I left LA heading south on the 405. Excited to geek out on magic and see Shawn. I had everything I needed, cards, coins, cash, cigars, booze and a doctors bag full of tricks I wouldn’t even do.
I arrived in San Diego at 4:20PM. Shawn & Andy Greget arguing with their GPS and not quite having the easy navigation into the Hilton Bayfront Hotel as I did. We can do no wrong, I thought as I headed to the bar. There he was Tony Chang! He saw me and said loudly, “Tom mother fucking Frank!” I gave him a hug. Tony is the man. When he worked for me at Seattle Magic, he was a college kid at UDub, now he’s an underground legend in NYC. He flatters me to say that I had anything to do with his development.
I met a young man at the bar named Shane Cobalt (from Toronto). Obsessed with Steamboat Playing Cards and Erdnase, I immediately liked him. Within minutes we were discussing the SWE Shift (and I didn’t even bring it up); I knew I was at the right place.
The first night was low key. Night before cocktail party. Shawn and Andy finally arrived from Phoenix and we checked into our room. The party was a gas. Lots of familiar faces David Blaine, Steve Cohen, Juan Tamariz and a gaggle of teenage card jugglers, warmed my heart.
Shawn & I circulated while andy set up his book room.
Tricks, music, booze, cards and friends. Night one.
Juan Tamariz did an impromptu performance but I couldn’t see, so after 10 min. I retreated to refill my drink.
Time flew by, and around 3AM Shane, a fellow named Tony Cabral and I went out the front lobby to enjoy a cigar and continue our discussions on our fair art.
This was going to be quite a conference, I could tell.