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Magic Live! – Final Day Video

August 20th, 2009 - Mike Giusti

Many thanks to Mike Giusti c/o Hocus Pocus, who is letting us use some of his posts and video direct from Magic Live! Enjoy this videoof the last day.

MAGIC Live! – Live onstage 2

August 20th, 2009 - Rob James

The final show got off to a good start with Tim Kole being produced on top of a giant fan (this fooled me) and then performing the Head Mover and an illusion where a woman penetrated a sheet of metal. He was joined onstage by his father Andre who spoke for a while about God and peanuts then they both performed an illusion called “Convergence” that I have never seen before but didn’t seem like the best finish for the act.

Compere for the evening was Noel Britten who is very familiar to British magic convention audiences. Noel always writes some new topical material when in front of magicians and I wanted to shake his hand after a very funny gag about staying at the Luxor.

Greg Kennedy the juggler had some novel ideas including bouncing the balls at an angle off two boards forming a V shape and juggling within a cone. His performance was a little on the flat side. I think I was spoiled the last time I came to MAGIC Live! as the two juggling acts I saw were Anthony Gatto and The Passing Zone who are both absolutely first rate.

Luis de Matos performed two spots – firstly a short hindu sands routine then a floating microphone stand done to “It’s oh so quiet” by Bjork.

Arthur Trace did a rope routine, a misers dream with two buckets connected with a length of rope (creating a kind of jumbo string telephone). He finished with Kevin James’s floating rose but with a bee-based presentation. Arthur may have been asked to do this act so that they had a patter act in the show but it didn’t quite work in the big showroom. He has an act with manipulation to jazz music that would probably have gone down better.

Finally Vegas local Joseph Gabriel with his bird act finishing with the production of two big parrots. A solid, classy act and the standout in what was a pretty average show. Incidentally I believe Richard McDougall was meant to be in this show but he was cut as his act uses a cigarette and this was considered a risk considering the fire alarm went off in the first show.

Although someone needs to tell the lighting guy that you don’t need to turn the house lights up every time the performer on stage addresses someone in the audience!!

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.

MAGIC Live! – Wednesday afternoon session

August 20th, 2009 - Rob James

The final day of MAGIC Live! When I get home in a couple of days I’ll try and post a general summary of the convention as a whole. There are also one or two things that I have not covered but I’ll try and touch on those too.

The host for the afternoon was Michael Weber and he kicked off by delivering a “News Update” which was a very funny section essentially lampooning a lot of well-known names in magic including David Blaine, Andrew Goldenhirsh, Michael Vincent and Dan & Dave. Michael got the biggest laugh of the whole three days when he made a reference to Luis de Matos’s talk from one of the earlier sessions. The person who got hammered the most though was Criss Angel. His show is still one of the biggest talking points in Vegas. The reaction is still almost universally negative and someone has even made stickers saying “Piss Angel” and stuck them on the bleach blocks in the urinals in the mens room.

Making a big entrance scaling cards into the audience was Jeff McBride. This turned out to be relevant as his section was billed “The Show Doctor” and he discussed why you should always have a good joke-free introduction from a show’s compere and make a good entrance on to the stage. Jeff discussed applause cues and universal faults when it comes to performance – such as card magicians stooping and looking down at their hands and stage guys constantly going to their cases. All relevant points but hopefully with the general calibre of the crowd present, things that everyone already knew.

“Marketplace Live” took the form of a panel discussion chaired by Gabe Fajuri and joined by John Lovick, Jason England and Brad Henderson. Discussing the validity of one trick DVDs, the concept that not all ideas are good/publishable ideas and interestingly what happens when those who put out products have an adverse reaction to a negative review. Brad Henderson had one example and he was quite keen to say in no uncertain terms what he thought of one man who sued MAGIC for a bad review. The panel picked one product from recent years each that they truly thought were worth owning. Mike Caveney’s publication of Dai Vernon’s “Revelation”, Geoffrey Durham’s “Professional Secrets” and Levent’s DVD on the Miser’s Dream were chosen as being the cream of the crop.

Derek Delgaudio had been billed to appear discussing iPhone magic but in his absence Michael Weber took to the stage again and shared some ideas about how to use applications not specifically designed for magic in order to create magical effects.

Finally Jules Fisher was interviewed about his work as a lighting director. Some clips from his work on the Cirque show Le Reve were shown and we learned that throughout the show there are 7000 light cues, all of which are done by hand rather than a computer.

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.

Magic Live – Day Three Video

August 19th, 2009 - Mike Giusti

Many thanks to Mike Giusti, who is letting us use some of his posts and video direct from Magic Live!

If you wish to donate to the Dean Dill Collection please click on the link below and select ‘Dean Dill Donation’ in the online shop

MAGIC Live! – Wednesday morning session

August 19th, 2009 - 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.

MAGIC Live! Tuesday and Guy Hollingworth

August 19th, 2009 - Rob James

There was no afternoon session today, instead the rest of the day was spent with “electives” and Guy Hollingworth’s one man show. The electives were numerous smaller group sessions that we could choose from. From grand illusion and stage directions to comedy writing and prop building. Every registrant got to attend four different ones. After a 13 hour day, a late night last night and an early start I have to admit I opted for an afternoon nap rather than attend two of mine but I did see both the marketing and directions sessions. In the marketing session we received “10 tips in 10 minutes” from Brad Ross, Andrew Mayne and David Sandy. In “Directions” Joanie Spina showed a video of a 6 manipulation act and pulled it apart – from the music choices to every movement that he made. We learned that Joanie had been working on this act with the performer and he was bought on to perform the new version of the act and the transformation was amazing. Even though the magic was identical the direction had changed it hugely.

While we are talking about direction, Neil Patrick Harris is the director of Guy Hollingworth’s “Expert at the Card Table” show. The last time I saw this was at the International convention in London where, if I am completely honest, I was left a little underwhelmed. A couple of years on Guy was still dressed immaculately and again recounts the story of E.S. Andrews and S.W. Erdnase but a lot has improved; the material, the delivery and the staging all changed for the better. An overhead camera captured Guy’s flawless card handing and the convention organisers had bought in some raked seating in to the room so visibility was no problem at all. Guy received a standing ovation at the end.

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.