Archive for June, 2007

INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF MAGICIANS – DAY ONE

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Our flight to Reno left at 6am.  We had to be up at 4am so we could get ready and to the airport in time for the flight.  As it would happen, my cell phone started ringing at 3am – a full hour before we really had to be up.  So, it was a short night.

There’s no easy way to fly anywhere from Lynchburg.  We left our airport at 6am for Charlotte, NC – connected there to Phoenix, AZ – and made our last connection to Reno.  We arrived at 12noon Reno time (3pm our time).  It had already been a long day and it was just getting started.

I went to pick up the rental car only to be told, “We’re out of cars.”  How can you be out of cars?  BUT they did have a very nice mini-van and that was just fine for us.

Once checked into the hotel, we rushed to get ready for our first appointment of the day.  We met Robbie and Phil Wilmarth (President elect of the International Brotherhood of Magicians) and Fred and Manya Casto (current President of the I.B.M.) for lunch.  It was an excellent way to start off the convention – great company and conversation.

After lunch, Cindy and I went back to our room to try and get a little bit of rest.  There is no high speed internet connection in the room (?) so I have to go to the lobby to pick up and send email.  AND my cell phone is stuck in “lock” mode so there’s no way to access the menu.  I can make and receive calls, but that’s about it.

We met up with Mark and Jinger Kalin (and their beautiful daughter Parker) for dinner at Pinocchio’s.  The food was really good and we enjoyed spending some time with these guys, getting to know them better.  They do an incredible illusion show here in Reno at their own theatre, MagicUnderground.

We ended the evening by going back over to their house and finishing off dessert – bread pudding and a HUGE piece of chocolate cake.  Cindy and I rarely have the chance to just sit, relax and talk with peers.  Mark and Jinger are two very warm, personable and caring people – and that comes through the very first time you meet them.  They’ve made major accomplishments in the art of magic and enjoy a certain level of “celebrity” within the magic community but they are just good, down-to-earth people who work hard for all the right reasons.

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Once back to the hotel, Cindy went to the room and I made the first trip through the Dealer’s Room of the convention to say hello to some friends and check out the new stuff.

Tomorrow I present a lecture here on the Healing of Magic at 1pm, address the Board of Directors at 4pm, dinner with David Sandy around 5:30pm, first shows of the convention at 8pm and then Mark and Jinger’s show at 11pm.  It’s going to be a long day.  I’ve got to get a shower!!

SATURDAY AND STILL WORKING

Saturday, June 23rd, 2007

Sorry I haven’t blogged in a few days.  I’ve been incredibly busy working on the presentations that I’ll be doing next week in Reno and Vegas.  I just want these to be really, really awesome!  So, I’m putting together a PowerPoint presentation with pictures and video to try and get that emotional impact.  The Healing of Magic program is such a powerful way to make a significant difference in the quality of someone’s life.  I just want people to get motivated and excited about how they can get involved.

SINGAPORE VIDEOS ONLINE NOW

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

I have finally posted two videos online of my recent trip to Singapore.  These two mini-movies are of my walking tour through Chinatown.  You can check them out here – SINGAPORE CHINATOWN.  They are Part One and Part Two.  There are several other movies here as well so enjoy!

I’ll be posting my walking tour through the Arab Quarter in Singapore soon.

A FULL WEEK AT HOME!

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

We are home for a full week – seven entire days – before anything major happens in our schedule again! We got home on Sunday evening after a fun performance in Columbia, MD. We received some great email in the office on Monday from people who attended the show. It’s all very gratifying.

My time this week will be devoted to finishing up the presentations on the Healing of Magic program. Cindy and I leave for Reno, NV one week from today. I’ll be giving the first presentation at the International Brotherhood of Magicians convention on Wednesday (6/27) We’ll hang out in Reno for a couple of days and the fly to Las Vegas to attend David Copperfield’s Project Magic Symposium. I’ll be doing my second presentation there on Saturday (6/29) for those attending – therapists, doctors, magicians, patients, etc. I’m still working on the “finishing touches” of the presentation because I really want it to be informative and exciting.

I have several appointments today that will keep me busy, including one this afternoon with my lovely wife to see a movie, NEXT with Nicholas Cage.

ROUSE THEATRE – COLUMBIA FESTIVAL

Sunday, June 17th, 2007

After a kind of frustrating Friday evening (dealing with the trailer tire), we got a good night’s rest and were up early on Saturday. Load in at the Rouse Theatre was earlier than usual because we were working with the local IATSE 19 and they had already done more than 2 weeks of performances with the Arts Festival! We wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to take breaks and get settled in a somewhat unusual space.

Once we arrived, we had some stage issues to deal with in order to get maximum space. This is not a fly house so we only hung the cloud drop and, with dead hung electrics, our lighting trim was a little higher. We finally figured out a way to get the intelligent lighting in the air and then we were ready to get in the cases! GREAT CREW – they got us in quickly and with no complaints. The day moved at a steady pace setting up, focusing lights, getting sound up and EQd, hazers (we had to use both of them), illusions set up and spiked on stage, writing cues, and brief tech and then it was time to get dressed and into make up. Doors would open in an hour!

We had a full house tonight – sold out.  The audience was a nice mix of all ages – college students, senior citizens, families and kids. The responses were very audible and the volunteers were fun. Tonight, I could actually hear the reaction to the Brick Wall (they audience was really close). And the newspaper tear was a great way to get their attention – audible gasps and spontaneous applause set the tone for the rest of the evening.

Nolan did a great job tonight. This was his first “solo” performance and, while he cut it close a couple of times, he was always there when the curtains opened (with a little prompting from Cindy). It’s not going to take him long to get the timing down…but, from the audience perspective, everything was smooth.

After the show, we were invited to a reception at one of the Board member’s homes. I took off shortly after tear down to make an appearance while the guys handled loading the trailer. Afterwards, they drove over to the reception for a short time and then we were back to the hotel. Cindy and I were up until almost 3am talking about the evening and how each other’s day went. It’s odd that we can be in the same space and still be so unaware of how things are going for one another.

Today, we’re driving back home for the rest of the week!

ARRIVED IN COLUMBIA AND THEN….

Friday, June 15th, 2007

We made great time coming up to Columbia.  Very little traffic around D.C. so we sailed along fairly well.  We arrived in Columbia, took the exit but drove past the hotel.  We found ourselves in the middle of a residential neighborhood in a 65 foot semi with no place to turn around.  We came up on a school and figure the buses have to go there, there should be enough room.  I made the turn around and came back to the intersection.  I made that right turn and then we heard it – a loud “boom” as my trailer tire drug across a drainage ditch and ripped everything to pieces – rim and tire!  We arrived around 3:45pm but I had to start finding someone to fix this thing – on a Friday!  Fortunately, we did find a company and a few hundreds dollars and several hours later, I’m in the hotel room.  This better be a good show tomorrow night!!

LEAVING TODAY FOR COLUMBIA, MD

Friday, June 15th, 2007

The weather turned cold and rainy yesterday…but we really need the rain.  This morning is the same – dark outside, even at 7:30am.  It looks colder than it is but it continues to rain.

We are leaving this morning for Columbia, MD.  We’ll be performing tomorrow at the Columbia Festival for the Arts.  I think this is going to be a really fun show.  We are sold out and, as one of the few ticketed events, that means everyone who will be there paid for a ticket and really wants to be there!  This will also be the first show with the new team members – Nolan and Keith – completely on their own.  Well, not Keith so much because he’s been on the road with us now for a few months and knows exactly what he’s doing.  But this will be Nolan’s first “solo” performance.  He’s flying in from Indianapolis – actually, he’s about to land in Philly now.

Check back later to see how the show went…

JUST THREE DAYS

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

We are home for three days before heading up to Columbia, MD for the Arts Festival where we will be performing on Saturday night at 8pm at the Rouse Theatre.  We’re leaving on Friday because we have an early load in on Saturday.  This is a major festival with lots of events happening.  We already know the venue is going to be a bit challenging – limited fly space, lighting instruments, etc. – but Keith has allowed plenty of time to deal with those uncertainties.

The time at home is busy, as always.  In the coming weeks, Cindy and I will be heading to the International Brotherhood of Magicians convention in Reno, NV where I’ll give a presentation on the Healing of Magic program.  The following day, we’ll be flying to Las Vegas to attend Copperfield’s 25th Anniversary of Project Magic.  I’ve been asked to give a presentation there as well so that should be exciting.

I’m working on those two presentations while home, as well as getting all the things rolling for a 2009 tour in Australia.  There are so many details to pull together and, while 2009 seems like a long way off, in the scheme of things it’s right around the corner.  Plus there are ads to design, video to edit, marketing to put together and more just to get ready for the fall.  There is always something to do.  I suppose I should get to work…

DIXIE CARTER – SECOND DAY

Sunday, June 10th, 2007

The morning started a bit earlier than usual because we had a lot of work to do today. While we are still contemplating hiring another person to work with our team on the road, I think I’m going to put that decision off for a few more months, especially since my first choice is no longer interested. Instead, we’re going to be working Nolan and Keith steadily over the summer to see if we can tighten up the technical aspects of the production. That’s going to take some time – and it all started today at the Dixie Carter Center for the Arts!
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One of the big things we had to work on today was the lighting cues. After a bit of a “possession” of the light board last night, we wanted to make sure that everything was good for today’s performances. Keith worked with Scott to figure out what was going on and, soon, they had it fixed and ready to go.

David flew up from Dallas and was with us for the weekend as well. We worked the morning on a few of the illusions and then started preparing for the 2pm performance. We did work Nolan hard on the Brick Wall and he performed it with us in both shows – his stage debut with The Spencers. We had a smaller crowd for the matinee but we expected that. It’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon in West Tennessee. But the crowd that was there was fun and enthusiastic.
After the 2pm show, we grabbed a quick bit to eat from a great restaurant right across the street from the theatre called the PDC Arts & Eats. The food was homemade and excellent!

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After lunch, we started working on some of the other illusions in the show to get Nolan familiar with all the mechanics and engineering. It was a “crunch” day for him – a lot like cramming for a final exam! But he did a fantastic job today. This was David last “official” day with us. He won’t be coming in for any more performances unless he comes as a spectator or audience member. That’s going to be really strange.

The afternoon went fast and we were coming up on the 7:30pm show quickly. Everyone kicked into gear and got the show set before running off to get into costumes. The music started – the doors opened – the audience started rolling in. Nolan performed and worked backstage the entire show tonight – the first “full” show that he’s done with us. Once again, he came through under pressure.
It was another really great crowd tonight, much like last night. The responded well to all the illusions (and even the bad jokes) and took this magical journey with us for the evening. At the end of the show, their response was enthusiastic and, once again, the honored us with a standing ovation. We never take those for granted and are thankful that we pleased this crowd tonight.

After we had the show down and loaded out, we went back across the street to the PDC – at the invitation of the owners – and enjoyed dinner and dessert. It was a nice end to a long day.

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Tomorrow we head back home for a few days before the performance in Columbia, MD at the Columbia Arts Festival. I’m off to bed….

THE DIXIE CARTER CENTER FOR THE ARTS – HUNTINGDON, TN

Saturday, June 9th, 2007

We had a GREAT show tonight at the Dixie – what an amazing audience!  The day started with all of us heading over to the local Subway to grab lunch before load in.  Just as we walked through the doors, the sky opened up and it rained hard for about 25 minutes.  We left in the rain and arrived at the theatre just as it started to subside a bit.  We went in, scoped the area, met the crew, moved some of the softs good around, signed everyone in on the non-disclosure agreement, and passed out backstage passes.  Just as the crew went out to unload the trailer, the rain started coming down again – hard and furious!

Once everything was on the stage, the tedious part of the day begins.  This is a beautiful venue but some things got cut from the budget at the last minute – like an industry-standard light board.  Scott did an outstanding job working with this board but it did take a lot more time that usual in focusing lights and writing cues.  Once all of that was done and we did a fast tech rehearsal, it was 20 minutes until doors.  It’s been a long time since we’ve pushed it that close.

All of that being said, none of it mattered when it came to show time because THIS AUDIENCE TONIGHT WAS AMAZING!!   We had a bit of excitement at the beginning when the fire alarms went off – strobe lights and a recorded voice telling people “there is an emergency – clear the building – handicapped persons first” etc.  No one left – they just laughed…and the fire department came and took care of things.  The TD here, Frank Dodd, had to stay with the control panel through the first half to make sure it didn’t go off again.  But the audience just rolled with us and, once the magic started, they were with us from the first illusion.  Great volunteers!  Great responses!  And a standing ovation!

We all left in a good state of mind in spite of some of the challenges of the day.  Sonic was a late night dinner (very healthy place to eat at 10:30pm)…and tomorrow we’re back in the theatre early for two shows.

Good night…