That’s what Harper Lee said.
She was referring to the fact that nobody really appreciates breathing - until they can’t. But I think the same could be said of attending a magic convention. In the last few months a number of very large and long running magic conventions have simply pulled up their stakes and called it quits. There are a variety of reasons - but it’s undeniable that attendance has dropped at most of these events.
Ten years ago, if you were itching to see magic and connect with pros the only way to do it was to hit the road for a magic convention. There’s no doubt that in the last few years it’s gotten much easier to scratch that itch. The internet allows us to sit back and watch magic performed, see demos of the latest dealer offerings, and connect with others on message boards. It is a different world.
I don’t think it’s completely worse or better, but it’s definitely different.
Of course, the ease of access to the virtual “scratch” means that it’s hard to justify the cost and energy needed to produce a live one. Or even a quality virtual one.
My recommendation? Support conventions and lectures while you can. Show up, get engaged, share what you can, and create an environment that encourages others to do the same.
I wouldn’t wait too long. The air is getting thinner.
Still playing a bit of office catch up since returning from MagiFest and now my sights have turned towards the UK...
We are very busy preparing for a trip across the pond to the world’s largest magic convention in Blackpool, England. This event is always a sell out with THOUSANDS of magicians traveling from all over the world for this remarkable magical experience. I’ve been to many conventions, in many places but the Blackpool Magician’s Club has created something unique and this event is without a doubt the most awe inspiring.
This year I’ve decided to combine the magic with a bit of family fun, so my wife and daughter will be joining me on the trek. We will be taking a trip down to London after the convention to soak in a bit of English culture as well. This means that things will be a bit shorthanded at the shop from February 16th to the 26th. You can get the full details about the office schedule during that time by clicking here.
Shortly after my return, I’ll be heading back out on the road in March for a few lectures in PA, NJ, and final stop in CT for the Nemcon Convention. Here’s the lecture line up:
When: Monday March 8
Where: Doc Holliday's, 110 Limekiln Road, New Cumberland, PA 17070
For more information contact John Stover at: 717-802-6708 or get full info on this lecture here http://www.centralpamagic.org/html/paulr.html
When: Tuesday March 9
Where: Grasso’s Magic Theatre, 103 Callowhill St, Philadelphia, Pa 19123
For more information visit: http://www.grassosmagictheatre.com/contact.html
When: Wednesday March 10
Where: Community Center Auditorium, 328 Plainfield Avenue Edison, NJ 08817
For more information contact Eric Appel at email@example.com
If one of the stops is near you, I hope you’ll come out to say hello!
Jeff Hobson is one funny guy. His lecture for us last night had a super turnout and I think it’s safe to say that everyone had a great time. The laughs kept coming for almost three hours and he never slowed down. Aside from the sheer entertainment value, I learned some great stuff as well! He showed a ton of material including a sure fire match pull that you can make in seconds and costs virtually nothing, a great balloon bit that is funny as heck and works for kids as well as adults, the cleverest finish to a card manipulation bit I’ve seen in years (I heard gasps!), and of course some great work on the Egg Bag.
But the real gold wasn’t just in the tricks and jokes, it was what he had to say about developing your act, finding material, handling an audience, and being a pro. It’s not my wisdom to pass on…it’s his. So if he’s heading your way, GO SEE HIS LECTURE…you won’t be disappointed.
If the lectures look like fun and you live near western New York, don’t forget to get on our lecture notification list. You can get all the information right here.
As I posted previously, John Carney was in town with his new lecture last week. The material was great, as was John…and as always, I leaned a lot from the experience. John has a new book out called, “Magic By Design”. I’ve really enjoyed it and it’s currently only available at his lectures, although it should be on his site soon. At 91 pages it may not be his longest, but it certainly one of his most provocative. Keep your eye out for it.
Last night I had the chance to see Paul Gertner’s latest lecture. If he comes your way, don’t miss it. I remember Gene Anderson talking about the idea that we should “sandpaper” our ideas until we can’t sand any more. The idea being that we need to reveal every last bit of beauty a routine has to offer. Paul is one magician who can put his sandpaper away! Everything he does is polished to perfection.
He started with a handful of his signature routines, including his Steel Cups & Balls and repeat Classic Card Force. If you’re not familiar with his work on the Classic Force, you need to pick up his booklet on the topic. We only have a few left and he announced last night that it is no longer in print. He has touches and ideas that are the result of a lifetime of real world work.
His new lecture is called, “Original Instructions Not Included” and it focuses on breathing new life into props you may have collecting dust. I was amazed out how much more reaction he pulled from things like Masuda’s Wow, the Disappearing Cards & Case, and even 3 ½ of Clubs Card! He also presented the most compelling routine for the Pom Pom Pole you will ever witness. I’m not kidding…it made me want to pull one off the shelf! He also demonstrated two of his more recent releases Bite Me and Heartbreaker. I’ve sang the praises of these routines in the past but it’s always great to be reminded of their strength by the man himself.
All in all, a great night. But then again, I’ve seldom been to lecture by a pro when I didn’t walk out at least a little more inspired than when I walked in. I’ve said it before and I know I’ll say it again. For the few bucks it costs to attend a lecture by people of this caliber the room should ALWAYS be mobbed. Don’t pass up these opportunities.
If you live in our neck of the woods, you may have noticed that we have Jeff Hobson and Michael Ammar coming in to lecture next month. In fact, they will both be here the very same week! You can get all the info on our site by clicking here and don’t forget to get on our local lecture email list. You can get those details here.
John Carney dropped me an email recently about his new lecture tour. John is one of the most talented guys you’ll find in this business. He has a lifetime of magic and theatrical know how merged with an unquenchable need to perfect his craft. I am always stunned by the amount of how much polished material he has. Which is why I’m even more amazed that he continually seems to be working on something new! I’ve seen John lecture and perform countless times and there's always more than a few wonderful surprises.
To be clear this is NOT an Elmwood Magic lecture. John is handling this event on his own…but I know I’ll be there! The Buffalo date is October 6th and you can get full details here. If you’re not in our neck of the woods, he’s bound to be somewhere close to you, and you can find his full schedule here.
Which reminds me....if you live in the Western New York area and you want to be kept informed of the lectures sponsored by Elmwood Magic, just click here.