Friday, December 14, 2007

LA Conference Part 4

Friday, I get to go to dinner with Bob Higa, Mark Holstein, and Sue Holstein. These are old friends from home and I don’t see them often enough. They have all been very kind to me and good to my career for at least the last twenty years. After a few false starts, we end up at this wonderful Italian restaurant. One terrific meal and a fun waitress, who also was from the hometown Chicago area, later we wend our way back to the hotel and the evening program.

I like to sit in back. You give up very little in view. There is the advantage of being able to move about and talk a little when things get difficult. Luckily, with the night’s program, I wasn’t going anywhere.

Jules Fisher is a legend on Broadway. Eight Tony awards, many more nominations. He is arguably the best lighting director in the world. He is also an amateur magician and friend of Ricky Jay. He discusses the science and aesthetics of lighting. The thing that struck me is that while he did talk about certain technical issues, candlepower, red lighting for thread work; he spoke about lighting as feeling emotions. A wonderful concept for magicians.

Peter Lamont was one of the highlights of the last conference. He is a historian for the parapsychology unit at the University of Edinburgh. Look for his books; he has a light and humorous touch, which make for enjoyable reading. His talks take on that same quality. This year’s talk was on W. J. Vernon, a phrenologist, a mesmerist, and, finally, a radical political activist.

Mike Caveny finished the show in his typical easygoing manner. He performed Charles Carter’s Astral Hand and Einstein’s Problem. The Astral Hand is a rapping hand routine with predictable results. It fell flat and, probably deserved a more dramatic presentation. Einstein’s Problem is Carter’s version of the Million Dollar Mystery. It is a cool piece that plays more like a puzzle. I wonder if it has been talked about so much that, it just didn’t do much for me. Usually, Mike’s style is enjoyable, but it didn’t work with these pieces.

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