* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* Magic New Zealand®
* Proudly sponsored by International Entertainment Ltd (New Zealand)
* www.magicnewzealand.com
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Issue Number: #1180
Date: Sunday 8th March 2015
Editor: Alan Watson QSM
E-mail: editor@magicnewzealand.com
Hi here is the latest news

1. Editor's Message
2. It's Magic! 2015
3. FISM - The Surgeon's House
4. March Issue Of The Linking Ring
5. The Magic Word Podcast - Chicago Magic Bars & Lounges
6. SAM Lectures And Sessions
7. Remarkable Magic #382 - Nick Lewin
8. Chair Suspension - Safety Tips - #353 - Kyle Peron
9. Non-Animal Endings
10. Daytona Beach Festival Of Magic
11. Information Required On Ottoman & Byzantine Magicians
12. 2015 McMechan Magic Auction Change
13. Potter & Potter Auctions Featuring The Collection Of Rich Bloch
14. Montreal's McCord Museum Magic Acquisition
15. Magic Returns To Cape Cod - April 9-12, 2015
16. Wellington Convention - Win Back Your Registration Fee!
17. 63rd Blackpool Bonanza
18. e-zine Archives
19. Privacy Policy and Copyright Notice

1. Editor's Message
New Zealand, Wellington Magic Convention - October 24th - 26th, 2015 registrations are now open.

Register online at www.wellingtonmagic.co.nz to download the registration form.

Headliners already confirmed include:
- Charlie Frye and his partner Sherry
- Phil Cass and Philippa
- Nick Nickolas
- David Merry
- Paul Romhany

For all those who would like to read the Magic New Zealand e-zine in a HTML format go to: http://www.magicnewzealand.com/ezine-archive/2015-Jan-to-Dec-2015/1180-Mar08-2015.html

Remember if you have any magic news drop me a line:

2. It's Magic! 2015
Message by Milt Larsen

Tickets On Sale Now!

It's Magic!

Sunday March 15 2015


Cerritos Center for Performing Arts

For tickets and information visit: cerritooscenter.com


Mark and Jinger
Danny Cole
Dan Raspyni
David Zirbel
Matt Marcy

3. FISM - The Surgeon's House
Message by Joan Caesar (Canada)

Rimini boasts architecture dating back to 25 BC. Some excavations are fairly recent, and all are worth a visit. You might look at the self-guided walks mentioned on the internet. The Surgeon's House is one of several spectacular things to see in the old part of Rimini.

Most of the following I found on the tourist information site. If you want to read more, go to their site on the internet.

The archaeological discovery of the surgeon's house was extremely important as the surgical and pharmaceutical equipment found there gives an insight into what was used by doctors in Roman times.

The archaeological area is 700 square meters and contains the remains of the house of the surgeon who worked there during the 3rd century. The surgeon's equipment was unearthed and now is kept in the nearby museum known the world over for its modern display of 2000 years of history.

The excavation is protected by an architectural walkway offering an interesting view to visitors. The structure is integrated into the Piazza Ferrari's garden. A transparent system of suspended walkways over the ancient structures allows visitors an easy understanding of the excavation. Situated next to the city museum, a visit to the site becomes an integral part of the visit.

The archaeological site of the Surgeon's House was opened to the public in December 2007.

4. March Issue Of The Linking Ring
Message from Dennis Schick (US)

Houdini spent much of his career breaking OUT of prisons. The cover story of the March issue of The Linking Ring tells how Ohio magician Herman Carr has been breaking INTO prisons for the past 25 years. He discovered a new performing venue and may be the only magician anywhere regularly performing in prisons. He gives enough advice for magicians to approach prisons in their own areas about this new performing opportunity.

Other major features in this issue include previews of the 2015 IBM Convention July 15-18 in Jacksonville, Florida; a unique (magic for the visually impaired) one-man Parade by Finland's Martti Siren; a timely article on "Tax Tips for the Part-time Performer," by CPA Dane Dover; a Special Tribute to long-time columnist storyteller Ed Solomon, who died in January; and a discussion about whether a magician should use an agent.

There are 10 columns in this issue, perhaps a record, including a brand new one on the subject of "Situation Magic," by Chris Benson. This new column will include magic effects to be performed on the spur of the moment when someone ask you to "Show me a trick."

Of course there are reviews of new magic products, over two dozen advertisements by magic vendors, and reports from nearly one hundred individual IBM Rings throughout the world.

IBM members can read the digital edition online, can download a PDF version, or wait until their hard copy arrives in the mail.

5. The Magic Word Podcast - Chicago Magic Bars & Lounges
Message by Scott Wells, M.I.M.C. with Gold Star

Chicago has a rich history of magic bars within the city. The real "hay day" was in their waning years of the 1970's until their eventual demise in 1998. Bill Weimer was an integral part of this era as he performed at seven of the nine or so bars/lounges where magic was served along with the drinks. But magic is returning to Chicago in a "big time" way with the opening of the Chicago Magic Lounge on the uptown underground part of the city.

This week's podcast features a "two-fer". First up is a chat with Joey Cranford and John Sturk who are producing an experience every Thursday night at a new club they call Chicago Magic Lounge. This will be a theater that will open at 8:00 p.m. and feature close-up and stage performers in a "turn of the 20th century" style that harkens back to the prohibition days.

Next up is a chat with Bill Weimer who is a well-known Chicago magician who has literally written the book on the Chicago magic bar scene. He recounts some of the stories in this podcast from his book, "Now You See Them, Now You Don't".

You can read the blog, see some photos, listen to the podcast online or download the MP3 at: http://themagicwordpodcast.com/scottwellsmagic/chicago-magic-bars-lounges You can also download the podcast from iTunes, Stitcher or Tunein. Be sure to subscribe to The Magic Word so you don't miss an episode. You can find all the details at: http://TheMagicWordPodcast.com

6. SAM Lectures And Sessions
Message by Mark Weidhaas
S.A.M. National Conference Executive Director

Lectures And Special Sessions Flavor Convention

Lectures, Special Sessions and underground events will add more magical flavor to the Society of American Magicians' Convention in Philadelphia, (July 1-4). Super lectures will be provided by Hector Mancha, Woody Aragon, Miguel Puga, Joe Romano, Eric Anderson, Tom Ewing, Ran'd Shine and Don Camp.

These lectures will be supplemented with daily special audience participation hands-on sessions on a variety of topics featuring Scott Alexander, Joe Curcillo, Chad Wonder, Joe Romano, Bruce Kalver, Vinny Grosso, Sara Crasson, and our guest of honor, Ray Goulet.

Check out the complete schedule at www.magicsam.com

7. Remarkable Magic #382 - Nick Lewin
Message by Nick Lewin (US)

Austin's 34th World Famous Magic Auction.

February 28th was the date of the occasion of the most recent Austin Magic Auction. It was a cold and even somewhat icy day by Texas standards, not that the East Coast of the USA would have thought so. Folks might even have been breaking out the spring clothing. It was a wonderful day for magic buffs attending the event. Susan and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new ones

For over three decades our local magicians have been perfecting this event and have got it running as smoothly as a freshly tuned BMW. The Society of American Magicians Assembly #206 sponsor and produce the event, which is executed by a friendly and incredibly efficient team of volunteer staff and auctioneers. The charming Trixie Bond was here, there and everywhere in her position of Auction Chair, directing the action and putting out any potential bonfires before they began to smolder.

For a $10 admission fee attendees are given a chance to bid on an amazing collection of magic props and a gigantic selection of silent auction items. From posters and rare books to comedy props and illusions everything was available. It was a magician's dream to wander amongst the items and look for a special bargain on that prop that you just had to add to your collection.

An auction is only as effective as its auctioneers and there was a fine team in attendance on Saturday who were entertaining the crowd and doing their bit to keep those items moving quickly from their old owners into their new homes. This year the auctioneers were C.J. Johnson, Scott Wells, Grant Walsh, Kent Cummins, Jim Gentil, Oscar Munoz, Brad Henderson and Matt Dillahunty. Veteran stalwart of the event David Hira was unable to attend this year and his absence was duly noted and his boundless energy missed.

As well as a healthy quantity of Genii Tubes, Botanias and Sliding Die Boxes there were some nifty oddities available. A tin of Pea Soup, personally signed by Linda Blair (of Exorcist fame) was snapped up by for a $200 donation to the Heroes Night Out charity. It was the perfect unique and quirky memorabilia item for the man who has everything but recognizes a great charity when he sees it!

A small percentage of profits from each item (starting at a 12% rate) went towards the funds needed to mount this year's TAOM Magic Convention that will be held in Austin from September 4th-7th. The convention has a wonderful line-up this year and promises to be a highlight on the magic circuit. The sub-heading of the convention is "Magic, Music, Weirdness & Women" which certainly has the Austin spirit way in view! A very special evening at the incomparable Esther's Follies starring Ray Anderson is just one of the many treats being offered

I am excited to be participating myself at TAOM this year with a special show and a lecture. I have a special fondness for the TAOM convention, as it was an appearance at one in San Antonio that began my deliriously happy migration to the Lone Star State. I recommend you visit their website and check out all the wonderful events they have planned by clicking on http://taom.org/2015/ If you are looking for an unusual and uniquely friendly magic convention to attend this fall---add this one to your calendar.

Given the boundless energy of these Texan magicians I suspect they already have a little part of their attention looking beyond the convention, and are planning ways to keep the standard of the 35th World Famous Magic Auction as high as this last one. You can keep track of the dates and details on their website http://austinmagicauction.com It is almost a mini magic convention all on its own. You can hear more about it on Scott Wells' excellent Magic Word Podcast at http://themagicwordpodcast.com/scottwellsmagic/austin-magic-auction

Well, I am off on the road for a few weeks and will be in Chicago, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Tokyo and Los Angeles! With luck and a good broadband connection I will be sending out a couple of columns along the route. I must say that being a professional magician can certainly help you see the world! If you are crazy enough to want to participate in this kind of schedule check out my book "Cruise Magic 101, How to make a great living working on cruise ships".

A gratifying number of people who have read my book are now enjoying careers as shipboard entertainers and making good salaries. The book is available through my online store!

You can visit my online store at www.lewinenterprises.com
You can subscribe to my blog at www.remarkablemagic.com
You can also sign up for our special mailer that will give you first notice of our upcoming Gypsy Yarn release at lewinenterprises@gmail.com

8. Chair Suspension - Safety Tips - #353 - Kyle Peron
Message by Kyle Peron (US)

Although you may really fall in love with this illusion, be sure you really adhere to some very common safety tips when performing it.

- Make sure even though the illusion can handle 150-160 lbs., I never ever go over 90lbs. This is just a safety measure I do and keeps the board from sagging at all.

- Make sure that you do a triple check of the alignment before placing the child on it. Once when you set it up, secondly right before the show starts and one last time as the child is coming up on stage. Make sure everything is aligned right on the anchor chair.

- Be careful when the child is sitting and then going into the laying down position. I always have my wife help hold the non-anchored chair where the board rests on. This is done for a reason. If the child moves forward or backwards on the board, it can cause the board and anchor point to pivot like a lever and it can cause the weld to snap right off. Be careful of this and have someone or yourself hold that board top the non-anchor chair when the child is sitting and lying down.

- Make sure the child is in the right position. That is that their shoulders are aligned with the top of the anchor board. This distributes the weight evenly and adds to the illusion of the person being suspended just by their neck area alone.

- Do NOT ever perform the trick just because you feel like you have to or because you want to. That is never a good enough reason. Your most critical and first notion when performing this is to make sure that you have every safety precaution met before you perform it. If any of the safety steps are not met or cannot be met, then you must be willing to not perform it and move on to something else. I have done this several times and it is out of safety first. The client never had a problem with it, because I make it clear to them that safety comes first.

- If you feel or sense a child becoming scared or uneasy with the illusion, do not continue with it. Let the child sit back down and applaud them for being so brave. Give them a certificate and make them feel special. Getting on the board can sometimes scare children and even if you feel you are taking all the right steps, it can still happen. You must be willing to send the child back (happy) and not risk doing it with them.

- Make sure to have the child lay down flat on their back and in the middle of the board. Fold their hands on the lap in front of them and place their legs close together. This makes them feel comfortable but also limits them from wanting to move during the illusion.

- Do NOT rush right into the illusion. I always do this as an ending to my show. By this point the children know me and have fun with me and I have built up trust within them. Even then, I take my time and structure my routine so that I build confidence in the child before we place them on it.

- Never ever touch a child unless you ask their permission first. When I perform this, I take steps in getting them into position on the board. We take steps so that each part is understood by them and they know what to expect. I ask them if it is OK if I can lift them up to sit on the board. I ask them if I can move them forward. This builds trust between you and the helper and is very critical.

As I am clearly saying here and right now, even with my safety first precautions, there is no certainty that nothing will ever go wrong, Things do happen and that goes for a lot of various effects. But, you really can minimize your chances of anything happening by following some simple tips.

- Always do a triple check of the area in which you are performing this illusion. If indoors, make sure the floor is level and the anchor chair is level as well. It must not rock or tip in any form. Also check to make sure that the chair is sitting right so that it is not leaning or wanting to lean backwards.

- If outdoors, be even more careful the ground you are setting the chairs on. Make sure you have a nice level area and that the chairs are sitting properly.

- Place the board and anchor points right aligned with each other. Check these points and make sure they are sitting and anchored properly. Check this and triple check it. 1) check it at first set-up, 2) check it before the show starts and 3) check it right before you are about to place the child on. They must be aligned correctly.

- Use a step stool to help the child up onto the board. This makes it easy for them and for you without them jumping up on it and possibly hurting themselves or shifting the board in the process. They can simply stand up on the stool and sit down easily.

- Make sure that the child is positioned right on the chairs. This is one area of which I constantly see people doing wrong. If not properly placed on the board, it can cause the board to sag or lean. Make sure to 1) Have the child centered on the board 2) fold their hands on top of each other on their laps (centralizes the weight more) 3) Make sure their shoulders are even with the edge of the anchor chair. These are just some of the safety tips I do every time out. It seems like a lot, but it is so important to the success of this illusion. And, if you do them as often as I do them, then it becomes habit and you just do it every time naturally.

It works great if you know how to not only set it up right, but how to routine it so that the child feels safe, trusts you, and wants to take part in the FUN of the effect. If you also follow the simple safety measures I discussed, you should never have a problem with it at all. Just remember that safety on this ALWAYS comes first over anything else. You must not get carried away with the magic, that you forget the safety of the child involved. When getting them to lie down on the board, do it in two steps. Have them sit first (then pause), and then have them lay down on their backs. By breaking it down in this fashion, it makes it easier on you, easier on them and the move does not cause the board to get off kilter.


I have a new book out I would like you to know about all about working the Festival market. If you would like additional and detailed information on this topic, please see my book/eBook at: http://www.kpmagicproducts.com/Festival_Magic.html

As always, I encourage you the readers to let me know your thoughts. So if you have any thoughts on my articles or suggestions or comments, please feel free to e-mail me directly at magic4u02@aol.com

I would
love to hear from you.

Kyle Peron

9. Non-Animal Endings
Message by Mandy Davis (UK)

Reading the article in this week's E-Zine sparked me to wonder what other endings magicians use for their shows.

For my children's show I find the greatest fun with Kovari's Passing Water. This apparatus fits in a bag, light to carry and leaves everyone laughing and applauding, isn't that great?

For those who don't know it, two small blocks of wood, each with a hole through, are tied with bright ropes around a person's waist. A thin rod fails to penetrate the body on each side, through the holes, so a hole is drilled in the torso with an electric drill! This time you see the rod get deeper inside. To prove there is a hole straight through water is poured through a funnel at the back and pours out through the rod in front, into a bowl held by the 'victim'.

This is a great film and photo opportunity and everyone loves it! I am seriously thinking of buying the adult size set too!

10. Daytona Beach Festival Of Magic
Message by Harry Allen (US)

Just added........to an already star studded line-up:

Shoot Ogawa
Louie Foxx (Americas Got Talent)

If you were not at last year's Daytona Beach Festival of Magic you missed a GREAT one!

Look who is booked so far for 2015. (Detail: www.daytona magic.com

Click on "convention") November 6-7-8 2015 Phone 386-252-6767

Michael Finney
Murray (Las Vegas)
Tom Burgoon
Shin Lim
T.C. Tahoe
Scott Pepper (Illusionist)
The Reed Sisiers
Doc Swan
Jim Vines
Tom Yurasits
Erik Olson
Scott Humston
Harry Allen

11. Information Required On Ottoman & Byzantine Magicians
Message by Boris Buchner <borisbuchner@me.com>

I am living in Istanbul and together with my colleague Lee Alex, who also lives in Istanbul we want to support the Illusionists Association here by learning more about the past. We all know Zati Sungur, but not much earlier in history...

Does any of your subscribers have any insights about conjurers, prestidigitator or entertainer from the Ottoman and Byzantine time?

Does anyone have an idea who could be of help and how to find out more?

12. 2015 McMechan Magic Auction Change
Message by Larry McMechan

This year the Magic Auction Will be held on May 30-31st, NOT on Memorial Day weekend. For more information look us up on AuctionZip. I will send out more information closer to the time. I look forward to seeing you all there.

13. Potter & Potter Auctions Featuring The Collection Of Rich Bloch

The catalog for our April 4th magic auction, featuring the collection of Rich Bloch, is now online and available for download (or purchase). Go to: http://www.potterauctions.com/auctions/upcoming

The sale features several choice books (including a third edition of Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft and a first edition of Erdnase), vintage posters, ephemera, and apparatus.

Can't until auction day to place your bids? Well, the catalog has been posted on our partner website, Liveauctioneers.com. Register to bid, browse lot-by-lot, and even leave absentee bids. Go to: http://www.liveauctioneers.com/catalog/68406_the-magic-collection-of-rich-bloch/page1

Please note: many additional photographs are posted on live auctioneers that are not in the printed/PDF catalog.

14. Montreal's McCord Museum Magic Acquisition
Message by Julie Eng (Canada)

The McCord Museum in Montreal, Canada has just announced the extraordinary acquisition of one of the world's foremost private collections of stone lithographs from magic's Golden Age. And, just as significant, the acquisition of a superb Houdiniana collection of posters, playbills, correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks and ephemera of Houdini.

Emmanuelle Gattuso, through her philanthropic foundation - La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso - donated the funds to acquire the collection which she placed in her husband's name, media mogul Allan Slaight, with the McCord Museum.

The Slaight name is synonymous with philanthropy. In addition to their landmark donations to (among other things) cancer research, the Slaights are also major supporters of the arts in Canada. One of those arts is magic. Their support for it, through Magicana and all of our programs, has been unwavering.

Their magic interest, of course, stems from Allan Slaight's lifelong love of magic. He started performing magic as a youth, toured across Western Canada as a mentalist, and moonlighted as a magician while he was in the formative stages of building an empire, based initially on rock'n'roll radio. Somehow, while assembling this billion dollar business, Allan found the time to host magic conferences, and to write and produce 3,000 pages on his magical mentor, the great Canadian inventor, Stewart James.

So magic has been a big part of Allan's life for well over seventy years, and the Slaight-Gatusso household for over twenty-five.

To see the press release visit here:

15. Magic Returns To Cape Cod - April 9-12, 2015
Message by Angelique Steelgrave
Convention Co-Producer

Just a reminder that the 2nd Annual Oceanside Magic Invitational convention is only 10 weeks away! Magicians of all levels, magic lovers, hobbyists, collectors, students of magic...all are invited. There's still time to register for this year's event, which takes place
literally "Oceanside" at the beautiful Red Jacket Beach Resort in South Yarmouth, MA, USA.

OMI is a friendly, welcoming weekend of magic and fellowship, featuring some of the brightest stars in the magic community. Following the 1st Annual OMI last April, this new convention was praised by virtually all of 2014's headliners and attendees, and word has been spreading. Jay Scott Berry proclaimed it "...quite simply one of the finest boutique conventions in the world."

SAM President Ice McDonald stated, "I had the best time at OMI. Markus and Angelique, the organizers, gave everyone who attended a wonderful experience. Go witness the Fun."

Craig Dickson of Wizard Craft Magic had this to say: "When I was SAM National President, I wrote a column entitled 'Straight from the Heart'. This testimonial certainly is. We have been to just about every convention in the world over the past 30+ years, and bigger is seldom better. What we seek is a place to meet new people, see some great magic, learn, share, laugh, meet up with old friends, relax, and be in a place we would like to go on a vacation, and is offered at a price a family can afford. This has it all and so much more. It is now in our top three, and I truly mean that. You can tell when things are done for the money, or done from the heart, with passion. OMI is one that is truly from the heart and by those with a true passion for magic. Do yourself a favor; make this a must attend, April 2015. Come home, and join the family. See you there...."

Past SAM President Bruce Kalver described OMI as "an intimate convention that is loaded with magic all the time. Something for everyone. One of my favorites this year!"

OMI 2015 features Lectures from:

Kozmo, Harry Allen, Losander, Ariann Black, Oscar Munoz, Andrew Pinard, Becky Blaney, and Kevin Heller, with a special presentation/discussion with Alan Wassilak, creator of the "Basil the Baffling and Chloe" cartoon in M-U-M.

There are also Stage and Cabaret Shows, all-you-can-eat buffet lunch on Friday and Saturday, an Auction, raffles, and more.

OMI's 2015 Dealers include:

Daytona Magic, Kozmo Magic/Reel Magic Magazine, Losander, Wizard Craft Magic, Diamond's Magic, Tailored Magic, Custom Magic Cards, and John Henry's World of Magic.

All activities (except for the Saturday show) are right at the Resort; the Saturday show is at the nearby Dennis-Yarmouth High School auditorium. This show is also open to the public-for those unable to make it to the whole convention, try to catch the show!

Visit www.oceansidemagic.com for Schedule, Performers/Shows, Dealers, and Registration info ($190 Magician, $135 Companion; daily rates also available). To reserve your room at the Resort, call 1-800-CAPE-COD and mention OMI for the special rate of $115 plus tax per night.

IBM President Shawn Farquhar also praised OMI after his appearance there: "I attend many conventions, and few really understand that the number one thing we want from the convention is community. We spend enough time alone in our rooms practicing and many spend plenty of time performing. It is rare to find a place where we can share and learn from each other in a comfortable and friendly environment. The Steelgraves really understand this fundamental need, and have created a special place in the world of magic."

It is indeed a special place! For all who missed it, here's a short glimpse of last year's OMI: http://youtu.be/7gtSjS2Epck

Don't miss this extraordinary event. Hope to see you on Cape Cod in April.

16. Wellington Convention - Win Back Your Registration Fee!
Message by Nopera Whitley (NZ)

Wellington Magic Convention - October 24th - 26th, 2015

Win back your Registration Fee!

One lucky person will win back the cost of their registration fee within the first hour of the Convention!

How To Enter:
All you have to do is register before October 24th, 2015.
Register before 10th of November, 2014 and get 3 entries into the draw
Register before 1st of May, 2015 and get 2 entries into the draw
Register before 24th of October, 2015 and get 1 entry into the draw
The earlier you register, the more entries you get!

Refer A Friend For Extra Entries:
If you have registered and refer a friend, you can gain an extra two entries per person that you refer.

For every person that writes down your name as the referee, during registration, you will get an additional 2 entries!

For conditions and more information, go towww.wellingtonmagic.co.nz/raffle

Registration is Open!

We have an "Early-Bird" rate for those who register before the 1st of
May, 2015.
- Seniors: $290
- Juniors, Parents & Partners: $190
Register online at www.wellingtonmagic.co.nz to download the registration form.

Headliners already confirmed include:
- Charlie Frye and his partner Sherry
- Phil Cass and Philippa
- Nick Nickolas
- David Merry
- Paul Romhany

Like Us on Facebook:
To stay up to date, make sure to like our Facebook Page:

For more information, or to get in touch, visit us at

17. 63rd Blackpool Bonanza
Message by Walt Lees (UK)

At a time when many conventions struggle to attract sufficient numbers to remain viable, Blackpool appears to have found the secret. In its 63rd year, it is still drawing vast crowds. There is nothing else like it, for sheer size, quantity and excellence. Not everything is perfect, by any means. On an event of such a scale, with regular attendances exceeding 3,500, it would be impossible to get it all spot on. But there is more than enough to satisfy everyone, no matter what their particular taste or specialty.

Unofficially, events kicked off on the Thursday afternoon with a mammoth auction conducted mainly by Mike Shepherd. Derek Lever, who should have been joint auctioneer, had to retire early with a viral infection, against which he struggled throughout the entire convention, while still managing to fulfil his role as principal organiser. The auction went on for some eight hours, before everything was sold and bidding stopped.

Apart from the evening gala shows, held in the vast Blackpool Opera House, events run concurrently, making it impossible for any one person to attend everything. This is deliberate, as none of the rooms in the Winter Gardens complex, despite their size, would be capable of holding all the delegates. So it is necessary to entice different groups to different locations. Plus, there are the two dealers' halls (where some 120 exhibitors from all over the world display their wares) which are open all the time, bars, restaurants and the main concourse itself to serve as places to meet, chat or just sit and watch the world go by.

Friday 20th

From 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. belonged to the dealers, with demonstrations being given in the Pavilion Theatre and the trading halls open for business. Then from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. there were star lectures by Mike Chao, Vittorio Belloni, Charlie Frye and Mel Mellers.

The first International Close-up Magic show, followed. It could either be watched live in the Pavilion Theatre, with overhead screen projection for those unable to see, or you could sit outside and view it on one of the half dozen giant monitors dotted around, although, you had to be prepared for people walking in front of the picture, if you chose this option. It is surprising how many seem oblivious to either the screen or those trying to watch it.

Performers, introduced by President David Plant, included: Christian Schenk, Mike Chao, Vittorio Belloni, Diamond Jim Tyler, Matthew McGurk, Andi Gladwin, Joseph Barry and Chris Hannibal.

8:00 p.m. brought the first of three International Gala Shows. With Dave Windle at the organ (as he was for all the events requiring live music), this one was emceed by well-known ventriloquist Jimmy Tamley, who without a puppet, is rather low-key, but once he has a character on his hand, ups the octane level.

The opening act was Alpha, with a pirate theme and the production of exotic birds from budgerigars to huge parrots. Following, came 2 Minds Combined, which sounds as if it should be a telepathy act, but is, in fact, a couple making hand shadows. Apart from all the usual rabbits, birds and elephants, which are the standard fare of this sort of act, they also formed bare-hand silhouettes of well-known magicians, several of whom were in the audience. For the benefit of anyone unfamiliar with those being portrayed, photos were projected onto the screen alongside the shadows.

Bertox, with his Optical Circles, who followed, is one of those novelty acts that are difficult to describe. Using large rings, he combines mime with contact juggling and precision of movement, to produce an effect that was the subject of much favourable comment in the bars afterwards. To close the first half, Kenris Murat and partner, combined skilled card manipulation with Latin-American ballroom dance - a sort of Strictly Come Fanning.

Amethyst (Danny Hunt and new partner Steff) concentrated on escapology, performing some of the items Danny has worked up over the years and finishing with his well-known lock-picking to free his head from a tank of water in which it is submerged.

Charlie Frye and Sherry stole the show with an act that seems to improve at every viewing. Charlie's knockabout comedy, juggling and magical skills are awe-inspiring, while Sherry's bored indifference to all it all as she files her nails and refreshes her make-up, enhances the fun.

The bubble-blowing act of Marco Zoppi began with all the usual stunts (blowing smoke into bubbles etc.) but then took a novel turn when he introduced a device which enabled a flat sheet/film of bubble mix to be formed, through which he could push his hand, pass bubbles and, incredibly, insert a plastic bangle to create a movable hole. Jimmy Tamley then did his own hilarious spot, the highlight of which was the antics of his hopeless boxer puppet.

To close the show, came Matthew McGurk and his company of five girls, who made an unusual start when two of them descended from the top of the stage, in acrobatic style on lengths of white cloth. Then followed a fast-moving series of illusions, many involving fire. Matthew is not a man to push a sword through a woman, when a flaming spear will do.

After the show, for the diehards, Andi Gladwin's lecture took place in the Pavilion Theatre.

Saturday 21st

Events kicked off early, with a 9:00 a.m. lecture by quick-change performers Natalie & Ellie in the Pavilion Theatre. Diamond Jim Tyler started an hour later in the Spanish Hall. However, for many, the two main events were the British Children's Entertainers National Championship in the Opera House, which ran alongside the British Magic Close-up Championships in the Pavilion.

The children's competition was compered by Terry Herbert, who, having expertly performed the warm-up introduced the five competitors. Many agreed that the overall standard was higher than usual, perhaps because there was a greater variety of approaches, getting away from the standard formula of: do a warm-up; get a kid up for a feature effect; make kid a balloon model; finish with a puppet.

Colin Dymond, whose specialty is vent, used mainly puppets; Gemma Raymond (2nd prize) was outstanding at handling children and finished with a dress change; Frank Kearns mostly juggled and unicycled; Hannah (3rd prize) came from Japan and did a slick silent act with cards and floating canes, which appeared to be primarily designed for adult shows and competitions; Simon Sparkles got a father and son to participate, suggesting an act designed for family audiences rather than one specifically aimed at children.

The winner, billed as Mr Styx, was outstanding. Actually, it was a double act assisted by his father in clown attire. Mr Styx, himself, is a young man with mobility issues, which necessitate walking with a long stick, so only ever having one free hand, hence the need for a partner to handle some of the props. But what he lacks in mobility, he more than makes up for in personality, charisma, energy and the ability to punch home a funny line. The winners were decided by audience vote.

While all this was going in the Opera House, the British Magic Close-up Championships were taking place in the Pavilion Theatre. Somewhat unusually for a major national competition, two of the contestants were a father and son: Phil and Douglas Tilston. Douglas (the junior Tilston) took the 3rd prize. Wayne Goodman came 2nd, whilst the winner (by a long way, if my informants are to be believed) was Matthew Wright. Other competitors included: Carlos Vinuesa and Chris Stickland. The judges, who were able to reach a decision which allowed the results to be announced immediately after the competition, were: Obie O'Brien, Joan Caesar, Gerritt Brengman, Peter Din and Andrea Baioni.

Concurrent with both competitions was Kenris Murat's lecture in the Spanish Hall.

Wayne Dobson & Friends is always a popular fun-filled event, with Michael J Fitch fronting and Wayne interjecting throughout. This year's crop of friends included: Mel Mellers, Amethyst and Jon Allen, but the highlight was a spot by comedian/impressionist Hilary O'Neil.

Immediately afterwards, Luke Jermay's lecture began in the Spanish Hall, while Martin Braessas fired up (quite literally) in the Pavilion Theatre, demonstrating the truth of Eugene Burger's famous dictum that there are few close-up effects that cannot be enhanced by the judicious use of flash paper.

At 4:00 p.m. in the Spanish Hall came the Magical Speed Dating, under the auspices of Quentin Reynolds. For 90 minutes, a number of performers circulated around the tables, spending about 10 minutes at each, demonstrating/talking/explaining their own specialties. Taking part were: Christian Schenk, Joseph Barry, Chris Hannibal, Alex Pandrea, Vittorio Belloni, Diamond Jim Tyler and Peter Roberts. Meanwhile Alpha was lecturing in the Pavilion Theatre.

Mel Mellers emceed that evening's Gala Show, as only he can, taking complete command of the audience from the word go. Opening were Natalie & Ellie who combine an extraordinary number of high-speed dress changes with stage-filling productions of flowers. Kenris Murat (unusual to see the same performer on two separate Galas) followed with a completely different act to the previous night. Here the theme was slightly voodooesque, where changes he made to a cut-out paper figure replicated on his female partner.

This was a show where the women produced all the most popular acts. Katrin Weissensee's rapid-art sand pictures were a novelty that had everyone talking. She pours coloured sand onto a table and using only her fingers, forms pictures, which continue to change and evolve. These are projected onto screen, so that the audience can watch the process and results.

Then "Mr Weird" himself, Rob Zabrecky, sidled up from the auditorium to deliver his own unique brand of edgy comedy. To close the first half, was the act which got everyone talking, Lara Jacobs Rigolo with her feather balancing spectacular. We all wondered what the finish would be, and when it came, it was an applause-pulling, roof-raising surprise.

French illusion team Cubic, who emerged from the last FISM, opened the second half with their "act as known": mysterious floating box, costume changes etc. Mike Chao manipulated balls and cards with a green theme; Mel Mellers, in his own spot had some fun with a couple of audience members, while Sean Alexander's Illusion Spectacular closed the bill, repeating many of the same effects that Matthew McGurk's company had presented the previous night, but working even faster. There were some spectacular additions, too, including the production of two girls in a small boat and a heart-stopping levitation, where he rises to the flies along with the assistant who is being floated.

Afterwards, for those still hungry for yet more magic, Andrew James and Magic Sam's anarchic Beat the Wand competition took place in the main bar. This is a gong show, where the acts which fail to please are ruthlessly removed and the winners chosen by popular acclaim from those that remain - usually the craziest ones. Tom Crosbie won with his Upside-down Underwater, Rubik's Cube Death Tank Escape. In 2nd place was Aaron Cummings and his invisible assistant Wez Evans (dressed in black in the hope that the audience would not see him being the force which caused things to levitate). 3rd prize went to Luke Oseland producing sponge bananas while wearing a horse's head.

Sunday 22nd

The first programmed event was the 10:00 a.m. Master Class of close-up magic in the Pavilion Theatre, where: Vittorio Belloni, Christian Schenk, Mario Morris, Diamond Jim Tyler, Joseph Barry, Chris Hannibal and Alex Pandrea were each allotted about 15 minutes to demonstrate, teach and/or talk about their various specialties. Card magic tended to predominate, but coin work and street theatre were also given more than a passing glance.

Meanwhile, for children's entertainers, Terry Herbert and Shane West delivered talks and demonstrations in the Ice Room, while Michael Webber lectured in the Spanish Hall.

At 1:00 p.m. Christian Schenk delivered his talk on the Phoenix Deck in the Pavilion Theatre, also distributing complimentary decks to the 300 or so people assembled there. While this was happening, Joseph Barry was also lecturing on card magic in the Spanish Hall.

The International Stars of Close-up show was introduced by Quentin Reynolds in the Pavilion Theatre. Those appearing were Martin Braessas, Charlie Frye, Alex Pandrea, Luke Jermay, Michael Webber, Viktor Renner and Mario Morris. Meanwhile Chris Hannibal was lecturing in the Spanish Hall.

The two final lectures of the day (and the convention) were by Alex Pandrea in the Spanish Hall and Rob Zabrecky in the Pavilion Theatre.

The evening's International Gala Show was a mostly South Korean affair, hosted by Mick Miller, whose comedy and use of written boards to cope with his alleged inability to pronounce the performers' names, added considerably to the success of the evening. First he introduced Do Ki Moon, an energetic young comedy performer, whose antics as a hapless orchestra conductor plagued by the vagaries of a wilful magical baton were both skilful and amusing.

It quickly became apparent that most of the acts had been designed primarily with competitions in mind. All were silent, ran for around 8 minutes, and opened on a darkened stage. The second performer was billed and announced as E.K. Diamonds. It turned out to be a young woman, whom I recall seeing previously as Park Eun-Kyoung. Dressed in a Spanish style, she performs much of her manipulative magic while seated. Zhao Jun featured mainly silks, fans and flowers in an act with an artist/painting theme, while Hyun Cheal Yong brought some highly original touches to dove productions which took the audience by a storm, and despite a mishap at the end, drew tremendous applause. To close the first half, 13 year-old Red Star Sun did a fast-paced act featuring the manipulation of eggs and cards.

President David Plant appeared immediately after the interval to present the Murray Award, for distinguished dedication to the art of magic, to Michael Weber, before bringing on octogenarian superstar and national treasure Ken Dodd to present his own Comedy Award to Charlie Frye & Sherry, and the Neville King Trophy to Mick Miller. Doddy then did a short spot, with many gags about getting old.

Snooker was the theme of Nicky Yang, who manipulated balls and cues with equal dexterity. While Liao Xiao Run, the second female performer, appeared in traditional dress and featured costume changes, masks and card spinning.

Hyung Joon Kim drew considerable applause for his slow, elegant manipulation of balls and cards. While Duo Magic, both of whom had been seen previously in the show with their own acts, shot through some of the fastest costume changes imaginable.

To close the show, and as a complete contrast, came illusionist Marcel Kalisvaart billed in the programme as Prince of Illusions. This was the act that won the illusion category at FISM 2012, but with additions and improvements. Unlike most such acts, it was not just a succession of tricks, but rather a themed scenario of a nerdy young man's nightmare as his sleep is disrupted by cavorting demons and hellish creatures, who subject him to numerous torments. Many people, afterwards, said that it was the best presentation of big-stage magic they had ever seen, and got a well-earned standing ovation.

Finally, for those still not satiated, there was the After Gala Show in the Spanish Hall, where Karl K introduced Alpha, Chris North and Matthew Wright to perform, while close-up magic was presented in the Theatre Bar.

It should also be mentioned that, throughout the entire convention, Robert Ormesher was on hand to sketch caricatures on demand, and Ken Bowe's copious exhibition of theatre posters was open daily in the Link Room.

So Blackpool chalked up another success, of which the club can be proud. It has its detractors, but the 3,600+ people who voted with their wallets, know better. The next one will be 19th - 21st February 2016 and it has already been announced that Jeff McBride will be bringing his complete Mystery School.

The principal people who did all the hard work were: Derek Lever (Executive Event Chairman), Ann Lever (Executive Event Chairman's PA), Arthur Casson (Executive Registration Officer), June Casson (Assistant Registration Officer), Les Pybus (Chief Security Officer), Karl K (Assistant Security Officer), Russell Brown (Stage Director for Blackpool Magicians' Club), Duncan Jump (Stage Manager), David Plant (President and Chief Steward), Mike Shepherd (Executive Treasurer), Christine Shepherd (Executive Treasurer's PA), Harry Robson (Executive Dealers Officer), Russ Lowe (Lecture Note Sales), Dave Wilson (Website and Programme) and Diane Halliwell (Assistant).

But there must have been numerous others too: stage crew, registration desk, stewards, fetchers & carriers, casual volunteers etc. all helping in their various ways to oil the wheels.

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