Saturday, July 28, 2012
The third (and possibly) final edition of the Essential Magic Conference is currently taking place in Portugal. Presented by Luis de Matos, David Britland and Marco Tempest, this is in my view one of the greatest conventions ever produced. I am speaking of EMC as a whole, from year 1 until today. Each year they assembly a list of speakers from all facets of magic and from all over the world. Topics cover almost everything imaginable, from close-up card magic to magic theory, to stage manipulation to magic history, and many things in between.
The line-up this year is incredible. Day 1 was mind blowing. How they continue to top each year is beyond me. Do yourself a favor, go register at www.essentialmagicconference.com and watch the sessions LIVE or watch them at your leisure. Also, if you register, you'll also receive the entire conference on DVD.
When you attend a typical magic convention, if you go away with one new routine, concept or idea you're doing pretty good. For me, with EMC I usually go away with several new ideas or effects. Already on day 1 there was one routine that was worth the entire price of the convention and I'll bet there will be a lot more over the next two days!
Highlights from Day 1....EVERY SPEAKER! That's actually not a joke. I enjoyed every speaker very much and even the panel discussion on the Value of Secrets was incredible (personally leaning towards Armando's belief on secrets). Eric Mead opens every EMC since the beginning and I always look forward to hearing him speak. Michel from Argentina was, as always, wonderful. I remember seeing him lecture at Denny's Magic Shop years ago and I purchased one of his 'Invisible Hands' way back then. Thankfully, I did take the time to learn how to use it and it's fantastic. Bill Malone totally cracks me up, so glad he is there this year. Steve Cohen talking about Malini, WOW. I also enjoyed his comments when someone wrote in and asked 'what can people today learn from magicians of the past'. (Can't believe someone actually asked that question!)
Woody Aragon was, well, brilliant. His trick alone, worth the price of the convention. Tom Stone's performance and then later lecture, also brilliant. Denis Behr, WOW. The procedure fried my brain and I would never do it, but it was fantastic. David Williamson, always superb. One of my own personal favorite routines which is in 90% of my shows is a routine of his. Debbie McGee should put out DVDs and a lecture of her own. Her voice and ideas needs to be heard! Yigal Mesika was another one who really made me sit up and take notice. OH, Armando Lucero, Dani DaOrtiz, David Berglas, Hero Sakai, Guy Hollingworth, and Graham Jolley all had amazing performances. Max Maven could talk about rust and make it fascinating, I always enjoy his talks. Marco Tempest is inspiring on more levels than I can list. And Topas, Stan Allen, and Luis de Matos are absolutely fantastic hosts.
DAY 2.....I can't really give highlights of the events of day two, mainly because my brain is fried at this point. I'm unable to watch EMC live as it's streaming, and in true fact, I'm actually having to listen to most of the content rather than watch it. This is due to a severe light sensitivity I'm suffering from at the moment. I do my best to watch various performances but thankfully so much of the content is verbal that I am still getting it all.
Each year EMC steps up their game. Last year when David Copperfield gave a tour of his museum via live video stream, I thought there was no way to top it. But honestly, as much as I loved that, it wasn't even the best thing at the conference. One of the Paul Daniel's talks for me, was one of the best things but I'm not sure I can name a single BEST. Because if you are an observant performer, you'll be picking up things constantly.
So in Day 2, Tina Lenert blew my mind and damn near made me cry with her phenomenal presentation. The two women at the conference this year were exceptional (Day1 Debbie McGee). David Williamson is a personal favorite and seeing David talk and watching him perform is always a treat but he said something during one of the Q&A's that answered a question I had for many years and it was so great to hear. Bill Malone is incredible, that's all I can say. On and on I could go, but I really want to get back to watching the videos. I'm actually not finished with Session 6 year and the stream has already begun for Day 3. If you haven't already done so, sign up/register/join, this fabulous conference.