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Profile of MagicSarah

Thought that it would be good to start a thread for this weekend. Exciting!
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Profile of qkeli
Yes can't wait ro read comments on it !
For me the highlight was the saturday night lecture, HELDER GUIMARAES and the worst part was the saturday live suprise event, which was a battle of jokes from some of the names og the line up...
what about you ?
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Profile of MagicSarah
I had a great time. Smile

Great acts, really insightful lectures and everything ran so smoothly too!

Definitely on my list for next year! Smile
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Profile of rjs
Yes, another great convention.

Will upload a review soon.
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Profile of Orlan
Hi qkeli, I didn't get to meet you at the Session!
My favorite moment was probably seeing Weber, Jermay, and Berglas around the same table sharing a few tricks and surrounded by a bunch of magicians.
Similar thing with Gabi Pareras. He sat down at a corner table with a few magicians, suddenly the table was surrounded by 30 magicians.
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Profile of rjs
The Session January 2016 moved to a larger venue: the Thistle Hotel next to Heathrow.

I was not looking forward to hitting the M25 Orbital around London, the road that goes nowhere, completed by Thatcher 30 years ago. This time I managed to escape the usual gridlock.

At first sight, the hotel appeared to suit its surroundings, ie, ugly, drab and uninspiring.
But appearances can be deceptive.
My room was clean and comfortable.
Despite large aircraft taking off nearby every 15 minutes, the noise didn’t appear to affect me once I was inside the building.
The main show room could now cope with a larger crowd.
I found the hotel staff helpful and professional. And they even waived the parking fee for me at the end of my stay.
There was a MacDonalds nearby which I found useful when I needed a quick bite to eat or a large coffee between lectures.

The first day, Friday was The Event, devoted to Mentalism.
(The simplified nomenclature reminded me of the Dinsdale Pirahna brothers from Monty Python who described their operation as The Operation, which soon became The Other Operation until it was perfected as The Other Other Operation.)

The first lecturer Marc Paul demonstrated his Human Equation, a disguised mathematical bluff, which moved participants back and forth on stage.
He also performed a powerful four-envelope test which contained several overlapping subtleties. These can be found in his recent Penguin Live lecture.
Whether we as spectators can cope with this number of envelopes is a moot point. I am not sure if we can keep track of what’s happening. Routines limited to fewer envelopes are less impressive but more digestible.

Marc finished with a new move, based on an idea from David Harkey, which enabled him to quickly glimpse information inside a torn and discarded envelope.

Luke Jermay, who organized The Event, gave a presentation of fortune-telling based on torn up strips of newspaper. He also spoke on ways of using Tarot cards in cold reading.
Vanishing Inc are releasing his sequel DVD project titled Premise and Premonition which concentrates on Cabaret Mind Reading.

Luke is an exceptional and intense lecturer and I always enjoy his presentations and provocations. I loved his amazing performance a few years back involving a mysterious mental encounter with a Jack Vettriano painting.

Then came a series of Flash talks.
Harry Lucas from Vienna emphasized the importance of connecting with the audience. Expensive gimmicks do not make you a professional. He believed in the benefits of voice training. He even saw a vocal coach as a kind of mind reader.
Harry was certainly able to project his voice confidently and commandingly.

He mentioned that we would benefit from studying the live performances of comedian Eddie Izzard. For example, his Star Wars sketches. I would completely agree with this recommendation. I’ve seen most of the leading British comics over the last decade and in my opinion Izzard is the standout performer. If you were to simply read the transcripts of his act, you might not laugh that much. But when you see Izzard live and in control, you can easily be mesmerized.

This flash lecture made me think of great contemporary actors who could project their voice – Kelsey Grammer, Alan Rickman and Michael Kitchen came to mind.

Morgan & West then gave a fast and insightful performance of real world ‘pub’ coding.

They demonstrated three different ways of secretly coding either the identity of a playing card or the number of cards the spectator had freely cut to.

In the first, Cut & Count, the spectator could cut off X number of cards (eg 21) from the deck and the magician standing far away could accurately discern this exact number.

In the second, Weighing a Card, the magician would turn around and then be given any card by the spectator behind their back. The identity of the card was immediately ascertained.

Finally, in Psychic Transmission, the magician mysteriously discerned any card held by his silent assistant from across the room.
All three methods were smooth and well executed.
(I’m not sure why they kept using the term binary coding, as the methods were not based on a binary system.)

Chris Rawlins then demonstrated a deceptive Drawing Duplication which relied on a special prop. This was a completely different method to Reveal.

Michael Weber, who gave a brilliant seminar last year, showed us a new type of business card peek wallet. The dirty work, the glimpse, is done later than expected and is not detected by the spectator.

Marco Fida then showed us contact mind reading. Locating an item hidden in the room by taking the hand of a witness. He went through the history of this phenomenon. The promotional pitch for John Randall Browne was: “He takes your hand and reads your mind.”
Contact mind readers can use real methods or fake methods or a combination of both. No electronics are required. It’s been around for many years and has been exposed long ago in publications.
For example, check this out from 140 years ago:

In the Victorian age, it even became a parlour game.

Marco named several famous exponents such as Americans Washington Irving Bishop , George Newman, & Brown the Human Telegraph, the Englishman Stuart Cumberland, the Austrian Erik Hanussen, Hungarian hypnotist Franz Polgar, and, more recently, Kreskin.

After dinner Luke Jermay did an extended interview with Max Maven.
The surprise event was Sheila Lyon, the Diva of Divination. She roamed back and forth and performed numerous hand readings with the seated audience.
Not my cup of tea leaves, but the audience seemed to enjoy it.
She also does Pet Paw Readings and Chocolate Readings but I think she avoids scrutinizing the erotic British craving for chocolate flakes…

Thus ended The Event, which was dubbed The Event.

The Session, a.k.a The Session, began on Saturday morning with a series of quick presentations.
Tony Chang, the sandwich man, showed us how to get the spectator to do most of the work when a card is returned to a spread. He also tipped a way of avoiding accordion movements when culling cards. Not that I could follow this, as it was gone in 60 seconds.

Clearly, Chang should be given the opportunity to present a full lecture next time.

Justin Higham, a favourite of mine, showed several kinds of practical ‘illogical’ moves which can force or control cards.

Derren Litten, creator of the cult comedy series Benidorm, passed on nuggets of wisdom which will guarantee TV appearances, global exposure and minimum earnings of £1000 every week. I can assure you that what he said was true and got a strong reaction.

I prefer Derren’s approach over the simplistic and trumped-up American approach to wealth creation where everyone becomes a billionaire by next Friday.
Derren offered five rules:

1/ Stop thinking; just do it.

Writing about writer’s block is better than writing nothing. (I think Charles Bukowski said that.)
Inspiration is for amateurs – a great line attributed to lyricist Don Black, but Black was quoting someone else.

Derren was a friend of Catherine Tate when they were both unknown. He spent 10 years as a jobbing actor. She eventually entered the field of stand up comedy, as this was a way of finding work as an actor. Under a tight deadline, he helped write her Edinburgh festival show which attracted the attention of Geoffrey Perkins, an influential comedy producer.

2/Keep off time-wasting social media.

Noel Coward wrote Hay Fever in 3 days. It’s a **** play, but he got it done. (Actually, Hay Fever was revived a couple of years ago, so it has some merit.)

3/Only listen to invited criticism.

The early reviews for Benidorm were bad.
Even after it became a commercial success, Derren would have to face snide comments. For example, he commissioned another actor to write two episodes. One day a member of the public recognized him and provocatively asked him: “How does it feel that the two best episodes of Benidorm were written by someone else?”
Derren defended himself by saying he was good at telling jokes. ‘For example, an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman walk into a bar and all think you’re a c**t.’

By the way, Derren does not like columnist Katy Hopkins. Opinions are like !@#$%^&*(. Full of ****.

4/Listen to music (Spotify)

5/Make your own luck. Flattery never offends.

One day someone rang him up pretending to be famous author Jackie Collins. She said her sister Joan Collins wanted to join the cast. Derren hung up the phone. Luckily she rang him a second time, as it was the real Jackie Collins!

Then we came to the finest performance of the Session: Wolfgang Moser enacted a miracle with a silver teapot.
I was seated close by and this is how I remember his presentation: he handed out the teapot for examination. It was empty. He had some wine glasses examined. These also were empty. He opened a sealed bottle of water and poured some into a glass giving this sample to an audience member. He then poured the rest of the water into the teapot.

Then came the miracles. He poured out a glass of red wine and had this checked and tasted. He then poured a glass of white wine from the same spout. Again, this was checked and tasted by another spectator. He then stepped backwards and poured a glass of beer for himself. This was very impressive and I thought the performance would end here, but he called out for another drink. A spectator said Pina Colada. He hesitated, asked what this drink was made from. Someone said pineapple and coconut. He began to pour out a matching liquid which was again tasted.

He then brought another spectator up asked him to think of his favourite drink. Is it a hot or cold drink? He placed the pot on top of the spectator’s hands. It began to get warmer and warmer. And so your favourite drink is…coffee…and Wolfgang poured out coffee into a cup.
Wow! Then he ended by lifting up the lid and pouring out white sugar.

Thunderous applause. This feat might have started a religious movement 2,000 years ago. He joked that Jesus’ water into wine miracle, recorded in John, might have been a dealer’s item all those years ago. There are supposedly stone vessels in the Louvre dating back to 500BC which can secretly switch liquids.

Wolfgang did not reveal how he had achieved this trick. He said he’d carefully researched previous presentations and had come up with a combination of three separate methods. He wanted to go beyond the original method where liquid changes colour but does not change substance.

I believe he came second at FISM for this parlour trick. Joshua Jay who was on the judging panel thought that it clearly deserved first prize, but some of the other judges suspected that Wolfgang must have used stooges and therefore would have to be disqualified. I don’t know what they eventually sorted out, but they must have eventually realized that stooges were not involved.

In the afternoon, Tom Stone, an eccentric genius, gave an amusing lecture. He demonstrated his miraculous trick, Factory Blanks, which is absolutely baffling until you examine the cards. The decks are being made and sold by Card Shark.

He also performed his famous Hug or Kill routine.

Next, he worked his way through a ‘pastiche’ of effects which made use of freshly designed draw boxes. A selected card would mysteriously vanish and reappear in another box. Likewise, a freely selected page from a book would mysteriously reappear in another box.
I wasn't sure about this effect. The first switch is too obvious. The boxes didn’t always work smoothly. And, like the Marc Paul’s four card envelope test, mentioned earlier, can audience members actually keep track of what’s going on? I doubt it.

Richard Wiseman gave a very amusing powerpoint lecture which I’d already seen elsewhere. He analysed visual illusions, change blindness, the colour changing card trick, the growth of Youtube, and the pain and futility of walking on hot coals over longer distances.

Spanish magician Piupo Villanueva gave a fast moving lecture on coins , cards and chop cups. I would recommend his new download ‘Magic for the Short Sighted’ which covers this material.

In the evening, I saw Helder Guimaraes lecture. He comes up with detailed and complex plots. The opening effect was very clever and (surprisingly) well within range of the amateur enthusiast like myself.

Helder also covered part of his classic Invisible Thread card trick which can probably be found on his dvd Red Mirror.

He also performed transpositions and switches, and a new way of presenting the Eddie Joseph Premonition effect.

Helder is a remarkable and obsessive thinker. You would need quite a bit of skill and preparation to pull off these elaborate tricks. That’s probably why we play safe and stick to John Bannon’s direct and relatively easy miracles where less can go wrong.

The evening ended with a late night panel/drinking game chaired by Noel Qualter. Andi’s team had Weber and Litton. Josh’s team had Danish comic, Rude Glands and Richard Wiseman.

Sunday started with a really informative lecture by Christian Schenk, aka Card Shark. Along the way he demonstrated the dazzling coincidence effect, Sympathetic 10.

His efforts to produce a new brand of playing cards, the Phoenix Deck, encountered so many hurdles, but he’s managed to overcome them step by step.
I’ve always wondered why Bicycle cards are often so badly cut and lack consistency of colour.

In addition to the standard Phoenix Deck, Christian produces an excellent range of dealer items such as Double Decker and Science Friction.
By the way, don’t bother buying a Bicycle stripper deck. My advice would be to switch to Card Shark’s version which is far superior.

After lunch, Spanish magician Luis Otero performed a version of the Ackerman/Fulves Gemini effect. He also demonstrated how to change an outjogged playing card with the flick of a finger(credited as Jack Carpenter’s Impulse change).
He also performed some intriguing faro manipulations which allowed him to capture two separate selections between the Kings.

Otero did a really deceptive top card swivel force when he had two spectators on stage.Simple, bold and effective. Even though the first spectator freely cuts the deck, the second spectator unwittingly takes the card originally positioned on top of the deck and not the one randomly cut to.

The penultimate lecture was by Spanish legend Gabi Pareras. But this was the major disappointment for me at the Session. He buried us with theory. He clearly has amazing skills. He began by cleanly changing a packet of Jokers into four Aces, but then spent more than an hour explaining the philosophy behind this.
Tedious and excruciating. Even maestros like Tamariz balance theory with praxis.

The final lecture was by the Guest of Honour, Max Maven. I’ve been fortunate to see Max perform on several occasions – in Melbourne, in the Magic Castle, in London (three separate times) and attended his one man show. So I’m familiar with his style and material. He did some sneaky things with the Gilbreath principle and also camouflaged and rejuvenated the Miraskill effect.

I would recommend buying the Penguin Live lecture. At Penguin, Max performs a really great book test centred on the genre of famous horror movies. Alas, the trick goes horribly wrong. The chosen spectator does not react as you might expect, once you understand the cunning method. Max is eventually forced to call upon a second spectator. The book test then runs perfectly. I admire how Max kept his cool and did not throw in the towel. Despite the pressure, he was able to salvage the effect and reach the miracle ending.

And finally, brief comments on the Sunday Gala show:

Tom Stone opened and received a standing ovation for his Benson Burner routine.

Luis Otero managed to recreate a streamlined version of the Tamariz total coincidence effect, then went even further by somehow returning the shuffled deck to full deck order.

The bloke from TV showed us practical jokes played on ticket holders to the Illusionist show.

Max Maven performed an impressive series of card tricks. The bamboozled spectator kept choosing the Three of Spades despite being given freedom of choice. (Max did not use a force deck. He borrowed a deck from an audience member. )
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Profile of MagicSarah
Wow rjs. What a great review!

I relived it all again as I read through it! Smile
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Profile of TadGhostal
Tom Stone's 2 appearances were the highlights for me, Both were entertaining and engaging.
I knew his name but wasn't aware of who he was before the gala performance at the session.
I realised I had seen him before when I saw the Benson Burner routine.

Also Seeing David Berglas perform live and up close was something I've wanted to see since I got David Britland's book.
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Profile of joelclyne
Ive just stumbled upon this review of the weekend. It was a brilliant weekend. there was so much to take in and this review has enabled me to relive, and remember parts that had just got lost in the wave of information I got in those 3 days. Thank you for writing it and reminding me of how amazing it was.
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Profile of MagicSarah
Hi Joel,
Welcome to the Café!

I agree, rjs did an excellent job with the summary of a superb weekend!
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