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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » So Happy together... » » Magic conventions (7 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

magicdave56
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Ellisville, MO 63011
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How many magic conventions do you go in a year ?
Cliffg37
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Long Beach, CA
2475 Posts

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One. Two if I'm lucky.
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
lnlver
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One, my Houdini Club's convention since it is always in my home state.
ed rhodes
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Rhode Island
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I’ve never been to one. They are too expensive and too far away. (And this from a man who goes to RI-Comic Con!)
"He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." - Rafael Sabatini, Scaramouche
Mindpro
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9510 Posts

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Conventions are a tricky thing. The experience is different for each of us depending on where we are in our performing and how you experience the actual convention.

The first convention you attend will be exciting and interesting. If you take your spouse she'll not get it and be bored. You'll be trying to take it all in - the performances, the lectures, the vendors/dealers, and any other planned features. Then there will be the meeting and "talking shop" with complete strangers and making new friends. This is followed by actually saying hi and meeting some of the featured guests. Some find it a strange experience at first meeting these people you admire, look up to, and have purchased their products. There is even the whole meeting members here of The Magic Café that you correspond with and follow their posts, opinions, and experiences.

This comes along with also seeing so many cool "shiny objects" as I call them which are new products, releases, DVD, books many offered with complete demos at their booth. Many debuting for the very first time at a "special convention release price." You will see and find many things you would love to have - for some it can literally be like a kid in a candy store. You may very well spend more than you had anticipated and can't wait to get home to have fun with it all. To get to it all.

You will be surprised how many old guys attend these conventions, and you start to imagine their existence and the role magic has to these guys. It's weird.

Your trip home will be reflecting on everything - your purchases, new friends you have met, how great it was meeting some of the names you admired and looked up to, and even how one or two may have been jerks to you and not at all what you expected.

This is usually for the first-timer. If you went to a local convention you may think about your next one being a regional or national convention. And of course, you may decide to start going to the one you just attended regularly.

Then...after attending a few conventions, your perception begins to change. You start to realize there is an entire group within the community that are convention guys that seem to do nothing but attend the convention circuit. Many of these rarely if ever perform, others seem to be convention featured regulars. You start to realize others have different purposes for attending, many to sell, hype and promote their releases, others who just like performing at conventions, some that just want to get away from the wife or kids, and many that attend these conventions but don't perform at all and really don't do much of anything. Then, of course, there are still the old guys, lol.

After attending a few conventions many get to a point of "man, I have to stop going to conventions or only go every 5 years or so." You feel it is the same old people, in the same old environment regardless of which convention and which city, and you always end up spending more money than you planned and realize 90% of the things you purchase just sit in a drawer and are never used and looked at again (thank goodness for the Let's Make A Deal section of the Café!)

So it is really a progressive experience that evolves and changes over time as you do. Is it a bad thing? No, not at all. It just is what it is.

I have been asked to speak/present at magic conventions for years as I specialize in the business aspects of performing and entertainment business. Many will tell you they are terrible at the business side of performing, would love to make more money, work more often and have more bookings, and work in better performance markets in their area. Sure some attend my sessions, but most are really there to see and buy the lastest tricks and to mingle with their group of "convention friends". Realizing this I am very selective of whether I will do any of these conventions and almost always have a workshop tied in with them if I do so I know those that are serious and can be sure they leave with some great material.

That is my take on this question. I am not at all trying to discourage you, just giving you a dose of reality from the inside. Can't wait to hear about your experiences.
arthur stead
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When I played soccer, I hit
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Excellent post, Mindpro! Wish I had been able to attend one of your business seminars. That’s the one avenue of my professional magic career where I could have used some help. Had to figure everything out myself though trail and error and by investing in several marketing plans. Some good, some just so-so, and some really bad.

I have a similar story to tell, except that my expertise is in music. Before retiring, I lectured at a number of conventions on “the magic of music”, and found that the folks who integrated my techniques benefitted tremendously. Their shows went from ordinary to extraordinary; and the (proper) addition of music made their shows more of a theatrical experience than just a regular magic show. They, like me, were able to increase their prices and get better bookings because their product was superior.

Unfortunately, most magicians are not dedicated enough to work on presentation. They want instant solutions, hence, the tendency to buy the “latest and greatest” tricks at magic conventions. (And in that environment, it’s very easy for savvy dealers & demonstrators to persuade excited attendees to hand over their cash. That’s how we all end up with drawers full of unused props).

My wife Leslie and I still compose, arrange record and produce original royalty-free music CDs for magicians. And performers who use our music always give us great compliments. But generally speaking, I’m very disappointed that so few magicians who attended my lectures couldn’t find the time or discipline to use my methods in their programs. There’s a real art to using music the right way, which is almost impossible to describe on paper. You’d have to have seen me demonstrate these techniques to fully understand the potential power music can have on an audience.

Anyway, back to the OP: I have attended countless magic conventions over the years, but quit going completely when I retired from performing a couple of years ago. I hope you find what you’re looking for.
Arthur Stead
royalty-free music and interactive routines
www.arthurstead.com
motown
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Atlanta by way of Detroit
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When I lived in Michigan, I regularly attended Abbotts Get Togethers, starting as a teenager. I always liked that they called it a Get Together. Going Year after year it becomes like family. That was a big part of what made them so much fun, and some times sad when you lost one of those family members. There was a wonderful camaraderie. Eventually you become one of those old guys Mindpro mentioned.

And who doesn’t love seeing a good magic show.
"If you ever write anything about me after I'm gone, I will come back and haunt you."
– Karl Germain
rockwall
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I've been to conventions where I started to have the experience described by MindPro. Then I started attending Magic Live.

I find that Magic Live avoids many of the problems that MindPro brings up. You don't see the same speakers, performers, etc there year after year. It's a new and different experience every year as far as the shows and the seminars. Yes, the magic shop has many of the same sellers year after year but that's not surprising.
lunatik
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I've only been to Magic in the Rockies a few times which was a blast.

Bucket list: Magic Live!
"Don't let your Dreams become Fantasies"
canaday
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Florida
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I have been attending the Daytona Magic Convention for a few years now. At the last one, two of the featured performers were Joshua Jay and Andi Gladwin who told me that we should come to Magifest this year. So, we went. And what a convention it was! Outstanding performers and lectures. I finally got the chance to see Juan Tamirez. For some reason, I just never got his performance style before. I have become a convert. He did some card effects that totally fooled me. I have no idea how they were done. Howard Hamburg gave a lecture complete with stories of Dai Vernon, Larry Jennings and others. Then he taught Dan Tong's marvelous move, the Pad Toss. Adam Rubin did a show then a lecture the next days. He has worked with Mark Setteducati who did the Magic Show book a few years ago. He did some fascinating work with one of Sam Loyd's puzzles. Get Off the Earth. He had designed an ashtray with a number of cigars and simply by turning the interior ring, a cigar disappeared. Great stuff. Blake Vogt gave a nice lecture teaching a gypsy thread done with scotch tape and a prediction effect that I was usre was going to be based on Deddy Corbusier's Free will principle. But Blake took a different root and showed us the clever gimmick he had designed. Jason Ledanye did some blistering card work. He recently released his book, Game Changer, beautifully designed and printed by Vanishing Inc. The night continued with a wonderful lecture by Guy Hollingworth. It was a real treat to watch him perform his Restoration. The next night in the Gala Show he did an act based on classic magic of the 30's. I have seen few classier acts. Juan Tamirez did a wonderful show then lectured the next day for over an hour but it took that long for him to explain only one effect. Friday night finished with Nick Diffate, who last month graced th cover of Genii. Very young, very funny and very entertaining. I know that by now, you have all seen Yann Frisch do his award winning cups and balls routine. I. his lecture he went over the entire act and showed how each move was done and his reasoning. If the Gala Show he reprised the act but added some new stuff making it much better than the one we had previously seen. The last lecture was Danny Garcia who taught his technique for the top change. Knowing that a lot of us performed his balloon trick, Pressure, he offered some tips to make it even more effective. Of course, the Gala Show was wonderful. But the Saturday morning session featured two things that will sit with me a long time. It started with a magic act put on by special needs students from a local high school. These kids worked very hard and their pride was very evident.One little girl with Downs Syndrome was smiling and beaming with such joy, there was not a dry eye in the house. No one will forget the other speaker either. Werner Reich learned his first card trick from the man in the bunk above his at Auschwitz. He went through his experiences being a Jew during the Holocaust. It sent chills down our back and made us all grateful for the lives we had. A book by William Rauscher, Death Camp Magicians, was for sale in the hall after. I picked up the last copy on the table and the perron behind me was told that it had just sold out. Guess I got lucky. I am looking forward to reading this one. All in all, Josh and Andi know how to really throw a party. I consider this probably the best convention that I have ever attended and look forward to attending again. It was even worth the ice, snow and sub zero temperatures. Bravo!
Richard Kaufman
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I go to MagiFest in Ohio, MAGIC Live in Las Vegas, The Genii Convention in Orlando (if I'm putting one on that year) and a few collector/history conventions such as the Yankee Gathering every other November in Boston, and the Magic Circle History Gathering in London.

I'm often a dealer, and thus don't get to see as much as I want. At some conventions dealers are not even allowed to enter the events!
ed rhodes
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Rhode Island
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Quote:
On Jan 5, 2019, motown wrote:
When I lived in Michigan, I regularly attended Abbotts Get Togethers, starting as a teenager. I always liked that they called it a Get Together. Going Year after year it becomes like family. That was a big part of what made them so much fun, and some times sad when you lost one of those family members. There was a wonderful camaraderie. Eventually you become one of those old guys Mindpro mentioned.

And who doesn’t love seeing a good magic show.



I've always wanted to go to the Get Together. However, the transit situation in Michigan is sadly lacking. Without a car, I'd have no way to get to Colon once I reached Michigan! (Getting to Michigan would have been costly, but what then)
"He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." - Rafael Sabatini, Scaramouche
WitchDocChris
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York, PA
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The only conventions I've attended are ECSS (all five) and now Bizarre Hauntings.

I avoided other magic conventions for the reasons Mindpro listed above. Not my scene. Though my friend Kyle has been trying to get me to go to MagicLive for years.

My first convention experience was pretty close to what Mindpro described, just with a bizarre twist (in that ECSS is purely a bizarre convention). I did meet some really cool people, I did spend more than I thought I would, I did attend ALL THE THINGS. But I also met some of my (now) best friends in magic and every year it continues to be like a family reunion.

In my opinion the real value of a convention is both the networking/friendships that develop, as well as a space to test and get feedback on your material. At the most recent ECSS David Parr (who is just an excellent human being) did a workshop where people brought up a piece that was not finished or not where they wanted it to be. Every single person there walked away with improvements. Some subtle, some vastly changing the routine all together.

But also the jam sessions and the "Hey can I show you this and tell me what you think?"'s are invaluable. ECSS is one of my biggest expenses every year and it's worth every penny.

That being said - I can definitely see where the scenario Mindpro laid out would take place. If I attended more conventions it would probably lose it's glamor. As it stands, there's one more that may start up in Colorado that I'm considering but that would likely be my limit.
Christopher
Witch Doctor

Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
David Parr
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V.I.P.
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Hey, WitchDocChris, thanks for the compliments, and I’m glad you found the Magic Catalyst workshop to be productive. I had lots of fun collaborating with everyone, and I hope this workshop can become a regular thing at ECSS and other conventions too
Brain Food, A Game of Life & Death, Proof Positive, and Paper Prophecies
available at http://www.davidparr.com/store
tbsmith918
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Virginia Beach, Virginia
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I retire (from my non-magical) job at the end of September. Sometime after that I hope to attend my first magic convention. I'm not sure which...I'm in Virginia...but I don't mind traveling. I'm not a SAM or IBM member. I do cards and close-up mostly...some spooky themed parlor effects around Halloween...(I really get a kick out of the latter). I'm leaning toward Genii (and/or the Daytona Con) and maybe one of the Bizarre Conventions. But not every year...perhaps every three years or so. I have other things that keep me busy....music and photography...and family of course...grown children...grandkids...my wife. I will be very busy in retirement I think. I remember when I was 20-something wanting to drive to Abbott's...wishing I had the time (and money). Simpler times for sure. Looking forward to my first.
Tom
jimgerrish
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East Orange, NJ
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If you are looking for conventions around the world, check on our Calendar of Events: https://www.magicnook.com/calendar/calendar.htm You can search by state. For example the next convention near you is probably "03/07 - 03/09/19 Winter Carnival of Magic, Country Tonight Theatre, Pigeon Forge, TN". Good hunting!
ed rhodes
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Rhode Island
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Is Pigeon Forge becoming the new Branson, MO?
"He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." - Rafael Sabatini, Scaramouche
tbsmith918
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Virginia Beach, Virginia
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Quote:
On Feb 7, 2019, jimgerrish wrote:
If you are looking for conventions around the world, check on our Calendar of Events: https://www.magicnook.com/calendar/calendar.htm You can search by state. For example the next convention near you is probably "03/07 - 03/09/19 Winter Carnival of Magic, Country Tonight Theatre, Pigeon Forge, TN". Good hunting!

Pigeon Forge...right next door to Gatlinburg...a place my wife and I visit quite often! There was a magic shop in Gatlinburg for a while, run by a magician who's name escape me now. He was famous for his dancing cane...perhaps someone can refresh my memory. I think he had a company named Precision Magic...but I'm talking many years ago. I bought a tennis themed chop cup from him...with little tennis balls...but I digress. I will check out the calendar for sure. Thanks Jim.
Tom
jimgerrish
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East Orange, NJ
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We also have a map to Brick & Mortar shops on our Magic Nook front page. Clicking on the tiny map allows you to expand it and explore the locations we have already entered. For example, "Make It Magic Magic Shop" can be found in Gatlinburg, TN, possibly right where you remembered it. https://makeitmagic.com/ We're adding new brick and mortar shops all the time, so if you have one anywhere in the USA we should be listing, just let someone know ( magicnook@yahoo.com)
alexgutz
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San Antonio, Texas
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Usually just one.....this year will be TAOM 2019, San Antonio,Texas, Labor Day weekend....75+ years of Texas tradition...taom.org/2019
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