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magic4u02
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Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
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Hi all,

I figured I would start a blog here and try and enter in information directly from the 2006 convention and fill people in each day on the happenings and the fun going on. This way those who can not be there can get a taste for the happenings, and those who are there can also chime in with their own ideas and thoughts also. It might be a fun way to share the convention experience with others.

If you are at the covention, please feel free to chime in and post your daily experiences as well. This will be a fun way for each other to share experiences.

Day 1 - Tuesday, July 11th - 5:41 am

Man it is way too early for me to get my sorry butt out of bed. However the thought of things to come and the friends I will meet keeps me going as I know we will all have a great time. Everything is packed although I keep thinking I am forgetting something of importance.

I just packed up the Magic Café stickers and will have those available later today once we arrive. If you are attending, the stckers can be picked up at the registration booth area and also Craig Dickson's booth. These stickers can be placed on your name badges as a way of Café members to be able to identify each other. We hope it may get people talking and being able to greet each other a lot easier.

Well we are almost done here packing up and getting things ready. We have a nice crowd going from the Philadelphia area and a bunch of us are meeting at a friend's house to drive down to the Philadelphia airport together to catch the flight. We should be in Louisville by around 3:30pm Louisville time. We will then plan on checking in and then seeing the area of the hotel and the registration booth to drop off stickers and then see what we want to do from there. Probably site see a bit as well as check out a place to eat dinner.

Well, I best get going for now as we have have to finish packing and get ourselves out the door. I am still asleep, but figure I will wake up sometime on the plane. hehe I look forwward to seeing many of you today and tomorrow as the convention kicks off and gets started.

I will try and write more today once we arrive at the convention and keep everyone posted on the happenings.

Kyle
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Steve Haffner
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Hi Kyle,

I like the blog idea. I can contribute a few reports from the perspective of a local and a first-time conventioneer.

I just made a brief stop after work today to check in and pick up an extra ticket for the all-gal gala for my daughter - and of course get my Café sticker. My first time inside the Marriott - nice. It's new (2 years old) and a great choice for the convention.

Visitors, make sure you check out the nearby "4th Street Live" area - some fun restaurants and clubs.

I know Louisville is no Vegas or Chicago, but for a smallish burg we're okay. Downtown has improved a ton in the last few years, and there are some big things in the pipeline for the near future.

But for now, one tip. (I know, it's probably too late for most people who are here, but if you have your laptop...) The most FUN place to eat is Lynn's Paradise Café. It's not within walking distance, but it's worth the short drive. The food is great, they give you a ton of it, and the decor is, um, eclectic. And funny.

Have a great time at the SAM!

- Steve Haffner
magic4u02
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Eternal Order
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Hi Steve,

Thanks so much for chiming in here and offering your great tips. For those of us out ot town, we greatly appreciate the hospitality and advice you can give to us. I will have to check out the Café when I get a chance to.

Day 1 - Tuesday, July 11th - 11:10pm EST.

Well after dragging myself out of bed and realizing why I juat am not a morning person at all, I finally woke up enough to get breakfast, take a quick shower and get on the road. We met up with a few others of us coming from Philadelphia, PA and we decided to all come down together to save on money and parking and such. bsides, it is always so much better of a time when you spend it with friends and fellow magis.

We arrived at the Philadelphia airport and had no problems with security even if a lot of our carry on items contained devices and gimmicks only magicians would truely understand. It went uneventful.

The flight to Chicago was a blast as SouthWest Airlines went out of their way to have the stwards ve funny. The stewards we had were a riot and it did not take long to realize that with 10 or more folks with cards doing card fans, that a majority of the flieght was made up of entirely magicians.

One of our SYM members (who will be competing in the close-up competition) was asked to show magic to others and children on the fleight. It was a riot seeing him work the group and perform magic on an airplane. Everyone had a blast and I got a chance to video tape the entire ordeal. Not every often you get a chance to work an airline hehe. Always potential for weird gig locations. =)

We got to Louisville at about 3:15pm EST and surprised our younger group members by having a stretch limo waiting for us all with their names on the sign. Everyone got a kick out of it and we took a group picture before piling in for our fun and luxurious journy from the airport to the hotel.

I must say I was and am very impressed with the hotel and the accomodations so far. The hotel is very nice and the room my wife and I have is very spacious. No problems with registering and checking in and everything ran smoothly. I was almost afraid to try the elevatirs as in some SAM conventions in the past, they took forever to even get to the floor you need them to be at. It was nice to know there was no problems here.

Once we checked in we had to go exploring and seeing what was around and getting ourselves aquainted with where everything was. We were able to sneak into the dealers room a bit early and man it is always likea big kid in a candy store for me. I think there must be at least 30 dealers or at least it appears that way. Many familiar faces and I was met by a lot of great friends and others from here at the Café.

I got a chance to stop by and say thanks to Craig Dickson for running off the Café Member stickers we are using on badges to identify each other. If you are here and have not oicked yours up yet, they are on the board where the registration desk is. Just peelone off and attach it to your name badge. So far is has been working great and a lot of us Café members have been able to identify each other much easier this way.

I must say I met so many of you so far and it was a pleasure to have the chance to shake people's hands and chat with fellow Café members like I did. If you see me around, please stop by and say hello. It would be my pleasure to speak with you.

It was also wonderful to speak to Michael P Lair. He has a booth in the dealer's room and you can not miss it with the colorful fans and apearing swords and the candles that he has been known for. It was a pleasure speaking to Michael and having a chance tolook over some of the new things he has brought with him. I was there talking and looking for quite some time as he has some really great stage stuff and things I certainly know I am going to check out and talk to him about for adding to my own stage show. Michael was kind enough as always to talk to me about things and I really appreciated it. Check out his booth and all the others if you get a chance to.

I also got to thank and greet Richard Hughes, Dwayne Laflin, Crazy Man Bob Little and Mark Mason. Mark has a lot of new stuff this year as he is constantly coming up with new creations. I think I was camped out there for a while as he demonstarted an effect that simply has to be seen to understand. Well there went my first bucks spent within 20 minutes of entering the dealer'sroom. hehe Oh wells, I knew it would happen and there are stuff I am certainly going to get and use for my shows.

The food we ate at Champions Bar and grille (in the hotel) was not too bad at all. We had a good dinner and then went back up to the dealers room where we ran into a lot of other familiar friends.

It was a great thrill to see my logo on the convention t-shirts. As many of you know I am a graphic designer and artist and so I was able todesign a convention lolgo that ended up on the shirts this year. Jean and her crew did a great job with all the merchandise and it is my hopes to be able to help them and others in the SAM in the coming months ahead with new projects. If you have not stopped by the SAM merchandise table, stop by and say hello to Jean for me.

The big thrill of the evening was heading downstairs and running into none other then the legendary Mohammed Ali (sp). I was wondering why there were a few people around and such. He was very generous with his time and he loves magic as he not only watched but participated in the magic being done. Many took pictures and he still was able to strike his classic boxing pose. It was a thrill to meet this man and a great way to start off a convention.

The evening was spent jamming with magic in the lobby area outsideof the dealers room etc. There is a lot of room this year at the hotel for people to be able tomeet, greet and just share magic with each other.

Well, I better get back downstairs and see what is going on. It seems as I growolder, I still am a big kid at these conventions. So much to see and learn and do.

I hope to chime in at least once every day if not more frequently as time permits. If you are here at the convention, please say hello to me and also please chime in with your own thoughts and ideas here for others to be able to get a taste of what the convention was all about.

Until tomorrow, have a great night.

Kyle
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BaseballMagic
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Hey Kyle, and Everyone Else-
The car is all packed and we're ready to go! My Mom and I are leaving right now, and we should get there around 3-3:30. See you all then! I can't wait!
Magically,
Michael Platt
Teen Magician Michael Platt
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Live the Magic!
magic4u02
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Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
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Michael,

I look forward to meting you and working with you at the Stars of Tomorrow show. Hurry and get here as we all are havibg a wonderful time. See you later this afternoon.

Kyle
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magic4u02
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I am goin to try and do my blog for yesterday as soon as I get the chance to. We have the close-up contest this morning and I want to make sure I get a chance to get down there for it. One of my SYM students is entered in it and I want to be sure to give him my full support. I will try and write the blog for yesterday just as soon as the close-up contest is finished.

If anyone else cares to chime in with their thoughts on yesterday's events, please feel free to do so in the meantime.

Kyle
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magic4u02
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Day 2 - July 12th

What a great day indeed and a fun way to kick off the convention. The opening ceremonies started around 1:30 and was started with Richard Dooley (sp) coming out in baseball gear and swinging a bat. The bat can be signed by attendees at the registration area and will be placed into the SAM Hall of Fame. It went well and the dealers room was open before the ceremonies started for folks to check out he new goods and buy things that will probably remain in our drawers at home along with the 50 other efects we bought at the last convention. Hehe I onlylaugh cause I am sure how we all can relate. The dealers room is a big candy store from grown up kids.

After the opening ceremony they conducted something new this year called a 5 in 1 lecture session. It was basically 5 folks taking their time on stage to do about 10 minutes of a lecture. We had some wonderful magic presented to us from folks such as Mark Mason, Dwayne Laflin, Joe Mogar and others. It went over very well and I can say I did learn some stuff from it.

At 2:30 my wife Kelly took part in the first of many sessions being held this year. The sessions are relativly new to the convention but are going over well from folks I have talked with. They basically are mini-styleworkshops covering off on various topics. My wife was involved in the session entitled, "Magic with a Feminine Touch". It was very well attended and well received with standing room only and a packed room. The panel consisted of female magicians such as Arian Black, Luna Shimada and others. a Q and A session was conducted and many great insites and stories were told.

I then attended the first of several SYM activities geared towards the SYM members in attendance. The Kids Do Magic for Kids was will attended by SYM young members and many had not only the chance to share in their magic, but to also meet new friends. It was a great way for the SYM members to meet each other before other activities take place.

The evening gala show was the annual stage contest. I was a bit saddened to hear there was no junior contest again this year. Those of you who know me know my involvement in youth in magic and it saddens me to see that in 2 years in a row they have had to cancel he junior contest due to low turnouts. I really am trying to stress to folks here and through out the year the importance to get junior and young magicians excited about and intersted in competing at the national level. It is soemthing we need to promote more and get the word out. It is the junior SYM members who are the future of the SYM and I would hate to see the junior stage contest not be done due to lack of turnout or lack of advertising it.

However, the senior stage contest this evening was simply incredible and I could say that it was one of the best they have had in years. There were 11 senior stage contestants from all over the world with some incredible and creative thinking. I could try and describe each one, but that would just take too long here so I can fill anyone in if anyone would like to know. Just ask or PM me for details.

Dwayne Laflin did a great job as always in keeping the contest rolling as the offcial MC for the contest. It should be interesting at the awards ceremony as the caliber of creative acts was very god indeed. I throughly enjoyed it.

The only negative comment I would make was the fact of them having to hold the stage contest at the hotel ballroom. With the flat floor and even though there was a stage platform, it was just very hard for the audience to see each act. Many folks moved to the back and stood just to see the acts being presented.

Well,that is about it for now. I will try and write more later as events take place and share my thoughts with you all.Please feel free to chime in here if you are at the convention or if you have any questions. I would be happy to answer themfor you.

Kyle
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magic4u02
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Hi all. I promise I will get around to typing in my feedback and ideas for the remainder days of the convention. With my duties being tied up with the Stars of Tomorrow show and the SYM activities, it has been a hectic past 2 days. Hectic, but rewarding and an incredible experience.

When I get a few minutes in the next day or two, I will be sure to chime in with the remainnder thoughts on the last 2 day's events and my thoughts overall.

I will say that the magic Café stickers have gone over very well and I will also go into more details on this as well.

Kyle
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Steve Haffner
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Just a few thoughts on my first magic convention.

I live in Louisville so it was easier to attend for me than had it been out of town, but either way it was well worth the time and money spent.

I spent about $120 on junk, I mean, on cool magic stuff. Now I just have to figure out how to use it. What am I gonna do with a $20 Juliana Chen manipulation deck? Hmmm, it seemed like a good idea at the time. But I'm happy with what I purchased and can't wait to try out my new Shrinking Head illusion from Bruce Kalver.

The gala shows were tremendous. Getting a chance to see that many top performers over a 3-day span was unbelievable. There were a few technical difficulties at times, but for the most part things seemed to go well. My personal favorites were:
Steve Bargatze
Arden James
Lynn Trefzger (ventriloquist)
Juliana Chen
Tony Chapek
Mac King

I was a bit overwhelmed while watching the stage contest - I think it was a little too much to take in 11 acts, and some of them had similar effects. Plus it was hard to see the whole stage in the hotel ballroom.

I had mixed reactions to both the close-up contest and pro close-up performances. I saw a lot more flashing than I thought I would. I really enjoyed some of them and some left me cold. I don't think I would have the guts to perform a routine involving IT in front of a white wall, but it probably couldn't have been helped.
But I do applaud everyone who got up there and gave it their best.

The steamboat ride was a great idea and very fun.

My only criticism of the event's organization was that two popular lectures (Julianna Chen and Gene Anderson) were scheduled at the same times as the pro close-up performances. Gene jokingly commented that he should have charged more and they wouldn't have done that to him.

I guess that's a wrap. Final analysis: great time, I'd do it a again.

- Steve Haffner
FCpreacher
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I was only able to get away on Wednesday. It was my first big convention and I loved it. Could someone post here (if you remember) the results of the stage contest? I loved the acts and the many friends that I met. Harry Riser even took some time to sit down with me and session for a little while. It was great.

FC
magic4u02
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The stage results were as follows:

1st place stage went to Jay Mattioli
2nd place stage went to Latko of Argentina

1st place Close-up went to Rod Chow of Canada
2nd place Close-up went to a guy from Macao, China. I am sorry but I forget his name. He was the one that did the really nice routine to music with the wine glasses.

Hope this helps. It was great seeing you there Forrest and hope you might get a chance to attendnext year's convention as well.

Kyle
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Jim Stan Magic Man
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Kyle,
It was nice to meet you at the convention. Do you know who won the people's choice award for stage? I did not make it to the awards ceremony.
thanks.
Jim
magic4u02
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Thanks Jim and it was nice meeting with you as well. Always a pleasure. The People's Choice for Stage went to the second performer in the line-up who I think had a last name of Hong. I hope that helps.

I think we can all agree that the contest this year was at a level far better then in many years past. It was a really great contest of 11 acts that were very polished and was wonderful to watch.

Kyle
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Nell
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I had a great time and enjoyed meeting many of you! I can't wait for FISM and being able to have some familiar faces to greet there. Also, I of course cannot wait until next year's convention.

In regards to the competition, the young man from Macao was Raymond Iong. He was most gracious and even though he speaks very little English, made it a point to say hello every time he saw me. I didn't meet a single person I felt uncomfortable around and was truly surprised with how friendly everyone was--I am sure that some friendships were made for life.
I was selected as a judge for the close-up competition and I hope to be involved in more ways for 2007. The entire convention was wonderful. I only wish the ballroom stage had been a bit higher and that the curtains opened a bit wider, as about half of the stage was cut off for me during the competition. I never did see Latko's motorbike, but thanks go out to Mr. Ali Bongo, for describing what I would be seeing if we had better seats. Smile
"A trick may be very good...but...the illusionist must be better than the trick." -René Lavand
Jim Stan Magic Man
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Kyle,
Thanks for the info. I too agree that there were many performers in the stage contest that were very good. The seating was terrible. I wonder why they did not use the video screens like they did for the lectures? There was some discussion on SAMTALK about the performers being disappointing. I do not agree. I thought the stage performances were stronger than the close-up performances (for the contests). Rod Chow did a great job in the close-up competition. I'm glad he won. I saw him at the 2004 IBM convention and he has revised and polished his act since then.
I enjoyed most of the close-up performers from the Saturday show. I thought the guy from England was very good.
I also enjoyed the Stars of Tomorrow Show. Spencer had a small issue with the Vortex cane, but shows very good promise. I wish I could have been into magic at that age. The only issue I had was the kid from England spent way to much time on the misers dream. It seemed like it was not going to end. Dirk Losander said it best in his Friday lecture when he said something to the effect of it being better to leave them wanting more than to have them ask when it will end. He was technically very good, but too long for my taste.
I was a good convention and it was good to see some old friends as well as making some new ones.
Regards,
Jim
Snidini
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Jim, I concur with your thoughts exactly on the young lad from England. I thought it would never end also. Great acts but was dissapointed that some sessions/lectures overlapped others that I had to give up. I wish the times/spacing would have been better coordinated. Great seeing you there and hope you picked up some great magic. The dealers were very busy this year selling some great items. One in particular was Masuda's WOW. It "jaw-dropped" most folks that saw it and I know dozens were sold there.

Snidini
magicjy
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The SAM stage contest had 11 top notch acts from around the world. I agree it would of been much better if the stage contest was not on a small stage in the hotel ballroom making it hard to see for some people. However, I heard many comments that the stage contest acts was better than some of the paid performers.

My new friend from Korea by the name of Jun Pon Hong (Nicknamed JP) received the people choice award for stage. He was smooth as silk performing a candle, dove, and card act. Lance Burton better watch out because JP can take over his act in a few years!

Joseph Young
---
MAGIC is believing in yourself.
If you can do that, you can make anything happen. - Foka Gomez

Joseph Young
WWW.JOSEPHYOUNGMAGIC.COM
Craig Dickson
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At the Presidential Party at the Conventions close they passed out evaluation sheets. They always do. I saw many commenting on the contest being held in a Ballroom with poor viewing conditions, and less than adequate staging.. I know Norm Neilsen did, as well as Lupe, and they certainly know theater. Hopefully they will listen. The video enhancement came about from those evaluation sheets a few years back in Las Vegas. Any convention is a work in progress with limitations caused by budget but I agree, any contestants should be given the best possible conditions to do their best. Then we all win. This blog you can bet will be read by the committee. Thanks Kyle for starting it, it helps greatly to have constructive criticism. I ask the dealers every year for the same. How can we be better. That is what we strive for.
phil in KC
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I had a great time at the convention. Tremendous shows, lots of fellowship, and of course lots of magic. Marlene Clark's workshop on improv was great fun for the folks who got up and participated, and her central message was very appropos to working with volunteers -- you have to work with your partner (volunteer), collaborating on the entertainment. If you try to control the situation without listening and interacting, then the result is tension and less entertainment.

The biggest surprise, to me, was the similarity of the effects in the contest acts and the Stars of Tomorrow. Lots of doves, lots of card manipulation, lots of multiplying balls a la the billiard balls, lots of dancing canes, lots of zombie routines. I particularly appreciated Latko's contest act, because of its originality -- it opens with the sound of a crash, then the curtains spread to show the wreck of a motorcycle. Magically he reconstructs his vehicle. I've read elsewhere that his full act includes the bike rolling across the stage, but the makeshift stage in the hotel ballroom didn't allow for that. Too bad!

I hope to make next year's convention in Dallas. I bet it's going to be really BIG!

-Phil in KC
Jizmagic
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I have to chime in that this truly was a fantastic convention.

The evening shows were excellent and entertaining (I cried with laughter at Lynn Trefzger's vent routine with Mac King), the lectures were informative (Gene Anderson, Bruce Kalver,and Jay Sterling especially).

What truly impressed me was all the wonderful SYM activities and lectures for the children. My son Aaron (age 9), would go to a lecture, and then discuss with me what he learned for the next several hours. Aaron has always had speach issues, and for him to talk about the topics (in detail) brought tears to my eyes. Each day it got better - he'd go to a lecture, learn a routine, then practice it the rest of the day. I saw a change in him in four days that I have never seen before. He became more confident in his own abilities. I can never say enough thank you's to the dedicated SYM leadership for making the children a priority at the convention. You'll never know how much you have done for one young child.
I know I'll leave someone out, but thank you Jane Wherry Goodsell, Arlen Solomon, Kyle and Kelly Peron, George Schindler, Maria Ibanez, Bruce Kalver, Dr. Bob Sammons (and his daughter), and all the wonderful people who made this a very special convention.
See you all in Dallas!
- Joel Zaritsky
May the magic be with you!
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