IBM British Ring Convention 2008 – Eastbourne 24-28 September

Just an early heads up, I will be attending the above convention, and will be live-blogging the events I attend for Magic Convention Guide I will still post short posts here (probably just the first parts of each post) with links across to each post at MCG, so you will be able to find the reports over there. Thanks to Andrew Webb for letting me do this, it looks like a great week and an excellent and packed programme I just hope I can keep up! Remember watch here or better yet over at Magic Convention Guide starting Wednesday.

Blackpool 2008: Sunday The Home Straight

Sunday was another early start but what a lecture. FISM Card Champion Helder Guimaraes explained three blockbuster effects. He started with a great visual transposition, similar in style to the Daley effect but with two of the aces isolated in a glass, which changed places with the aces on the table. Cards, Signatures and Glasses was his version of a technicolour cards-across plot, with a very clean handling based on David Regal’s with no technical moves he caused two signed red cards to jump across to a blue packet, again the packets being isolated in wine glasses and held by two spectators. Lastly his effect Three Progressive Choices had three selections chosen in three seperate ways and revealed in an increasingly impossible manner with the climax of the entire deck changing to blank cards.

I then saw the second session of close-up choosing to start with David Solomon, although quieter and more introvert than the acts around him, David’s card magic for all the obvious reasons is strong and powerful and really stands on its own merit, he showed amongst others Technicolor Thunder, Four the Hard Way and an O’Henry Ace Assembly from the new book. Shawn Farquhar started with his T&R Photo he had shown in his lecture. Then his FISM act with signed card to sealed deck, and the solid Cups and Balls. David Stone was his manic self with coin manipulation, bottle productions, signed cards and ending with producing both his shoes! I saw J.C. Wagner last, who is a master of the card-under-glass which caught me every time, he also showed his new version of Factory Misprints.

Shoot Ogawa’s lecture was packed out, and we weren’t disappointed, a mix of cards, coins and thimbles made to look like real magic in the hands of this master magician. His version of Spellbound changed a coin to a spoon. He had an ungimmicked version of Wild Card using a regular deck. He showed two versions of Matrix, the second, which he explained was a very neat backfire. Shoot then showed us a slightly simpler version of his Thimble routine, using just one or two moves but to a very visual effect. Lastly he gave tips on learning the Muscle Pass and what you can achieve with it.

Michael Close only showed and explained two tricks in his lecture, Red Blue Mamma Fooler and his Torn and Restored Card, he then spent the second half telling stories and jokes from his new joke book, which for me anyway was exactly the laugh I needed after seeing magic all weekend, and having read his book previously it was nice to hear the jokes being told by Michael.

The Gala show was compered by Adrian Walsh, a big improvement over Stu Francis from the previous evening, still a little on the old-style compere but a very professional job. Mahka Tendo opened with some phenomenal card manipulations regular cards being produced at break-neck speeds mixed in with jumbo card productions. Rafael performed his dove act, which involves him driving on stage on a small bike, producing doves, a comedy linking ring routine, and finishing with the doves changing to a live girl. Antje Pode a foot juggler from Germany, juggled suitcases on her feet. Scott and Muriel performed a comedy sawing in half, and chair suspension. David Sousa showed his FISM winning Red Envelope act, with cards and envelopes appearing from no-where and increasing in size. Valerie performed lots of quick changes, including one in a sub-trunk where she changes places with a costume that is in the trunk. Topas closed the first-half with a production of varying size speakers to a song he was singing with audience participation, each speaker produced and plugged in, then layered the sound up, till he had lots of rhythm going and the finale was to produce a huge speaker and then Roxanne.

The second half the Yamagami Brothers the world’s youngest illusionists, started off with a one-upmanship style routine where each wanted to show their trick, to a particular piece of music, floating lightstand, and rope penetrations, finished in the vanish of the radio. Then two illusions a visual sawing-through and a spiker illusion. Scott and Muriel came on riding pantomime horses ala Bernie Clifton, and spent quite a long time extracting as much as they could from the situation involving the president of Blackpool dressing up as a giant cactus. Not much magic, all though at the end they did reveal they had managed to steal the watches of all the volunteers. Topas performed his Toy act with the production of lots of coloured balls, a floating and vanishing rocking horse and a growing teddy bear that waves good-bye on its own to finish the act. Shimada closed the show with his Chasing a Magical Dragon, Parasol and Card manipulation ends up with him fighting a big chinese dragon, and then becoming the dragon, and who you thought was Shimada being revealed as his assistant.

And that was it another Blackpool over with! Next year is 20-22nd February 2009.

Blackpool 2008: Saturday Marathon

Saturday started with a lecture from Martin Sanderson, pretty standard stuff but all done very neatly in a commercial way, Ambitious Card, Coin under Watch, Chop Cup, Bill in Kiwi and Martins Little Sausage which is his take on ring flight, using a stuffed dog, where the ring ends up on the collar.

David Solomon was excellent as expected, he was showing items from his new book, his take on Peter Kane’s Gypsy Curse, his new packet trick Knaves Gone Wild, Mexican Poker which is a great 10 card poker deal of the non-jonah variety. Just friends is a King cutting routine which ends with the production of the Queens. David then paid tribute to Jack Parker and showed a version of the 21-Card Trick with Jack’s idea to vanish the selection. Lucky Card is a signed impossible card location, and finally David finished with his Technicolour Oil and Water and a version of an Ace Assembly that climaxed with all the cards turning blank, and the whole deck as well.T

J.J. Sanvert started with a hybrid bill routine, he pulled a small piece of silver foil out of the bill, and then showed his handling for pen through bill. His Note in Cheese is fantastic, and the method is even better! The second half of the lecture was the card part, he showed Open Travellers with a Royal Flush ending, a variant of The Signed Card plot, a version of Cannibals and what he does when someone asks him to teach them a trick.

We then went for some lunch so I missed a bit of the J.C. Wagner lecture, but caught the end of J.C. demonstrating his trade-mark card under drink, estimation of a thought of card, his Standing Triumph with the J.C. show and a pop-out revelation.

Then it was into the first close-up session of the weekend, I saw Shoot Ogawa who was spectacular as ever with coins, thimbles, flip-stick and Ninja Rings. Helder Guimaraes the current FISM card champion showed us a similar routine to that which he did at FISM a Travellers routine with four signed cards that travelled to his pockets, the deck turned blank, and the signed cards too, and then one was found in an envelope on the table, and the entire deck became printed again. That probably doesn’t do it justice, but I am looking forward to his lecture tomorrow. Michael Close showed us his impossible Salt Shaker, Card, Forehead routine. Finally Richard Sanders showed us Interlace, Extreme Burn, Dough, Alpha Deck and Fibre Optics. His Extreme Burn really does look like trick photography and I love the new additions to the Fibre Optics routine.

The Geoffrey Durham lecture was based on his new book, which having read I was eager to see (the book by the way is one of the best theory/trick books I have read in a long time, go out and buy it now!) Geoffrey talked about how your personality and who you are, are more important than the tricks you do. He demonstrated and explained his Dictionary Test, Gypsy Thread, Magic Square and the Block Trick, sprinkled with words of wisdom that only a true professional could give, a remarkable hour.

Then it was time for the United Kingdom vs. The Rest of the World ‘competition’ which had some good bits and some not so good bits. But mostly it was a good show, the compere Stu Francis of Crackerjack fame was a bit lacking in material, but kept it all together despite getting most of the acts names wrong! Bob Wooding showed his excellent balloon act, which I remember watching on TV as a child, some excellent models in there, and he really makes this craft transfer to the stage. Danny Hunt and Annette performed their escapes, a recreation of the Tony Curtis Straight Jacket escape, his box escape and then his new take on the Houdini Water Torture Cell.

It was the first time I had seen Graham Jolley, he had some strong mentalism, but I’m not keen on his put-down agressive audience handling, but I guess it must work for him! Brian Sefton was immaculate and flawless in his manipulation ending with a poetic Zombie. John Archer came on and sang with his Ukulele, swallowed a balloon, and performed a divination of chosen wax crayons. Despite him having to handle a problematic situation with an elderly spectator, John brought the routine to a successful ending. Martyn James closed the first half with his topsy-turvy illusion, the Barrel transposition and the Wringer.

The second half was The Rest of the World. Fukai went on a bit too long for most people, and was probably hindered by the language barrier and a tired audience, grasping it back at last minute by filling the stage with flowers and mini umbrellas. Rafael performed his Vampire act with the visual seperation of the girl on a couch getting raptuous applause. Shawn Farquhar performed his Shape of My Heart card routine which is a great ambitious routine set to Sting’s lyrics and projected onto a big screen. Roxanne presented her Into the Spiders Web routine culminating in her levitation and rotation in the spiders web. My absolute favourite of the night was Topas with more of his sound wizardry, this time combining this with bongo playing and billard ball manipulation, fantastic! To finish Shimada showed us his skill with doves.

More tommorrow!

Blackpool 2008: Friday Lectures Ahoy

After a wander around the dealers it was time to start with the lectures. First up was David Sousa, maybe I had high expectations having read about his red envelope act but this was possibly not the best way to start the convention. It could have been an interesting lecture in the right setting, but to 400 people in the Spanish Hall it was lost. He basically talked about making sure you can be seen on stage, especially with manipulation. He ran through a short manipulation sequence to show us what not to do, then gave us his tips and then showed us how it should look. He ended the lecture with a hurried dealer dem, a Dice Bomb effect, and Parade of the Kings trick.

Pattrick Przysiecki from the USA had a mixture of interesting ideas, a fickle fire idea to produce cards, and a gag with clasped hands that I have seen Lance Burton use. Next was an idea I first ran across in Art of Astonishment with paperclips, and then in Jim Steinmeyers Impuzzibilities book as a triangle version, and just recently a nice childrens version in Chris Wardle’s lecture. The idea is you have a number of equal items in the rows and you can add items and still have the same number. In this case he was using small footballs and a miniature subuteo setting. He then showed us a number of ideas with producing pool balls, and a nice muliple selection routine. An idea of using Dental Floss for the Gypsy thread was accompanied with real newspaper articles about prison escapes using dental dam. And he finished by showing us his combination of Drink in the News with a water vanish.

Chris Priest confidently pattered his way through three of his master routines, he opened with a four coin routine with at least twenty moments of magic, coins across and a one coin flurry being the highlights climaxing in the production of a giant chrome coin. He then shared with us his reception act ace routine, a combination of several four ace tricks, starting out with a production of the aces and a version of the Daley transpo, lead into a twisting phase, and finally an everywhere and nowhere with the chosen ace, climaxing in another production after the aces had been lost back in the deck. Finally Chris finished his lecture with Protons which is his sponge-ball routine with a dlite finish. Things were finally starting to get going with this excellent professional lecture.

Next probably the highlight of the evening for me was Shawn Farquhar. I have seen Shawn compete at FISM but not seen him lecture. His enthusiasm is infectious and his magic simple and effective. His lecture was entitled Bread and Butter as it was based on things he uses to make his living. He started with a matrix routine using poker chips and pictures of his hands, the last chip morphing into the photo and then popping out. He had some great ideas for CD tricks with a spectators signature on a cd, where the CD then turned clear and see-through, and also a double prediction where the chosen cards were written on the face of the CD. He showed us his version of ambitious card with an Omni Deck finish, incorporating a nice deck-switch and ending in card to plastic credit-card wallet. Lastly Shawn showed us his take on Dan Harlan’s Crazy 8 trick, which he said even Dan thinks is an improvement. He had a photo of his daughter signed, and ripped up and then restored but in a mis-made state so the ragged edges were on the outside and the border on the inside, still with the signature on. This was a great lecture delivered with pace and enthusiasm.

Having also witnessed David Stone storm the FISM scene I couldn’t wait to see him lecture and I wasn’t disappointed. He started with a Chad Long gag to produce a coin, and went into a very competent Coin Flurry sequence, showing along the way a neat idea if you happen to drop a coin. A coin vanish and bottle production led into a discussion of how David produces full glasses of liquid from his sleeves. Then David discussed his approach to tables using a fire wallet, and finally his new trick CEL which is a card to mobile phone.

For the last lecture of the evening we had Lennart Green, what can you say that hasn’t been already. Lennart started with a mind blowing trade mark short performance, with his clumsy, topsy turvy mixes and shuffles, he still managed to deal poker hands, find royal flushes, and selections all while making it seem so effortless. His Terrorist card trick which I had seen him do in Southport relies on a simple mathematical formula which he hides so well by revealing the selections in novel ways. Love, Hate and Admiration was a use for an old George Sands Prime Number principle. Lennart shared with us his take on the Kennedy Out of this World and finally finished with an all to brief discourse on false shuffles, the snap deal and uses for Top Shot that just about blew my mind at the late hour, Lennart was forced to finish, but could of probably gone on for hours!

Anyway thats all and I can’t believe its only Friday, a lot of people here for the first day, dread to think what it will be like come Sunday. Will post this and go to bed…

Blackpool 2008: Arrival

Arrived at Blackpool, rained hard on the way, just checked in, staying across the road from The Ruskin and round the corner from the winter gardens. Just about to go and register and have a look round dealers before the list of lectures start, will try and get to them all (I will miss the close-up which I do most years anyway) and will hopefully report back later.

Just grabbing a sandwich and coffee in hotel room, and typing this on the EEE thanks to somebody’s open router (not paying 10/24hr for hotel wifi, when will hotels learn that we expect free wifi now it should be as part of your experience as getting a TV and coffee facilities!)

Three new sites to list, first two of my fellow bloggers who will probably do a better job of keeping you up-to-date:

Naquada – Andrew Webb
Matt Parro

I will try and twitter throughout as well, you can see my twitter badge on the right of the blog.

Lastly on the counter of the hotel were some leaflets advertising a new magic site… Magic Mag says they are a new online magic magazine, launching on Feb 28th, with 8 issues a year in PDF format for 7.50. More on that later I guess after the launch, anyway thats it for now off to get my tickets and free book!

Magicians Movie – Press Release

“From the hottest new British comedians Mitchell and Webb and the creators of the award-winning ‘Peep Show’ comes MAGICIANS. Subscribe now to the official podcast for all the best previews, interviews and behind the scenes exclusives.

Lifelong friends Harry and Karl (David Mitchell and Robert Webb) are the greatest magic double act in the country. But after a guillotine illusion goes horribly and spectacularly wrong, their friendship and their careers are finished. Now, down on his luck and out of cash, Harry sets his sights on the prize money of the prestigious ‘International Magic Shield’ tournament. But to win he will have to compete against the world’s oddest (and saddest) magicians – including his deadly rival Karl, performing under the guise of ridiculous psychic ‘The Mindmonger’. Can new tricks and a new assistant (Jessica Stevenson from ‘Confetti’ and ‘Spaced’) help Harry to triumph over his underhanded opponents and his disastrous past?

Starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb (Peep Show), Jessica Stevenson (Confetti, Shaun of the Dead, Spaced), Darren Boyd (Green Wing) and Peter Capaldi (The Thick of It).”

The movie is released on the 18th May, and to celebrate there is a competition for a chance to be on the DVD performing a magic trick. All you have to do is upload a video of yourself performing a trick and post it on the myspace page. See the MySpace page for the T&C. Also whilst you are there make sure you view the videos for some humourous tricks performed by Mitchell and Webb.

The Official Channel 4 Site has a trailer, picture gallery and more information.

This is the official trailer for the movie, it looks very funny, and watch out for various cameo appearances from some familar magical faces:

FISM 2006: Photos

For photos of the event, in case you missed it we now have 200 photos in our FISM 2006 Flickr Set.

Vista Photo Agency have been posting the official ones.

Jorgen Yng from Stockholm has posted his set.

Fotograf Gomer also have their set.

Andy Reay has also posted some of his photos to Flickr.

Naquada’s Flickr Set and also a group set up on Flick for FISM 2006 which I will be adding some of my photos too, if you have any to add please join the group.

If you have any photos from FISM online let me know and I will add them to this post.