|Personally Speaking – March 2007|
WMS 2007 Review One
by Deana Murray
Living in Kansas – we all cringe when someone asks, “Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?” But there is no doubt about who gets to be THE WIZARD FROM OZ or who decorates his dominion with the horses of different colors. That would be Joe and Martha Stevens.
Joe and Martha Stevens
The act of magicians getting together is called a Âconclave’. The dream of bringing magicians together to entertain and teach one another became known as the Desert Magic Seminar. Martha themed and dressed the parties and Joe booked the performers and filled the dealers’ room with props and gadgets. What they created could otherwise be called ” Emerald City ” for magicians, as it is the Mecca for all things possible. This year was particularly enjoyable for me for many reasons… This marked the 30th Anniversary of their dream…and magicians from all over the world were there to celebrate. It was great to see Joe and Martha being honored for all they have done to launch this very ambitious get together year, after year!
It all got started in Wichita under the banner of the “Mid American Conclaves”.
Thinking back, it’s hard to believe that some of the greatest minds in magic made pilgrimages to a small metropolitan area known more for the manufacture of aircraft than magic, but they did, at Joe’s request. The likes of Dai Vernon, Faucett Ross, Kuda Bux, Tony Slydini, Flip, Fred Kaps, and even David Copperfield – among many others took part in these early conclaves.
After several years, it was Jay Marshall’s idea to move the party to Las Vegas , and in doing so the Desert Magic Seminar was born. While already off to an impressive start in Wichita , when this idea hit Las Vegas it caused a chain reaction of events. Beginning with the sponsorship of Siegfried and Roy at the helm, and with the direct involvement of Lance Burton, the Desert Magic Seminar broke new ground.
And with a Board of Directors that originally included Jay Marshal, Roger Crabtree, Pete Biro, and Bill Wells. …There has been magic beyond the magic. Together, they created an atmosphere where all talent gets recognized and where many warm friendships have developed. Many people, including myself, recognized this unique “family” quality the Seminar has that separated it from the more rigid and stoic conventions… right down to the “People’s Choice Award”. Everyone got a voice and a vote!
A few years back, Rich Bloch combined his convention with Joe’s to make the experience even bigger and better under its new title, World Magic Seminar. As it truly is, because of the talent, the magic and the audiences are drawn from all over the world. One thing the seminar consistently delivers – the most magic celebrity in the world – when it comes to famous faces and magical royalty.
James Dimmare and Rich Bloch on bowling night