FISM day 2

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FISM day 2

Postby CraigMitchell » July 7th, 2015, 12:55 pm


It’s another beautiful day in Italy!

After yesterday’s delays, the organisers have pulled out the stops – and things are fast improving - and we kick off at 8:30 am - spot on time! Our sincere appreciation to the contest team who were rehearsing acts well into the early hours of Tuesday morning ...

Peter Din, his jury and crew are also doing a sterling job as they compute scores and get us closer to finding our next World Champion.

Back to the magic...


Simon Thomas – Mentalism - Germany

An off beat and eccentric act with a mind reading microphone. The concept is comic gold … and such a great idea. Entertaining, weird and wacky. Just what we need to kick off Day 2!

Matteo Cucchi- Manipuation – Italy
A day at the races with manipulation of horseshoes, appearing bills and an umbrella vanishing in hat. Polished and slick.

Emi – General Magic – Argentina
Bubbles from a box ( I don’t know why either ), card manipulation in bubbles and the drawing of an object on a sketch pad coming to life.

Po Cheng Lai – Manipulation - Taiwan
High powered music, overly dramatic, with color changing fans, appearing fans, flying fans and lots of technical brilliance with fans – but the faux intensity is just a little too much. If I didn’t know better I would think that new life had just leapt from the brow of Zeus with all the grimacing and posturing.

Side note – our “Asian manipulation” acts ( sorry, Max ) are now all developing a terrible, generic sameness about them. Lee Eun Gyeol, Yu Ho Jin, An Ha Lim etc. are now responsible for developing a whole new genre in magic … with the followers now all fast becoming interchangeable. Technically brilliant but a simple commodity for any producer. But maybe that fate befalls all magicians ?

Eric Cheng – Manipulation – Hong Kong
Speaking of sameness – the acts are now also starting to all get that standard ‘magic contest act’ look about them . Table centre stage. Props go there. Homemade mailbox here. Our contest acts are blurring … we need to breakout of this mould. Post cards and paper plane manipulation feature – but the overall look is all too familiar unfortunately.

Timon – Mentalism – Netherlands
Mentalism is clearly the new popular category. The performer is young, fresh and delivers a contemporary performance surrounding the theme of inattentive blindness. It’s quirky and different with color changing tshirt, shoes changing color and did you see the gorilla.

The Great Figueroa – Comedy – Spain
Too close to reality as most comedy magic acts tend to be. But I’ll give him his due – he quickly got the audience on his side – ending with ‘dove snowstorm’

Augusto Zanardi – Mentalism – Argentina
Do you have a prediction ? Yes – another mentalist. Confusing, painful, the most complicated date selection imaginable ending with a convoluted prediction of a newspaper headline.

Gerald le Guilloux – General Magic – France
The 80’s called and they want their music back. The haunting strains of Yanni, doves, canaries, dove cages, smoke bubbles to bird ( the new theme for Rimini ), chalk board to bird, more bird cages, bird cage from jacket ( no that is not magic when you take the cage out of your jacket ), an animated flip book to dove ( granted, this looked beautiful ) but then we end with the production of two dogs from foulard. Magicians must really enjoy animal abuse as leaving two dogs wrapped up in a dark foulard for ages in the name of entertainment is not for me.

Zaubertrixxer – Illusions – Germany
A FISM first. Magician vs footballer with a full on cheerleading squad and a bunch of illusions in between. The audience was more mesmerised by the blonde cheerleaders and their human pyramids.

Gustavo Vierini – Mentalism – Brazil
More mentalism ( I am starting to dislike the category immensely ) Predicted books match random words and front page covers, with missing pages ending up in discovered envelopes.

Ales Hrdlicka – General Magic – Czech Repulic
A white face clown. Billiard ball manipulation, juggling rings and ending with an artists dream.

Yu Ki – Manipulation – Japan
Dramatic manipulator ( we really do need to tone down the intensity ) Cardboard moon to billiard ball, origami star to silk, paper stars, confetti, color changing cards, ornament star productions and more.

Red Star Seong – General Magic – Korea
I don’t know what happy pill this performer is on – but it clearly is working. Lollipops, card fans, card fountains, pink panther music and a whole wave of energy.

Igor – Manipulation – Serbia
Lets do an act all about champagne bottles. Vanishing bottles, appearing bottles, Rimini smoke bubbles, appearing bottles, vanishing bottles … and magician default – jumbo bottle production. All so expected.

Yann Frisch – France – “Comedy Magic”
Isn’t bias wonderful. If any other FISM contestant decided to change categories and provide a list of technical demands that necessitate your own private setup time of 15+ minutes – they would laugh. If your name is Yann Frisch – everyone complies. Not exactly fair to the other competitors.

In addition, throughout the morning we are continually told that Yann Frisch would be performing having had his position moved from the previous day due to “technical difficulties” … so with all the free promo, along with his mug shot on the TV monitors for the longest out of any competitor, expectations were through the roof.

Did he deliver ? Depends where you are seated. The act was meant to be done in the close-up room – but the ‘lighting requirements’ saw it moved to stage in the bizarre category choice of comedy. The act is certainly not comedy.

It is a continuation of his FISM winning close-up act ( so I am advised ) – but unless you are front and centre – you see nothing ( said performer also was given the luxury of having the front screens turned off at his request ) I saw very little besides a brief levitation sequence of ball from cup – the epilepsy inducing flashes of light in his act didn’t help matters. I can also produce an elephant if you turn the lights off for extended period of time.

Oh well …

Skilldini – Comedy Magic – USA
Bearing a striking resemblance to a certain British convention organiser, the act was not funny at IBM SAM and certainly wasn’t funny at FISM. Painful to watch and sad indictment of the calibre of contest magic in North America.

On that subject – very sad to hear that SAM had to cancel their contests this year due to lack of entrants. It doesn’t bode well for the future!

Two more acts to go – but unfortunately technology strikes. The automated curtain system fails and the last two performers are held over until Wednesday.

With an on-time finish (!) – there’s just enough time to grab a bite to eat and rush on over to Round 2 of the Close-up Contest …


Close-up Day 2

Day 2 of Close-up and Obie O'Brien seems to think we are all dogs that need to be brought to heel by blowing a whistle to commence the contest. Seriously ? A whistle ? Decorum people. This is the World Championships – not your local swim contest.

On to all things magical ...

Rubiales – Card Magic – Spain
Cards and dice with the cards matching the numbers on the dice. Some beautiful vanishes and eye candy with card ending in card case – and dice changing all to 1’s.

Micky Wong – Parlor- Hong Kong
A very clever act revolving around manipulating the senses, observations, optical illusions and MC Escher ending with the startling revelation that the performer had not been wearing a shirt at all!

Mr Tango – Cards – Argentina
Out of the world, oil and water, card separations, memorised deck and full deck triumph. Audience enjoyed.

Daniel Collado – Micro Magic Invention – Spain
Metal bending with a self-restoring fork. The restoration looks incredible as every tine slowly returns to their normal state.

Hannes Freytag and Vicente Noguera – Germany - Cards
Highly entertaining duo act with card revelations here, there, on their back and in their mouth. Fun and enjoyable …

Lim Hong Jin – Korea - Micro
Cups and balls with sugar cubes and coffee cups. Multiplying cubes, linking coffee cups and ending with an appearing kettle … Quite short.

NoJima – Japan - Cards
Oil and water, visual separation and subsequent reset, over and over and over and over …

Paul Sommersgute – Austria – Micro
Dear Domenico Dante’s extended speech is proving to be the running gag at FISM Italy with the competitors taking a playful dig. A full samba dancer, cup and ball with glass, chop cup, tomato transposition and ending with the Pringles can filled again.

Antonio Romero – Parlour Magic Invention - Spain
Once again not entirely sure which is the specific invention – you can choose from shrinking rope, selected card with dart gun or a more sedate cups and balls with glasses.

Lian Jiandong – Parlour - China
Water to beer to cocktail to red wine. Appearing tray, appearing cards, iphone to bills, and a magical box with illuminated smoke that looks like it comes out of Raiders of the Lost Arc.

Horret Wu - Taiwan – Cards
Simply stunning and one of the highlights of the day. Visual transformations as cards shrink and grow in front of our eyes.

Henry Harrius - Parlour magic – Hong Kong
Another refreshingly different act with color changing torn and restored card, sympathetic matching rubiks cubes ( thankfully no psychotic performers here ) ending with a fascinating puzzle picture revelation of Steve jobs.

Jacob Schenstrom – Sweden – Micro
Strong and fresh with more eye candy ( FISM hopefuls take note … your magic needs to look like it comes out of a Hollywood blockbuster ) Cups and balls with visual reappearances underneath the glass, appearing water, solid cups, water productions and vanishing glass.

Kelvin Chow - Card Magic – Hong Kong
A freely named card morphs before our eyes. Stunning. Blank cards printed. Cut out holes appear in the entire deck, vanish again, back to blanks – and deck turning back to the napkin from which it came at the start. Full circle

Olmac – Micro Magic – France
It seems Olmac travels with his own fan club judging by the welcome he gets. Unfortunately the act is confusing and disjointed. Card manipulation with pictures of water drops on them. Black art with cards and then a flying drone that promptly smashes right into theBlack art with cards and then a flying drone that promptly smashes right into the camera. Disappointing.

Shin Lim – Canada - Cards
Shin also subscribes to the overly dramatic club which is more often than not flash over substance. The magic, however, is perfect for the gimmicky hungry magicians – smoke here, vanishing pen there, signed card from mouth, vanishing card box and obligatory rousing soundtrack that would make Wagner proud.

Woody Aragon – Spain - Cards
A born entertainer who simply blew the audience away with his usual inimitable style and in the end disqualified himself by going over time. Such a disappointment. This wasn’t a magic act … it was a lesson in entertainment. Bravo!

All in all – some incredibly strong magic this afternoon in the close-up arena. The FISM continental championships have clearly gone a long way in weeding out the substandard acts.


FISM has discovered punctuality ! The Italians were out to prove a point after the last fiasco and today’s gala show started bang smack on time. Impressive recovery.

A brief summary ( it’s 12:34 am and I still need to get to the contest reviews ;)

Tonight’s cast featured some stellar names – with multiple guest hosts taking the role of MC to introduce the acts. This added a fun and novel element to the show which worked surprisingly well.

Highlights – Lu Chen redeeming Domenico Dante in front of the FISM thousands in an absolute hilarious skit mocking the opening speech debacle. Domenico was a great sport and brought the house down.

Xavier Mortimer – creative, fresh and enjoyable as ever.
Juliana Chen – her mask act is always a thing of beauty.
Simon Pierro – dragged a little bit and probably more impressive to lay people than magicians.
Armando Lucero – ball manipulation on a giant stage is not ideal. Underwhelming.
Raymond Crowe – his dancing jacket is fantastic, his shadow routine the best in the business. An unbelievable talent.

And then James More. David Copperfield called and he wants his illusions back. A box pusher of note with minimal personality. It’s clear that his current success is more about his looks than any unique contribution to the art. Disappointing . Note to all producers. Always end with Raymond’s shadow act!

And to end – a confetti explosion of light, sound and color … if this is how they end Tuesday’s show I can’t wait to see the fireworks on Saturday’s finale!

Another day down. And the FISM spirit is in high gear.

-- Wittus Witt has some AMAZING photos of FISM 2015 as it unfolds - visit his website ... Alben.html

-- You can see my live photos and videos on the FISM Facebook page
Last edited by CraigMitchell on July 8th, 2015, 6:40 pm, edited 10 times in total.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: FISM day 2

Postby Richard Kaufman » July 7th, 2015, 6:31 pm

Second Gala Show Tonight. They were determined to start on time, and Xavier Mortimer began his act right at showtime while a bunch of laggards were still staggling in to find their seats!

A very unusual format with a different famous magician introducing each act, and it worked very well. The talent was brilliant, except for the illusionist who closed (why would any book someone to follow the incredible Raymond Crowe, who always gets a standing ovation!). The illusionist, James Moore, looked like he raided David Copperfield​'s warehouse and was doing the same stuff David did 20 years ago, but with no stage presence or personality. NO ONE can follow Raymond Crowe! I don't understand why people are always closing shows with illusionists who are not as good as the acts which have come before.

What was also interesting is that I had heard the computer-controlled curtain ceased to operate this afternoon just before the end of the Close-Up Competition. So, tonight the curtain was left completely open on stage, which created odd moments because it appeared to me that certain performers were supposed to be working in front of the closed curtain while the next act was setting up behind it. But they couldn't do that because the curtain had to remain open. So, considering that issue, I don't think people even noticed. Gaeton Bloom, Juliana Chen, Raymond Crowe and all the other acts were excellent.
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Re: FISM day 2

Postby MaxNY » July 7th, 2015, 7:31 pm

I keep getting knocked off all this free crappy WiFI... My report will be up next week. Competition was very strong today!

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Alex de Cova
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Re: FISM day 2

Postby Alex de Cova » July 8th, 2015, 4:16 am

Thank you guys so much for these detailed reports! Please keep on going. It takes lots of energy and nerves to do these writings AND attend the convention for 6 days. Great work!
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Tom Frame
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Re: FISM day 2

Postby Tom Frame » July 8th, 2015, 1:29 pm


Thanks for your entertaining, informative reports. Keep them coming!
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Re: FISM day 2

Postby CraigMitchell » July 8th, 2015, 6:43 pm

Day 2 report now complete

Ted M
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Re: FISM day 2

Postby Ted M » July 8th, 2015, 7:07 pm

Thank you for these writeups. The level of detail is greatly appreciated.

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