Kidabra 2008

Discuss the art of Children's Entertainment with your fellow performers.

Postby Jolly Roger » 08/04/08 12:07 AM

I shall be attending Kidabra in Tennessee for the first time next week. I am wondering if any other members of GF will be there. I am looking forward to it! I shall post a full report on my return! JR
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Postby Dave Andrews » 08/04/08 08:55 AM

Hello Roger, I'll be there, as you know, and my wife and I are looking forward to it immensely.
I think my wife is more looking forward to the 'sights' and sitting on our balcony in the hotel looking over the river with a good book.
We are arriving late afternoon on the Monday so that we can aquaint ourselves with the town.
I was to pick up my hands free vent Toucan fron Steve Axtell when there, but it will not now be ready - so have decided to wait until he comes over to the UK in March next year and pick it up then.
Look forward to meeting you.

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Postby Jolly Roger » 08/04/08 03:38 PM

I look forward to meeting you too, Dave. It seems like we are the only members of this forum who are attending. That is strange....especially as we are both British!

Sorry to hear about the Toucan. It sees odd that Steve said the puppet would be ready by then, and it is not. There must be a lot of dissapointed people. Do you have the scoop as to what is going on? There has been so much hype about these animatronic puppets, that it seems odd they could not make the deadline. JR
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Postby Dave Andrews » 08/04/08 06:42 PM

Hello Roger.
The Axtell team are adding more improvements, following actually demming them at the IBM/SAM convention,so 'one' cannot complain. I'll tell you more at Kidabra, but it is well worth the wait.
I am, and I am not, disappointed .. if that makes sense.
Steve was prepared to go in another direction, to get the Toucan to me at Kidabra, but I would prefer it not be rushed.

See you in the US of A very shortly and I will expound further.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/04/08 07:49 PM

The Axtell table was next to mine in the dealer room at Louisville. And it was packed. What great puppets! And they sold a ton of stuff!
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Postby Jolly Roger » 08/05/08 01:48 AM

Richard Kaufman wrote:The Axtell table was next to mine in the dealer room at Louisville. And it was packed. What great puppets! And they sold a ton of stuff!


I love Steve's puppets, and own some of them. However, I am curious as to whether he actually sold any of the animatronic puppets while he was there, or whether he simply took deposits on orders that would be ready some time in the future, when all the gremlins are ironed out. In other words, does anyone actually own an animatronic puppet yet, that they are physically able to put in to their show? JR
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Postby Dave Andrews » 08/05/08 07:49 AM

None of the hands free puppets have been sold as yet, pending this new upgrade.
Fortunately, Roger, it is not a Gremlin, but yet another additional feature Steve and his team have added.
I have four of Steve's puppets and yes, they are simply great looking and the audiences first visual contact with them always gets a positive reaction.
Roll on next week.

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Postby Steve Axtell » 08/05/08 09:16 PM

Hi Roger. Dave is correct.... several improvements have been implemented which have delayed the release...but they are going to be so much more incredible! Richard was there right next to us during the IBM/SAM and you can see the booth in the following videos and the characters working. The puppets were working their little butts off at this show. We took deposits on several characters there....we now have orders in 15 countries. We should be shipping the end of August. This is not just the release of a puppet line....it's like releasing an IPHONE....the programming and technology involved are very complex. Here are some fun videos of the IBM/SAM (You can see the Genii booth in the background!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHYkhMHvNR4&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSCARVUq4CA

Here is a pic of Mac King with the Hands-Free chimp dressed up like his cartoon character Lewis....

http://www.axtell.com/new.html

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Postby Jolly Roger » 08/06/08 02:59 AM

Hello Steve! Thank you for clearing up the mystery. I leave for Kidabra in a few days, and I know you will not be there in person this year. However, I understand the animatronics will be on display there, so I look forward to seeing them. I am a big fan of your work, as you know, and I wish you much success in this venture.

I have a technical question. I have one of your puppets(Vern), and the head recently became detached during one of my library shows. http://www.comicmagician.com/page_child ... thday.html

What glue or cement do you suggest I use to stick it back on to the body? There is no damage to the head or body, but they just need to be reconnected.

On a different matter, I have it on reasonably good authority that it is your birthday today. If I am correct........very many happy returns!!! You are one of the true creative artists in our business, and I love your enthusiasm and positive outlook on life!! JR
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Postby Steve Axtell » 08/06/08 11:58 PM

Roger...."If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs......" Heeheee...

Solvent based contact cement... Barge Cement is good for repairs and is available in hardware stores...or shoe stores.

I am so honored that you are using Vern in your show.

Thanks for the birthday greeting...yeah it was yesterday but 50 is WOW! Lots going on.... enjoy KIDabra!
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Postby Jolly Roger » 08/07/08 02:44 AM

I love that poem, Steve! Infact, it is so good, that I shall let others read it! I went to a boarding school in England called Haileybury, and Rudyard Kipling went to the same school(many years before me I may add!) I beat you by ten years....I shall be 60 in September! To celebrate, I shall be spending 18 days in Turkey with my wife. We leave a few days after I return from Tennessee! JR


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

Rudyard Kipling
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Postby Jolly Roger » 08/08/08 11:28 AM

Sadly Kipling's son, who this poem is about, was killed in the war. JR
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Postby magicking » 08/08/08 12:35 PM

Happy Birthday Steve mine was the 6th Big 56 for me..so its not all downhill when you hit 50. Ever since I became a member of KIDabra I wished I could attend. Looking forward to the reports, photos and videos. Have fun gang.
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Postby Steve Axtell » 08/08/08 04:12 PM

Thanks Magic King! Go to KIDabra.....you'll feel like a kid again! Ax
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Postby Dave Andrews » 08/08/08 07:44 PM

Steve/Ax - just how do you keep up with all these forums/postings!
I would have thought you had enough to do with the business, but here you are responding to all and sundry no matter what forum, no matter how small or big the comment.
You really are 'something else'.
Best wishes,

Dave
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Postby Jolly Roger » 08/08/08 10:07 PM

Dave Andrews wrote:Steve/Ax - just how do you keep up with all these forums/postings!
I would have thought you had enough to do with the business, but here you are responding to all and sundry no matter what forum, no matter how small or big the comment.
You really are 'something else'.
Best wishes,

Dave


Dave..........you are obviously not privy to the information that I have. Steve is not a human being. He is an animatronic robotic alien from the planet AX. This is why he is able to appear all over the place at one time. Who knows.......he may appear at Kidabra after all!!

See you in a couple of days! JR
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Postby Dave Andrews » 08/08/08 10:13 PM

JR - you will.

I will lay odds that 'he' wont!

Looking forward to it.

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Postby Steve Axtell » 08/08/08 11:54 PM

Ha....I have been accused of having a clone before but never an animatronic Hands-Free Steve....but to be honest it's a BIG task. We really value our connections to our network of friends and customers. It comes at a cost of course....it is a huge amount of time. I get between 200 and 500 emails a day. I avoid the phone as much as possible (as many of you may have discovered) because I can get a 10:1 ratio of quality communication by email and forums. I can exchange ideas and express emotions much better in writing. That's just me...others prefer to do that by phone. I just have to use every efficiency trick I can findto stay in touch as best as I can. Recently added Facebook because Tim Hannig said it would be very effective. I couldn't imagine adding another social network but WOW is it a good one. Way better than MySpace. Thanks Tim.

JR - I envy you going to KIDabra...and would have loved to meet you in person. This year my dear wife Suzi's 50th birthday (and mine) will trump it...with a full family reunion and much partying. I feel so bad about screwing up the dates with my older brother Mark Daniel...he even had my lecture slated as "the Genius of Steve Axtell" whatever that means....how could I follow that title? Ha! Have a good time there and keep us posted.

Jason will be there as my representative....as close to a Hands-Free Steve as it comes. Say hi to him and play, play, play with those toys.

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Postby Jolly Roger » 08/18/08 07:10 PM

Over the last 40 years, I have attended numerous magic conferences and conventions including Supreme Magic Super days, Blackpool magicians club, Larry Weeks conventions in New York City, IBM, SAM and many others. I had heard much gossip about Kidabra, generally positive, but not always. I decided to attend this year, and, as with everything in life, I had no expectations.

I am here to report that I have had a fabulous five days in the Smokey Mountains, attending the greatest conference/convention of my life. Mark and Tami Daniel can be proud of all they have achieved with their little baby! I am not going to go through each lecture with a review, as others are doing that. I will make a few general observations about why I enjoyed this conference so much.

It was not a non-stop dealers dem by the lecturers. With Creativity as the theme, the lecturers made us all think. It was not about the latest and greatest new magic trick. It was about taking what we already have, and re-thinking the working of the effect, elevating it to a new level. This was particularly evident in David Kayes lecture.

It was a conference where the vast majority of attendees had a positive outlook on both themselves and their chosen profession. Because of this energy, I saw little signs of the usual ego attitude of Im better than you! which frequently occurs at other conventions. The experienced mingled with the beginner.

There was a sense of honesty I felt when it came to the delicate subjects of such matters as fees, number of shows performed, marketing tips that worked etc. Because of this, I found there was rather more networking than I have experienced at other conventions, and I was willing to participate in this.

The creativity showed through even in such events as the marathon auction and dealers dem, with little skits and adlibs which was a pleasant diversion from the norm.

My personal favourite lecturers were Doug Sheer on school assemblies, and Mike Amato on the years with Supreme magic. I also loved Chris Capeharts interview with Skip Way. Chris is about the same age as me, and we reminisced on several occasions about 1976, when I was living and working out of New York City, and Chris was busking in Times square..with my old friend Jeff Sheriden in Central Park. However, there were many other great lectures such as David Kaye and Brian Daniel of Creative Magic to name just two. My least favourite event was probably the daycare show, where I felt much of the material was not suitable for the under fives.

The days were long, and packed. I rarely got to bed before 4am, and was always up by 8am. The convention hotel was ok, but it seemed odd to me that there was no bar or restaurant in the hotel. I had a good trip back to Phoenix with my friend Christopher Weed, who managed to get me upgraded to first class!!

I made many new friends like Mark, Tammi, Doug, David, Dave, Brian, Stan, Jim, Dennis, Mike, Chris, Ken, Skip, and others. Will I go again? You bet I will! JR
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Postby Jolly Roger » 08/19/08 02:14 AM

Image

These folks are all friends of mine from The Magic Cafe. Some of them are members of GF. Left to Right:

Jeff Jones(backdrops), Lyndel, JR, Skip Way, Dave Andrews, Tate, Bradley Roberts, Ken Scott.

JR
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Postby Steve Axtell » 08/25/08 09:24 PM

Here are 2 photos from our rep Jason Bonilla at the Axtell booth from KIDabra.

Terry Evanswood with our Rabbit Puppet... he's thinking about a Hands-Free Rabbit in his show....

Image


Gary Shelton is such a Big Baby!


Image
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Postby Jolly Roger » 08/25/08 10:32 PM

Image

Here's another one you might like, Steve! Jolly Roger and Ken Scott with Croco in front of your booth! JR
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