Second last day of FISM! Everyone gathered in the Victoria Hall bright and early (some people line up, and it's a VERY long line, while others just gather around the doors and as soon as they are open it's a race to see who can get to the best seats. Often people who line up early end up sitting at the back while people who walk up to the doors just as they are opening end up in the front row... it's an issue that future FISMs need to think carefully about).
The Stage Jury took their seats and watched another batch of contestants. The trends in stage magic this year seem to be voice-over introductions at the start of acts, instant costume changes (some more instant than others), LCD screens and video projectors, and we've had a few singing acts too. One talked about act was Aaron Crow who fired an arrow through an apple on the head of a volunteer, another was illusionist duo Marc & Alex who used so many pyros that the smell of their act lingered in the theatre all morning....
(Above - Tim and Anthony DeMasi enjoying the stage comp)
Those who didn't watch the competition enjoyed lectures by Armand Lucero, John Gallo, Cellini, Tim Star, Jeff McBride, the one man show from Juan Tamariz (an additional session is scheduled for tomorrow) and the hit event seems to have been the Cheating and Gambling session.
After the competition came an event on Corporate Sessions where Paul Daniels, Bill Malone, John Houdi, Magic Christian and Banachek spoke about various aspects of magic in the corporate arena.
In the foyer there were three very elaborate stands from each of the countries bidding for FISM 2009. Yesterday the Chinese stand was very popular with delegates being given free T-Shirts if they'd sign up in support of China. Today Granada was offering free wine (poured by a very stylish Spaniard) and some tasty snacks to go with it.
Unfortunately I didn't get to attend this as I head to go to the FISM General Assembly meeting where we voted on where FISM 2009 would be held. After watching presentations from Beijing, Granada and Vienna the Presidents voted with Beijing winning with almost twice as many votes as Granada. So start preparing now to go to China in 2009!
One man who will have no trouble adapting is Aussie Andy Sellenger who is based in Hong Kong. (See above). He's here dealing at FISM with the only difficulty being that his stock STILL hasn't arrived... so sales haven't exactly been booming for him at his stand.
On the other hand Pablo and Henry Evans (see above) are doing a great trade, as are the other dealers who have stock. There are a record number of dealers this year and the dealers area is extremely well set up.
From there we joined the massive line to get into the banquet. 2,800 people got a free drink and headed inside to grab a table. (One person described the set up as the biggest garage they'd ever been in). Frank Wilson was there playing and entertaining us all in his usual superb style. During his opening rendition of 'Let Me Entertain You' he was more energetic than usual as he used one hand to fight off an older magician who was crawling all over him trying to turn his volume down until an official came up and pulled the guy off Frank. (Frank desrves an award for bravery for that one!)
Three special awards were presented this year. Gaetan Bloom received the FISM Award for 'Creativity and Vision', Eddie Dawes was presented with the 'History and Research Award', and the late Tommy Wonder was given the 'Theory and Philosophy Award'. Tommy received a long and emotional standing ovation and Max Maven, who came up with these awards, pointed out that most of the votes came in before Tommy passed away and he was well in the lead at that stage. Not only that, but Tommy voted for Juan Tamariz.
Then the show commenced. MC John Houdi did a good job introducing Kenji Minemura who performed some extremely eye-popping sleight of hand with cutlery, glasses, and bottles.
Gaetan Bloom followed with some fairly standard magic but presented with his usual French charm. He finished off doing a very funny display of card productions while wearing boxing gloves.
Ardan James absolutely stole the show with his exceptional mime and charming personality, finishing his set with Tina Lenert as two old people dancing to Madonna's 'Vogue' (Boris Wild said he'd never listen to that song in the same way again!)
One thing that should be mentioned is Eric Eswin announcing that China had won FISM 2009. This was received by a huge cheer and applause... followed by an even longer session of boos and hisses. Hmmm... I guess there are a lot of people who won't be going to China.
Eric also announced the 6 highest scoring acts in the Stage Competition who will compete for the Grand Prix tomorrow. (He announced the close up acts earlier in the day). For the record, the top acts who are in the running for both Grand Prix's are:
CLOSE UP GRAND PRIX
Rick Merrill, Martin Eisele, David Stone, Shawn Farquhar (all in Micro) and Helder Guimaraes (Cards).
STAGE GRAND PRIX
Pillou, David Sousa, Dai BinChin (Manipulation), Gaston (Parlour), Lee Eun-Gyeol (General Magic), and Sittah (Illusions)
Who will be the winners?????
And who will get a Comedy Award or be voted Most Original Act? Mr Underpants? We'll find out tomorrow!