Being local takes out a lot of the travel burden as I don’t have to pay for travel. I would really like to go to more magic conventions, but it’s difficult in the summer as I’d have to turn down a 5-10 day gig to attend.
This should be a fun convention, and you can register at: https://www.magician.org/convention/online-registration-2024
It felt great getting some sleep on a bed after sleeping in my car the night before my flight so that I could make it to FISM. I also got to see how amazing Quebec City looked in the daylight!
In the picture above you’ll notice the barricades on the streets, that’s due to the pope being in town, and his route was on the same street as my hotel’s front door!
I’m up early today as the contest start at 8:15am, which is rough as I’m running on west coast time, which is 3 hours earlier!
After registering, you have to walk along the hall of masters or whatever they call it. I had to stop and take a pic with Michael Ammar‘s portrait! I’m convinced he’s a genius, of all the portraits, his is the only one that anyone talked about!
I had decided for this convention I was going to make attending the contests my priority and not lectures. Little did I know how much of a commitment this would be. I used to tell people I could watch magic shows all day…turns out I can’t…even with top level magicians!
The stage contest had multiple competitors have to cancel due to “flight delays, luggage delays, or visa issues“, so the contest ended early. This was great as I got to see Jim Steinmeyer‘s lecture! The room was pretty full, but I found a seat and got to watch about half of it. There were two people sitting behind me and they had the gnarliest coughs. Even if it wasn’t COVID, I didn’t want what it was, so I got up, but unfortunately by that point the room was packed, and there was nowhere to sit or stand, so I had to bail on his lecture.
On a side note, I decided for my personal health, I was going to wear a mask while at the shows and contests. I took a week off work to go to FISM, so that means a week of my busy season that I wasn’t working, I can’t afford to lose two weeks of work by getting sick with anything.
I ran into some people I knew and we sat down for lunch!
For lunch today, I ate the convention center’s prepackaged egg salad sandwich, that was probably 93% bread and a beer, which is also essentially 93%bread as well. Then it was time to go to the other theater to see the close up contest!
This room was giant (for close up) and there was also a satellite room that had a live stream playing of the contest. There were a lot of acts, and most today were just OK.
I did get to see Dom Chambers who I had built some props for to use on AGT perform. I missed him a couple years ago in New York when he was performing with the Illusionists, so it was nice to get to see him live. He did a very funny and energetic card to mouth!
Between the close up contest and the evening show, I swung by the dealers room.
I was a bit underwhelmed by the amount of dealers, half of the room had empty booths. I had heard various reasons as to why it was empty, cancelled flights, inventory not showing up, etc. The quantity of dealers at FISM was probably the only thing that disappointed me. Sure, I’d rather have a small amount of quality dealers than a lot of lame ones, however I’ve been to local conventions that had more.
The evening show a ton of fun, it was great to see Greg Frewin do the dove act he did in the 1990’s on The Worlds Greatest Magic! The show was 90% solid, and there was a perfectly timed tech problem that occurred right after Greg praised the tech team for running the show flawlessly!
After the show I ran into Bob Fitch, who changed my life when I went to the first performance boot camp he put on about 25 years ago! He’s been one of my hero’s ever since!
Bob has always been insanely generous with his time and FISM was no exception! He would talk to anyone that approached him, and would hang out fairly late into the evenings. Fitch was also a fixture in Jeff McBride’s Magic and Mystery School room (more on that tomorrow).
I was a good kid tonight and walked back to my hotel not too long after the last show, as I knew I needed some sleep.
I’m working my way home to Seattle from FISM, and writing this during a 5 hour layover in Chicago. My plan heading there was for me to write these blog posts every morning, but the reality of the schedule there, that just wasn’t possible if I wanted to sleep. The schedule there ran from 8am to 11pm, most days, and some days the official schedule went to 1:30am, with your starting again at 8am the next day!
When I landed in Quebec City, it was 10pm and after a cab ride and loading into my hotel it was about 11pm when I began my 10 minute walk to the venue.
Quebec City is gorgeous and I want to be able to return sometime to explore the city. The picture above was taken from the door of my hotel!
Unfortunately, since I got in after registration had closed, I couldn’t attend the late night FISM events, but my buddy Clive who was already in Quebec City was willing to hang out with me! After a few attempts at finding a place still open that served food, we found Ninkasi, which turned out to be a place we be at almost every night. The staff there was super cool, and I think it was the closest place that had beer to the convention center.
While we were there, I had Clive show me some of the stuff he’s working on. One of which used a single sponge ball, and that caught the eyes of Pere Rafart and his friend whose name I don’t remember.
This convention is soo big compared to any other magic convention I’ve ever, there are people who I know were there, but never saw. Then Pere, who it felt like I was constantly passing in the halls. I later learned was a competing in the close up competition (he took 2nd place in close up card magic!)
Staying up way later than I should have, I said goodnight to everyone and took the short walk to my hotel.
I needed some sleep as it was going to be an early morning the next day! -Louie
Earlier this week I decided to crash Magic Live with some friends and hang out at the bar of the hotel. Normally I wouldn’t do this, I would register, however the magic convention was sold out, so that wasn’t an option.
It was a blast running into everyone in the bar! It was a fun meeting a lot of people I know through social media, but have never met in real life. This is one of the really important things about magic conventions right now, is that are taking relationships that exist virtually and making them real life!
I had a blast at the KAX conference that just ended yesterday. Lot’s of great info was shared and it was great to be a presenter and be able to share with other performers!
This event was a virtual event and I know a lot of people prefer in person conventions, there are some advantages to them being online. The first is you can get other things done while you are attending the convention. This week I’m packing up and getting ready to move, so while I was watching lectures I was also boxing things up. It’s also a lot cheaper to attend, as you don’t have hotel and I could eat my breakfast during the conference!
I was also able to do some shows during the convention, so I was able to earn money during it, where if I had to travel to it, I’d just be spending money the whole week. Virtual conventions will never replace (I hope) in person conventions, they do have their advantages!
One of the fun things about magic, is while social media magic is pretty much the same around the world, in person magic has very different trends in different places. Recently I found a couple of DVD’s of a magic convention in Taiwan.
I already had the 2010 DVD, and now have 2014 and 2016. What I love is the difference in how routines are put together, what the emphasis is on. I really enjoy watching them. If you get the chance to watch convention DVD’s from other countries, I highly recommend it!
Last weekend I attended the PCAM magic convention. It was a lot of fun, and they did a good job of keeping the day moving, it went from 10am to 8pm, then unofficially till about midnight.
When the booker approached me to perform at the convention, I decided to pitch something a little different from an act or lectures. I mentioned the little cooking demos I’ve done, and could do a cocktail for them. They like the idea and I got to do one of little mixology video for them!
It went over well! One of the fun things performing for magicians is when you do unexpected things. In that routine there are a couple of interest to magicians. There’s a production of two rats, which is interesting and the flaming jalapeno pepper. The pepper always surprises me that magicians get excited about that. there have been “flaming” objects around for years, not sure why this one makes an impression…unless it’s that it makes sense as a prop.
I’m glad that my whacky little presentation went well. I’d love to do more and more of these over zoom. It’s a different style of performing magic and I’m really enjoying it.
In a few days I’ll be performing at the Pacific Coast Association of Magicians annual convention which will take place online. When they contacted me,I wanted to do something a little bit different. I pitched them having me teach how to make a cocktail. Basically it’s a magical mixology class.
When I sat down to write up the ingredient list and recipe for the cocktail, I decided I wanted to create that like an old magic magazine ad for a magic trick.
I think it turned out well. I worked way too hard on making this, however I think it adds some fun to the whole thing. My starting point was visiting Ask Alexander going through old magic magazines and looking at the ads. I kinda had an idea in my head as to what I was looking for, it was just a matter of finding an ad to use as a template.
Here’s the ad that was my starting point:
Sometimes the little bit extra is what makes the trick work. I’m hoping the ad gets people excited about the mixology.