That's me in the photo. Or maybe a crash-test dummy in a black suit. It's hard to tell.
The day before yesterday our local chapter of the Magic Circle / IBM (International Brotherhood of Magicians) Ring 66 (Calgary/Southern Alberta) held its annual close-up and parlour magic competition. We do this every year (hence the term 'annual') and this time myself and two others were roped in to help Yeats with the organising. By 'help' I mean 'trip over each other'; Yeats is superbly efficient and really doesn't need assistance, but we thought it would look good to have more than one name on the committee list.
Three judges this year - two magicians and one lay-person (radio DJ Erin Chase). We've tried up to six judges in the past but adding up the scores was like working out how to split a hefty restaurant bill between cheap people who don't like each other. So we streamlined. Three judges. Enough. Two magicians to drool over a nice double-lift-top-change-Ernase-diagonal-palm-shift, and one lay-person to go 'Ooh, looks like magic!'
Which reminds me of a joke. How many magicians does it take to change a lightbulb? Five. One to change the lightbulb, and four to say, "I could do that."
I spent most of the two hours backstage herding magi so I missed most of the show but I saw enough to know that the standards have gone up of late, with more well-rehearsed technical manipulation going on. There were some nice routines which had obviously been well-planned. And the pre-event promo paid off - we had a respectably large audience.
Shortly before the show I discovered two of the Japanese competitors locked in a bathroom stall together, chattering away and attempting to get rigged up. I couldn't see but it sounded like one was putting on a body-harness and stuffing a badger into a sleeping bag. I might be wrong though.
Whatever he was doing, it was worth it: Atsushi Ono placed first. I placed second and I'm pleased with that - Atsushi's routine was superb, and mine was...less so, though apparently it wasn't too bad considering it was a brand new routine never done in public before. (That's how we roll out here. Life on the edge.)
For the curious, I did a ten-card multiple-selection routine (ten cards selcted by various audience members, deck shuffled and cards found...in pockets, in wallets, flying out of the deck etc.)
Three months to go before our big fundraiser public show. I learned last night I'll be producing the show.