Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Long Island Magic Arts Convention- One Geek's Perspective

So I ventured to the town of Hicksville, NY on Long Island for the 2nd Annual Long Island Magic Arts Convention. Before this, I had not attended a "mainstream" magic convention in over a decade (in fact, the only two magic events I attended annually were the Inner Circle of Bizarre Magick Gathering & Tannen's Magic Camp.

After a frighteningly easy commute up, I arrived just in time for the beginning festivities at 10:30am (Yes, I did learn the sun was up that early) which started off with the Junior Parlor Magic Competition. Sitting with fellow ren performer and Stoopid Guy Pete Juris, we were rather impressed with all the contestants, especially since most, if not all, are past or current Tannen's Magic Campers.

One in particular I wish to give a shout out to is Zach Ivins, who did a really solid linking ring routine. Him and I traded ideas back and forth a few years ago and it was nice to see some of those ideas being put to good use.
From there we had little time to rest because we went right into the first lecture of the day- Jon Ferrentino & Joe Silkie. These guys were damned funny, intelligent, and one particular idea concerning the appearing 8ft pole may have saved me the cost of the entrance fee alone.

And the hits kept on coming. We went right from there to the MacGuyver of Magic lecture by Scott Francis. Again, just full of so many ideas I couldn't write them all down fast enough. However, the one that shall be taking up some of my time shortly is how to build really good, compact backdrops for very little money. It helped that it was obvious both him and his wife had such passion for what they did.

A really interesting experience was the close-up show. How they did the show was that there were 3 close-up performers: Mark Mason, Asi Wind, and Daniel Garcia. They split the convention goers into three rooms, and then rotated the performers for each room for 15 minute sets. Which means that every performer had to perform their set 3 times. It worked (at least in our room) and which meant everyone had a good seat. All three performers were top notch, and having never seen Mark Mason or Daniel Garcia live, it was a real treat. The first time I saw Asi Wind at Tannen's years ago was a bit of a disappointment, so seeing him here was nice because he did a great job and smashed my former experience of him.

Then the final lecture of the day was Daniel Garcia. Holy frickin' crap he was good. Funny, engaging, intelligent... it's now clear to me why he's become so popular in the magic world. I've been working on Torn for three days straight and hopefully by June, I'll be adding it to my repertoire. That and many other awesome ideas.

Then Pete and I enjoyed a quick dinner at Panera Bread down the road where we got to throw ideas back and forth about performance, advertising, Gigmasters (Damn you gigmasters! Damn you to hell!) and then went back to enjoy the evening show.

After a very nice tribute to Mama Magic for her lifetime of work with running Tannen's Magic Camp and so much more, the show began.

Scott Francis Emcee'd the show and did a great job. Magic Al opened the show and did the heck of a job like I've always known him to do. Jon Ferrentino was one of the better acts of the night for me. He was frickin' hilarious. The show off show was alright, although I felt it dragged just a bit, along with Francis's segment, but still good stuff. Then we got to the big act of the night, Jay Mattioli. He's got a hip-hop feel to his show and because of that, he was a point down in my book already. It's not his fault, it's just that my hip-hop magician will always be my brutha Elliot Zimet. His act was alright. It had a little bit of original flair to it and I liked that... until we got... to the Snowstorm illusion.

Originality is a really big issue with me. Every effect you put into your show should scream of you. Your style, your experiences, your influences, your character, etc. There are big ways to do this, and little ways to do this. Clothing, story, music, prop design... these things can totally change an out-of-the-box effect into something yours.

Every time I've seen the snowstorm illusion, it has either been a not-as-good copy of David Copperfield's or Kevin James' presentation. Unfortunately, this time was no exception. Even going as far as using the same music as Kevin James used. Which almost seemed tacked on to a pretty original act. And considering it was the closing piece of his act, that's what he left the audience with. That's probably the most bothersome. Now note, this isn't stealing an effect at all. Kevin James sells this illusion and probably even the music accompanied with it... but that doesn't mean I think it's a good artistic choice. I'm stepping off the heavy duty soap box now.

The only other problems I had with LIMAC was that the schedule was so packed, there wasn't much time for the dealers room, and because it was being held in a high school, as soon as the evening show was over, everyone was out and gone. Some of the best conversations happen in hotel lobbies and hospitality suites after the regular events end. But these are minor points for overall a fantastic convention run by great people and I can't wait to return next year.

(A quick shout out to Mike Maione for the pics of LIMAC. I hope you don't mind me using them here)


  1. Sounds like you had a blast. Very cool.
    Type to you later,
    Lloyd III

  2. What? Nothing in here about trying to find the right entrance to the building? I feel like that was an important detail of this trip. Haha.
    "We'll wind up having the convention at Dennys" - priceless.

  3. Alright, you got me there. I missed my rant on getting into the building itself. lol