Personally Speaking – Apr09

Joe’s Personally Speaking – April 2009

32nd WMS Program honoring my friend John Gaughan.

“One of the best Seminars in years!” The talent, acts, contests, teen programs and spirit of this year’s event were – fabulous! Over 600 in attendance and all who attended had a good time.

Martha Stevens, Deana Murray, Siegfried and Cilene Stevens enjoying the Seminar

Siegfried, Lance Burton and Jeff Mc Bride all contributed greatly to the success of the event – as always…

The following is a summary story by our own Mrs. Deana Murray, who hits the highlights of the event with the following article and photos as well.

World Magic Seminar XXXII

Deana Murray

WOW! What a convention! Especially this year when everyone has been worried about attendance and the economy. I was glad to see a lot of familiar faces at the Orleans in Las Vegas for the 32nd annual gathering of friends in magic. The present Board of Directors, Bob Rossi, Bill and Becki Wells, (with the help of 3 original Board of Directors: Joe Stevens, Pete Biro, and Rich Bloch) have built upon a strong foundation and the convention still stands tall.

The welcoming event called “Snacks and Sorcery” was highlighted by performances by James Dimmare with his version of ‘Singing in the Rain’ while pouring salt into his umbrella. Then, Charlie Fenn who impersonated the singing styles of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. He sang “New York, New York” like it was the theme song to the convention. And when puppeteer, Anthony Rais took the stage, his acrobatic partner did a handstand that seemed unbelievable – even for a puppet!

This year’s Seminar was dedicated to JOHN GAUGHAN who built illusions for Mark and Nani Wilson who were on hand to commemorate the moment. Rudy Coby hosted the Opening Gala entertainment. And we were all glad to see him at WMS again. Max Maven hosted the Encore Benefit Show, which raised quite a lot of money for magicians in distress. And emcee, Mike Close closed the Awards Ceremonies Show. The Stage Competition was truly international again this year. Alana from Germany, David Sousa from Portugal, Eduardo Galeana from Argentina, Luis Manuel from Spain. The Grand Prize was won by SOMA from Hungary, and the SARMOTI recognition was awarded to HAN DEOL-HUI from Korea.

Max Maven Takes Black Art Magic To The Next Level.
Siegfried and Lynette
First Place Winner SOMA with Siegfried.
SARMOTI Award Winner.

The most amusing performance was David Kaplan’s. In his act, odd things happening were normal (sort of). After his bowling ball was purposefully dropped several times… it then floated to the ceiling. To fall later on his “priceless ukulele,” which sat on a well positioned chair. What didn’t go right – was supposed to.

And what should have gone right – didn’t. Like the music for Jason Latimer’s new routine. “And this is world class magic?” he said as he gave it up to the audience. Once something goes wrong, and you acknowledge it to the audience, they are quite likely to meet you half way. It was so refreshing to see someone ‘comfortable in their own skin’ at a moment like that. And yet another of the lessons you can truly appreciate at WMS. As performers, we’ve all been there at least once. Most people were there just to have fun. Everyone I saw was listening and learning or buying, selling, trading or teaching new techniques and insights. If they weren’t in the seminar rooms, they were in the Dealer’s Room, which was really exciting this year. It was a delightful mix of new and old – reworked into something better. And it was amazing to see how technology has edged its way into the magic world. (Props and performance.)

The Ladies’ Event this year was a chat with Lynette Chappell who even brought pictures of herself in Kenya as a child, at the Royal Ballet Academy, and personal photos of her with Siegfried and Roy and their animals. Martha Stevens sparked it up by recalling some of their previous parties and backstage antics.

The Ladies Luncheon Hosts

I got home in time to see the ABC Special on 20/20 where Siegfried and Roy performed one more time for the “Power of Love” charity gala. Their ‘comeback performance’ was a ‘give back’. They raised $12 million for the LOU RUVO Brain Institute. In this farewell performance, Siegfried rose from the ashes and was transformed into Roy’s beloved white tiger, Montecore…and then back again. Together they stood as guardians and shepherds at the gateway to the magic in our own lives. Symbols of triumph over adversity, and the triumphs over egos and insecurities.

All in all, I’m left with HOPE that we can change an imperfect world. We can laugh at ourselves when imperfection shines its spotlight on us. That we are bound (however briefly) by the unseen thread of hope, which magic inspires. To be accepted and accepting, in a land where the laws of nature don’t always apply, and every action does not always evoke the same reaction. Where Siegfried and Roy are still Masters of the Impossible, where the Teen Contestants have pizza with Lance Burton and friends, and as Lynette reminded us… “When you shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you will land among the stars.” World Magic Seminar was all that!!!

Teen Magicians For WMS 2009.
Teen Luncheon
Jeff And Lance posing with a lucky young magician.
Teen First Place Winner overcome with emotion.
The Spirit of competition and class.
The Master McBride
Dr. Nick St. Erne, Criss Angel and Gary Darwin

Joe’s concluding comments:

The dealer room was exciting and always fun with so many new and exciting items as well as the many magic luminaries in attendance, all of whom are so great about mixing and visiting and enjoying the fellowship of our art of magic.

Soma of Hungary, winner of the S&R Gold Lion’s Head with Joe Stevens and Johnny Thompson.
Rafael Benatar, Joe Stevens and Antonio Romero.

For even more photos and details on WMS 2009 – including a more casual look at the action that happens behind the booth check out Mark Stevens’ feature story.

Jay – See you down the road – watch for the arrows!