There are magic conventions, conferences, summits and gatherings. My fellow peers, there is only one Magicpalooza!
This past May 12th – 14th, 2017, Magicpalooza presented the first Florida Close-Up/Parlor Conference and Competition. Florida’s state bush, the traffic cone, surrounded the conveniently located Sheraton Orlando North in the middle of Orlando road construction.
That did not stop the record breaking attendees to one of the, finest, intimate, and the most “bang for your buck” conventions in the South. Co-Producers, Benjamin Mason and Dan Stapleton, continued to warp the rules of the common convention with new and exciting features. Registration for this three day event was only $99.00! Any youth 12 years old or under were free! The Dealers Room was free and open to anyone, even if you were not registered, for the entire convention! Over $2500.00 in cash prizes plus beautiful trophies were enticing the contestants who vied for the awards in the competition!
But wait … there’s more.
Again, Magicpalooza presented their exclusive magic magazine give-away. Over 1,000 Linking Ring, Genii, Magic, Tops, Magic Manuscript, MUM, and others were available to anyone and everyone. Do you know what’s so cool about the folks who come to Magicpalooza? There was no rushing, hoarding, or other bad vibes. All got their share and some magazines were still left over!
Still want more? OK … the raffle, banquet, full liquor bar, exclusive dealers, Benjamin Mason, and the TALENT! A huge Magicpalooza exclusive was bringing two time FISM winner John Cornelius out of retirement for a special “Evening With John Cornelius”. He did not disappoint. His creative genius shared many stories and strong ideas. You needed to witness his poker chip prediction. It is a modern version of an old classic and it was terrific. He received a well-deserved standing ovation! What a way to start the weekend!
The next two days were stuffed with 8 creative lectures, 2 outstanding main shows, 1 nail-biting Close-Up competition, and 2 packed forums. Some of the best minds in the magic universe shared their thoughts and creativity. They were Jon Armstrong, Brent Braun, Chastain Criswell, Dan Fleshman, Antony Gerard, Paul Hallas, Kostya Kimlat, and Dan Stapleton. Each one presented a distinctive and personalized lecture that showcased their idiomatic characteristics toward the art of magic. Individually or collectively, these lectures were worth the price of registration alone.
Greg Solomon held the first forum covering the popular, yet complicated, venue of Restaurant And Strolling Magic. His 20+ years working many restaurants have been the genesis of several routines and a career full of valuable tips and real-world experience. Dan Stapleton hosted the Penn & Teller Fool Us forum which featured 6 stars from the show: Jon Armstrong, Brent Braun, Jimmy Ichihana, Jafo, Kostya Kimlat, and Nathan Coe Marsh.
The best part of this was that some of these stars had even yet to appear on the show! Not only did some of them already have their spots featured on the internet or YouTube, but we also had the anticipation of seeing the rest on upcoming episodes. The panel fielded a zillion questions and gave us all a great glimpse of the behind the scenes workings of the show.
Saturday night’s main show MC’s were Jim Moody and Dennis Phillips. Both polished and professional. They introduced us to some amazing individuals: Chastain Criswell, Mark Fitzgerald, Dan Fleshman, Paul Hallas, Jafo, Kostya Kimlat, and Jim Vines. Three words summed up the evening … incomprehensible, inconceivable, and incredible.
Yep, that covers it. You should have been here to see for yourself.
Sunday night’s main show was the pièce de résistance to an outstanding weekend. Right after the luscious banquet, we were in the delightful presence of Jon Armstrong, Antony Gerard, and Nathan Coe Marsh. In addition, as if they weren’t enough, we got to see the top 3 contest winners perform their award-winning act. The competition was, indeed, a nail-biter. The scores have never been closer. 1st Place – Mark Cook took the main prize of $1000.00 and a beautiful trophy for his inventive routine. 2nd Place – Jimmy Ichihana’s unbelievable talent got him $500.00 and a gorgeous trophy. 3rd Place – John Dahlinger rounded out the amazing contributions to receive $250.00 and a stunning trophy. Whew!
An added bonus to the experience was being able to rub elbows with other top talent magicians attending. Terry Ward, Michael Ammar, Giovanni Livera and many other guys were approachable, genial, and were willing to hang with you, give pointers and jam till the early hours doing close-up.
Another successful Magicpalooza is in the books. Keep a lookout when Magicpalooza will again, present the Florida State Magic Convention in 2019.
See you then,