Like so many blogs this one has fallen by the wayside. Why? To be honest, it’s time. The best intentions I had at the beginning were fuelled by a lot happening for me with magic. But the last year it’s gone quiet because I’ve been tied up with the other things in my life. No bad reasons – family, work, music etc.
BUT, last year was good for magic. The Session was a blast – the Chris Kenner interview was fascinating. And the sell-out run of An Evening of Deception was our best yet. In fact, we’re back again this year – so here’s a plug. Check out the Facebook page for An Evening of Deception for details about the new show.
This week I’m off to see one of our great performers from last years show, Peter Clifford, in his regular Christmas Show at The Tobacco Factory in Bristol. Pete’s magic is always original and this year’s show, Magic Matters, has attracted some great reviews.
Next weekend the Session is back in Cheltenham and it’ll be great to catch up with some friends who I only see once a year! Some great performers this year as well.
Maybe I’ll get back to writing stuff from my hobbyist point of view again soon. I know what I’ve written in the past has been enjoyed by many and irrritated a precious few. That, to me, is a success!
Bye for now.
I mentioned this in my last post, but this time The Session really is nearly here – just five days away in fact. For the first time in decades, an international magic convention is taking place in Cheltenham, the birthplace of the legendary victorian magician, JN Maskelyne.
For those of us interested in magic, the line-up is going to be difficult to top. My friend, and fabulous local magician, Andi Gladwin, has worked really hard with co-organiser, New York magician, Joshua Jay, to bring a fantastic line-up to the session.
Over the past few days I’ve been working on the event that I’m helping out with – interviewing Las Vegas magician, Chris Kenner. Chris is a major influence on magic today and will be here to pick up the Session’s Lifetime Achievement award. Not bad considering he’s not yet 50. He’s made major strides in shaping modern magic – starting as a close up and stand up magic comedian to now working as David Copperfield’s Executive Producer. He’s also supportive of young magicians – again shaping the future of magic. But he’s also blatantly outspoken about what is right and wrong with magic today, so expect a home truths.
Such is his influence, and the calibre of the other performers (I’m really looking forward to seeing Dani Daortiz from Spain as well as Penn and Teller Fool Us magician’s John Archer and Piff The Magic Dragon) that magicians are flying in from around the world to be in Cheltenham.
Anyway, back to the research…
It’s regular date in my calendar now and The Session is back in January. Organised by my good friend, and all round top magician, Andi Gladwin it’s a fantastic two day event and in 2012 will move to a new venue in Cheltenham. Closer to home. Nice. Magicians fly in from all over the world to be there – it’s a real chance to see the cream of the conjuring crop. Regular readers will know that last year I interviewed David Berglas at the Session for their lifetime achievement award. I’m more than pleased to say that I’ll be doing the same again for this year’s recipient, Chris Kenner. Chris is a major influence in magic today – notable for his incredible close-up work, he went on to become the Executive Producer for David Copperfield in Las Vegas. He’s also passionate about encouraging young people to get into and improve their magic. I’m really looking forward to finding out more about his life and views on magic. I’m reading as much as I can about his work at the moment and, even though I’m not a finger flicking sleight of hand artist, I know it’s going to a great event. See you there?
Well, the Session is over for another year and what a weekend it was. It was the biggest and the busiest yet. Nearly 150 magicians from all over the world came to see the likes of Darwin Ortiz, Pit Hartling, Denis Behr, Ben Earl and Luke Jermay. Andi Gladwin and Josh Jay put together a fantastic weekend with some great lectures, talks and sessions. There were too many highlights to list but stand out performances from Denis Behr and Pit Hartling bring a sublime smile to my face. Their card handling is wonderful and looks like real magic. It takes years of practicing every day for hours to get that good and it showed. Excellent stuff. In fact, I recommend that you check out Denis Behr’s database here – an incredible resource if you’re in any way interested in magic.
There was, as you’ll have read on Tricktopia, one event at the session that I had a personal involvement in. It was the final event of the weekend on Sunday night – the interview with David Berglas. After many weeks of planning and meeting up with David it was great to finally get to the event. David was on top form – we talked about his start as a psychtherapist, the fact that his first magic convention was in Cheltenham in 1948 at the Cotswold Magical Society, a couple of his big publicity stunts, his theatrical work, his approach to magic and his friendship with Uri Gellar. We could have talked for several more hours – but we also wanted to hear about his card magic as his new book is out in April. David handles cards in a unique way so he talked about that and how he shapes his effects. The big surprise for everyone (only a few of us knew in advance) was that David performed some of his card magic. It was an incredible moment – with five volunteers on stage he found their merely thought of cards in incredible ways. Ever the showman, his patter was second to none and he had the audience in stitches. But the highlight was his performance of his legendary Berglas Effect – Any Card At Any Number. The picture below shows the moment the nervous spectator counted to his card. You could have heard a pin drop in the room – the tension was palpable. When he turned over his card the crowd roared and David received the first of two standing ovations!
After the event Andi and Josh presented David with the first ever Session Lifetime Achievement in Magic Award. Well deserved. All of us there knew that we had witnessed an historical event. At the age of 84, David still had the power to steal the show. An incredible end to an incredible weekend.
How do they top it next year?!
Just a couple of weeks to go now until The Session magic convention in Gloucester. If you’re interested in magic in any way then I urge you to get along to it. It’s grown rapidly from small beginnings a few years ago when magicians Andi Gladwin and Rob James wanted to put on a convention that they wanted to attend – namely one with a fantastic line up, no cheesy lectures and plenty of time to session between events. They succeeded and it’s now grown into a fantastic weekend. Now organised under the Vanishing Inc banner with Joshua Jay the calibre of magicians and talks is now second to none. The atmosphere is relaxed and really friendly.
It’s also a good size with around 120 registering and the registrants come from all over the world – testament to the quality of this convention. I have to say that this year is probably the best line-up they’ve had with lectures from the likes of Darwin Oriz, Pit Hartling and Ben Earl. Andi and Josh now manage to persuade some of the best magicians to do lectures that are exclusive to The Session.
When I went to the first one in Newent I couldn’t believe that something like this was happening on my doorstep. I’ve had to travel to London and Blackpool for other major conventions so this is a real treat not having to travel very far!
For me a convention is like being the proverbial youngster in the sweet shop. The dealers don’t have to try that hard for us all to part with some (or occasionally lots) of money. For hobbiests it’s good to stock up on the collection. For professionals it’s more of a chance to stand back and see us spend our cash! The magic shop industry would not survive without the hobbyiest market. Long may it continue.
Disclaimer alert : This year I have a vested interest because I’m interviewing magic legend, David Berglas, for the closing event of the convention. However, all the above would still be true without my involvement. I really hope to see you there and please come and say hi.