magic secrets revealed

From the monthly archives:

July 2009

FISM 2009 Contest winners so far….

July 31, 2009

Congrats to all of the winners!


General Magic won by Soma

Manipulation won by jointly Yo Kato & Han Seol-Hui

Stage Illusions – Julius Frack, Mental magic one disqualified for using stooge and
second Nicolai Friedrich

Parlour – Mark Oberon

Card Magic – Shawn Farquhar

Micro Magic – Vittorio Belloni

Thanks Vanni Pule for the info!


Click here for a list of all the
competitors (FISM web site)

FISM logo

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FISM Stage contest Day 5

July 31, 2009

By Crain Mitchell

July 30, 2009 at 09:58AM

It’s the final day of contests – and the past week is slowly beginning to take it’s


The end is in sight as we continue our search for FISM greatness.

1. Andost – General – USA

Vanishing lamp to book, color changing lightbulbs, lightbulb to cascade of sand (
beautifully visual ), airborne with sand ending with flashing disco lights. Felt that
something was ‘missing’ from the act.

2. Maia Jiang – Manipulation – China

Clad in black leather & bling, a high powered card manipulation routine including
jumbo cards along with flurries of multiple card fountains.

3. Xavier Tapias – General – Spain

Garbage guy … the creation of a ‘live’ character from pieces of trash strewn across
the floor complete with the coming to life of a ‘rubbish bin’ dog.

4. Kenneth Chan – General – Hong Kong

Set in a bar – appearing drinks, vanishing bottle to billiard balls, color changing
cigards, bill production, jumbo card manipulations, strange pictures of drinks on
printed cards ending with a horrible production of a girl from behind the table. Looking
at the girl as she moves into position is not very magical.

5. Liu Zihao – Manipulation – China

Dead pan expression as he went through the motions of the now standard card manipulation.

6. Soma – General – Hungary

Soma’s telephone booth act has been featured at many conventions of late and is a
beautifully executed act – with motivation. Every action, every effect is motivated
- from coin manipulation for the callbox to the multiply cellphones. It’s theatrically
complete and earned a well deserved standing ovation.

7. Han Seol-Hui – Manipulation – Korea

Another recipient of a standing ovation with CD manipulation. Featured at IBM SAM
if I recall.

8. Dion – Manipulation – Netherlands

‘Spanish dancer’ with candle productions, ball manipulation, fan productions

Timo Marc could not perform – his equipment having been detained at Chinese customs.

9. Elana Vok – General – Finland

Appearing canes, costume changes and a one-of-a-kind full frontal ‘Sharon Stone Basic
Instict’ flash !

10. Qu Lei – General – China

Set in a bamboo garden, appearing parasols, flowing streamers, unbelievable production
of parasols on one’s toes along with costume change.

11.Matsuda – Manipulation – Japan

Cards, card fans, billiard balls … I’m falling asleep. Some energy please.

12. Leriko – General – Russia

An undertaker wearing sequins with the production of a bizarre circus tent. Our undertaker
then produces little cardboard boxes and velcros them all to his costume ( why ? )
and then promptly takes them all of again ( why ? ) Best of all – our mystery tent
begins to ‘float’ off the ground ( please ignore the two legs protruding from the
tent holding it up )

13. Gomez – Manipulation – France

A high-energy act with great poential. At 17 years of age, one of the youngest competitors
I believe. M&M candy manipulation, growing M&M’s – color changing M&M’s
along with fast paced CD manipulation. Just need to watch sightlines / camera angles.

14. Lord of Darkness – Comedy – Germany

A much anticipated act that was not funny. Set in Transylvania, the act was red lighted
for being overtime. ( dear Dracula was blindfolded at the time – so was blissfully
unaware that the curtains had closed on him as he continued to perform … it was
the funniest part of the entire show )

Having watched ( and reviewed ) over 138 magic acts … the overall level has been
way down to previous FISMs. While the number of really bad acts has been eliminated
- we have been left with a general band of mediocrity and then very few new or stand-out
acts. I hope we can reverse this trend in future years.

It’s hard to believe but tomorrow is the last day for FISM China.

Friday’s programme features lectures by Lennart Green, Rocco, Miguel Puga along with
Rocco’s One Man Show, Awards Ceremony and Grand Prix finals.

Here’s the Marc Oberon lecture dvd, sorry rehearsal, being broadcast live :-)


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FISM Stage Contest

July 30, 2009

By Craig Mitchell

So we are back at it – bright & breezy Tuesday morning … I am amazed how many
are here for the early morning start.

Mike Close provides the musical accompaniment between acts – but FISM undoubtedly
needs the magical touch of Frank Wilson ( nothing could ever beat ‘magic all over
the world’ ;-)

Looking back – still no stand out acts … we’re still searching for the ‘one’ that
just screams ‘winner’


1. Wang Qimo – Illusions – China

A massive projection screen heralds the arrival of the purple-pants wearing illusionist.
Picture sim-city style animation which has a little car racing about on the screen.
The digital car zooms about and then the funniest looking plastic, gimmicky car drives
on from stage left. Uhmmm – sorry to burst the bubble – but driving the car on from
the side of the stage isn’t exactly magical. Our display of fake plastic vehicles
continued as we had an animated helicopter appear on screen … the digital helicopter
descends ( and thankfully there was a magical transformation here ) and a ‘real’ helicopter
appears. Perhaps helicopters look different in China – this one was positively flat
with the smallest rotor imaginable.


2. Siebensinn – General Magic – Germany

A dramatic story driven act revolving around the theme of the puzzle of life – and
a puzzle in which larger and larger pieces are added while still remaining the same
size ( one of those acts you would have needed to see ) Deep.

3. Roman Burenkov – Comedy – Russia

Comedy which wasn’t funny. A cooking routine ( warning sign already ) If you want
to perform at FISM please don’t bring your dove pan and milk pitcher with.

4. Trond Hagen – Manipulation – Norway

At last – our FIRST DISQUALIFICATION … the infamous red light takes its toll as
the curtains closed early on this poor performer. WIth visible steals and bulging
pockets – the act was no where near FISM standard ( but then those are always the
most memorable )

5. Jiang Qiuwei – General – China

Flowers. Feather flowers. Spring Flowers. More flowers. A paddle move with a leaf
( the things we hanker after ) A blossomming tree – less is more – and thousands of
delightful flowers.

6. Tony Montana – Mentalism – Argentina

Tim Ellis was up on stage as one of Tony’s volunteers in a strange and confusing act
with predicted pictures of watches, a photo prediction with no motivation and a final
prediction in a clear transparent tube. Why ?

7. The Tramp – General – Switzerland

Attention spanned wanes during the tramp’s act which suffered from poor pacing. Fire
to pocket watch, bill productions, restored newspaper and zombie lite.


8. Avon Lee – General – Hong Kong

Another Lee Eun Gyeol with pulsating music, doves, vanishing canes, dropped candles
… nothing that hasn’t been seen.


9. Yo Kato – Manipulation – Japan

A crowd favourite with color changing wands, appearing wands, vanishing wands, thimbles
and more. Very slick that received a partial standing ovation.

10. Liao Xiarun – General – China

A traditional Chinese archer featuring some non-traditional magic including the ‘we
make the mask disappear by putting it behind our back’ trick along with my favourite
the ‘appearing fishing pole that was on the floor all along’ illusion

11. Nicolai Friedrich – Mentalisn – Germany

Nicolai themes his act around the emotional importance of pictures. A volunteer places
a photo inside a stack of envelopes which are distributed amongst the audience. Nicolai
then divines name of the person, personal details, location of the photo etc.


12. Jei Min – Illusions – Korea

Our illusionist dons a ‘plastic Elvis wig’ and in full Elvis costume – dances to the
strains of Chubby Checker’s Let’s Twist Again. Why ? A zombie guitar & guitar
broomstick suspension follows with a production of a man dressed as a woman from a
very flimsy cage. Why ? We are still not sure. Saving grace – a beautiful levitation
at the end.

13. Alan – Manipulation – Taiwan ( or as renamed at FISM Chinese Taipei )

Cards to silk, fans, billiard balls, color changing fans, fan two confetti and a color
changing table.


14. Berk Eratay – Mentalism – Turkey

Sponsored by Joan Caesar – I need to ask whether Joan actually watched this act before
choosing to sponsor it ? Anyone following the reports would know that Sue-Anne Webster
has become one of the de facto volunteers at FISM — and has already suffered at the
hands of some pig-headed magicians who think it entertaining to provide electric shocks
to their volunteers. Well – it was Sue-Anne’s turn again. In a bizarre Hannibal Lecter
style routine, Sue-Anne is provided with a voodoo doll and stabs it in various places.
Mr Lecter is supposed to illustrate where he gets stabbed – but points to all the
wrong places. In part 2, Sue-Anne becomes the victim of the doll – and gets shocked
multiple times. What is wrong with these people ?

15. PJ Wen – General Magic – Taiwan

Set in a bedroom, we have lightbulb to liquid to mirror glasss ( yes mirror glass
at FISM ) Appearing pink underwear ( he wanted to show us that he was wearing them
) and appearing flowers and girl.

And so ends the stage contest on Tues 28 July.

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FISM Close up Tuesday

July 30, 2009

By Craig Mitchell


PHOTOS BY PETER DINWell – it turns out that China is worried about fire regulations
after all. Guards are now posted at all the doors keeping the throbbing masses at
bay ( literary device alert: hyperbole )letting only the maximum 360 or so people
in. Don’t mess with the guards:

1. Charming Choi – Parlour – Korea

Charming Choi has been a regular at quite a few magic events of the years with a personality
all his own. Sue-Anne Webster reprises her role as our official volunteer ( thankfully
no shock therapy today ) and partakes in a strange DVD prediction effect involving
XXX titles and Disney favourite – The Little Mermaid. Thankfully the Little Mermaid
made it and Charming Choi performs cups & balls under water in a fishtank ending
in a cascade of goldfish.

2. Daly Tang – Micro – China

3 coin trick, appearing / vanishing cards to music ending with a card spread with
a piano design on the backs.

3. Martin Lubcke – Cards – Germany

The tuxedo should have been the first clue that things were headed downhill. A signed
card is supposedly meant to be discovered within a frozen icecream – but with the
load painfully obvious and the performer appearing somewhat ‘touched’ or ‘extreme’
as he would like to say – this was just strange.

4. Nektarios – Micro – Greece

Recorded voice-overs of imaginary telephone conversations appear to be a new trend
this year – and a warning of things to come. Pips vanished from cards, we had a matrix
with smiley faces, smiley face cards and smiley face t-shirt. Why ?

5. Sho Arai – Cards – Japan

Set to music – pips appeared on cards, the card box along with some stage style card
manipulation. Yawn.

6. Rod Chow – Parlour – Canada

The money man who takes a theme to the n-th degree. Pay cheque to cash notes – notes
to Amex – gold card to gold bar with appearing diamond ring and a drop of his production
load on the floor. Unfortunately the novelty fast wears off and becomes repetitive.

7. Ramon Rioboo – Cards – Spain

A non-English speaking performer trying to speak English which makes things very difficult.
Signed card to pocket, cards stapling themselves in a ‘homing card’ style routine
and few other things which failed to make my notebook.

8. Kif – Cards – China

Three cards are selected and in an apparent memorisation of the deck, the performer
works out the missing cards – with the aid of ‘Super Mints’ and orchestra of toy trumpet,
drum and tambourine. How ridiculous do we get.

9. Charlie Caper – Parlour – Sweden

As winner of Sweden’s Got Talent, the pressure was on ( the full act is available
on YouTube ) But Charlie wasn’t on form – dropping his vanishing cane and bowtire
steal clearly visible on the big screens. In one of the funniest sequences though
- Charlie had added an extension cord to his chair in honour of inviting Sue-Anne
‘electricity’ Webster onto stage.

10. Min Hyung Kim – Cards – Korea

Color changing liquid amidst a 4 ace discovery to the sound of Michael Jackson’s ‘Dangerous’
with crowd singalong. Complete with Barbie doll. Bizarre.

11. Mago Bruno – Micro – Peru

The telephone rings and an imaginary conversation ensues ( warning signs flash all
over ) Repetitive and predictable with ‘jumbo’ pocket watches replacing buttons on
his jacket, manipulating giant thread and needles and the not so magical production
of a ligher from a table.

12. Ryu Hyun Min – Cards – Korea

Dressed in a bright red bow tie and waist coat, the performer could easily pass for
6 years of age. 3 card monte with appearing deck of cards, signed card in pocket in
envelope amidst general confusion.

13. Yves Doumergue – Parlour – France

The act that literally had everyone wide awake and at the edge of their seats. 3 volunteers
are brought onstage and requested to selected a dynamite looking firecracker. 4 are
real and one is a dud ( he lights one to prove it – literally shaking the CNCC convention
centre to its core with an enormous bang ) The volunteers each take one – the last
spectator inadvertently providing the magician with incorrect information as to what
number he has selected. With the magician now reaching for one of the remaining sticks
( using incorrect information as to what sticks remain ) – he places it in his mouth
and begins to light it. Some members of the audience are horrified – not knowing whether
to intervene to prevent a ghastly accident. A scream is heard and the magician’s face
is covered in blood … he had planned it all and knew exactly which one to choose.

To be honest, I felt very guilty. I should have been deeply concerned about this poor
human being about to disfigure his face by accident in the name of entertainment -
but thought, wow, this is going to make for such a great story. Oh – the human compassion.

fism1 Judges
- Dick Koornwinder, Tim Ellis ( did you know that according to the FISM brochure he’s
a Grand Prix Champion ) & Boris Wild – had their hands full !

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