The equivalent of the 'magic olympics', FISM is a huge event which takes place every three years. Named after the organising society (The Fédération Internationale des Sociétés Magiques - International Federation of Magic Societies), having been to FISM Blackpool in 2012, I knew the drill - lots and lots of magic! This time it was held in Rimini, Italy, so there was a little more sunshine than before!
The main event is the competition. Nothing compares to being part of a room full of magicians being fooled by something new! As soon as Hector Mancha took to the stage, you knew you were seeing something special. He simply made money appear from empty hands!! He went on to be crowned the World Champion of Stage Magic - well deserved. Full results here.
In any show featuring variety performers, no matter how good the magic, it's not unusual for the juggler to be the one we're all talking about afterwards! Michael Moschen is so much more than a juggler. A true creator, he is one of the most plagiarised artists in the world! It was fascinating to hear the work behind his pieces and how when he began, the copying didn't bother him as no one else had his creative process. However as time went by, it did start to get to him when he saw so many others doing the moves he had spent his life creating. Michael told an amazing story of seeing a juggler performing his work for thousands of orphans. He simply went up to the performer and said "thank you" as he felt that his work had "finally achieved its purpose". Jugglers often steal the show, but hearing Michael speak was the most inspirational lecture I've ever been to.
If you've never heard of Michael before, watch this now!!
Other FISM highlights:
Magus Utopia - if you want big magic that's also theatrical, no one does it better. They won the Stage Illusion title in 2012, and just keep getting better!
Raymond Crowe is an absolute hero. He tailored his signature shadow routine for the convention, making it even more magical! See his shadow routine here.
Yu Ho-Jin won the stage title back in 2012 and amazingly, he's still working on his act and it gets better every time I see it! In his lecture, he explained how he practices and demonstrated one technique he uses - performing to random pieces of music. After asking for a suggestion from the audience, he performed the opening of his act to 'Gangnam Style', a wonderful moment!!
Luke Jermay knows what you're thinking. Simple as that!
Xavier Mortimer is insanely talented. One of those rare people who does everything (he composed and played the music which accompanies his performances), everything he does is on another level.
Rob Zabrecky's show is a masterclass in performing as a character. Dark, mysterious and hilarious, as well as extremely magical, you can't help but love him.
David Berglas is a living legend. Interviewed by his son Marvin, it's always great to hear David's stories. David finished by performing a mathematical routine. Normally I dread any magic trick which starts with getting numbers chosen, but in true Berglas fashion, David made it absolutely impossible!
One final 'highlight' was being chosen to help on stage by a mind reader in the competition. I went up, had a choice of six seats and sat down. About half way into the performance, I felt what seemed to be a drip on my leg. I look up to see a dove directly above me in the lighting rig, then look back down and immediately realise what had happened... My friend next to me then realised and we spent a painful few minutes trying to compose ourselves, not to ruin the act! Of all the people it could have happened to, the best prediction was that I would sit in that seat!!
FISM 2018 will be held in Busan, South Korea. I've already booked my ticket! See you there?