Okay, it took me a couple of days to recover from Collectors', but here are some thoughts and reviews. Better late than never.
The Magic Collectors' did not have any events, but Chicago's own Knights of Sleights put on their annual flea market. Auctions seem to be all the rage. Thankfully, the Knights (in an effort for full disclosure, I am a member-at-large.) stuck to tradition and organised a wonderful event. I look forward to this Wednesday every year because it is a social event. I see people that I may only see once a year. Oh, and there is good stuff to buy, too.
Check in, Dealer rooms open, It seems like much less dealers than I remember. I look longingly at all the things I can't afford. The Jay Marshall auction previews begin. I look longingly at all the things I'll never afford. In the evening, Richard Kaufman spoke on the book Greater Magic. Most of what he said could be found in the introduction of the book itself. He never said the only words I wanted to hear: "reprint". Jim Steinmeyer gave his customary professional talk on Amac, Jarrett, and historical notables.
I start off the program with a talk on the new discoveries I made concerning Spirit Medium Carrie M. Sawyer, the star of my book, EXPOSED! The Untold Story of Harry Kellar and The Tribune Spook Cases. (I have only 10 books left out of the 100 I printed. I will not be printing it again. When I promise a limited edition I mean it.) The talk went well. Better than my first talk in LA, I was much more comfortable this time. Transplanted Chicagoan David Parr Followed me with a wonderful talk about rediscovering your own magical past. Digging up some of his earliest magic books and finding what made him love magic in the first place. After lunch, Michael Claxton, a researcher after my own heart, waded through 150 years of Punch magazine collecting everything on magic. He covered the first 75 years in his lightly entertaining talk. David Charvet returned with an updated talk about Alexander and new version of his Alexander book from Mike Caveney's Magic Words company. David Avadon spoke in support of his book, Cutting up the Touches, from Squash Publishing. (the event organiser, Gabe Fujari's company.) This was one of the low points of the weekend when he clearly could not handle the speaking assignment, especially odd considering he just wrote a book on the subject. In the evening, Chicagoan Lee Levin spoke on two newly discovered Houdini window cards. I wrote about this subject previously, check my archives. John Carney spoke and performed his take on three magical marvels. Filling in for the recovering Max Maven, David Ben recounted a few anecdotes and introduced a Canadian documentary on Max. What didn't help is the singles party next door blasting their music to constant distraction.
Woke up in time for the Jay Marshall auction. Spent $140 on a small picture album of Chicago stage performers. Over all most items went for much more than thought. I one piece I really wanted went to my friend, Dave Odette. Who will now be known as That Bastard. The evening show featured local juggler Andy Head, who did a nice turn. Andy is an incredible juggler, but not nearly as entertaining as he could be. David Avadon surprisingly did not perform pickpocketing. I thought that was what he did. He performed a newspaper tear and a spirit cabinet stunt in which he, while tied up, ends up wearing a spectator's coat. David only cannot speak his own speech, but can't perform his own act. Again Chicagoan and life long friend of Guest-of-Honor Jim Steinmeyer, Bob Higa performed classic manipulations well and had Jim introduce three of own illusions while Bob performed them.
The final result was a good, but not great or special convention. I was happy to see it back in Chicago. It is our continuing shame that the is not a regular convention in Chicago.
Finally, I got to spend time and meals and excessive cocktails with David Parr, Dan Mindo, P.T. Murphy, Arthur Trace, Gordon Meyer, Jon Stetson, Dave Odette, Jim Steinmeyer, Tim Felix, Rodger Dreyer, Bill Kalush, John Carney, Graham Putnam, Jim Alferson, and probably a few others that I can't remember. All of these guys engaged each other in a few days of interesting talk and hilarious stories.
I wouldn't trade that for anything.
Maybe the convention was pretty special, after all.