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Full reports still to follow ... But just to Checkin ... A day of some superb magic - particularly in the closeup. Some very strong competitors towards the end.

p.s. Wittus Witt has some great photos of FISM 2015 as it unfolds - visit his website

P.p.s stage gala show just ended. So much fun. FISM Italy has found its groove ... What a joy and if that is how they are ending Tuesday's show ( enough confetti glitter to sink a battleship ) I can't wait for the Sat finale !

Check out the FISM Facebook page for my live pics and videos ...


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.

Eric Cheng – Manipulation – Hong Kong
Speaking of sameness – the acts are now 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 …

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Thank you for the daily reports! Please keep them coming.
Yours Magically,
Lee Alex
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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.
David Neighbors
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Yea Obie Has been A High school Teacher Most of his Life! So that's what he know's ! Smile He has been doing It for over the last 40 years At the 4 F. Magic Con. !!! Smile
David Neighbors
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