Ok, ok, it’s owning up time.
I’m quite horrified that it has been so long since my last post, even though I’m pretty sure hardly anyone reads them! I ended my last blog with a promise that the second part of my Kidabra review would follow SOON!
I can no longer keep the promise on the second part, but I will at least finish off the review. Unfortunately Kidabra was back in August and is now fading to a distant memory, but I’ll try to run through the highlights that have stayed with me. Apologies for any ommisions.
I left my last review just after the auction, which finally ended at about midnight. The only item I was considering bidding on was a David Ginn miniature coffin with spring snakes and two horror masks. It eventually went to Mike Bent, who to be fair will probably put it to far better use than I would have.
Shortly after everything went dark! The power for the whole of Pigeon Forge went out! Mike found himself walking through the pitch black hotel corridoors with a miniature coffin under his arm. He bumped into two kids and promptly gave them the two scary masks and told them to enjoy themselves. I can imagine his satisfied chuckling as he listened to them terrorising the poor hotel guests.
The next morning brought with it two lectures, from Jim Austin and Dal Sanders. Jim demonstrated effects and techniques for working at nursing homes and Dal showed a selection of holiday themed magic.
After Lunch came my old Supreme Pal BRUCE AMATO with Jim Kleefeld, presenting their ideas for Reading show routines.
The highlight of the day for me was a chance to see my old friend DAVE ANDREWS perform for a group of Kindergarten-age children. His opening vent routine with the chord and bottle was so good that it has taken a lot of willpower not to simply steal the whole thing and put it in my act. No chance of that with his ball and silk routine. Anyone who has seen Dave at the British Ring Convention will know that he is a skilled manipulator and to see him apply this to a kids routine was just pure magic! It was also great to see Percy Platypus and the lovely Jessica the Duck too.
After Dinner Max Howard and Mark Daniel had an ‘open conversation’ about the art of kid’s magic, which was followed by the dealer dem.
The day ended with everyone in the lobby for Ken Scott’s Midnight Jam. The beer flowed, balloons got twisted and to Tamar’s delight, we were visited by a raccoon!
Friday brought with it a morning of breakout sessions, then came the lecture I’d been waiting for: Steve Petra – Let’s Get Visual.
Steve is full of enthusiasm and energy. He talks fast, fiddles with his props in an annoying fashion and wanders up and down the stage so fast it makes you dizzy. He’s also BRILLIANT. I was reduced to tears watching a routine with a totally featureless glove puppet called Eugene. The whole lecture was filled with incredible ideas and loads of ‘Why the Hell didn’t I think of that?’ moments. I feel privileged to have been able to attend this lecture and it was worth the cost of the convention on it’s own, no kidding.
The fun continued with Mike Bent’s library show. Mike is one of my favourite performers. No, scratch that – favourite people in the whole world. He is an incredible natural comedian with a deliciously dark sense of humour and a passion for horror movies and the macabre. It’s no wonder we get along!
His library show didn’t disappoint – Mike took classic kids props and re-imagined them. His Jim Henson style Fraidy Cat Rabbit and Hugo Cabret themed card duck were just two of many highlights. I also had to smile when Mike (an outspoken supporter of the Democratic Party) managed to get an entire audience of children in the (mostly) Republican State of Tennessee shouting out ‘Yes we can!’ as the magic word. Pure class!
After Dinner we reassembled for ‘An Evening With Steve Axtell’. Steve took us through the history of his firm and many people (myself included) took to the stage to pay tribute to him. I was delighted that I became the first person to perform on stage with Steve’s new ‘Twist -A – Tronix balloon puppet system.
But the day wasn’t over yet. The amazing Tod Neufeld and Buster Balloon took to the stage to spend nearly 2 hours running through a collection of balloon stunts, tricks and gags. These guys are amazing and still left us screaming for more.
All in all, this is probably the best day I have ever spent at a magic convention anywhere in the world. I hugged Mark Daniel after Tod and Buster’s lecture and thanked him for persuading me to come to Pigeon Forge again this year.
Saturday was the last day of Kidabra and it’s always sad as things draw to a close.
Tim Sonefelt kicked off the proceedings with his Warren Stephens lecture. I unfortunately missed Tim’s lecture, which I’m sure was my loss, not his.
Matt Fore came next. I love this guy – he is hilarious and his routines are real workers. I spent some money on his stand after the lecture, which is a rare endorsement from me!
The Afternoon saw Barry Mitchell and Terry Evanswood join forces to demonstrate how to add emotional resonance to an effect. The highlight for many came at the end when Barry received a Marilyn Monroe-a-gram to celebrate his birthday.
My Buddy Ken Scott was the last lecturer of Kidabra 2012. His lecture took the form of a motivational speech and left the whole crowd on a high.
Then it was my turn.
I was this years host for the Kidabra Gala show and it has to be said, it would be hard to fail with the line up that we had. I had the pleasure of introducing Mike Bent, who was refreshingly dark for a Kidabra show. His act included breastfeeding spiders, rabbid raccoons and a very scary doll. Great! Jason Hudy provided some sophisticated illusions and a funny water monte routine, Buster and Tod were hilarious – seeing Buster inside a giant pink balloon was a rare treat! I performed with Charlie and my mask routine, before introducing Ken Scott, who closed the show with Princess Silks, Picto Transpo and his Fantasy Magician.Hilarious as always.
A great show and a great ending to a wonderful convention. We all shed a tear as the botania was closed for another year.