October is turning out to be a classic month for lectures here at the Magick Lounge. First up, on Thursday 7 October at 7.30, is Michael Vincent. There can be few magicians who have not come across Michael’s work, either through his DVDs or his performances at conventions, at the Magic Circle, Hollywood’s Magic Castle, or at the FISM World Magic Championships in Stockholm.

Eschewing the current trend for ‘street magic’, Michael embodies the teachings of history’s masters of magic, performing classic sleight of hand and making it relevant for the 21st century, all delivered with style and panache. The magician’s magician, Michael is the only person ever to have been named Best Close-Up Magician three times by the Magic Circle. A regular performer in Hollywood, he has been voted International Magician of the Year and ranked world number 2 in a career that continues to demand his presence at celebrity parties, international casinos and high end corporate events.

I’ve enjoyed Michael’s card work on many occasions, but I must say that one of my favourites of all his routines is his take on the classic cups and balls. Watch it here…

This is a rare opportunity for you to learn from a master who has studied the craft of close-up deception from the perspective of the performer and the audience. This lecture is free for members of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians, or a mere £10 for others.

FISM post-mortems, and the odd row or two, continue to fill the magic blogs. I found this little reminder of what conventions are about via the Ellis & Webster blog. Enjoy…

The words were written and the song performed by Topas, with images added by Tim Ellis. Music was composed by Andreas Kraus of the German comedy team ‘Eure Mutter’ and it was produced by Derek von Krogh, who plays keyboards on tour for the German singer Nena (’99 red balloons’).

Written & performed by Topas

All of us began with hardships,
Some had girlfriends, we had card tricks.
We thought pom-poms were just great,
While our friends were getting laid…

One thing is indeed quite tragic
Many people do hate magic
But in here we feel all right
Watching coin routines all night.
Here we love magic’s tradition,
And we hate the masked magician.
From day one my faith was strong,
It is here where I belong.

(Chorus 1)
FISM is the place to be,
Geeks and pros are running free.
It is where magicians mingle,
And the linking rings will jingle.

There are many acts to see,
Cards are palmed extensively.
It’s where fooling feels so nice,
Cheating is like paradise.
So for strange men such as we
FISM is the place to be.

FISM is the world convention,
Look at magic’s true dimension.
Spanish come, and Portuguese,
This time even more Chinese.

The most famous magic guys
Never won a FISM prize.
Outside this convention hall,
Few of us are known at all.
But we’re known internally,
So for guys like you and me

(Chorus 2)
FISM is the place to be,
Geeks and Pros are running free.
All the dealers sell the same
Never mind from where they came.

Only here on every card your contact number,
Only here a magic sticker on your bumper,
Only here no one uses cards to play,
And no one thinks that scarves are gay.

Only here Himber wallets don’t need leather,
Only here snowstorms don’t rely on weather,
Only here a zombie is a trick,
Not on death, but on a stick,
On a stick…

(Chorus 3)
FISM is the place to be,
Geeks and pros are running free.
When we need we’re dressing formal,
Only here we’re feeling normal.
So much cre-a-tivity
Came from this fraternity.
FISM’s best for acts to start
And to celebrate the art
So I’m sure we all agree…

FISM is the place… to be
To be!
To be!
To be!

Well, it’s Friday 31 July, the final day of the 24th FISM World Championships of Magic in Beijing. At least I haven’t all that packing up to do. Missed it though.

We had confirmation yesterday that the next FISM, in 2012, will be in Blackpool. This was a pretty foregone conclusion as there were no other host applications, although I’d heard that the actual Convention location might have been Manchester rather than Blackpool itself. Certainly the Blackpool guys have had plenty of experience in organising a major magic convention so we’re looking forward to a good one. Hear, too, that over 400 tickets have already been sold!

Grand Prix winners this year are Soma (Hungary) for stage and Shawn Farquhar (Canada) for close-up. Magick regulars may recall I met and interviewed Shawn in Stockholm at the last FISM. See PrestiDigital 4 for his convention survival tips.

Soma performing his famous ‘phone manipulation act.

I understand Shawn’s act was based on his well-known Shape of my Heart routine.

I’m also pleased to bring you the news that First Prize in the Parlour Magic section went to Marc Oberon. Loungers will recall that Marc lectured here at the Magick Lounge a few months ago, opening with an extended version of of his ‘midas’ act which he performed in Beijing. (Love the expression parlour magic, incidentally — image of a performer with a pristine dicky performing amid antimacassars and aspidistras. Maybe more of us need to get in touch with our inner Hoffmann…)

Click here for a full winners’ list. The Genii Forums are worth checking out for some interesting FISM reports. Also keep an eye on FISM’s new website. I quote:

FISM™ is pleased to announce the launch of the new FISM™ website. This new portal is gathering all previous FISM™ websites in one single location. It has been designed to provide the users with everything that is relevant to FISM™ through a modern and user-friendly environment.

The new FISM™ website offers a wide range of materials, including background information about the history of FISM™, members and competitions as well as detailed explanation of the FISM™ statutes and management. An extensive set of links leads the users to the FISM™ store, TV and Video section and social networks such as facebook and myspace. It also gives them direct access to the websites of their each national FISM™ clubs. In addition, users can subscribe to the newsletter to be at the cutting edge of all topics related to FISM™. The new website will be the first important step to unify all the information in one place.

Best of luck to Lounger Marc Oberon who is the UK’s only FISM competitor, appearing today in Beijing. We’ll let you know how he gets on.

Thanks to Jeff McBride and StreetOfCards.tv for the following FISM video clips:

From the opening ceremony.

FISM day one compilation. Featuring Max Maven, Alan Wong, Magic Christian, Boris Wild, Obie O’Brien, Shawn Farquhar, Eric Eswin, Sterling Dietz, Phil Cass, Dave Williamson, and many others whose names I didn’t catch (or couldn’t spell).

Sorry to be missing FISM this year. Sounds like it’s a good one. Maybe next time (especially if the rumours of the Manchester location are true…)

Past Lounger R. Paul Wilson‘s FISM blog is here. And here is an interview with Paul by Jeff McBride.

Tim Ellis and Sue-Anne Webster have more FISM news here.

And MagicConventionGuide.com have assembled a nice picture gallery here.