2011 S.A.M. Convention

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby Matthew Field » 07/16/11 08:46 AM

Any reports?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/16/11 10:59 AM

Nice turnout, good hotel and theater, and everybody seems very pleased with the magic they've seen.

Dealer's room has been busy--always a good sign.
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Postby MaxNY » 07/18/11 05:59 PM

I'm resorting to the famous "sleep on that letter before you mail it" theory...but I'm giving it 4 or 5 nights. I have burned ever bridge in Pittsburgh, all 446 of them! This will be fun, but I need another night.
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Postby MaxNY » 07/21/11 10:10 AM

OK lets get this done. Understand this first, if anyone knows me, they understand that I have a huge passion for magic competitions. I competed against Lance. Mac, and Hobson back in 1977, and have been chasing them ever since. I opted against being a professional magician, but instead worked in NYC television spending 15 years with that MTV, and also have collected one of the World's largest collections of magicians from broadcast, now sitting on DVD. My real name is Steven Max Droge. I spent 25 years of my life inventing geodesic balls, and trying to compete with them, my audition to this contest arrived on the deadline, and was not chosen to compete. I'm bitter, my blood is boiling, and I'm ready to piss off as many as I can, in order to get the bugs, and bad blood out of this convention.

Pittsburgh is a wonderful City. Mark Weidhaas probably chose this City probably because it is known as the City of Bridges. Mark builds bridges, and this site was the encore to what I think was the best leadership year SAM has had in my lifetime. Mark has a very level head, thinks outside the box, and knows a little about foundations. I will miss him, he was one of the greats.

I rolled into Pittsburgh (never being there) with illusions of Jennifer Beals and Flashdance through my head. "Just a small town girl...on a Saturday night..." Rent it, this was a huge smash movie from 1983. I even tried to ride the Venacular that was in the movie, but it was shut down that day in need of repairs.

The Hotel was nice, no pool, big free park directly in front, I spent off hours launching a few boomerangs.

This North American FISM contest was flawed in that it had 1 contestant from Vienna Austria, 2 from Madrid Spain, 1 from Bogata Columbia, 1 from Taiwan, 1 from Osaka Japan, and 2 from South Korea. The problem is that Asia has 14, and Europe 50 organizations that are recognized by FISM. But since the SAM and IBM are proud Worldwide organizations...they are somehow pressured into letting Worldwide acts into this "Regional" competition. Europe held their regional contest the end of March, Asia beginning of December. If you wish to compete, and if your wallet is fat enough, advantage goes to those who can compete early, and often. The North American contest was held a full 8 months after the Asian contest. I'm not saying that we should all hold contests the same month, just that borders be respected by each Regional committee. When I suggested (more like pounded) this problem to the North American leader Brad Jacobs...he shrugged it off, probably understanding that this would be a problem with the contest leaders of the SAM. BTW...North America only has 4 organizations that are represented by FISM. Catch 22. In order for your organization (PECAM TAOM) to get recognized, you must have 1 signature from an organization from North America, and another from anywhere else in the World. Good luck. I attended the FISM lecture by Erik Eswin, and burn me if I'm wrong on this), but in his conclusion he basically said that the North Americans have the greatest potential, but seem to be failing to reach those levels of expectation.

No doubt the biggest thing in magic today are the 90 pound Korean cats that flick cards like fleas from a stray dog, and the balding fat judges who admire them.

We are in Pittsburgh...please let me burn a few bridges here. We are Americans..land as far, as wide, social, and inventive. I find that the socially inept are locking themselves in their dorm like apartments with nothing but cards all over the floor and one really large mirror. I too think this is fun to look at, but hardly new. We seem to be rewarding the magician who has taught his fingers to produce cards in the most difficult way...and they don't even look like cards. Missing pips, just flashes of colored paper. Why and where did this become magical?

Burn number 2. I DARE every contestant to show me their permission slips from ASCAP, or who-ever for the music they pirated application..."The contestant's undertaking includes the right to perform the act and encompasses the contestant securing all ancillary rights and licenses, whether music or otherwise, from all legally required third parties, if applicable." I will eat a hat if I call you on this below, and you can show me different.

Burn bridge #3...and what is wrong with only performing 1 trick in five minutes? Alan Alan just a fine job with just this, and also one a first place and represented us very well in Portugal that year? Who are you to say we only want lots of tricks, not just one very powerful illusion. Will one of you cigar chomping socialites please tell me the reasoning behind this?

So, I'm off subject...SAM Convention. But understand this was a very large part of this convention, and the only reason I attended...Here were the acts as I saw them.
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Postby MaxNY » 07/21/11 11:26 AM

The stage was set in a very large banquet hall, two large NTSC 4X3 screens were in both sides, I was told Hi-def cost too much. 3 maybe even 4 cameras were available, the center camera was jibbed, very nice. The director constantly cut between the same shot, jarring the ye, even to those who know nothing of television. My seats always seemed to be burning. A note to future want to be directors, cutting between a Medium Close-up from the left side...to a Medium Close-up from the right side is called a "Jump-cut" and is usually covered in Communications 101. Burn bridge # 4... 474 to go!

Stage day 1

Jason Andrews, Las Vegas. This was my choice for the best Magician from North America. Flawless dress, and seamless productions, the only argument against this act is...it was done 30 years ago by Lance Burton. I will oversee that, and say ever part of his act is classic american. Canes, candles, cards, Zombie. Maybe this wasn't the criteria the FISM judges were seeking. I'm perplexed.

Sharii Potstown, Pa. Loud canes, dressed in a man's set of tails, but with leggings. Birds, split fans, throw on the ground. Billard balls with music that was too driving...heavy beat, wrong music. Appearing parasols, maybe even missed a final load? The last 6 foot parasol covered.....4...5 seconds..nothing?

That Guy. Jeffrey Alan. Florida. Comedy. Never used a mic before as he was popping his "P's". "Strangers in the Night" "Bee Gees music" "Whoa whoa whoa It's Magic" First dare. Best joke. writes on a tablet ala Kevin James " Dove...and produces a large bottle of Dove liquid soap. Auudience laughed a lot.

Joe Lyon General Magic. Weird music, more like ambient sounds. Produces a scary rabbitt.Cone and Billard Ball. Stage was dressed with 2 huge streamer trunks. Drops balls. Pink Floyd music, Dare. More ball drops, but then we realize they are dropping on purpose, and he works off this to his benefit. Mylar coil from cone, quick Zombie Shoe...shows missing from foot.

Tallon Texas. Love him, love the act. Music from 500 different works cleverly edited together to tell a story and help a card trick. I double dare, no triple....no quadhundred duple Dare.

Marc Trudel Montreal. Manipulation. Flat black boxes, jeans and black jacket. Takes cards out of box, discards box..but? back again. Again with the throwing of cards on the floor, even though his fedora remains on the flat black steps??? Flip spins a card, then two at a time! Good music fits his act!! He plays with the magic, fun. At first the magic to him, but then he controls the magic.

Trend number one...don't even try and throw the cards into the hat. Just drop... or better yet throw them on the floor. Who cares about the hat anymore?

Michael Dardant. New Orleans Comedy. Inside jokes Roughing fluid from shoe. Great floozy assistant, Kitty Kaos. Running gags with Kitty, and drinking. Fun. Steeler jokes. Kitty runs in with a balloon, pops balloon, appearing Champagne bottle...she then runs off with the bottle, funny. I also witnesses this very nice duo toasting Hector after his win, with same balloon trick at the hotel bar the last night. Michael is a real professional, you can tell he has many hours behind the mic. Best joke Kitty says she really wants to win...and "go to FIZZLE".

Close-up Day 1

That Guy NYC Parlor Bad puns throughout. Music from My fair Lady "On the Streets Where you live" Dare 6. Torn corner or part of deck scrabbled in a blender...then something (corner maybe) sucked up through a straw.

David Ren Jenkins Las Vegas. Had spectators already picks, probably saving a few minutes of time. One card theme. card warp without the cover card, nice. fast restoration. Spectators holding his arms, nice. The crease gets pulled off like a piece of tape, audience always likes this. Patter uses aliens. Signed card appears inside spectators show.

John George Micro. James Bond Pink Floyd music Dares 7 & 8. Cards, cool deck that screws together. comedy, bad puns, 8 balls. Ends with "back in time" theme, fun Professional. I believe that I saw him compete in SAM NYC...this was much better.

Rod Chow. New Routine Thank God. If I was going to sit through another Money contest act, I was going to puke. This was a refreshing new routine themed Insurance Saleman. Signed card inside of impossible chocolate bar, coffee glass. Good stuff.

Kirk Patrick Micro Milwaukee WI. Music beat was too heavy. produces energy drink, levitating cap full of drink to mouth, great! caps are now thimbles. More caps colored caps, toasts! Shell n Pea with a good rap! Coins across, Good music with bell tolling as coins traveled and revealed. Final 16 coins, no wait 116 coins! Should have ended there, but when back to yellow shell, canary.

Andost Las Angeles Ca. I liked this Close-up routine the best. I don't want to ruin this for those that have never seen it...not that there are surprises...just that this is magic as art. Book him now. This routine will hit hard, ride the wave Andost, this is strong and fun. Really good music. Grey cards change to all colors of the rainbow as they approach different colored lightbulbs. My only quark is that whenever they changed back..he called them.. "Grey scale...Black and White". Just say "Grey" Andost. This will be the act to beat in Blackpool.

Ed Ripley Parlor Knoxville TN. Cups and Balls. Lost load. First time regular. Talks about his kids asking him to "Kick it up a notch". Costum change, does Cups and Balls as a rapper. Very funny seeing a straight older man rap! Best bit was..pointing fingers gansta style as he shoots a ball" he probably should have ended there, but went on to a Forrest Gump style Cups and Balls that wasn't half the fun of the Gansta.

Avi Hoffman NYC Age ? 15. Cards Ace's upside down. Bad lav mic. Other 4 cards mingle with aces.

Pattrick Prysiecki Maumee OH. parlor. Another popping lav. Close-up pad produces a globe. comedy. Rope off Chinese coin. Appears back in China, uses the globe to produce/hide coins. Shell and Pea. Nice rap, better rap! Shells have loads "Your nuts" and large stell nuts arrive.

Chris Croyden Vienna Austria Parlor. Patter as Steamboat Sam. Poems. Cards. 6 card repeat all to poems. "The lad makes himself to be a Poet!" Seaman and rope. Not really North American. "Absolute rubbish"

End of Day One contest acts.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/21/11 11:40 AM

Max, what does this mean: "My seats always seemed to be burning."
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Postby Matthew Field » 07/21/11 11:47 AM

Thanks for this Max.
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Postby Jim Riser » 07/21/11 12:42 PM

Max;
Thank you. It is refreshing to have reviews which tell it like it was. Well done. Sorry about you not getting into the competition. Rejection may not have been due to date of your application.
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Postby John Signa » 07/21/11 12:44 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:Max, what does this mean: "My seats always seemed to be burning."


Perhaps he used a can of this:
[img:left]http://www.worldtourproductions.com/Volcanus.jpg[/img]
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/21/11 01:09 PM

Ouch!
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Postby MaxNY » 07/21/11 01:19 PM

Stage Day2

Neil Croswell Genral Magic Toronto. Skateboader themed act. This my friends is a North American act. It screams American fun, a place where kids socialize through park tricks, not kids who lock themselves in bathrooms practicing flicking their digits till they drop. Spray paint to dove. Good Sound FX as he does things like "Split a Dove". Inventive too... as the Pepperoni from a pizza explodes into a red dove. This could be a winner under the category of "Inventive" Oh yeah, I'm sorry we don't recognize the FISM category of "Invention". Produces all sorts of doves unique ways. Giant parrot at end, then levitates himself up on skateboard...under a blast of fog. Great fun. His set was chain fence, garbage cans. This friend judges was a North American act. There were four or five unique inventions. It is the fool, (and most of the general public) that holds high opinions of the sequined polished scamp of the tightrope walker...when anyone who understands "the wire", knows that the harder of the two... is the thrift-store dressed drunken movements of the slack rope walker. I should know because I is he.

Eric Giliam General Anchorage Alaska.Softer music slowly changes to a fest beat. Dressed all black, mime mask. Color change mask, cane to match. Black balloon pops to an orange balloon (great). Pops to bottle of Orange soda! Split fans..(just throw them on the floor). Orange Billard Balls, music very intense, matched all of his moves. Orange shoes! Belt! Vest!

Kim Hyunjoon South Korea Manipulation.Fantastic Split fans. Dressed in Black tux, tails. Great music. Riding the coat-tails of Lin. Best 9th ball I have ever seen. (8 balls is usually the limit the hands can hold...the 9th ball is rarely seen, and very hard to produce). Soft violins for balls. Great.

Steve Owens Torrance, Ca. General magic. Paper rolled up to shot glass appearance. Straws? Cigarettes? Too small, too much hand movement. Balls candles balloons, cane, credit card stuff (disjointed), Split fans with credit cards, to coin, mylar throw streamers.

Lee Young Woo. South Korea Manipulation. I loved the way he starts. Back/side to audience with smoking pipe, white scarf...this is also how he ends. Split fans with match appearing and disappearing bow ties. Appearances of cards at fingertips that define abnormality. Smooth. Another Korean cat on a wire.

Trend number two. The Asians love to pretend to comb their hair. they never really touch their hair (probably just on the edge of perversity, or something) but give you that small head tilt from Lance, and fingers pretending...just pretending... to fix a lost lock.

Andost Los Angeles Ca General. Great ideas here. Inventive but again not recognized. One of the stronger openings, bringing the illusion of time in the equation. Lamps that appear, change colors, all to the perfect beat, and ear worm song you will never get out of your head. 8 bulbs at fingertips, and a lamp that disappears inside of a book. Strong. he competed with this routine at IBM/SAM 3 years ago. I always wonder why would they bring back an act that competed 3 years ago? The same act...Bueller...

Peter Pitchford Philly cheese. Cardini themed act. Royal marching music. I wonder if this was ever granted, not going to call him, as older marches MAY be in Public Domain. This is a very sellable act for magic conventions. If you are really interested I believe it is on You Tube.

Close-up day 2

Ben Jackson Klein TX Parlor Comedy Lemon from paper, to lemonade. Coins from straw. Cards 4 eights spring out of deck, 8 ball, 8's change to jacks for Jackson.

Micah Johnson Canton OH Cards. Young 3 cards chosen. Stops time. Micah can only.......speak in three.......words at a.......time..... Torn-n-restorded with the help of fire. Travels back in time. Card to inside clock. Uses a screwdriver and tweezers to fetch card from inside the clock..strong.

Lion Fludd Luisville KY. Micro.. Comedy. Guy was hiding a duck in his back jacket. I was wondering how the South Korean cats can hide 14 or 15 balls on themselves, when I hide 5...and I look like I'm smuggling a beast. Guessing game with chop cup die, and hat.

Michael Dardant New Orleans La Parlor. Anti gravity ring, pretty cool. Comedy. Has a "Tip jar" works funny bits with the jar, probably really smart for walk around. 2 really big sponge balls. Best joke "Let's pretend that this one is French, and this one is Spanish..." closes fist "Where is the Spanish...." Spectator touches fist "I'm sorry you have to press 2 for Spanish" Very professional! Forks from a hat. Huge ball bearings from a hat, Jack Daniels bottle too.

Sebastian Orlando Fl. Micro. About 15 years old. Playing card to credit card. Coin matrix, but with credit cards. Smart, great story, makes perfect sense. Big Coins appear one was nicely produced between two cards.

Woody Aragon Toledo Spain. Cards. Great card act for FISM. Will he be competing for North America? SAM? USA? Spain? Oh my God this is getting so damn complicated? Music was probably not secured. Kicker finish. Wonderful personality. Why does the shortest guy wear the longest jacket?

Henry Tom Vancouver Canada. Micro. Themed Acme Dental Kit Quick change into a lad coat. Micro? Really? Disappearing mouthwash, penis joke. "How much is long enough 3 inches? 5 inches"" I guess the announcer was asking about floss. Floss through neck grabs a lifesaver along the way through neck. Inventive floss with teeth attached ala needles n thread" Smiles at end with teeth missing. Fun!

Shin Lim Acton Ma cards. Great photo. (Each contestant would have his/her name and photo slashed on the wide screens just before they were introduced) Themed dream. Nice fast disappearances. 2 cards from mouth...with smoke from mouth. And now here I stand with an ethics question. As far as I understand, they only way you can "make smoke" is by combining 2 very volatile chemicals. Now, unless he had a Smoking Thumb gimmick...I would really like to know how he produced a small fog from his mouth. If this was resulting from a chemical reaction, would this be foolishness to give an act the Golden nod, if indeed the actor was performing an act that was detrimental to his/her own health? Perhaps the pre judges don't care or know. I had the most difficult time three years ago trying to convince some tart that those little red plastic caps you can find in any 7-11 would hardly be concern for "Fire Restrictions". But that bridge was burned 3 years ago. Back to Shin...signed card in zip-lock back does a nice transposition, Good music, nice story/patter. Very Good.

Hector Mancha. Madrid Spain.Parlor. Winner. Would he be representing North America? USA? SAM? Spain? Great line..."Have we ever met? Pre-araange anything? Are we friends? Facebook friends?" Very funny. Themed card as living baby. Fun. Deck explodes into confetti. Smooth, International humor, hard to do.
This was a wonderful act with a winning personality.

Day 3 and the rest of the convention to follow later tonight.
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Postby MaxNY » 07/21/11 01:28 PM

@ Richard "MY BLOOD IS BOILING"...perhaps it's just a hot seat.
@ Jim I know my act needs lots and lots of refining, tweaking, and probably a whole personality change. Using magic as an educator would never be recognized by FISM as a real magic act, but in real life could provide more wealth than mostly any other act. The trade show theme should be a category. Why keep the sections closed to pure entertainment? How do you judge art.. when it can't be bought from a book?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/21/11 01:50 PM

Max, as we discussed at the SAM, you have to avoid xenophobia in your assessment of performers in this competition. The IBM and SAM are international organizations, and even though this was the FISM North America Competition, people who belong to SAM and IBM who compete in this competition will--if they win--represent the United States at FISM.
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Postby MaxNY » 07/21/11 02:35 PM

Ok, understood. But then how do we offer a better representation of the North American conjurer? Our society's borders are open for all, as they should be. In my opinion, the North American FISM contest should not be open to all. How can you use the word "regional" for this competition. Borders on false advertising...I went to this competition strictly to see a North American regional Competition, paid good money....(my numbers may be off...but 8 out of 25 should not have been granted regional status.)
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/21/11 02:47 PM

You need to raise your issues with the governing bodies of the IBM and SAM. It's not my issue, or problem, and we will have no solutions for you here. But you can understand how your attitude can create an unfortunate impression.
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Postby Q. Kumber » 07/21/11 03:03 PM

Question: Max, was the curtain pulled on any of the acts?
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Postby Joe Pecore » 07/21/11 03:41 PM

Q. Reynolds wrote:Question: Max, was the curtain pulled on any of the acts?

I was there with Max and none were, that I remembered.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/21/11 04:04 PM

While it is not uncommon in Europe and the UK to boo a poor stage performance in the theater, or close the curtain on an act, or turn on the red light (in a FISM competition), you very rarely if ever see that sort of thing in the US.
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Postby MaxNY » 07/21/11 08:08 PM

Day 3 Stage

Jason Ladin Bogota Columbia. General magic. Sleeves are as open as a Columbian super taco. Appearing diamond brooch or bow-tie. Cool looking balloon stretched and stretched to candle. Every dove appears in a flash. Long dust scraping tails, accented with great leather designs. Snape meets Angel. Has 3 linking rings, 2 link in mid-air the the third in other hand gets another dove using the ring as a perch. I will call this illusion the best of the convention...great mis-direction, then another bird on the other two. Big applause. Split fans, wonderful thunder as music FX while effect hits. Fans to doves, big cage gone. My only complaint was the cheesy looking big cage. It had some mylar looking bars that jiggled and shook every time he put a bird inside. Somebody sell this man a cage.

Trend number 3...you can't light the candles anymore....so who besides magicians know they are candles? Hey Fantasio take the advise I told you privately back a year ago...now I'll release it Nationally, so the idea is now mine. Load your candles with those flickering tea LCD's. I changed mine over. Maybe I should start a service where you send me your old petrol bomb, and I'll install a theatre happy LCD. Soooo candles don't even have to be produced standing up anymore. Sideways seem to be the preferred method now-a-days.

Eli Toledo OH General "Come Fly With Me" Sure Frank loves magicians..."Go ahead kid use my riff, just buy the next round" Dare #8. I'm getting hungry for Hat! Doves, candles, canes, Red tie and cumberbun. "Luck be a Lady Tonight" This kid doesn't even have his first whiskers yet, and he's doing magic to Frank. I like him, he's very talented, the old folks music may work at an old folks home...but not a magic competition. Great costume change at end, confetti cannons, may have even been a sister appear too. This kid will be a future star.

Mike Chow Taiwan Manipulation.Black dress, just a vest w.2 green??? I guess cards. (See previous rant about cards? colored pieces of paper?) Green card to green comb. Pretends to comb hair. Split fans, Green balls. Really quick varieties of 4...2X2 3X1 1X3 4 here none there. Pretty cool...Fooled me silly by making a bright green card disappear, both sides of hand gone. Black backed/tight close-ups gave that away. The close-ups by wide screens did annoy certain people, they thought that perhaps the camera revealed moves, gimmicks that would have never been caught on a real stage. More comb more pretending to comb hair. Split fans, held high.

Tim Kutch Kittanning PA. General magic. Black dress, black vest, blue glove. Weird accordion folded paper from mouth to dove. Sillystring to dove. Snowstorm to dove. Smoke bubbles to billiard ball. Chant music by Anya?( I guess if you really had to eat a hat, you would probably want one of those wicker jobs from...say Taiwan. You could probably just boil the hell out of it.) Tablet draws a picture of a bird, but that accidentally falls to the ground. He stomps on it, and a bird pops out of his ass. The movement is to stomp, start to pull your leg up...like your are trying to kick a soccer ball up...then pull the bird out. Not stomp, fart bird.

Hiroshi Yamamota Osaka Japan Great act. Paintbrush themed/dress. paddle moves piece of modern art that gets the treatment ala American Arthur Trace. Lots of flea flicking here. Cool 4 different colored fans smooshed together to create that 4 colored fanning deck. Yellow long ribbon fan makes a yellow tie appear. Lots of colored pieces of paper interact with colored brushes.

Richard Forget..Toronto Canada General Magic. I can't remember...

Just joking. This guy had one of the best acts. Unfortunately he manipulated an eight inch ball of fire. Looks really cool, ummmm who is going to buy this act? Great for Burning man, can't believe he got the Golden nod, as I was on my seat several times as the fire ball danced on his jacket...looking for the exits. Zombie fire ball. I don't even want to call it a Zombie, as this jumped from hand to hand across the top of a scarf...Fire ends back in the hat. Brilliant! Dopey, but brilliant. Music from Mission Impossible. (I bet I could burn a wicker hat, and just eat the ashes...would that count? )Stage set with street phone, (haven't seen one of those in months...no years) large magazine produces hat. Doesn't really look like a magazine..too stiff. Phone from booth disappears, appears flip stick. I guess I didn't report it, but almost every act used the flip stick principal. Sticks or candles??? No sticks this time...Oh I get it..appearing drum sticks...to the beat cool. Large cloth? Why, because there are always large clothes by phone booths, produces a kind-of fake looking drum set! Appearing lamp. But why in a street scene? Phone rings, it's the girl "I'm coming" cloth again, bam girl appears. He should have ended there....but no. The girl walks off...with a shrug from our magician, music changes dramatically I feel scared as lights flicker and a severed hand appears behind a cloth..shaking maybe even bloodied. A paper is folded from trash into a mechanical dove an two others flutter up from the trash holding a silk with a peace sign. Damn hippy should have ended with the Trim. Boy waits for Girl, Boy gets Girl...Not Boy waits for Girl, Boy gets Girl, Girl walks off...Boy Saves the World through Magically Transforming Trash. Ugg if he would have ended with the girl, he may have won. Richard...first of all change your name. Second of all put the trash folding dove in the middle as your are waiting for the girl. Get the girl, then have the trash birds fly out of the can as an encore as you walk off....This is your FISM act. Buy me a Fresca when you win.

Reuben Moreland. Bronx NY Manipulation. I love your spirit, you are so young, I don't want to crush you just yet. First, buy some spanks, or get a full vest. Yellow silk with knot jumps off to ball, cane. Uses a?? glass to help produce balls for his Billard ball routine. Throws a green ball behind his back..but it comes out the other end red, this is great visual magic. Good stuff with red ball white cards, red cards white ball. Juggles balls in fingertips ala Norbert Ferre. Not magic, but magical, the audience loved this. 8 balls different colors, then back to yellow knot on silk, with same music closing, as was in the opening.

Getting hungry...maybe you can make a meatloaf with one of those straw hats.

I want to offer you Royalty Free music...for free...here
http://incompetech.com/m/c/royalty-free/

The rest of the Convention tomorrow. Not much really.
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Postby ForgetRich » 07/21/11 09:32 PM

Oh Max,
LOL. You are going to pop a vein.

I think I've submitted two posts on this forum but what the heck... here's to number three. Thank you for the review. I don't think you are as bitter as you seem.

I will never, ever, change my name. Just the mere fact that you feel compelled to make fun of it means you remembered it. I'm alright with that. To paraphrase Henry Ford,"say whatever you'd like about me...just spell my name right."

You are right!! The ending was a complete artistic miscalculation. That piece is actually from a completely different act that I took first place with, at IBM, in 2009. I felt that the newspaper thread would carry it through but it looked tacked on. Believe me you are not the only person to tell me that. I had one guy stop me outside the hotel and shout expletives, for ten minutes, telling me how I blew the championship with that ending. I don't know if that is the case but, sheesh, people take it so personally. How did he think I felt realizing my miscalculation?! Bottom line? I got caught up trying to impress rather than let the storyline naturally unfold. But ya know what? It's alright. I would prefer to take a chance and fail rather than play it safe.

I'm aware of the large cloth. Originally it was going to be a corner of an old, beat up and faded, Coca Cola billboard sign. I thought it might be too busy. So I went with black. I even contemplated a newspaper pattern, which I found, but for the same reason decided to go black.

I beg to differ on the "fake looking" drum kit. I was told it appeared that way when I moved it. Especially on that stage where I had to lift it rather than drag it to the side. I might even find a way not to touch it again but, rest assured, I will fix it. Although I will say this. The way you saw it is the way you saw it. Point taken. Maybe I should start producing fans of cards at that point? just kidding.

The birds from the trash can, at the ending, is actually a good idea! Not sure if I would use it in the encore or when I dip my assistant but HEY...a good idea is a good idea!! I don't know if I am going to FISM but I will buy you a case of Fresca, and a good meal, if I use it!!

As for the fire!! It is NOT dangerous!! You were being a tad over dramatic with your review... but it sounded cool!! I might as well be flicking a lighter up there. Believe me!! I know you are going to say baloney but it is my job to make it look dangerous. I have never had an incident in practice or performance with that piece. It is impossible. I have also never had a fire marshall say no once I show him the method. The only thing that is in danger is the hair on the back of my hands which gets sizzled once in awhile. I am completely aware of theater regulations and have never had a problem. In fact it is the smoke that I have to be more aware of in other parts of the act. I have complete control over the levels in that too.

Finally...music. In my experience I have always been under the impression that it is up the the venue to secure music rights. In fact, this is the case. I have done a lot of television throughout the world and the first question is, if you have music what is the song, artist, composer and who is the publisher(music company). Then they decide whether they will allow you to use it. Many venues, like cruise lines, pay a blanket fee which allows music to be played and rights payed. I know SAM put that in the application but the fact is they and the venue must secure those rights. Not the artist.
Anyway that is my two cents. All the best to you.
Cheers,
Rich

Cheers,
Richard
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Postby amp » 07/21/11 09:33 PM

Like the Eli Kid
Eli's dad
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/21/11 09:50 PM

Max is every bit as bitter as he seems.
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Postby MaxNY » 07/21/11 10:11 PM

I guess I am the only guy to tell you that, I was the guy outside the hotel I don't remember shouting expletives, but probably did. I just wanted you to win. I wanted a totally unique North American act to win, that's all. Sorry if I scared you in an alley way.

The old billboard cloth is a much better idea. Make it generic.

I don't want to boil any contestants blood. I want the judges, and organizer's blood to boil. It's hard to write so much down, and still catch 100% of an act. I miss bits and pieces.

What is with the lamp? What is the motivation for making a lamp appear?

People...BIG people wanted you to win. It's a wonderful act. With small tweeks here, other stuff shuffled around this could pull a first place at FISM. You may not be asked to represent North America....because we have...yeah I'm bitter.
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Postby Jim Riser » 07/21/11 10:43 PM

Magic seems to make many bitter. I know of several quality builders who for good reason became bitter and eventually left magic.

Max, bitter not, has contributed constructive realistic reviews. These are the best reviews of a magic convention that I have ever read.

Max, again, I thank you.
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Postby smokemist » 07/21/11 10:49 PM

Its interesting how different we all think about how an act should be constructed.. I competed with Richard Forget, but on the previous day. In Richard's defense, it was refreshing to not see another act doing billiard balls, traditional cards, or doves. So many assume they must follow the cookie cutter approach on stage, but Rich was not among them, & neither was I.

I was personally told that my effects were "dissjointed", too small, & didn't relate. I can see how some come to this conclusion, but my response is: How are cards, billiard balls, rings, salt pours, & doves connected in any way for any laymen?
All my effects were transitioned into the next effect from beginning to end. I seem to also remember very notable magicians doing things with small coins, cigs, thimble-sized objects on stage.. I wonder if those things were considered too small, but nobody said anything. It also seems that wearing all black has become a negative with many judges..

All the contestants really deserve credit for competing under the given conditions. Balls were needed. Backstage had very little room, & light was shut off way too soon before showtime.

Till next time,

Steve Owens
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Postby ForgetRich » 07/21/11 11:04 PM

It was YOU!! Damn!It's all coming together now! You freaked me out with that deranged look in your eyes man!You aren't the only one, unfortunately, though. Quite a few people mentioned it. If it is any consolation...you were the most scary!

Aaaah the lamp. In the preliminary it didn't fully come off. Here is the idea when it works. I open the newspaper and the spot light dies. It is dark. I can't read it any more. I walk over to the phone booth to use that light to read my paper. That is when THAT light malfunctions. Sparks and fire shoot off the light and it eventually turns off completely(That part did not happen, in the preliminary, due to a malfunction). I now have no light. Hence the production of the lamp. I may not have sold it as well as I could to make it perfectly clear and I have some ideas to correct that.
On a side note. I can't believe I'm discussing this in a forum. LMAO!!
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Postby CraigMitchell » 07/22/11 04:51 AM

Thanks Max for the reports - entertaining reading !
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Postby Matthew Field » 07/22/11 04:57 AM

Well done, Max. Thank you.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 07/22/11 08:42 AM

Max is right. At wms we saw the same act 7 times: magician flips something behind arm and pretends it's vanished, magician pops something hidden behind hand and pretends it appears, magician multiplies object between fingers the way they used to do billiard balls and pretends it's original, and confetti - lots and lots of confetti.

The other magic act variant is the let's change some random object to a bird, like Jason Byrne and Greg frewin did years ago, but since we are using different random objects we are changing the face of magic.

Same ole, same ole.

I'd like to see a convention contest act that made me care. That would be original in my book.

And I too find the notion of a 'north American championship' odd when there seems to be nothing about it strictly north American. Perhaps neither the IBM nor Sam should be hosts as they are international organizations. Just seems to be working at cross purposes to the titled intent.
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Postby MaxNY » 07/22/11 10:25 AM

Thank-you Brad. There are many "heavy's" out there that share these same thoughts. I'm not "deranged" and I'm not a Xenophile..or whatever... I want readers of this forum to know that many guys are thinking what I'm expressing.

...and perhaps we/or I should start a thread addressing just how to create a 5th independent organization that would focus on this being a North American contest.

No doubt, the card flicking act is (today) the one to beat. It can be beat, times change and I believe the crest of this wave has been exposed. By bringing in 4 of the same acts in the Finals...we are limiting and eliminating maybe very talented people.

The SAM and IBM are public organizations with lots of kissing, red tape, enormous amounts of protocol. Perhaps not the best representations of American Talent.

"Send your audition tape to this address" What if I had to send it to the tart I pissed off three years ago? They received it, but threw it in the garbage without a second thought? Ok add "paranoid" to Xenophallus and deranged. There should be 2 or 3 places to send an audition tape. You must have a sturdy foundation, there are many ways the system can fail. But guys like me are wondering why there are pieces missing from this puzzle.

I bitched on this very forum (the only forum I participate on) about Lin winning in Louisville.. That was three years ago. I loved his act, I voted for his act...This was before the regional divisions were worked into the equation.

Three years from now I hope things will be different. I trust Mark and Shawn, two very responsible guys. I keep seeing the face of Eswin. Again damn me if I wrong, but I think he too expects better from North America.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 07/22/11 10:50 AM

Are there distinct catagories for acts which engage the audience directly and those which perform in their own little world that the audience watches? Engaged vs Music Video?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time
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Postby MaxNY » 07/22/11 11:08 AM

Well, we all try an engage our audience, but no. But, that is a good point. I have witnessed very few acts where an audience member is brought up to assist a "stage" act. One mentalist routine in FISM Portugal, but his choice didn't speak English very well, and he ran over.

Part of almost every act during the Professional evening shows use audience members...Good question. Why are these acts weeded out? Or, are these acts not applying.

Another thing. Our audition DVD's are sent to a Mr. or Mrs. X..They (according to lore) are sent to a panel of 6 Mr. or Mrs. Y's...then, they choose 25 or so to compete. My question is...Who are the "Y's" in this equation? Answer; probably friends of "X" or those who will kiss up to "X' in order to get a closer seat to the Czar. Don't you think the panel of 6 should be made up of at least 3 lay people? (Not wives) Total lay people? Or are we not interested in what lay people think...
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Postby Brad Henderson » 07/22/11 12:41 PM

Are non regional residents allowed to compete in the other regional contests?
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Postby CraigMitchell » 07/22/11 02:30 PM

@Brad - "Are non regional residents allowed to compete in the other regional contests?"

Yes ... residency is not a requirement for the FISM regional contests. Membership of the respective society is. When you are entering FISM you are in actual fact representing the society first - country second. The fact that a society is open to members from all countries is an entirely different matter.

@MaxNY "Don't you think the panel of 6 should be made up of at least 3 lay people? (Not wives) Total lay people? Or are we not interested in what lay people think..."

Max - this is a magic contest for magicians. Not a magic contest for laypeople. The acts which do well are those that play to the magicians ... don't try change the nature of the beast ;-)
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Postby Brad Henderson » 07/23/11 12:54 AM

As long as other regions allow non regional members to participate then at least it is fair, but the title is meaningless. Perhaps they should rename it to something more representative of what it is.
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Postby Terry » 07/23/11 07:11 AM

With 2014, they could name the winner IBM/SAM Champion and not the North American champion.

That description is the most accurate unless the title only references what continent the contest is held/won on.

Max - honesty is the best policy and so far, your policy is much appreciated.
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Postby Eric DeCamps » 07/23/11 09:29 AM

[font:Book Antiqua][size:14pt]I attended the convention and enjoyed it very much.

The evening stage shows at the Byham Theater were simply incredible. Some of the best performances I've seen in years. Scott Alexander, Jay Sterling and Fred Becker rocked the house on Thursday night. Friday night we had the finals for the North American Championship and it was very very good. Saturday night's closing show was off the charts good. Three standing ovations in one show. It's been awhile since I've seen that. Shawn Farquhar did a masterful job as MC. Ah Ha Lim is not from this planet! He's that good! David Kaplan killed. Michael Grosso confirmed why he was the first magician to be a finalist on AGT. Soma and David Sousa showed us what got them FISM prizes.

All this and I got to make new friends and hang with old friends I have not seen in quite sometime.

See you all next year in Vegas baby!

Eric DeCamps[/size][/font]
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/23/11 10:34 AM

I think that the designations for the FISM satellite contests name the region in which the contest takes place, not the country of origin of the winners.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 07/23/11 01:08 PM

Terry wrote:...
Max - honesty is the best policy and so far, your policy is much appreciated.


[font:Times New Roman]Seconded - [size:26pt]also [color:#009900]loving[/color] the font options here. It just makes posting seem all the [color:#FF0000]m[/color][color:#009900]o[/color][color:#993399]r[/color][color:#CC9933]e[/color] important. [/size][/font]

Kudos to Max. Fine writing for the performance reviews.

-J
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Postby MaxNY » 07/26/11 09:16 AM

I want to add a few more things about the actual convention...

Joshua Jay's lecture on Tragic Magic was the best lecture I have ever seen, and that includes many, many lectures during my college years! Book this now. I hope that he gets Lecturer of the year at the Magic Castle.

There was another competitor (illusion category) that did not compete on the smaller Hotel stage, but did compete on the Byham theatre stage. "The Rhythm of Magic" did three illusions in 9 minutes. This duo is a Spanish dance team, who's moves and steps are REALLY DAMN TIGHT! Magicians may bark that there was a little too much dancing...I think not. In this age of "Dancing With the Stars", these two were fantastic. I also loved that the girl was a full figured girl, not some 90 pound teenaged waif. They will be in the FISM competition.

The Byham Theatre was beyond words. Full 50 or 60 foot ceiling curtain. Not a freckle, or chipped paint. This was the perfect venue for the most entertaining evening shows.

I must be the only person who has never seen a Losander lecture...but this made the convention for me!

When you first look at the schedule, you were probably a little miffed, because almost half the activities were for the SYM. Imagine the disappointed, when you read "Ice Cream Social".....SYM. I like the idea of helping promote magic through support of the youth. Why don't we have two schedules in the future? They had more activities than we did. I did not see a whole lot of kids running around.

If you went to this convention to see either Michael Close, or Shawn Farquhar you may have been disappointed. Both were there to offer help in smaller "Break away" sessions, (that always took place in the middle of the contests). Michael only told jokes as an evening MC, Shawn did just one routine (best Tipsy Turvey Bottles Eva) as his job as MC.

BTW the largest give-a-way in the "overstuffed" registration packet was one of those free Pittsburgh magazines.

I missed the President's Welcome Reception, but heard the food and drink were plentiful.

The Hank Moorehouse Tribute was important. Let us always try and reach for the bar, that this man has set so high.
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