required. For some ads that wasn’t enough and proclaimed that the tricks would easily lead to a career with “top pay and lifetime security as a professional magician”. One ad even offered a “two hour show with just one hour’s practice”. It wasn’t just the advert copy that was misleading but also the illustrations that seemed to miss out vital parts. Photos were rarely used due to the expense and the fact that an actual photo may inhibit sales. Perhaps the funniest and most dishonestly advertised trick was one where the performer could apparently create sparks of lightning and electricity fire from his eyes… we were treated to a performance of this as well as another trick from one of the catalogues. Very funny.

Eric Mead chose this morning to lament the concept of trick descriptions that suggest using “your favourite method” and put forward the idea that we should be using the most appropriate method in the context of the trick. “You wouldn’t see a DIY instruction that suggested you bang a nail in to the wall with your favourite tool”.

Jonathan Levit performed a lengthy magazine test using a copy of MAGIC magazine with Max Maven, Franz Harary and Jeff McBride coming on stage at the end a la Celebracadabra to critique his performance.

After Michael Weber showed another trick with the MAGIC Live! room key, Nathan Burton was introduced and performed his version of Andre Kole’s very deceptive “No feet” illusion. Nathan spoke about how he used his appearances on America’s Got Talent to his advantage and got more airtime than anybody else in the first season, even though he was placed 11th in the overall competition. From appearing on the show he now has his own headline show at the Flamingo. Apparently all contestants are required to sign a 300 page contract (“the worst legal document ever”) to appear on the show. Great advice from someone who has been there and done it.

Finally the morning wrapped up with John Lovick hosting the Talk about Tricks section with guests Dave Forrest, John Bannon and John Guastaferro.

Rob James is a close up magician from the UK. He co-founded The Session convention and has performed all over the UK and Europe, Dubai and on two occasions at the Magic Castle.