The MAES Convention, in the rear view mirror
I had a wonderful time last weekend at the MAES Convention in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. It was the perfect model of a smaller convention with masses of events that still left room for the most important part of any convention—hanging out with other magicians.
For many of us, the emotional highpoint of the convention was getting to see David Oliver attending his first convention since the double lung transplant that he recently received. It was wonderful to enjoy David’s company and see him so far along the road to full recovery from his medical problems.
There are very few magicians who have given of themselves as freely as David has to the magic community. The palpable sense of excitement and pleasure that his presence at the convention brought together amongst the attendees was both heartwarming and powerful. Keep up that great recovery David!
I am just going to ‘cherry pick’ a few of my personal highlights from the event and due to space limitations have to leave much unsaid that I would love to have commented on more fully. I would be very re-miss if I didn’t begin with a big thank you to Marc DeSouza who was responsible for me being there. I first made Marc’s acquaintance many moons ago and it was a joy to catch up a little on all our mutual interests in magic. Marc and Mike Miller did a great job in assembling the talent for the convention.
The pre-convention excitement kicked of with a bonus lecture on Thursday night by Aldo & Rachel Colombino. The couple presented 80 minutes of really great magic, and created a lot of fun bantering between themselves throughout the event. They sold a bunch of product and during the next few days there was plenty of evidence that it was being practiced!
I particularly enjoyed getting to know Jimi Bizzaro a little better during the course of the convention. I had seen Jimi appear at Wonderground many times and was already a fan of his unique approach to comedy/visuals/magic. His lecture was really well planned and presented, it contained a great many unique and visually dazzling effects. I found myself lining up at his product table with cash in my hand and the goofy enthusiasm of a teenager.
Bizzaro’s performance in the Saturday night show was also a highlight. Commercial magic with a distinctive style and huge visual appeal make Jimi a man to watch for in years to come. He does a great job with what he performs and seems to have limitless potential for the future. If you haven’t discovered Bizzaro yet—it is high time you did, he is the real deal.
I was also delighted to catch Howard Hamburg’s lecture on Saturday, when he dazzled those present with his sleight of hand. As the framework for the magic he displayed, Howard told some great stories about the many world-class magicians he has counted amongst his close friends at the Magic Castle.
You have a lot to give when you have been the recipient of information from the likes of Dai Vernon, Bruce Cervon, Charlie Miller, Mike Skinner, Larry Jennings and Tony Giorgio. Howard shared tips and tricks in a warm and friendly manner that made him a real gem to all those attending the convention. It was great to see Howard during the convention, always to be found at a table holding a deck of cards and sharing his immense knowledge.
In this brief synopsis of the whirlwind convention I also want to mention how impressed I was with the ultra-smart and commercial work of Farrell Dillon who closed the show on Saturday night. Farrell combines great magic, a nice sense of humor and a gigantic likeability factor; these qualities are going to keep his name at the very top of our industry for many years to come.
It was a wonderful convention and I want to thank Kyle & Kelly Peron and everyone else who made it such as success. I really enjoyed both lecturing and performing for the convention. I had a lot of fun in both capacities!
My next convention is the 3 of Clubs in Vancouver…………..I can already taste that BC Indian food!