Blackpool Magic Festival Feb 19th to 21st 2016

Conventions, Club events, Live shows, TV shows and other performance details.

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Re: Blackpool Magic Festival Feb 19th to 21st 2016

Postby Mandrake » Fri Nov 20, 2015 11:06 am



Received via Magic New Zealand:

    Message by Derek Lever (UK)

    Once again we are scouring the world for the best in magical entertainment, lecturers and speciality acts. Obviously, a lot can happen across the world and there may be changes which are beyond out control. But just to wet your appetite, here's what the line-up looks like so far....

    Exact times and events are all "To be confirmed", as we add in new acts and events. But here's the schedule so far....

    Omar pasha - Black light act on Saturday gala show

    Viktor Voitko - Floating rings on Friday gala show, floating rose on Saturday and levitation on Sunday gala show

    Paul Wilson - Will be lecturing and doing bunco booth etc.

    Shin Lim - FISM close up winner.

    Pat Fallon - Will be doing a lecture, close up and gala show.

    Norman Barrett UK - Friday gala show

    Guy Barrett UK - Friday gala show

    George Kovari - Lecture on shooting a ribbon thru girl

    Christian Farla - Closing Saturday gala show

    Jay Sankey - Close up, lecture, speed dating master class

    Danny Hunt's Amethyst - Friday gala show

    Will Houston - Lecture

    Joshua Jay - Lecture, close up, speed dating, master class

    Jeff McBride - Lecture with Larry Hass and Eugene Burger

    Jeff McBride - Sunday gala show

    John Martin - Sunday gala show compère

    Mel Mellers - Compère either Saturday or Friday gala

    Ian Rowland - Lecture and Saturday gala show

    Mark Mason - Lecture and close up

    Jidinis (illusionists) - Sunday gala show

    Gerald le Guilloux - brilliant dove magician. Sunday gala show

    Magic Eagles - (cheerleader illusion act 16 persons) on Saturday gala show.

    Vladimir Volkoff - comedy with the invisible dog. Sunday gala Show

    Hector Mancha - fantastic manipulator with money

    Igor Trifunov - Bottle productions from Serbia on Sunday Gala show

    Donimo - unicycle comedy on Sunday gala show

    Gwenaelle - golden butterfly act on Friday gala show

    Pierric - FISM winner close up

    Otto Wessely - two comedy acts - one Saturday, one Sunday Gala

    Duo monastyrsky - quick change act on Saturday gala show

    Dave Bonsall - lecture and close up

    Dean Lahan - new sensation from Manchester, UK close up / maybe lecture

    Lecturers (17)
    Paul Wilson, Shin Lim, Pat Fallon, George Kovari, Jay Sankey, Pierric, Jeff McBride/Larry Hass/Eugene Burger, Ian Rowland, Mark Mason, Hector
    Mancha, Dave Bonsall, Joshua Jay, Will Houston, Magic Eagles

    Kids Competition - Compere: Russell Brown
    Mark Bennett
    Billy Bo (Bubbles)
    Careena Fenton (Miss Picklelily)
    Gordon Drayson
    Ali Cadabra
    Guilherme Corty (Norway)


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Re: Blackpool Magic Festival Feb 19th to 21st 2016

Postby Mandrake » Mon Feb 15, 2016 4:22 pm

From the BMC Website:

    BLACKPOOL MAGICIANS CONVENTION PROGRAMME FOR 2016


    FRIDAY 19TH FEBRUARY 2016

    08.30am - REGISTRATION DESK OPENS IN ROTUNDA

    11.00am - DEALERS SUPER SHOWCASE OPENS IN THE EMPRESS BALLROOM,

    EMPRESS BALLROOM BALCONY AND THE ARENA

    10.00am - DEALER DEMONSTRATION IN THE PAVILION THEATRE

    1.00pm to 2.00pm - STAR LECTURE IN THE PAVILION THEATRE

    1.30pm to 2.30pm - STAR LECTURE IN THE SPANISH HALL

    2.30pm to 3.30pm - STAR LECTURE IN THE PAVILION THEATRE

    3.00pm to 4.00pm - STAR LECTURE IN THE SPANISH HALL

    4.00pm to 5.30pm - INTERNATIONAL CLOSE UP MAGIC IN THE PAVILION THEATRE

    COMPERE: DAVID PLANT

    Starring: DEAN LAHAN, DAVE BONSALL, PAUL WILSON, PAT FALLON

    4.30pm to 5.30pm - STAR LECTURE IN THE SPANISH HALL

    7.00pm - DEALERS SUPER SHOWCASE closes

    8.00pm to 10.00pm - INTERNATIONAL GALA SHOW IN THE OPERA HOUSE

    COMPERE: MEL MELLERS,

    STARRING: PAT FALLON, NORMAN BARRETT, STEPHANIE DELVAINE,

    MEL MELLERS, DANYY HUNT'S AMETHYST, GUY BARRETT

    10.00pm - REGISTRATION DESK CLOSES

    10.00pm to 11.00pm - STAR LECTURE IN THE PAVILION THEATRE



    SATURDAY 20TH FEBRUARY 2016

    08.30am to 5.00pm - REGISTRATION DESK OPENS IN THE ROTUNDA

    9.00am to 5.30pm - DEALERS SUPER SHOWCASE OPENS IN THE EMPRESS BALLROOM,

    EMPRESS BALLROOM BALCONY AND THE ARENA

    9.00am to 10.00am - STAR LECTURE IN THE PAVILION THEATRE BY WILL HOUSTOUN

    10.00am to 11.00am - STAR LECTURE IN THE SPANISH HALL

    10.15am to 11.45am - THE BRITISH CHILDREN'S ENTERTAINERS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

    IN THE OPERA HOUSE

    COMPERE: RUSSELL BROWN

    FEATURING: ALI CARDABRA, GORDON DRAYSON, GUILHERME CURTY (NORWAY),

    CAREENA FENTON, MARK BENNETT, BILLY BO

    Musical Director: David Windle

    10.15am to 11.15pm - STAR LECTURE IN THE PAVILION THEATRE BY DAVE BONSALL

    11.30am to 12.30pm - STAR LECTURE IN THE SPANISH HALL

    12.30pm to 1.30pm - THE WAYNE DOBSON AND FRIENDS SHOW IN THE PAVILION THEATRE

    COMPERES: WAYNE DOBSON AND MICHAEL J. FITCH

    FEATURING: MARK JAMES

    1.30pm to 2.30pm - STAR LECTURE IN THE SPANISH HALL

    2.00pm to 3.00pm - STAR LECTURE IN THE PAVILION

    4.00pm to 5.30pm - MAGIC SPEED DATING IN THE SPANISH HALL

    COMPERE: HARRY ROBSON.

    FEATURING: DAVE BONSALL, PAUL WILSON, PAT FALLON, ALAN RORRISON


    4.00pm to 5.00pm - STAR LECTURE IN THE PAVILION THEATRE

    5.30pm - DEALERS SUPER SHOWCASE & REGISTRATION DESK CLOSES

    7.00pm to 10.00pm - INTERNATIONAL GALA SHOW IN THE OPERA HOUSE

    COMPERE: GREG WILSON

    FEATURING: IAN ROWLAND, STEVE HEWLETT

    11.00pm to 12.30am - ANDREW JAMES AND MAGIC SAM PRESENT "BEAT THE WAND" COMPETITION

    IN THE PAVILION THEATRE. THE COMPETITION IS OPEN TO APPROVED REGISTRANTS




    SUNDAY 21ST FEBRUARY 2016

    08.30am to 5.00pm - REGISTRATION DESK OPENS IN THE ROTUNDA

    9.00am to 5.30am - DEALERS SUPER SHOWCASE OPEN IN THE EMPRESS BALLROOM,

    EMPRESS BALLROOM BALCONY AND THE ARENA

    10.00am to 12.00 noon - MASTER CLASS IN THE PAVILION THEATRE

    FEATURING: PAUL WILSON, MARK JAMES

    10.45am to 12.45am - TWO KIDZ 'R UZ LECTURES IN THE ICE ROOM:

    FEATURING JAMES SINCLAIR

    FOLLOWED BY RUSSELL BROWN

    11.00am to 12.00 noon - STAR LECTURE IN THE SPANISH HALL

    1.00pm to 2.00pm - STAR LECTURE IN THE PAVILION THEATRE IAN ROWLAND

    1.00pm to 2.00pm - STAR LECTURE IN THE SPANISH HALL ALAN RORRISON

    2.00pm to 4.00pm - INTERNATIONAL STARS OF CLOSE UP MAGIC IN THE PAVILION THEATRE

    COMPERE: HARRY ROBSON

    3.00pm to 4.00pm - STAR LECTURE IN THE SPANISH HALL BY PAUL WILSON

    4.30pm to 5.30pm - STAR LECTURE IN THE SPANISH HALL

    4.30pm to 5.30pm - STAR LECTURE IN THE PAVILION THEATRE

    5.00pm - REGISTRATION DESK CLOSES

    5.30pm - DEALERS SUPER SHOWCASE CLOSES

    7.00pm to 10.30pm - INTERNATIONAL GALA SHOW IN THE OPERA HOUSE

    COMPERE: JOHN MARTIN

    FEATURING: KEN DODD, DONIMO



    PLEASE NOTE THE AFTER GALA SHOW PARTY HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED



    THIS PROGRAMME IS SUBJECT TO ALTERATION


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Re: Blackpool Magic Festival Feb 19th to 21st 2016

Postby mr invisible » Wed Feb 17, 2016 9:07 am

Looks a good line up this year... So sad can't make it.. :(

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Re: Blackpool Magic Festival Feb 19th to 21st 2016

Postby Mandrake » Wed Feb 17, 2016 1:02 pm

Be assured I shall raise a glass or two on your behalf! :D

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Re: Blackpool Magic Festival Feb 19th to 21st 2016

Postby Mandrake » Thu Feb 18, 2016 5:02 pm

You'll be pleased to know I've raised one glass and am just levitating a second... or third, can't remember.... might even be a fourth :D

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Re: Blackpool Magic Festival Feb 19th to 21st 2016

Postby Mandrake » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:04 pm

As usual there were some highs and lows but overall still a great event. The Friday Gala wasn't as strong as it has been in the past but in the three shows there was enough to keep most of us happy. I noted the lack of Korean performers who have dominated Blackpool Galas in recent years and, apart from Jeff McBride and a couple of others, almost no card manipulation stuff – yeeeehaaaah! (Sorry, had to get that off me chest!)

Of course, some things didn’t work as expected and there were some basic errors in the programme, plus the very strange interruption of the after show lecture on Friday with the request to all leave as the Winter Gardens had no security staff on duty – most perplexing and very disrespectful to Pierric. OK, it was rearranged for the following day but the situation shouldn’t have happened in the first place – after show lectures are always late starters due to the inevitable over run of the live show and in previous years this has not caused a problem.

Anyway, those aspects aside, I thoroughly enjoyed myself (again!) and found the lectures, especially the Kid’s Entertainers lectures, to be extremely valuable. I spent a few quid on very small effects so did my bit in the Dealer hall as well.

Despite synchronising clashes, I finally met up with Artychris close to midnight on Sunday and by 5am this morning we’d solved all the world’s problems, discussed every magician under the sun, and reflected on favourite tricks and stories. Absolutely priceless especially as it was in the Sutcliffe hotel over the road from the Ruskin and we not only had swift bar service, we could sit down in peace and comfort! Roll on 2017……

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Re: Blackpool Magic Festival Feb 19th to 21st 2016

Postby Mandrake » Tue Feb 23, 2016 1:53 pm

Just out of interest, what did everyone buy?

I bought:
2 decks of bikes, seconds
Bucket List
A peek wallet
Jeff McBride's Best knots off silks
NIC Einhorn's Insta change, PO receipt to a tenner
Some Snowstorm in China refills

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Re: Blackpool Magic Festival Feb 19th to 21st 2016

Postby isb » Wed Feb 24, 2016 12:35 pm

Jeff McBride's knots off silks is great - I got it as a download a couple of years back.

Bought a few bits, most notably:
FigMENt from Tom Mullenger at Saturn Magic
Amazebox from Vanishing Inc
Minimalistica by John Carey
Flash paper offcuts from Adam Topham
Lecture packs from RPW and Matt Johnson
Sentio from Alan Rorrison
Some nice stuff from Steve Rowe's Gimmicking, Lawrence's Green T, Propdog, and a couple of cheaper bits from discountmagic.

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Re: Blackpool Magic Festival Feb 19th to 21st 2016

Postby Mandrake » Wed Feb 24, 2016 2:48 pm

Last time Jeff lectured at Blackpool he deomo'd BKOS but also told everyone how to make their own props. I bought the necessary bits and prices but made a right pig's ear of it so I was glad to be able to buy the proper stuff at last!

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Re: Blackpool Magic Festival Feb 19th to 21st 2016

Postby isb » Wed Feb 24, 2016 3:50 pm

Yes - bought the video download after seeing his last lecture 2 years ago. My wife is far better at making that sort of prop than I am, so we got by on his instruction. I wouldn't have had a hope if I'd done it myself. :-)

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Re: Blackpool Magic Festival Feb 19th to 21st 2016

Postby artychris » Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:20 pm

Well, I bought...

Some flash paper
A couple of bags of rainbow bands
A lovely set of Ninja + rings wih dvds (really can't wait to get it to performance level!)
Stretchy Bands, by Stephen Ablett (Large hairband type things... could be very good for walkaround!)
Minimalistica, by John Carey

I think that was it.... I was expecting to come back with much more, but maybe it's just me, but there wasn't to much that inspired me...

Highlights were lectures by Eugene Burger and Jeff McBride, a rubber band session in the Ruskin, and great evening setting the world and magic to rights with Mandrake! :)

It was my first Blackpool, but certainly won't be my last!

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Re: Blackpool Magic Festival Feb 19th to 21st 2016

Postby Mandrake » Sun Mar 06, 2016 6:12 pm

A rather good review of the Festival, courtesy of Magic New Zealand
(http://www.magicnewzealand.com/ezine-ar ... -2016.html )

    Blackpool's 64th Annual Magic Festival
    --------------------------------------------
    Message by Walt Lees

    Formerly known as an annual convention, this blockbuster event has now
    upgraded its title to that of a festival. But, apart from this
    alteration in nomenclature, it was much the usual fixture-crammed,
    non-stop, wall-to-wall magic-laden feast aficionados have come to rely
    on for their regular fix after the dark days of winter. Somehow or
    other, the number of attendees seems to go on increasing. This year it
    even topped the 3,600 which was officially recognised in 2015 by The
    Guiness Book of Records as being the world's largest assembly of
    wand-wielders, box-pushers and finger-strutters.

    So what is the mystique which sucks in so many, from all around the
    globe, to a cold, damp, old-style north-of-England seaside resort in the
    off season? Many will give different answers, but whatever it is, it
    works. Even in the age of on-line shopping, You Tube and dealer
    websites, a huge percentage of magicians and their families still want
    to be there in person, soaking up the sights, smells and sounds of
    actual (as opposed to virtual) reality. There is no substitute for
    experiencing the ambience at first hand rather than via a screen.

    Friday 19th

    Registrations began at 8:30 a.m., although the first event, the Dealers'
    Demonstration, hosted by Alec Powell, in the Pavilion Theatre was at
    10:00. This presaged the opening of the Dealers' Super Showcase, which
    ran until 7:00 p.m. on the first day and 5:30 on the following two.
    Altogether some 135 dealers were scheduled to exhibit, giving potential
    buyers the chance to touch and feel the quality of their wares in a way
    that no website ever can.

    The first of the twenty-one lectures programmed throughout the three
    days, began at 2:00 p.m. A lot of these took place simultaneously,
    sometimes forcing attendees to make difficult choices about who to miss.
    Such was the case here, when Pat Fallon in the Pavilion Theatre was in
    tandem with Xavier Tapias in the Spanish Hall. A similar dilemma was
    also faced later, when George Kovari and Mark James were working at the
    same time. This clashing is deliberate policy, as none of the rooms
    would be big enough to accommodate the numbers who would probably try to
    cram themselves in if only one lecture was taking place at a time.

    The first International Close-up Magic show began in the Pavilion
    Theatre at 4:00 p.m. The featured performers were Eugene Burger, Pat
    Fallon, Larry Hass, Matthew Johnson, Pierric Thenthory, Alan Rorrison
    and Paul Wilson. For most of the audience, Switzerland's Pierric
    Thenthory was the high spot, with an unusual performance as a nervous
    young man, whose fumbles meant that he kept repeatedly having to restart
    the same trick, with the cards and props magically resetting themselves
    in readiness, every time. Also unusual was Eugene Burger's approach of
    dispensing with the table and working in an easy chair to a spectator
    similarly seated alongside.

    This and all the close-up events used a large back projection for those
    in the auditorium, while the pictures were also monitored on plasma TV
    screens around the exterior of the theatre for everyone who preferred to
    watch in less crowded surroundings. Two advantages of this system are
    firstly that the performers do not have to struggle to be heard against
    the background noise from nearby tables, and secondly that each only has
    to do their act once, rather than repeat it half a dozen times.

    At the same time as the show, Zaubertrixxer was lecturing in the Spanish
    Hall.

    That evening's Gala Show, in the massive Opera House, was compered by
    the ever funny and acerbic Mel Mellers, whose efforts did much to lift a
    programme that occasionally needed lifting, even though there were
    plenty of high spots. Norman Barrett's performing budgerigars, for
    example, won the audience in a big way, and Stephanie Delvaine's
    combination of hula hoop artistry and UV effects was a sensational blend
    of skill, magic and spectacle, which really ought to have closed the show.

    Instead, this task fell upon the shoulders of Guy Barrett (son of
    Norman) and his attractive team of girls. They provided a good closing
    illusion act, but suffered a little because some of their thunder had
    been stolen by Danny Hunt's Amethyst presenting several similar items
    earlier. Dion van Rijt in the guise of a white rabbit trying to reach a
    carrot on a high table, combined ballet, mime and magic in an artistic
    manner, which made a pleasing novelty. The other performers were Pat
    Fallon assisted by Gill and Mandy, Matthew Johnson and Jupiter.

    For those who were hungry for still more magic, Pierric began to lecture
    in the Pavilion as soon as the show finished.

    Saturday 20th

    The day began with lectures by Will Houstoun and Joshua Jay, followed by
    Dave Bonsall and Jay Sankey. While those with VIP registrations could
    elect to learn from Greg Wilson and later Paul Wilson.

    But for many, the main event was the British Children's Entertainers
    National Championships, before an audience of local youngsters with
    their parents/minders, and convention attendees. Russ Brown was a lively
    and energetic MC, who, had he been a competitor might well have won. He
    certainly fired up the audience more than anybody else.

    The winner, by popular vote, was Gordon Drayson, with an unconventional
    act which included rapid costume changes behind a screen. But a lot of
    the performers had novel features in one way or another. The runner-up
    was Norwegian Guilherme Curty, whose fluent English enabled his bouncy
    ebullience to fully impact on the northern kids. In third place came
    Billy Bo, a non-magical bubble act. He probably gained an advantage by
    working silently and closing the show, providing a complete contrast to
    anything previously seen.

    The other contestants were Ali Cardabra in the guise of Willie Wonka,
    Careena Fenton as Miss Picklelily and Mark Bennett, who was really the
    only conventional children's party entertainer.

    The Wayne Dobson & Friends Show followed in the Pavilion Theatre, where
    Michael J. Fitch assisted Wayne with the compering. There was the usual
    range of hilarious ribaldry and banter between the two, including a fair
    quota of language which would have scandalised convention audiences a
    few decades ago, and probably still draws complaints from the old guard.
    Performers included a Chandleresque Mark James with gags that even
    Philip Marlow would not have regarded as new, Paul Martin scoring
    heavily (and getting a lot of laughs) with a version of the classic
    Chinese Compass, and Joe Trancini who seems to have inherited his
    father's (Joe Pasquale) voice, with a slick rope routine.

    Lectures by Eugene Burger and Larry Hass followed, before the Magic
    Speed Dating in the Spanish Hall. The idea of this is that the
    performers/lecturers circulate around eight tables, spending ten minutes
    at each, during which time they can perform, teach, answer questions -
    whatever the company requests. Jay Sankey caused two hearts drawn on the
    back of a playing card to move together, followed by Coins Across,
    explaining both. Dave Bonsall demonstrated his repeat version of Ring
    Flight which climaxes with the borrowed ring being found in a sealed
    envelope.

    Paul Wilson performed several card effects, which he would have been
    willing to explain if anyone had asked, but instead was requested to
    just perform more tricks. Mark Mason demonstrated his handling of the
    classic force, and also a novel cop of a card from the breast pocket.
    Pat Fallon, kneeling on the table to give everyone a better view, went
    through of the paddle trick, which is often attributed to Jimmy Rogers
    but is more likely Edward Victor's.

    Alan Rorrison had a ring divination and some novel uses for a smart
    phone. Joshua Jay showed two new card effects including a Triumph
    variation and an Oil & Water. Matthew Johnson explained his take on the
    Classic Force, and a trick to use when learning it with an inbuilt
    fail-safe for when it misses. He then went on to teach his version of
    the Psychological Stop effect using a Benzais Cop.

    Meanwhile, Jeff McBride's lecture enthused those in the Pavilion Theatre.

    The Saturday Gala was emceed by Greg Wilson. Despite being best known
    for close-up and parlour magic, his personality dominated the massive
    theatre and kept things moving along, performing small magic to cover
    any stage waits but not hanging around when the next act was ready.

    Jean Garin opened, with a quiet act involving a TV screen and live fish.
    Strange Comedy, a male and female duo, who followed, was one of the
    festival highlights with a very funny blend of magic, acrobatics and
    contortionism. Otto Wessely & Partner, also supplied the comedy in the
    second half, receiving a standing ovation -one of the only two in all
    the gala shows.

    Gwenaëlle made an unbilled appearance with the butterfly act scheduled
    for the previous night but not performed then, due to illness.
    Zaubertrixxer was notable for the sheer number of assistants (13 girls
    and 4 men), who performed acrobatics as well as magic. Steve Hewlett's
    ventriloquism was, as always, a non-magical treat, Xavier Tapias created
    a mechanical figure and robotic dog from items found in a rubbish bin.
    Christian Farla assisted by four girls and two men, performed some
    heavy-duty illusions to close, while Ian Rowland presented a couple of
    mental items with the occasional humorous touch.

    After the show, came Andrew James and Magic Sam's Beat the Wand
    competition, which has now established itself as a festival fixture. It
    is a sort of gong show, where the competitors try to complete their acts
    before being "wanded off" by a dissatisfied audience. To win, you have
    to have plenty of attack and the ability to keep up the momentum. This
    year's winners were 1st Arran Cummings (Mr Ection), 2nd a stalwart of
    the contest Paul (PJ) Johnson.

    Sunday 21st

    A Master Class started the day, in the Pavilion. Mark James took us
    through his Chop Cup routine, explaining some of the finesses; Joshua
    Jay demonstrated a novel card control and outlined several of its many
    applications; Matthew Johnson had an interesting card through bill and a
    pen through finger, as well as repeating what he had shown the previous
    day; Mark Mason had a quick, impromptu bounce-back coin matrix; Jay
    Sankey taught a Joker Sandwich and Point of Departure with cards, while
    Paul Wilson repeated and explained a couple of the things he had shown
    at the previous day's Speed Dating.

    For children's entertainers, Russ Brown and James Sinclair both lectured
    in two Kidz R UZ sessions whose timing overlapped the Master Class.
    While those with VIP registrations could have a session with Dean Lahan
    and later Michael Weber.

    Likewise Shin Lim, Ian Rowland and Alan Rorrison were all lecturing in
    the various venues.

    At 2:00 p.m. the International Stars of Close-up took to the floor in
    the Pavilion. Jay Sankey had a transposition with a torn corner of a
    card and the card itself; Joshua Jay worked blindfolded with cards; Dave
    Bonsall reprised his Ring Flight as part of an entertaining set which he
    obviously works for real people. There were two standing ovations on
    this show.

    The first was for Dean Lahan, who despite having lost nearly all of his
    fingers to meningitis as a child, is able to manipulate cards with
    greater expertise than most of his digitally-complete peers. The other
    was for Shin Lim, for whom there are just not enough superlatives in the
    English language to describe the impact of the inexplicable effects he
    creates. Without any overt display of dexterity, he just causes the most
    impossible things to happen. It is the closest to real magic seen in
    decades. In fact it probably is real magic, because it is so clean and
    guileless that there does not seem to be any other plausible explanation.

    Paul Wilson was lecturing at the same time in the Spanish Hall. After
    that came the two final lectures by Matthew Johnson and Mark Mason.
    While for those who had an extra £80 to spend, there was the chance to
    have an exclusive three-hour session with Jeff McBride, Eugene Burger
    and Larry Hass.

    The Sunday Night Gala Show was hosted by non-magician John Martin, an
    old-style comic, whose ready wit and affable manner have made him a
    popular favourite on his several appearances at this event over the years.

    There was an unintentionally interesting structure to the first three
    acts. Dion opened with his FISM act, of a young man at a restaurant
    table, which concluded with white billiard balls. The second act was
    Chris Torrente, who began by manipulating identical balls, but his
    attempts at smoothness were amusingly rendered in vain by the antics of
    an invisible dog. Then the third performer, Jidini assisted by three
    girls, began by producing two dogs.

    Donimo gave us a novel silent semi-magical act with the accent on gentle
    comedy. No side-splitting belly laughs, but quietly entertaining.

    Gérald le Guilloux's dove work was sensational and won him the second of
    the only two standing ovations in the three gala shows. It is not often
    that somebody comes along with a completely original take on this kind
    of magic and performs it in a way that nobody has before - and does it
    so well.

    The interval was followed by the bestowal of the various trophies. The
    prizes for the two competitions (children's magic and Beat the Wand)
    were presented by President David Plant. Then came the special
    recognition awards. The Murray Award went to Mike Shepherd, who then
    announced that a second Murray Award was to be presented this year - to
    David Plant! So the roles were reversed and Mike handed David his
    statuette. Next the Neville King Trophy was presented to Ken Bowe.

    Then irrepressible octogenarian superstar Ken Dodd took to the stage to
    present this own comedy trophy to Otto Wessely, giving him the excuse to
    launch into a routine of gags.

    The show then continued with Rafeal's well-known vampire act, which
    always comes across as fresh, no matter how many times it has been seen.
    Igor Trifunov followed with numerous bottle productions. The final
    unexpected appearance of a massive bottle caused a sensation, and for a
    moment it almost looked like another standing ovation was about to take
    place. Otto Wessely performed the cane act which won him the British
    Ring Shield twice in the 1970s, but somehow failed to make the same
    impact that his comedy did on the previous night.

    Jeff McBride closed the show in fine style with his card
    scaling/spinning, having previously performed his water bowls and
    Miser's Dream, as only he can.

    The musical director for all the stage events was Dave Windle, stage
    manager Duncan Jump and stage director Russell Brown.

    Derek Lever, in the guise of Executive Chairman, was, as usual, the
    mastermind and chief co-ordinator of everything, assisted by: Anne Lever
    (Executive Chairman's PA and Artistes Services Co-ordinator), Arthur
    Casson (Executive Registration Officer), June Casson (Registration
    Support Officer), Jim Lumsden (Executive Registration Officer's PA),
    David Plant (Executive Festival Events Co-ordinator), Ann Plant
    (Executive Festival Events Co-ordibnator's PA), Michael Shepherd
    (Executive Treasurer), Christine Shepherd (Executive Treasurer's PA),
    Harry Robson (Executive Dealers Officer), Chris Stickland (Assistant
    Dealers Officer), Russ Lowe (Lecture Note Sales), Dave Wilson (Souvenir
    Programme), Diane Halliwell (Assistant to Dave Wilson), Alan Horne
    (Logistics Officer), Les Pybus (Security), John Hardman (Librarian and
    Welfare Officer) and Dan Eden (Official Photographer).

    And so another successful Blackpool ended. The next will be 16th - 19th
    February 2017, when the European FISM Championships will be prominent
    among the many events taking place. So some great, innovative magic can
    be anticipated.


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