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Thats 4F’s – 40th Fechters Finger Flicking Frolic

April 27th, 2010 - Magic Convention Guide

Shawn Farquhar did a stunning job of reporting this years 40th Fechters Finger Flicking Frolic. and we’d like to publicly thank him for taking the time to do it!

Photos of the event were supplied by Tony Gerard & Raj Madhok, and as well as our own reports on FFFF, you can listen to some of Scott Wells audio reports here which also really capture the event.

4F – The Final Show

April 27th, 2010 - Shawn Farquhar

It was time for the final show of the convention and the line up was stellar.  For the first time in as long as anyone can remember, Obie, was not the host for the show.  That task fell to Hank Moorehouse who has had a lifetime of experience and handled it like a pro.

The evening began with a surprise appearance by a young lady named Christie who sang happy anniversary to Obie and then kissed him on the forehead and ripped off the wig to reveal it was really Jason the only 4f’er I believe that lives in Batavia.

Karen and Kelly O’brien took the stage and said a few words and presented a wonderful video of the three sides of Obie, ( family, magic and hockey … now there’s a fourth golf! )

Eric DeCamps was the first act and did some super great stuff with coins and ropes.

Awards were then presented from the IBM, SAM, AMA, CAM along with a special presentation from Harold Cataquet who had painstakingly made a giant mosaic image of Obie out of photo’s of previous 4F events.  We watched a short video and then Harold unveiled a huge canvas version which was hung on the curtain behind the performers.

Mike Robinson was up next and never fails to bring the house down with his wicked sense of humor and his ventriloquist puppet, Terrance.

Boris Wild did a tribute to the past guest of honors with portions of their magic, signature actions or personal characteristics. It was an awesome routine, well though out and rehearsed with some hilarious and touching moments.  It all ended with a deck turning into a 36 card image of Obie.  Boris then revealed the same image was gracing the cover of France’s magic magazine this month with a sixteen page story of Obie and the 4F!

Gene Anderson and Dan Garrett are always on this show and do a two person mind reading act that never fails to poke fun at everything that has occurred during the convention.  Each time an envelope is held up and a prediction spoken, then the envelope is opened and the question revealed.  ie;  Bangkok.  What is a pole vaulter worst nightmare!

More presentation were made including a framed copy of the 4F invitation, a special 4F close up mat, a crystal wand engraved with his name and year of honor and the highlight was the board of directors of the 4F officially naming Obie what we already knew … the Dean of Close Up Magic.

Following intermission Rick Merrill stepped in for the recently injured Steve Bargatze.  Steve had been run over by a golf cart, yes, a golf cart which gained him the new nickname “speed bump”.  Within minutes of starting his act, Rick was interrupted by Steve who with the help of a few pills from Rocco … was feeling much better!

I can’t really describe in print what we all watched but I can say we saw the ashes of Vernon, a most bizarre card revelation that included a jar of urine, the beautiful mosaic of Obie being smashed over a head and a standing ovation.

Paul Gertner came out to make another special presentation and read an original poem called the “Curtain Call”.  It was inspired just the day before 4F and was really special.

Oscar Munoz was next and did an effect called the pea shoot where Obie used a blow gun to try to find a selected card.

More gifts followed including a very special 4F hockey jersey from the Buffalo magic group.

Steve Beam was next and entered the room with four body guards!  He is to be next years honored guest and with the recent accident of Steve Bargatze he was beginning to think one of the future named honorees was perhaps at fault.  Steve went through the list of suspects and had joke to poke fun at them all.  When it was time to leave the audience noticed the body guards had all been replaced by the next four honorees!  Quite funny.

Obie finally got a chance to speak and kept his speech short and sweet.  He thanked everyone, but most especially his wife Annie who had shared his life for the past 53 years!  Following a really long and well deserved standing ovation we were asked to be seated so our final act could begin.

Rocco, who is a 4F favorite did not disappoint.  He pulled out all the stops and presented not one but three acts.  The final one was most touching using the water bowls with the help of Obie.  He closed the show with a standing ovation that was fitting this FISM winner.

This, the 40th anniversary of Fecther’s Finger Flicking Fingers, was an outstanding gathering of some of the finest magicians in the world.  It was however quite sad that many of our European brothers were not able to make the event due to the recent volcano eruption.

I have written these reports in hopes that it in someway has helped them to keep in touch with what has taken place in their absence.  Anyone who has ever attended this convention knows it is really a fun time filled with incredible magic, friendship and humor.  To close I will leave you with a few of my favorite sayings from the 4F.

“My Uncle George was active to the end.  He used to stain floors.  He didn’t mean to … he just did.” – Steve Walker

“Please welcome Obie’s illegitimate son, Shawn Farquhar”  – Meir Yedid

“France -1 / Italy – 0”  – Boris Wild

“Rocco’s not a Pharmacist!” – Rick Merrill

“I hope this last longer and goes better than my first sexual experience.  Is Mark Mason here?  Not that I want to recreate the moment…” – Steve Duperre

“Rocco does a silent act.  That is if you don’t count all that crap banging around in his sleeves!” – Steve Beam

“Charming Choi, one day I’m going to marry that girl!” – Chris Hannibal

Follow all the updates from Shawn Farquhar from The 40th Fechters Finger Flicking Frolic as he posts them.

4F – Saturday Afternoon Show

April 25th, 2010 - Shawn Farquhar

Saturday’s afternoon show was hosted by the always funny Dan Garrett. He too kept things rolling along fast and funny and we were treated to a short video off the top which was created by Matthew Episcopo and Leon Etienne. It was lots of fun and a great way to start the show. (see below)

Steve Duperre had some super funny lines and did some stunning material from his book Muscle Magic. The discovery of the two selected card were well executed and the finish was surprising.

David Corasaro certainly changed the pace of things with his challenge card effect with the help of Boris Wild. Basically a selected card was shuffled into the deck and the deck was divided into two piles a single card at a time. While this took place David did jokes about Obie. If at the end he had the card he either one or gave Boris something. By the time we were down to just two cards, David was down to his underwear! Thank heavens he found the card.

Our next performer, Atsushi Ono of Japan via Calgary, Canada, was here for the first time as a result of winning many awards including the SAM and IBM people’s choice awards. His sleight of hand was great and even better was the plot of the routine which began as the Samurai Card trick and soon became the Samurai Coin trick.

Tony Montana, last years FISM mentalist award winner from Argentina, fooled the pants off me with a magazine page prediction. First Karen O’Brien, Obie’s other daughter a selected and inspected magazine. She then dropped the magazine to the floor and picked it up at the point if had randomly opened. Then a box which had been held by Phil Wilmarth was also opened by Phil to reveal a copy of the same page. Tony closed with a funny sock prediction using another clever principle.

Brad Lancaster was also here for his first time and did some really funny comedy bits and closed his set with the Happy Go Lucky Coins of Mystery. Brad did a great job and throughout the weekend demonstrated his sense of humour by participating in gags and bits to help others.

Bill Walsh, back to get his Master degree, offered us a Vegas gambling themed act with a series of purses and poker chips. At one point in the routine Sue-Anne Webster had the opportunity to win several thousand dollars which he laid out on the table. In the end Bill kept his cash … well until he got to the dealers room!

Following a short intermission we were treated to another first timer. Eric Eswin, President of FISM, was in top form and delivered a series of jokes that dealt with events that had already taken place so far here at 4F. He had a great sense of humour. During his set we saw a routine using colour changing CD’s and a travelling hole and a toothpick. To close out his set he did a version of the datebook card prediction.

Eric Jones presented three killer effects from his DVD’s, An Extension of Me and Mirage et Trois. He is such class act and his material is solid. He opened with the coins and moved quickly into the Ishkabibble Sandwich and closed with Twisted. A super solid set!

Albert Tam, also back for his Masters degree, showed us a deck of acrd that could take pictures complete with a flash. The a four ace assembly the ended with him tearing the deck in half. He closed with a routine using a Mahjong set which he gave to Obie at the conclusion.

Dick Steiner, going for his PHD, did a number of mind reading effects and ended his set with the “Obie trick” with the help of Karen O’Brien. Dick also gave the cards to Karen as a souvenir.

Chris Capeheart was here to get his Masters degree and demonstrated why he truly is a Master Magicians. First we learned a little about rabbit training techniques. Damn Funny! Next with the help of Karl Norman and Anne O’Brien he did coins across while poking a bit of fun at Karl, who can take a joke as well as he dishes them out. To close his set and end the show Chris did his amazing thumb-cuff routine and we were off for the first FREE meal of the day.

Follow all the updates from Shawn Farquhar from The 40th Fechters Finger Flicking Frolic as he posts them.

4F- Saturday Mini Lectures

April 24th, 2010 - Shawn Farquhar

Saturday morning started with two mini lectures. The first was from three-time FISM winner Simo Aalto. Simon has won a bronze, silver and gold prize from FISM and his lecture on the mini matrix and standard size matrix showed why this clever thinking man has some many awards. He used a clever gimmick to remove many of the unnatural moves and made the effect look like magic.

JC Wagner did the other lecture and it was such a pleasure to see this master at work. He gave us the real work behind the Gambler’s Cop and presented and explained several effects from Seven Secrets. He also explained a version of “Lie Detector” but, the highlight for me was the work behind the “Heavy Mexican”. This is a wickedly good move and to be coached by JC made this super special. In the end he offered for sale a special DVD that was produced exclusively for 4F … Lucky us.

Follow all the updates from Shawn Farquhar from The 40th Fechters Finger Flicking Frolic as he posts them.

4F – Friday’s Finger Flicking Frolic Show

April 24th, 2010 - Shawn Farquhar

Tonight’s show, Friday’s Finger Flicking Frolic, was hosted by none other than Meir Yedid. Meir is one of the best hosts you can have for an event. He really knows how to keep a show moving along and can interject just the right amount of comedy.

Our first performer was all the way from the UK. Yes, even with the volcano a few UK magicians were able to make the journey because luckily they were all ready in the States. Bob Swadling kicked off with a some great original ideas to the tunes of Frank Sinatra. His three card, annoying queen reappearance was lot fun as were his three other routines.

Andy Dallas, a past President of the SAM, shared with us an encore of last years presentation of the Zombie. If you haven’t seen this you really need to make an effort to watch this guys work. I’m pretty sure he has a while different Zombie than the rest of us!

Mark DeSouza always has something special to share and this year was no different. He began with Jerry Andrus’s Zone Zero and the production of limes to the tune of “Tequila” and ended his set with a story. It was a well crafted tale of a dream catcher and the music and magic was quite elegant.

Charlie Caper, Sweden’s Got Talent and FISM Winner, did his FISM act for his first appearance at 4F. He is such a likeable character and his magic is so well though out. His only error was the opening of a can of soda above the close up table. The can exploded and his he was in peril of being killed by Obie! Cooler minds prevailed and I am sure we will see him here again.

Paul Gertner shared with us a a super funny story about an incident that started last year with his introduction. We were all laughing so hard and the pay off of the special video he shared was the icing on the cake. Next he distributed the front row Forkers their very own OBIE’s (Old Butt Irritant Extractors) or as we might call them custom seat cushions with Obie’s face on one side. Paul finally got to the magic and showed us an excellent card effect.

To close the first half we had a special treat of 2006 FISM Grand Prix Stage champion, Pilou of France. Even with the limited amount of space he had he was able to present his full act an get a standing ovation.

After intermission Bruce Trigg presented the golf tournament trophies but during the presentations Patrick Przysiecki came forward to collect his prize and tripped and crushed the close up table! It literally snapped in half and the crowd fell silent waiting for Obie’s reaction. For those that aren’t aware the table is considered sacred by the 4F as so many have performed behind it and this was big time bad. However it was soon revealed that Patrick had crafted a duplicate table and during the intermission had switched the tables just to freak out Obie … oh yes it did!

Helder Guimaraes, FISM Card winner from Portugal, was next with what he described as “self working” card tricks. They were in now way self working … unless of course you’re Helder! A great set with some great reactions.

Henry Evans, FISM Card winner from Argentina, followed with even more impressive card effects and the show just kept getting better and better. I think if you were able to see any three of the acts on this show at any other convention you would have been thrilled! Here we get them back to back to back!

David Stone, yet another FISM winner from France, always has something special planned. This time he manipulated Obie buttons and later asked for a deck from the audience. Dozens of decks came flying from all sides and he attempted to figure out which deck belonged to whom. It was a comedy routine based on inside jokes and the oddities associated with each deck. Some of the jokes were super great and others were less well received. He closed with a touching piece of theatrical close up to music and candle light.

Meir announced the final act of the evening as Obies illegitimate son. That’s right it was my turn and I present a moving security tag effect to start and followed with my version of the Tipsy Turvey bottles. Kelly, Obie’s daughter, was an awesome volunteer and made me look good and we had lots of laughs. Bill Malone joined me on stage for a do as I do card effect and I closed with a signed card in a signed balloon. The balloon burst a little premature but it did not affect the outcome of the routine.

The cast returned for a bow and a well deserved standing ovation.

It was now off to party and share more magic in the hospitality room and of course room #404!

Follow all the updates from Shawn Farquhar from The 40th Fechters Finger Flicking Frolic as he posts them.

4F Friday World Performers Show

April 24th, 2010 - Shawn Farquhar

Our first big show of the day was hosted by Gary Morton who did an great job moving the show along and interacting with the audience.  He began our adventure by introducing us to Charming Choi of Korea who using illustrations brought things to life including a red bicycle and matrix coins which moved magically after having been drawn on the drawing pad.  The coins soon became real and a wonderful coin matrix complete with Jumbos was performed.  In the end the entire tables contents returned to the pad as an illustration.  This was another fun act from FISM’s most original act!

Canada’s comic genius, David Acer, showed us a hysterically funny mind-reading act that has to be seen to be believed!  David is the true professional when it comes to timing.  The audience loved every minute they were able to share with this very funny man!

Tom Craven was up next and has the distinction of being one of only two people to have attended all 40 of the 4F Conventions. His  act consisted of three parts.  The first was a ring and rope routine, the second a mind-reading toy duck and the final was a revelation of a card using cue sheets.  It was nice set and full of magic and laughs.

Geoff Williams is another one of those people I just can’t get enough of recently.  Last year was his first year and he was super.  It would in fact have been hard for him to top his appearance last year, but he did when he presented his Going Postal routine.  Maria acted as his partner and was a born actress.  I would love to go into more detail but it is an act you have to see live to experience.

Chris Hannibal was the first recipient of the coveted Obie award back in 2000 at the IBM National convention in Buffalo.  Since then he has become one of my favorite performers and a regular at the 4F.  His card under Pringle’s and sardonic humor was perfect for the crowd.

Steve Walker, an Englishman living down-under, registered well with the audience as he bantered about with one liners and comedic stories.  He was totally on his game and was outstanding in my opinion.  He did a slow restore of a newspaper that comedically revealed a headline that was randomly called out from the crowd.  The funniest moment was just as he was about to restore the paper he stalled … looked puzzled and Gene Anderson leapt from the crowd to correct the papers orientation for the restoration. He closed with a card effect in the tradition of Dirty Harry after demonstrating his “Idiot Detector” Sharpie.

We took a short intermission to top up our glasses and we were back for more fun.

A Top Ten List of the reason’s why Obie is this year Guest of Honor was read by individual members of the show.  Highlights for me were:  #6-Hell Froze over; #4 Makes next year Guest, Steve Beam, look good, #3-Bob Markwood didn’t make parole, #1-His dedication and love for the Art of Magic.

Bebel for France opened the second half of the show and to be honest it is acts like this that make my job so hard.  I want to take notes but I can’t look down or I will miss amazing magic.  Bebel’s magic is original, clever and incredibly magical.  I’d love to describe it to you but … it’s indescribable.

Gary took a few minutes to share some fun trivia about many of the 4F members and the introduced 2009 FISM award winner Johan Stahl who was attending for his first time.  His FISM act is a clean, fun piece of magic and theatre.  He is so likable and his magic is fun.  I especially like the way he treated his assistant, Maria, with such care and respect.  I understand his new DVD on “Sleeveless Sleeving” is soon to be released.

Mark Mason changed things up by doing rope magic and midget jokes. He ended his set with an awesome card in box routine I am certain is available from his website.  Mark always connect with the 4F audience and today was no exception

Hidekazu Kimoto of Japan is a young man who was attending the 4F for his first time too.  Normally we will have a number of “first-timers” but this year only a few really international champions were admitted.  Hidekazu deserved his win as his coins, music box and ninja rings were a thing of beauty.  I’m looking for to seeing more magic from this young man.

Closing the show was three time FISM award winner Simo Aalto who present the act that won him the Gold in 2000.  It is a great act with coins and bells that is pretty, technical, clever and deserving of all it’s awards.  It was a fine ending to another outstanding show.  Soon we will all sit down to dine together for FREE.  Then ,surprise, another show …

(Shawn’s note to the reader: It may take me a bit to report the next show as I was a part of the show and watched portions of the show from the side and back.)

Follow all the updates from Shawn Farquhar from The 40th Fechters Finger Flicking Frolic as he posts them.