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Kevin Ridgeway
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Indianapolis, IN & Phoenix, AZ
1832 Posts

Profile of Kevin Ridgeway
WOW!!! What an great weekend for the escape artists community.

Both Kristen and myself had a great time at this incredible get together. The convention was even bigger and better than last year.
To start off, Mark and Sheila Cannon put together another live TV stunt. Mark really knows how to do the PR thing. We should all hope to learn something from him. Dick Wolfsie has been a great supporter of this convention and helps the convention get good press coverage.
Later that day most of us went to Tin Star (recommended by Margarette). It is a burger joint with jail cells for the booths. It made for some good picture taking.
That evening, we hosted the unofficial night before party, at our house. Lots of food, mingling and catching up. Excluding Lance Burton, we had the entire cast from The Travel Channel's Inside The Houdini Museum...Dean Gunnarson, Bill Shirk, Bill Martin, Sean Scott, Kristen and myself.

Saturday morning started the opening of the convention. Lots of great locks, handcuffs, books, tools, etc were to be had. If it wasnt there..you probably don't need it.

Saturday afternoon was Mario Manzini's lecture. What agreat guy, very informative and just a ball of energy. To hear some stories from his younger days was a real treat. We look forward to seeing him around more.

Saturday night was the banquet and show. Mark Cannon showed incredible poise in putting together a group of performers whose combined talent and experinece is unmatched anywhere.
Joe Fox got the ball rolling with a very funny comedy escape act involving a "fox" trap, thumbcuffs that lead to a broken Houdini record.

Next James Peters showed an intense escape from an UK straightjacket, complete with racing stripes.

Margarette brought class to the nights performance (not that there was any missing...lol) with a melt thru perfomance involvolving handfuffs, a gentlemans neck and a mirror.

Shawn Ness was next with a Body Bag escape, complete with a metal helmet. Kicking it off with the famous last words from Bess Houdini at the seance. Seeing him blindly looking for the correct key while in the helmet was pretty cool.

Kristen Johnson followed with her Gypsy Rope Tie. She's my wife, I'm biased...she was and still is awesome!!! lol

Mario Manzini wowed us next with his 100' rope escape....we only had 50'....shhhhh, don't tell him. What he can do with rope is amazing. We walked away with some great knowledge.

Tying all these acts together (no pun intended), was Tom Carrier and Mark Cannon. They did a great job of keeping the show moving along. Tom presented the Masters Award to two very deserving people. First, Bill Shirk, and second (and totally caught off guard, Mark Cannon. Mark also presented the Silver Cuffs award to Dean Gunnarson.

Dean wrapped up the show with a challenge from Mark Cannon...Mark's Diamond Plate Steel Box. Dean succesfully escapes the box, but was upstaged by a delightfully funny Marion County Deputy Sherrif. We all thought by the time she was done, that Dean was going to be going into the box, void of any clothes.

The show is over, does that mean the evening stops there?....not quite. The get together started at the restaurant, ended with Bill Shirk buying a round for everyone and then moved to one of the hotel rooms and lasted well into the morning. We all traded ideas, tips, advice, etc. It was topped off with a phone call to that wanker we all love, Ian McColl. Ian was missed, but via telephone, hopefully he felt like part of the convention.

Many highlights will be posted by other people here in the next week or so. What ever you do...don't miss next year. It will only grow.

Lastly, Krisetn and I want to thank everyone for their help, advice, tips, tricks, you name it...We really appreciate being taken into this community. We can only hope to return the favors.

Thanks especially goes to Mark, Sheila, Joe, Fred, Dean, Bill, Tony, John, Shawn, Margarette, Mario, Stan, Tom, James, Bruce, Christine...If I forgot anyone...sorry Smile

See ya next year, if not sooner.

Kevin & Kristen
Living Illusions
Living Illusions
Ridgeway & Johnson Entertainment Inc

Kevin Ridgeway &
Kristen Johnson aka Lady Houdini
The World's Premier Female Escape Artist


Ian McColl
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Inner circle
1490 Posts

Profile of Ian McColl
Hi Kevin, the phone call was a real treat , thank you Margarette for paying for it. The party was loud but it was great to hear everyone I spoke to, shame they couldn't hear me. Well done to everyone who made it another great escape artist convention.


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Inner circle
1133 Posts

Profile of x-treem
Since Kevin summed it up I wanted to toss in my thanks as well since I'm always a putz forgetting to get peoples contact information. This list of thanks will also help to show how great some of the people you might only know by name really are.

Again to the Cannon's who showed grace under fire (though I believe Mark told me Sheila was the calm stablity in the middle of any storm and if I'm wrong and he did not say that then he should use it the next time he needs brownie points Smile) they pulled us all through without showing the sweat.

To Living Illusions who are the greatest duo I've ever had the pleasure of meeting, you guys again were great hosts and went out of your way to help the convo.

George McMinn for the wonderful gift he gave me and his always funny stories.

Gordon Gluff for allowing me to handle one of Houdini's rarest handcuffs (boy I don't even trust me with that great a responsibility) and also for the Bean handcuff manuscript.

Bill Shirk a legend and my #1 escape idol. Your escapes have always "forced" me to push the envelope and try to be creative.

Bruce Thompson for the hands on look at the Santini Harvard Flash Handcuff and for always having something cool to talk about when it comes to escape history. I'll be waiting for your audio tape.

I'll bet a lot of people did not realize that the crew from Inside the Houdini Museum was there intact (minus Burton and Houdini, who was there in spirit.) Bill Martin is one seriously cool guy and took a "shot" at me, worthy of my own sarchastic humor, always in good fun of course.

Dean Gunnarson who pitched in in a pinch and also shared some great stories. He is truly one cool guy. I'll make sure I bring Dr. Pepper to Houdini Days.

Tom and Ellie Carrier from Escape Masters who again showed their true color as one of the few good guys left in this world, they always bend over backwards as true friends and Chris and I are eternally grateful.

Tony Parisi who's unselfish nature always shines through and his lovely assitant/ partner (actually boss) for showing my wife how to be a true shopaholic.

Joe Lauher for cuffing my wife in a pair of (plug 8's?) and letting her "escape" now she has the EA bug... and I had to listen to it all the way home Smile

Freddie Pitella for always being one of the good guys.

Va.....Vi....dang his name slips my mind, the gent with the great stories about his life on the road back in the old days and his great stories about Burling Hull, I'll post the name when I remember.

Finally Stan who grabbed me by the neck and dragged me into his room to buy handcuffs only an hour after I walked in the door. Smile

There are more and I'm sorry if I did not mention you. I'm still tired from all the partying.

A direct from text adaptation : The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Starring Mickey Rooney in his final role.
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Long Island, New York
51 Posts

Profile of lauher
Let me add my congratulations to everyone who helped make the weekend so great. It was a blast!

Let me also encourage everyone who has never come to do their best to make it next year.

I should have some pictures posted on the handcuffs.org web site soon.

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New York City
559 Posts

Profile of AJP807
Well it's pretty much all been said very nicely by Kevin, Shawn, Joe and Ian. I only regret that it went by so quickly and that I didn't get a chance to say a proper goodbye to many of my friends, but I had to rush off suddenly. Oh by the way Shawn, the gentleman you are refering to is Don Viano and his son Rick. A couple of really interesting guys who I hope we see more of in the future. I have their contact information if you need it and I'm sending them a link to the Café. Anyway to those who were unable to make it, please try to be there next year. We want to meet you and really need your support. Plus you will have the time of your life, Guaranteed!
Best regards, Tony Parisi
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Memphis area
956 Posts

Profile of Margarette
I for one had a blast at the convention. Like Tony, time slipped away from me and I was unable to tell everyone goodbye. For those I have phone numbers for, I'll call for a proper goodbye later. I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to visit with people on Saturday.

I do want to thank Kevin and Kristen for all their help in loaning me stuff and taking me on the WalMart run...remember, if it can't be found at WalMart, it can't be found! It was also very gracious of you to open up your home to everyone.

The after banquet party was great, even though I don't deal too well with that many people in such a confined space. It was fun calling Ian, and as usual, I didn't get a change to talk with him as much as I wanted. Since we only had 100 minutes and there were a lot of people that wanted to talk to Ian, I didn't want to hog all the time.

Mario's lecture was great. It was amazing listening to his experiences and then seeing him in action.

I enjoyed seeing everyone perform at the Saturday night show. Sheila may be getting tired of me saying this, but she was a godsend to me. It's because of her that I was able to make it through my performance. James can attest to how badly my hands were shaking when I sat down after I left the stage.

It was an honor and a priveledge to finally get to meet and talk to Bill Shirk, Dean Gunnarson, and Mario Manzini. I would have liked to have spent more time chatting with all of them, but I think other people wanted to talk to them, too.

The convention seems to get better each year. I can't wait till next year!

The only stupid question is the one not asked.
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SW Ohio, USA
1555 Posts

Profile of Dr_Stephen_Midnight
I missed the first two, but will try to hit the third.

Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
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Profile of MarkTripp
Viano, his name is Don Viano.

I had a great time too.

It was however VERY interesting to listen to the comments of the lock people on the evening show.

Very harsh, but very interesting.

It would be an eye opener to those who really want to entertain with escapes...
Michael Lee
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152 Posts

Profile of Michael Lee
Hello All

Mark I read in a previous post of you apologizing to all about your review of Indy ...I personally feel that None was needed.
as what many EA just Don't get this Performing thing...
Which Is much more than getting out of handcuffs & SJackets , If any one out there thinks this is not so..... Get out of the Business now as you don't get it.

Every one that attended Indy should be bowing down to Mr Mark Tripp for having the "Backbone" to say whats on his mind & on the Minds of those at the lock show ie. The general public .

Just as the "Amazing ' Ian McColl of Stockade Locksmiths has been criticized many times here on the Café, For offering his honest views of the Escape field ... I feel it is important for everyone to keep an open mind and respect the opinions of the Public & well as those" In the know " like Mr.Ian Mccoll who single handedly brought Quality Escape Apparatious back to all of us when the field was flooded w/ cheap knockoff & inferior products etc.

 So to Mark & Ian & I know that I speak for many when I say "Thanks Guys" , Your Courage is an example to all of us.

You are Always welcome at the Mcafe!!

Michael Lee
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618 Posts

Profile of MarkTripp
I didn't put it out there, and wasn't going to, but for the record:

Here is the bottom line

First, I THOUGHT THE SHOW WAS GREAT. My comments are on what other people said.

Second, they had a problem. There were some very odd things going on in the rooms and the truth is someone was arrested and did not return. Sad to say he was the evening performer for the next night and they had to throw a show together.

Third, let me say the show was great, these are not MY comments.

However, and here is the rub, the context of the excape artist for 99.99% of the people doing it is one of the "superior being". It is kinda hard to sell that to your "peers". The high school kid is not going to convince his high school friends he is the next Copperfield. You don't stand in front of a group of world class locksmiths and try and say you are a superior being. They know the difference.

My job after the show was to keep an eye on the escape box so that no one walked off with it. It was in the hall and I sood there for a good 20 minutes. I had no badge so no one knew who I was. Were there positive comments? Yes, and those people know who they are because I told them. One of the people beating me up over this has no idea I told his female partner that they were the hit of the show!!!!

Bottom line, the negitive comes in two parts. One, NO ONE who was negitive believed that ANY of the cuffs or locks were real. Why would they when they share the exibit hall and have seen the fake stuff on display for two days.

Second, the escape box method was learned by them, playing with it in the hall, in under 60 seconds. They even knew that the "regulation padlock" they gave them to be on the box, was not used in the show, but was on the box now.

Then, to "show off" they took turns opening the padlock themselves ala jimmy valentine, for real, by feeling the tumblers. A far more impressive trick.

My point then and now is, WHY IN THE HELL WOULD YOU PRESENT A CHALLENGE TO A GROUP LIKE THIS????? How do you think they would react?

I couldn't take it anymore when they said that Dean was using fake cuffs. I said "Why would he? It isn't necessary." The ringleader gave me a snear and said "ALL those guys use trick stuff". I said "Sir, not every comment you hear is a deceptive one." He then said "No, just most of them." I simply said "That comment tells me far more about you, than it does the performers here tonight."

Now, I thought it important for people to understand that the "challenge" mind set has no place in modern entertainment. It is masterbation, fun for the person doing it, but far less so for those of us who have to watch.

Sadly there are those who resist this truth, so here we are.

I highly doubt I will remain on the boards, or attend one of these things again.

So you can stay asleep in your dream world if you wish. I will not try to wake you again

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Profile of x-treem
It seems that Mark Tripp a man I highly respect is contiuning to flog a dead horse so I will come farward and say that I am the person that PM'ed him. How a great man came to believe that I was in any way shape or form attacking him is beyond me.

In a shorter context using close to the same words, I asked Mr. Tripp if he would be willing to share what the locksmiths had to say, the reason is that they will never be negative to ones face, out of politeness, which I knew and Mark pointed out in his PM.

I mentioned the best way to learn is to hear the negative as well as the positive and I wanted to and was willing to learn from what others had to say.

Mr. Tripp talked about, as he did above, that they thought there was no skill involed according to the locksmiths.

I replied, almost thinking out loud more than anything and stating that I was NOT defending myself or anyone else, that I over heard many of them saying, Why would we want to go to a lecutre about lock picking when I already know how to do it. This was in regards to Ian's lecture (which I heard only good things about after it was done, sad I missed it). Those same people then turn around and shoot themselves in the foot by saying that what was done during the show was not entertaining.

I mentioned that personally I could not fathom a group of locksmiths watching a group of escapes artists on a stage picking lock and find it entertaining in any way shape or form.

I also said that they were not aware of the considerable pressure and time constaints as well as dumbing down of our act that some of us had to do.

AGAIN it was outloud thinking, trying to figure out what would be entertaing to a group of EA's and locksmiths.

I even agreed with part of the PM he sent me where he mentioned the show should be a revue and tickets should be sold to the public like so many other conventions do.

If any of this sounds like I'm berating Mr. Tripp then I am blind to the fact and I appologize. Since his posts last night I sent two PM's to him appologizing if he or I took anything out of context in our PM's, both PM's still lay unread by him even though he has since posted on this topic again that I am berating the messanger.

I realize that Mr Tripp did not use my name in any of his pubic posts but since he did not retrieve his PM's I just wanted to publicly say I am the person in question.

Take Care,

A direct from text adaptation : The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Starring Mickey Rooney in his final role.
The Donster
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Profile of The Donster
I'll like to mention this aboout going to a Lecture. one may know how to but you go to the lectures to learn. if you go to a lecture and learn something you did not know already. it was worth going. evrey year locksmiths go to conventions/training seminars no matter how good or skilled they are evreyone learns something. new I for one would of loved to attend ians lockpicking lecture. I've been doing locksmithing since I was 17 years old. and will do it to the day I Die. Don,
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Darlington UK
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Profile of Riley
Don is absolutely right. The person who thinks they have nothing left to learn still has their hardest lessons ahead of them!

Does anyone really mind criticism? If you didn't have the ball, no-one would be chasing you! Smile
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Profile of x-treem
One should try to learn something new everyday, especially in escapes, there is always something going on that we can learn from.

A direct from text adaptation : The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Starring Mickey Rooney in his final role.
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