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Episode #1 : Why saw a woman in half? What is the connection between a deck of cards & the calendar. Remote card location.

Episode #2: Espionage, jealousy & murder among magicians. Adam calls his arch nemesis Richard Vegas.

Episode #3:The first aircraft pilot down under was a magician and a live random number challenge via phone.

Episode #4: Bar stunts, Alice Cooper as a magician and magic used in pop concerts.



Richard will be facing the firing squad first. Extract from today's 'official' newsletter
Day 2 - Tues 10th July 

Close-up Contest

As cruel punishment for late night revellers, the first of the close-up contest was scheduled for a very early 8:30 am.

So we can set the scene – the FISM 2012 Close-up Championships is taking place deep within the bowels of the Winter Gardens in what is the ‘Olympia Exhibition Hall’ The original bid book had close-up scheduled for the Grand Theatre if memory serves correctly ... but for reasons not announced, the venue was summarily switched ... to this depressing basement complete with make-shift indoor tent to block out the light ( or rain – I haven’t quite worked out which yet ) and temporary tiered seating ... close your eyes and ignore the peeling paint and dangling cables please.

The video conditions were abysmal – with the screen completely washed out due to ambient light – and a single camera positioned at the back of the risers some 150 metres away. No overhead cameras, no high definition shots, no vision mixing, just a washed out picture with limited zoom and no one ( besides the front row judges ) able to view anything on the table surface. It is simply grim.

The competitors deserve better than this. FISM Close-up deserves better than this.

Conditions being what they are – the show must go on. Obie O’Brien is MC with Joan Caesar having been given manual labour duty of bringing tables backwards and forwards ;-) 

1. Shinichi Maruyama – Cards - Japan
An over-riding theme that plagues so many of the foreign competitors is the language barrier. Non-English speakers valiantly try and speak English but unfortunately it is very difficult to understand what they are saying – and the acts suffer. 

Appearing decks, card discoveries, visual transformations with a signed card and a nasty habit of yelling into a microphone.

2. Pierric Tenthorey – Parlor – Switzerland
A hit of the morning with a recurring theme of starting the act over due to limited time. 4 aces with deck vanish, wrist watch and pocket hank continually switch places, a matrix finale that caught everyone off guard and a comic twisting foot. A real magician pleaser.

3. Manuel Sanchez – Cards – Magnolo – Spain
A Borat look alike which I can’t understand for love or money. The act features a big screen plasma TV which ostensibly is intended to show a close-up of what is happening on the TV. The TV feed is in fact non-live and we have interaction with his on-screen self.

4. Michael Walther – Micro – The Netherlands
Kicks off with the soundtrack of Thriller ... and the arrival of a Sherlock Holmes character. Alrighty then - those two go together. Multiplying magnifying glasses, shrinking and expanding cards, mini CD manipulation, jumbo matrix. The act bizarrely receives a partial standing ovation which wasn’t deserved.

5. Kazuki Sakai – Cards – Indy - Japan 
Another act which I unfortunately struggled to understand or left any impression. Next please.

6. Marcelo Insua – Micro – Tango – Argentina
Here’s a FISM first – the story of Judas done to the coin matrix. Mmmmmmmm - must have sounded good on paper.

7. Peter Woerde – Cards – Netherlands
An entertaining act with the spectator taking on the role of “the world’s best card cheat” – 4 aces ( why ... oh why dear magicians of the world ) and cards reset to new deck order.

8. Angel San Martin – Micro – Looking Magic – Spain
Another Blackpool standing ovation recipient ... clever use of emotive music with cups and balls, appearing shot glasses, color changing waistcoat et al.

9. Hyun Min Yoo – Cards – Zeki Yoo – Korea
A strange and crazy Korean who looks 13. Envelope and signed card transpose multiple times ... another standing o ( or the audience need to stretch their legs too often )

10. Simon Coronel – Micro – Australia
The lone entrant from the land down under with a dramatic start focusing on a “moment that lingers” ... Simon brought along his own video camera to provide an up close view of what’s happening on the table –very visual vanishes, color changes et al. With a signed card ending up in a sealed envelope. Magicians loved it. Ended with an enigma of sorts with a card that is linked onto itself ending with a penetrating finger ring. Strange indeed. A bit disjointed towards the end ... but magic candy nevertheless.

11. Miika Pelkonen – Cards – Findland
Next please. Humour failed and the magic forgettable.

12. Morina – Micro – Semba – Argentina
The “close-up” performer who wishes he was on stage. Flowing long hair – cheesy grin – and comes across as if he is mentally touched. Once again – don’t understand a word he says and has the most ridiculous fake looking hand available in all of the Blackpool Dealers Hall. For the pièce de résistance – wouldn’t you like to be the female spectator and have your ears physically wiggled for you by the creepy magician? Oh yes – who wouldn’t.

13. Francisco Sanchez – Cards – Paco Sanchez – Spain
You know there are problems when even the competitors make fun of the poor performing conditions: “the best camera work ever at FISM” ... 4 aces to deuces with a fantastic vanish of the 4 cards at the end.

14. Ernesto Melero – Parlor – Venezuela
Developing trend – music now a must in all close-up acts. 4 aces ( oh yeah ! ) fast degenerating into confusion with color changing cards and deck.

15. Meelis Kubo – Cards – Latvia
Quotes of the day: “I want you to concentrate on my balls” ... “breathe in and you will see the boobs of conjuring” Enough said

16. Ben Jackson – Parlor – USA
Centred around the running of a lemonade stand, Ben’s act is typical contest fare – flip move with coin and straw, appearing lemon and stand along with the now defacto FISM 4 ace production. The American style ( and forced scripting ) was probably too abrasive for the European audience ...and please don’t shout in the microphone.

17. Paul Sommersguter – Cards – Austria
Equivoque with 1 card under the glass ... Ellusionist’s Ultra Smoke ( another FISM trend )

18. Jeffrey Tam – Micro – Philippines
Let’s take the worst stereotype of someone from China and turn up the volume by 100. A bizarre, wacky and offbeat mash up of jumbo coins from mouth, cups and ball with tea bags and every other prop under the sun. All too much. Strange – very strange. After watching this I feel like I’ve been hit by an oncoming train ... the audience went wild nonetheless.

19. Costa Goncalo – Cards – Portugal
Strict performer setup times seemed to have gone out the window at the FISM close-up with very little stage management and performers taking forever to get ready. Color changing decks, lost and found card, and more of the same. Unfortunately being last performer after a very long day can never play to your advantage.

Prognosis after the first session of close-up ? Not too shabby ... the standard is definitely better than yesterday’s stage ... and hopefully continues to improve. A short respite of 30 minutes before we race next door for 3 ½ hours of stage contests.

As everyone’s favourite mindfreak would say ... “Are you ready?”

Or in Blackpool FISM speak – what were we thinking.




Day 1 – Monday 9th July

It’s day one of the FISM World Championships of Magic ... and despite the grey skies ... there’s excitement in the air as magicians from far and wide have descended on Blackpool, England for a week of contests, gala shows and lectures.

With early registration taking place yesterday – the first order of the day was to penetrate the Winter Gardens and make it through the burly security stationed outside. For the poor delegate unfortunate enough to have mislaid their all-important ‘confirmation of registration’ letter – you were promptly greeted with a gruff “no letter, no entry” response. In a scene most reminiscent of “Little Britain” - appealing to the idea that maybe, just maybe if you were given access to the hallowed halls and reach the registration desk – they would possibly be able to assist - escaped the comprehension of dear security. After much pondering and a special escort later, the hapless delegate was permitted to enter ... and then in a special win for bureaucracy was promptly asked to complete a form for his missing form – along with the all important question ... “did you report the loss of your confirmation sheet to the police ...” and naturally – “you do have the police case number, don’t you?”
I can picture the scene ... “Hello, is this the Blackpool police ? Yes, I’d like to report a FISM Registration lost in the mail ...”

It brought such a smile to my face :-)

Delegates have been treated to a selection of goodies in the official registration bag complete with a hardcover Jack Hughes book by Derek Lever ( with the price embossed on the outside 150 GBP ) along with full color gloss program ( your price 10 GBP ) ... rounding things up with a commemorative Blackpool teddy bear, logo’d pen, lanyard and badge.

As many of you have by now read – Genii Editor, Richard Kaufman, and yours truly received special mention ( ) in the Official FISM Welcome – but not before Mr Lever reminded us of the merits of Blackpool ... “Whilst Blackpool may not have the glamour of Stockholm or Lisbon or Beijing it can boast that the Opera House is the largest theatre in Europe and that Blackpool has a unique 158m tower which houses a wonderful circus.”

The Blackpool Tourism Council would be proud ;-) 

Richard is labelled as having “openly supported vicious Hitler films” ( does his family know ? ) and I of having vented my spleen as “one South African magician.” I suppose in this era of Olympic pride – national identity is oh so important ... unless the organiser has an overt distaste for Africans perhaps?

Mr Lever seemed more concerned about attempting to secure his election as FISM Vice-President in the opening welcome rather than perhaps focusing on FISM’s key goal of committing itself to the enhancement, promotion and development of the art of magic. Quite the peculiar election strategy – hijack an entire event to air false and libellous accusations against the editor of one of magic’s most respected publications ... and do your utmost to engage in bizarre ramblings against a member of the FISM Executive Board ... whilst at the same time insulting an entire nation. Could you imagine what excitement would be in store for the world of magic should he succeed ?

With such a cheerful and joyful welcome to FISM 2012, let’s not forget why we are here ... 150 competitors from across the globe vying for the title of World Champion Magician.

Today’s program kicks off at 9 am with the Opening of the Dealers Hall, Official Opening Ceremony later at 11 am followed by the Stage Contests from 2 pm to 6:30 pm. Letures by Josh Jay, Matthew Johson, Borid Wild and Axel Hecklau round out the afternoon – ending with the “Late, late Gala Show” in the Opera House and lecture session thereafter with Henry Evans.

Let the games begin!

p.s. you can also follow live updates from and for those on twitter



Not being in Blackpool for this year's FISM, I only became aware of this story because of some information shared by our friend Dustin Stinnett.  In short, the FISM program distributed to all attendees contains a letter of welcome from the President of the Blackpool Magic Club (Photo to the left) which contains the following in the second statement in the second paragraph:

There have been many detractors who have vented their spleen on the choice of Blackpool. Indeed, one South African magician who has put himself forward as a candidate for Vice President published derogatory comments on his website for over 2 years. The editor of Genii magazine openly supported vicious Hitler films shown in the internet which purported to be me as Hitler. Despite their bile I am still here organizing this great convention and Blackpool Magicians Club promise to give you a magical week to remember.

Mr. Lever is referring to Craig Mitchell when he mentions the delegate from South Africa and fails to mention that he has also put himself forward as a candidate for that post.  You can find Craig's outstanding reporting on the last FISM BY CLICKING HERE.  I also shared the video that he referes to in THIS POST from OCT 2009.

GENII Editor Richard Kaufman responded to the letter at the Genii Forums saying:

Not only is this false, and possibly libelous, but it's obvious that Derek Lever has never watched the YouTube videos he is writing about. If the idiot had watched them, he would have seen that Hitler is portrayed as trying to get FISM held in Berlin and is enraged that it is being held in Blackpool AND that Hitler has been banned from attending the convention Watch it yourself.

There is never any indication that Hitler is anyone but Hitler, and that Hitler is angry at Derek Lever. He refers to Derek Lever in the third person several times, so ONLY SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER WATCHED THIS VIDEO could make the claim that I supported a film that portrayed Lever as Hitler.

This is parody, plain and simple, and protected by law, but I had nothing to do with producing the videos (there are several) and I find them very funny. Just because I find them funny does not mean I "support them"?

And to think that this baboon is running for the position of Vice President of the FISM organization is unimaginable. What an utter catastrophe it would be for FISM if Derek Lever, a person who makes libelous claims based on videos he has obviously never watched, should be elected Vice President.

I'll share my personal opinion by paraphrasing a running joke about Churches.   "Magic would be great if it weren't for the magicians."  A tip of the hat to you Mr. Lever for exemplifying what I see to the be worst side of the magic community. 

I spoke with FISM President Eric Eswin in August of 2009 and we discussed the selection of Blackpool for this year's competition as well as several other related issues. You can LISTEN HERE



"Inside Your Mind" by Derren Brown launches in the U.S. today on Hulu! Inside Your Mind is a compilation of the best routines and effects demonstrated by Derren in the Mind Control specials and series.  From the UK DVD Release:

Inside your Mind is a great introduction to the considerable skills of the only living Jedi Master. His show, Mind Control debuted on Channel 4 in the wake of a resurgence of interest in magic spearheaded by David Blaine. But what Derren Brown does hardly falls into the category of sleight-of-hand--his "magic" is firmly grounded in the workings of the mind and psychology. The result is a fascinatingly mysterious, but definitely not psychic, phenomenon.

This programme takes the best bits of the series and condenses them into a manual of mind reading. Brown uses the power of suggestion, body language and basic psychology to predict and alter people's behaviour, be it using subliminal messages to make a couple of creatives come up with exactly the same ad for a chain of taxidermists; counting cards in a casino; or guessing someone's PIN simply by watching the subconscious movements their fingers make when they are thinking of the number--all of which will have you shaking your head at the TV wondering how he did it. Derren Brown is a showman of Barnum-esque proportions whose charisma, charm and originality have won him more fans than detractors. Just like the Matrix, no-one can be told what Derren Brown is, you have to experience him for yourself.

You can find out more about the Mind Control programmes on Derren's website.  WATCH IT HERE




I recently received an amazing email from Bill Smith offering to share a previously unheard interview with Harry Blackstone Jr. Obviously, I was flattered and thrilled that I could share this with our listeners. According to the information shared by Bill, this interview was recorded by a local radio station in Texas, but was never broadcast. Fortunately, Bill was able to obtain the master and we now have the digital copy that we are sharing here today. Thanks again to Bill who has said that he will welcome any emails inquiring about this chat.








And you though that after the final five were announced, the 2012 edition of the Essential Magic Conference couldn't get any better.  Well... You were wrong.

Teller and Derren Brown Q&A Sessions Added To Essential Magic Conference

Just confirmed. Two incredible additions to EMC. Last year David Copperfield gave EMC a virtual tour of his magic museum in Las Vegas. It was one of the highlights of the conference. This year Teller and Derren Brown will be joining us online in two very special sessions, broadcast live during the Essential Magic Conference 2012. Register now and join us for one of the biggest magic events of the year.

Teller Live From Vegas

Teller will be joining us live from Las Vegas to answer your questions. This is a unique opportunity to interview one of the most creative performers in magic, an artist and perfectionist who, with Penn Jillette, reinvented magic for a new generation. Join Teller online and learn what magic means to one of the most successful magicians in the world. As we near the conference members will be asked to submit their questions for Teller and the best will be put to him during a live interview. Do not miss this incredible event!

Derren Brown Live From London

Derren Brown has changed the face of mentalism. Acclaimed for his television specials and theatre shows, Derren Brown redefined the art of mental magic, updating it for the 21st century and making it credible, entertaining and unbelievably popular. At EMC Derren will answer your questions and share his thoughts on magic, mentalism and performance. It is a rare chance to learn from one of the UKs most famous entertainers. Members will be invited to submit their questions prior to the conference and the best will be used during the live interview.




I recently had the pleasure of hosting my friend Paul Draper on the set of Drop Dead Diva during my last weeks filming Season Four of the series. Now it is my turn to share an appearance by Paul on a regional phone commercial. Well done Mr. Draper!


This just in from Richard Kaufman:
I'm thrilled beyond words to announce that the world's most famous mystifier, Uri Geller, will present a lecture at Genii's 75th Anniversary Birthday Bash. 

Uri will mesmerize you in his first EVER appearance at a magic convention in the United States.

Join us!


In case you have missed previous announcements of the amazing line up scheduled for the Genii Magazine 75th Anniversary Gala, then listen up!  Richard will also be joined by Juan Tamariz, Jim Steinmeyer, Dr. Sawa,  Steinmeyer,  Michael Weber, Tomo Maeda, Jon Armstrong, Jonathan Pendragon, Charlie Frye, David Ben, Eric Mead, Eugene Burger, John Carney, Jon Racherbaumer, Kisuk Lee, Max Maven, Paul Wilson, Roberto Giobbi, Tom Stone, Jonathan Levit, Yumi, Rob Zabrecky, Alba, Alex Ramon, Scott Land,Peter Samelson, Jamy Ian Swiss, Tomo Maeda, Bob White & Lukas. Now, ask yourself... Why exactly haven't you already signed up?! DO IT NOW!



Only a month to go before this year’s Essential Magic Conference and today we can announce the final five of our amazing Speakers. And they are:

 David Berglas
Yes, the incredible David Berglas is returning to EMC. David is a true international man of mystery. Miracles are his trademark, always taking an effect beyond the limits of magic into the realm of the impossible. He is the creator of the legendary Berglas Effect, a mystery that has astonished magicians for decades.

 Gene Matsuura
Gene Matsuura is famous for his extensive study of the magic of Slydini. In the 1970s they began a book project together. Slydini discussed his methods, particularly the timing, co-ordination and psychological ploys that underpinned his routines. Gene gave a wonderful talk on ‘crossing the gaze’ at our 2010 conference and has an equally intriguing presentation this year. Welcome back Gene.\

 Hiro Sakai
Hiro Sakai is new to EMC. He is well known in Japan and Korea where he has appeared on television many times, often in the character of ‘Dr Leon.’ He is an author and inventor and has contributed his ingenious magic to many magic magazines including The Looking Glass and Genii. Welcome Hiro Sakai.

 Mike Caveney
We never know quite what to expect from Mike Caveney. In past conferences he has produced a fat chicken from an egg bag and explained one of the world’s greatest illusions.  He is a performer, author and historian. A member of The Inner Magic Circle, was voted Stage Magician of the Year by the famous Magic Castle in Hollywood. Since 1979 Mike Caveney's Magic Words has published over fifty books on the history, practice and theory of magic. Expected the unexpected and Mike Caveney at EMC.
 Stan Allen
Stan is another welcome returnee to EMC. He is the publisher of Magic magazine and the producer of the Magic Live convention in Las Vegas. He has a lifetime of professional experience in magic and his presentations are entertaining, informative and inspirational. You won’t want to miss him at this year’s conference. Welcome back Stan. 


Register now so that you won't miss out!