FISM 2022 Day Three

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CraigMitchell
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FISM 2022 Day Three

Postby CraigMitchell » July 28th, 2022, 12:06 am

FISM 2022 – Day Three

These early mornings don’t get easier ...

Onto the contest with a summary of Wednesday’s stage magic

WED STAGE MAGIC

1 Yann Yuro - Mentalism … 5 easels, 5 random pictures and a force of a secret word which didn’t work. Despite this, he has an enjoyable stage presence about him.

2 Filiberto Selvi – General … charming act of a musician busker with a misers dream and appearing and vanishing money. Some beautiful moments of coins suspended in midair ( frozen in time is a definite theme of FISM 2025 )

3 Mawarimichi – Comedy … two words which instill fear in any audience member at FISM. Comedy and mentalism. Here we have aspect one. Men in drag … or so we hope … doing a Hans Moretti inspired swords through box complete with helium balloons. “Comedy” is a relative term.

4 Luca Mercatelli – General … amateur hour below FISM standard that should have been buzzed. Workshop themed act with mini-buzz saw, multiplying wrenches and a bizarre moment of pliers on nipple. This kink aspect at FISM is starting to get out of hand ;-)

5 Francesca Della Bona – Manipulation … a bright spot in the competition and prize contender with watches to billiard balls, balls and cards suspended in time, smooth manipulation, a dose of cards to smoke … a crowd favorite.

6 Pierre Spiry – General … giant shopping bags outside a taxi stand. Bird pooping on waistcoast, zombie perfume bottles, color changing waistcoat and the lean illusion in a thunderstorm.

7 Massimo Rossi – Comedy … comedic nightmare more like it. A supposed take on magician manipulators with shards of mirror complete with strange sound effects that was more akin to him making love to himself on stage. Shard produced from crotch was a clear favorite. Condoms and sperm yesterday. Nipples and crotch today.

8 Gaia Rossi – Manipulation … female manipulator with lipstick marks on cards ( why ? ) Visible steals and mini-popup car shades as props. Jacket comes off to reveal what appears to be a corset ( why ? )

9 Doc 3J – Mentalism … refer point 3 above. Doc Brown impersonation gone horribly wrong with a prediction that failed to work and a nightmare attempt at passing video editing off as magic. Does he not know that we do all have iMovie on our home computers. It is not magic.

10 Ricky Chang – General … set in a bar with bottle and cocktail production. Sadly not very memorable.

11 Morten Christiansen – Comedy … the standout act. Pure gold. Rick-Merill-esque of a forgetful performer – bordering on the autism spectrum - who has note cards to remind him of what to do. Socks and watches vanish throughout. Comedy magic that is actually magical ( who would have thought ) Prize winner right here. Bravo.

12 Nikolai Striebel – Manipulation … pen caps as thimbles, billiard balls to paper planes and a super visual vanish of said plane.

13 Ding Yang – General … near flawless dove work producing birds from her feet. It’s 2022 though. Dove magic is just not socially acceptable. Magicians are apparently deaf to this reality.


Standards are definitely on the up compared to yesterday – and we’ve identified our first FISM 2022 contest trend – items ‘frozen in time’ suspended mid-flight.

WED CLOSE-UP

1 Cedric Faure – Parlour … Nespresso magic with a George Clooney ipad appearance resulting in selected card in coffee pod. Ho hum.

2 Adrian Vega – Cards … named card revealed at fingertips. Beautiful visual melting of a card under a flame. ‘Three fly’ with card corners resulting in restoration … and signed card ending in a bottle. When did close-up magic turn into a rock concert ? Intelligent lighting and heavy-hitting music for the finale.

3 Olamc – Cards … disaster of a performance. Let’s cover some basics which Olmac has missed.
a - Audiences need to be able to see you. Performing your act so the table is in complete darkness makes zero sense.
b - Audiences need to be able to hear you. Telling the sound man to keep playing the music louder whilst you have a talking act does not help.

There may have been some good magic here – but who knows who got to actually see it. And no, you don’t get to blame the tech team. This one is all on Olmac.

4 Miraver – Micro … dice stacking, dice stacking and more dice stacking. Never seen the appeal. Its more akin to juggling. Audience love it though.
5 Mellow – Parlor … Polaroid themed act extracting items from the photos ending with a selected memory revealing itself in a previously taken photograph.

6 Markobi – Cards … we have a winner. If Lennart Green and Chad Long had a baby. Spectator finds their selection amidst general chaos and apparent mayhem by bumbling magician that appears unscripted – but is so wickedly planned. Love it.

7 Pere Rafard – Cards … never ending stream of cards from card box from card box – with hyper visuals of pips falling off, being vacuumed from the table and card faces visually morphing as deck is spun around.
8 Yannick Lacroix – Micro … throwing cups into ones jacket does not a vanish make. Nor does turning your back to produce an item.

9 Magic Maxl – Parlor … sweet kid getting ready for school. Act is saved by an amazing floating egg at the end of the act but otherwise not yet ready for FISM prime time. One to watch for the future though.

10 Noah – Micro … Escher meets magic in a 2d/3d shape filled act. Not quite sure if opening an actual flap in your heavily gimmicked table counts as magic.

11 Robin Deville – Cards … Dr Jekyll and Mr Hide-esque – red and blue beakers- signed carding ending up under the table cloth complete with Don Juan in red suit.

What a day of magic ! And we’ve still got the evening gala show to go.

WED GALA SHOW

I take my hat off to the Canadians - they are certainly reimagining what a convention gala show could be. Tonight’s theme – The FISM Quebec TV show … complete with full-on live band, talk show hosts, interview couch and more.

Lowlights:

- The hosts’ talk show banter went on for far too long … if we are going to run the show in English – stick to it. The continual quasi French/English attempts to appeal to both don’t work. Having non-magicians host the show is a questionable choice.

- The ventriloquist. The guy is good. But what feels like 20 minutes is pushing our limits.

Highlights:
– Tana Manga’s beautiful piano 4 ace style card routine that borders on art – projected on the big screen, it is something special that has to be seen to be appreciated.

- Topas … the merger of music and magic in his ‘One More’ appearing speaker routine was incredibly fun ( and so much better than I last recall it )

- Shawn Farquhar’s infectious energy. He simply lights up the room.

- The live band … live music elevates any show. Few realise what a privilege ( and expense ) to have such a feature in a gala show.

All in all, the concept was a good one. The execution not always entirely there. But I appreciate the vision and the incredible effort that went into it. As magic convention gala shows go – it’s a remarkable feat. And most importantly of all, is pushing boundaries which we so desperately need.

It's already midnight … three full days still to go.

Brace yourselves.

*** For photos and other live FISM updates - be sure to join the FB Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/fismmagic/

Brad Henderson
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Re: FISM 2022 Day Three

Postby Brad Henderson » July 28th, 2022, 12:33 am

The morning began for me with a wonderful presentation by Jarod Kopf. 8:30 AM is too early for proper wizardry, but I don’t think any familiar with Jarod’s work left disappointed.

And guess what - no tricks were taught.

But magic happened and lessons were learned. A great example of teaching by example. It was a genuine magical experience with real humanity and actual emotion. Those who were there will not forget. Those who were not would not understand.

I then popped into the second half of the stage contests.

As I feared, contests are awful for an art form.

For the craft - they push us further. But as I said, all contests having to appeal to the judges’ tastes are always backward looking.

Doing standard tricks with new methods but instead of thimbles using office supplies is not a step forward. Neither is any act where the performer must be in the dark.

There were two highlights for most - three if we judge based on absolute value. (Which is a shame because say what you want about the the back to the future act, the guy had energy and commitment. With better material, and a proper license to use the IP, it had real theme park show potential. But it didn’t ‘work’ - and I say that on many levels.).

Morton Christiansen’s act about being forgetful was genuinely entertaining, engaging, human (was the the only real human I saw on stage that morning?) and magical in ways that were fulfilling in surprising ways. And many of the types of magical moments he created were of exactly the type of thing magicians eat up.

And now for what I know will be an unpopular opinion - though nearly perfectly executed, beautifully staged and clearly the result of years of hard work and practice - let’s be honest - The strongest response went to what was basically a dove act for foot fetishists.

Producing a dove is the creation of life.

Read that again - it should be a freaking miracle. But it seems magicians want to pop out birds just because they can. And while we can appreciate how difficult it is to do that with one’s hands let alone one’s feet - isn’t this just glorified juggling for insiders?

I’d rather see someone produce one dove and make me care.

After the stage acts I watched the entirely of the close up acts. Again - if you have to do your act in the dark, you don’t have an act. And magicians are easy audiences - too easy. Visual nonsense is eaten up like crack laced candy.

The feelings conveyed by Visual magic are the most shallow of magical experiences. And they require the least effort from the audience.

Many have lamented the laziness of magicians, but it seems they don’t even want to put forth an effort in their own amusement.

Case in point, Markobi brought down the house with non visual magic and a killer personality that revealed his humanity. I’d like to see his hands look less like Lennert’s at the outset, but he was no clone.

I think today was the first time I saw a close up contestant introduce themselves to the audience.

If you aren’t willing to say hi, you aren’t willing to connect. And if you aren’t willing to connect, you aren’t doing close up.

Having Said that, my favorite act was by Noah. I’ve long observed magic is the only art to never go through an abstract period - and likely won’t because of its inherent objectivist nature.

But this was the closest I think I’ve seen. It was minimalist and beautiful and moved in worlds beyond the tropes of cards and coins and rings. And the trap door didn’t matter. This was an act about shapes and dimensions and depth. It was more than just an attempt to ‘fool’. It certainly did that at times, but it also did other things.

We can’t say that about many of the contest acts - can we?

I loved it. I’m curious if anybody hated it. I hope many did. Anything truly progressive and interesting will always be polarizing - but this was the highlight of that session for me.

I found the gala show dull. The talk show idea isn’t particularly original or engaging and came across as more than a little self congratulatory and self serving - in spite of the attempt to dilute that with humor. Far too little magic for what is supposed to be the greatest magic convention in the world. The most interesting offerings came from Tana Manga but the card act didn’t go nearly far enough for my taste because - it stopped with cards. The keyboard concept opens up so many more possibilities than that. Why do we insist on making everything a card trick?

Their other act - honestly, was it magic or a playlet with special effects. Is there a difference? I think so. I don’t think anyone - lay audience or magician, has a ‘magic moment’ seeing a box open up by itself in a staged play. They experience it as a special effect and not a magic trick. Not that there’s anything wrong with creating a staged playlet with special effects - but the feelingful result is not, I contend, the same as when we see a piece of “magic.”

I won’t comment on other matters because some ego’s cannot take anything other than abject obsequiousness. But part of the show revealed more truth than I think may have been intended. All good jokes are built on some truth, are they not?

So far, the quality of contest acts (for the greatest part) have not been anything close to inspiring - less Olympics and more ‘college track meet’ - though I think the athletic comparison made during the gala is apt - yes lots of hard work and dedication are required, but this is more about craft and Technique than ideas or artistry. When you have to appeal to what judges like you always end up trodding the same ground. Only the objects seem to change. (Note: I have not seen all the contest acts. But enough I fell my disappointment is reasonable.)

The first nights show was truly innovative and interesting. The past two evenings were nothing to write home about - irony noted.

Bob Plaut
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Re: FISM 2022 Day Three

Postby Bob Plaut » July 28th, 2022, 7:46 am

"I’d rather see someone produce one dove and make me care."

I love this.

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Re: FISM 2022 Day Three

Postby erdnasephile » July 28th, 2022, 9:46 am

Brad Henderson wrote: Doing standard tricks with new methods but instead of thimbles using office supplies is not a step forward.


I've been waiting years for a contest reviewer to have enough guts to point this out. I even have a book on my shelf by a well-known magic coach that argues that the object of your theme act is one of the big keys to "originality". IMHO, simply replacing the balls under the cups with AA batteries does not in and of itself advance the art.

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Re: FISM 2022 Day Three

Postby Edward Pungot » July 28th, 2022, 9:56 am

Bob Plaut wrote:"I’d rather see someone produce one dove and make me care."

I love this.

If the gloves don’t fit, turn them into a dove
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=G3F7nkkxOO8

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Re: FISM 2022 Day Three

Postby Tom Stone » July 28th, 2022, 10:17 am

erdnasephile wrote:
Brad Henderson wrote: Doing standard tricks with new methods but instead of thimbles using office supplies is not a step forward.


I've been waiting years for a contest reviewer to have enough guts to point this out. I even have a book on my shelf by a well-known magic coach that argues that the object of your theme act is one of the big keys to "originality". IMHO, simply replacing the balls under the cups with AA batteries does not in and of itself advance the art.

"Trick Brain" thinking... And somehow, loads of people are still recommending Fitzkee to those who want to evolve.

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Re: FISM 2022 Day Three

Postby Tarotist » July 28th, 2022, 11:31 am

I have always thought that originality was over rated. Sometimes it is useful but it really isn't a big deal. The only thing that NEEDS to be original is your personality.

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Re: FISM 2022 Day Three

Postby Tom Stone » July 28th, 2022, 11:50 am

Tarotist wrote:I have always thought that originality was over rated. Sometimes it is useful but it really isn't a big deal. The only thing that NEEDS to be original is your personality.

Originality is largely misunderstood. It isn't an end goal in itself. When people aim for originality, it often become unconvincing and artificial. Originality happens as a side effect when the work is done properly.

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Re: FISM 2022 Day Three

Postby Tarotist » July 28th, 2022, 5:17 pm

True. I never make any attempt at originality but sometimes it happens when I am trying to make an effect suit me or I am trying to get over some difficulty in the original instruction.

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Re: FISM 2022 Day Three

Postby Bizzaro » July 28th, 2022, 7:27 pm

Tom Stone wrote:
Tarotist wrote:I have always thought that originality was over rated. Sometimes it is useful but it really isn't a big deal. The only thing that NEEDS to be original is your personality.

Originality is largely misunderstood. It isn't an end goal in itself. When people aim for originality, it often become unconvincing and artificial. Originality happens as a side effect when the work is done properly.


To be considered "original" to the majority in magic all you have to do is turn a prop 90 degrees and paint it a different color. The bar is low given the laziness of the glut of our art.
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Re: FISM 2022 Day Three

Postby Bizzaro » July 28th, 2022, 7:28 pm

aving Said that, my favorite act was by Noah. I’ve long observed magic is the only art to never go through an abstract period - and likely won’t because of its inherent objectivist nature.


I think this is because magic is fundamentally already abstract and surreal on it's own a lot of the times.
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Re: FISM 2022 Day Three

Postby JHostler » July 28th, 2022, 9:19 pm

Tom Stone wrote:
Tarotist wrote:I have always thought that originality was over rated. Sometimes it is useful but it really isn't a big deal. The only thing that NEEDS to be original is your personality.

Originality is largely misunderstood. It isn't an end goal in itself. When people aim for originality, it often become unconvincing and artificial. Originality happens as a side effect when the work is done properly.


Originality alone may not be a viable end goal, but "something original/unique in a specific, desired, purposeful way" very well could be. Artists like Andy Kaufman (for example) have excelled in this very area.
"Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong." H.L. Mencken

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Re: FISM 2022 Day Three

Postby Tarotist » July 28th, 2022, 9:50 pm

Most of the classic tricks are pretty good the way they are. Not a lot of need for originality there especially when laymen don't know you are being original in the first place. And as the old saying goes, "many a good trick has been killed by improvement" and you can substitute the word "originality" for "improvement".
However it is far more important that YOU should be original---the trick much less so.

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Re: FISM 2022 Day Three

Postby Brad Henderson » July 28th, 2022, 10:55 pm

Bizzaro wrote:
aving Said that, my favorite act was by Noah. I’ve long observed magic is the only art to never go through an abstract period - and likely won’t because of its inherent objectivist nature.


I think this is because magic is fundamentally already abstract and surreal on it's own a lot of the times.


Magic is the exact opposite of abstract. In order to do things impossible one must always be rooted in reality/objectivism.

Surrealism and abstraction are two very different things.

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Re: FISM 2022 Day Three

Postby Bizzaro » July 28th, 2022, 11:48 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:Magic is the exact opposite of abstract. In order to do things impossible one must always be rooted in reality/objectivism.

From wikipedia "Abstraction indicates a departure from reality" so while magics props might START in reality, (as most things do), by nature it makes normal things do unnatrual things otherwise it's not really magic. Your definitions and mileage may vary.

Brad Henderson wrote:Surrealism and abstraction are two very different things.

Never said they were....
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