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I arrived Fri evening just before Jerry Andrus' lecture. I had seen Jerry at FFFF a few years back and had seen many of his optical illusion gizmos but he had some killer new stuff. He had a giant (as in 3 or more feet in diameter) version of the Trizonal Space Warper. Man did I ever flash back to the '60s. He also had many strange 3D items that did strange things when you looked at them with one eye closed. Jerry also performed and explained a number of his well known magic effects viz. Zone Zero and the yellow ball in the rolled up plastic sheet item. During the course of the convention he sessioned with anyone who wanted to sit down and was always walking up to people to show a magic trick. Two of my favorites were the Miser's Miracle and the linking pins - way cool. Friday's session ended with a short performance from some of the hired guns and a teach a trick session.
I roomed with Allan Ackerman who was a bit tired Fri night so we hit the sack around midnight. Saturday was the BIG day. We missed the close up and stage contests. Rick Merrill won the close up. (I’ve seen Rick several times. Watch out for this guy!! I predict he'll take one or both of the IBM and SAM close up contests this summer. Update: Rick did win both!) Thomas Kracker won the stage contest and performed on the evening show. There was also another teach a trick session in the dealer room on Sat.
The close up show was excellent. Allan Ackerman killed with some of his fine card work. Garrett Thomas did his rubic’s cube and some killer coin stuff. Chuck King did his excellent 3 ring routine and some comedy bits. Steve Bargatze killed with a comedy sponge ball routine and a hilarious card item using two spectators connected with wires. You’ll have to see the pictures to appreciate this.
Garrett Thomas, who had already wowed everyone Fri and on the close up show Sat, gave an excellent lecture in the theater in the early afternoon. I’m really a big fan, not only of Garrett’s flawless coin and card work, but also of his thinking on magic. Don’t miss his lecture if he comes to your neighborhood.
The evening show was open to the public and was well attended. It was a strange show in that very little magic was done. It was largely a comedy show in the first half. The second half was Chuck King's "family style" hypno act, which was over an hour in length. The evening show was masterfully MCed by Gene Anderson. The first half opened with Thomas Kracker performing a short stage act that he had done in the contest. This routine was largely comedic in nature. Jerry Andrus followed Thomas and did two of his signature effects. He used the remaining time to demonstrate some of the optical illusions. Steve Bargatze followed this with a comedy routine. Todd Charles closed the first half with a really funny comedy act. You’ll have to check the pictures to appreciate how far out this guy is. Steve Bargatze made another appearance in the 2nd half, this time with the TEETH. He killed again. Chuck King then performed for about an hour with his hypno show. The audience really liked the show and showed their appreciation often.
Saturday was the Ackerman 2 hour lecture. Allan adds so many touches and subtleties and has a knack for taking a good routine and making it fantastic. I’ve got the “Moose” lecture notes out right now. Sales were brisk after the lecture, which tells you that he really impressed everyone. I bought the new 8 DVD set – holy smokes is there ever a TON of stuff there. All in all it was a very fine convention.
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