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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » So Happy together... » » Magi-Fest 2008 Highlights (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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magicjy
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Big Stone Gap, VA
61 Posts

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Thanks Peter! I REALLY look forward to see your very skilled manipulation act again. You KILLED! Hopefully Jep will hire you to work Magi Fest next year since you won an award. Keep the magic going!

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

Joseph Young
WWW.JOSEPHYOUNGMAGIC.COM
Big Daddy Cool
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Inner circle
The Houdini Room at The Casa de Cool
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Peter,
Meeting you and Brian was definitely a highlight for me! Hope to see you guys again soon!
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
John Pyka
www.johnpyka.com
Yellowjacket
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Wisconsin
159 Posts

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Ok everyone, I am really P.O.ed at myself as I missed the stage competition. Late night jamming. I am a huge fan of mentalism and in fact was there with a few mentalism cronies. We don’t usually go to Magi-fest and were there to meet another well known mentalist. However, we kept hearing about Christian & Katalina’s stage mentalism piece. Now, we were fortunate enough to watch them do some entertaining in the lobby, but there was quite a buzz about their mentalism piece. Can anyone tell me what it was they did?

By the way, we also heard quite a bit about Peter Picthford’s piece as well. I heard it got a standing ovation. Sounds like I missed out on some of the best entertainment at Magi-fest.

YellowJacket
Quizzmo
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Midatlantic
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Yes, I agree Peter Pitchfords routine and manipulation was top notch and impeccable. Deserved a standing "O" in competition After having seen the good Reverend (yes that's correct, he is a minister) perform on a number of occasions you can only admire the dedication and discipline it takes to create an original routine such as his.

If anyone noticed, there were several parts of his manipulations that are new and solely of his creation. It's nice to know that there is still creative original thought in the production of our unique art form. It adds a special distinction to go beyond simple mimicry (monkey see, monkey do), and outright copy catting which several of my mentors over the years have impressed upon me is nothing short of outright thievery.

As I am preparing for my own convention performance in late March, my advisors have told me to be very careful as to what I present. Based on their past experiences they have warned me of guarding my best routines from watching eyes and sticky fingers of fellow magi who know nothing of original thought and are always on the prowl looking for something new they can pick-up and attach to their own shows. Kind of takes some of the fun out of it. But since most of my mentors are 20 to 30 years my senior I bow to their experience and wisdom and have to seriously consider the ramifications.

In the end though the natural instincts of a true performer is to sincerely entertain the audience whether they are laymen or fellow magi. To shrink from the challenge and fall back into guarded safe zones by not putting out your best is a true deception to any audience.

Our culture has developed such a Karaoke, American Idol attitude it is disgusting, there is no ingenuity what-so-ever in these formats and quite frankly I find it quite unnerving to watch it permeate other art form such as ours.

As far as my show in March, I go on stage like I've done for the last 33 years, letting it all hang out, putting my best foot forward and my audience first. That's the true key to entertaining is right there, putting your audience first, involving and compelling them to be part of the routine versus living vicariously though the entertainers actions.

A very wise and successful entertainer once told me "Any fool can make people laugh, a monkey can mimic anything to pointless perfection, but a true entertainer is the one that reaches into the heart of their audience by baring their own creative and original soul and elicits emotions that will be remembered for a lifetime". (does anyone remember Lucille Ball, Jackie Gleason, Dick Van Dyke, Jack Benny etc?)

After a year of intense conferences, lectures and competitions I have learned many valuable lessons and insights.

First and foremost, Competitive routines are a different animal then Entertainment routines. I have hired several award winners for my various venues and clubs only to have them fall flat because they could not drop out of their competitive mode and engage the audience. Audiences can smell fear and a dead give-away for most is the entertainer who stands live before them and never utters a word, as if they are above the need to communicate with their audience. Yes there are the rare entertainers who can touch the audience through silent actions, but that is few and far between. Last great one was Charlie Chaplin, but that was different time and place in the evolvement of the entertainment culture.

Second, Magicians or audience choice competitions are stilted because no matter how good the routine is, if you don't have truckload of friends and family attending it won't matter.

Third, The dealers hold a lot of weight at these conferences, they measure the success of a conference on how much they can sell and the ease at which they are put in front of the potential buyers. Much like a comic book or a sports card convention.

That is why ICBM (Inner Circle of Bizarre Magic) was one of the best conferences I attended this year. No competitions, no auctions, minimal dealers but quite frankly the most informative, most relaxed, peer friendly conference I've attended. 95% of those in attendance were working performers who shared ideas, sharpened skills and inspired each other. The star power of Johnny Thompson, Luna Shimada, Losander, Leslie Mellman (Magical Story Teller of the year in England eight years running), Jeff McBride and others who interacted with us as equals and without pretense was a special gift. ICBM lacked the "Cliquish" flavor of some of the other conferences. Joe Cabrala should be applauded for providing such a powerful program at such a reasonable price that included a three day program, a sumptuous full course sit-down dinner on headliner night, a wonderfully stocked common room with fresh food and drink (at no extra cost) and a magical goodie bag with some incredible effects, and magical pieces. Oh yes, ego's were checked at the door, how refreshing. Oh yes, they scheduled the event during a period of time when most performers are not hampered by their own show schedules.

By the way, ICBM was only $50 more to attend then Magi-Fest and our "special" room rates at the Brand New Crown Plaza in Conn. were $40 less per night then in Columbus. You figure out which is the better deal.

That brings me to one final observation. Many have asked if I will be attending the combined IBM/SAM convention in July. As much as I would love to attend this "once in a lifetime" event, it's scheduling during one of the busiest times of the year leaves me at a loss. The last two weeks of July and first two weeks of August are some of the busiest resort and vacation times of the year. There are people, venues and functions begging for good entertainment during this period of time. Our first responsibility as entertainers is our "audiences". Without them we are nothing no matter how much we beat our chests and stroke our egos. So alas, I will miss the pageantry and pomp of this event because in the grand scheme of things it's really not practice that makes us successful, it is working that makes us successful.

In the end I guess that's not a bad trade-off. In return I will get a week of a thousand smiles, hundreds of hugs, loads of laughter, miles of merriment and wide eyed wonder not to mention I can pay my mortgage for one year on the earnings of that one week. Yes, I know that sounds pompous, however entertaining is not a hobby for me, it's a business and any good business man will tell you the customer comes first.

Just so happens those customers are our audiences and when push comes to shove they don't care about the awards and accolades we acquire, they care about what we do when they are watching us entertain them in that moment.

It is our responsibility that they have as Professor Rem would say a "Wonder filled time".
Micahel St. James
A Magical Music Tour

Where "Magic Is Art From The Heart"

stmajkman@yahoo.com
Big Daddy Cool
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The Houdini Room at The Casa de Cool
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Quizzmo,

Don't hold anything back in that performance. I did this when I was booked to host the Gala show at SCAM several years ago. I altered a rouitne to keep my routine from getting jipped. TRhe result? I made a crucial mistake because I had dropped a verbal cue from the routine. Not my best work and I have regretted it since...
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
John Pyka
www.johnpyka.com
hugmagic
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Inner circle
7353 Posts

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Micahel,
Are you coming to Canton again this year?

I undertand perfectly about working against attending the "big" convention. As George Johnstone used to say..."Isn't it a !@#$% to have to work instead of smoozing around here with all you guys".

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
www.hughesmagic.com
email-hugmagic@raex.com
Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
Quizzmo
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Midatlantic
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Hi Richard;

High on my priority list. John Calvert is definite plus. Last time I saw him he was bouncing my youngest son on his knee at Joe Festas in Atlantic City. Looks like another great show at the Majestic. I have to send in my registration next week. Looking forward to seeing you again. By the way I received a letter from Adele (Blackstones Srs. Elusive Moth from 1942-1950). Met her at Bob Littles' Such a wonderful fountain of stories of your Harry's father.

Micahel
Micahel St. James
A Magical Music Tour

Where "Magic Is Art From The Heart"

stmajkman@yahoo.com
Christopher
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519 Posts

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Micahel,

I totally agree with everything that you said about having original material stolen at conventions. I had an experience at a convention that forever changed my performance attitude. I performed one of my original pieces and immediately following the show, I was approached by several amateurs that wanted to know where to get all of the props from my set. I told them that they were all original and were designed specifically for my performance. One then offered to buy everything needed. I told him that they were not for sale and were part of my current show. He then got really upset and said "Look you either tell me where and how to get them or I'll just find someone to make them for me. I have enough photos and I'm sure I can find someone to do it" So basically, I was being told that I was going to be ripped off, and I could either do it the easy way or the hard way. I watched other performers during the convention and noticed that during lectures or performances, a large number of attendees were basically asking questions or taking notes that obviously meant they were stealing the material or lines from the performance.

So now, I do not perform at magic conventions under any circumstance. I do have my own show here in Branson every day. So, when conventions are in the area, I change my show temporarily and take out my prized bits and lines. I even had to stop selling my DVDs the week of the local convention because I actually had an audience member two years ago ask if such and such a bit was on my DVD because he was in town for the convention and would love to add the bit to his show.

Unfortunately, this seems to be more common than not in this business. It fascinates me because as a full time performer it boils down to theft, not flattery like some try to justify, it's plain and simple theft. So beware of conventions, beware of posting on forums such as these, if you are looking to set yourself apart from other performers.
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