Yesterday was the full-on day we expected with four two hour lectures back to back to back to back.
Due to "Chinese time" Robin, from Taiwan, started late and lectured in Chinese on squeakers and (from what I can gather, entertaining family audiences. After him came Arthur Trace and he lectured not only on the theory and art of magic, but also on a wide range of effects from cards, to cups and balls, to topits. Due to the sporadic nature of the translation his more visual effects got the strongest reaction.
I was lecturing after lunch and, though ready to start on time, had to wait for the translator, the camera person, and the stage lights... but once everyone arrived the lecture (which included some of my FISM Asia lecture, plus Runaround Sue, MagicSports and tips for the competitors) went very well indeed with a lot of people standing (no, not to leave!) at the end.
Selling DVDs was always going to be tough because the culture here places value on the cost of making the actual physical DVD itself and not on the intellectual property on it. I priced my DVDs at discount retail despite being told they need to be really cheap to compete with the pirate copies available at the local magic shops. I figured that I'd rather people pay close to the rest of the world prices so those who want to show respect by buying the real thing can get into the habit and, in the end, I sold more than half of the DVDs I brought. Strangely enough it was the books that sold out straight away. Because they are in English we thought they wouldn't sell... and they were even more expensive than the DVDs...
After me came a lecture on Mentalism by a local magician (who was later awarded "Act of the Year") and then it was time to prepare for the Gala Awards Show.
Arthur and I were each told we were presenting one award each. Arthur at the start of the show, me near the end. Then, as the show began, Arthur was told he was going to be called on and hand an award to some competition winners as well. When I came off, I rushed over to his side of the stage to say something to him and suddenly I heard my name and I had to walk on and present an award too.
You just have to go with the flow and expect the unexpected in China. In fact throughout the whole trip it's been a case of never knowing what's coming up next.
There were a variety of unusual acts throughout the show, interspersed with video clips and comedy bits by the MC, and then finally Arthur came on to say a few words about the CMUC Internet Forum and give an award to contributor of the year, then I was called on to present Act of the Year. Then it was all over.
Lots more autographs and photographs and we were all ready to get back to the hotel, but wait... there's more! ;)
Now we were all going to an after party at a nearby restaurant and, though we were all way over tired, we headed off to a beautifully decorated place nearby where we socialised, signed stuff and did some impromptu magic for a few more hours.
Then it was time to grab my big case and get a cab back to the hotel. That's where things started to get surreal. The first cab had stuff in the trunk some my case simply didn't fit. There were four of us, so we couldn't sit it on a seat inside the cab, so we called a second taxi... same thing... it had junk in it's trunk too.
We started chuckling at how funny this why by the time we got to our fourth taxi and it wasn't until taxi number 11 that we were finally able to fit the case in and get back to the hotel.
Now, it's the morning on May 7 and Arthur has headed off to catch his flight back to LA, and I get picked up in a couple of hours to jet back to Melbourne (I arrive home on my birthday!)
But first, I need to squeeze in an hour of souvenir shopping.. somehow... wish me luck!