This was the second day of presentations and it started out with John Lovic introducing the first speaker, Roberto Giobbi. Roberto gave a lecture on the levels of a magic trick and compared it to an iceberg, as in how the spectator only sees the tip of the effect. Below that are the things we spend so much time on like method, psychology, etc. It was sort of like the “mental path” Helder had talked about, with some other insights. It really helped to put things in to perspective for me, about how I should focus more on what the spectators see and take in rather than the method I use to get there.
Next was Chris Dzoan, Tyson Mao, and John George. They talked about something everyone has heard of, the Rubik’s Cube. John George spoke about the applications it has in magic. This idea works because laymen think if you can solve a cube you’re extremely intelligent. In his show he solves a cube by normal means, but does so quickly. Then after the layman knows he has the ability to solve one normally, he brings in a magic effect. He pulls out a tiny cube (unsolved), places it in his mouth, and it comes out solved. If a spectator were to see this on its own they would suspect it was a gimmicked cube but because he displayed real skill beforehand, they believe it was done legitimately. Then Chris Dzoan did some amazing solves: solving a cube one-handed one behind his back, and one in each hand that are mirrored while only looking at one hand. This was a great example of integrating a well-known prop into a magic act.
Next up was Derek Hughes again. This time he gave a talk rather than just a performance. He spoke about the questions you should ask yourself when routining and scripting effects. He referenced a well known acting text and explained how he takes the lessons learned from theater and applies them to his magic. Lastly, he talked about how important the presentation and script are, and how they can really elevate your performance. After Derek was Shane Cobalt. His talk was pretty interesting, he brought along two card cutters and showed everyone how they work. Shane’s whole presentation was about stripper decks. Most magicians (including me before his talk) only think there’s a single type of stripper deck. There are actually three, the difference being where the card is cut. The card cutters looked like useful tools but were pretty pricey. The last person this morning was David Williamson and he was on stage for about a minute. He hurried up and said a few quick things because we were already running over and everyone was starving, waiting to go to lunch.
Robert Lang is “recognized as one of the world’s leading masters of origami”, and he showed it at Magic-Con. If you have some spare time do a Google image search for “Robert Lang Origami” and see what he’s capable of. Lang displayed different pieces of Origami he designed, as well as how origami can be used in other fields. Space was the biggest one with designing shapes that fold up small but expand at the destination. It makes you wonder if this could be applied to magic in any way, and what we could do with it.
Jim Steinmeyer came afterwards. His talk was all about magic history and Houdini. Steinmeyer talked about his book mostly, and how he believed Houdini had good reason for “killing his father”, Robert Houdin. I had trouble following his presentation because I didn’t know about Houdini writing ill of his mentor in the first place but it was still an interesting excerpt of magic history.
This may have been my favorite part of the conference. Lennart Green was the first afternoon lecturer and it’s always inspiring to see him work. He performed a few effects and then went through the method and ideas behind them. You can tell he learned outside of the magic community, as his ideas are completely out of the box but still practical. His talk was informative, inspiring, and humorous.
Before dinner David Regal gave his lecture. He would show an effect and then explain the method. Regal’s experience and practically are something a lot of magicians should aspire to have. His effects also have some meaning to the spectator. The ones he showed us are the kind that a layman would actually be interested in as they dealt with a common topic or something everyone has experienced. This was a big improvement from his presentation the previous day.
Mike Caveny started out the evening with an energetic and etertaining performance. He had a cup of coffee, added cream and sugar, took a drink, and placed it on the inside of a large white plastic ring. Caveny then proceeded to spin the ring around his arm without the coffee spilling or moving. Just to reinforced the point He threw the ring up into the air, it spun twice, and he caught it. Each time he drank the coffee in between each stunt as well. Helder was up again after Caveny finished. Helder talked more about the structure of an effect and use Cards Across as an example. He showed the various plots cards across can take and how inserting different elements can change the whole look of the effect. Then he showed and taught us his version using two wine glasses which had an ingenious method. Helder’s magic is always simple, direct, and to the point. Plus you know it’s good if it fooled all of us.
David Williamson gave a hilarious performance next. He had the whole room laughing uncontrollably. He did a few effects, including a needle swallowing that had a “twist” at the end. Williamson also called up Dan & Dave’s other brother Justin on stage to help him out which made things even more comical. Roberto Giobbi then did an astonishing card stab effect. The spectator mixed the cards and then Roberto still managed to stab the signed selection. Last up for the evening show was Mac King. This was the first time I’ve seen Mac perform and it was a blast; I now understand why he got the “Funniest Magician in America” award. He did his usual show and everyone enjoyed it. After Mac’s performance there was a short break, then David Williamson’s lecture. He didn’t go over any of the bits he used in his performance earlier but instead showed some fun card tricks. And, of course, he showed some wonderful tips on the top change.
That was all for Day 3. It was a ton of information and entertainment all at once, and even better than the first day of presentations. Check back soon to see the write-up for the very last day of Magic-Con 2011.