Sorry, forgot to post this yesterday. I missed most of today's events, however the close-up tonight (Tuesday) was top notch: Chad Long opened, then Bill Malone, Guy Hollingworth, two 16-year-old twins Dave and Dan Buck who did 5000 flourishes in four minutes, never looking up at the audience, with Paul Gertner closing with his FISM act.
Here's what happened yesterday (anything with question marks indicates details I haven't filled in yet):
Monday August 20, 2001
First, the room lights dimmed and the large video screens grew bright: the voice of Robin Leach, host of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, escorted the audience on a video trip through the offices of MAGIC. Then, the day began like the magazine, with "From the Editor." Stan Allen opened the convention with live editor's comments, finishing with an anecdote that he had originally promised to related many years ago in MAGIC, but never did, involving apparently sticking birdcages into garbage cans in Long Beach when he was 15-followed by his arrest for harrasing a waitress. That segued into "Letters," and a few were read aloud. Next Max Maven, who wrote the "Parallax" column for the first five years of MAGIC's existence, took the stage for a live "Parallax" monologue, savaging the famous right and left to uproarious laughter from the audience. Next up was Bill McIlhaney, whose series "Magic and the Movies" brought such a big response in MAGIC years ago, and he presented a number of rare film clips: Veronica Lake performing Chevez-taught billiard ball and card manipulations while singing in Alan Ladd's film, ???????, this was followed by a clip from ??????? starring Chester Morris as Boston Blackie, performing a Thayer Box illusion, and then a little-seen Henry Fonda Movie, ???????????, in which Vincent Price performed a magic act. The last piece was a promotional featurette made for The Cincinnati Kid, starring Steve McQueen and Edward G. Robinson, which centered around the film's magic consultant, Jay Ose. Then Jim Steinmeyer took the stage for an hour-long live presentation of his column "Conjuring," which ran in MAGIC for many years. He taught four routines and this ended the morning session. On the way out, everyone was handed a set of free lecture notes of the four items Steinmeyer explained, and these were already three-hole punched to fit into the looseleaf binder we'd been given on Sunday.
The Afternoon session started at 2 p.m. and was hosted by Mac King. Mac opened with a hilarious anecdote about having to perform at a local college minutes after a memorial service for a deceased student had ended-he was heckled throughout by Penn Gillette, who eventually took the stage and told his own story about a wealthy genious computer wizard/geek who demonstrated his spoon bending at a dinner party held at the home of a wealthy couple, and destroyed a rare $20,000 Paul Revere spoon, one of only 12 in the world. Big screams. Mac introduced Glen David Gold, author of the new novel Carter Beats the Devil, who proceeded to talk about how he became enmeshed in the world of magic during the course of writing his book. This was followed by a one-hour session based on the monthly column "Inner Workings," which I used to write and illustrate in MAGIC during its first three years of publication. I talked a bit about Stan Allen's prolonged procrastination in first starting the magazine, and then introduced four performers who had contributed tricks: Mark Phillips performed "??????????" a piece from his professional trade-show act; Mike Close performed "Red Hot Momma Fooler," and completely fooled everyone in the room; Jim Steinmeyer performed his "Nine-Card Problem" and a new version using a full deck; I told a funny story and performed Cliff Green's "Phoenix Aces"; finally Bill Malone did a wacky sandwhich effect and drew screams from the audience. Again, all the conventioneers were given free lecture notes to insert into their binders which explained all the tricks performed. After a short break, Lance Burton interviewed Channing Pollack for a segment called "In His Words." The interview was charming and funny and a fine way to end the first day's activities.
At 7:30 the first evening show began with the curtain parting to reveal The Pendragons, who performed their famous version of "Metamorphosis." Convention shows usually end that way, so things were off to a high-flying start. Emcee Mike Caveney appeared and introduced the next act, Joseph,, who performed his dove act. Caveney then introduced Dana Daniels and his bird Luigi, who are most often found performing in The Golden Horseshoe Revue at Disneyland, presenting a comedy mind-reading act. Jeff McBride was up next, performing a portion of his routine with mask productions and changes, then his well-know "Miser's Dream" assisted by a young man from the audience, and he closed with dynamic card manipulations. Emcee Caveney then performed his original act, juggling three arms while wearing an odd nose. Samurai Sam (Mark Kornhauser) performed a comedy "Card Sword" in bizarre Oriental/Italian garb and accent, followed by Mark Kornhauser again, this time doing a strange Elvis Presley multiple prediction based on random choices of words by audience members. The Pendragons then performed a new levitation whose subtlety was, I think, lost on the audience. The final act was FISM Grand-Prix winners Scott the Magician and Muriel, their first time in the United Stages. They're a funny act, but far from the funniest magicians I've ever seen, and it's hard to imagine how they won the Grand Prix.
At 10:30 the entire convention once again gathered in the theater for the quiz show, Who Wants to Be a Lifetime Subscriber?