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FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 9th, 2012, 3:14 am
by CraigMitchell
Day 1 Monday 9th July

Its day one of the FISM World Championships of Magic ... and despite the grey skies ... theres excitement in the air as magicians from far and wide have descended on Blackpool, England for a week of contests, gala shows and lectures.


With early registration taking place yesterday the first order of the day was to penetrate the Winter Gardens and make it through the burly security stationed outside. For the poor delegate unfortunate enough to have mislaid their all-important confirmation of registration letter you were promptly greeted with a gruff no letter, no entry response. In a scene most reminiscent of Little Britain - appealing to the idea that maybe, just maybe if you were given access to the hallowed halls and reach the registration desk they would possibly be able to assist - escaped the comprehension of dear security. After much pondering and a special escort later, the hapless delegate was permitted to enter ... and then in a special win for bureaucracy was promptly asked to complete a form for his missing form along with the all important question ... did you report the loss of your confirmation sheet to the police ... and naturally you do have the police case number, dont you?
I can picture the scene ... Hello, is this the Blackpool police ? Yes, Id like to report a FISM Registration lost in the mail ...

It brought such a smile to my face :-)


Delegates have been treated to a selection of goodies in the official registration bag complete with a hardcover Jack Hughes book by Derek Lever ( with the price embossed on the outside 150 GBP ) along with full color gloss program ( your price 10 GBP ) ... rounding things up with a commemorative Blackpool teddy bear, logod pen, lanyard and badge.


As many of you have by now read Genii Editor, Richard Kaufman, and yours truly received special mention ( ... t=2&page=1 ) in the Official FISM Welcome but not before Mr Lever reminded us of the merits of Blackpool ... Whilst Blackpool may not have the glamour of Stockholm or Lisbon or Beijing it can boast that the Opera House is the largest theatre in Europe and that Blackpool has a unique 158m tower which houses a wonderful circus.

The Blackpool Tourism Council would be proud ;-)

Richard is labelled as having openly supported vicious Hitler films ( does his family know ? ) and I of having vented my spleen as one South African magician. I suppose in this era of Olympic pride national identity is oh so important ... unless the organiser has an overt distaste for Africans perhaps?

Mr Lever seemed more concerned about attempting to secure his election as FISM Vice-President in the opening welcome rather than perhaps focusing on FISMs key goal of committing itself to the enhancement, promotion and development of the art of magic. Quite the peculiar election strategy hijack an entire event to air false and libellous accusations against the editor of one of magics most respected publications ... and do your utmost to engage in bizarre ramblings against a member of the FISM Executive Board ... whilst at the same time insulting an entire nation. Could you imagine what excitement would be in store for the world of magic should he succeed ?

With such a cheerful and joyful welcome to FISM 2012, lets not forget why we are here ... 150 competitors from across the globe vying for the title of World Champion Magician.

Todays program kicks off at 9 am with the Opening of the Dealers Hall, Official Opening Ceremony later at 11 am followed by the Stage Contests from 2 pm to 6:30 pm. Letures by Josh Jay, Matthew Johson, Borid Wild and Axel Hecklau round out the afternoon ending with the Late, late Gala Show in the Opera House and lecture session thereafter with Henry Evans.

Let the games begin!

p.s. you can also follow live updates from and for those on twitter

Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 9th, 2012, 5:11 am
by mrgoat
Thanks for the report Craig.

The goody bag sounds awesome. Some books Lever couldn't sell so decided to give away, a brochure full of expensive ads, and a cheap tacky tourist teddy bear!


Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 9th, 2012, 9:17 am
by Tim Ellis
Thanks for the updates Craig - and thanks for seeing that FISM is much more than just one man.

Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 9th, 2012, 2:14 pm
by AJM
Now I hate to be a pedant with regard to the grammar, however I'm not quite sure what the title of the 150 book is supposed to be (at that price you you would have thought they could have made it clearer).

Jack Hughes: World of Magic
Jack Hughes' World of Magic
Jack Hughes's World of Magic (not at all my favourite, however I understand this form is acceptable these days).

And it would have been much easier just to say 'Volumes 1-3'.

However, if it's of the same quality as the other Derek Lever 'books' that used to be given away at the annual convention it will contain a pile of guff - leaving the grammar question largely irrelevant.



P.S. Lever's opening tirade reminds of one annual convention when he effectively branded all delegates as thieves who spent the whole weekend pilfering from the dealers. I've never been back.

It's high time Lever was pulled. (Geddit? Lever. Pulled? Oh please yourselves).

Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 9th, 2012, 5:56 pm
by Jonathan Townsend
Is this going to raise the value of the program as a collector's item?

Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 9th, 2012, 5:59 pm
by Richard Kaufman
Note that the FISM souvenir program has a 10 pound price listed on the cover.

With 2400 people here:

2400 x 10 pounds (program given to attendees) = 24,000 pounds
PLUS ...
2400 x 50 pounds (book given to attendees) = 120,000 pounds

Now why would someone be printing prices prominently on the covers of both these items that are being given away to all convention attendees? Hmmmm?

Anyone want to take a guess?

Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 9th, 2012, 6:18 pm
by Richard Kaufman
So I see that tomorrow evening I'm supposed to see the single close-up gala being held here. It is listed as being at "The Olympia," which is not shown on the map given to attendees. The official website for the Winter Gardens discusses the room, but fails to mention where it's located.

Anyone have a clue?

Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 9th, 2012, 6:25 pm
by Tim Ellis
How has the event been so far Richard?

Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 9th, 2012, 6:27 pm
by Tim Ellis
The official Blackpool FISM Blog doesn't get updated all that often :(

Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 9th, 2012, 6:41 pm
by IrishMagicNews
Richard, Olympia is basically in the basement of The Winter Gardens. Where Showzam has taken place the last few years. I think you can access it from the complex but if not there is an entrance on the "Sea Side" of The Winter Gardens.

The street you would walk to The Ruskin on.

For those wondering what is going on the best place I have found so far is John Archer's Twitter

Also on Twitter the #fism hashtag seems to be the most active and there is some activity on the FISM Facebook Page

Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 9th, 2012, 7:05 pm
by mehtas
Saw the Late Gala show only today.

Mike Caveney giving away hundred pounds was a good gag.

Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 9th, 2012, 7:14 pm
by CraigMitchell
Its now 11:20 pm as I type this having enjoyed a day filled with magic & mayhem here at FISM 2012. This is exhausting and weve only just begun ;-)

At great risk to my own personal security and with much bounty hunting - heres what been on the go in Blackpool-town this Monday the 9th July 2012.



A 9 am start saw the opening of the enormous Dears Hall spread throughout the Winter Gardens. With over 100+ merchants of magic gathering from around the world this is a magic lovers paradise. Booth after booth with all manner of dealers being able to obtain so much magic in one single spot is any junkies dream!

Unfortunately this junkies shopping time was limited as the FISM Delegates were required to assemble backstage in time for the Opening Ceremony in the Opera House.

Speeches and mandatory welcomes soon followed ... along with special viewings of the delightful mayoral chains and blue-star ribbons that magic club presidents so love to wear. Queen Elizabeth II would have been jealous at the sight of such dazzling silver :-)

With formalities out the way it was up to Marc Oberon to open the show. His UV black art act is Alien meets Star Wars on crack ... a mish-mash of the weird and bizarre that provided lots of visual candy but seemed to rival the Neverending Story in length.
Veronin & Svetlana followed with an appearing paper tree. Yes, a FISM Opening Gala Show with an appearing paper tree. The act and character is dated ...

But not nearly as out of place as the disaster that is Jupiter from Hungary. A high techno soundtrack blasts forth giving great expectations of a fast-paced, Korean powerhouse to emerge. Instead we are greeted with a slow-walking, older portly gentleman who I would not subject even my neighbours children to. Card manipulation from a forgotten era, awkward production of an automatic jumbo card fan ( oh, look --- pretend you dont see pick me this fan up from the table and now that I have magically produced it ... I will just collapse the fanback down ) ... color changing silk handkerchiefs (the classics are making a come back ) to a painful rendition of cut & restored rope, complete with silk and rings ... and everyones favourite a Goodbye Silk ... Zero routining. Zero personality. Maximum agony for the audience.

With the audience desperate to applaud for anything Joseph Gabriel came to the rescue with his now legendary dove act ... complete with Blackpool jumbo pigeon and appearing duck finale. Joseph is the consummate performer and for those who are seeing him for the first time, it is hugely entertaining. Unfortunately it does become apparent that the act is very much a product of its time and somehow feels out of place in 2012 ... Its a problem facing magic all-round as we would soon discover.

To end festivities the comedy duo of Clive Webb & Danny Adams. Clearly this British humour is an acquired taste 3 men on stage, buckets of paint, lots of sloshing about with hosepipes et al and creating the most enormous mess imaginable. Zero magic. And something which reminded me of a Kindergarten food fight on a jumbo scale. How very odd.

And so ended the Opening Ceremony of FISM 2012. Overall thoughts ... welcome to a time-warp... has magic really not progressed in 20+ years ? Where is the innovation and excitement that we are so desperately hankering after.

With 2 hours to go until the start of the Stage Contest we may yet find it.

To be continued ...

--> Photos availablee here = ... 772&type=3

Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 9th, 2012, 7:27 pm
by Dustin Stinett
Thanks Craig. I know (from personal experience) how hard it is to do these kind of updates, but PLEASE keep them coming! We really do appreciate it!


Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 9th, 2012, 7:45 pm
by mehtas
Where is the "Link Room" where the Vintage Poster Exhibition is mentioned ?????

Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 9th, 2012, 8:28 pm
by CraigMitchell

Its contest time ! And what would a FISM contest be without musical FISM legend Frank Wilson This musical genius kept the entire day going with his hilarious interludes and now mandatory sing-alongs of magic all over the world ...

On to the magic.

1. Michael Jordan High Jinx Stage Illusions England
A young brother & sister illusion dueo who if memory serves me correctly have been featured on Britains Got Talent not so long ago. Toy dolls to real person appearance ... cutting in fifths ... straightjacket escape to a duelling violins soundtrack ending with the re-appearance of the toy mannequins. No fireworks to write home about youthful energy and a pleasing start to the stage contest

2. Javier Fernandez Luxor Mental magic - Spain
Mentalism seemed to be Mondays theme ... and unfortunately for non-Native English speakers it is not the easiest of choices. With the performers pants unfortunately way too tight it was very difficult to concentrate on too much else.

3. Antranik Arabadijia Astor Comedy Magic Bulgaria
Great excitement our very first red light act at FISM 2012 ... and not even three competitors in. A large gentleman in Indian fakir-style garb who starts the act whilst eating cotton wool set on fire and ends with a bizarre misers dream in the audience which was out of sight of everyone. The red light came on for being below standard but bizarrely the curtain did not close ( perhaps a new instruction from the organiser to the stage staff following the telling off of the judges at last years FISM Europe ? )

4. Pablo Lambertini General Magic Argentina
A saxophone player in a jazz club scene that had an origami bird coming to life a vanishing harmonica, card manipulation, a horribly exposed production of a trumpet from his jacket ( magicians and their body loads ) and an appearing bird from music book. Interesting premise that never reached its potential.

5. Florian Sainvert Manipulation France
A Tron / matrix style act with green card manipulation of strange circle and square pieces of card attached to his body. A backwards lean that got the audience very excited ... followed by a floating saucer attempt that had to be aborted when the thread got entangled ( FISM rule never use invisible thread ) The act concept is dated ...maybe if this were still the 80s.

6. Luca Bono General Magic Italy
This act kicked off with much promise - featuring a young performer at his desk computer about to start a Skype call. The stage visual looked great. An origami bird vanishes re-appearing on the computer screen only to be extracted out of the digital image once more. A great costume change followed but then quickly brought about the end of its novelty as the desk bound computer user transforms into magician and we follow the same tired old plot of every other magician with standard card manipulation, billiard balls etc. ending with the production of the girl. I really hope Luca re-looks at his concept as there is definitely something there which can be developed.

7. Christian Bischof Mental Magic Switzerland
More mental magic for a Monday ... 2 people on stage and a mindreader with a supercilious grin. I just cant believe that you can read my mind when you stand there grinning like the Cheshire cat.

8. Kim Young Ju Comedy Magic Korea
The hit of the morning. But alas not a magic act. This comedy juggler did a great cigar box routine but missed the memo that this was the World Championships of Magic.

9. Riku Koponen Riku & Varg General Magic Sweden
A jumbo balloon can be seen on stage. It pops and out emerges the performer from within the balloon in a very confused act that didnt know if they were supposed to be mentalists or magicians. A ridiculous vanish of a chair, a spectator left hovering in mid-air and a strange prediction of who knows what.

10. Andy Huang Andost General Magic USA
A flickering lamp, red card manipulation, multiplying light bulbs and red silk appearing within the light bulb. In the brutal world that is FISM instantly forgettable amongst the general milieu.

11. Jesus Cornejo Andy Gonzalez General Magic Spain
CD manipulation along with appearing violins, vanishing stereo ( and yes it featured tape cassettes ) a slow change and ending with appearing cello.

12. Andrew Melia General Magic England
A large hole cut in the middle of a wall that is intended to be a TV screen. Combination black-art and digital interaction. In the now traditional black art hoop vanish the white shows flashed twice unfortunately during the vanish as they scurried off behind the mystical wall on stage.

13. Christoph Kuch Mental Magic Germany
A fun and entertaining mentalism act ( hurrah ! ) that started off with the echoes of Celine Dions My Heart Will Go On. A spectator is invited to take an imaginary journey to the wreck of the titanic with our all knowing magician predicting the name of the vessel, the depth they reached and year of the coin that was discovered on the ocean floor. A very effective use of music & lighting helped set the scene for what was a playful magical interlude.

14. Vadim Savenkov Comedy Magic Russia
My heart sinks when I see the words comedy magic ... and even more so when the act features a sponge banana, bunny rabbit puppet and all-time favourite a Zebra head. Clearly the alcohol content is higher in Russia than anywhere else.

15. Oliver Macia Olmac withdrew

16. Lee Ki Suk Lukas Manupulation Korea
Our first standing ovation of FISM 2012 and potential prize winner. Moments of beautiful magic that looked like technical wizardry ... whilst previous Korean manipulators have been on hyper-drive, Lee Ki Suk has slowed everything down to nth degree planted his feet firmly in a single spot and found some oh-so-depressing music that the magicians simply went wild for.

17. Thomas Hoeschelle Thommy Ten Mental Magic Austria
An interesting mentalism act with a magician and his true love and a jellybean for every kiss ... ending with a girl production complete with fireworks.

18. Robert Mark Jakoobsen Robert Mark Comedy Magic Denmark
There are those 2 words again comedy magic. Things are clearly not right in the state of Denmark. 2 overweight men on stage one with naked buttocks ... in a horrible act set in a supposed bar ... that I would prefer to forget.

19. Yang Hee Jun Nicky Yang General Magic Korea
Fancy that a magician doing billiard balls when the act is actually themed around billiards ! Vanishing pool cue, appearing and disappearing chalk, never-ending sands and billiard ball production in box.

20. Johannes Lutz Jojo Manipulation Germany
Young performer ( who celebrated his birthday today and got an official sing along from Frank Wilson ) with color changing baseball caps, appearing items in postbox,billiard ball manipulation, vanishing peak caps and ending with a basketball production. All formulaic and your standard magic contest act but done cleanly with energy.

Nineteen performers down and day one of the FISM 2012 stage contest is over ... and things arent looking too good. The standard is hovering around baseline mediocre at best.

Hopefully things improve on the morrow ... we've got 4 days left to find our next Champion.

Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 9th, 2012, 8:51 pm
by Pete Biro
Great reports, Craig... thanks

Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 10th, 2012, 1:01 am
by Donal Chayce
Ditto what Dustin and Pete said--thanks for your reports, and please keep 'em coming.

Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 10th, 2012, 2:42 am
by Jacky Kahan
Thanks for the report !

Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 10th, 2012, 3:19 am
by Hansel K
Thanks a Lot for the Repport !!!
Keep them Coming, a Magician from Puerto Rico, that could not go Appreciate it A LOT ! *

* That Magician is me :(

Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 10th, 2012, 3:40 am
by Alex de Cova
Thank you, Craig, for taking your time and energy doing this report for us non-attenders! I very much appreciate the task and you do a very good job!

Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 10th, 2012, 4:22 am
by Richard Kaufman
I thought Lukas (Ki Suk Lee) was so good when I saw him in Hong Kong last December that I hired him on the spot for the Genii convention. You'll see him in Orlando in October.

Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 10th, 2012, 9:50 am
by Tim Ellis
The Koreans competing at FISM this year are all of a very high standard. They take their magic extremely seriously and, if they are given the chance, will deliver a truly excellent FISM in 2015

Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 10th, 2012, 1:09 pm
by F.Amílcar
Thanks for the report Mr. Mitchell.

We hope next news tomorrow.

Late, Late Gala Show

Posted: July 10th, 2012, 3:24 pm
by CraigMitchell
Late, late show Stage Gala Show

After a day filled with stage contest acts, there was still more magic in store with the Late, late Gala Show scheduled for a fairly respectable 8 pm ( I assume for the Blackpool seniors this is late ;-)

We kicked into high gear right from the start with the incomparable Topas. A firm favourite at past FISMs he set the tone for what would prove to be a solid gala show. Highlights include the compressor shrinking illusion, Hawaiian Wonder ... a very elaborate transposition of a chosen orange and orange juice (!) ... a custom Steinmeyer Modern Art complete with drumming kit and toe cymbal. This one piece alone proves how Topas is able to take what has now become a stock standard effect and put his own unique stamp on it. He finished off his set with a parody of the masked magician with transposition and ending up in the audience ...

Mike Caveney enters the stage as our official master of ceremonies ( fantastic as always ) and introduces his wife, Tina Lenert, and her classic Mop act. The audience gives Tina a rousing ovation for this now special performance piece.

As is always the case the juggler is guaranteed to steal the show and this was no exception. Compagnie Poc from France had the magicians clamouring for more with an incredible hat juggling and ball sequence that saw the Opera House rise to its feet. Distinctly European, he was an inspired choice for magic weary conjurors.

Closing off the first half was Katalina in showgirl tailcoat and a collection of colour changing gloves, cut and restored rope and billiard ball manipulation. Showgirls in Blackpool ... save me now.

The Magic of Tigran and Sos Jnr were scheduled to appear on the line-up but vanished from the nights proceedings without explanation.

With ice-cream interval out the way ( how very British ;-) Rafael from Belgium took us to Transylvania with his well-known Count Dracula act. He plays up the role superbly - and the set features some very visual eye candy ... rising from the crypt, arm through torso and his signature sawing-in-half couch illusion.

Not to be outdone, Mike Caveney followed with his legendary archery attempts along with the beauty of centrifugal force and a simple cup of coffee. Its amazing how sometimes the simplest of things can delight the most ...

Beijing FISM winner, Soma, shared with us his cellphone act hitting all the right beats. Soma has also just released his new DVD How to win at FISM which provides a unique insight into what it really takes to reach such a level. Cant wait to view it!

Topas returned to close the show. A very funny sound check skit ensued followed by a lean illusion platform and asrah levitation. While its questionable that one needs to levitate atop a platform which probably more resembles the gallows why on earth must modern asrahs now feature gigantic robotic arms to deliver the hoops straight to the performers hands? Surely Mr Lay Audience must be thinking: Mmmm that mysterious platform features automated robotic arms complete with pneumatic engineering all to hand Mr Magician his fancy hoops ... I wonder what else he has in that platform? There simply is no logic ... and even if you were to take pity on the illusionist and believe that maybe they couldnt afford a stage hand to give the performer the hoops that motivation goes out the window when an assistant appears a few moments later to clear off the props. A strange little inconsistency in our little world of magic which bugs me no end ;-)

The Late, Late Gala Show wasnt actually that late and was a solid end to day one of FISM 2012. Some 2500 magicians flooded into the streets of Blackpool and no doubt sessioned the night away.

Not for me unfortunately ... close-up kicks off at 8:30 am on Tuesday.

--> View the photos from the Monday night Gala Show here = ... 772&type=3

Re: Late, Late Gala Show

Posted: July 10th, 2012, 4:07 pm
by Tom Frame
Thanks Craig. I appreciate your coverage.

Re: Late, Late Gala Show

Posted: July 10th, 2012, 4:15 pm
by MaxNY
Thanks Craig! Love your honesty. BTW your next post puts you in the 1,000 post club!

Re: Late, Late Gala Show

Posted: July 10th, 2012, 5:23 pm
by mrgoat
Love your updates craig. Thanks for the sterling work..

I've got to do the same thing for emc. You set the bar high!

Re: Late, Late Gala Show

Posted: July 10th, 2012, 6:19 pm
by Tim Ellis
Wasn't Tina Lenert in the Late, Late Show too? She is in the photo gallery...

Re: Late, Late Gala Show

Posted: July 10th, 2012, 6:34 pm
by Q. Kumber
Tim Ellis wrote:Wasn't Tina Lenert in the Late, Late Show too? She is in the photo gallery...

Yes, she was, (see third paragraph of Craig's review) and she was excellent.

As is normal with FISM, the dealers are in shell booths - the type you find at trade shows. All the dealers I spoke to don't like them, they prefer the normal dealer booth set-up as found in most conventions. It also means the dealers are more spread out and some in the ICE ROOM which is located behind Davenport's stand. With competitions going on all day and with at least six lecturers per day - most lecturing twice over the week, the dealers areas are mostly quiet with a few peaks during the day.

The Ruskin is busy with normal tourists and most magicians now seem to be heading to the Hilton for late-night revelry.

Re: Late, Late Gala Show

Posted: July 10th, 2012, 7:01 pm
by Tim Ellis
Thanks. Don't know how I missed that! And what was this, on the FISM facebook page, in reference to:

Quote of the day: "breathe in ... You will see the boobs of conjuring." only at a magic convention ...

Re: Late, Late Gala Show

Posted: July 10th, 2012, 7:12 pm
by Richard Kaufman
You're missing something really special, Tim.

Re: Late, Late Gala Show

Posted: July 10th, 2012, 7:34 pm
by Tim Ellis
Oh Richard! Don't tease!!!

Re: Late, Late Gala Show

Posted: July 10th, 2012, 7:37 pm
by Jonathan Townsend
Tim Ellis wrote:Oh Richard! Don't tease!!!

Maybe the firing squad was motivating his post?

Re: Late, Late Gala Show

Posted: July 10th, 2012, 7:37 pm
by Tim Ellis
Though... I did hear it described as "Blackpool FISM is a trip back in time to the 1960's, with the Korean acts appearing at random intervals like time travelling magicians from the future showing what magic will be like in 2012."

Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 12th, 2012, 3:38 am
by Bizzaro
CraigMitchell wrote:Its a problem facing magic all-round as we would soon discover. Has magic really not progressed in 20+ years ? Where is the innovation and excitement that we are so desperately hankering after.

It's because so many people have a norrow minded view of what magic is and those people are in charge of booking these things.

And people wonder why the younger magicians don't go to conventions anymore?

Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 12th, 2012, 7:34 am
Why have you stopped doing so fine reviews from Blackpool??? Many things happen...

Re: FISM 2012 - Day One

Posted: July 12th, 2012, 11:15 am
by Tom Stone
Christer, he creates a new topic for each day. The reviews have not stopped, they are just not in the thread for Day One. :)