IBM SAM Day 5

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CraigMitchell
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IBM SAM Day 5

Postby CraigMitchell » July 25th, 2008, 6:31 pm

Day five of the convention saw a bright and early start for the last round of the close-up contest at 9 am.

Observations and musings:

Charming Choi - Korea - had the audience in sing along mode repeating his name - "Charming charming charming Choi" He featured a coin matrix with a very nifty magician pleaser that sees the coins visibly travel from the 3 sides to the one corner ( aren't gimmicked close-up mats wonderful ! ) along with a card printing routine that suffered from the poor white balance on the big screen making the card faces impossible to see ( this should have been corrected after Monday's contest )

John Born - New York - presented a 3 stage act - magic of the hands, mind and heart. Magic of the hands was a coin matrix ( magicians are performing this to death in the contest ) to music followed by a convoluted mentalism routine that saw a spectators named of card being discovered by counting the amount of money in a wallet given to the volunteer which equalled the value written on the back of the selected card. I know - complicated. Why can't we just have a nice simple - think of any card, here it is in the wallet - unbelievable routine. Now that's magic. He ended with a close-up rendition of the linking rings ( in tribute to his dead grandfather ) and then in the textbook case of how to treat your volunteer - he ended his show - walked right past the spectator and left them standing without so much as a backward glance. Beautiful to see that we have the basics of good manners covered.

Galambos from Hungary performed cups and balls, card manipulation, a bizarre marbles from mouth routine, a coin matrix and ending with multiple jumbo coin productions - with steals from behind the table way too apparent.

Marc Oberon - UK - presented a disjointed act. First half was a performance of any card called for being produced, located, counted down to, followed by his marketed item Bang On. The second segment was a Midas themed act with everything he touched turning to gold - golden cards, apples, swans, coins etc. This had a poetic nature to it ( sounds of Enya in the background ) with some very beautiful sequences. He received a standing ovation.

Tallan & Gorman - USA - presented a duo cups & balls act with their 2 performances in near perfect synchronicity. A magicians act made for the convention.

Toto - Japan - a very strange act that saw linking cigarettes named Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan, rubber band penetrations, card under glass topped off with the performer explaining how most of his effects were done as part of the show ! Perhaps this is a new wave of performance sweeping Japan ?

Pattric Przyseicki - USA - presented a 'manufactured just for a contest' act themed around a travel agency. Uninspired and lumbering - almost a paint by numbers attempt at putting an act together which just does not work unfortunately.

Kiko Pasture - Spain - card worker to the overtures of Alice in Wonderland. Unfortunately I didn't see the full act - but the commentary from Bob Sheets behind me was all positive.

Shawn Farquhar - Canada - house favourite presented his now legendary 'signed, sealed and delivered' card in card case effect followed by the fantastic cups & balls routine in a manner that only Shawn can present ... a rollercoaster from start to finish that saw another standing ovation for the performer in his trademark purple suit.

Satoru - Tokyo - another peculiar act that featured a toothpick prediction and later card revelation on the soles of his shoes, then socks and later feet. I always like a good close-up performer who takes off his socks on stage.

Latko - Argentina - featured a creative cups and balls routine set to music which saw the slow revelation of chess pieces ending in the visual transformation of the close-up mat to a now filled chess board complete with timer clocks on the side. A nice idea that earned him a standing ovation. With more work and confidence - this could be a beautiful theme to take even further.

12 performers down and the IBM SAM Close-up contest had come to a close. Today's contestants were significantly better than Monday's with a much higher standard that was wonderful to see.

The finalists for tomorrow's stage contest were announced today:

Tony Chapek
Red Hat
David Kaplan
An-ha Lim
Timo Marc
David Sousa

The only real major surprise is the inclusion of David Kaplan whose bowling ball act - while entertaining - is no where near the level of more traditional ( oooh - there comes that word again ) contest winning acts.

Post contest was Derek Lever's lecture on "The World's Greatest Magic Inventors" I did not get to see this ( although seeing as though everyone at Blackpool got a book written by Derek on his magic creations - I wonder if he listed himself ;-)

A true highlight for the day was David Kaye's lecture on "The first century of Childrens Magic" which saw David chart the course of kids magic over the years - extracting a key efect from each decade and in the end - performing it for a live kids audience assembled on stage. The lecture went on for well over 90 minutes - was filled with great snippets and clearly the result of a lot of work. Well done, David.

The International Gala Show rounds off tonight's major entertainment at 8 pm.

Kenardo
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Re: IBM SAM Day 5

Postby Kenardo » July 25th, 2008, 9:28 pm

Thanks, Craig. Great job!

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CraigMitchell
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Re: IBM SAM Day 5

Postby CraigMitchell » July 25th, 2008, 11:20 pm

Report continued ...

Finally a Gala Show worth waiting for. Tonight;s International Gala was miles ahead of those before it ( 1 of 3 is better than nothing )

Topas was an inspired choice as MC - charming, talented and an instant hit with the audience. Some clever sequences between acts - he ended with his now famous ( or infamous - I don't enjoy the sight of multi-coloured speakers - they just don't look real ) speaker production illusion with audience sing along - "one more time" - a lot of fun.

The show kicked off with Sos Jr and Tgran from Russia - 8 and 11 years old presenting a remarkable display of card manipulation for such a young age. Very inspiring - but a little too long an act for performers of that age - a shorter sequence would be preferable and add to the impact.

Takamitsu from Japan manipulated jumbo super-size cards ( probably the size of your average newspaper ! ) Wayne Dobson did his now standard audience interaction number and card revelation with much hilarity.

Huang Zeng from China thankfuly featured no parasols or fans and thus won't be termed a traditional Asian act for the sake of the author's safety.

Sos & Victoria showed why they are amongst the best quick change artists in the world - and could teach the competitors in the contest a thing or two ! Slick, polished and filled with atitude. Brilliant.

Jerome Helfenstein from France has to be without a doubt the highlight of the convention for me. Jerome mixes shadowgraphy with an animated video screen backdrop to create the most amazing of effects. Blindingly simple - but oh so magical -- the net result is a beautiful performance piece that has to be seen to be believed. Short of Raymond Crowe - Jerome takes shadowgraphy to a whole new level ! 5 stars.

With the show running at 2 1/2 hours - it was way too long. John Archer presented the same schtick as seen at Blackpool - and in the interests of brevity should have been cut - as should have Roxanne who presented a 'new' act featuring impressions based on her different hair styles ( Princess Leia / Madonna etc. ) Mildly amusing.


All in all - a highly enjoyable show of a level that one expected from day one ...

The Close-up finalists were also announced ( unfortunately I did not get all the names - so hopefully someone can add to my list )

Shawn Farquhar
Latko
David Minkin
Tallon & Gorman
Marc Oberon
plus 1 other from Japan if I heard correctly

Tomorrow's schedule sees Wayne Dobson lecture at 9 am, close-up finals at 11 am - decided by audience voting, Eberhard Riese lecturing on the Evolution of an Act in the afternoon and the people's choice stage finals in the evening.

Sleep is calling ...

Bill Palmer
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Re: IBM SAM Day 5

Postby Bill Palmer » July 26th, 2008, 1:15 am

Derek Lever did not mention his own name as one of the great inventors.

Regarding the evening show -- I got kind of tired watching people litter the stage without showing any kind of technique. I don't want to be hard on the Petrosian kids, but the idea of strapping on a pair of utility belts or fanny packs in full view of the audience and going into the second phase of a card production routine looked like bad planning to me. One or perhaps two card production routines during the whole show would have been nice.

One complaint I heard from a very astute performer was that there have been very few really cool illusions on the shows so far. He expected to see some great illusions from the American magicians. He has a point.

The "hand shadows" left me cold. It's one thing to use an occasional cardboard, plastic or metal form to enhance the presentation, but there was so much technology in this bit that I became somewhat tired of it.

I enjoyed Wayne Dobson. I always enjoy Wayne Dobson.

I left the theatre feeling that there was far less magic in a 2 1/2 hours magic show than there should have been. When the MC's magic is better than the stuff the acts are doing, there may be something wrong.
Bill Palmer, MIMC

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Re: IBM SAM Day 5

Postby Jolly Roger » July 26th, 2008, 1:16 am

Craig........I am sure you have been in to the dealer's hall. I am interested to know what you think of Steve Axtell's new animatronic puppets, which are on sale there for the first time? JR
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Re: IBM SAM Day 5

Postby Bill Palmer » July 26th, 2008, 1:30 am

Roger:

I saw them. They look good. They move well. I would need to know more about what you would want them to do in order to answer this in a way that would be meaningful to you.
Bill Palmer, MIMC

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Re: IBM SAM Day 5

Postby Shawn Farquhar » July 26th, 2008, 1:48 am

Roger,

All I can tell you is my 7 3/4 year old daughter is hypnotized by the toucan and cannot get enough of it! The Monkey is quite animated as well but the toucan is an outstanding hit with young kids.
Shawn Farquhar

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Re: IBM SAM Day 5

Postby Patrick Lanzing » July 26th, 2008, 2:41 am

Craig: Thanks for another brilliant recap. Cannot agree with you, however, as to the brilliant and droll David Kaplan. You watch. This guy will be big.

P

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Re: IBM SAM Day 5

Postby Rafael » July 26th, 2008, 8:10 am

The toucan in action at the convention:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHYkhMHv ... re=related

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CraigMitchell
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Re: IBM SAM Day 5

Postby CraigMitchell » July 26th, 2008, 8:32 am

"there have been very few really cool illusions on the shows so far"

There have been just about no illusionists which is very strange. I too would have expected the box pushers to be here in full force considering the ease of transporting the big stuff in the USA - so that is somewhat of a disappointment.

And yes - Steve Axtell's Toucan is brilliant ... very akin to the Disney animatronics they have with the roving talking trash can, pot plant etc. If it fits your budget - this could quite easily be the hit of a performance -- and I could see so many commercial applications in duplicating the walk around Disney type effects in shopping malls, trade expos etc that it could well open up a new market for you ...

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Donal Chayce
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Re: IBM SAM Day 5

Postby Donal Chayce » July 26th, 2008, 10:11 am

Craig Mitchell wrote:"there have been very few really cool illusions on the shows so far"

There have been just about no illusionists which is very strange. I too would have expected the box pushers to be here in full force considering the ease of transporting the big stuff in the USA - so that is somewhat of a disappointment.


I concur. What's particularly unfortunate about that is the all of the gala shows are on a huge stage that could have easily accommodated the bigger acts.

I also concur with Bill Palmer's assessment of the amount of magic (or lack thereof) in last night's show. And for the life of me, I can't understand why the producers would open the show with two kids who, though good for their age (both technique-wise and presentation-wise), were nevertheless weak by comparison.

My biggest disappointment/frustration, however, was that of the eight performers, four of them were either card manipulation acts or did card manipulations as a significant part of their act. Indeed, that's been the case in the stage contest as well. I must say that, notwithstanding Topas' novel presentation and Dale Salwak's classy and flawless act, I've grown very weary of watching card manipulations.
The MacGician®


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