Sorry for the time delay in getting up these posts, Magic-Con and travel got much busier than expected. But, without further adue, let’s get to the conference. I’ll do these day-by-day so check back soon for the next two.
Everyone waited in anticipation as magic-con 2011 started. Our host for the morning was Max Maven. It started out with Helder Guimaraes and he talked about the mental pathway of him creating new things. The mental pathway was essentially the steps he took to creating his effects; like what the effect was, how it should be performed, and what method would be best used to go with the performance. Next was Mike Caveney who gave a great lecture on the adaptation of magic though out the years. He explained that we started out as street peddlers with little tables or Gibecieres (fancy fanny packs), but as crowds got bigger and rapped around we adapted and thrived in this environment. Then eventually we moved to the big stage where wings and tap doors could be utilized. Magicians took advantage of these new assets and again thrived in a foreign environment. Next was street magic the way David Blaine revolutionized it which contributes to most spectators view of magic today. Then to end it off he pull a chicken out of an empty coat taken form the audience which, needless to say, blew us all away.
Then came a change in the schedule; Lennart Green was unavailable at this point so Derek Hughes gave a performance that amazed us all and brought on hysterical laughter. A.Bandit was next, which is a group started by conceptual artist Glenn Kaino and the well known magician Derek DelGaudio. They talked about how they are bridging the gap between magic and art whilst creating a medium. It was a very interesting speech and made a lot of valid points, both about magic and the art world. Lastly was Bill Kalush who spoke about Gibeciere, a Journal that is sent out biannually to the subscribers. It is filled with translated texts about magic history, articles written by many guests, and a wealth of other information.
This round of talks started with Paul Wilson and he gave a speech on how the world views magicians as cheap, dispensable, and quick to turn on each other. He said the truth is there are a lot of magicians like that and they can reflect on us as a whole. It’s our job to counteract that and prove them wrong with a combination fo morals and good magic. Next was Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik. They are the authors of the book Sleights of Mind and gave a fascinating lecture about how our mind works and why our brains allow us to be fooled by magic and optical illusions.
Mike Caveney started off the after noon with a spin on the Benson bowl routine by using a plunger instead of a bowl. He found that the plunger could hold the sponge balls on the inside lip of it with ease; proving his speech of how magicians adapt over time. He took a classic trick and transformed it into something that looked fresh and original with an object all laymen are familiar with. Next, Richard Kaufman performed several different passes and spoke a bit about what situation they could all be useful in. You know your pass is good when you can do it right in front of a camera for a room of over 300 magicians invisibly.
The special event/guest lecture for that evening was a video recording of the The Professor lecturing back in 1973. Only 30 people had ever seen the footage before this showing at Magic-Con. Dai Vernon had wonderful advice that still rings true today. He spoke about things that you hear from all of the “greats” today. Vernon explained things like overproving your “empty” hands during some tricks kills the effect or making too big of a deal out of a small motion is detrimental, not helpful. The lecture contained invaluable information that our generation was lucky enough to witness.
The evening lecturer was Helder Guimaraes. I was excited for this one all day. Helder performed and explained a few of his personal effects. When watching the explanations the crowd smiled at his ingenuity multiple times. Helder’s passion for magic is apparent in every trick he performs. His methods also showed that his audience is his number one priority, not cramming as many new moves in as he can. We could all learn a lot from Helder’s mental path and his unique approach to magic.
All in all the first day of presentations was a great success. There was a balanced amount of theory and effects with a wealth of information that no other conference can offer. And this was only the beginning.
Some Images from Magic-Con.org.