My first MAGIC Live two years ago was the best magic convention I'd ever been to. I returned to Las Vegas with high expectations, and this year's convention did not disappoint!
From the dealers room filled with big toys, making you feel like a little kid again, lectures from the best performers, creators and thinkers in magic, to the surprise shows featuring the world's finest acts, everyone goes that extra step at MAGIC Live, making it a convention like no other.
There were many incredible moments, but one which stands out for me was Johnny Thompson's lecture. One of the greatest dove magicians in the world, but also a top consultant, being an integral part of almost every Vegas magic show and having influenced most magicians on some level, I was lucky to see Johnny perform his act with his wife Pam (The Great Tomsoni & Co.) at the London Palladium back in 2008. After retiring the act in 2012, Johnny gave a lecture on his techniques for the second, and we were assured the final, time ever. One hour with one of my heroes I will never forget!
Being part of the MAGIC Live alumni (as I was an intern last time) has its perks! We got to have lunch with some of the stars of the convention, this year's being Justin Flom, Steve Valentine, and my biggest magical inspiration, Lance Burton!
One moment I'll never forget was Joanie Spina's transformation of Patrick Thernes. Through videos showing Patrick's progress, finishing with a live performance, it was amazing to see Patrick change from shy, unsure and a little uncomfortable to a performer with style, charisma and confidence. It just goes to show the difference direction can make, and no one does it better than Joanie.
There were many surprise performers, including the two 2012 World Champions of Magic. Yann Frisch, closed the Close-up Show with his unique performance. Yu Ho Jin closed the Gala Show with his breathtaking card manipulation routine. His performance was even more amazing considering he had recently suffered a terrible car accident, which he was still recovering from. A truly inspirational performer.
Xavier Mortimer is one of the most creative magicians I've ever seen! After hearing so much about him, it was awesome to finally meet him. His original routines are extremely magical and he thoroughly deserves his role in the new Cirque de Soleil production: Michael Jackson One.
One thing which the last MAGIC Live lacked was a proper finale to the convention. Well that was fixed this year with another surprise... After the final show, we entered a room with live jazz music playing on the stage. Stan Allen (edititor of MAGIC Magazine and producer of the convention) then introduced the final ever performance of the Great Tomsoni & Co, despite having retired the previous year! Performed to live backing from the musicians on stage, it is a moment that will stay with me forever. After the act, Lance Burton, Penn & Teller then came onto stage to thank Johnny for everything he has done for them and the world of magic. One of my favourite quotes ever from Penn can be heard here!
Whilst in Vegas, I also had a photo shoot with Homer Liwag. I've been a huge fan of Homer's work for a while now and am extremely happy with the results! Full album here. A few of my favourites are below :)