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The 35th Annual International Magic Convention – London

The 35th Annual International Magic Convention began this year with a tribute lecture to Victor Farelli by Roger Crosthwaite and Michael Vincent.

Crosthwaite is unbelievably natural with a deck of cards meaning that his explanations were pure eye candy for any aspiring mechanics in the audience. Michael Vincent then performed an excellent effect where cards placed up the sleeve, invisibly switch places with cards in the deck; then repeated but up the spectators sleeves. This gem, I’m sure, will slot easily into any workers repertoire.

The evening concluded with first time lecturer Will Houston – the highlight here being to see his FISM entered act again.

Saturday brought the Close-up Competition for the Kevin Reay Trophy. Some great acts from Marc Oberon (the eventual winner) and James Brown stood out above their fellow competitors, but in my opinion it was Dynamo who stole the show. His act was simple, the effects were clear and uncluttered. He was funny, engaging and above all charming. Dynamo came 3rd in the competition, closely behind James Brown who came 2nd.

Lectures began again in earnest immediately following the competition. Magic Castle regular Jon Armstrong began proceedings culminating in a three card monte routine done with three cards, blank on both sides, one signed. I really thought this took the trick to another level. The fooling you can get away with by using blanks really had to be seen to be believed: the monte throw becomes completely invisible even when done slowly and other simple moves, demonstrated with finesse by Armstrong, will fool the laymen and fry magicians. Seek this routine out.

Mickey Silver followed Jon Armstrong by showing the same move thousands of times. A coin retention vanish. Provided for the audience were chocolate coins meaning we could all attempt to duplicate that one move, until the coin melted in our sweaty palms and we were forced to pull out our own loose change. James Brown concluded the days lectures, causing quite a stir. James’ magic is incredibly strong close-up relying on close to 90% misdirection. Although this misdirection ranges from subtle moves to a more physical interaction with the spectator, it does, without doubt, fry the laymen and won James the title of Magic Circle Close-up Magician of the year 2006. This is real world walk around magic which modern audiences will love. If you didn’t pick up James’ DVD for a reduced rate at the lecture, I’d advise you to seek it out now.Half of the convention now departed for the gala while the other descended into the hotel bar. Here is where the convention really comes alive. Old friends meet again and new allegiances are forged. For me anyway the price of admission was worth this night alone. Magicians from all over the country gather in the small bar, from Guy Hollingworth to Derren Brown.For me it provided an opportunity to see the great or legendary card moves performed to perfection. I will never forget seeing the S.W.E Shift done invisibly in one experts hands. Seeing these moves done properly is inspiring and enlightening.

Seconds, bottoms, palms, shifts and controls flowed from one table to another, while others talked on the theory and presentation of magic. I think I finally stumbled home at four that morning.

Sunday opened with a room stocked full of magic dealers from around the world, demonstrating their products. This was the ideal time to get hold of that new trick everyone was talking about.

Luke Jermay’s lecture followed that afternoon and for most it was the highlight of the convention. Luke is advisor to the greats of modern magic from Criss Angel to Derren Brown, and you can see why. Luke peformed and explained three items – a prediction, a three person mind reading routine and a demonstration of stopping his own pulse. All three fooled us all and we waited eagerly for their explanations.

We were treated to not only to Luke’s bold methods but also his thinking behind them. The impressive thing about the routines is that they are so multi-layered and can be done in almost any type of situation. They require huge skill in audience management and are very bold but these incredible effects are possible with very few props and can be done impromtu making them incredibly strong effects.

All in all a fantastic Convention which provided everyone with something to practice, research or inspire until next year.

Huge thanks to International Magic for another fantastic weekend.

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About the authorBrendan Patricks is a professional magician/actor from London. You may have seen him on the telly.