Many people compete at FISM for many different reasons.
To win, to get seen, to showcase a new trick they hope to market... but Alex Stone, who competed in Close Up at the last FISM had perhaps the most unusual reason of all.
Alex is a journalist, and had never performed magic before, but wanted to write an article about the experience of competing in the "Magic Olympics".
Somehow, he managed to get sponsored by Richard Dooley of the SAM, and he presented what was one of the worst close up acts in FISM history.
Sue-Anne reviewed his act on her FISM blog:
Alex Stone entered and began talking about magic and science. He looked extremely nervous and then proceeded to do the worst sequence of jumbo coin manipulations I’ve ever seen. He was either nervous beyond belief of simply not competent, either way he was below FISM standard. He even dropped one coin and said “S#*t!” as he picked it up. He did a matrix with jumbo cards that showed no skill whatsoever, then asked Rich Bloch to name any card and, while Alex told us what was going to happen, he basically looked for the card and reversed it in the deck. He then spread the cards and showed Rich his card was the only one reversed in the spread. When he took the shuffled deck and proceeded to give them one more shuffle himself, below the level of the table, the audience was laughing so much in disbelief the judges pressed their buttons, the red light lit up, and he was asked to finish.
Well his "hard work" has paid off and his 13 page article has appeared in 'Harper's Magazine'.
I haven't had the chance to read the piece yet, but I rust Max Maven's comments in today's Genii Forum
The article is well written. It's a pity that the content is rather pathetic. The author's understanding of magic is severely limited, and there are motivations behind the piece, which exists primarily for self-aggrandizement. I was sorry to see this appear in one of my favorite magazines; they usually hold to a higher standard.
Personally, I think the concept of the story is great, but the story of an actual magician competing at FISM remains to be written.