2018 Convention History

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OUR FIRST YEAR
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     The first Daytona Festival of Magic was held on September 14 - 16, 2001. If you attended,  you probably had enjoyment for the first time in one of the most horrific weeks our country ever endured. After the 9-11 bombing in New York and Washington, Harry and I contemplated calling everyone and canceling  the Convention. The airlines weren't flying and people were calling and asking if the Convention was still on. We knew that some of our performers would not be able to make it. We wondered if our attendees would be in the mood to be entertained and attend a fun filled event. If this wasn't enough, we also had a tropical storm headed our way. On 9-11 my son was in a forward deployed special-operations unit of the USMC. I didn't even know if I was in the mood to run a Magic Convention.

     Harry and I talked it over and decided that if we cancel the event, we are giving in to terrorism. Thinking of all the entertainers that performed, even though they personally were ill, or in agony, because of a tragedy in their lives, we concluded that "the show must go on." Lose money or make money, the first Daytona Festival of Magic was going to proceed. We started to make calls, we realized that there was probably not enough time for us to arrange for our west coast performers to get here so we released them from any contractual obligation. We managed to get Harry Lorayne, who lived only a few blocks from the World Trade Center, in New York City, on a train. Because he is no spring chicken (sorry Harry) we knew that we had to get him a sleeper car or he would not have been in any shape to do a stage performance and two lectures. This was accomplished. We also knew that we had to cover acts that could not make it here due to no airlines flying.

     Harry and I can't thank enough  the people who filled in at the last minute to cover the acts of the people who could not come. We also want to thank everyone who braved the storm, both the tropical one and the emotional one and attended our Convention. It is interesting to note that we only had about thirty cancellations and managed to still almost sell out the theater on Saturday night.

The following people performed at the 2001 convention:

HARRY ALLEN.....FRED & KELLIE BECKER.....GLEN GHIRARDI.....HARRY LORAYNE.....JOE LEFLER.....CHAD LONG.....KEN SCOTT.....BILL WHITMIRE.....TOM YURASITS


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OUR SECOND YEAR
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     The second Daytona Festival of Magic was held on October 25 - 27, 2002. Two of the performers that had to cancel last year were scheduled to perform at this convention, Michael Finney, with all his craziness and Mehdi Talbi from Canada, to do his fire act. Michael Finney's performance was the funniest I have ever seen him. Mehdi Talbi got stuck in Canada. The joke of the convention was, "Don't hire him next year and he will show up!" We were very happy to welcome Michael Ammar and his family to both our convention and our great State of Florida. 

     Both of Ammar's private teach-ins were sold out. He gave everyone their monies worth at the teach-ins and his regular lecture. The man is amazing. The Friday night Cabaret and Banquet show was a big hit. Dan Garret is definitely one of the funniest Master of Ceremonies I have ever seen. To do magic for magicians using comedy has to be one of the most difficult things to do. I cringed as Dan took out a Pom-Pom Stick to perform at one of the interludes between acts. I thought this is too basic, but WOW! I was surprised. As he pulled on one ball, the other did not do what was expected by every magician in the house. I'm not going to tell you any more about it in case you have never seen this funny routine.

     We added this year a stage contest for both kids and adults. There were trophies and $1000 in gift certificates awarded to Daytona Magic. Every kid that entered also got a $20.00 Gift certificate, just for entering. We ended up with 230 attendees and once again almost sold out the public show on Saturday night.

The following people performed at the 2002 convention:

HARRY ALLEN.....MICHAEL AMMAR.....MICHAEL FINNEY.....DAN GARRETT.....MARTY & BRENDA HAHNE....WINSTON HELLING JR.....JAY MATTIOLI.....LEE EDWARD SMITH.....MARK WADE


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OUR THIRD YEAR
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     Wow! What a convention. The excitement of the conventioneers was felt from the minute they arrived at the beautiful Daytona Beach Resort Hotel.  Attendees were greeted at registration with many gifts and giveaways courtesy of several Daytona Beach Merchants.  The convention kicked off with an informative lecture on the business end of Magic by Melody Muñoz, wife of the versatile entertainer Oscar Muñoz.  Attendees also had to opportunity to get a first look at some of the premier dealers from around the country who attended the convention.  Among these dealers was Tannen's, Sorcery, Sasco, Balloons & Clowns, Magic & Mischief, Daytona Magic and of course our entertainers who featured their signature merchandise. 

     One of the highlights of this year's convention was the Friday Night Cabaret Dinner Show.  As a special treat to the conventioneers, we substituted the Hotel's chicken dinner with a New York Deli Bash.  Upon arriving in the banquet hall, guests enjoyed a factious meet-n-greet while enjoying cocktails and gourmet Horderves.  The Horderves featured classic New York munchies including knishes, potato pancakes and pigs-in-a-blanket.  With everyone's pallet tempted and teased, the catering staff wheeled out trays overflowing with real New York cold cuts, including turkey, smoked turkey, pastrami, salami and corned beef.  All of this at no additional cost to the attendees!!  After everyone had their fill of delicious food, it was time to serve up the laughs with the Friday Night Show. 

     The show was held in the same hall as the banquet courtesy of our All-Star technical team led by our good friend Art Thomas, who in less than a day set up a full sized stage complete with state of the art sound and lighting.  What these guys do is truly magic. The show started with David Acer as our MC who delighted us with his innovated comedy magic. Daryl astounded us with his magic, especially his knot of Pakistan. Jeff Lovit, a retired policeman and juggler extraordinaire delighted us with his juggling antics including a black light exhibition that was super.  David did the traditional MC spot which included a cups and balls routine with garbage cans that was hilarious. Oscar Muñoz closed the show with a complete 45 minute act along with his famous sidekick Pepé.

     Was it time to retire in our Convention Center Hotel, maybe take a dip in one of the three pools or a walk on the beach?... Not if you love magic!  Still to come were a magic teach in with Daryl and a Midnight Lecture with the Great Scott.

     Saturday morning was jammed packed with exciting events.  The conventioneers had their choice of attending the Stage Competition, perusing the dealer's room or attending a lecture by Daryl.  The quality of performers at the stage contest was outstanding. The adult contest was won by Sterling Steal. Second place was John Ashlee and third place by William Greene. The Junior Contest was won by Aaron Solomon. Coming in second was C. J. Lerman and third John Cason. All received trophies and gift certificates from Daytona Magic, (Adults $300, $200, $100 - Kids $250, $100, $50). It was an exciting morning. Sterling Steal's performance was so dynamic that he was asked to repeat his act on the evening show.

     After breaking to get some lunch, the close-up show began. Oscar Muñoz, Scott Francis, Daryl and David Acer rotated amongst three rooms to do their close-up performance. By being in three rooms everyone got to watch up close and TV's were not needed. After the professionals did their performances we had a Close-Up Contest.  Michael Bairefoot took first place, Nick Parlin second and Dana Hill third. Trophies and gift certificates equal to the stage contest were given as prizes. Two more lectures, one on strolling magic by Dave Hill and one on Comedy Magic by Oscar Muñoz rounded out the afternoon. We broke for dinner at one of the fantastic restaurants that were walking distances from the hotel or had some lighter fare at the hotel and strolled the beach at dusk.

     Our Gala Evening Show was held at Seabreeze High School two blocks away. Seabreeze is the designated High School for the Performing Arts in Volusia County and has a state of the art 700 seat auditorium. Our first surprise for our audience was a USMC color guard. We invited many servicemen and servicewomen who were either coming from, or going to, the war against terrorism, to enjoy an evening of magic and fun with their families . We gave them the best seats in the house and they deserved them. A little Schtick from Harry Allen, a welcome by Jack Cook and the awards given by Daryl were next in the line-up.

     Our master of ceremonies, The Great Scott was side-splitting. His Straight jacket routine was uproarious. What a show we had, Dan Sperry did the most fantastic dove act I have seen in many, many, many years. Our first standing ovation of the night. This young man is going to be as famous as Lance Burton some day. Not only is he a great performer, but he has the demeanor of a polite caring person who is a credit to our profession. Tony Chapek's brand of magic stands alone. You can see his act over and over again and it is flawless. Talk about perfect timing!!!  No surprise that his act earned him a full house standing ovation.

     Intermission followed and then a sound technician came out and began to set up the microphones for the second act. He sang a few bars, got a little applause and caught it from his boss. Wait! the boss joined in the antics and before you could get back in your seat, two other stage crew members were fooling around on the stage. The next thing you know, we had a quartet. They sang for twenty minutes in perfect harmony. They were the professional group, Return to Zero who entertains for Disney and other Orlando Theme Parks. Now the crème de la crème of comedy magic. Kohl and Company did their full 45 minute act, a performance that left people in tears with laughter and standing in an ovation at the end of the show.

     Back to the hotel for some dealing and a late night lecture by David Acer. I was told by the Hotel staff that people were performing in the lobby until 4 AM. Man I wish I was young!

     Yogi Berea said, "It ain't over until the fat lady sings." Well, it ain't over at a Daytona Festival until you attend the Sunday lectures and visit the dealers for some last minute bargains. Lectures by Harry Allen, Daryl and Dan Sperry rounded out the convention. Everyone seemed to have a great time.

The following people performed at the 2003 convention:

DAVID ACER.....HARRY ALLEN.....TONY CHAPEK.....DARYL.....DAVE HILL.....KOHL & CO......JEFF LOVIT.....MELODY MUNOZ.....OSCAR MUNOS.....RETURN TO ZERO.....THE GREAT SCOTT.....DAN SPERRY.....USMC COLOR GUARD 


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OUR FOURTH YEAR
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     Our convention was held the weekend after the National Election. I think it was the most divisive election ever. Whether your a Republican, Democrat or Independent the time has come to put parasitism aside and support our President George W. Bush. In these troubled times we have to all stick together. As magicians and performers we know the power of getting along and helping one another. Let's hope our country will come together, win the war in Iraq and continue to lead the free world in freedom justice for all.

     The Convention was fantastic!!! Most conventions start off slow and build by the middle of the second day. The Daytona Beach Festival of Magic started off with a bang! Shortly after registration opened, David Ginn, the king of kid's magicians did his lecture aimed at the children's performer. He gave everyone all the time needed to answer those difficult questions on how to handle the kid's show. Of course the dealers room  was open and many took advantage of early specials many of our dealers offered.

     Jeff McBride, the quintessential magician, did his first special teach-in. The hour and a half turned into two and a half hours of intense instructional material. Everyone settled in and then we had our delicious cocktail party and fabulous Deli-Bash. The finest New York Deli was flown in and we had an EAT-A-THON. I never knew some people could eat so much. How come I eat one sandwich and a little salad and I'm fat, and I seen guys eat three sandwiches, twenty horderves, two pieces of cake three cocktails and they are skinny? Life ain't fair!!!

     The evening Cabaret show started off with our MC, David Ginn who introduced our first cosmopolitan magician, Michael P. Lair. Michael's act is true sophistication. Candles, Fire and manipulations set a very magical mood.  David did some shtick while our next act set and as he performed I realized that not only did he like entertaining us but he enjoys entertaining himself. What a great performer! 

     Our novelty act, Chris Michaels  was next and what a novelty he was. For the next thirty minutes he played some of the funniest musical instruments I have ever seen. Have you ever heard of a Theremin. You play it by moving your hands through the air. He played the saw, (yes I said the saw), the bones the bagpipe and yes he did dueling banjos with himself using two banjos hanging from his neck. He brought the house down.  

     A little intermission and then our Friday night featured performer Sam Sandler. What a bundle of energy. Everything Sam did was FUNNY or FAST or both. He reminded me a lot of John Belushi the performer of Blues Brothers fame. He kind of gives you a look that I call the "hairy eyeball." The look sort of says, you get it, don't you? His vigorous performance entertained all. The night was not over yet. Our premiere performer Jeff McBride did another, completely different lecture. 

     Saturday - day two, when some conventions are just getting started, we started the day with our stage contest for both kids under 18 and adults. Some of the acts were very professional and the conventioneers got to see another full stage show, complete with proper lighting and sound, thanks to our wonderful stage crew led by Art Thomas. Our MC, Scott Humsted showed his professionalism by making everyone feel comfortable and  he kept the show moving smoothly. Following the stage contest Jeff McBride packed the main room and did his morning lecture of the convention. Some very semi-professional magicians left the lecture after it was over and I heard one comment, I never realized that I could still learn so much about performing magic."

     A little lunch and then the Close-up Show was next on the agenda. We split up into three rooms, which were set up for close-up and our performers rotated. Eugene Berger, Darwin Ortiz, Michael P. Lair and Sam Sandler each did about 20 minutes of "knock your socks off" table top magic. The afternoon still had a close-up contest, and two lectures, Darwin Ortiz and David Ginn. The dealers were open and performing in front of their perspective booths. It was a busy day.

     Dinnertime allowed our attendees to seek out one of the fine restaurants in the area and relax in preparation of our Gala Night of Magic. The evening show was held at the new Seabreeze auditorium only a short walk from the hotel. We almost sold out the auditorium but our conventioneers who signed up early had the best seats. Actually every seat in this theater is a great seat because of its state of the art construction. The show began with some comedy before the presentations of the plaques for the contests by Harry Allen and Jack Cook. 

     The winners of the contest were as follows... 

Youth Stage Contest

1st Place   Jayson Morrison
2nd Place   Phillip Woodward
3rd Place   Benji Berlant & Matt McCoy

 Adult Stage Contest 

1st Place   Aaron Weiss
2nd Place   Sterling Steel
3rd Place   Chris Wyatt "Mr. C."

 Close-Up Contest 

1st Place   Dana Hill
2nd Place   Ed Leto
3rd Place   Josh Brownlow

     Eugene Berger, Abbi Spinner and Jeff McBride received two standing ovations for their performance of the evening. You couldn't go to this show without being electrified. The fast paced award winning show was everything it was billed to be. After the show Jeff remarked to me that he has worked all around the world and has never worked with a crew as professional as ours. Thanks Sue Jacoberger, Art Thomas and the entire CREW for a job well done.

     The evening was still not over. The midnight lecture featured Eugene Burger and lived up to what Magic Magazine said about him... "One of the 100 most influential magicians of the 20th century." Believe it or not the lobby operated all night with magicians doing their latest moves and exchanging ideas.

     Sunday - The Convention is over - NOT... Harry Allen did his fast paced lecture, Sam Sandler did a wonderful lecture and Jeff McBride did a Four Hour Special Teach-In.

The following people performed at the 2004 convention:

HARRY ALLEN.....EUGENE BURGER.....SCOTT HUMSTED.....DAVID GINN.....MICHAEL P. LAIR.....JEFF MCBRIDE.....CHRIS MICHAELS.....DARWIN ORTIZ.....SAM SANDLER.....ABBI SPINNER


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OUR FIFTH YEAR
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     We had more hurricanes in 2005 than any year in modern times. The weather bureau actually ran out of names and had to use the Greek alphabet, but the weather was great for our magic weekend. What a weekend it was!

     Once again we started off strong with a lecture by Samuel Patrick Smith. He had a standing room only crowd and wowed them with his style of entertaining little kids. Sammy always has kids in mind when he performs. One can't say that we did not present both sides of the coin by presenting Steve Bargatze to do the next lecture. Steve is hysterical and his - love of children - shines through in all his performances. Gene Anderson, our next lecturer was, is, and will be till his dieing day one of the cleverest magical artists. He has a wittiness about him that makes attending his lecture a meaningful experience.

     The afternoon whisked away and it was time for the Deli Bash and Cabaret Show. The horderves were served a bit slow but the New York deli was great. Some people did not get their pineapple upside down cake for dessert so we are going to let the lady who does the deli platters cater the entire event next year. 

     The Cabaret Show was just the right mixture for magic, illusion, ventriloquism and fun to please everyone in attendance.  We served 297 people and I still took two trays of food home. The day  ended with a lecture by Max Maven. You don't sleep much during our convention and we will keep you busier than a one legged man at a butt kicking contest!

     Here in Daytona we were in the midst of our local elections and Harry started his morning off with an interview about the Convention on one of our local radio stations. He couldn't resist telling them his favorite political joke. "Politicians are like diapers... They need to be changed often... For the same reason!" I'll never get a break on my taxes in our city or county. All the politicians heard him. He did start off the morning with his fast paced lecture/dealer show. 

     The stage contest for children and adults were done one after the other, and were both well attended. Jay Sankey followed Harry's lecture with another zany lecture.  He has to be the funniest Canadian I have ever heard. Our close-up show with four acts was one of the best we ever did. Ackerman, Sankey, Bargatze and Harlan were brilliant.

     The afternoon was rounded out with a close-up contest and lectures by Dan Harland and Kelly Duro. Our Saturday was so busy that people did not want to leave the hotel for lunch. I bought 36 pizzas for $5.00 each and sold them in the lobby for $1.00 a slice. I gave the profit to one of our local food banks and along with a raffle for $700.00 worth of magic, we raised $843.00, which we donated to the federation (A United Way Agency), to restock their food bank. 

     The Saturday evening show at the Seabreeze auditorium was a 3 hour magic and entertainment extravaganza. The official "Blues Brothers" showed up and did a 15 minute set. Everyone was so surprised. As tired as everyone was we still had a lecture by Alan Ackerman back at the hotel. I think Alan ran an all night session in the lobby after his lecture.

     Those that stayed on Sunday morning were treated to a wonderful lecture by Greg Hamilton or did some last minute shopping. Also 12 people took advantage of the Teach-in with Max Maven. This was a paid event and an intense session with Max. 

The following people performed at the 2005 convention:

ALLEN ACKERMAN.....HARRY ALLEN.....GENE ANDERSON.....STEVE BARGATZE.....BOB BLOENK.....JAMES BRANDON.....BRIAN COOK.....KELLY DURO.....DAN HARLAN.....GREG HAMILTON.....PETER HEFTY & JUSTIN.....SCOTT HUMSTED.....MAX MAVEN.....JOE REHAUME.....DARREN ROCKWELL.....JAY SANKEY.....SAMUEL PATRICK SMITH


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OUR SIXTH YEAR
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     I can't make it, someone in my family is sick... I can't make it, I'm in traction... I can't make it, there was a death in the family... I can't make it my wife is having a baby! That is what it was like at the 2006 Festival of Magic and Florida State Magic Convention, yet the conventioneers hardly noticed the changed line-up.  We replaced those that could not make it with equally talented performers. Special thanks to John Ferrentino, Erick Olson, Sammy Smith, and Fielding West for filling it at the last moment. We are happy to say that Johnny & Pam Thompson, Scott Humston, and Ron Conley will be with us in 2007. We will try to get the Pendragons back in the future.

     The Convention numbers really increased this year. We had almost 400 attendees. The lectures were super! The close-up was astonishing! The Cabaret Show was dynamic! The competition was superior! The Gala Saturday night show produced two standing ovations for Fukai! What I noticed most during the convention was the friendships that have been produced by attending in the past, and renewing acquaintances this year. I saw kids well after 1:00 AM in the morning in magic Jam Sessions in the hotel lobby. I saw adults in small groups just enjoying each others company. This convention brought me back to the heyday of Tannen's Magic Jubilee, or the Florida State at the Langley Hotel when the entertainment was great and the camaraderie was awesome.

     Harry and I hope everyone who was with us had a great time. I do have one apology to make. Coming from the Great city of Philadelphia and being in New York City at least one a week, I thought everyone loved Deli. I forgot about my Veggie Friends. I have already made a note of their needs and will supply them with a veggie meal next year. Pasta instead of pastrami? I guess that is what makes the world go around. Now that I am a Southern Gentleman, See Ya'all next year, ya'hear!!! Irv...

The following people performed at the 2006 convention:

HARRY ALLEN.....CARL ANDREWS.....JOHN FERRENTINO.....FUKAI.....FRANZ HARARY.....JOE LEFLER....ERICK OLSON.....DAVE RISLEY.....TERRY SEABROOK.....SAMMY SMITH.....DON TOWNSEND.....FIELDING WEST.....BORIS WILD.....JOSEPH YOUNG


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OUR SEVENTH YEAR
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     We have had Tropical Storms, Hurricanes, even a terrorist attack a few days before our convention. What else could happen? I went over to the hotel about three weeks before the convention and saw the following...

     No Parking Lot: The front parking lot was covered with construction materials had no base except sand. There were palm trees to be planted, decorative bricks to be laid, cement to be poured.

     No Front Door: The entrance to the hotel was boarded over and it was impossible to get in. I went to the parking garage and the guard told me to enter by the second floor, take the elevator down to the lobby and go to the front desk.

     No Finished Lobby: The lobby had no carpet on the floor, no dry wall on the walls, no furniture, the registration area was boarded up and the ceiling was a jumble of wires and temporary lights.

     The Ball Rooms: When I walked into the ballroom their were no walls, lights, ceiling, floor - get the picture! I began to have chest pain. I figured this was it we are out of business.

     The hotel people greeted me with smiles on their faces and the first words out of their mouths was "Don't worry, we have over a hundred people working on the project and it will be done. The only thing that won't be done is the air wall." I told them we need one to separate the rooms during the contests and they said that they would build a temporary one out of Styrofoam. These builders worked 18 hour days 7 days a week and finished the project with only a few minor flaws like the mike system in the lecture room.

     The convention began with the Dealer's Room open and a lecture by our own Harry Allen. He had a full house and of course did his shtick. Dan Stapleton lectured next and he was worried that it was too early a spot in the convention. When it was over he said it was one of his best lectures and he did well.

     Then came Johnny Thompson and Pam. Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! The conventioneers wouldn't let them go. What legends in our industry. The people would not leave the room and we had to set it for the Cabaret show and dinner.

     Lectures, Contests, Close-up show, Stage Show (many people said our best ever) followed for three days. I've been to National Conventions that weren't as exciting. If you want those great seats... SIGN UP EARLY for 2008!

The winners of the contest were as follows... 

Strolling Magician Contest 

1st Place   Michael J. Cook
2nd Place      Greg Solomon
3rd Place   Ed Leto

 Youth Stage Contest

1st Place   Trigg Burrage
2nd Place      Ariel & Damara Chaudhuri
3rd Place   Brandon Wagster

 Adult Stage Contest 

1st Place  Toshiaki & Maromi
2nd Place     Andy Haung
3rd Place  Jason Andrews

 Close-Up Contest 

1st Place   Ali Shelley
2nd Place Tie      Michael J. Cook
2nd Place Tie   Mark Hlava
3rd Place   Steve Krouse

 The following people performed at the 2007 convention:

HARRY ALLEN.....BALLOON GUYS.....TOM BURGOON.....ALAIN CHOQUETTE.....RON CONLEY.....DOC EASON.....DAVID EVANGELISTA.....DAN FLESHMAN.....LENNART GREEN.....SCOTT HUMSTON.....KEVIN JAMES.....CIAKI MASAKATSU.....DAISUKE SEO.....DAN STAPLETON.....JOHNNY THOMPSON


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OUR EIGHTH YEAR
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     Well... It seems like I always start these reports by telling you about some kind of troubles we had in getting the Convention going, you know like Tropical Storms, Terrorist Attacks, unfinished hotels just to name a few. But this year topped them all... What hurt the most it came from a dear friend who I have known for many years and is a person quite prominent in magic. About three weeks before the Convention I was forwarded e-mails written by this person saying that I was cheating people by charging sales tax on the price of the Convention. Let's get things straight... I don't charge sales tax, I collect it for the State of Florida. They assured me in 2001 when I had my first Convention, and again this year that I must collect tax for the entire convention. I am not, a non-profit organization like the SAM or the IBM, even though lately it seems non-profit, and the convention admission is like any other admission. I had a lot of aggravation from this, but the worst was yet to come.

    After what most people told me was a stellar convention, I read a scathing report on the IBM site by the same good friend. I read that there was no place within walking distance of the hotel to get a meal. The last time I counted their were 13 restaurants including everything from a first class Italian Restaurant to Red Lobster, Bonefish, China Buffet and Denny's. As they said in the movie "My Cousin Vinny," when they were interviewing an eye witness to the crime, "Maybe you need a new set of glasses, sweetheart." Also every room in the hotel had a kitchen and their was a Publix across the street.

     The person wrote that the hotel only served food on the pool deck and their restaurant was closed. That is true but in these hard economic times they had to close their restaurant but had on premises a convenience store that sold food. Also we supplied as you know a Friday dinner without extra charge. Not all conventions do that! For a buck a slice of pizza, you could support education on Saturday lunchtime, and get lunch without leaving the hotel.

     Here comes the BIG complaints. Her buffet line ran out of cheese, the Friday night show was too long, and we didn't make arrangements for the ten people who didn't have a ride to the Saturday night theater. I guess she missed the sign in the lobby telling everyone if they needed a ride to see registration and we would arrange one. I still love this person and just think she had some bad times and took it out on me. I don't know why, I'm just a big Teddy Bear. Sometimes I refer to my wife as the Dragon Lady when she gives me the business, but Maxine, you have lost your title, you are now my pussycat.

     Now lets get to the convention... With the economy being down we had about 70 less registrations than last year but still had quite a large crowd. People kept coming up to me and saying. I don't know how you and Harry do it, but every year is fantastic. I guess the proof is in the pudding because as of this writing, we already have over 90 people signed up for 2009.

     Let's talk about the Friday Night Cabaret Show... Wow... Wow... Wow. Even before the show started we had our strolling magicians who were a big hit with most attendees. Friday's MC was Steve Kissell. I haven't seen Steve perform for many years because I don't travel with Harry anymore, but he was fresh, funny and fantastic. Our opening act was Nathan Kranzo who did a incredible job. My favorite effect that he did a was Ring in Lemon; he sure did it with a twist. Next came Juan Mayoral who is quite a sophisticated magician.  His routine with the light up dancing cane was electrifying. Howard Mincone was our Friday Juggler who does a breathtaking bouncing ball. It was a delight to watch. T C Tahoe did great stand-up comedy magic and his linking rings were as they say "Out of this world." Dinky Gowen ended the Friday night show and did some of his illusions, including an excellent performance of the Zig-Zag Stretcher.

     Now I know the show was a bit long for one of our attendees, but you know how it is when you get a little older and a bit more cranky. Most of us would have stayed to see four more acts if they were as good as these guys.

     The contests were great on Saturday morning - look to see the winners below. The morning lectures were well attended. Lunch was Cheap if you had Pizza but who is there for lunch - it's magic we want. Oh I forgot one person was very upset about our lunch facilities. Maybe we should skip the Close-up show next year and have the thirteen phantom restaurants (these are the ones that are within walking distance that she couldn't find) show up and do a food challenge.  Just kidding... Next year's Convention will have an emphasis on Magic not Food!

     The dealers all made money and the room was open enough for everyone to buy what they wanted and to see the new things. It was great having my friend Bob Little come down from Hatboro, Pa. He and I go back to the early sixties when he worked for some chemical company and I was an engineer for Simplex. I spent many a night until the wee hours of the morning with him and his wife Barbara. He always tells me he is on his last ten years. I hope not and hope we will meet again.

     The Close-up show with Joshua Jay, David Roth, T C Tahoe and Nathan Kranzo was just what was needed after attending so many lectures and eating gourmet pizza from Papa Johns. I hope everyone found their place to see the close-up show and weren't still looking for a place to eat.

     Let's get to the Saturday Night Show... Mainland High has been great to us and really lets us take over the auditorium. We couldn't do any of the shows without our great stage crew. The crew consists of the greatest volunteers in the world. Many of them have been doing this convention since 2001. There are entire families that work the stage. Many are professional people in this field. Others do it because of their love of magic. We really appreciate all their hard work.

  • Production Stage Manager - Sue Jacoberger
  • Technical Director - Art Thomas
  • Audio Engineer - Joe Vecciarelli
  • Truss Monkey & Rigging Tech - James Songster
  • Follow Spotlight Operator - Amanda Vecciarelli
  • Grip and Gaffer - James Allen
  • Backstage Crew - Travis Connell
  • Backstage Crew - Anesa Vecciarelli
  • House Manager - Teresa Songster
  • House Crew - Lynell Vecciarelli
  • A/V Tech for Lectures - Gary Barker

Much thanks to all of them.

     My son Jack Cook was our MC because the usual MC - you know the guy, Harry Allen had to wake up at 3 AM to go to Laughlin NV. Jack was great! I wish he worked for me. Can you imagine wanting to be a lawyer instead of working in a magic shop. He is in his second year of law school and works for a big firm in Orlando. Most important, God willing next year at convention time I will be a Grand-pa. He and his lovely wife Sandy, (our Star Spangled Banner singer) are going to have a baby. Maybe the kid will work for me.

     Our show was opened by giving the awards for all the contests. We asked a kid, (yeah I call him a kid), Travis Daniels who won our youth stage contest to do his act for everyone. This kid is great! Keep your eye on him! Hey Travis, when you are working Vegas and I show up for free tickets... Remember where it all started.

     Charlie Frey has to be a Juggler's juggler. I have never seen anyone juggle like this guy. His trick where he hoisted his jacket, hat and some juggling stuff high on a pole and dropped them on himself - all in place - was the greatest juggling feat I have ever seen. Gaetan Bloom from France was next; very funny man... very good manipulator... can you imagine manipulating cards with boxing gloves on. Now if he could only learn to speak English... Just kidding ... I took French One for four years and can't say ten words in French. But whatever you say in French it sounds sexy.

     Next came Charlie Frey again, but this time doing magic. He did a Zombie Bowling Ball and it was a real bowling ball. Kyle who works for me is having it bronzed he liked him so much.

     Dave Womach was our closing performer. The birds and illusions were really beautiful. Everything was done with a professionalism that  has made this performer a top act in his field of sophisticated magic. His levitation was a sight to see. One non magician friend of mine who has been at most of our shows said she enjoyed his act more than anything she has ever seen at the Festival.

     Sunday wouldn't be Sunday without our auction. Jack Corcoran our professional auctioneer is always entertaining. Thousands of dollars of magic changed hands. From books to illusions, it was a busy morning.

     All in all 99.9% of the people were very happy. One is still looking for her cheese.

The winners of the contest were as follows... 

Strolling Magician Contest 

1st Place       Alex Iverson
2nd Place    John Anderson
3rd Place Andy Long

 Youth Stage Contest 

1st Place       Travis Daniels
2nd Place    Ian Baker

 Adult Stage Contest 

1st Place That Guy
2nd Place      Michael Trixx
3rd Place John Ashley

 Close-Up Contest 

1st Place  Alex Iverson
2nd Place     Tom Golabek
3rd Place Michael Trixx

 The following people performed at the 2008 convention:

HARRY ALLEN.....GAETAN BLOOM.....CHARLIE FREY AND COMPANY.....DINKY GOWEN.....SCOTT HUMSTON.....STEVE KISSELL.....JOSHUA JAY.....NATHAN KRANZO.....BOB LITTLE.....JUAN MAYORAL.....HOWARD MINCONE.....DAVID ROTH.....T. C. TAHOE.....DAVE WOMACH


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OUR NINTH YEAR
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     We had a great year at the Daytona Festival of magic, which for four years has been the Florida State Magic Convention. Registration went very smoothly when we opened it up at 11:00 AM on Friday just an hour before our first lecture. We didn’t have many gifts in the envelope this year as the local merchants were really feeling the recession and couldn’t afford the key chains, shopping bags, pens, umbrellas and chocolate we have given out in the past. Harry Allen opened up the lectures with a slam bang combination dealer show (“here is a new item and how it works…”) and lecture (“let me teach you this move…”). Charlotte Pendragon was our next lecturer followed by Dave Hill and Paul Richards. Technique, Audience Management, Comedy, Smooth Moves, were some of the things you could get out of these lecturers. If you didn’t want to attend them all, the Dealer’s Room was open and you could learn from one of our 17 dealers. Harry and I love the competition and welcome any dealer from around the world who wants to attend. All there needs to be is room for them, and the business ethics we have with our customers.

     The Big Room opened and people settled in at their assigned tables and the strolling magicians began their performances. It was great! We had about 19 strollers who went from table to table entertaining the conventioneers and their guests. Although I saw a few balloon hats being worn, only one came up for the judging and the $50.00 prize. I’ll run the contest one more year but if we don’t have more interest… this contest will be shelved. Dinner was great! On with the judging for the strolling magicians... the winners will be announced later in this report.

     On with the show! Our MC for the night was Norm Barnhart who was suave, debonair, witty and charming. These are some of the adjectives I use to describe this wonderful MC. He kept the show moving and performed when necessary; giving our wonderful stage crew, lead by Art Thomas and Sue Jacoberger, enough time to set the next act. Being a good MC is an art in itself. You are not the star. Your job is to make things in front of the curtain look seamless with what happens when the curtain opens up. Norm did a great job!

     Our first act was David Merry, who by the way forced me to miss a few minutes of his act. He got me laughing so hard that I had to go… Yes, I am 69 and when you got to go, you got to go! I loved his Flat Luggage routine. Barry Mitchell was next. I must say, anyone who can get my partner to look foolish is alright in my book. Harry as a chicken made me laugh. The next performer, The Amazing Normondo the Great was our surprise act. His Torn and Restored Newspaper that caught on fire was hilarious. People kept coming up to me for the rest of the convention telling me they really wanted to meet Normondo. For those that still do not know, NORMONDO is NORM BARNHART. Great acting Norm! Our Friday Illusionist, David Garrard, did a wonderful Christmas theme where he set up a family snapshot. The highlight of his act, in my opinion, was the Broom Suspension that was done masterfully. Among other things, he also did a Barrel illusion where his assistant went from one locked barrel, magically, into the other. David’s handling of the Zombie was flawless. “Fantastic show!” was the comment heard from many people as they left the room.

     Some people went to visit the Dealers after the show but 63 spent an extra $50.00 to see what was billed as the lecture of a lifetime by Harry Anderson and Jon Racherbaumer. Jon, from New Orleans is a true southern gentleman and great teacher of magic. Harry and Jon both did a great job and everyone seemed like they really got their money’s worth. Unless you stayed up in the lobby until 4 AM, and some did, day one of the Festival of Magic was over.

     Day two of the convention started at 8:15 AM in the morning with the very talented Bev Bergeron starting off the lectures. He woke everyone up and got us into the magic mood for the big day ahead. He was followed by fellow lecturers, Chris Capehart. Pavel, David Merry, Helder Guimaraes, Barry Mitchell and Koysta Kimlat. Can you imagine going to seven magic lectures in one day? Well, that is what happens when you come to the Florida State Magic Convention, which has been combined with the Daytona Festival of Magic.

     Also going on this Saturday were two stage contests, a close up contest and a professional close-up show. We had between 20 – 25 acts for the stage contests and all of the performers did a good job. Some did a great job three of them did superb jobs. The difference in point accumulation was sometime only a half point difference. It is a good thing one of our judges gave half points in her scoring.

     The close-up contest had about a dozen performers and some were funny and some were slick. I’m going to have to tighten up the rules next year or call the contest close-up and parlor magic because I saw some great stand up acts. One of our judges made that distinction in his scoring.

The winners of the contest were as follows... 

Strolling Magician Contest 

1st Place       Jay Spry
2nd Place    Michael Trixx
3rd Place Dana Hill

 Youth Stage Contest

1st Place David Goodson
2nd Place      Ariel & Damara Chaudhuri
3rd Place Derek McKay

 Adult Stage Contest 

1st Place Michael Trixx
2nd Place      That Guy
3rd Place Mike Dardant

 Close-Up Contest 

1st Place  Ben Jackson
2nd Place     That Guy
3rd Place Michael Trixx

 The following people performed at the 2009 convention:

HARRY ALLEN.....HARRY ANDERSON.....NORM BARNHART.....BEV BERGERON.....CHRIS CAPEHART.....HELDER GUIMARAES.....DAVE HILL.....MAGIG IAN.....YO KATO.....KOSTYA KIMLAT.....DAVID MERRY.....BARRY MITCHELL.....THE AMAZING NORMANDO THE GREAT.....PAVEL.....CHARLOTTE PENDRAGON.....JON RACHERBAUMER.....PAUL RICHARDS.....RUSS ROBERTS.....KRISTI TOGUCHI 

 

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OUR TENTH YEAR
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     I can't believe it! Ten Years of the Festival of Magic is in the can. Were there any problems???? Not too many. My headliners for both nights could not make it... one because of another commitment that couldn't be avoided, and one who we could not come to an agreement with us. Steve Dacri got very sick but will be back next year. Thank goodness for Jonathan Pendragon who filled in with a much larger commitment then what our original deal was.

     Registration opened on time as usual... thanks to the volunteers who helped me. Harry kicked off the first lecture as usual with his fun and mayhem. Latko followed with his lecture on some pretty revolutionary ideas on the cups and balls plus a lot of other neat close-up stuff. Thanks to my jewel, Chris Chapman, who works in the store as one of my magicians, for coming over and translating for Latko, who's English needs a little help.

     Joker Magic - Gyula Czili did a dealer show and lecture where he showed us a lot of his new products. Mark Wilson gave us his life story and showed us many videos chronicalling his career. He showed us two fun close-up effects with materials he allowed those in attendance to keep. There are "stars" and there are "STARS." Last year I had a star that taxed my patience trying to please. This year I had a man and wife team that were a pleasure to work with and being a lady and gentleman to everyone... Thanks Mark an Nani... you're wonderful!

     The Strolling magician contest, the deli bash went smoothly as always. The balloon hat contest had one entry... Great Hat, but will be put to rest for a lack of interest.

     The Friday evening show started with Ken Scott as our MC. If you don't already know ken is a member of the Daytona Magic Alumni who works full time as a magician. He joins the company of Chad Long, Lee Asher, Aaron Solomon and of course Harry Allen... all four full time magicians. Many part-timers are also alumni. 

     Marc DeSouza, who I have known since he was a teenager was our first performer. It took me back to when I was much younger watching him do linking rings in Philadelphia. It was a steller routine then and has improved with age. The floating table was the highlight of his act where he drew you in with an engrossing story.

     Lukas Dudek, a fourth generation sword swallower was our novelty act. His balancing was point-on and when he swallowed the light-bar, you could hear the gasps.

     Jonathan Pendragon started with the Hindu Sands and then did a mentalism routine that combined a book test with a mutiple card revelation. The routine was set to the poem of Cyrano de Bergerac and as he ended each refrain with an Ace... Thrust Home!

JONATHAN GOT A STANDING OVATION!

     Friday night concluded with an intimate late-night teach-in with the one and only Mark Wilson and Nani Darnell! This was a more in-depth teaching lecture than the one given earlier in the day.

     While the contestants were getting ready for the stage contest next door, Jonathan Pendragon started off Saturday morning with his master series class in close-up and stage magic.

     The next generation of magicians took to the stage and really showed their stuff in this year's Stage contest for kids and adults.

     Following the Stage contest, Marc DeSouza gave a great lecture where he showed his workings of a wide range of close-up and parlor illusions. Not only were these methods practical, but his presentation was informative, showing the theory behind these illusions as well.

     At noon, we all took a well deserved break for our annual charity pizza lunch with the proceeds going to the Yoshukai Karate International (Holly Hill branch), then we were all treated to the extrodinary talents of Gyula Czili, Jeff Kaylor, Latko and Marc DeSouza in the Close-up show. Follwing in the footsteps of the pros, our annual Close-up Contest took place where incredible feats of close-up were performed by our very own convention attendees!

     Jonathan Pendragon gave a fantastic lecture where he shared his vast knowledge of magic and touched on his training and how his act has changed over the past year.

     Ken Scott has spent many years performing for children and adults alike. He is, by his own admision, "Not ashamed" to say that he still works children's parties. His lecture showed us all how to bring back the fun in our performances for all ages.

     Marc DeSouza is a Magical scholar with extensive knowledge of our art's past. In this fascinating one-hour lecture, he not only told us stories of the forefathers of magic, he broght the history to life by performing their signature effects just as they did!

     After a quick bite to eat, we all headed over to the Mainland High School Performing Arts Center for our Gala Night Of Magic! After awarding the contest winners and announcing the winner of the $1,000 basket of magic charity raffle to benefit Haven Hospice, my partner Harry Allen got the crowd in the mood for magic and fun with a few comedy bits and a truly mind-bending illusion using a borrowed bill and a jewl from the TITANIC. Harry then turned the evening over to our master of ceremonies, Bev Bergeron. Bev kept the crowd in stitches as he introduced each act and entertained in between the act breaks. LATKO, our find from Latin America, started off the main illusion portion of our show with a truly inventive and fun motorcycle routine. You hear the crash of the motorcycle in blackout and when the lights come up, the bike is in pieces on the stage. Through the power of illusion, LATKO restores the bike as he magicially re-builds it before your eyes!

     Bruce Bilodeau and his twin brother took to the stage for some truly jaw-dropping displays with a dual diablo routine that had to be seen to be believed! Bruce returned later in the show for his awesome solo "German Wheel" acrobatic routine!

     The team of Stoil and Ekaterina were up next with an amazing display of magic and the art of quick-change! After the intermission, there was a presentation to Mark Wilson, Nani Darnell, and Bev Bergeron for their contributions to the world of magic and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their ground-breaking series "The Magic Land of Alakazam!" Mark and Nani treated us all to a few illusions before turning the stage over to Amos Levkovitch who closed out the show in grand fashion with a Dove act that really wowed the audience!

     Those who weren't TOO tired and still wanting more, joined World Renowned close-up master Michael Ammar for his special late-night teach-in that lasted 'til "The wee, small hours".

     Sunday wrapped up our convention with an in valuble lecture on dove magic by Amos Levkovitch on doves, and then everyone gathered for our showcase event, the auction! You should have seen the quality of stellar items that were selling for PENNIES on the dollar!

The following people performed at the 2010 convention:

HARRY ALLEN...MICHAEL AMMAR...BEV BERGERON...BRUCE BILODEAU...GYULA CZILI...MARC DESOUZA...LUKAS DUDEK...SCOTT HUMSTON...JEFF KAYLOR...LATKO...AMOS LEVKOVITCH... JONATHAN PENDRAGON...KEN SCOTT...STOIL & EKATERINA...MARK WILSON & NANI DARNELL


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OUR ELEVENTH YEAR
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     Our second decade of the Daytona Festival of Magic kicked off once again at the Daytona Beach Resort and Conference center. The registration booth opened on Friday afternoon and it was great to see so many returning friends to our convention. I really look forward to this time of the year so that I can re-connect with people whom I haven't seen since the last convention. It really is like a homecoming of sorts and this year was no different.

     Harry got the lectures started with his usual brand of off-beat humor and showmanship as he demonstrated the latest magic that we have to offer here at the store. Scott Wells followed with an informative lecture about a little magic history and gave some helpful tips on performance and showed the crowd some really neat effects that I know they will use for years to come. Next, we were all treated to a special one-on-one chat with a true living legend in magic, the great Jack Kodell. Along with his guest John Ekin, Jack spun wondrous tales of magic that took him around the world, brought him the love of his life and paved the way for a lifetime of memories that we could only dream about. Jack is a true original and we were so very blessed to have him share his life experiences with us.

     Eric Buss is a talented and very funny performer, and he shared his knowledge with the attendees in a lecture that had everyone smiling from ear-to-ear. Sylvester The Jester is billed as "A Living Cartoon", and in his lecture, he showed us all how to achieve some outrageously cartoon-like effects with very minimal expense. This deconstruction of his act was made even more impressive when we saw him perform his act on Saturday night. (More on that later.)

     Our gourmet dinner kicked off with the Strolling Magician Contest. We saw many great table workers wowing our attendees and really adding a level of fun to the dinner.

     After diner was concluded, the audience was treated to the incredible talent and personality of John Ekin as he opened up and emceed our Cabaret show. Scott Wells performed a wonderfully entertaining act that had the audience laughing and really put the crowd in a good mood. Up next, Geoff Williams kept the laughs rolling along with some truly clever and innovative magic. After a few more quips and magical entertainment from our MC, the whole audience was transported to another dimension. A dimension of comedy unlike any that you have ever seen before in your life! The comedy and magic of Jeff Alan, or as he is better known on stage: That Guy: International Man Of Mystery! Words have not been invented to adequately describe the experience of seeing what Jeff does while on stage. All I can say is that your sides will be hurting from all the laughter! The grand finale' of the show was an amazingly magical performance by Losander. The things that he able to do on stage will truly astound you! He really has revolutionized the art of levitation!

     World Champion Magician Johnny Ace Palmer held a late night lecture that lasted into the wee hours of the morning.

     Saturday brought the first lecture of the day from Banachek, an advisor to Criss Angel's "Mindfreak" television series, as well as a man who successfully convinced a scientific research team for over two years that he genuinely possessed mental powers simply through the use of magic!

     Next door, the stage contest got under way as the next generation of adult and kids performers showed us their best stuff. I always love seeing old things presented in a new way or with amazing skill. We had our share of that this year and more!

     Geoff Williams lectured on his innovations in close-up and parlor magic, including his truly astonishing "I Hate David Copperfield" card trick! (Look it up on our website HERE you won't believe your eyes!) We next had an unexpected treat as John Calvert gave a special intimate performance for our convention attendees and served as a special sneak peek at what we could expect later in the evening.

     After the Calvert show, the convention took a break for our annual Pizza Lunch with all the proceeds going to benefit the Yoshukai Karate International School (Holly Hill Chapter).

     When Lunch was over, four of the best close-up magicians in the world performed for us in the Close-Up Show: Arthur Trace, Geoff Williams, John Ekin and World Champion Magician Johnny Ace Palmer. After seeing the best-of-the-best in Close-Up magic, it was time to see the best-of-what's-next in our Close-Up Contest.

     Scott Wells hosted a live talk show (complete with humorous commercials) that featured John Calvert, Celeste Evans, Jack Kodell and Mary Naylor-Kodell. This was an amazing showcase for these living legends of Magic and to hear their life stories was truly an unforgettable experience! Bravo, Scott!

     The final lecture of the afternoon was an amazingly informative talk by John Ekin on how a performer should look, and carry themselves. This was one of the most important lectures I think I have ever seen because it covered things that performers simply take for granted and they shouldn't!

     Our Saturday Evening show played to a packed house and our MC for the evening was Scott Wells. First up was Arthur Trace with some amazing manipulation skills and a final centerpiece that really tied the whole act together in a very artistic way! Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be inside a cartoon and watch all the physics-defying mayhem that usually occurs there? Well, after seeing Sylvester The Jester perform, I think you'll have just a little more sympathy for 'ol Wile E. Coyote the next time you see him stretch his face out or electrocute himself with sparks coming out of his head! One of the most original acts we have ever had at our show! After our intermission, Banachek mesmerized the audience with his feats of mental magic and mind reading. He also put his own safety into the hands of our audience with a dagger through his own chest! The show closed with high style as Eric Buss made the audience roar with laughter and gave us the most impressive displays of music and spring snakes you will ever see anywhere!

     As the dealer's room re-opened for some late-night shopping, there were two great learning experiences with a late-night lecture from Arthur Trace and an intimate teach-in with World Champion Magician Johnny Ace Palmer.

     Sunday rolled around much sooner than expected (hey, sometimes it's just hard to go to sleep at a magic convention!) as the F.M.A. held their annual meeting. Banachek held an in depth teach-in, and Jeffrey Alan gave a hilarious lecture on off-beat comedy magic! The convention ended as it always does with our annual magic auction! Many great pieces were offered and a lot of great deals were had.

The following people performed at the 2011 convention:

HARRY ALLEN...BANACHEK...ERIC BUSS...JOHN CALVERT...JOHN EKIN...CELESTE EVANS...SCOTT HUMSTON...JACK KODELL...LOSANDER...SYLVESTER THE JESTER...JOHNNY ACE PALMER (World Champion Magician)...THAT GUY:INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY...ARTHUR TRACE...SCOTT WELLS AND GEOFF WILLIAMS

 

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OUR TWELFTH YEAR
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     Twelve years have passed since our first Festival of Magic and it seems just like yesterday! 16 top performers from around the world attended and took part in this event trough performances and lectures. Each year, our guest list reads like a who’s who of the magic world and this year was no different! Friday kicked off as always with Harry Allen and his dealer lecture where he showcased some of the newest magical effects at Daytona Magic! 

     Next up, was noted family magician Tim Sonefelt, and his entertaining lecture that just proved no matter HOW many times you can do a trick, as soon as you slow it down to demonstrate it, chances are, you’ll screw it up! Tim’s grace under fire and the way he totally laughed his way through the botched presentation, was actually a highlight of his talk. He is just an incredibly nice guy and when he started laughing at himself that got the whole room laughing along with him! The more he messed this simple trick up, the harder he started to laugh! He told me later “I thought I was done for, but do you know I sold about 12 of those right after the lecture?” Never forget, it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it that people will remember! Mark Kornhauser shared his insights on comedy and performing and was well received by the convention attendees. If you have ever wondered about the world of mentalisim and “cold readings”, Paul Draper’s lecture was not to be missed! The answer “It’s in my lecture notes” or “You can find that in my book/ DVD” was never heard. Paul did his best to answer any and all questions thrown at him. You don’t see that everyday!

     Brando and Silvana bridged the language barrier (thanks to Daytona Magic’s interpreter, Christine Chapman) and gave a presentation that was just the tip of the iceberg of what they had to offer on the Saturday Night show! It just served as a reminder that magic truly is universal! As we all sat down to enjoy the gourmet deli bash dinner, we were entertained by wide variety of magicians performing right at your table and all vying for the title of “Best Strolling Magician”. It was so good to see performers as young as 9 or 10 years old and others well past the age of 50 giving it their all. Every single one of them should be proud of the way they presented themselves!

     The Friday night Cabaret show got started with New York’s own Rich Marotta serving as MC and proving that if you keep putting a lampshade on your head long enough, eventually it’ll be funny! Rich’s offbeat style of deadpan comedy magic really set the stage for a night of fun! Jania Taylor performed expert billiards and card manipulation to a saucy Latin beat that ejected just the right sense of class and fun to the act! Tim Sonefelt told a sweet fairy tale that involved the younger members of our audience. Paul Draper continued to astound with his mentalisim and a duck tape blindfold! (OUCH!) The evening concluded with Dana Daniels and Luigi the Psychic Parrot! (It would take too long to explain! If you ever have a chance to catch Dana’s act, you must do so!) Luigi’s dance number at the end is worth the price of admission alone! The first day of the convention concluded with a late-night lecture from Trigg Watson.

     Saturday saw another great round of lectures from close-up masters Daniel Garcia and Garrett Thomas. As Rich Marotta gave a great lecture on comedy magic, next door we saw what I like to call “The best of what’s next”. The Kid’s and Adult Stage Contest is a great place for young and old alike to see what it takes to make it on the stage. This year saw a good number of younger performers making their very first stage appearance! Along with the Strolling Magician Contest, this and the Close-up Contest are always favorite parts of the convention for me. Speaking of Close-up, not only did we see an excellent amount of contestants this year, but we were all held spellbound as Daniel Garcia, Garret Thomas, Paul Draper, and Martin Lewis show us how the pros do it when it comes to close-up! Martin Lewis and last minute addition Chad Long rounded out the day’s lectures in high style. When a scheduling conflict came up, we asked Chad if he could fill in and didn’t hesitate. “Just tell me when” was the attitude he had. That’s class my friends, thanks Chad!

     Saturday Night’s Gala show was held for the first time at the brand new, state-of-the-art News Journal Center. Mark Kornhauser served as the show’s MC and kept the crowd laughing with his razor sharp wit and a talking dog act that became the talk of the convention the next day! Trigg Watson presented a high-energy routine that was full of fun and pushed the limits of IT and imagination! His live freeze frames while juggling gave the audience a jolt as the balls that were dancing through the air just seconds before, halted in mid air and then started up again at his command! Direct from Argentina, Brando and Silvana presented a very light-hearted story set entirely to music that involved two street hustlers who find magic of their own making through deft slight of hand and a wonderful costume change at the end, that buttoned up the story nicely! Martin Lewis showed us all how beautifully magical the linking rings can still be and he truly astounded the audience with an amazing display involving a simple yellow bamboo window blind! The show drew to a close with the magic and music of Jarrett and Raja. You may have seen their unique combination of performance style on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”. The unsung hero of the duo is their stage partner Nancy Troia. She has a wonderfully “nutty” stage persona that fits it perfectly with their performance style. As Raja played the classical music, Jarrett and Nancy performed a levitation that was truly magical to watch! As the evening concluded, Daniel Garcia gave a late-night Teach-In and John The Balloon Guy gave a lecture on all things balloons.

     Sunday saw lectures from Jania Taylor on the importance of proper marketing, and Al Callus keeping the room in stitches with his “Medicine Act” lecture. The final event of the convention is always our highly anticipated magic auction. We had the pleasure of welcoming back master auctioneer Jack Corcoran who kept the proceedings lively and moving along at a brisk pace. Last but not least, we want to thank all of the dealers who worked throughout the weekend to get our attendees the magic they needed: Daytona Magic, Palooka Products, Al Bach, H&R Books, Magic Emporium, The Magic Dollar Store, Losander Inc., Tim Sonefelt, John The Balloon Guy, Elmwood Magic, Daba Products, Tom Yurasits, Be Happy Entertainment, and Garrett Thomas. See you all next year!

 

The following people performed at the 2012 convention:

HARRY ALLEN...BRANDO AND SILVANA...AL CALLUS...DANA DANIELS...PAUL DRAPER...DANIEL GARCIA...SCOTT HUMSTON...JARRETT & RAJA...MARK KORNHAUSER...MARTIN LEWIS...CHAD LONG...RICH MAROTTA...TIM SONEFELT...JANIA TAYLOR...GARRETT THOMAS...TRIGG WATSON

 

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OUR THIRTEENTH YEAR
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     Presiding over the lecture room this year was master of ceremonies Erick Olson. Erick's years of performance experience in comedy magic and Emceeing kept each day lively and well structured, not to mention, funny! First up, was Harry Allen. The highlight of his lecture was an unexpected comedy of errors during one of his effects that had the audience in stitches! This set the tone for a fun-filled weekend where ANYTHING could happen!

     This year, the crowds who attended the lectures were treated to a mind-bending performance in close-up card manipulation by 16 year old French sensation Billy Debu. Billy has already mastered things that take most card magicians an entire lifetime to perfect. Truly astonishing! Next up was featured speaker, James Randi.

     Known the world over as "The Amazing Randi", he is passionate about the "Art" of magic, and downright intolerant of the many frauds and charlatans who have infiltrated our ranks, stolen our performance techniques (which are meant only to mystify and entertain) and use them to pass themselves off as genuine mystics. Like Houdini before him, Randi has made it his life's mission to expose those who seek to profit from mass deception, and through his “James Randi Educational Foundation”, still seeks to pay out $1,000,000 to ANYONE who can demonstrate genuine paranormal or psychic ability that he cannot reproduce. Randi was full of wit, and gave a highly entertaining talk.

     When Puck and Scott Alexander took to the lecture stage, this magical dynamic duo displayed a generally wacky attitude to their talk time. As Scott serenaded the group with a re-working of the Cole Porter classic, "Anything Goes", Puck danced around the stage as a giant Tarbell Book! I couldn't make that up if I tried! These two performers are innovators in the field as well. The sheer work involved in developing their effect M.I.B. (Message In a Bottle) is astonishing. They have also taken the classic effect of swallowing sewing needles & thread, and made it COMPLETELY SAFE!

     As the day came to a close, everyone was ushered into the dining area, where this year, a fully catered meal complete with wait staff, provided the guests with fine dining, as contestants vying for the title of “Best Strolling Magician” entertained each table.

     After dinner, the cabaret show kicked off with comedy magic from Dan Garrett and Merrit Ambrose with their two-man show, "Dr. Conundrum's Cabaret of Miracles". There simply are no words to accurately describe the performance, you just had to be there! Then, direct from Israel, mentalist Roy Zaltsman mystified the audience with feats of the mind that defy description! As a special surprise, Ventriloquist Peter Hefty had the audience laughing as he strained to keep his "cast" under control!  Up next, was the classic comedy of "Suds". Some of his groan-inducing jokes were so off the wall, that you simply couldn't help but laugh. Closing out the show, David Regal highlighted his set with a great twist on the linking ring, by borrowing finger rings from the audience and then instantly linking them together! After the show, Joshua Jay led an in-depth teach-in lasting into the wee hours of the morning.

     During the Friday night show, David Regal played a video he recorded from Harry Allen, personally guaranteeing a packed house for his early morning lecture the following day. When 9:30am rolled around, true to Harry's word, there was a standing-room-only crowd of people who showed up to see David's lecture. It was an hour full of magic, fun and great information. When he opened the lecture with a simple, empty, bamboo shade, and then produced a full glass of liquid from it, the room was hooked!

     Later, while Dan Garret gave a lecture on various magic and great pocket effects in the main lecture hall, next door, adults and youths alike competed in the stage contest. As in years past, Scott Humston hosted, and deftly kept the show moving along at a brisk pace. We saw some talented acts with both groups showing us their best! After the pizza lunch (with all proceeds going to charity), we were treated to the best in Close-up Magic from Billy Debu, Joshua Jay, David Reagl and Roy Zaltsman. Then, the close-up competition got under way, which had an international flair this year, as two of the performers came all the way from South America to show us how it's done down under. Well, you know what I mean. Johsua Jay and Roy Zaltsman rounded out the lectures for the day with amazingly innovative close-up magic and mentalisim techniques that brought the magic of all who attended to another level.

     The Saturday Night Gala Performance took place once again at The Daytona Beach News Journal Center. The evening started with an incredible performance of "The Star Spangled Banner" by Becky Cook. Host Scott Alexander welcomed the audience, and after a few laughs, he introduced The Magic of Puck, who performed his wonderfully inventive silk routine that brought him world wide acclaim on NBC's "America's Got Talent". Puck then gave a moving tribute to dreams and the wonder of youth, as he performed an original take on the classic Miser's Dream effect with bubbles. Scott Alexander again took to the stage, to perform some side splitting magic and comedy. One thing's for sure, I'll never look at an appearing cane the same way again!

     Before the intermission, performance artist Jon Janskey wowed the audience by painting a large portrait of Harry Houdini, live on stage, in just under five minutes! Before the second half of the show started, Harry Allen and Joshua Jay awarded the contest winners their prizes, and announced the winner of the charity raffle, who received $1,000 in magic from Daytona Magic. The best was saved for last, as illusionist Drew Thomas closed out the evening with a high energy performance, complete with beautiful dancers/assistants and a "House DJ" who kept the music pumping. Showcasing a highly polished performance style, Drew and the girls brought the house down! What a great night of magic! Once back at the hotel, David Regal closed out the evening with another highly successful late-night teach-in.

     Sunday morning, "Suds" started things off with laughs, as he gave a lecture that taught us how to put the fun back into our shows. Speaking of "fun", the final lecture of the convention was given by Dave Hill, who reminded us that you don't have to spend a lot of money to create a show that will entertain audiences of all ages! As always, the weekend concluded with our magic auction. Jack Corcoran presided over the event that draws magicians and collectors from all over the state.

     Finally, a huge thanks to all of the magic dealers who attended - Daytona Magic, Houdini Inc., Cobra Magic, Dan Garrett, El Granlui, Happie Amp (5,000), Losander Inc., The Magic Dollar Store, and The Magic Emporium. See you next year!

 

The following people performed at the 2013 convention:

HARRY ALLEN...SCOT ALEXANDER...DAN GARRETT....JOHN JANSKY.....JOSHUA JAY...THE MAGIC OF PUCK...JAMES RANDI...DAVID REGAL...SUDS...DREW THOMAS...ROY ZALTSMAN

 

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OUR FOURTEENTH YEAR
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     On November 7th – 9th, 2014, Daytona Magic presented its 14th annual Daytona Beach Festival of Magic. Erick Olson, once again hosted the lecture room this year, and as always, he kept things moving along smoothly as well as interjecting his own first rate brand of comedy! He always engages the audience and keeps the fun going all day long! Harry Allen kicked things off with his traditional opening lecture that showcased some great new effects and set the tone for a fun filled weekend of magic!

     Fielding West started off the performer’s lectures with quite possibly the cleanest torn and restored newspaper construction you have ever seen! Things really started getting fun when he introduced his stage partner “Bob The Bird”. Apparently, Bob got bored sitting by watching his “boss” talk to the people, so he took off flying around the lecture hall and eventually landed on a guest’s head! He got comfortable and just sat there for a while listening along with the rest of us.

     When Rich Bloch took over, he stressed the importance of always being prepared to provide magic in any situation. As an example, he relayed the story of going out to dinner with a magician friend, who took the opportunity presented by a finger ring and used it to do an impromptu vanish of the ring, only later to have it appear in a sealed box of Cracker Jacks...at the dinner table! Because his friend was always loaded with a dozen or so items, he was able to make this simple social evening out a truly magical night for the owner of the ring! What a great object lesson.

     Next, came Rudy Coby (Better known as “Labman: Defender Of Science”) who demonstrated that you don’t have to perform hundreds of tricks to become a success. His informative multi-media lecture demonstrated that all you need to travel the world is a solid 3-minute act! Like magical legend Jack Kodell was always fond of saying, the key to success is to “Do something different!” Rudy demonstrated this philosophy to a very appreciative crowd. 

     With the first day’s round of lectures complete, conventioneers gathered for an informal cocktail hour before heading into the large banquet hall for the annual Friday night dinner provided to the guests as part of their convention registration. While everyone enjoyed their meals and great conversation, each table had several contestants performing their best close-up magic, in hopes of becoming this year’s “Best Strolling Magician”.

     When dinner came to a close, the Friday night cabaret show kicked off with master of ceremonies Terry Ward welcoming each performer to the stage throughout the evening, as well as leaving the audience in stiches with his razor sharp wit and stylish magical performance that has been honed over decades in the trenches. You’d be hard pressed to find a classier performer working in the magic world today! As Gregory Wilson took to the stage in handcuffs (which he promptly escaped from in full audience view!), he demonstrated a curious truism of magic; if you ask someone to give you things (car keys, wedding rings, money, or even their entire wallet) they just do it! After an entertaining demonstration of pick-pocketing, and numerology, it was time to turn things over to “America’s Got Talent” quarter-finalist (season 8) David Ferman who displayed an impressive display of balance and dexterity with a juggling act that brought smiles to all in attendance. If you have never seen Eric Jones perform his mind-blowing feats of card manipulation and magic, then you are truly missing out! More than one for person was left asking “how did he do that?!?!” The show drew to a close with a fun and highly entertaining performance from Indiana magician Don Baggett. After the show, Rudy Coby held a late-night Teach-In that challenged everyone in attendance to think outside the box.

     Saturday morning brought an extremely informative and enjoyable lecture from Dan Sperry. You would never know that this was only the 9th lecture that he had ever done! I sincerely hope that he continues to do them, because any dove practitioner can get a lifetime’s worth of invaluable insight from him. In fact, his lecture had something for every magician in attendance!

     As Gregory Wilson wowed the crowd in the lecture hall, adults and youths alike competed next door in the stage contest. Scott Humston once again presented a smooth show as he helped to showcase some great adult and youth performers! After the charity pizza lunch, Close-up Magic took center stage with Rich Bloch, Eric Jones, Gregory Wilson, and the award winning magic of Suzanne. Inspired by the pros, the Close-Up contest got under way with an amazing display by several contestants. The final two lectures of the day featured Eric Jones with astonishing card magic and David Kaye with quite possibly the greatest child audience member ever! The whole room was in tears!

     The Saturday Night Gala Performance started off with "The Star Spangled Banner" sung by Becky Cook. When Host Rich Bloch introduced Dan Sperry, there was noticeable reaction of momentary shock at his appearance. However, Dan had the audience in the palm of his hand from his very first amazing dove production! The next 15 minutes seemed to fly by in a whirlwind of doves, fire, razor blades and his signature neck penetration involving a piece of candy that is crushed in his teeth, then swallowed, and a strand of dental floss that visibly imbeds itself in his neck, only to be ripped through the skin at the finale with the restored piece of candy spinning on the strand of floss! He left the stage to a well-deserved standing ovation!

     Rich Bloch led the show into intermission with an act consisting of an extremely magical comedy of errors that concluded with the production of an American flag that filled the entire stage! After Harry Allen awarded the contest winners their prizes, and announced the winner of the charity raffle (who received $1,000 in magic from Daytona Magic), the second half of the show started with Fielding West. From the moment he stepped on the stage, the laughs never stopped! When Bob The Bird took an unscheduled flight around the auditorium, Fielding’s improvised dead-pan reactions played like it was written that way! Talk about grace under pressure! The evening concluded with Rudy Coby in his guise of “Labman”, demonstrating the act that took him around the world! The audience jumped to their feet again at the end of the show to congratulate all the performers on a stellar night of magic! The Evening concluded with another late-night Teach-In with Gregory Wilson.

     On Sunday morning, Terry Ward’s lecture proved the saying “They saved the best for last!” Jack Corcoran presided over our annual magic auction to close out the Weekend. 

     Finally, many thanks to all of the magic dealers who attended - Daytona Magic, Al Bach, Anthony Gerard Magic, Bob Schvey, Fred Karis Argentina, Happi Amp (5000), Magic Emporium, Magic Loft, Michael Chrosniak Shirts, Mike's Magic, Penquin Magic, and Schoolcraft Precision Coins. See you next year!

The winners of this year's contests were as follows... 

Strolling Magician Contest 

1st Place       Jason Knight
2nd Place    Ari Isenberg
3rd Place Cameron Phillips

 Youth Stage Contest

1st Place Christian Bryan
2nd Place      Jason Knight
3rd Place Cameron Phillips

 Adult Stage Contest 

1st Place Alex Martinez
2nd Place      Mitch Geier
3rd Place Matt Price

 Close-Up Contest 

1st Place  Jim Vines
2nd Place     Mark Fitzgerald
3rd Place Christian Bryan


The following people performed at the 2014 convention:

HARRY ALLEN...DON BAGGETT...RICH BLOCH...RUDY COBY...DAVID FERMAN...SCOTT HUMSTON...ERIC JONES...ERICK OLSON...SILLY BILLY...DAN SPERRY...THE MAGIC OF SUZANNE...TERRY WARD...GREGORY WILSON


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OUR FIFTEENTH YEAR
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          On November 6th – 8th, 2015, Daytona Magic presented its 15th annual Daytona Beach Festival of Magic! As always, our very own Harry Allen kicked off the convention with his lecture that served as a "Welcome to Daytona" address and was a showcase of the best new items that we have here at the store, including the effect that blew the room away, "The 19th Hole". 

     When Harry finished, Erick Olson took to the stage and demonstrated once again that not only is he a great magician, but he his one of the best Emcees in the business! Erick kept the room laughing and moved the lectures along at a smooth pace and was able to keep every single lecture on time! (Anyone who has been in a multiple lecture situation knows that this is a miracle in itself!) 

     Tom Burgoon gave a lecture that was chock filled with easy to make magic and effect ideas that that will add a little extra fun to not only your show but add more laughs to your life! Tom's "dyslexic card routine" was a big hit. In this bit, he does a standard "Pick a card" routine with a spectator where he mis-pronounced almost every single word by rearranging the order of the letters in each sentence to highly comedic result! I just about fell out of my chair when he mis-spoke his revelation of the "Four Of Hearts" and turned it into "The Whore Of Farts"! I didn't say that it was a classy joke, but it damn near killed me!

     Tom Yurasits spent the first half of his lecture teaching us all how to pronounce his name! LOL. Just kidding, Tom has a great sense of humor and showed everyone and truly magical tube routine involving silks, a paper tube and color changing ping pong balls, that was colorful and insanely easy to make! Tom also had by far the talk of the dealer's room with his amazingly unique and funny Rabbit in the Hat trick! I really can't give an explanation that possibly do it justice but believe me, if you ever get a chance to see this act in person, do it! You'll thank me!

     Michael Finney is world renowned for his humor and side-splitting performances, but many people don't know how generous he is with magicians of all levels. From the working professional to the beginner to the hobbyist, he believes that we all deserve and should give each other the same level of respect. You can tell that Michael has a deep love for our art and truly cares about not only his audiences, but his fellow magi as well. After some stories about his early days in magic and how he got screwed due to less-than-stellar contract stipulations, Michael told of how he worked with a top-notch lawyer to create a contract for himself that had one goal, to protect himself so that he never got the short end of the stick again. This contact took hours to construct and I'm sure that the lawyer's fees involved in it's initial construction didn't come cheap. However, Michael offered a few CDs which contained an editable version of this contract to any one who wanted it for less than $100! Talk about looking out for your fellow performers! This one document is priceless, and will save a performer literally thousands of dollars over the course of their career! Now that is a classy move!  

     The evening kicked off with an informal cocktail hour where everyone got to mingle and when the dining room opened, we were treated to great slight of hand and entertaining patter from our strolling magicians who were competing for the tile of this year's best strolling magician! A little tip, the top vote-getter this year did not win (or even place) because he didn't make it to all the tables. So, although he got 10s across the board (a few 9s) he still lost due to the averages. It is vitally important to make sure that you perform for each and every table so keep that in mind when constricting your strolling act.

     When dinner was finished, TC Tahoe took to the stage to host our Friday night magic show. TC is quite possibly the quickest wit in magic today and his rapid-fire delivery barely gave the audience time to breathe as the laughs kept coming one after the other! TC says more funny things (both scripted and ad-libbed) in five minutes then most performers do in an entire show! He really set the tone for a night of humor and fun! Phillip Kaiser wowed the audience with a fun and amazing manipulation act that really had an air of class and style to it that it the hallmark of Phillip's performance style. Also, I wish I was cool enough to pull of that stage costume! I dare say that Phillip is in the top 1% of the most stylishly dressed performers working today! Tom Burgoon kept the laughs coming with an act that asked the magical questions, "How'd he do that?" What I loved most about it was that all of the jokes played to a lay audience, but they were clearly designed to entertain magicians! There's nothing wrong with a little "inside baseball" when you are performing for a room full of your peers! His closing "Medicine Pitch" speech was an impressive feat of linguistic acrobatics that left the entire room tongue-tied! Doc Swan is a unique individual! His facial expressions while performing his straight jacket escaper worth the price of admission alone! He took a standard arm chopper routine and added an extra level of fun to it as he "played" with his young assistant on stage. I think there is an important lesson to be learned there. We often get so caught up in trying to amaze our audiences, that we forget to "play" with them! The show drew to a close with The Reed Sisters and their enjoyable brand of family entertainment. This act has been honed over many years and was a delight to see. From their seemingly endless dove productions, to lightning fast costume changes, to large scale stage illusions, there was something for everyone to see. I love watching performers who are enjoying themselves on stage and when you see them, it is crystal clear that the Reed Sisters are having a ball! Friday drew to a close with the first late night teach-in of the convention with Michael Finney. Those who attended said that it was the highlight of their convention!

     Saturday morning started off with a great lecture from Murray. He gave invaluable insights into marketing yourself and how to get yourself noticed. He stressed the importance of staying relevant in today's world, but also noted that while doing a "Trendy" act will definitely get you noticed, it's also important to know that some of those acts will have a shelf life and you have to know when to walk away. He gave his groundbreaking (and multiple award-winning) CD manipulation act as a perfect example. When he developed that act, CDs were the latest technology and it was truly a cutting edge idea to build entire showcase routine around them. That act took him around the world and brought him much attention and acclaim. Then one, day, he looked around him and saw the writing on the wall; with MP3 players and downloads becoming prevalent, CDs were no longer as new and hip as they once were. Murray knew that if he wanted to stay relevant and keep up with his audience, he had to let this beloved act go. Besides, sometimes we can get so comfortable doing the same thing over and over that we forget to challenge ourselves to do something different. 

     The stage contest took place in the main room and showcased a fantastic array of talent from magicians of all ages! Once again, Scott Humston kept things ruining soothly and entertained the judges as well as the audience while each performer got ready to show us what they had. I say this every year and sadly, I have to say it again now; where are all the girls? I know that there are lots of girls who are interested in magic out there, and we have a lot who attend our convention, yet, no one ever competes. C'mon, girls, your voice is just as important in the world of magic as the boys'. Let's see a really great female turn out next year for all of our contests!

     TC Tahoe is hands down, one of the funniest men you will ever see performing live. He also is a wealth of performance information and his lecture provided great laughs as well as practical effects that everyone can use in an everyday performance. He has also authored (along with Erick Olson) a great book on Bar Bets filled with 50 ways to never pay for drinks again! If you want to improve the comedy in your shows and add an extra layer of fun audience interaction, then TC's lectures are a must!

     The afternoon break brought with it a charity Pizza Lunch benefitting the Guardian Ad Litem program and a chance to mingle with each other and discuss all things magic! Once lunch was over, convention attendees were treated to some of the most astounding close-up magic you have ever seen as Alberto Lorenzo, Shoot Ogawa, TC Tahoe, and Jim Vines took to the stage and showed us just how truly magical close-up magic can be. Of special note was Alberto Lorenzo, when he was brought to our attention, we thought he'd make a good fit for the close-up show, we never expected the WOW factor that he would bring! His dice routine was astounding and people were talking about it for the remainder of the weekend! The close-up contest was just as much fun to witness as eight contestants showed their skills and one performer in particular really impressed me with his perseverance. Last year, he tried an effect and it went wrong. So, he stopped, reset and tried again. Again another misstep. He tried unsuccessfully a third time and gave up in defeat. This year, he came back and I was so thrilled to see that he did the same routine. Not only that, but he crushed it! A really top-notch performance, and I applaud him for his perseverance! Well done!

     Louie Foxx gave a lecture that showed some interesting effects and also demonstrated how much fun and versatility that props can add to your performance. Sometimes we forget the value of a well placed prop for either comedic or magical effect. A lot of people left that lecture with a new found respect for inanimate objects!

     Anyone who has witnessed Shoot Ogawa perform already knows that he mind-numbingly good! He's the kind of magician that just wants to make you quit! (I mean that as a compliment, trust me!) Well, not only is he that amazing to watch, but as the lecture unfolded, he demonstrated that he is one of the nicest guys in the business! His willingness to describe in exacting detail his methods, as well as give out performance tips that will enhance any act was truly a joy to watch! Oh, and I don't care HOW slowly he shows how to do his unreal linking ring routine, I STILL can't do it! Sometimes you've got to know your limits! Shoot, it seems, doesn't have any! 

     The highlight of the weekend for many convention-goers as well as members of the community, is the gala Saturday Night show and this year was no different. As always, this show is open to the general public and we returned to the beautiful News Journal Performing Arts Center. Becky Cook kicked off the evening with her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner as we saluted all of those in the armed services who protect us each and every day. Michael Finney served as the host for the evening and started things off right away by introducing "Celebrity Magician" Murray to the stage. Due to an airline snafu, (They lost his luggage!) Murray had to improvise his act with items that he bought at Daytona Magic! That didn't keep him from presenting a highly magical and thoroughly entertaining performance. The intimate mood he constructed with his newspaper tear was a real crowd-pleaser. Tom Burgoon kept the audience laughing at his unique performance style which included using a kid as a giant magnet to hang seven spoons from, a great rendition of "the baby gag", and his signature piece, "Timmy Toilet Paper". Next, Doc Swan came out and did some fancy juggling and then announced that was going to walk over a pile of broken glass. It's highly dangerous, but big deal, right? We've all seen this before. Well, Doc took it one extra step…he invited a woman up on stage and got her into the act! Doc draped a red cape over his shoulders and then had the woman climb onto his back as he gave her a piggy-back ride while he walked over the glass! The look on her face and the jokes that Doc was able to mine from this visually hilarious pairing was terrific! The only performer who could possibly follow a show-stopper like that was Michael Finney. Michael did a few great bits and ended his set with his signature cut-and-restored rope routine that left the room in stitches and brought the house down! The final act of the night was Scott Pepper and his "Magician's Agency" show, a fun mixture of James Bond, and the Men In Black. This full scale illusion show demonstrated why Scott is one of the most in-demand cruise ship performers working today! One of the highlights of his show was a straight jacket escape that was worthy of any Bond film, and was a real nail-biter! After the show it was back to the hotel for another late-night teach-in, this time with Shoot Ogawa.

     If you were looking for invaluable insight into make-up and stage costuming, as well as bird handling technique, then the Sunday morning lecture with Mandy Reed of The Reed Sisters was a must! Along with her sister Shayna (Jessica had to catch an early morning flight for another gig) and her grandparents, it truly was a family affair. It's refreshing these days to see multiple generations sharing their love of magic and it really came across just how much magic was a part of the Reed's lives!

     As always, the final event of the weekend is our annual magic auction. Jack Corcoran and his crew once again combined forces with Daytona Magic to put on an auction that ran smooth as silk and saw many a convention attendee walk away with a treasure trove of magic at amazing prices!

     Finally, many thanks to all of the magic dealers who attended - Audio Ape, Bob Schvey, Daytona Magic, Empower Sound (8,000), G Sparks, Louie Foxx, Magic City, Magic Dollar Store, Magic Loft, Mike Hummer, Project Enigma, S.C. Magic, Scott Humston, Tayde Magic, Tom Burgoon, Tom Yurasits, and Uncle Bubble. See you next year! 

The winners of this year's contests were as follows... 

Strolling Magician Contest 

1st Place       Thomas Morello
2nd Place     Isaac Carpenter
3rd Place Jacob Jensen

 Youth Stage Contest

1st Place William Zaballero
2nd Place      Sean Mirabella
3rd Place Jacob Jensen

 Adult Stage Contest 

1st Place Jacob Lin
2nd Place      Jim Mirabella
3rd Place Rick Ruhl

 Close-Up Contest 

1st Place  William Zaballero
2nd Place     Anthony Medina
3rd Place Chastain Criswell


The following people performed at the 2015 convention:

 

HARRY ALLEN...TOM BURGOON...MICHAEL FINNEY...LOUIE FOXX...SCOTT HUMSTON...PHILLIP KAISER...ALBERTO LORENZO...MURRAY...SHOOT OGAWA...ERICK OLSON...SCOTT PEPPER...THE REED SISTERS...DOC SAWN...TC TAHOE...JIM VINES...TOM YURASITS

 

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