Hello again from sunny California! As I type, Tamar is snoozing away next to me. I always seem to wake up early when I’m away from home. To be moving about by 7:30am would normally be unthinkable!
Yesterday was certainly action packed and tiring, but a lot of fun. We joined Gary, Shabum and Payne for breakfast at 25 Degrees (which is fast becoming our restaurant of choice). I had managed to reach the age of 45 still believing that I didn’t like scrambled eggs, but apparently I was wrong!
Payne started off the day with his presentation – ‘Magic, the gift of immortality’. He was funny and thought provoking, as always. If anyone hasn’t seen Master Payne perform, do yourself a favour and look him up on Youtube.
Joining us for the day we had Don Caldwell, A.K.A. Buster Balloon. Those of us who had been at Kidabra were looking forward immensely to his lecture and we were not disappointed. We were treated to over an hour of balloon gags and magic from the number one performer in his field. From the very first moment when he sneezed the spots off a polka-dot balloon, we knew this was going to be something special. Balloons were cut, restored, transformed and a giant balloon dog swallowed a signed card – incredible!
After a lunch break came Dave Cox. If you are not familiar with Dave’s work, all you need to know is that he is all kinds of AWESOME! By popular demand, he kicked off with his ‘Evil Hypnotist Monkey’ routine, before putting us through our paces with his lecture on improv.
The ability to improvise is probably the most important skill for a kid’s performer. We all know that the best bits of any show usually arise from little unplanned incidents and the way we deal with them. Dave showed us several exercises to stretch our improv muscles and we ended up in hysterics for most of the afternoon. The cogs in my head were spinning furiously here as I think this would be a great thing to try at Trix in the Stix in May. But would English kid’s magicians loosen up enough to throw themselves into something like this? Hmmm. Maybe we should give it a go.
Unfortunately, Mike Bent’s comedy lecture was postponed, due to the day’s events running a little long.
After an excursion to Hollywood Costume shop (always fun) it was time to get ready for an evening at the Magic Castle. I love the place – it has a great atmosphere and it was fun to show Gary and Tamar around.
In the Palace we saw Mike Caveney who performed a torn and restored toilet paper, shot an arrow through a signed, chosen card and did an hilarious knife through coat. A real treat for me was seeing Jim Steinmeyer perform Guy Jarrett’s ‘Sawing an Egg’ illusion. The assistant climbs inside an egg-shaped cage, which she completely fills, which is then is sawn in half with a giant blade. I got the Jarrett book for Christmas and this was an illusion that I doubted would actually work. I was delighted to be proved wrong. Even though I know how it’s done, it still looked impossible! The last performer was Henry Vargas, who performed an elegant and well thought out manipulation act. Flowers appeared at his fingertips and floated. Levitating rings linked and unlinked in mid-air. Well executed and very pretty, if not exactly cutting edge.
The early parlour show was Sisuepahn Phila and it was something of a disappointment. Badly thought out mentalism with lots of awkward pauses and some very corny gags. The lay audience did seem to like the ending where she appeared to make herself light and heavy at will, but it wasn’t enough to save it for me.
The late parlour was a different story. Hannibal performed some beautifully executed card magic, framed with a great version of ‘dollar bill to orange’.
We ended the day as we started – in 25 Degrees with Gary, having hot dogs at 1am.
Today we will be hearing from Doug Scheer, Ken Scott and Me (gulp). Hopefully we’ll find time for Mike’s lecture too.
Ok – time for breakfast!
Great blog John! Thanks for sharing your adventures. Have fun!