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CAM 2010 – Day one

April 30th, 2010 by Shawn Farquhar

The Canadian Association of Magicians annual magic convention got off to a great start here in Kitchener, Ontario with a stellar lecture from FISM World Champion of Cards, Henry Evans.  Anyone who has seen this man work knows his ideas are as solid and his magic.  He demonstrated a huge number of effects including the New Chinese Miser’s Dream , Matching couples and the Card Expert.  This final routine is unbelievable for a lay audience and was a great way to close a lecture.  Moments after the lecture ended, Henry was swamped by hundreds of magicians wanting to buy his magic.

Right after the dust had settled Bill Abbott took to the same lecture lecture stage to share some of his outstanding ideas too.  Most people will know Bill for his commercially successful effect The Thing, but he has also created some other wonderful effects like Blockbuster, Five Card Opener and Smart-Ass.  I have to mention that the lecture facilities are really top notch.  Although the room is large there is a huge rear projection screen and three cameras to capture all the action.  This is a really nice touch not often found at magic conventions.

We all took a short break for dinner and the fun resumed at 7:30PM with the close up contest.  This year there were 11 contestants.  Not all were of the highest quality, but I must say everyone was having a great time and I think that is most important!  The audience was divided into three rooms which were named the Hatfield Room in honor of Canadian Magician of the Year, Murray Hatfield; the Obie room after the Godfather of close up magic, Obie O’Brien; and the Farquhar Room for yours truly.  I, of course, watched in the contest in the Farquhar room and was surprised to see Obie was also in the room!

The eleven competitors rotated to the three rooms and the first to appear in mine was Cliff Harden who did a comical story about houses that ended in the appearance of an outhouse.  He also presented a nice coins across routine.  Trent Tinney was next and did a routine from the lecture notes of Steve Bargatze that used a couple of toilet plungers and a telephone cord.  It was really quite comical.  The only woman in the contest was next.  Ekaterina Dobrokhotova, formerly from Russia, did a pretty act with a lot of XCM cuts and moves to a pretty song.  In the end she was able to find a signed selected card while also keeping the deck in new deck order, even after plenty of shuffling.  The signed card eventually ended up folded beneath her tie.  Stephen Kirkegaard demonstrated intuition and told a hauntingly believable story of a near death experience that has allowed him the ability to intuitively know the selections made by a spectator.  Nicholas Wallace was full of comedy and great magic.  His routine dealt with an eye in a jar, which was more aptly described as an egg made to look like an eye.  With lots of fun lines the end result was a signed card card being found in the eye/egg.  Sawyer Bullock, at only fourteen years of age, demonstrated a lot of skill with a deck of cards.  He was able to discover the entire set of cards in a particular suit with the exception of two cards which ended up transposing with two jokers that had been removed and tabled at the start.  Shawn Maloney was our next performer who presented a nice coins across and Okito box routine.  He ended with his presentation of Jeff Hobson’s balloon dog in a bag.  Michael Dardant started with some finger ring manipulation followed by fork and sponge ball magic.  It was a fun set with lots of inside jokes for magicians.  Roger Boucher did a well rehearsed set with the theme of memories that was quite unique.  Closing the contest in our room was Neil Croswell who is also a junior.  He did a great prediction effect, color change of cards with spray paint and finished his set off with a chop cup routine with a gutted spray paint can, the ball bearing and spray tube.  In the end the spray paint can was restored to new.  This was in fact a highlight of the contest for me and many other I spoke to following the contest.

Everyone took a short break to buy more fun things at the dealers room before the Bob Sheets lecture.  Bob is one of my favorite performers in the entire world.  He is a guy who really gets it.  His magic is direct and stunning.  Even more impressive is his ability to connect with an audience with his likable and cleverly created persona.  During the lecture Bob shared with us the work on Royal Tonte, a discussion on stand up close presentation, the sixty tricks in two minute card routine, linking pins, three card revelations where the spectator did the work, three ball and a net without the net to involve the spectator more, his expert advice on dice handling and closed with pea and shell.

After the initial rush to buy his stuff we were all off to the hospitality room where Bob and JC Wagner were sure to be showing more stuff in a real  work environment…  tomorrow starts early with a lecture by Mark Mason!

Ryan Joyce promises to update our readers with a series of photo’s of the events. Until tomorrow …

Shawn Farquhar is reporting from Camaraderie 2010 you can read all the updates right here