When I was up in Quebec City for FISM, I was chatting with Chris Hanowell about names for a trick. We thought “Regicide” would be a great title for a magic trick, and Chris is working on it. A few weeks later I had an idea for a trick called “American Regicide” and finally got around to making a test version:
I have a better idea for how to make the gimmick that animates it that will eliminate hand movement. It’s something that I need to 3d print, so it’ll have to wait until I’m home for longer than a day or two for me to design, print, tweak and reprint.
I made it to the last day, and despite a late night, I got up on time! FISM is the longest magic convention that I’ve ever attended. You can really push yourself with lack of sleep at a three or four day magic convention, but with FISM at a week long, it’s really a marathon!
The final day of the convention ended with Stuart McDonald’s act, which I’d seen last year at Abbott’s Magic Get Together. I thought he was going to be a strong contender, but it got a very different reaction to the act at FISM than he got at Abbott’s. You should follow him on Facebook and read his post about how he feels he act was received and why it was received that way. It’s very honest and I think correct in thinking that it was the wrong act for this specific contest.
After the contest, it was off for lunch. I’m amazed that this area of Quebec City after having around 1,500 magicians in town for a week, people still asked up to show them tricks when we were at restaurants or bars.
I think that’s a testament to how strong the magic is at FISM both on the stages and in the audiences. No one is doing bad magic here, and everyone even informally has brought their “A game”.
The contests ended with the Winner’s Gala and the Awards Gala, which were to separate events. The Winner’s Gala was first, where the first place acts of all the categories in stage and close up performed their acts. Unfortunately due to some really bad camera work, Markobi’s close up card act was unwatchable. It’s really disappointing for people who bought tickets to the show, to have an act that you couldn’t see because the camera was pointed in the wrong spot. After Markobi, was Luis Olmedo who won Micro Magic and should be given the “boss status” award after the camera work was bad or non existent, he simply stopped and said, “I’ll wait” and did just that until the tech team got their sh*t together.
Then the evening ended with the Awards Gala, which didn’t make sense as we already knew who the first place winners were. While I congratulate everyone who got second and third place in their categories, it was pretty anticlimactic. The only surprises were the Grand Prix and Special Awards, but that wasn’t enough to carry the Awards Gala.
On the official FISM schedule after the Awards Gala was a “party” in the banquet room. This party was moved to the back of the dealers room and was exactly what had been happening the previous few nights. For an amazing week that really could have ended on a HIGH, the last two events were a bit of a let down. While I should have hung out at the party, I had an early flight the next day and did my farewell tour saying goodbye and made it to my hotel for a solid five hours of sleep.
The day after FISM ended, when people were heading to the airport the texts started coming in. People were testing for COVID before returning home and they were testing positive for COVID.
Luckily I tested negative, but I still have a few more days before I’m officially in the clear.
Exposure to COVID aside, I had as much fun at FISM as I did when I was a teenager going to magic conventions. It rekindled my desire to attend more magic conventions and will probably carve out a week each summer to go to a magic convention. I left feeling inspired, and overall it’s good for my soul as an artist to be exposed to high level art!
After hitting the snooze button three times, I managed to make it to the venue just in time for the stage contests to begin at 8am!
About halfway through the stage contest, I had a family emergency (everyone is OK) at home in Seattle happen and I had to step away to deal with it. I need to find a quiet spot to do some paper work and make some calls, so I walked a couple of blocks and found a great coffee shop, Café félin Chats-Nous!
Having cats do cat stuff while I talked to insurance companies definitely reduces my stress, and after little while I headed back to the stage competition, just in time to catch the end of Ding Yang’s incredible act!
I’d heard a lot about her act, and it was cool to see her do dove productions with her feet! I wish I was able to see the whole thing. Unfortunately she didn’t get first place in her category, so I didn’t get to see her perform at the Winner’s Gala.
It was a quick bite to eat (aka another egg salad sandwich) and off to the close up contest. It was at the contest today that I had a major revelation. I had noticed that there was a lot of flashing on some technical and not so technical sleight of hand moves. I realized that the judges were about 4 feet lower than the camera was. In theory the close up magic contestants were playing to the judges eye, not the camera’s eye. The different points of view are probably why the audience was seeing soo much flashing, where (hopefully) the judges weren’t.
After the contest I got a text from Chris Hanowell who wanted to get some poutine while in Canada, so we ran up the block for the Canadian dish!
We also decided it was time for us to see the pope, as he’s been the talk of Quebec! You’d think having 2,000 magicians in town would be, but we got overshadowed by The Holy See. We decided there was enough gap in the schedule to walk up the hill to try to get a pope peek. Unfortunately it wasn’t in the cards, and when we arrived, everyone was leaving and we had missed him by about 15 minutes!
The evening gala was getting ready to start, and this was the FISM TV SHOW aka a magic show pretending to be a television show.
They had a duo as a host and their MC bits and chemistry weren’t very good, but this is the show were most of us learned that Topas has a couple of music albums in Germany (you can find them on spotify), and were introduced to his earworm “one more” during his stage act where he produced speakers and finally a lady! The FISM TV SHOW ended with Shawn Farquhar doing his Shape of My Heart routine to a live band!
After the show, I had enough energy to hand out in the Jam Room, which was a lobby like area in the convention center.
And I finally got to see Jeffrey Wong do the coin work that my buddy Clive wouldn’t shut up about.
Jeffery didn’t disappoint! He was doing some very technical stuff and he did it very well!! Before I knew it, it was 4am and it was way past my bedtime, so I took the walk back to my room, as tomorrow is another early contest morning! -Louie