Archive for December, 2006

HAPPY NEW YEAR – 2007!

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

We had two shows today at Novel Hall in Taipei – today is New Year’s Eve and we are a part of the CrossOver activities. City Hall is across the street and the 101 Building (the tallest building in the world) is only a couple of blocks away. The city closed down the streets around 4pm this afternoon and about 400,000 people made their way into the downtown area to participate in the activities, eat the food, listen to concerts and check out our performances at Novel Hall. It’s really hard to put into words what it’s like to be a part of something like this.

Both shows went very well – great audiences and wonderful volunteers from the crowd. The evening performance was videotaped and we’ll be getting a copy of that in the coming months. The poster they used to promote the show was pretty cool.

Poster

After the show was over and packed away, we all met in the Green Room with the staff, crew, family and friends of Novel Hall for a toast to the New Year and some food. We had a great time just relaxing…and then came the special treat. We were escorted to the private rooftop of the Bank of China where we had the best view in the city of Taipei of the 101 Building. The fireworks display was promoted as the most spectacular display ever – and it was!

fireworks-2007-lr.jpg

The fireworks went on for 3 or 4 minutes of non-stop explosions that filled the Taipei sky! Cindy was clicking pictures as fast as she could and I had the video camera in hand. We have lots of images and footage to go through and I hope to get something posted in the next couple of days. The view was too amazing for us not to take a photo opportunity.

Us at 101

After everything was over, we all went back down to the Green Room for a little “Hot Pot” party that was put together by the Novel Hall Ushers. This is a Taiwanese tradition where friends and family all get together with a celebration of food. I guess it’s like a pot luck dinner in the states except they cook it all in the SAME pot! And, yes, I have video!

We’ve had our picture taken hundreds of times today – at the theatre, on the rooftop, and on the street. Everyone here is so friendly and we are honored and thrilled that we’ve been so accepted by the city.

NOVEL HALL – TAIPEI, FIRST SHOW 12/30/06

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

Today was our first day at Novel Hall for Performing Arts in Taipei, Taiwan.  The equipment arrived last night with only a couple of minor casualties.  We were at the theatre around 9am to start setting up.  The crew here is INCREDIBLE!  The day went so smoothly and we were hours – really, hours – ahead of schedule with the set up.  We were completely done with drops, lights, focus and tech by 5pm.  The show wasn’t until 8pm so we had some time to relax and enjoy ourselves.

The show went very well.  It was a bit of a challenge for me to get back into the swing of working without a translator since every show in Hong Kong was translated from the stage.  In Taipei, we don’t use an on-stage translator but one is very close by to assist when I need it.  And Yvonne is a great translator too!  While English is not the first language of Taiwan, most of the audience could understand and follow along with what was happening.  They even all ended up in the same place on the Final Destination!!

After the show, the lobby was nuts!  There were people everywhere waiting for autographs and pictures – it was pretty amazing.  Once we were finished, we changed clothes and all caught a taxi back to the hotel.  When we got out of the taxi, someone pulled up next to us on the street, rolled down the window and yelled, “Kevin, I enjoy your show tonight!”  It was pretty cool!

We dropped things off at the hotel and then headed for the Night Market!  We weren’t out late…long day tomorrow with two shows.  Off to bed!

LAST DAY IN HONG KONG – 12/29/06

Friday, December 29th, 2006

Last night was our final performance in Hong Kong at the City Hall Concert Hall.  It was another sold out house and another incredible audience.  We are so humbled by the reception that we received there from all the audiences.  There were hundreds of people in the lobby afterwards waiting to say hello and share their favorite moment from the show with us.  And while I was spending time with the crowd, everyone else was working hard to pack down the show and get it ready to be picked up and shipped out to Taiwan.  THANK YOU to everyone who makes that possible so I can do what I do – Cindy, David, Kylie, Keith and Nolan.

We had a chance to reconnect with so many people that we had met in 2004.  One of those people was Terina Ho who was our contact and coordinator for all the performances.  She came to the show on Wednesday night at Sha Tin Town Hall.  We were excited to see her again and were able to get a picture taken after the show.

Terina and The Spencers

After the last show at City Hall Concert Hall, we had to say good-bye to everyone – especially our coordinator and technical liaison, Yvonne and Cat.  They were great to work with and their hard work paid off for us as well.  We also had to say good-bye to Katy, one more time.  She has become a very good friend and we enjoy the opportunity we have to spend time with here.

Katy and Us

We were up late packing our luggage and up early this morning to catch our ride to the Airport.  We arrived in Taipei around 2:30pm, got through Immigration and Customs and took the hour ride into town.  I had a quick meeting with Joyce and Yvonne to go over the details of the upcoming performances.  Then they took us around the corner from the hotel to the Night Market and we tasted several local Taiwanese specialties, including a very famous Chinese “hamburger.”

We headed back to the hotel to get some much needed rest.  We have to set up and perform on Saturday and then two shows on Sunday.  Once we got back to the room, I-hua called from Novel Hall to let me know that the freight has arrived and is sitting on the stage at Novel Hall Center for Performing Arts!

I picked up a copy of the TAIPEI TIMES and, WOW!, there was a full page, color spread of photos and a nice feature article about our upcoming performance.  While the website doesn’t print the images, the article can be found at

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/feat/archives/2006/12/29/2003342580.

Good night – we’re off to bed!

HONG KONG – SHA TIN TOWN HALL, 12/27/06

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

Today was a GREAT day at Sha Tin Town Hall. This is a beautiful theatre; we performed here last time we were in Hong Kong. We had a few challenges throughout the day (like fire and sparks shooting out of the sound console!), mostly with our power converters. For some reason, they just didn’t want to work here…but then we remembered that we had this problem last time. So, the venue brought out their converters and everything was great.

Lunch was very good and so was dinner!  We’ve been enjoying the food of this culture rather than a trip to McDonald’s everyday.  Some of it is very good – other things, not so good.  I even ate some chicken feet and squid!

Chopsticks

The audience was AMAZING! We had some fun volunteers and, in spite of the delay of translation, the audience laughed and applauded every illusion. I can’t even begin to tell you how that makes us feel. The show ran so smoothly tonight too. Everyone worked very hard and our team has fallen into the rhythm of working together. And the show looked really awesome – the lighting in this venue was very good and the show had that “rock and roll” feel that we love to make happen.

Katy came over and spent the day with us helping to set up. She worked with us so closely last time we were here so she was very helpful today. We’ll see her again tomorrow at Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall. That will be our last show before we fly to Taipei.

I did an interview yesterday for the TAIPEI TIMES that will run on Friday. You can read it online at www.TaipeiTimes.com. I’m off to bed!

HONG KONG – DAY EIGHT (I think)

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

We slept well last night and, when we woke up, started talking about something that Keith had said last night during the show. At one point during an illusion called Final Destination, he and I noticed that some of the front of the front of house lights were starting to shake a bit – then they shook a lot! Someone mentioned to Keith later that we had had an earthquake. The last time we were here in 2004, they also had an earthquake around Thailand causing a huge Tsunami – big news.

We got up this morning and pulled the paper from under the room door to find the headlines:

Tsunami Alert

TAI PO CIVIC CENTRE – HONG KONG 12/26/06

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

We had a great show tonight in Tai Po at the Civic Center.  It was another “full” or  sold out house and the audience was really excited.  We had some GREAT volunteers tonight which always makes the show so much more fun.

The stage is much smaller than what we generally have but, with lots of hard work, the show went off very well – thanks to great team work between Cindy, David, Kylie, and Nolan backstage!  Keith did a great job on the light board tonight and, overall, the show went off without a hitch – at least in the eyes of the audience!  The guys backstage were running around like crazy making sure that everything was going to work.

Load in at Tai Po was also a little different.  We knew that the main theatre was on the second floor but didn’t realize that they would be lifting ALL the cases about 50 feet in the air with a crane to get them in!

Water Escape in the AirAt the Dock....

We arrived in the bus and saw the last of the cases being lifted high into the air, into the loading dock.  I also took some video which I hope to get online very soon.

The performances have been going very well.  The audiences have enjoy the Walking Through A Wall, the Levitation and all of the audience participation effects…and the Underwater Escape has been getting a wonderful response.

I’m off to bed now – it’s 12:37am and we have another early morning…the next show is in a beautiful theatre – Sha Tin Town Hall!

HONG KONG – DAY SEVEN, TAI POE CIVIC THEATRE

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

Good morning – it’s amazing how much better you feel with a good night’s sleep; although someone from America must have tried to call my cell phone – it rang at 3:30am (that’s 2:30pm on Christmas Day at home).  I’m not sure who it was but I disconnected them in my sleep-enduced trance.  Sorry about that!

The show at Yuen Long last night was a wonderful audience.  There were some things that we had to work through during the day and some of the new power strips we purchased for this trip didn’t do what we thought they would.  We’re running everything through Power Transformers to covert us from 220V to 110V.  Nolan tested and ran an extension cord for the intelligent lighting, powered it up and “What’s that smell?” just before we saw the flames of the fire burning the power strip to bits!  He and Keith continued working until everything was in good condition.

David had lots of space yesterday to move around and set up props.  He worked hard getting everything in order and fixing whatever things had been dismantled in the 15,000 airplane ride from JFK.  Kylie was busy with the backdrops and intelligent lighting as well.

Cindy worked hard to get the magic set, the hazers in place, the waredrobe put together (another little airplane disaster) and the sound and music ready to go.

And the crew and Yuen Long was very efficient!  They really worked well together so the day went very smoothly.

After the show, I had the opportunity to meet several hundred people from the audience who waited patiently in line for an autograph.  The smiles, comments, and applause were all very special.  I had my picture taken with so many people!  I want to share one of the photos with you that the family emailed to us.  They were the last people that I met after the show and they waited a long time.

His name is Shun Ping (the name means Faith & Peace) and is just five years old.

Shung Ping at Yuen Long He started learning magic last Christmas.  His mother and father wrote to us, “Your show was his best Christmas gift!”  How humbling is that?  What an honor and a privilege it is to do what we do – to bring a smile to someone’s face and brighten their day in a small way.

We hope all of you had a Merry Christmas.  Today, our show is at Tai Poe Civic Theatre – SOLD OUT!  I’ll write more later….

HONG KONG – DAY SEVEN, YUEN LONG THEATRE

Monday, December 25th, 2006

Today was our first show in Hong Kong at Yuen Long Theatre in the New Territories.  It was a great evening and the audience was wonderful…but it’s 1am and we left the hotel at 9am.  It’s been a long day.  I’ll write more in the morning.

HONG KONG – DAY SEVEN, CHRISTMAS DAY

Monday, December 25th, 2006

We have been in Hong Kong for almost a week now (with a trip to and from Taipei in that mix).  Today is our first performance at Yuen Long Theatre.  Cindy and I tossed and turned all night, not very restful, dealing with the anxiety of this first show.  We both know it’s going to be okay but we haven’t seen the equipment yet, etc.  It will be good to get one show completed – the rest will fall into place.

It’s Christmas Day here – huge celebrations across Hong Kong last night.  The news reported more than 400,000 people were in the streets participating in holiday activities throughout the night.  The MTR and KTR services had extended hours to make sure everyone got home safely.

I’m heading off to breakfast.  They will be here to pick all of us up very soon – the day begins at the theatre at 9am, show at 8pm, back to the hotel at 11pm!

HONG KONG – DAY SIX, CHRISTMAS EVE MORNING

Sunday, December 24th, 2006

Good Morning.  It is Christmas Eve here in Hong Kong but still the evening of the 23rd in the U.S.  I just finished up a meeting with Mr. Alan Wong.  He will be our translator for the performances here.  He is a very nice man and I really enjoyed meeting him.  He is going to be great and a pleasure to work with.

We will be leaving the hotel in a few minutes to head out toward Causeway Bay.  We are going to meet Katy and have lunch at the Hong Kong version of Waffle House!  They have the best Pineapple Fried Rice in town!  We were out the other day and stopped to eat here – great food and fun…then got a picture with a holiday backdrop.
Us and Katy

Those of you who know me know I love Starbucks – and they are everywhere here.  I couldn’t pass up a chance to get a picture taken with the HUGE cup of coffee and the Angels.

Kevin's Angels

We’re preparing to leave the hotel now and meet Katy for lunch.  Today is mostly a day for us to begin to focus on the upcoming performances.  And it’s important for us – as individuals and a group – to remember what the real meaning of this time of the year is.  It is an honor for us to be in Hong Kong to perform but, more urgently, it is a time for us to reflect on the historical significance of today – the Birth of Jesus Christ.  As Christ-followers, we understand that it is on this day that God provided mankind with the opportunity to renew and restore our relationship with Him – a personal, life-changing friendship that gives meaning and purpose to our lives.  In a world filled with the commericalization of Christmas (even here in Hong Kong), we must never forget that we celebrate this day as The Day that changed the course of history…and, for those of us who believe and have faith in His redemption, the day that changed our lives.

Merry Christmas Everyone – I’ll be writing more tonight.