As I type this Debbie and I are on a flight back from Portugal. Three years ago a friend of ours, the great Portuguese magician Luis de Matos, had an idea about an online convention. He teamed up with the astonishing Marco Tempest and the writer/creator David Brittland to bring to life something called the Essential Magic Conference.
At his own expense he flew in the most knowledgeable performers and thinkers from around the world to lecture and demonstrate all aspects of this incredibly wide theatrical art. All of those participating did it for free, but Luis, who had built his own fabulous studio and workshop, funded flights and hotels and catering and technical staff.
This year we were broadcasting on the internet to 70 countries and all of those who registered then received live access to the shows and will receive very high quality DVDs of the event.
The names that you might know in magic that took part this year were Derren Brown, Dynamo, David Blaine, Teller (and yes, he did talk) and David Berglas. Everyone else was very well known within the world of magic and some well known within their own countries.
The quality of the lectures/talks/demos was extra-ordinarily high and the banter and the swapping of ideas amongst these masters of their varying crafts off camera was mind boggling. If I dare to pick one out the biggest surprise was watching the card work of Daniel Madison and Dani Ortiz. But then there was Topaz, and Gaetan Bloom and Tina Lenert….. and it went on and on and on.
One of the off air discussions was about the puzzle as to why more of the internet generation didn’t log on. I offered that they believe they can get magic for free on the internet and that is so true… what they don’t know is how bad that magic is, not just in content but in presentation. The kids point a camera at themselves and do a trick… and it’s AWFUL. If any of you reading this think that is the way to present magic then heaven help the audiences.
I don’t know if Luis de Matos will sell the DVDs to non-registrants but if he will, buy them because there was an unbelievable amount of magical thinking out there.