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Old 06-17-04, 11:39 PM   #1
nick nickolas
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Bunny Aussie Magic convention..A Review

Theo the Dutchman was showing me how to link squares of tissue, Spin Out the Clown was offering me a glass of wine and there was a gaggle of suits on their knees, eyes transfixed on hands manipulating cards.
It was the 29th Australian Magicians convention I was in the JIka Motel house bar one of 2 bars in the very dry suburb of Ivanhoe in Melbourne.

The gathering started off yesterday evening at the
Ivanhoe convention centre, 300 magicians from all over the world pitched their wits with Al Cappachino and his gang at the speakeasy.
Gangsters, pinstripes, violin cases and money wandered the room, a carnival of con men. There were Muscles,Shuffles,Brains,Knuckles,Fumbles and Matt the Knife all ready to test our skills.
I went up to Knuckles and flicked a coin over my fingers faster than him, he gave me a gun (no caps though)...Took out muscles with a 10 inch muscle pass, another gun! Where are the caps? Ahha I followed the crowd to Mack the Knife and the shooting gallery, this was where you had to scale cards and knock over the prizes.
I was ready to quit with half a dozen soft toys in my jacket and 2 packets of caps when the handcuffs were introduced,,,Try knocking those over Mack announced,,,I did, took the cuffs and with my sore wrist holding a Scotch on the rocks watched Al Cappachino perform his gangster act ..cigarettes and pin stripes all set to music...very good.

There was a close up mystery tour with 4 artists performing, Lawrence Leung was my favourite with his audio visual presentation of the history of the double lift.

Now I am not one for lectures too much, especially when I have had a few but I must say Tim Ellis and Sue-Anne provided some great ideas on new tricks and presentation.
It was now midnight and I had no way of getting home (I live on the other side of Melbourne). So I blagged a ride into the city with the young Asian contingent of this group, driving skills as sharp as their card work I am happy to say. I couldn’t go home yet.... my mind was still full of tricks and deceptions(or was that the Scotch)...
A couple more I say to myself well that was a costly venture. I met a bookie and he gave me a “certainty” 2.30 Flemington. I phoned a friend the next morning when I arose,he placed my bet.

Was scedualed to play at the All Aussie Show at 1.30 on the Saturday (one of 2 public shows ).
I performed my 10mins to a packed audience as did Anthony DeMasi, Cath Jamison, Sean Taylor, Sue-Anne Webster, Andrew Gill and Phil Cass.The crowd loved it and there was lots of thankyous and hand shaking at the end.
Unfortunately as is normally the case when you are in the show you don’t get to see much of the show. I had to laugh though when Phil Cass’s assistant and Duck Wrangler Phillippa (AKA Spin Out the Clown ) ran into the dressing room like a headless chook, cursing like a monkey looking for some dodgy box containing someone's valuable possession as Phil could be heard through the monitors calmly executing a rope routine.

There was a coffee break but no bar, one thing this convention had that no other I have attended has had was a lack of a house bar hang out place.
Off I went in search of a bar with Ulla my lovely girlfriend and generous driver.
The only bar in the kilometre strip was closed..on a Saturday afternoon!
So we settled for a breakfast and strong coffees.

Lectures were wrapping up everywhere when When we returned. Magicians with badges, programmes, ideas and card tricks all looking for somewhere to sit.

At 5.30 we were mustered into another room tables all set out, white linen, bottles of wine and cutlery. I pulled up a chair next to Phil Cass and a couple of the Sydney boys, I was enjoying my new flock of friends....Wine was drunk and soup was served, gags were played and laughter observed.
Then the movie ...wow how brilliant was it ...A computer generated fantasy story with sets of hands that change into swans, trees and well...bloody great job Felicity Rogers knockout.

Mains were served and quite a few more Vinos swallowed. Steve Walker started the presentation of the Doggie Awards. These were balloon dogs on bits of wood awarded to the most embarrassing performances, Two giant screens flanked Steve showing footage as he produced the running commentary.
I had to quietly exit the room as Ozzy Osbourne was to make an appearance.

Foundation eyeliner,tattoo’s and rings donned I entered the stage, stumbled confused, staring... I fell off a chair, cursed a bit and was escorted off by Tim Ellis. It was a moment... a definite moment.

A few more wines later and we were summonsed to the World Champions Stage Show.
This was the only full show I got to see and I must say how fantastic it was...Lee Eun-Gyeol a Korean manipulator and innovator doves,cards, cages and pyros, fast sharp and amazing Earl Shatford a top of the line juggler who received a standing ovation, Pablo Kusnetzoff, Harry Houdidn’t, watch steals and really crazy antics, Aldo Colombini very funny, dry and sarcastic, defiantly the biggest laughs and Norbert Ferre a world Champion Award winner, ball manipulation and a multi linguist.

Well after that a load of us ended up a the Jika bar. That is where I was watching Theo with his papers.
I said I’d vote for him in the “Best Trick “ Category. There were 8 categories in all and everyone at the convention was eligible although if you hadn’t performed on stage you’d have little chance of winning “Best Stage Act”.

Due to the amount of wine I had consumed there is a part of that night that reads like a blank canvass in my memory I remember talking to Phil & Spin Out and getting to know Jareck the man with $80 shirts, $200 earrings and lapels that would make concord envious.

Waking up on the couch the next day at noon, grey clouds in my head, leaves in my hair and a branch in my nose
The ‘phone rings.... ‘Your horse lost you owe me $50” my mate says on the other end. “It’s 12.00 I’m on stage in an hour” I reply before I hang up.
Ulla my lovely girlfriend and generous driver explains the previous evening to me as we drive to the gig.

The All Aussie Close-Up Show....we had to perform 4 times in 2 hours.. I was ready, loaded up with Tennis Balls and Cups.
It was daunting performing infront of magicians
but I changed my thinking to ...well a crowds a crowd...
It worked “ I know what you want to see....Tennis Ball!” had them well woken up and t I nailed ‘em with the final hat load....
I saw Peter Cook pull giant safety pins through his nose...weird!!! and Jonathan Rubel do an amazing & original card routine.

There was a couple of hours break where we could go into the dealers den ,,,
I wondered around looking at expensive props and colourful boxes and left with half a dozen packs of cards as did Jareck I found out later after he explained about the earring he lost last night...he agreed ....blank canvass....

Aldo Colombini had a lecture, he made me laugh and showed us all you don’t need big flashy props, a few pieces of rope, a couple of cards can be an act.

He also demonstrated how you can sell bits of rope and playing cards with photocopied instructions in a bag for the price it takes to feed an African family for a week.
I bought 2 joke books for $40 went to the dealers den and bought 50mtrs of rope for $20.

The banquet dinner and show was a hoot, Ulla and I sat at the back of the room with my old friend from NZ, B.J. a Clown and pyrotecnition, the young guy next to me Brendon was bouncing up and down trying to get the fairies attention on the next table to us. The Magic Store gang were taking photos of each other sprawled on the table in front. Close-up workers roamed the room, a full brass band took the stage as did P.T.Barnum and Peter Gray.
Chuck Fayne threw out gags and one liners as did Aldo. The steak was great, the fish a bit cardboardy.
Squeaks echoed around the room as the balloon twisting competition unveiled itself. 15 ft palm trees, giant dogs, motorcycles and multicoloured atoms filled the space, a prize was given out somewhere down the front.
Raffle tickets were sold and prizes were given out somewhere down the front.
We looked on sipping our Chardonnay.
A good time was had by all.


The final day was full of seminars and lectures which had finished when I arrived. There was a break for voting and for the dealers to move their excess stock.
Forms were handed in and hangovers compared as the merry throng gathered downstairs for the awards
Sue Anne Webster won Best stage act which unfortunately I didn’t see, Peter Cook most original concept, Best trick went to Simon Coronel, Pablo Kusnetzoff won most inspiring performer and yours truly won best close-up,best line, best moment and Most entertaining performer.
I must go now and build a shelf.....
Great Convention thanks to everyone who participated and especially to Tim Ellis and Sue-Anne Webster, the driving force.
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Last edited by nick nickolas; 06-18-04 at 01:41 AM.
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Old 06-18-04, 10:03 AM   #2
martin ewen
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Lurk LEGEND!

Thanks for that Nick, love reading your stuff, your someone else I'd love to follow round with a camera.
(Someone please buy me a camera)
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Old 06-21-04, 03:02 AM   #3
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Mime A bi-poloroid?

M,
What kind of camera are you looking into?


P.S. Nicky,nice work, what's a "double lift"?
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Old 06-21-04, 07:20 AM   #4
martin ewen
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well as its being given me price is no object, just anything I can plug into my mac and edit, I'm writing a book at the moment, 'An autobiography of head injurys.' consider a camera an investment in some percentage of whatever it realises.
anyway way off topic.
A double lift is a magicians technique for shoplifting, you in effect have to grab and conceal it twice. Regular shopliftings for plebs.
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Old 06-21-04, 10:57 AM   #5
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The whole lot oughta go straight to the pool room, Nick. Good on ya.
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