IBM SAM Day 2

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.
User avatar
CraigMitchell
Posts: 1574
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Magic
Contact:

IBM SAM Day 2

Postby CraigMitchell » July 22nd, 2008, 4:09 pm

Today's programming has been very sparse. No events until the 12 noon stage contest - surely with the sheer volume of talent at the event a few more lectures could have been arranged ? The same applies to this afternoon - with a single lecture by David Ben & Jon Racherbaumer on Vernon & Marlo ... if thats not your cup of tea - you're out of luck until the 8 pm gala show.

On to the contest ....
Unfortunately I am going to butcher some names as we werent provided with a printed list of competitors for the stage contest. Note to organisers - this would have been very useful along with a notepad and pen in the registration bag ;-)

The contest got off to a bang with An Ha-Lim from South Korea presenting a kaleidoscope of multi-coloured card manipulation - an unbelievable number of cards and technically brilliant. But does a lay person find this entertaining ? Magicians went mad.

Just Alan presented a travelogue to India ... 5 minutes of slide show - no magic to start - and then color changing liquid and Doug Henning's Hindu sands effect. Very boring.

Magic Chiaki from Japan was beyond painful. Picture magician in cheesy tuxedo and assistant in blue tux with fishnet stockings. This assistant looked like she had never been on stage before in her life. Grace clearly is not a strong point. A floating feather with visible string ( note to all performers - thread work requires you to check your lighting ) A blendo done badly ... and wait for it ... a zombie feather with exposed gimmick.

What fascinates me is that the contestants were supposedly vetted for the contest - you could have fooled me. This act would have been jeered off stage at FISM ( although those acts are truly the most memorable )

Yuko from Japan continued our Asian descent into the bizarre with a strange color changing act with parasols, appearing pom poms from sleeves ( so thats where they come from ) and a floating butterfly on fan with - you guessed it - visible thread.

David Boyd from NY picked up the pace with a bird act - billiard balls and card manipulation. His unkempt collar - ill fitting costume - all just added to a performer who was clearly nervous and uneasy with his magic.

BIn Lin from China saw everyone's worst fears of FISM China come to life - boring silk act after manipulation act after silk act all done poorly. Billiard balls generally need to be seen to be effective. Bin Lin decided to take the approach of the further away I walk from the audience the better until she was at the very far curtain - with the spectator in front of me ( row 3 ) getting out his binoculars to see the act ! And in a triumphant highlight - let's steal a ribbon from a make-shift kangaroo pouch and call it magic.

Michael Tallon from the USA did an offbeat card act featuring snippets of well known songs. The comedy was a welcome relief and saw him receive a standing ovation if for nothing else his originality.

Sterling Dietz kicked off his act with neon poi, d'lite, floating cane, linking rings ( very much back in vogue now ) and card manipulation. Act was well received although I heard also suffered technical difficulties due to thread lighting.

Roger Benoit from Canada did a multiplying bottle routine. Nothing to write home about.

Fuji Yama did a linking ring routine ending with the production of a lifesize jumbo ring. Technically very good - but is it mandatory for Asian magicians to perform traditional Asian style magic in traditional Asian clothes ? Does everyone in Asia do parasols, silks, linking rings in flowing kimo style costumes ?

Zihao Liu China - more card manipulation.

David Kaplan came to the comic rescue again with a falling bowling ball from the stage rafters destroying a prized musical instrument underneath. Received another standing ovation.

Elliot Zimet from the USA did a hip punk style bird act complete with appearing parrots. Very contemporary and well received.



3 hours later and the first part of the stage contest draws to a close. Big kudos to the contest organisers and tech crew with everything running like clockwork !

All in all - a very weak line-up. Many acts should have never been selected in the first place. Besides the first card manipulation act - nothing stands out as amazingly wow - so the contest is still very much open for the taking.

Michael Dustman
Posts: 52
Joined: May 19th, 2008, 3:41 pm

Re: IBM SAM Day 2

Postby Michael Dustman » July 22nd, 2008, 4:54 pm

Craig Mitchell wrote:
3 hours later and the first part of the stage contest draws to a close. Big kudos to the contest organisers and tech crew with everything running like clockwork !



Good to hear that the tech crew is on the ball. One thing that most conventions suffer from. I talked to Steve Kline today and heard that a few of the acts have asked him to stay through the week to do their shows. Judging by the post above, it's obvious which ones Steve was already a part of.

Thanks for the updates Craig.

User avatar
mrgoat
Posts: 4257
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Brighton, UK
Contact:

Re: IBM SAM Day 2

Postby mrgoat » July 22nd, 2008, 5:27 pm

These are interesting personal insights. Thanks for taking the time.

User avatar
MaxNY
Posts: 1351
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Jeff McBride
Location: Warwick, New York
Contact:

Re: IBM SAM Day 2

Postby MaxNY » July 22nd, 2008, 5:30 pm

Just Alan was the winner of the 1997 SAM Stage Competition, how did he get to compete at this gathering? I remember specifically that the IBM SAM rules said that no past winners would be allowed into the competition. Boy, I sure would have liked to fill his spot since I got the boot. And another thing, there were two acts that had more fire than regulated by the rules.

Terry
Posts: 1303
Joined: January 18th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Kentucky

Re: IBM SAM Day 2

Postby Terry » July 22nd, 2008, 6:02 pm

Maybe they should have had a private audience with Jim Steinmeyer before planning their acts?

More Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Kenardo
Posts: 140
Joined: February 3rd, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: New York

Re: IBM SAM Day 2

Postby Kenardo » July 22nd, 2008, 6:20 pm

Did you get a chance to see the David Ben & Jon Racherbaumer lecture on Vernon & Marlo. If so, how was it? What were their major points?

You are doing a great job! Thanks.

User avatar
CraigMitchell
Posts: 1574
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Magic
Contact:

Re: IBM SAM Day 2

Postby CraigMitchell » July 22nd, 2008, 6:46 pm

"Big kudos to the contest organisers and tech crew with everything running like clockwork !"

Just found out why the tech went so smoothly this afternoon ... Steven Kline and Mike Miller were behind the scenes for the contest. What a difference it makes having a pro crew calling the shots ... congrats guys. What a pleasure to watch a contest without the usual tech mishaps / delays et al.

Kenardo
Posts: 140
Joined: February 3rd, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: New York

Re: IBM SAM Day 2

Postby Kenardo » July 22nd, 2008, 7:12 pm

I have worked with Mike before. He is the best!

magicking
Posts: 1209
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Tommy Wonder
Location: Dixon, Missouri
Contact:

Re: IBM SAM Day 2

Postby magicking » July 22nd, 2008, 7:49 pm

Whats the HOT items in the dealers room?
Michael King
All Things Are Possible If You Believe!

John Signa
Posts: 300
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: San Jose, CA

Re: IBM SAM Day 2

Postby John Signa » July 22nd, 2008, 10:56 pm

Craig Mitchell wrote:Unfortunately I am going to butcher some names as we werent provided with a printed list of competitors for the stage contest. Note to organisers - this would have been very useful along with a notepad and pen in the registration bag ;-)


Check page 62 of the convention program; there's a list of stage and close-up competitors.... but no pen or notepad.

Shawn Farquhar
Posts: 108
Joined: February 29th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Entertainer
Contact:

Re: IBM SAM Day 2

Postby Shawn Farquhar » July 22nd, 2008, 11:27 pm

Just to make sure there is no misunderstanding ...

MaxNY wrote:Just Alan was the winner of the 1997 SAM Stage Competition, how did he get to compete at this gathering? I remember specifically that the IBM SAM rules said that no past winners would be allowed into the competition.


The rules in fact were just the opposite. Any former winner of IBM or SAM were automatically entered without the audition DVD.

If it were otherwise I too would not be allowed to compete. What sense would it make to not allow previous champions from competing in the convention of the century?

Cheers,

Shawn
Shawn Farquhar

"if you can't laugh at yourself, you're just not getting the joke."

User avatar
CraigMitchell
Posts: 1574
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Magic
Contact:

Re: IBM SAM Day 2

Postby CraigMitchell » July 22nd, 2008, 11:38 pm

Unfortunately I didn't get to the Vernon & Marlo lecture so someone else will need to report back on that.

The evening event was the North American Gala stage show billed as the "best magic the North American continent has to offer" If thats so - we have some serious problems.

Show kicked off again with the now standard synthesiser music warm up with MC for the evening Stan Allen. Ardan James was first on the bill with his charming act as janitor merging magic & mime.

Dale Salwak did his classical manipulation act ( classical yes, technically good - yes - but dated ) with show highlight Michael Finney following. Michael got a great 14 year old kid up who gave him a run for his money - providing plenty of laughs in a great game of one upmanship. His handling of the volunteer was superb - and the youngster simply made the routine. Michael's treatment however of his 18 year old female volunteer is very much up for question and I'm willing to say she felt MOST uncomfortable with the sexual innuendo, him standing behind her, references to 'magic wands', not bending over etc. I doubt she will ever want to volunteer for a magician again. Its a great pity - as Michael is more than capable of getting good laughs not at the expense of his female volunteers. Despite my concerns above, Michael received a standing ovation.

Danny Cole performed his slick 'costume' routine with appearing tie, color changing outfits etc. His performance is down pat and was well received.

Stan brought along Killer the rabbit for a card trick but unfortunately technical glitches saw the revelation come jumping out a good 5 minutes too early ( you should have bought it from Collectors Workshop, Stan ;-) Being the true pro - Stan continued without issue and delivered the goods.

Kohl & Company performed their classical act - and while dead hilarious - the act is old and dated. Much like the overall tone of the show - dated. Stan made mention of the last time IBM SAM had a joint event - some 34 years ago ... this evening show could quite easily have been performed 34 years ago - which is a real shame. Here was an opportunity to bring the BEST American performers together - the cutting edge - but we got a dose of seen before acts and a closing illusionist who needs to pay a little more attention to dramatic structure.

James Brandon starts his 'illusion' act in a Prince of Persia get-up complete with flowing cape, strange looking swords and appearing birds. Why ? No one knows. From there - mr illusionist exits stage- lights go off and we now wait - and wait some more as we now watch the stage be cleared. Stan announces Brandon's return - mr illusionist cries out that he is not ready ( why did you leave the stage then ? ) and we wait a few more seconds and let Stan announce him again. He re-appears ( minus Prince of Persia cape ) and wrong music track is played. No worries - we'll get tech crew to replay the correct track and start again ( for good measure we exit stage once more ) We now go into a Light Beams ( think of a light-up trident ) thru Person penetration illusion. Why ? No one knows. Where was the connection to the Prince of Persia bird act - there was none. We just turned the lights off. Reset and moved into this ? Oh my ... moving swifty along ignoring any sort of thematic linking ( new concept for illusionists ) We exit stage again ( this is becoming a trend of how to connect disparate sections of magic ) and we move from Prince of Persia Bird Act - to Light-up Trident - to sad-sob tale of my-now-dead-6th-grade-school-teacher-who-used-to-dress-up-as-a-clown-got-me-started-in-magic so therefore I will draw a picture of a clown-face on a pad and magically have clown make-up appear on my face. But that's not before asking the tech crew on the side to get you a microphone because you don't have one available for your emotional tale. And now building up to a grand crescendo - we exit the stage again - strange boxes get brought on stage and we move from happy smiling clown face to Hannibal Lecter straight jacket ( complete with mask ) and end with a bizarre apparent person thru person illusion which was beyond anti-climatic.

The end act of ANY show is supposed to end things with a bang - blow them away and leave them wanting more. James Brandon was anything but ... out of the numerous illusionists available - he fits the bill as best in North America ? I think not. It was a dismal way to end a show.

All in all - we ended at just over 2 hours ...

User avatar
Donal Chayce
Posts: 308
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Re: IBM SAM Day 2

Postby Donal Chayce » July 22nd, 2008, 11:46 pm

Kenardo wrote:Did you get a chance to see the David Ben & Jon Racherbaumer lecture on Vernon & Marlo. If so, how was it? What were their major points?

You are doing a great job! Thanks.


I saw the lecture, and for having only 90 minutes (it actually ran 1-3/4 hours) to cover the impact that Vernon and Marlo made--and continue to make--on card magic, it was terrific.

For me, the only awkward moment came when David Ben spoke about Vernon getting Jay Marshall to publish ("after long delay") the Zarrow shuffle. Absolutely no mention by either DB or JR about the Zarrow/Marlo conflict over publication of Zarrow's manuscript. It would have been better, I think, had Mr. Ben not brough up Marshall's publishing the manuscript, if he wasn't going to go all the way with it. As I said, it was awkward.

But that small criticism is dwarfed by the great presentations by both gentlemen. Each included a hefty amount of visual aids, and I particularly liked the slides and film clips of Marlo that JR included in his presentation.
The MacGician®

Kenardo
Posts: 140
Joined: February 3rd, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: New York

Re: IBM SAM Day 2

Postby Kenardo » July 22nd, 2008, 11:59 pm

Thanks, Donal. Very interesting. I would have like to have seen it.

Thanks, Craig, for the review of tonight's show. I agree with you regarding James Brandon; I saw him perform several months ago and also found his act very disappointing.

User avatar
Ruben Padilla
Posts: 384
Joined: January 20th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: IBM SAM Day 2

Postby Ruben Padilla » July 23rd, 2008, 3:02 am

Craig, these post are fantastic. I lamented not being able to go and I'm now feeling pretty okay about it. It must be difficult after a long day to diligently type it all out, so thanks again.

I'm also interested in the hot dealer items on the floor. Any Dealer Room reports?

Appreciatively,

Ruben
Visit www.MagiciansOnly.com for exclusive book, trick, DVD, & convention reviews!

User avatar
CraigMitchell
Posts: 1574
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Magic
Contact:

Re: IBM SAM Day 2

Postby CraigMitchell » July 23rd, 2008, 8:08 am

"Craig, these post are fantastic. I lamented not being able to go and I'm now feeling pretty okay about it."

The event is still a whole lot of fun with lots of highlights - but I'm trying to be honest with each section as it comes. More often than not we whitewash reportbacks and just because we got to see old friends, mingle and jam we broadly claim that everything was fantastic. The social aspect should be a defacto standard ( and you really dont have to try hard to get a group of magicians to have a good time when socialising ) but its everything else at a convention which needs to be assessed and evaluated.

Lecture this morning on the "art of being funny" with all the comic magicians - should be good ...

In the realm of dealers - perhaps someone else can fill in - I havent seen anything exclusive / must see / the number one purchase yet ?

Gordolini
Posts: 111
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Louisville, KY

Re: IBM SAM Day 2

Postby Gordolini » July 23rd, 2008, 9:10 am

The lecture on Marlo and Vernon was much anticipated and a joy to attend. Both Jon and David presented a number of pictures and film clips on the large projection screens located on each side of the stage.

Jon started the lecture and shared many interesting facts and personal anecdotes. Visuals included a few clips from the fabled Art Weygant film and video interviews with some of Marlos students such as Bill Malone and Allan Ackerman.

David Bens presentation included a number of performance clips of him expertly demonstrating card tricks and techniques from the Vernon legacy, including the difficult Stevens cull riffle control. David provided live commentary during the video clips including the Vernon patter during the 3 Card Monte performance.

Unfortunately, a Q&A session was not part of the program, but both Jon and David did a marvelous job conveying the significant contributions and lasting influence of Marlo and Vernon.

User avatar
Bill Wells
Posts: 299
Joined: January 21st, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Lexington, VA

Re: IBM SAM Day 2

Postby Bill Wells » July 23rd, 2008, 10:59 am

"The event is still a whole lot of fun with lots of highlights - but I'm trying to be honest with each section as it comes. More often than not we whitewash reportbacks and just because we got to see old friends, mingle and jam we broadly claim that everything was fantastic. The social aspect should be a defacto standard ( and you really dont have to try hard to get a group of magicians to have a good time when socialising ) but its everything else at a convention which needs to be assessed and evaluated."

Craig -

Just to add my appreciation for your reports. I know how difficult it is to sit down and compose them after a long day and little sleep. You are doing an excellent job and they give one a real feel for how things are going.

Thanks - Bill
Bill Wells

Steven Kline
Posts: 23
Joined: June 26th, 2008, 9:48 pm

Re: IBM SAM Day 2

Postby Steven Kline » July 23rd, 2008, 10:25 pm

Craig and Michael,
Thanks for the kind words - Mike Miller is a great guy and a gem to work with - he was hired as the stage manager / director for the competitions - I was asked by many of the acts to help out since I have done their comp acts before - I was only planning on spending a couple days in Lousiville with Steph to see some friends - ended up getting up at 5 am to tech the shows and work out the "small" details for a few contestants - you know the typical bowling ball dropping gimmick that smashes the chair and prop gag ! and the UV tech with a few moving lights on cues....'
I'm home now and already missing the convention -
Best of luck to the other performers and I wanted to let you all know that if time was on my side, I would have stayed and worked with all of you !
I hope to see you all soon !
Steven

fredreisz
Posts: 65
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Dai Vernon
Location: Bluffton, SC, USA
Contact:

Re: IBM SAM Day 2

Postby fredreisz » July 24th, 2008, 1:01 am

During the excellent stage contests through the second day, I have been delighted with the creativity and struck again about how the aesthetics of East and West vary so much. I also thought at one point: "Isn't it interesting how much Jeff McBride has influenced contemporary stage magic?".

The stage contest today included a polished set by a well known Canadian performer.The whole act was highly technical and extremely well done card handling of a single pack with ambitious card variations, cuts, and other ace productions. All of this was photographed closeup via video and projected on a huge screen. I loved the work! BUT this was a stage competition and there was also a close-up competition available. Am I too hung up on categories? (I am sure my artist wife would say that I am!)

Peace...Fred Reisz
"The art of magic is the magic of art."


Return to “Buzz”