Sorry JDEN, I didn't think to do so. But it was pretty much your typical stock shot from XB - just in the middle of introductions of jolly looking men, and then suddenly, a shot of hands and rings, lol.
I loved Eric Mead's talk. I think it was brilliant. Of particular interest was when he mentioned that unequivocally, flourishes diminish the impact of magic. Equally, however, it is also interesting to see him say that he places no value judgment on displays that lean towards either skill or magic - but merely that one should be aware that this is the case, and seek a balance of the two that suits and satisfies them.
To paraphrase - Sleight of hand is synonymous with an explanation, with a method. Therefore displays of skill, which hint at sleight of hand, immediately and automatically diminish the magic of a routine. Again, no value judgment involved. I am inclined to agree.
Here were my thoughts on the first session (I wrote it before and partially during Session 2)...
Alright the first session ended about an hour ago, and Session two is about to start! The first session was AWESOME. I was fooled by everyone who presented. First Luis welcomed us all, introduced us to the people there, and said thanks, etc. Then Eric Mead took the stage and talked about the difference in skill magic and magic that actually looks like magic. He demonstrated this with four different -styled Ace Productions and then doing a great coin routine. Max Maven was Eric assistant on one of the ace productions and he didn't follow one of Eric's instructions (He shuffled instead of just cutting). Eric recovered remarkably and it was great to see how Eric handled it.
Next Ponta the Smith did some UNBELIEVABLE coin magic and ring on string effects. It was just incredible. There were a few tiny flashes, but I still didn't have a clue how he was accomplishing what he was doing.
(The session is starting as I'm writing this!) Then Dani DaOrtiz presented and spoke about attitude and card magic. He demonstrated his version of the classic force which is fantastic, and he also taught a GREAT effect which allows you to convince your spectator that any deck they give you is marked. It fooled me...BADLY. (We're in the middle of Session 2, so I'm writing this sparingly, Session 2 is AMAZING as well.)
Anyway, I'm having a great time! Back to Session 2...
Topas was the host of this session and he did a great job. Gaeton Bloom's talk was basically him showing all these CRAZY awesome ideas and tricks he has come up with and talking about how you can be more creative. I, and the rest of the people in the chat, were just raving about it (Actually I still am!). He was so energetic and he showed so many great effects. A really smart solution to Ring Flight, his Inexhaustible Sponge effect, a separation of iced tea and ice, etc. It was awesome.
Then Helder did a performance of his "Invisible Thread" routine which was excellent. The camera caught a flash just because it was at a strange angle, but the spectator didn't catch it at all. Great performance, and I was fooled yet again by him.
Stan Allen gave SO MUCH great advice, I couldn't even begin to summarize it. Seriously, he said a huge amount of very practical applicable stuff that you can actually use. I really loved this talk and I can assure you I will watch it again and take lots of notes when it becomes available.
Marco Tempest did a performance with his Magic Projection System. Basically he interacts with stick people on this screen that he is holding. It was impressive, entertaining, and had a nice little story to it. Very cute performance.
Barry and Stuart then gave a lot of good advice as well. They talked about getting away from the "Dealer's Drip" and becoming more original. They were very entertaining, as well (One gag they did at the beginning just made me crack up). Lots of good stuff that I'll have to revisit.
Carlos Vaquera, somebody who I had never heard of, performed a card routine and then a coin routine. It was pretty forgettable IMO and it was the first thing of this conference that I wasn't too excited by (Which is actually very incredible). Some words to describe his performance; a flurry of confusing actions that were sometimes magical.
Next there was a panel discussion between Cyril, Marco Tempest, Max Maven, David Britland, and Luis De Matos. They talked about how to be successful on TV, how the internet could be used to your advantage, what the point of performing on TV is, whether camera tricks should be used, trends to look for if you want to perform on TV, etc. All in all, it was a good discussion with a lot of insight and experience.
Finally Gazzo did a, um, well strange performance. He came out, did a few gags, then started to do a 14-phase ambitious card routine. It was obviously supposed to be funny since Barry and Stuart had made a reference to 14-phase ACR's earlier, but it was just boring. He barely talked at all during it and there was no laughter or reactions from the magicians there, so it was awkwardly silent. I was looking forward to seeing Gazzo perform what he's known for, so this was pretty disappointing. Quite an awkward way to end the 2nd session, BUT the rest was excellent.
Session 3 Starts in about 10 minutes! This will be the last one that I can watch live (although I won't even get to watch the whole thing). Hopefully Adam will be able to fill you guys in on anything that you want to know about the next two days!
Thanks for that. I logged off after the first session because of the time difference (subsequent session started at 3AM). Looking forward to catching up. I agree with your thoughts about the first session though. Eric Mead is just incredible. He oozes knowledge and mastery of the art.
My computer lagged a little during Ponta's routine, but it was pretty good. Some of his coin handling reminded me of the way Jean Pierre Vallerino handles cards. The DaOrtiz effect was good, and very clever, but it was his talk about attitude that really rocked, and his demonstration of the classic force (I thought the effect itself was remarkably clever, but lacked a strong definitive ending - it would be better placed as a longer middle phase of an existing routine, imo, not to take anything away from it). His two person force was brilliant, although I'm not sure that my personality suits what he does - he's like a bigger version of Juan Tamariz, you can definitely see the influence there, and his broken English helped as well.