South Tyneside Magic Convention 2011

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South Tyneside Magic Convention 2011

Postby pcwells » Mar 14th, '11, 16:53

I just posted this in a general thread about South Shields 2012, then realised that it would probably be better off in a reviews forum, and I think this is the only one that really fits.

mandrake, can you please work your magic to put this in the right place?

Here goes:

South Tyneside was fabulous as always.

Those of you who missed it obviously weren't all there. If you were there, I'm sure I'd have said hello. :P

It was one of those nice conventions in which I only really knew what to expect from a couple of lecturers and performers - specifically John Archer and Colin MacLeod, who I'd seen before. But even then, their actual lectures were new to me, and well worth attending.

In a nutshell though:

Gary Dunn (kids' show and lecture) was first-rate. Manic, irreverent, silly and hysterically funny. The kids thought so too, which is always a good thing. :)

His lecture was on entertaining without props. In his case, this means filling a 'second spot' at a holiday park or suchlike. To the rest of us, this could just as easily mean filling the second hour of a two-hour kids' party.

Great ideas, great material and great fun!

Close-up sessions
Nick Einhorn opened the close-up sessions. There's no denying that he's a first-rate close-up magician. I was happy to be fooled by his magic, but wasn't quite so keen on his decision to use some quite 'standard' patter presentations, such as commenting on how red cards are printed with a water-based process and black cards are printed with an oil-based ink, and the two tend to separate because of it... Personal taste, I know. Just not my style.

David Stone, however, is definitely a performer that I can appreciate. The man is completely bonkers. His magic was jaw-dropping and his presentation insanely funny. I was kicking myself for the fact that I hadn't taken the time to check out his work before then. But he's definitely one of my new favourite magicians.

Finally, we had Jason Latimer. Jason did one routine. Cups and balls. With clear glasses. And this isn't the Penn & Teller approach of being irreverent and 'sticking it to the magii'... this is one of those rare moments in magic that really does stay with you forever. I commented to Jason afterwards that it was the closest thing I've ever seen to real magic, and he looked quite taken aback. Talent, skill and modesty. I hate him.

The afternoon's lecture was David Stone, who now has me searching for a David Stone fanclub. His presentation in lecture is every bit as much fun as his performance persona. His ideas are outrageous - he covered a good half of the lecture demonstrating and explaining various very different card routines that could be accomplished with one gimmick - his new product entitled 'Tool'. All of his material is practical, commercial and fun. I'm only glad, in retrospect, that I'd neglected to visit a cashline before the lecture, or I'd now be a very poor boy (albeit with lots of new tricks).

Gala Show
Good as always, although the bill was quite a peculiar one. For a start, we had Colin McLeod and John Stetson on the same bill. They're very different types of mentalists, but I'd like to have seen them on different bills for variety's sake.

John Stetson opened, and had some nice material, but hit a couple of tough hurdles which, I'm sure, only the magi in the audience saw, recognised and understood. A good set though, with some nice laughs along the way.

Van Buren and company provide stage-filling magic and illusion in a traditional variety stylee. Not my bag of chips, but brilliantly well done nevertheless.

Colin McLeod came on confidently and proceeded to perform a bunch of effects that some have suggested would never fly in the real world. He did this in front of a big audience. And toasted the lot of them. Great stuff.

Latimer closed the show with a short presentation of card and ring manipulation. I normally yawn through this kind of stuff, but his structure, routining and complete lack of cheese made it quite spellbinding. Oh, and suddenly spreading his fingers midway through a card production routine caused some cardiac issues among the fellas in the cheap seats, I'm sure.

Our compere for the night was John Archer, who was on top form as always.

Late night
From there it's off to the Sea Hotel for a Midnight show from John Archer and Darren King. Oddly, John insisted on going first, so that he could enjoy a drink afterwards. And before that kicked off, John Stetson gave us a demonstration of his linking finger rings routine, which he'd be explaining in the next day's lecture. Stetson's routine was great. John Archer was great, as always. Darren then had the task of entertaining the drunk and the sleepy, which he did with gusto.

Rise and shine! yeah right. Hangovers abounded. :)

Nick Einhorn was first to lecture. His accompanying notes are called 'Very Paractical Magic You Will Probably Want To Do[/i]. And that just about sums it up. There's some great material in here. Sure, a lot of it makes use of gimmicks and utilities that he's marketed and had for sale, but that hardly matters. For my money, the exciting stuff was a very clean, visual and elegant Coin In Bottle routine using one of those tiny 125ml Schweppes mixer bottles.

He also presented a book test solution, which caught many people's attention. I liked his take on it, butr was disappointed not to hear any mention of credits, as I'd been using the same whatnot for years, having read about it in a Tamariz book. Another delegate told me that he associated the same doo-dah with Al Baker... regardless, the routine is wonderful and I think I'm going to make up the necessary whajamaflips...

Pro Flight was presented too, but the most exciting part of that lecture were the various devilish ring-on-string moves that were covered at the same time. Great stuff.

Paul Vigil was up next. His presentation was a close-up performance (his Vegas show), followed by Q&A. No tricks were explained, although a masterclass was offered for those that wanted explanations on the Sunday.

Paul has a very formal style, and apparently strives for the status of artist rather than merely entertainer. He was once Michael Jackson's personal magician, and I noticed that he often talks like Jacko too. For personal tastes, I much preferred the absurd hysteria of David Stone, but there's no denying the guys talents. His opinions and observations in Q&A were useful and intriguing, although I didn't agree with all of his thoughts - that's what makes these things so exciting.

On with an afternoon of intensive mentalism...

John Stetson was fascinating. He's of the 'old school' of mentalism, with one foot in showbusiness and the other in the world of readers and psychics. His lecture was part trick-teaching, and part anecdotal, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed. His thoughts about pre-show work, audience management and Q&A routines were great - and while none of it was outrageously new to me, it serves to stir the cauldron of my brain and bring a lot of ideas and methods back to the surface...

If I had one complaint it was that he seemed to have a big chip on his shoulder concerning young whippersnappers who have been 'doing magic for a couple of weeks and think they've got a lecture'. His bile was directed towards the younger generation of mentalists who, he argued, were way too young to consider themselves mentalists. I (and some others I spoke to) understood this to be a poke at one particular mentalist who, despite being young, in no way deserved the attack. An unfortunate sour note to an otherwise excellent lecture.

Colin McLeod appears to have unshakable self confidence, and that just served to make his lecture all the more exciting. Colin's methods and routines are typically very bold. Theyt're not for the faint-hearted, but that's what makes them so much fun.

The Bookless Book Test was fully explained, along with other effects, including a devilish handling for an ungimmicked book test - the latter, unfortunately, was hampered by the fact that Colin was effectively standing in the dark. By some odd quirk, there appeared to be more light on the audience than on the stage, making it difficult for him to see a thing. Colin's 90 minutes seemed to rush past, and we were once more sent on a quest for dinner before the gala show started...

Gala Show
Compered by John Stetson this time round.

First up was Paul Vigil, whose act was a excerpt from the Vegas show we'd previously seen - close-up, at a table, with a video projection behind him. What made this presentation different, was his choice of volunteers from the audience - a man and a woman. The man was hard work. The woman was impossible. There might have been other issues at play with the couple other than just awkwardness, but the net result was a couple that chatted and interrupted and digressed... the lady asked if Paul was gay... and asked repeatedly how he did it... and stroked his hand during all the magical gestures of his matrix routine... and all this with a performer who likes to keep to a finely-honed script. Paul handled them expertly, and got through the set without the slightest sign of tension or anger. Paul - you da man!!

Nick Einhorn was up next with a stage-based Ring Flight (Pro Flight) and linking finger rings routine, followed by a novel fusion of Just Chance and Smash & Stab, in which he and a volunteer took turns to roll some disc and sit on the corresponding cups. I got the impression that he offered his volunteer the chance to join in the game without the slightest expectation that he would actually do it.

After a mindreading stunt from John Stetson, it's back to close-up with camera projection as Jason Latimer performed his clear cups and balls routine again for the lay public. I've already said what I think of that routine. I'm not going to mention it again for fear of sounding like a fanboy.

Norbert Ferre opened the second half. I'd never seen his act before, but had been warned by Dale that he was a manipulator par excellence. Had I not known that in advance, I'd have been completely thrown by the absurd persona that took the stage. At once surreal and hilarious. Interspersing oddball comedy with some of the most spellbinding manipulation I've ever seen - with a totally different presence and persona for each side of his act. Sublime.

The show closed with illusionists, Amethyst. Again, not my type of thing, but well structured, well routined and brilliantly performed. Great stuff.

Many delegates then retired to the Seas Hotel for more drunken mischief. I went back to my guesthouse and caught up on some sleep.

Sunday's proceedings began at 10am, with two lectures in quick succession.

First up was Jason Latimer. This wasn't a trick tech-in. Jason was talking about his work creating illusions for the corporate market, and also creating and developing his own stage show. More to the point, it explored his thinking processes when developing new ideas, and also touched on his relationship with his mentor, the late great Billy McComb. This is one of those talks that probably gives more inspiration to the audience than any trick-teach-in ever could. Talented, skillfull, inspiring, successful, young... I hate Jason Latimer!

Finally, the last lecture of the day came from John Archer. If you know John's work, then you'll already understand that what he presented us with was hugely entertaining and practical commercial material with a lightweight mentalist slant - I say 'lightweight' because John's a man who makes no pretences other than being an entertainer. There's no mysticism or psychological Svengali-esque presentation to what he does. John chases laughs and amplifies them with hard-hitting ta-dah moments.

We had a lovely close-up routine with a deck of abstract symbol cards, and another with old Hollywood lobby cards depicting 'stars of stage and screen'. Add to that a stage-based card effect in which a couple independently select the same card, and his mucho-acclaimed Bank Night method, and we had another highly-useful and outrageously entertaining 90 minutes to close off the convention.

Paul Vigil, Nick Einhorn and John Stetson all had masterclasses afterwards for those that wanted to explore their material in more depth. For me, it was a long trek home to Brighton.

All in all, it was another fantastic convention. early indications are that, depite local council budget cuts, the convention will be on again in March 2012. And, again, I expect to be first in line to sign up for it.

Thanks again to Martin Duffy and Karri Prinn for all their amazing work in making the convention happen - and also to the Customs House and magic Box for their sponsorship.

It's also lovely to catch up with Dale and Darren and Gunnar and Iain and everyone else that came to say hi - regulars to South Shields as well as new faces.

I had a blast. :)


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Re: South Tyneside Magic Convention 2011

Postby Mandrake » Mar 14th, '11, 17:47

pcwells wrote:mandrake, can you please work your magic to put this in the right place?
Although the event is more than just a tutorial, it seems fine right here :wink: .

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Re: South Tyneside Magic Convention 2011

Postby Mandrake » Jan 1st, '12, 15:07

Deails of this year's line-up are at ftopic41929.php

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