Ham and cheese sandwich, thank you.

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby C. Hampton » 10/08/12 04:38 PM

This was the main entry in a world famous Chef's convention and this was the feeling of many of the attendies to the Genii convention. I will begin by saying that Richard Kauffman and his team have bent backwards to make this a successful event. All of them had a smile ready to be delivered at a moment's notice in the most sicere way so I do appreciate that as a member of the Genii family, so THANK YOU.

Now my gripes and constructive criticism.... After being badly scamed at the FISM convention I had very high expectations. Who wouldn' seeing the array of artists that Richard hired for this convention. This was going to be an excellent gastronomic convention with the greatest chefs attending...but what a shame that no one decided to check what was going to be their menu...ham and cheese sandwhich.

My travel friends and myself got there on Monday night to have to opportunity to explore some of the Orlando parks before the convention, and by wednesday evening we were ready for registration. An awesome binder full of goodies that I still haven't have the time to analyze. What I would say is that the binder is superelegant, big and full of compartiments. A bag to hold it would have been nice, but this was a minor details as our room was within 2 min distance to leave it there.

Off to the dealers room. I will describe it with only one word: Insuficient! It would it enough for a convention of 200 people but for 800+ I found it small with narrow passages where there was several jams and peak hours.

First day we ventured into the Ian Kendall basic traning sessions. The organizers did not expect such a big attendance and after a few minutes of Ian "session" we were all moved to a bigger room. The session seemed unorganized jumping from one topic to another without much sense. The session did not spark any interest in me so I decided to leave before the end and not returned to any of the remaining session by Mr. Kendall in the following days.

I will say that the hotel was very nice, very well located and everything under one roof. Unfortunately you could tell that it is a hotel and that it was lacking a theater for this event. The organization along with the hotel staff were able to transform the biggest meeting room into a stage with appropiate seating. Unfortunately no matter how much you try to do something like this you are still lacking your teared seating, your accustics, etc. In any case except the lack of visibility from some parts of the room everything else could be overlooked except the incompetence of the camara team. How good is it to have humongous screens if the camera is taking a frame smaller that what you could see all the way from the back? What good are those screens if when the lecturer needs close up shot and the camera man was missing and not ready?

This might look like a small details but it was not. Furthermore whose idea was to set up a camera tripod in the middle of the audience view? In a nutshell, visibility was not good.

Off we go to the first 4 lectures in a rollI.

The first lecturer was a heavy weight of Magic and as a seasoned professional who delivered a good lecture, with structure and full of good material. Mr. Carney is a true master but yet he is humble and ready to listen to anyone. He not only teaches you tricks but rather provides you with the history, variants, provides the appropriate credits to creators and then he goes on with his variations along the reasons why he does things the way he does them.

Chad Long was next. I have to say that according to what they were saying Chad was filling in for the absence of Michael Weber. He did a good job and he presented a lecture with the basic structure of here is a trick and here is the explanation.

It was Eugene Burger's turn after Chad's. This is by far my favorite magic/story teller of all and one day I wish I could get to the level of the bottom of his shoes at the very least. His voice and presence can fill any stage. Mr. Burger did one or two tricks and he went on to talk about the pillars of good magic. I really like all he said and I found it quite interesting, but he did and I kid you not exactly 16 minutes of lecture. I have been watching some of Mr. Burger's work since I saw him in the old Steven's magic emporium tapes back in the early 90s and this was the first time I had a chance to see him live. I will not say that I was dissapointed but for sure I was left hungry...very hungry as I considered the speech an appetizer of a main course that we never received.

To close the lectures sessions was Charlie Frye. This guy is just AWESOME, so awesome that he has no problems revealing all his secrets as he is confident that only a handfull of mortals can replicate what he does. He was funny, entartaining and charming!

After the dinner break we went to the welcome reception with Matthew field, Richard Kauffman, Irene and Erika Larsen. We got to hear some of the story of Genii magazine, the columnist and the struggles that Richard went through went he took over Genii. I found it quite interesting and I thought that Mr. Fields did a good job conducting the session, steering Richard back on track from time to time.

First stage show. Jonathan Levit as a Host. Yumi, Eugene Burger, Levit, Peter Slamelson, Sonny Fontana, Dr. Sawa and Alex Ramon. Here was the first time we got to experience that we had a bunch of musicians but we were lacking a director! Jonathan Levit went on a on and talked to much without much interesting to say and unfortunately this was the trend for all the hosts for the rest of the shows. Yumi from Japan did a nice manipulation routine but I will say that it was short, very short. Eugene Burger did a spirt writing routine where we had the oportunity to see the flap of the blackboard that almos was dropped. In any case, just hearing talk with that voice was worth it.

Peter Samelson did a funny routine with 2 kids and a very original presentation of the mutilated parasol, then of he went with his classics of the gypsy thread and the snowstorm in china. If you ask me, I am still trying to figure out what Sonny Fontana did, a very weird invisible man act where it seemed like several things went wrong.
Mr. Levit did the Thurston version of the rising cards and half of the theater had an opportunity to see how the off stage assistant was the modus operandis.

Dr. Sawa came out to do a rope routine dressed up in a cowboy suit with country music in the background, and then his assistant came out to do a endless routine with flags. When Mr. Levit was dismissing the Sawas off he came again to do a linking ring routine. It was very clear that very little or no coordination was done to see what people were going to do as we were getting several "ham nad cheese sandwiches"

And then the gala finished with Alex Ramon. An illisionist that was presented as an important illisionist and although he was "entertaining" but not spectacular to be the closing act of a very weak opening stage show.

One final lecture before wraping up the first day. Jamy Ian Swiss did a lecture on metalism. This lecture was very slow paced and overall pretty boring. I highly respect Mr. Swiss as a reviewer but I can't get throght his lectures.

Day one done with to much ham and cheese. Are we going to get any gourmet stuff?

Stay tuned.
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Postby C. Hampton » 10/11/12 02:50 PM

Off to the next day. Like I said I decided to skip the Ian Kendall's basic training day two. My roomate decided to give him a second chance and said it wasn't worth it. The lecturer claim the double revolving control cut to be "the spanish cut". I would love to see him at any magic club in Spain making that claim LOL.

I was a little skeptic to see Uri Geller. I am so happy that I went to see this individual. He looked to me like Steve Jobs!!! He was energetic and passionate about his life story. He did not revealed a single trick, and despite this his speech was very very interesting. I am so happy they book this gentleman for this convention.

Now I went to see the next ham and cheese sandwich...thank you. First off I wonder who had the bright idea to split everyone in two groups to see the parlour show and then put everyone together for the close-up!!! For the love of..... It was supossed to be the opposite!!!

In any case here we went to see the parlor show. Top performers in the line up except an unkonwed to be the closer. Max Maven, Eric Mead (doing juggling), Chad Long and David Ben all of them doing filler material...nothing worth of this convention for sure and finally the last guy was a big hit. Finally a guy that gave some thought and put good material for this event. He was entertaining and hilarious. Rob Zabrecky...thanks for such a performance. I am really surprised to see how some people are saying this is the best parlor show they ever seen. That tells me they have either seen terrible magic before or they are only remembering the last performer.

After we finish this parlor show and went to lunch break after that we were ready for the first close-up show. I will say this show was a 50/50. Roberto Giobbi is always great to see, then we had Alba doing the proffesors nightmare in a close up show! It would have been nice to have her in the parlor! Once again you could see that the figure of the show director was missing and we were able to confirm this again when we were treated to two routines of the Ramsey cylinder in a roll by two different performers. In a nutshel let's say that this show was saved by Woody Aragon, Tom Stone and John Carney.

Now we had the oportunity to see Guy Hollingworth. Reagrdless of if you like his material or not, you can tell by watching his performances and explanations that he really loves magic and has a true passion for showhing his material and that is always noticiable and nice to see.

After dinner we finally got to see a heavy weight of magic putting his best material on the grill. The master of master Mr Juan Tamariz at almost 70 years old completely rocked the house without exception. His performance brought tears of laugh and the impossibilities he performed broguht true amazament. His lecture was a vy descriptive session of all the reasons why he does why he does. Ideas from Vernon, techniques from Slydini and ideas from his own were combined in a way where you were able to see a little of his thinking and the true master that he really is. His version of Mnmonicosis where the spectator calls a freind to think of a card, completely fired everyone in the house! The faces of the assistants that helped him with the card across were worth the trip to this convention alone. Richard made a true statament when he said that he looked for the best magician alive and he got it. MR. JUAN TAMARIZ....gracias maestro.

Then we saw Max Maven with his equivoque lecture. What a big dissapointmet that was. Everything was touched only on the surface and when an inexperienced viewer decided to ask a question that it is irrelevant for such a experienced performer like Maven this one went on to answer in a way that he really made sure the guy asking felt pretty small and stupid for asking. Not what I would expect from a performer of this caliber honestly.

To end the night Christian Engbloom from Findland came to do a very nice lecture full of very strong magic fully explained in detail and accepting questions the way a lecturer should do...thanks Mr. Maven.

Day 2 done. We got to see some great magic today and some not so nice....and some lack of coordination. In any case still very happy to be at this convention and be part of this event.
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Postby Bill McFadden » 10/12/12 04:57 PM

Carlos, I must respectfully, yet vigorously disagree. While I haven't nearly as many magic conventions notched on my wand as a lot of old f***s my age, I can say with authority that Genii75 was like no other. Maybe even part of magic history.

I came away from the table absolutely stuffed by this lavish banquet.

TO ALL ATTENDEES: Don't forget to download the Ben Harris pdf. by the 14th. You'll kick yourself if you miss it.
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Postby C. Hampton » 10/12/12 05:27 PM

Bill,

I agree with you that the Genii75 was like no other, and I am very happy I went there. I also acknowledge the fact that Richard, his family and the rest of his team put a lot of thought and good work into it. This being said I will say that I was highly dissapointed by many of the performers that I was fan from and I don't think they gave enough though, preparation or the right attitude for this great event. Thankfully others did, and that is what saved the event and made it one like no other.
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Postby C. Hampton » 10/12/12 05:28 PM

BTW Bill, where do I download that PDF?

Thanks
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Postby Tom Stone » 10/12/12 05:28 PM

There's probably something wrong with me, because I found your review delightful and entertaining, Carlos. :)

Keep it coming!
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Postby Ian Kendall » 10/12/12 05:51 PM

It's a shame you didn't enjoy the breakfast sessions, but I feel I should clarify something that may be the result of Chinese Whispers;

The lecturer claim the double revolving control cut to be "the spanish cut". I would love to see him at any magic club in Spain making that claim LOL.


This is not what I said; I'm not sure where I learned the move - whether I read it somewhere (I've not been able to find it) or if it was a result of my early practice sessions - but for years I called it the 'burn proof control' (simply because I tend to use unambiguous names for things). About seven or eight years ago I was in Madrid, and I saw someone do a very similar move. When I asked him about it (in my broken Spanish) he said that it was a common move in the area, which didn't go far to explain how it got into my head. However, following this revelation I started referring to it as 'The Spanish Control', again nothing more than a descriptive name.

If you have a reference for its origin I would be very interested.

Thanks, Ian
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Postby C. Hampton » 10/12/12 06:54 PM

Last day of the event came for thiose who did not signed up for the Sunday workshops. Once again I skipped the Ian Kendall"s training and went directly but late to David Ben's lecture on Ross Bertram.

I will say that Mr. Ben redeemed himself from the very average performance from the parlor show. Here we got to see a passionate man that was showing us how much he studied and appreciated the details of the work of Mr. Bertram. All the positions and the reasons behind it, all the 'whys' where meticously broken down for those who never experienced Bertrams magic. Well done Mr. Ben.

After this we got to see another heavy weight of the convention. Roberto Giobbi show and lecture. Is it a coincidence that this gentleman follows closely the work of Juan Tamariz and that he spends lots of time with the master? Probably not...and you can tell by the results. Mr. Giobbi gave a lesson on deck switches. He first performed them and then he lecure on this subject. My only observation to make and this happened during some of the lectures during this convention is that the dealer's booth started to sell his notes while he was lecturing. Yes, I am guilty of going to the line to secure one of the 100 copies of the notes and I deeply apologize to Roberto for interrupting his lecture for doing so...but it was either that or not having the notes!!!

Lunch break and Close-up show 2!

Jamy Ian Swiss, Peter Salmelson, Jonathan Levit, Eugene Burger, Christian Engblom, Bob White, Eric Mead and Dr. Sawa. I wll say that this is not the closing close up show anyone was expecting. To remember I will highlight Mr. White. I was honored to see this man fighting time and nature and really putting effort to dignify the art and his career, thank you Mr. White.
I really missed seeing Juan Tamariz closing this show and I think everyone else too.

Thankfully they had a few surprises left before the event was finished.

Jim Steinmeyer came out to give a hell of a lecture. He refreshed several ideas from his Genii colum that I have overlooked and I was highly surprised. I think that his restaurant/menu routine was worth the lecture. This along with other ideas and again the passion showed for his work and for the art said it all. We got a file mignon with this one.
Same thing we got with Tomo Maeda that came after Steinmeyer. This gentleman from Japan came with a bunch of original ideas broken down in a very easy to understand way and open for questions.

I was one of the luck people to attend the real secrets party. Tim Trono as a host put something together that highly surpassed anyones expectations. Good food (pizza is always good), nice short speeches, and great Magic by Woody Aragon that did a massive trick for everone in the room. He is da man!!! To top it off we end up getting lots of goodies.

Stage Show 2!!! This was an awesome show!!! Things that I would have changed.... The fiasco of opening the curtains while the Pendragons were loading the cage!!! My goodness! I hope that someone has chopped the head off the responsible for this. It was nice to see John perform. Although I have followed John's performances throught my 20+ years in Magic this was the first time I had the opportunity to see him live. I am sensitive guy and I will say I was moved by his words and although I got to see a much smaller scale show than what John got us used to I think he did a pretty good job and you can tell the amount of experience that he has. Lukas from Korea came to rock the house. This guy is something else. Great performance without any glitches! Bob White came out again to do as good of a job with himself and the art as he did in the previous performance. Tom Stone came afterwards and he used Michael Ammar for one of his tricks. He was wonderful and funny. He finished with his Vortex that I will not describe here for those who have not seen it. AMAZING.

The show was closed by Charlie Frye, that once again Fryed the house. OUTSTANDING Mr. Fry and also his charming wife that performed in an outstanding way.

To close the event we had the pleasure to see Tom Stone again, this time giving us a lecture. I will lie if I don't ackowledge the fact that he is one of my idols. I will say that he is a little strange but I freaking love the ideas this guy comes up with and with the solutions he provides. I have tried to get this guy to come and do the Spain lecture tour unsuccesfully for a few years now although I have not given up yet. I saw him for the first time in the national convention of Spain in Valencia a few years ago and I just fell in love with his work. The routines that he described in this lecture were worth the trip to Orlando. I jumped from my seat to get his Maelstrom book which I was missing as soon as Steven Minch said he only had a few there.

And this was it!!! Unfortunately the convention got to an end. I once again want to thank the Genii team for putting this together. The portfolio provided full of goodies like Kaufman said it will be imposible to match by any convention. Thanks David Cooperfield for this and to everyone that pitched in a little something for these goodies. Something I did not mentioned is the amount of goodies and prices that were giving out by Genii during the intermissions and breaks of the shows. We are not talking garbage tricks, but great stuff from books, to leather wallets, to stage tricks etc.... ( no I did not get anything during these raffles) but I was salivating seeing what other people got to take home.

Thanks to all the dealers that donated these goodies. I now I can proudly say..,.I WAS THERE!
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/12/12 07:51 PM

I think we were at different conventions.

This comment is particularly annoying: "Eric Mead (doing juggling), Chad Long and David Ben all of them doing filler material."

The parlor show was highly acclaimed, and not just because Rob Zabrecky killed at the end. I thought all the performers were great, and it was nice to see them in a more intimate setting. Since I spoke with David Ben at length about what he was going to do in advance, I can assure it was not "filler material" and it's insulting to all three performers to use that phrase.
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Postby Bill McFadden » 10/12/12 08:57 PM

Carlos, thank you for your thoughtful descriptive analysis. I'll PM you with the link.
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Postby Tom Stone » 10/12/12 10:28 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:I think we were at different conventions.

This comment is particularly annoying: "Eric Mead (doing juggling), Chad Long and David Ben all of them doing filler material."


I was somewhat surprised to see Eric Mead, who has plenty of great material, do a fairly average juggling routine (the highlight in it was his "Going for the Juggler" bit from the May-92 issue of Genii). But I assumed the airline had lost his props and that this was his emergency out, so I was fine with it.

Other than that, I don't agree with Carlos about the parlor show, but I understand why he might think so. I thought each individual act on its own was perfectly fine. But there was something odd with the line-up - the combination, the order or something - that made the show feel more like a magic club meeting rather than an actual show. One conversational act followed another, with no up-tempo piece to separate them. As a show, it didn't really take off until the last act. A problem with structure rather than the content.

Most of the technical problems Carlos mentioned boiled down to one thing - scheduling.
My first tech rehersal was scheduled in the 30 minute gap between two other events in that room. But the preceeding event went 12 minutes over time, then it took some time to clear the stage, and then it was necessary to set up for the next event. So my total tech rehersal time shrank to exactly zero seconds. So since the crew had absolutely no idea about what I was going to do in the show, they had to guess.

For the stage show, I managed to get 3-4 minutes tech rehearsal. 10-15 minutes would have been better. So the curtain opened at the wrong moment etc. But that's all right. Sh!t happens and you make it a part of the performance. Life goes on regardless.
The only thing that made me really annoyed and angry was when the crew threw my props out in the audience after my act. That made me decide not to perform Benson Burner at magic conventions again.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/12/12 10:54 PM

Tom, just don't perform Benson Burner at a magic convention where Steven Kline is the stage manager. :)

He will replace your sponge balls if you ask him, or I'll do it.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 10/12/12 11:31 PM

I regret that dr sawa's closeup set was impossible to decipher from the video projection. I was really looking forward to seeing him live. While I had an idea what he was doing from his words (no idea what the fish thing was) it was like watching through cataracts. I was hoping that would have been a convention highlight for me.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/12/12 11:46 PM

I watched the big screens for Sawa's seashell effects and had no problem at all seeing. The first trick with the coins and coin box (Pushman) was not as easy to see.
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Postby Tom Stone » 10/12/12 11:57 PM

Brad Henderson wrote:(no idea what the fish thing was)

I think it was a gag. A color change - from fresh fish to smoked fish. I think.
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Postby Hansel K » 10/13/12 02:56 AM

For me the convention was 9.5/10 !!!!!
Why not 10/10?

*Very Small Dealers Room
*Poor Video Projection Quality (Not necessarily fault of the Genii Staff)
*Close Up Shows in the Huge Theater,not the small Room used for Parolour (Maybe this option would present some problems of logistic)

I go All the way from Puerto Rico to the convention and was more than Satisfied, actually MARVELED with that FANTASTIC convention!
AND WHAT A CONVENTION WELCOME PACKAGE.
The venue, The line Up,The Raffle (I won "Losander's Portal") The Staff....All was ALMOST perfect!

Thanks to Kaufman Family, The Staff and all the people that Made posible this event. I don't know if it would happen again, BUT IT IF HAPPENS COUNT ME ON !!!!

-Hansel Santiago
Puerto Rico
Hi !
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Postby West McDonough » 10/13/12 04:07 AM

We also had trouble fitting in the tech scheduling, especially since our show was technically complicated and needed a chunk of time. Originally we were only scheduled for 15 minutes, but Steven Kline kindly offered to fit us in what was supposed to be an hour after the first stage show people had done theirs. Unfortunately that ran late, and even though they were kind enough to delay letting in the crowd for the show, we still only got halfway through. So we rescheduled for midnight on Friday, but we had to be done by 1:00, things ran late that night, and the last lecture ended up wrapping around 12:45. By the time the room was cleared there was no time left to tech, so Steven agreed to meet us at 7:00 the next morning to finish. So at least we got the lighting done, but there was no way to get our crew in at that time so there was no actual run through.

All of which is to say that, although it was frustrating to have the technical glitches during the show particularly the premature curtain opening, during which I was actually standing next to the curtain guy frantically trying to convince him to stop I find it hard to hold it much against the crew, who I know worked their butts off trying to fit all the rehearsal in to a very limited pool of available time. It's probably amazing there weren't MORE glitches, under the circumstances.

Luckily the audience was very forgiving of such things on the whole, and seemed to enjoy the show anyway. They were very generous in their response, and we felt gratified and humbled by the enthusiasm of our reception. Overall, it was wonderful to be there.
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Postby C. Hampton » 10/13/12 04:33 AM

I don't think that making the mic swap during the performances of the parlor show helped a bit giving it good tempo. Definetely this made it looked like a magic club meeting like Tom mentioned and not like a profesional show the attendies were expecting. This combined wth maybe the structure and the scheduling mentioned led to my impressions posted above. But I think the attitude of the performers had something to do as well in not creating that special moment. Not sure if they were pissed off because of the scheduling/rehersal time...but it just didn't click.

I said it before, and I will say it again. I am grateful I was there, and very very grateful at the work done by the Kauffmans, but this does not prevent me from pointing out the fact that I did not see full commitment from some of the performers and also some of the technical issues I saw case someone putting together another event can learn from them.
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Postby C. Hampton » 10/13/12 04:33 AM

Thanks Bill for the link.
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