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MAGIC Live! – Tuesday morning Session

August 19th, 2009 - Rob James

Another David Williamson video to open proceedings. This time David was seen out-levitating Losander with a considerably bigger table. There have been some very funny bits in these videos so hopefully they’ll make into YouTube at some point after the convention.

This morning’s host was Mark Kornhauser who spoke about dieing on stage. To illustrate his talk he showed various videos of himself dieing as a result of various ill-conceived ideas. As Simon Coronel next to me remarked: to do that in front of a room full of magicians took real balls! Mark spoke about acts who seem to insist on keeping material in their routines even though it clearly doesn’t work, just because they fear what will happen if they change it. Like Richard McDougall on Monday morning the message was that we should all work harder. “Fame comes to a few but honour comes to those who work”

Richard Garriott is a multi-gazillionaire computer games guy who has moved in to the somewhat niche market of private space travel. As an amateur magician he is also the first person to perform a magic show while orbiting the planet. Richard showed us pictures of him performing a rising card effect which you would assume would be easier in space but although helping with the method microgravity creates its own additional problems – apparently not as bad as the problems caused when it comes time to visit the on-board toilet though. This talk provided a welcome diversion from the magic overload we have had since Monday morning.

Michael Mode was up next teaching everyone in room a napkin rose fold that he hasn’t published before. As the man who created the coloured napkins and the DVD it was interesting to hear about how he had to order 65000 of them without seeing a sample first. The cynic inside me thought the whole exercise was a bit of a giant plug for his napkins but as someone who has never folded one it was fun to try.

Eric Mead spoke next about false shuffles and how to execute them with the right attitude. He also taught his own version of a false overhand shuffle.

Finally Marco Tempest talked about using internet video as a marketing tool. Marco has made a huge name for himself and carved out a new career via YouTube and other video streaming sites and it was fascinating to find out how his hard work filming clips for the web became an income stream and to hear that the way the videos went viral was no accident at all. He finished by performing a new routine which involved prerecorded video overlayed on a live feed of his hands. Really good stuff and 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.

MAGIC Live! – Live Onstage!

August 18th, 2009 - Rob James

The first show of the convention was held tonight with two sittings as the showroom holds only half the registrants. Seats were unallocated and we were sat in four different groups. My initial concerns about this turned out to be true as everyone who had entered previously had dotted themselves all over the room meaning that by the time myself and my friends entered, finding 2 or 3 seats together had become very difficult. Stan Allen said yesterday this was something they were trialling but it would seem that unless you registered in the first 48 hours of tickets going on sale then you were destined to be in group B, C or D.

The show started with a superb short piece from Marco Tempest involving manipulation with lights and a television screen. There was an audible gasp as one of the lights levitated over the heads of the audience. Marco’s second spot in the show featured more of his trademark TV interaction as well as a good routine with multiple Rubik’s Cubes.

Elliott Zimet performed his hip-hop dove act, complete with the production of a parrot as the finale. After this we were introduced to the compere Bruce Gold.

Malin Nilsson from Sweden performed a charming linking rings and cut and restored rope with backing from a live pianist.

Aaron Crow from Belgium poured hot candle wax onto his eyelids and wrapped tin foil around his head before using various weapons to pierce, slice and chop objects held by slighly-concerned looking audience members on stage. He later shot an arrow through an apple held on a lady’s head. I can’t imagine he had an easy time getting through customs.

Tom Burgoon had some good in jokes and a very tight and funny act using metal cups, toilet roll, a fly swatter and perhaps the smartest use of mouth coils I have seen.

I first saw Christopher Hart in the early Nineties when he was on the Paul Daniels and Brian Conley shows. In the 15 or so years that have elapsed I am pleased to say that both his physical appearance and his act haven’t changed at all. Always a very classy act he produced cards, did his torn and restored music sheet and finished with his animated glove. Unfortunately the end of the act was spoiled by the fire alarm sounding for the last two minutes of the performance.

The show closed with a set from multiple Magic Castle award-winner (and of course “Saved by the Bell” cast member) Ed Alonzo. Billed as the “Misfit of Magic” Ed’s act is offbeat and very entertaining. A novel sword basket, a very funny routine with a brick and a cannon and an excellent self-levitation illusion using a fan all made for a great close to the show.

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! – Video of Day Two

August 18th, 2009 - Mike Giusti

A brief wrap-up of Day 2 at the MAGIC Live Convention. Cameo appearances by Mac King, Tim Conover, Franz Harary, Kevin Burke, and David Williamson. Many thanks to Mike Giusti, who is letting us use some of his posts and video direct from Magic Live!

MAGIC Live! Monday Afternoon Session

August 18th, 2009 - Rob James

Another video from David Williamson to start the second set of sessions. This time Dave was trying to figure out the straw trick that Danny Garcia explained that morning. Following this a “sorry I can’t be there” played over the speakers from Tom Mullica.

The afternoon’s host was Tomsoni AKA Johnny Thomson who got a standing ovation upon walking out. To start the afternoon off Johnny and Pam were joined by the famous performer of sightless vision “Whoda Putz” who turned out to be non other than Tom Mullica. An irreverent and funny skit followed. Mullica can’t have appeared at a magic convention for a LONG time.

Portugal’s TV magician Luis de Matos spoke on what he referred to as “Flypaper” – namely television content designed to pique the interest of viewers so that they don’t switch channels. This was demonstrated with the aid of numerous graphs, facts and figures and case studies from Luis’s own TV appearances. Ironically for a talk about holding attention, it seemed a little too detailed and overlong and my own attention waned. Luis is a great performer though so hopefully he will make another appearance in the next couple of days.

Eric Mead’s “Rhetorical answer” of the afternoon focussed on the plague of internet piracy of magic books and DVDs. Not how we should address the issue but rather simply that we, as a community, should simply care more. Not just those authors and creators who have their works plundered but every one of us.

A new name to most people was Adam Rubin who currently has his own column in MAGIC. He discussed an old Stewart James stunt using a watch on a string draped over a match where the watch is dropped but ends up not hitting the ground. Adam took this to the nth degree by repeating it with a huge knife dangling over a rather concerned looking guy, laying on the stage with a balloon between his legs.

Johnny Thomson had been meant to be talking about “Our Magic” but his computer crashed so instead of this he performed and explained the Malini egg bag. Finally for the last part of the afternoon, Mike Caveney came on stage to interview legendary magic props builer John Gaughan. John was quizzed about his early life in Dallas, working with Mark Wilson, how he developed his building style and extensively about his collection of apparatus including numerous automata and of course the infamous Hooker Rising cards. The interview was illustrated with photos displayed on the big screen but apart from a mechanical skull and a disappearing skull we unfortunately didn’t get to see anything else from his amazing collection on the stage.

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! – Monday morning Sessions

August 17th, 2009 - Rob James

Monday morning’s events kicked off with a video shot by David Williamson on his way to the convention along with a puppet version of Dai Vernon. As you would expect from David, very funny indeed. We then heard David Copperfield’s voice apologising that he couldn’t make it as he was too busy enjoying himself on his private island!

Stan Allen introduced Paul Gertner who was the host for the morning and first up to address the crowd was Richard Mcdougall who told us that “the general state of magic at the moment is lamentable”. Which of course, is correct but not often addressed. He asked: “when was the last time that we truly felt the hairs stand up on the back on the back of our necks after watching magic?” (actually, for me it was a few days ago watching Penn & Teller’s superb show at the Rio). By showing us clips from the Olympics and a Michael Jackson concert, he illustrated what truly well-orchestrated theatre looks like and finished by urging everyone to “try and put the humanity back in to our magic” and to stop working in isolation. His presentation was very well received.

A short video from Michael Weber explained that the room keys that we all have the hotel all have the ability to be used for two psychological forces. Paul Gertner’s main section followed next as he explained some of the work on the classic force. His out-of-print pamphlet on the force were given away free at the end as part of the notes from the morning. The main topic in his section was how to script magic for a trade show environment and he invited two fellow trade-show workers to perform the professor’s nightmare rope trick as they would if they were using it to promote a product. Mark Phillips performed using patter for a paint firm, Lee Terbosic used a script he would use if he was working for Xerox and finally Paul himself using a presentation for IHOP – not the pancake house but rather, as we are in Sin City after all, the “International House of Pleasure”. His routine was helped along by three ladies all suitably attired and a few magicians in the audience looked like they were thinking that perhaps they should have sat closer to the front.

Eric Mead was next on stage for a short section called “rhetorical answers” where he emphasised the importance for young magicians to educate themselves correctly through studying of the literature rather than ellusionist forums. For the final “Talk about Tricks” section, rather than Joshua Jay who has had an accident and fractured his wrist, we had John Lovick stepping in to observe proceedings. John was joined firstly by Daniel Garcia performing and explaining an impromptu version of Wenk’s Misled using a clear plastic straw. Simon Aronson followed explaining a self-working card trick that on this occasion, much to the amusement of the audience, didn’t quite work. He had more success with a two card transposition effect. Finally from Denmark, Rune Klan performed an excellent trick with two socks, a knife and a pool cue, some visual coin magic and a funny vanishing pizza.

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! – First Night Party Video

August 17th, 2009 - Mike Giusti

It’s the first night at MAGIC Live, and it doesn’t disappoint! Magic, surprise, comedy, and mayhem, all narrated by Mike Giusti