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So...anyway... I have been so busy these past few months that I have been amiss with my blog posts. Lots of things have been happening so I will try to summarize a few things...
Sylvester the Jester Lecture & Show
You have to love an act where the catchphrase is "Back to normal!"
Sylvester the Jester is no ordinary act. He is a human cartoon, his eyes bulge out, steam shoots out of his ears, his tongue rolls down and pretty much anything else a Warner Bros cartoon character can do.
The act was great and very 'out there'.
Sylvester lectured at the Australian Society of Magicians. I loved the lecture. He taught the 'Sylvester Pitch', as well as some of his other creations. He preached the virtues of creativity, saying that he has been travelling the world for the past 20 years was due to the originality of his act.
It was while discussing his theory on human perception that his lecture really came into its own. I love that kind of stuff. He claimed magic to be the 'primordial sludge' from which all artforms and sciences have emerged. Possibly even the magic wand could be symbolic of the ancient fire stick, that gave the wielder the magical power of transformation... Cool.
Simon Coronel : Manipulations
I also caught Simon Coronel's 'Manipulations' at the Kitty club as part of the Melbourne Comedy Festival. It was his Comedy Festival debut and a thoroughly enjoyable show. The 60 minute running time flew past as Simon dazzled the crowd with a mixture of highly visual and deceptive close-up/parlour magic, all held together with the delightful premise of letting the audience in on the secret. They left having been very entertained and none the wiser.
I entered the very first FISM Oceania. It was a great experience and an incredible adrenaline rush. The act ran well and it was a fantastic crowd and a lovely old theatre. The best part for me was the feedback from the judges the next day, I learnt alot about what it is that they look for in a FISM act. No first or second prizes were awarded but Enzo Ficco received the third prize. Congratulations to him.
For those who don't know I perform at Club Kilsyth(9761 4233) every Tuesday, Club Ringwood (98798733) every Wednesday and The Retreat Hotel (9380 4090) in Brunswick every Thursday and Friday. I also perform on the Lady Cutler Showboat (9499 9371) once a month. I am working on a ton of new material, so hit me up if you see me at one of these gigs, and I'll show you something cool.
I couldn't find GO but I nearly went directly to jail. Apparently I matched the description of a shoplifter, so they questioned me. Then I made him pose for a photo.
I then caught up with some Kiwi friends from Australia who now live in London.
Even after having just come from the Blackpool Convention, after seeing over 200 magic dealers in 3 massive rooms, I soon got bored walking around London and made my way to a magic shop...yeah I know.
I bought an unusual book there called 'Secrets Of Improvisational Magic' by Justin Higham. It's a great book about being not confined by your routines, and approaching magic the way a jazz musician approaches music. By being in the moment and not being attached to any particular outcome, if you have a large enough skill-set, you can take it anywhere it wants to go. Interesting stuff.
I also bought 'Art and Artifice' by Jim Steinmeyer, of whom I am a big fan (who isn't?). It was a fascinating book which I read on the plane back home. I could not turn each page fast enough. Athough it deals with some exposure I would recommend it to magicians and non-magicians alike (controversial). I only say this because you could not come out of a book like that without gaining an incredible amount of respect for the art of magic, even though you may be slightly the wiser. This is as opposed to exposure such as the 'masked magician' program which cheapens and degrades both the viewer and the subject matter.
My favorite chapters were 5 & 6, where Jim pieces together the final bits of the puzzle and solves the mystery of Charles Morritt's vanishing donkey. Absolutely fascinating detective work.
As well as being a proficient author and historian of magic, Jim is probably more known for creating illusions for the likes of Doug Henning and David Copperfield etc. Here he is performing one of his creations...Brilliant.
Imagine the largest theatre stage in Europe packed to the rafters with over 3000 people. All of them eager to see some of the best magic acts in the world.
There is a feeling you get when you know you are seeing the best in the world at something, no matter what that 'something' is. I would easily put magic up against any other art form when it is performed at this level.
I do a lot of roving magic, which means I constantly have to approach fresh groups of people and perform for them. Every now and then someone will try and shut me down before I start, by saying that they don't like magic. It is not their fault. It's just that most people have not been exposed to any good magic.
They have only seen their uncle or some lame friends card tricks or the masked magician on tv, and they pass judgement on an entire art form because of this? It's like seeing a drunk guy on a street corner trying to play a broken guitar, and then trying to tell me that you don't like music. I mean seriously.
Jonathon Hawley and Co. from the UK closed the show with some big illusions. They brought the house down with this one.
These next guys were so good, what a great act. I think they opened the second half and were probably my favourite act of the night. God damn they were good. Comedy and skill perfectly combined and such strong characters. Roy Gartner and James. Enjoy!
The ventriloquist Jimmy Tamley absolutely killed. The pants fell off the vent dummy accidently, which was hilarious, and he improvised brilliantly.
Dimmares act was fantastic, one of the best zombie ball routine I have ever seen. He pulled off some pretty ballsy (thanks) moves and executed them perfectly. A true showman.
Xavier Tapias’s act was very powerful.
By the curtain call after 3 hours of brilliant entertainment, there was a fountain on the stage.
The Saturday night show featured the handing out of prizes and performances of the winning acts. General Magic : Charlie Mag (SPAIN) Illusion : Cubic Act (FRANCE) Micro Magic : Yann Frisch (FRANCE) Card Magic : Miika Pelkonen (FINLAND Manipulation : Dion (NETHERLANDS)
It was quite a controversial night because the MC, comedian George King got slow clapped off the stage, and did not return to face the audience in the second half, instead he introduced the acts over the PA from backstage. Talk about a tough crowd. Did I think he was bombing? yes, did I join in the slow clap/heckling? no.
Anyway, on a nicer note, here is the cubic act which won the european fism 1st prize and I tip them to win first prize at FISM proper, held in 2012, also at Blackpool. A great act and a real fooler too!
I had to fly for 24 hours from Melbourne with a 2 hour stop-over in Kaula Lumpar. The airline lost my luggage and I was without it for 5 days. I will never fly Air Asia again they are rubbish. I would rather kill myself.
I stayed in a little Bed and Breakfast for 5 days and it only cost $150au. The owner was a great guy and he cooked me a mean breakfast every morning. His name was Mick.
On my first day there I bumped into Jim, a magician from Bulgaria, who I had worked with in Taiwan. It was my first time in Europe, and I hear someone call out my name. I wasn't expecting that at all. Small world. Jim is a well known magician in Bulgaria. He has had many TV appearances over there including a weekly Kids program where he performs magic. His catchphrase is "Where's the booze?"
We picked up our ID passes and tote bags and I explored the Wintergardens venue. It was huge and overrun with over 3,000 magicians from all over the globe.
Over the next few days I was high on a cocktail of jetlag, caffeine and intrigue. I floated from lecture to show to dealers room to the bar and back again like a fat kid in a candy store. I had my socks repeatedly fooled off.
Apparently the act/lecture standard was lower than in previous years. This was my first Blackpool, so I'm unable to compare. All I can say is that I loved it.
This guy was one of the best with cards Ive ever seen and he wasn't even on the bill. The after-hours sessioning was off the freakin' hook. I'm not sure, but I think someone told me his name was Babba, from Sweden or Switzerland (same thing).
There were so many things happening simultaneously that it was hard working out which ones to attend. The FISM European Championships were running constantly in the Opera House.
The Highlights for me, in no paticular order
- Wayne Dobson. I didnt know he had Multiple Sclerosis until I saw his lecture. It was called 'Look, no hands". Up until then, I had only seen footage of his Royal Gala performance from the late 80's. Unable to use his hands anymore, he has adapted his magic. Diabolically clever and extremely entertaining. Try doing a magic act without using your hands, and you will soon realize how smart this guy is.
This is his old act. Genius.
- Michel. An amazing Argentinian magician who has spent 35 years innovating the gamblers hold-out into a practical device. A very clever fellow and a real gentleman. This is me after I spent all my money buying his stuff.
This is Michel at work
- Jay Sankey. No suprises here, Jays lecture was a highlight for many. Innnovative and entertaining with some nice philosophical touches. Jay is the man.
I bumped into legendary street magician Kozmo. Awesome guy. He showed me the new floating table Losander had made for him.
Blackpool is a great town the perfect place for a magic convention. It had an odd feel to it, like no place I have ever been to before.
James Dimmare did a Q & A instead of a traditional lecture. It was immensely interesting and entertaining. He confirmed that he had not slept with Brittany Spears. He debuted his new act at Blackpool International Gala Show. More on that later.
My next posts, I will write about the Saturday and Sunday night shows.
This is my first post, so I thought Id post my old youtube clips in case you hadn't seen them. Just some old shows I have worked on. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIIJFvmTL84
And now, some cool music!