Friday, January 19, 2007

Last pics from the S.C.A.M. Convention

One of the best parts of the South Carolina Association of Magicians Convention was to spend 4 full days with my old buddy Dan the Man. Of course seeing Kenny after all these years, meeting his family and winning the contests was all great too. But just reconnecting, enjoying his lecture on creativity, helping him in his show and being roommates again, even if for only a few nights in a Marriott. That's really what I signed up for. Thanks Danny for the opportunity and the friendship.

Here's Dan accepting his SCAM SPAM Award. Wasn't really sure what it was all about, but it was a fun presentation and it will look good among his other awards at home. This was the night that we ended up at the Waffle House at 4AM with Rachel. Here is Rachel, here Grand Dad and her Mom. Three generations of magic in Columbia, SC. All of them in show business in one way or another. A family that tricks together, sticks together. . . or at least gets a call from the Child, Family Services.

Rachel and Matt did a great Job of getting all the performers to and from the airport, making sure everyone was comfortable in their rooms and even took me on a run to the liquor store when I was getting the shakes. At one time, her mom was the union steward in this town. She was acting Stage Manager for the Gala Show and Grampa told me stories of great magicians performing in Columbia. He told me of Willard the Wizard performing in the old Opera House and about how Harry Blackstone Jr. collapsed on stage at the Coliseum, two weeks later he was dead.

Finally here is Jessica Reed and her Grand Parents all from Eaton, Ohio. I can recall watching her grow up at the Magi-Fest. Now she's all grown up, She was was performing her bird act on the Gala Show line-up.

Ahhhh time flys like a drugged parrot.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

More thoughts about the convention

Arthur Trace
Arthur Trace and David Regal on the big stage at the Koger Center


I love magic conventions. You never know who you might see, old pals and acquaintances like Scott Robinson, Hannibal, Paul Cummins, and Steve Beam.

I've been going to magic conventions for 27 years. Part of the convention experience has always been competing in whatever contests I could get in on. I've won some and lost more but always found the experience gratifying and fulfilling. I like performing for my peers. To some extent the pressure is on. Last year I ate it at the World Magic Seminar , I didn't even place. My fate would prove to be different last weekend. I entered both the Close-Up Contest and the Stage Contest and took First Place in both. No one was more surprised the me.

There was one other big surprise at the theater that evening. A large bald man with a goofy smile approached me while we were running though the act. He looked familiar, but I couldn't place him. I kind of pretended to know who he was while my brain was still working. I can't remember if I figured it out or he had to tell me, it was Kenny Jones, another roommate from my 2.5 years in LA in the late 80's. Kenny & Dan grew up in Berlin Center, a rural suburb of Youngstown, OH. We all met as teenagers at a Magi-Fest in Columbus, OH where Dan & I were both competing in the Close-Up Contest.


Kenny now lives in North Carloina with his wife and 3 kids. They made the 4 hour drive down to see Dan's show. It seems like a lifetime ago that we all lived in that house in Cerritos, went to Jon's at 2AM for their $2 steak and eggs special and drove fast no matter where we were going.




Pic du Jour • Bisque Headed Clown Magician Automaton


MARVELOUS BISQUE HEADED CLOWN MAGICIAN AUTOMATON. Truly outstanding and all original Lambert automaton from the late 1800s or early 1900s. Typical of French fashion, the character bisque head features pale white bisque, paperweight eyes, painted facial features, and is adorned with ladybugs and flying insects. The magician is decked in colorful silk clothing and has the most delicate bisque hands imaginable. Through a series of motions (nodding and twisting his head, waving his wand, and tapping the cup) various items mysteriously appear on the table as he gently lifts the cone. This is all accompanied by gentle music. SIZE: 24" h. CONDITION: Overall very fine to near mint, some minor distress to clothing and velvet base covering. Mechanism in excellent working condition. 1-5911 JL (13,000-18,000)

More fun from S.C.A.M. Convention

Thursday night we were all up till the wee hours jamming on card tricks, moves and ideas. I went to bed around 3AM. Danny was up at 5AM or so for a spot on the morning news. Arthur did a spot around 6AM and Danny did his bit closer to 7AM. The organizers of the convention didn't miss a trick in plugging the convention and the Gala Show (that was open to the public).

In my "In Box"

RE: Great sound

Body: You never know Tom, we have done some variety shows from time to time. My grandfather was a prestidigitator, his act was called "Ten Minutes with Ten Fingers"


----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: Tom Frank

Date: Jan 7 2007 11:21 AM

I'm gonna try and make your Jan. 21 show. You sound great. Ever need an opening act? Magicians were big in that era playing all the great nightclubs.

S.C.A.M. Magic Gala Show

Sylvester the Jester's Lecture on Creativity

"Are you doing a character, or are you always this weird?" - a question from the audience during the Q & A

This is the second time that I've seen Dan do his lecture and this one was nothing like the last. The biggest difference was Dan usually lectures after his performance and usually shows in detail all the elements of his act. But since he had not done his show he was reluctant to tip the stuff too early. The reason he shares his props is not so that the audience can copy them, but rather that they can learn from the creative process that helped him arrive at the solutions to many problems and obstacles along the way.

I don't think I'm overstating things when I say that Dan is a creative genius. He has a unique approach. Having watched Dan progress over the last quarter century has been an honor indeed, I'm proud to call him a close friend and soul brother. He starts his lecture talking about embracing your stupidity. He launches off into tangents of silliness the even he doesn't know where its heading.

He shares the history and making of his digital sound vest. When he revealed the guts of the vest there was an audible gasp as we were delighted to see the complex maze of wires, circuits, chips, buttons, sweat and tears.

Afterwards people were eager to buy everything from his Electric Funken Rings, to his Lecture Notes on Creativity, Suspended Animation (a jacketless topit) DVD, The Sylvester Pitch Tape etc. . .

The lecture was well attended and I think everyone there got something out of it.

A few pics from backstage at the Gala


Arthur Trace

Sylvester the Jester & Matt

Back from a great trip!

Just got back from Columbia, South Carolina where I was assisting Sylvester the Jester at the South Carolina Association of Magicians (S.C.A.M) Convention. Dan was booked to lecture Friday morning and Headline the Gala Show on Saturday night. Although I've know Dan over two decades I learn new things about him all the time. Like, the concerns of dealing with airport security on checked and carry on bags. . . lets just say that cartoon boy's "thought bubble" could be popped at any minute and it could be a long afternoon in a hot little TSA substation cavity search room in the basement of LAX.

Sylvester the Jester

We flew from LA to Houston then on to Columbia from there. At the airport we were met by Matt and Rachel who would be our Convention liaisons. It's been a long time since I lived in the south, certainly they take their hospitality SERIOUSLY. It was made clear to us early on, that if there were any issues, that either of them could handle them promptly.

Arthur Trace was also converging at baggage claim. Unfortunately his road-case, containing his easel and canvas for his avent garde, art, manipulation magic act. . . were not. Cell phone calls to unknown people at the end of the day make for a tense face.

We got in Thursday night, to the Mariott Hotel Downtown. Nice digs and a great place for a convention. Very fluffy pillows and bedding, very hot water with excellent pressure. Just what I like in a hotel.

The first thing Dan does immediately after getting into the hotel room is to open and examine every prop. He carefully evaluates whether or not it's been handled or damaged in transit. He does that, I take a shower as we had been up since 5AM West Coast Time.

A bunch of us went to a busy Wing Joint nearby for a bite of dinner. I had met Arthur once before at the Race Track in LA. and David Regal on the Private Copperfield Museum Tour a year ago. I love hanging out with magicians.

After dinner there was a mini magic session near the registration desk. We were geek'en out pretty good with card's, coins and combs. . . oh my.

Luke Dancy & David Regal

Luke Dancy introduced himself to me as a good friend of Ryan Swigert's. Any friend of Ryan's, is a friend of mine. Luke seems like a good guy with a nice touch. I enjoyed his lecture the next day.