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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Society of American Magicians! » » SAM 2013 Convention... your thoughts? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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magringo
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So far so good...the location is great (except parking is expensive -- even on the street, except free after 6 pm). Dealer room is okay -- not too many dealers, and they're complaining that there's not much traffic so far -- maybe because people are still arriving -- yesterday was a work day. In any case -- I'm excited about the lectures for today (July 4) and for the rest of the convention. I just wish parking wouldn't be something to have to deal with.
magringo
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The room for the show is really not great ... and those in the back have complained it's hard to see much of anything. The stage is high enough off the ground, but still when you have 500-600 chairs laid out in rows across a flat floor it's not great. I'd suggest in the future that SAM find a nearby theatre to use.
magringo
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Dealer room for SAM 2013 was eh, at best. And I was surprised to see not too many of them ... not more than 15 or so and most of them were the same guys that make the rounds of other shows.
Peter Cuddihy
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Magringo,

For those of us who cannot attend, please tell us what you really liked: what the highlights of the convention were.

Thanks.

Peter Cuddihy
edhagins
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I have enjoyed the lectures and the shows although nothing in either has made me jump for joy.
The closeup contest was marred by sound problems .
The stage contest made my heart skip a beat as I was transported back to a time when,for me, magic was still magical . That feeling was brought on by the performance of a Korean lad who did things with cards that I found astounding and delightful.
I and my family are disappointed that there are no public shows in a real theater.
The sound system in the main room is dismal with constant pops and echos .
From the feedback I'm getting from the youth, The SYM program seems to be less organized and appealing than it was last year. The "SYM ice cream social" was reduced to a coupon at a mall Ice cream stand with no seating and the SYM Autograph party had only one "star performer" that bothered to show up for the children. Even some of the youth performers didn't think it was worth attending and didn't show.
In defense of the SYM organizers , I was told that the schedule for the Conference proper was continually in flux , making it hard to make plans for the children's activities.
magringo
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I missed yesterday's lectures to take care of things at home. I attended the Magic of Japan show and the juggler was absolutely amazing -- for him along -- it was worth going to the show. I could tell the magicians worked hard at their art -- and I enjoyed very much the Japanese take on style and with culture and music -- that was great. But as edhagins said above -- the organizers should have found a nearby theatre to use instead of a convention style layout where it was hard to see anything past 15 rows. The two side projects were also not very good -- fuzzy at best -- and then again who wants to look at projectors at a live magic show. This was my first SAM convention ... but I'll be hesistant to go again unless they organize better. There's too much down time in between lectures -- when they could have organized the convention in two and a half days instead of nearly four days.
Stanyon
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So basically you got less bang for more bucks!?
Stanyon

aka Steve Taylor

"Every move a move!"

"If you've enjoyed my performance half as much as I've enjoyed performing for you, then you've enjoyed it twice as much as me!"
Peter Cuddihy
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Thanks for posting about some of the highlights.

Did anyone make it to Denny Haney's Egg Bag Lecture?

That would definitely have been worth seeing.
bmmagic24
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I agree with magringo, the ball room is certainly not a good place for a magic show. And its very frustrating that the screen projectors on either side are not crisp or lighted well at all. In addition the camera wouldn't zoom up on the performers so it really wasn't any better than looking at the stage. They've had those projections since at least 2009 and I think its really time they invest in better technology to be able to showcase the close up magic...especially if they're not willing to rent a local theater. The SAM convention in PIttsburgh two years ago was much better IMO. Joshua Jay was great, both his lecture and his tragic magic talk. The evening shows were better and they were held at the Byham theater in downtown Pittsburgh, an infinitely nicer venue. With this convention, I was unimpressed and often bored by the Japan show. I think that trying to have a deaf magic show AND a foreign magic show in one convention is too much.
Steve Friedberg
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Did anyone attend the close-up sessions during late night? If so, how did they go?
Cheers,
Steve

"A trick does not fool the eyes, but fools the brain." -- John Mulholland
magringo
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Saturday evening's show "Denny and Friends" was absolutely great -- funny ...funny ...funny!!!!! just too bad it wasn't in a theater.
MrBob102
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The Saturday night show was the top event of the whole convention. The comedy magicians couldn't have done it better. My stomach still hurts from the belly laughs. The sub-trunk metamorphous may still be going on.
SKILL
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Any coments on the close up contest winers ?
In order to arrive at perfeccion
you must go through the failure
Japanese Thoughts
RichardShure
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The Hotel was expensive but it was great. There was plenty of room to hang out and meet with friends. As you walked around there were many, many places that people were jamming, talking, and hanging out together. The Hotel also was located to many places where you could grab a bite to eat. There were also some small stores very close within the walking tunnels. This was great as it did not make you feel like a prisoner of the Hotel.

The lectures were simply too quick. I think everyone got an hour except for Stephen Bargatze. He had a great lecture but was able to go on for much longer. Although I did enjoy Steve Marshall's lecture very much as he had some very unique things. Denny did not have enough time for his Egg Bag Lecture, but you did get a good lesson. There were no bad lectures...just rushed ones.

The setup for the late night shows was less than optimal. First, The sound was horrible. Constant mic problems, cracking, popping, and sometimes not working at all. I am stunned that we can't get this right. How long do we have to put up with this substandard tech??? I talked with one PNP about it, but he seemed to think everything was rosy so I suspect that nothing will change on that. Back to the layout of the room. That did not bother me as much, I was seated about midway back. But I think that combined with the poor sound is what made people start to complain. I understand that theaters are expensive...but the money you save on not using one should be funneled into better sound and cameras!!!

Interesting talks were Bruce Kalvar's tech talk and the one on ethics. (Although, very few people showed up for the ethics talk).

The shows: I liked the diversity of the shows. However, the Japan show and the Deaf show went on too long. They could have been cut shorter and would have received a better reaction. The juggler in the Japan show was utterly amazing. I was happy with all the shows and and was not disappointed. The final comedy show could not be better. Somewhere in the beginning of the convention, Bargatze made a comment about how long someone could be on without being funny. That bit became a running gag in the convention and just made everything better.

Let me say again . . . the shows were good. The delivered what they said they would. The competition acts were very good this year. Perhaps the best they have been in years. The stars of tomorrow show was excellent as usual. Where do they find this great young talent?

They also had an organized late night jam session that I think was fantastic. Many people enjoyed this including the young magicians. I want to give a shout out to some of the Big Names that I saw hanging out and being personable with the younger magicians, Stephen Bargatze, Eric DeCamps, Jon Armstrong, and Christian & Katalina. I saw all these performers performing close up for the people while hanging out, talking with, and just generally being nice. I heard some younger magicians talking how thrilled they were that they got to hang out with a couple of stars.

All in all a very fun convention.
edhagins
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One "Japanese ?" fellow did some nice card magic that looked like it must have been "black art" involved. it looked good on the projection screens but I made a point of getting up and moving closer to the performing area right after he finished and I'm sure I saw gaffs fully exposed on his close up pad. I wondered if the effects were specially designed for the camera only at the cost of exposure to live viewers.
MrBob102
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Shin Lim's close-up was just for the cameras. If you were one of the few that were close to the table you could see the pockets, gaffs, etc. He had the camera folks dim the projection a little so you couldn't see the gaffs. I think the judges must have realized what was goi8ng on as he did not place in the awards. Congratulations to Alberto Lorenzo in his close-up routine!
cafeinst
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I only got to see the Variety Show. I missed the Japan show and Denny Haney & Friends because I keep the Sabbath. I liked the Variety Show, although I wish there had been more magic and less other stuff. I liked the Charlie Chaplain Metamorphasis act though. Who was the host with the funny blond wig and lisp? He was funny.

The dealer room was great. I bought more than I thought I would buy. I met Wladimir there. He is an incredibly talented and impressive magician. I bought one of his card tricks. It allows me to do a miracle with cards. He also showed me a machine that prints money, which was hilarious. I would love to see him perform in a show.
mindpirate
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I enjoyed all of the lectues and shows. Some of the lectures were rushed, and some were more just hocking of wares, but overall I feel like was able to learn something from each lecture. Being local I was able to deal with the expensive parking. I managed to get free street parking for over half of the convention.

I had an amazing time at the Underground Magic Sessions. I was able to get some great advice on some effects I have been working on, and give some advice on others effects pretty much every night. I made some new friends, and learned a lot from others who attended. The night where a group of laymen came up was shocking because we were not ecpecting anyone but magicians, but I was able to see Eric Jones perform for them, which was really entertaining to watch. I also was able to perform that night as well, and it was great practice. I hope this element of the convention continues in the future. I think it will be a huge resource for lots of people.
~MindPirate~
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Intrepid
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I'm 6'2" and enjoyed watching the "magic from Japan" and "Denny and friends". My wife who is 5'4" on the other hand could not see anything from our seats and the video projection quality was poor. She was not happy. I doubt she'll ever come to another SAM convention, which makes my future attendance questionable.
Bob
magringo
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Let's be honest, it's not easy to put one of these conventions together...and I hope the organizers will read these notes and take them as suggestions to improve next year and increase attendance. These are the elements to consider:
-- good location (easy to get to)
-- reasonable rates for hotel and airfares; Marriott is a good choice, BUT the higher priced Marriott's charge A LOT for parking ... and don't offer free internet in rooms (the organizers of the convention should be able to negotiate that to zero for convention goers).
-- theater for all shows
-- AV must be crisp, bright and viewable from anywhere (but keep in mind that people who go to live shows want to see it "live" ...not on a screen
-- don't stretch out the days and leave too much room in between lectures, shows, etc... unless you're planning outside group activities
-- make sure there are plenty of nearby (reasonable cost) restaurants
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