Walking to the venue, I stumbled on to a little magic jam going on outside and I saw some great coin work! I think coin magic is starting to catch up with card magic in popularity based on the amount of coin work I saw.
The amount of magic going on everywhere at FISM is staggering. A person of virtually any skill level could learn something just by walking down the hall and stopping at the first group of people they saw.
One of the highlights of FISM was seeing my friend Elliott Hunter compete in the stage competition.
I’ve known Elliott since he was a kid and seen this act grow over the years. I know how hard he works on it and every time I see it, it’s better than the previous time! The path as a performer to get into the FISM competition is grueling, and I respect anyone who manages to make it onto that stage!
FISM did have a really cool thing, which was Jeff McBride’s Magic and Mystery School room. This was a conference room on the beginning of one of the hallways. It was always full of magicians learning from Jeff McBride or one of the school’s instructors like Will Bradshaw. Jeff provided lectures and hands on learning for stage, close up, impromptu and performance skills. They passed out props for you to use to learn the routines and this room was virtually always full of magicians actively learning!
Jeff, like Bob Fitch was very generous with his time and was probably the hardest working person at FISM! He was essentially performing and teaching all day, I’m not sure when he ever ate or slept as I ran into him out very late one night!
Today at the close up contest is where everyone started to realize how great DJ FISM was! During all of the contest while acts were setting up or striking, there was music playing. Today DJ FISM (sorry, I don’t know their real name) had the audience singing to Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline and usually had a song that somehow related to the act that had just ended. Then just when we’d gotten the Topas song One More out of our heads he’d play it, ensuring it was locked in there for the whole convention.
The silver lining of having 18 months of virtual magic meeting and lectures during the pandemic, was meeting a lot of magicians from around country and around the world that I would probably never have met. FISM was a great opportunity to turn those virtual relationships into real world friendships. I got to know Marc DeSouza after he attended a virtual lecture of mine, and we’ve chatted off and on for the last couple of years.
His talk on magic history was great and one of the highlights for me was seeing Marc present the Germain Lock. The effect of this lock is that it unlocks when your hand’s shadow acts like a key. By today’s standards, unlocking something is as simply as a home security app, but when you think about it in the context of 100 years ago, it’s astonishing!
Tonight was my night to go the banquet. There were two nights of banquets, one for group A who had red lanyards and one for group B that had blue lanyard. The fun thing about the banquet, was that unless you already had a big group with you, it forced you to sit with and meet new people! The table I ended up at, we all had a great time showing each other what kinds of magic we did!
The banquet food was average banquet food, it was alright. I’ve had better, I’ve had worse, it was pretty much right down the middle.
After dinner, it was time for the gala show that was hosted by Alain Choquette and John Archer The two of them had a more chemistry as a duo and they really should work together more. This was the strongest show of the week. This ended with a hilarious “after the credits” vignette where John and Alain have dinner and are served by Mike Caveney and Rob Zabrecky. They are finally joined by Michael Ammar who is playing the part of the Pope! All the people who left right after the last act performed missed a really funny bit.
After the show tonight, FISM moved the jam area into the empty back of the dealers room to try to get some more traffic to the dealers. They also moved in a snack cart that had beer and wine.
I’m surprised it took several days for FISM to utilize the empty back half of the dealers room. I also think some large purchases were made with a little bit of liquid encouragement!
The dealer room late night jam closes at 1:30am and the smarter magicians went to their rooms to sleep. I’m not one of them and stayed hanging out to see all the shenanigans that spilled out into the hallway.
Magic was happening everywhere and all of the late night crew was getting familiar with each other. This is the point where magicians start showing off some of their more experimental ideas.
After an hour of hallway magic, slipped over to Ninkasi bar for a bit before I needed to go to bed, as I was determined to make all of the contests in the morning!