The 42nd International Magic Convention

15, 16th 17th November 2013, London

Reported by Roberto Forzoni

Main Photos by Arto Airaksinen

Lu Chen photo by MagicWeek



Evening Events

Tonight saw the opening show with Noel Britten compering – Noel has got to be on special batteries – he has been absolutely not-stop all week and on top form too.

Patrick Kuffs kicked off the 2013 Convention with his amusing French-Canadian (more French than Canadian) accent - this guy is funny and has a real creative approach to his performance. The Fat Brothers followed with Christian Engblom, Miguel Angel Gea and Dani DaOrtiz combining to simply blow away the audience with some seriously good sleight of hand and mind magic – coins, cards and memory were toyed with as these masters demonstrated what a lonely childhood could lead to! Each performed on their own to the pleasure of the opening audience.

The late evening lecture was by Miguel Angel Gea – this was well attended considering the time, and those who stayed were not disappointed but left mesmerised with some really creative variations of a matrix effect, along with various card and coin routines.


The International Magic Convention Close up Competition

Martin Rowland compered an excellent, high quality and extremely creative close-up competition. Well done to all contestants

1. Ludovic Julliot (France): A theatrical Godfather-base set demonstrating a delightful Matrix routine ending with a note production
2. Chris Wood (UK): A clever set of routines with two spectators which included coins through table, an amusing dice routine and a find a card routine
3. Patrick Lehnen (Germany): Excellent display of electronic/remote control card magic (you had to be there) with a really funny interlude when electronics went wrong! – great audience response
4. Mario Lopez (Spain): A creatively funny and skilfully executed cigarette routine including cigarettes through table!
5. Peter Woerde (Netherlands): An excellent display of card manipulation in a gambling type routine done by a spectator in a real amusing way
6. Horret Wu (Taiwan): Another delightful display of card magic with a spectator – using both regular and jumbo size cards
7. Isidor Olsbjork (Sweden): A nice coin routine with a variety of productions and vanishes set to music
8. Dave Forrest (UK): A mind reading parlour-type piece ending with a delightful prediction
9. Marcus Gorden (UK): Demonstrated various card cheating routines with two spectators
10. Jon Armstrong (USA): With the help of two assistants and a plunger he demonstrated some remarkable tricks, ending with a phone number devination
11. Adrian Vega (Spain): a great ending to the show with an interactive creative Spanish style cards effects
The results were announced on Sunday (see below)

Afternoon Star Lectures

Three cracking lectures today, standing ovations, packed dealer rooms, mad rush to buy Danny DaOrtiz stock after his lecture and Andy Nyman selling his cool magic (he should be banned from selling this stuff…its too good). What a great day at International Magic Convention.

Patrick Kuffs: Lecture – from the creative mind of Patrick Kuffs

Charlie Frye: A fantastic lecture – his section on practical small tricks was really really good giving loads of small ideas on ice-breaker type magic and gags – some very practical stuff and in Charlie’s style very, very funny! And a deserved standing ovation

Dani DaOrtiz: The theatre was filling up some time before this eagerly awaited lecture. Opened with ACAAN effects that brought the house down


An Evening of Bar Magic: What a cool idea and a great venue. Some of the shows best lecturers and friends spend an evening showing some real workers in a ‘real venue’ to magicians and laymen alike. The place was buzzing and applause echoed from every corner. I saw DaOrtiz amaze, Miguel Angel Gea stun and Jon Armstrong absolutely blow people away with some truly stunning magic ‘in the real world’ – an incredible evening

John Carney: The Late Show
What a way to end Saturday. An evening show from the legend John Carney.

All in all International Magic have pulled it off again. Fantastic day, great venue, terrific lectures, a packed dealer room and good friends all over. What could be better… A magical day and night.


Christian Bischof Lecture “Success Factors – How to make your act more emotionally and aesthetically appealing”

Another eagerly awaited lecture introduced by Ian Rowland.

After opening with two strong Mentalism effects Christian spoke about his model of performance. which he is in the process of putting in his new book; he spoke of three areas of performance –the Trick – the Setting and the Performer and continued to break each concept down into sub components and related that back to his own performance. He also explained the opening two effects using model. Christian emphasised the importance of music and demonstrated to the amusement of the audience how he cued his own music (Christian uses a software developed by a friend in Germany and he used a variety of body sensors to cue music including a toe switch for a totally hands free start - available form

Close-Up Competition Results

1st Prize Mario Lopez (Spain)
2nd Prize Patrick Lehnen (Germany)
3rd Place Peter Woerde (Netherlands)


with Awards of Merit presented to
Isidor Olsbjork (Sweden)
Jon Armstrong (USA)
Adrian Vega (Spain)

Close-Up Gala

A truly superb close-up gala show compered by John Archer in his inimitable style
Opening was Peter Woerde (Netherlands) another great display of card gambling technique; with over 28 years experience – probably more close-up gigs than any one – Terry Ward (USA) with his excellent 3-shell game; Charlie Frye brought the house down (again) with a superb performance. Next up someone who has won more Magic Castle awards than anyone else alive, John Carney. Next up was singer musician, actor, auctioneer, and twice-voted Magic Castle Stage Magician of the Year, Rob Zabrecky with his air of mystery. Next up two of the Fat Brothers Dani DaOrtiz, Miguel Angel Gea and Christian Engblom did what I can only describe as a Harlem Globetrotter (apologies to young readers) display of real magic – what a display. What a Gala!!

Afternoon Star Lectures

Sos & Victoria lecture on their fast costume change act. These superb artists revealed more than just the secrets of their acts. Brilliant stuff. Check out for more info.

Christian Engblom
ended the lecture sessions by opening with a lovely performance and explanation of his Oil and Water routine, followed by a display utilising his Cooler device. Very devious.

David Berglas International Magic Award to Lu Chen

David Berglas: A true highlight of the International Magic Convention is late Sunday afternoon when one of our heroes, the International Man of Mystery, David Berglas, makes an award to someone who has made a very special contribution to magic. Before presenting the Award David paid special thanks to Noel Britten for organising the Convention

Past winners of the David Berglas Award have included Derren Brown, Juan Tamariz, Uri Gellar, David Copperfield and Jeff McBride. Tonight’s prestigious award went to Lu Chen.

Lu has worked in front of 1 billion people on TV specials – four times! He mentioned how nervous he was before each of these shows because he felt he just could not make any mistake because after the show people would be rewinding the tricks hundreds of times to try and find the secret – so every second on stage he said he just wanted to quit and go home! He did not want to do the third or fourth special as he didn’t want to make an error that he hadn’t made in first two. It's like if he went to heaven and God asked for a 5 min act – good and you go to heaven – not so good and you go to hell – that was the feeling he had – he felt he went to heaven the first year, again the second and the third he would have said to God “I don’t care anymore!”

David worked in front of 19.5 million people in the 1960's and spoke about the nerves involved. Lu said it was not about the number of people, the scary thing is the internet and press – the internet, he said was really bad for magicians – in terms of misdirection etc. There will be a new generation of TV type magicians because the conventional misdirection will not work; camera tricks, 3D animation etc may come into play. The press, internet and public expectation may force magic to go in this direction. If you, as a magician, don’t want to go down this road you have to be better than past generations in terms of skill and technique. These are the two choices a magician will have to make.

David spoke of a trick Lu did with a glass and bottle to open his act, finger manipulation and card routines Lu uses where cards turn into music notes and the deck reverse turns into a keyboard…he then vanishes a piano and ends up playing one to end the routine - a big change from his early days with a dove and card manipulation act.

Lu started magic when he was 8 and saw an easy to use magic set. Parents don’t want you to do magic in the Far East, they want you to become doctors or lawyers. H e advised young magicians in the audience to listen to their parents to start - but don’t give up magic – it’s a great hobby. He studied and went to university, once he graduated he knew he would become a magician. Lu studied languages and learnt Japanese at college; he also learnt English at school. He said no one worked as hard as him and at 24 years of age started looking into marketing and other factors; whatever job you want to do study as this is good for you. He believes the fact he learnt English and Japanese helped his career – he believes he would not have become such a ‘star’ had he not and would have remained in Taiwan doing small shows.

Lu does not relax too much. He relaxes by talking, doing, studying magic. He spoke about the Berglas Effect No 2 – unpublished – “I am the only one to talk about this…” another ACAAN effect which Lu is going to produce on TV soon. David had seen a You Tube clip with Lu and David’s name came up when Lu did the Berglas effect and he did it again in Portugal at EMC. He spoke of some of the effects he does on his big shows, with dangerous illusions with spikes when the audience and his team thought the trick went wrong and he may have been spiked! The effect had a good ending. Lu was asked about cultural differences in audience reactions and compared European (British) polite clasping to the big American reactions - in 2003at the Magic Castle his silk production got a massive reaction! Lu had learnt much from reading books when he was younger. The YouTube clips he sees now lack a lot of what will make them ‘special’ in terms of story line, emotion and pacing. Lu had started with manipulation acts and now does big illusions; he spoke about hating stage when he was younger – close-up was cool – you didn’t need assistants, boxes, outfits etc. he worked for 15 years in bars and close up. When he was 22 he was asked to perform at his school for a stage act – so he learnt a dove act for the show in 1995 –people really reacted well and then he thought stage work was the coolest thing in the world! Following a TV show he started doing street magic for three years. He had disliked talking on stage – he just does his performance -but then he was asked to copy Blaine style magic and learned how to talk to strangers. In 2009 he was asked to do the live TV shows and whilst he hated illusions he now loves putting his style into illusions – what the market needs at the time is important to him – magicians need their own style – in his market (China) he thinks the market want him to do ANY type of magic and Lu loves to do anything now, doves, Mentalism, illusions etc but with his style.

Lu had travelled from Taiwan just to visit the International Magic Convention to get this prestigious Award.


International Gala Show

Performers already seen lecturing and performing Close Up Magic during the week-long Festival and Convention, including Charlie Frye, Christian Bischof, Paul Zenon, Sos and Victoria and Rob Zabrecky were joined by Mike Chao with his brilliant manipulations, Miguel Munoz with a breathtakingly piece of organic magic in which water turned to crystal balls and back, and the beautiful Sand Paintings of Katrin Weissensee. It was a perfectly balanced show with each act hitting it out the park and not a wasted moment in it. Standing ovations for Sos and Victoria closing the first half of the show, and Katrin Weissensee and Charlie Frye and Co in the second half and a well deserved standing ovation for the entire cast at the end of the show. Widely regarded as the best Gala Show ever at Ron's it was a fitting climax to a week long magical treasure chest of performances, lectures and interviews.

Book your week off now for next year - November 10th - 16th. A couple of names already booked for next year's Convention were announced during the course of the Convention with just the announcement of the confirmed booking for 2014 of Tom Mullica receiving audible appreciation! You will not want to miss it.


© Roberto Forzoni, November 2013