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Born in Stockholm (Sweden), now live in Sapporo (Japan). Hold a Ph.D. in computer science and work with computers during the days, perform magic in a bar during the nights (and weekends, for kids). Also used to teach historical fencing back in Sweden.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Second Hokkaido Magic Convention

During the weekend, there was the Second Hokkaido Magic Convention here in Sapporo. There was a series of lectures by the guest magicians, but I did not have time to attend that. I did go to see the show, though. I even got a seat at the third row from the front, which was very very close to the stage. So close that I learned a lot about the secret compartments of the illusion props...


First, the magician Birdie Koyama did a small levitation effect as a welcome to the event. Then there was a section called the "Free performance", which was magic done by amateurs but people who did not want to participate in the competition part of the convention. The magicians ranged in age from somewhere around 60 years old to over 80. Some of them were quite good, some not so good.


Next there was a short break and then the competition part of the convention started. This year there were five contestants. One of them was once a member of the university magic club at my university (that I was a member of up until two years ago) but that was many years before I came to Sapporo. The others were mainly retired people who took up magic when they no longer had any work to do. Many of them looked very nervous, but mostly everything went fine. There were no super good performances, and many of the same tricks are done (and done better) by the students in our magic club. There were lots of production effects, and almost everyone did the million cards (producing endless amounts of playing cards from thin air) and many did the four billiard ball production.


Both in the free performance section and in the competition it was nice to see quite a few female magicians, though more than half were male. In the end, the winner of the competition also was a woman (with the guy from my club coming in second).


After the competition there was a slot with the professional performers. We got to see Akkey (who I know) who did a lot of very funny stuff and finished by producing a gigantic dove (human sized). We also got to see Batman do magic (the owner of the magic shop Mebius here in Sapporo for some reason loves to dress up as Batman and did a magic performance dressed like that). Then we saw Hiroshi Ota do many of the magic effects that had been done in the free performance section and in the competition, only he did them cleaner, funnier, and more competently. He did thins like the million cards and thimbles, and he did them very well.


There was also a section called "dealer magic" with the owner of a magic shop in southern Japan doing lots of magic that was mainly showing off how to use props that he sold. It was not that interesting, but it is at least a good way to get to see how the props can be used and how suspicious they look in actual performance.


Finally there was a team doing illusions, and that was very nice. The magician Zauber and his wife did several famous illusions, like a girl appearing out of an empty cage set on fire, a zig-zag-illusion style trick, a girl put in a small box that is then run through with lots of swords, and a subtrunk illusion (a person locked in a box and a person standing on top of the box change places very quickly). Zauber  also did some tricks where he produced a lot of 10,000 yen bills, tricks with fire, and a trick with a prediction of an animal inside an envelope. Mrs Zauber changed her clothes a lot. Every time she got into a new box she had a new dress on, and every time she got out she had yet another dress, so she must have changed clothes 8 times or so.


Zauber had also invited a magician from Kagoshima to do a guest performance during Zauber's guest performance. This magician did a performance of the Chinese quick change mask. The face mask changes instantly, many many times, without the magician's hands being anywhere near. It was the first time I saw this type of magic live.


When the convention was over, I was very hot, very tired, and very hungry. The convention lasted for about 4 hours, which I think was too long. I got to see a lot of fun magic though. Then we left for our magic bar and me and my boss did magic for our guests there for a few more hours.


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