Friday, September 25, 2009


Welcome to Sue-Anne Webster's FISM Reports.

Here you'll find detailed reports on all of the competitors and events of the FISM World Championships of Magic 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

FISM 2009 - Final Comments

(By Tim Ellis)

It was over three years in the making and FISM Beijing is now over. As it said in all the press releases: “Mr. LIN Jian, Executive President of FISM WCM 2009 promises that 24th FISM WCM will be the most successful convention in the FISM history.”

The big question now is – did they deliver?

Was it worth the risk of moving FISM outside of Europe to make it truly international?

Let’s take a look at my personal FISM Report Card.


Registration: All the pre-registration hype promised that FISM 2009 would be the cheapest ever. At a registration of 350 Euros (or 388 Euros if you book later) it was definitely an absolute steal for what they delivered and much cheaper than previous FISMS. FISM 2012 is already offering an early bird price of 450 Euros – and that includes one banquet. The support of the Chinese government and the low cost of living in China certainly helped as well.

Airfares: China promised great discount deals but didn’t offer anything until only a few months before FISM. Thanks to the global financial crisis however, cheaps flights to China were in abundance!

Hotels: In the initial China offer, we could get a 5 star hotel for the equivalent of $150. Once they changed venue to the CNCC however, the price went up to $220 a night. Not really as cheap as we expected. Yes, there were cheaper hotels in the vicinity, and FISM offered shuttle buses between the CNCC and the hotels, but did anyone actually see any buses? As far as I know there were none and people spent the money they saved on cheaper hotels on taxis back and forth all week. (Thankfully taxi fares in China are very cheap).

Food & Drink: One drawcard FISM promote was how cheap it was to eat and drink in China. 600ml Coke for 48c etc. Yes, you could get a can of coke for around 40-50c at the nearby Northstar Supermarket, but it cost you $2 each way in a cab to get there. Otherwise the only place (other than the 4 and 5 star hotel restaurants) to get a coke was in the FISM food court for $3 a can. (During the week the price was dropped to $2 a can). A few shops or cafes in walking distance of the venue would have been a great option, but with 2,500 captive registrants I think the food court did a roaring trade...


Overall: The CNCC was a brand new, very modern venue, but I couldn’t help think we were the beta-testers as FISM was the first convention they hosted. Plasma screens in all the foyers showing highlights of the previous days were an excellent idea and really brightened up otherwise dull and cold concrete rooms. (Though the music got extremely repetitive after Day One).

Food Court: This was a great way to transform an otherwise dull space into the central hub of FISM 2009. Lots of tables and chairs, big plasma screens, a stage with live music at lunch time and late at night, and dozens of food and drink stalls selling everything including fresh won ton soup, noodles, pizza, pasta, hotdogs, sandwiches, chips, fresh fruit, soft drinks and alcohol. The dealers den, registration desk and exhibition areas were all directly connected to the food court. Also, to speed things up, you had to buy an IC Card (a sort of debit card) to use to make purchases.

Theatre: There were two theatres one flight up from the food court. Identical theatres one seating about 800 which was used for the stage competition, and the second seating 2,200 which was used for the gala shows. The theatres themselves were merely converted exhibition halls so the atmosphere was very cold. The stages were portable, and were the most amazing portable stages I’ve ever seen! The seating was tiered except for the first twenty of thirty rows which were flat. Many people who booked early to get seats up front close to the stage were very disappointed as all they could see was the head of the person in front of them. They ended up watching the shows on the big screens either side of the stage, but the sound and vision were so out of sync it was like watching an old dubbed movie.

Auditorium: This is where the close up competition, and some of the lectures, were held. Comfortable tiered seats with fold out desks helped add to the atmosphere, but as the performers were working on stage the first two rows couldn’t see the surface of the tables and had to watch the acts on the out-of-sync video screen. Also, because the acts had to perform downstage in front of the video screen, the curtains couldn’t be closed on the close up table properly between acts and an ugly black screen was brought out between acts so they could set up – which looked very unprofessional. The video screen was not only out-of-sync, but often washed out by the lighting. Obie O’Brien often set the lights correctly but when the show started CCTV seemed to set everything back to the way they wanted. Three years of preparation seemed wasted as most of the decisions (where the table was going to sit, how the stage would be lit, how contestants would get on and off etc) where made on the day. As at past FISMS, because the auditorium only seated 300 or so, people lined up outside for an hour in hopes of getting a seat, and this lead to a few ugly incidents. If only FISM could solve this by issuing ticketing or something. No-one wants to waste their FISM time standing in line.


Entering: Everyone who entered the CNCC (except the VIPs) had their bags searched, badges checked and had to walk through a metal detector. I don’t know what they were looking for, but it certainly made the event feel more important. You could get through without being searched if you did a trick for the security staff though, or entered through the open backstage doors.

Badges: Though you were checked when you came in, many locals collected the badges of their friends, left the building and returned with more magicians wearing their friends badges. By about the third or fourth day of FISM staff were instructed to eject anyone who wasn’t wearing their badge (except VIPs of course).

Photos & Videos: The rules of FISM were very clear – No Flash Photography or Videotaping during the contests, shows or lectures – yet at least 50% of the registrants did. When the warning was given at the start of an event (English and Chinese) people cheered and others did put their cameras away. More often than not no warnings were made and people filmed unchallenged. Many times friends of the performers or competitors told people in the audience to stop filming or tried to get security to stop them. One performer went to get a security guard only to find him filming the gala show with video camera in hand pointing at the stage. Most performers try to show their fellow artists respect, but if they are not told not to film before a show, and they see others filming and not being stopped, it’s too easy to join the crowd. Many top performers refused to come to FISM because they didn’t want their acts video taped. They were able to request that CCTV not film their act, as Omar Pasha did, but they felt that FISM wouldn’t protect their intellectual rights – and they didn’t. Unless FISM takes this rule seriously and actually starts throwing people out of confiscating cameras, or using metal detectors to stop all cameras and phones from entering the theatres, then don’t make these rules.

Dealers: FISM issued several statements promising that knock-offs in the dealer room would not be tolerated. They even had all dealers sign documents agreeing that if they were caught with knock-offs the items would be compensated or the dealer would be ejected. Many of the big dealers felt FISM were not serious and chose not to attend. As it turned out, they were right. One dealer walked around the other booths before FISM opened and found over 40 knock-offs on open display. He reported it to the dealers committee who said he needed to start a petition... nothing was done. On the other hand, when Juan Mayoral, Rocco, and I approached them on separate occasions and pressured them, they did confiscate the items from the pirate dealers, but the items resurfaced a day or so later. The quality and range of items this year was, in general, poor. There were a lot of bargains to be had but $2 plastic appearing canes (I saw some after FISM in a toy store too) and plastic floating tables are on par with the Masked Magician. There were some blatant knock-offs too – D’Lites being sold by the bag full a few stands down from Rocco (who correctly pointed out that FISM allowing that to happen was showing huge disrespect to him as a guest artist), one stand had an Impaled illusion in the aisle and an Origami behind the counter. Unless FISM takes this rule seriously and throws people out of the dealers room, they can’t expect quality dealers to attend in future. Again, why make a rule if you are not willing to enforce it? These people are paying for the privilege of dealing at FISM where they made an absolute fortune. If they can’t stick to the rules, throw them out. Why pander to a Chinese “Toy Company” who sees magic as a business not an art and considers our ethics a joke, when you could have Collector’s Workshop, Lossander, Kevin James and other quality dealers attending in their place?


Chinese Shows: Overall the shows were excellent, with the opening gala and the all-Chinese banquet shows outstanding. World-class acts, precise audio and visual cues, everything went like clockwork.

Magic Galas: The magic galas paled by comparison. The talent was there, but it was almost as if the crew were simply not interested: Curtains opened too soon, closed in the middle of acts and sometimes only closed part way. The wrong music tracks played on a few occasions, microphones got feedback, and lighting cues were missed or the wrong states were played exposing things that shouldn’t have been seen. Performers reported that the crews were difficult to deal with, generally refusing to do anything unless word came directly from their boss. This proved to be a headache to many performers and resulted in tension backstage in not only the shows but the comps as well. Even though there was a stage manager brought in from the USA, the Chinese crew didn’t recognise him as boss. Even when Topas was on stage and asked for houselights, it never happened, and you could see the frustration growing on his face. This has happened at FISMs in the past, but never quite like this. After FISM ten performers were booked to stay on and do a series of massive public shows. The AV problems remained the same. One artist told me he asked a tech to play his music at a different time in the show. The tech said he wouldn’t unless the magician taught him some magic.

Lectures: As usual with any FISM we had a mixed bag of lectures. Some were outstanding, others looked unprepared while some were simply dealers dems. The 2009 lecture schedule was very thin compared to previous FISMS and very few were repeated, which they usually are, often in different languages.

Banquets: Two banquets, each equally sumptuous. An astonishing venue seating 2,500 with each table having it’s own waiters and an abundant supply of food and drink. Add to this a world-class line up of the best non-magic acts China has to offer and FISM have raised the bar to an impossible standard for future FISMS. The only criticisms I heard were: no magic acts, no food if you don’t eat Chinese, the music was waaaay too loud.

Stage Competition: This year the standard was very low. Not as many bad acts as previous events, which was good, but hardly any outstanding acts either. Mike Close, booked while FISM where still in negotiations with Frank Wilson, is a talented magician but it really wasn’t the same without Frank. He seemed to keep the energy in the room between competition acts and held focus on the stage. Several questions were raised about sponsors: Should Jury members be allowed to judge the acts they sponsor? How can sponsors not know what the artists they sponsor are going to do?

Close Up Competition: Again the standard was very low, and only 35 entrants too. Lots of technical issues with mics being turned on too late, the video screen being washed out and out of sync, and local crew doing what their bosses told them not Obie O’Brien who was hired to make the comp run smoothly. Also, the people who always got to make the final decisions seemed to be not Obie, or the local FISM crew, but CCTV. One CCTV staff member sat next to the head of the Jury, a chair which must be kept vacant, even Eric Eswin is not allowed to sit in it. But he was allowed to stay there because of the large amount of money CCTV was paying for the rights to film. He even blatantly watched everything Boris was writing down on his score sheet and took notes!

Magic Salon: After the evening gala shows everyone headed back to the food court area for the Magic Salon. The atmosphere was great with food, drink, dancing to Cuban bands, but not much magic. Juan Tamariz did several shows to small groups in one room and the lines were always long. David Williamson and Lennart Green tried to spread themselves among the registrants but everytime they started they were surrounded by people five deep so only about 30 or so could watch each magician at any one time, leaving 2,400 magicians missing out. Better staging or more magicians would have been great, as they did in Den Haag, or more magicians in more rooms, as they did in Stockholm.

Exhibitions: The massive photo exhibit of pictures by Zakary Belamy and the Chinese Folk Exhibition were both excellent additions and this sort of this definitely should be included at every FISM.

Registration Desk: Efficient, easy to find and never crowded. A big bonus here for FISM organisers. On the other hand, we arranged for pre-registration for our Aussie group at 10am in the CNCC Grand Foyer the day before FISM started. We all waited in the foyer for 30 minutes but no-one showed up. We found an organiser an hour later who apologised, got the right person on the phone, and it was rescheduled for 5.30pm but again no-one showed up.

Staff: Staff overall were excellent. Not as many English speaking staff as promised in the original bid by China, but they certainly tried hard. One plus would have been more announcements to registrants to keep them informed and up to date. Even messages typed on the plasma screens would have helped. Communication was always going to be a problem at FISM China.


FISM Website: This was the first port of call for most interested in finding out about FISM 2009 and it was extremely disappointing. Layout and design was amateurish, updates were infrequent and often wrong, and the forum was abandoned and filled with spam. This could have been a powerful promotional tool as was Stockholm’s website in 2006, and it could also have been a great live broadcast site during FISM where the rest of the world could get the latest FISM news. But it wasn’t.

Press and Television: This is where FISM excelled. Maybe it was because of their deal with CCTV but FISM was all over the television every day and night, with some evening broadcasts showing entire shows or competitions. Whether the FISM contestants had agreed to such open use of their acts or not is debatable, but it certainly did increase the awareness of FISM in China. There was also a lot of coverage in the local papers including a two page colour spread. Every day there was a 1pm Press Conference and FISM 2009 was even picked up by CNN and some other international media outlets. Of course, this offered the opportunity for FISM China to make bold statements like “Peter Marvey is a far better magician than David Copperfield”.

Daily FISM: Similar bold statements were made in the daily FISM newsletter we received each day. Unfortunately, this double sided A3 flyer mainly did nothing more than repeat the previous day’s program of events rather than offer any helpful information to prepare us for the next day. Again, this was a wasted opportunity that could have been so much more.


Trophies: The trophies themselves were beautifully made copies of the 2006 FISM awards. They also came with their own road cases so the winners could take them home safely, brilliant idea. Unfortunately, two broke a few hours after they were presented. Also, in the case of ties, one of the magicians got a blank trophy and was told they would get a plaque mailed to them they could stick on. Maybe the next FISM could try what we did at the 2004 Australian Convention and get and engraver in to engrave the trophies complete with the winners’ names before the presentation. A small extra cost but well worth the effort.

Ceremony: The ceremony was fantastic. Efficient, straight down to business and very professionally staged. Still, it would be nice if the first place winners were allowed to say a few words. However, a lot of the excitement was ruined by someone deciding to run the rehearsal for the Close Up Grand Prix the day before the awards were presented. As a result, the winners were notified before the presentation, plus due to a glitch courtesy of CCTV, the rehearsals were broadcast in house throughout the centre immediately before the banquet, so everyone knew who the winners were in advance. This was not necessary as the rehearsals were scheduled in the programme for after the award ceremony.

Grand Prix: Everything was going tremendously well and very smoothly (well, except for all the tech troubles the guest artists had to battle through) until the time came to present the awards. The two Grand Prix winners were announced, celebrations began, then they were sent off as a dignitary came on and read a speech which essentially told us how many days FISM lasted, how many registrants attended, and what a success it was for China. This VIP performed the vanishing audience as, the longer his speech went, the more audience members filed out of the theatre. Why not do the speeches first, then announce the winners and party on!


FISM in China was always going to generate political feelings, but when Mago Larry had three flags from Asian countries randomly chosen for a mental effect in the Close Up Comp and his prediction was revealed to be three countries he’d like to visit and one was Taiwan, a Chinese registrant leapt to the stage at the end of the act, physically dragged the bewildered contestant back on stage and demanded he apologise to everyone because “Taiwan is not a country”. Now the poor guy, like most magicians, was not aware of Chinese/Taiwanese relations and was totally humiliated. Other Chinese in the audience applauded while everyone else in the room sat stunned. The registrant, regardless of his political views, should have been reprimanded for invading the stage but he wasn’t. The magician was not making a political statement about Taiwan, but the Chinese registrant was. Taiwan was not allowed to have their flag flown with all of the other FISM countries (though FISM recognises them as a country, China does not) and China printed badges for the Taiwanese registrants saying they came from ‘Chinese Taipei’ instead of ‘Taiwan’. Many Taiwanese used black markers to cross out Chinese Taipei and wrote in Taiwan instead. All of this ran against Eric Eswin’s opening FISM address where he said FISM was not a country, but a feeling.


In some areas FISM China did exceptionally well only to be let down in others.

As far as most registrants were concerned, they had a fantastic time. Dealers and artists, not so much. It was a great first try for China and exceeded our expectations in many ways, but in others they failed to deliver on their promises.

Bring on Blackpool!


Friday, July 31, 2009

(By Tim Ellis)

Today started of with the highly anticipated Rocco One Man Show. Though scheduled and introduced as a one hour show, Rocco ran a tad over time and finished at 12 noon, when the Awards Ceremony was supposed to start.

Everyone was very excited to see Rocco, but as the show went on and the objects produced became more and more bizarre... people who weren't used to Rocco's unique style became visibly restless.

I had to leave after an hour to get in position for the awards show, so I have no idea how it finished.

Others chose to attend Lennart Green's lecture.

However, THE AWARDS!

First, it was produced and presented extremely professionally with no nonsense, no long speeches, just presentations with plenty of time for celebrations afterwards.

It began with Eric Eswin explaining that one competitor (Juan Ordeix, though he was not named) had been eliminated for using a stooge in his act. The audience actually applauded this to show their approval. (They Jury spent hours on this one act. Juan was questioned and he explained his methods to them, but the methods explained didn't match what he did on the videotape. After extensive deliberation the jury was satisfied that he had broken the FISM 'no stooge' rule and unfortunately had to be disqualified).

Then the award winners were announced:

- Jorge Luengo - Spain

Most Original Act
- Charming Choi - Korea

Micro Magic
- 1st place ... not awarded
- 2nd place ... Vittorio Belloni - Italy
- 3rd place ... tie Simon Coronel - Australia and Johan Stahl - Sweden

- 1st place ... Shawn Farquhar - Canada
- 2nd place ... Kristian Nivala - Finland
- 3rd place ... Olmac - France

Parlour Magic
- 1st place ... Marc Oberon - UK (originally in Micro, recategorised by the Jury to Parlour)
- 2nd place ... Charlie Caper - Sweden
- 3rd place ... Latko - Argentina (originally in Micro, recategorised by the Jury to Parlour)

Comedy Magic
- 1st place ... not awarded
- 2nd place ... Brynolf & Ljung - Sweden (originally in General Magic, recategorised by the Jury to Comedy)
- 3rd place ... Cheff Magic - Denmark (originally in General Magic, recategorised by the Jury to Comedy)

- 1st place ... not awarded
- 2nd place ... tie - Nicolai Friedrich - Germany - and Rob & Emiel - Netherlands
- 3rd place ... Tony Montana - Argentina

Stage Illusions
- 1st place ... Julius Frack - Germany
- 2nd place ... Magic Sky Group - China
- 3rd place ... not awarded

General Magic
- 1st place ... Soma - Hungary
- 2nd place ... Ma Yanyan - China
- 3rd place ... Siebensinn - Austria

- 1st place ... tie - Yo Kato - Japan - and Han Seol-Hui - Korea
- 2nd place ... Sebastian Nicolas - Germany
- 3rd place ... An Ha Lim - Korea

After the awards, while the final show was being prepared, registrants took one last chance to visit the Dealer's Fair (which was a very disappointing fair on many different levels) or they attended lectures by Rocco or Miguel Puga.

Finally it was time for the Closing Ceremony and the awarding of the two Grand Prix prizes.

Mike Caveney hosted in a laid back style as he gave a brief history of FISM between the competitors performances.

Guest act was Topas with a series of very unique and original illusions.

Finally the Grand Prix winners were announced:

CLOSE UP GRAND PRIX - Shawn Farquhar

Then, just to kill the excitement of the moment, a politician gave a very long speech and FISM was officially over.

A week later, the following score sheet appeared on the week.

Special Awards and Total scores of all contestants

Creativity & Artistic Vision - Jim Steinmeyer (USA)
History, Research & Scholarship - Bill Kalush (USA)
Theory & Philosophy - Juan Tamariz (Spain)

FISM World Championships of Magic
MOST ORIGINAL ACT: Charming Choi - Republic of Korea
INVENTION: Jorge Luengo - Spain

General Magic
Soma Hungary 81 (1st Prize + GRAND PRIX STAGE MAGIC 2009)
Ma Yanyan China 72 (2nd Prize)
Siebensinn Austria 71 (3rd Prize)
Xavier Tapias Spain 70
Qu Lei China 69
Sergey Yanpolskiy Russian Federation 68
Latko Argentina 67
Mayuko Japan 63
Jae Hoon Lim Republic of Korea 63
Ernesto Italy 62
Duo Kybalion Spain 61
Red Hat Republic of Korea 60
Liao Xiaorun China 60
Jeff Lee Taiwan 60
Andost USA 60
Artyom Shchukin Russian Federation 58
Avon Lee Hong Kong 56
The Tramp Switzerland 55
PJ Wen Taiwan 55
Jiang Qiwei China 55
Naka Kyosuke Japan 55
Kenneth Chan Hong Kong 54
Akua Shin Japan 53
Leriko Russian Federation 52
Martino Greece 50

Yo Kato Japan 80 (1st Prize tie)
Han Seol-Hui Republic of Korea 80
(1st Prize tie)
Sebastian Nicolas Germany 78
An Ha Lim Republic of Korea 77
(3rd Prize)
Hyun-Joon Kim Republic of Korea 74
Jordan Gomez France 70
Liu Mingya China 70
Maia Jiang China 69
Liu Zihao China 63
Dion The Netherlands 63
Zhang Chao China 61
Hugues Protat France 58
Alan Taiwan 55
Serge Fergini Russian Federation 51
Masahiko Matsuda Japan 51

Stage Illusions
Julius Frack Germany 80 (1st Prize)
Magic Sky Group China 72 (2nd Prize)
Bo Wen China 59
JeiMin Republic of Korea 55
Wang Qimo China 54

Mental Magic
Nicolai Friedrich Germany 70 (2nd Prize, tie)
Rob & Emiel The Netherlands 70 (2nd Prize, tie)
Tony Montana Argentina 67(3rd Prize)
Jorge Luengo Spain 63 (Invention)

Comedy Magic
Brynolf & Ljung Sweden 72(2nd Prize)
Cheffmagic Denmark 67 (3rd Prize)
Roman Burenkov Russian Federation 52

Card magic
Shawn Farquhar Canada 81(1st Prize + GRAND PRIX CLOSE-UP MAGIC 2009)
Kristian Nivala Finland 77(2nd Prize)
Olmac France 76 (3rd Prize)
Min Hyung Kim- Republic of Korea 68
Ryu Hyun Min - Republic of Korea 66
Dai Hewga Japan 65
Giacomo de Carlo Italy 62
Christian Bierbrauer Germany 62
Sho Arai Japan 59
Martin Lübcke Germany 58
Kif China-Hong Kong 57
Lv Siyuan China 55
Ramon Rioboo Spain 53
Sito Qirong China 52

Micro Magic
Vittorio Belloni Italy 73(2nd Prize)
Simon Coronel Australia 72(3rd Prize, tie)
Johan Ståhl Sweden 72 (3rd Prize, tie)
Mago Bruno Peru 70
Jaque Spain 69
Satoru Japan 65
Daly Tang Hong Kong 64
Shota Japan 62
Rune Norway 56
Shunya Okuno Japan 55
Katsuya Matsuda Japan 53

Parlour Magic
Marc Oberon England 81 (1st Prize)
Charlie Caper Sweden 75 (2nd Prize)
Latko Argentina 73 (3rd Prize)
Charming Choi Republic of Korea 71 (Most Original Act)
Shohei Komoriya Japan 67
Yves Doumergue France 65
Jeremy Pei Singapore 63
Mago Larry Argentina 55
Rod Chow Canada 53


Thursday, July 30, 2009

(By Sue-Anne Webster)

General Magic
Sponsor: International Brotherhood of Magicians - Joan Caesar
Something slightly different. Starts in dim lighting with two lamps - one tall, one short. Folds the short lamp into a lighting catalogue, the line drawn lamp on the cover gradually turns white. The bulb from the tall lamp lights up and changes colour. Andost produces a lamp from the catalogue, then makes two lamps. Takes a page from the catalogue to form a cone, sets it aside, while he takes the lit bulb out of the tall lamp, turns it to a red lit bulb, then turns the bulb into red sand. Takes the cone of paper and continues to pour red sand into the cone, he lets go of the cone and it floats while the red sand continues to pour into it. He opens the cone and a red silk falls out to the ground, it zips upwards into his hand and becomes a red lit bulb and puts it back into the lamp, but it plays up. He takes out the unlit bulb, putting a finger on the metallic end and the bulb lights up, takes finger off it - goes out - finger on - lights up… a bit of play with the bulb, then takes a red silk out of the bulb to fix it. It turns to a white lit bulb, so he puts it back in the lamp. The light-up prop box does a disco lighting effect to music, while performer opens one draw and pulls out an apparatus, consisting of a sequence of see through frames, becoming an image of a small lamp as the frames - stuck together - fall to the ground like a silk streamer, then finally the image turns to a real lamp as the last frame falls to the ground and sets it on the lit prop table with the draws. Another two are produced and set beside the first lamp. Pulls out another lit red bulb, then two - turns to lit yellow bulbs - multiplying bulbs with colour lights, ending in eights lit multi-colour lights. Puts some bulbs in a draw and three on the table below the three small lamps. He waves the catalogue over the lit bulbs, which instantly appear in the lamps, flashing.

Sponsor: China Magic Art Society - Lin Jian
Sleeveless leather jacket and leather pants, lace up boots and a big cross on a chain around his neck. Modern Spanish type music. Produces card fans to confetti and white silk. Card fans, 360 degree card fans with white cards, then red and white cards to red/white silk to red/white confetti. White card fan with a card that sticks out the top and twists, then tosses cards. More cards, then card fans with red/white card fans, then splits the fans into four and tosses them all. Music change to Nun’s singing. Larger white cards, finger manipulation of cards, throws single cards, produces more with one red amongst the white card fans. Music changes to a fast modern beat, more card manipulation, cards from mouth, single card flinging across the stage, then three card fountains from stage floor with a confetti explosion. Very dynamic, energetic, yet controlled. Clean moves.

General Magic
Sponsor: Sociedad Espanola de Illusionism - Armando Gomez Bernardo
Interesting act! Man sitting on a park bench next to a bin full of rubbish and garbage strewn all over the floor. He is in a crumpled suit with no tie, wearing white sandshoes. He looks despondent by all the mess, but gets an idea to do something about it. He constructs an animated garbage form - a robot. He collects pieces of rubbish and puts them together - using a large stiff paper bag for the torso and crushed empty plastic bottles - uncrushed, to fashion to fashion the legs and discarded aluminium foil for the feet, with an old food tray for the head. Before one arm is attached to the body, it begins to move on the park bench - and the eyebrows move on the head. The robot’s legs begin to move and the performer tries to get it to come to him, but it indicates ‘no‘ After a bit of encouragement, it tries to get up. The performer helps it stand and walk around the stage. Then the garbage bin next to the park bench slowly falls forward to the ground, turning into a robot dog and moves around the stage by itself, then sits up on its hind legs. Very creative and entertaining act.

General Magic
China-Hong Kong
Sponsor: Magicians Association of Hong Kong - Albert Tam

Competed in FISM 2006 with the same act.
The winner of the first Asia Magic Association Stage Magic Competition.

Sits at a small bar in a black suit with an orange tie. Produces yellow silk, then bottle of alcohol. Puts a different bottle in a white cloth, crushes the bottle and tosses the cloth and produces a white ball that turns orange after rubbing it with an orange cloth. Orange ball production. Orange cloth produces another bottle, pours orange liquid into a glass with a garnish, places it on a cigar box after taking out a cigar. Fire wallet to light it. Cigar changes to red, takes glass and shakes it, the liquid turns to a red silk. Latin music cigar, goes to light it, vanishes, two cigars and a lolly (candy) on a stick. Cash production, cash fans, cash fountain from cigar box. Shows a card with an image of a full wine glass. Performer waves over it and it becomes full. Card fans with images of wine glasses. Produces large coloured fans - a bit fumbly. Produces liquid load into a glass. Takes a bottle and changes it into a large silver cloth. Then after the performer hesitates a little, repositioning his cloth, he produces a lady. The act ended in a confetti burst. Not bad.

Sponsor: China Magic Art Society - Lin Jian
Black tails and purple ruffle shirt. Slow music. Produces white cards and twists them in fingers. Red cards change to white. Card manipulation and production of cards in fingers - back to white cards, then confetti. Upbeat music now, does 360 degree card fans, all a bit fiddly. Cards to white material, to card castle, to costume change (pale blue robe with white silk scarf).

54. SOMA
General Magic
Sponsor – Magic Club of Budapest

1st General Magic, FISM 2009
Gold Lion Award Winner 2009 World Magic Seminar

This was a great act! Very easy to watch. All the magic had a purpose to the story. The music/sound effects enhance the action. Curtains open, a street phone box centre stage. Soma walks on dressed in a suit, with a newspaper and a drink in a take-away (to go) cup, his bag smoothly follows on the ground behind him. He is distracted and the drink cup floats. Tears newspaper, one piece falls to the ground - concerned about it, Soma leans to the ground as the sound effects suggest a rewind in time. As he comes back out of his lean, the newspaper piece follows him magically in the air towards the newspaper as it fully restores. Cell phone rings, but the phone stops working - so, to use the phone box, he produces coins - production and manipulation. Coin into hand, smoke in hand as it vanishes. Larger coins produced. Coin to cash. Phone rings, answers - call from a seedy company promising “all dreams come true”. Shocked, Soma walks away, leaving the phone to levitate before he hangs it up. Cell phone in his case makes message tones. He opens the case, but a hand in the case slams it shut. Rings again, this time the hand gives him the cell phone and slams the case shut again. Another cell phone rings, he multiplies the phone. Another phone rings, he pulls out an old handset attached to a old curly cord, from his coat. Cells to confetti, then cell phone production. Produces silk to wipe brow and flicks silk at cell phone and it visually vanishes. Cell production again and manipulation, eight cell phones go crazy with ringing sounds. Left with one, he smashes it with a mallet - police siren - throws confetti, retrieves glasses, cell phone to newspaper, flash on phone box reveals drink cup, then walks off back to where he started with paper and drink, gestures at his bag which follows him off stage. Standing ovation.

Republic of Korea
Sponsor: Korean Magic Society - Eun-Sun Chung

Equal 1st Manipulation, FISM 2009 - with Yo Kato
Young guy. Energetic. Skilful. Jeans and headphones. CD rack on stage. Headphones to confetti. Goes to CD stand. Performs lightening fast CD production, to coloured CDs and manipulation. Dynamic moves. CD to headphones. Takes the letters ‘CD’ off a sign on the CD rack, puts then together to form a CD - CD appears inside and out of plastic CD case - turns to confetti. Small CD production and manipulation on every finger. Takes ‘Music’ sign and changes the letters visually to form ‘Magic’. Half a CD, restored to full CD. More normal size CD productions - coloured, CD waterfall from hand. Changes rack of silver CDs to coloured CDs. Ends by producing headphones again. Standing Ovation.

56. DION
The Netherlands
Sponsor: Nederlandse Magische Unie - Ronald Moray

3rd General Magic, FISM 2006
Beautifully choreographed tango style routine. Performer sits in a chair at a table. Black outfit, white shirt, Black coat and bowler hat. Lamp on table with a cloth cover. With a spark, lamp shade cover changes to silk. Bulb turns to candle, lights it and puts the candle in the lamp base, which now forms a candle holder. Produces vase. Red silk to rose, produces red ball, then white ball. Beautiful moves. Fan production and vanish. Very elegant. Cards - single cards and card fan routine. Coat is off and sleeves rolled up. Moves to sit in chair, cards and cane, sits in chair - more card manipulation of cards in fingers. Standing, produces more cards, produces rose and puts in his mouth tango style, puts it in the vase and blows out the candle.

General Magic
Sponsor: Magischer Zirkel von Deutschland - Wolfgang Sommer

Sarmoti Award Winner 2008 World Magic Seminar
Competed at FISM 2006

Unable to compete as his props were detained in transit.

General Magic
Sponsor: Finnish Magic Circle - Robert Jagerhorn
This is an interesting and awful performance. The lady begins in a pink outfit and a black scarf with white polka dotted, black top hat - cane to blue scarf, then proceeds to do a costume change act (by walking behind a change screen each time), with poor quality costumes and awkward moves. But, the ultimate moment that shocks the audience is she did a “Sharon Stone” - twice - kicking her leg high into the air and flashing her fanny (that’s Australian slang for the front bottom) at the jury - twice. Thankfully, she wore pale pink knickers… I think.

59. QU LEI
General Magic
Sponsor: China Magic Art Society - Lin Jian
Lady dressed in a beautiful Chinese-style pink dress. UV lighting to start the act. Green bamboo surrounds her portable stage. Rich colours. Normal lighting comes back up as she does an umbrella production routine, decorating her performance area with small, medium and large colour umbrellas. She produces the umbrellas in various ways, including a backward walkover, with a red umbrella appearing on her foot in the air mid move. She produces a large red fan with a red production cloth attached. She waves it, making ripple effects before she does three costume changes into different coloured outfits - all beautiful. The delicate red cloth is skilfully waved about in the air as the costume changes take place… there is no evidence of the prior larger costumes after she finishes in her small green outfit.

Sponsor: Japanese Professional Magicians Association - Haruhiko Nagisa
Fast music. Colour card and card fan manipulations. Then balls and blue silk scarf. Music slowed for ball manipulation, then sped up again to an upbeat pace for more cards. Produces sunglasses at the end. Loads were obvious… more practise needed.

General Magic
Russian Federation
Sponsor: Russian Association of Magicians - Vladimir Rudnev
This act was the weirdest of them all. Long, sparkly black coat, top hat, cane bag. Starts with back to audience. Lights the end of his cane to produce smoke, then circles with it. A fire starts on the ground next to his bag after he pulls out a big stripy coloured tent from it. We thought that was the end of the act… but, it went out. Somebody snuck in from behind the tent as the performer was doing something behind a large silver cloth. It ends up being a costume change to a black and purple showy circus type suit with a black, blank mask. Does a floating mask and scarf routine, puts glowing blue eyes onto his black mask and makes them droop to the corners of his mouth. Takes off the mask and does a multiplying small silver box routine, juggling them and sticking the small, silver boxes all over his costume, moving them about in random order. Then we watched as he took all the boxes off again. He stands in front of the tent opening to produce a large yellow umbrella and a painting pallet - no mystery. He uses a paint brush to throw the paint on his pallet into air to make paint-like flowers. While he did this, the tent behind him rises into the air, clearly showing someone else’s legs under it doing the obvious ‘dirty work‘. The performer went inside his tent and didn’t come out. The lights went down. Very, very strange and thoughtless act.

Sponsor: Fédération Française des Artistes Prestidigitateurs- Peter Din
Young guy, very energetic, dynamic, comfortable and easy to watch. He smiles nicely and looks like he’s having fun. Striped shirt and black bag. Up beat music. Chews candy from M&M packet which flies to his bag by itself. Puts headphones on. Pulls out ‘DJ’ sign and a record to CD, throws away CD cover to confetti. Colour changing CDs, vanish. Pulls out another CD - production and manipulation of colour CDs in CD pack. Produces M&M pack and headphones. Multiplying M&M pack to eight finger packet production to confetti. Produces an orange ball to change of music and puts it in his mouth like candy. Colour changing balls. Small M&M blows up to large to CD production to confetti. He flings CDs to confetti.

Comedy Magic
Sponsor: Magischer Zirkel von Deutschland - Wolfgang Sommer

Disqualified - goes overtime.

Apparently this act is very funny in Germany. It has potential, but died a sad death on this stage. Smoke on stage as a nice, deep authorative voice over announces The Lord of Darkness from Transylvania. Vampire walks forward with a long black and purple lined cloak. Vamp makeup. He opens his mouth and speaks in a silly, comical voice. He said he was a real vampire and would prove it. He would use his ultrasonic echo location abilities to know, without seeing, what objects are selected, but needs a volunteer for this. There is a bit of business with the volunteer and coins, before he finally has his eyes and head gaffer taped so he can’t see. The volunteer selects an object from her bag and covers it in her hand, then he detects what it is - by screeching at the object, then hearing the echo that bounces back to his head, forming an image of the object. Does not see the orange warning indicator light because he is blindfolded. Goes overtime, but does not see the red light. He does not detect the curtains closing, so continues talking. The Lord of Darkness was left in darkness.

(by Tim Ellis)

Today was the last day of the Stage Magic Competition - though many people attended the Topas lecture which they said was excellent, but they missed out on some of the best and most interesting acts of the competition.

After lunch was a Henry Evans lecture, a McBride Masterclass (extra cost I think?), a Shoot Ogawa lecture and the FISM General Assembly meeting where they accepted membership of three new societies (including The College of Magic in South Africa), put forward a rule about abuse of people and animals on stage during the competition, and voted Blackpool as the next FISM venue. (Apparently, if more people voted against Blackpool than for it, Eric Eswin would have had 12 months in which to find a new FISM host city).

Finishing off the night was a big banquet (and I mean BIG!). Same place as the welcome dinner but with a different menu, just as glamorous and luxurious and with a feast of the best entertainment Beijing has to offer. Not a single magic trick but no-one seemed to mind.

We had a full orchestra on stage as opposed to the usual trio, and acts included operatic singers, ballet dancers, a troupe of plate spinners and an acrobatic duo who were truly astonishing. We even had a Chinese version of the all-girl classical music group 'Bond'. Even the songs they played sounded like (but weren't) Bond's hits.
The debate of the night was "Were they really playing or doing a Milli Vanilli?" because once or twice not a bow was touching a string but the music still continued... but whether they really were playing or not didn't seem to matter as hundreds of people from the back of the room rushed forward to take photos.

Also that night the FISM Special Awards were presented.

CREATIVITY went to Jim Steinmeyer (Mike Caveney accepted on his behalf).
HISTORY & RESEARCH went to Bill Kalush (Max Maven accepted on his behalf).
PHILOSOPHY & THEORY went to Juan Tamariz and the crowd exploded with joy.

It truly was a sensational night and one of the best FISM banquets in past memory.

(Photos on this page courtesy the FISMPics Flickr Photostream)