In short summary:
The good... The talent, Soma was awesome, Shawn Farquhar was fantastic. The closing ceremonies was huge. Meeting new people and seeing old friends. Siegfried and Roy. Talent and more talent.
The bad... The video and sound a lot of the time. The late start of shows and lectures. Shawn Anthony. Too many rings....
I drove into Las Vegas around 11am on Sunday. I went to New York, NY hotel to see if I could check in but unfortunately my room wasn't ready. I decided to go to the Orleans hotel and check-in to the convention. I saw Howard Hamburg and Luis from the Magic Castle and I sat and talked with them until the dealer room opened. There was about 20 dealers in the dealer room. I didn't really see anything I wanted to buy. I did see a demonstration of Mojoe and it was quite good. I also saw my friends, Bizzaro and Jungle Josh.
At 2pm, there was a "Bull Session" hosted by Obie O'Brien. This was where you could sign-up and show your favorite trick. I signed up and showed my wild joker trick and heard saw "ooh's" in the audience.
Later in the evening, the welcome party hosted by Jeff McBride started at 8pm. There was a cash bar, a mashed potato buffet with shrimps and other goodies, a a large roast beef, and crackers and cheese. Several students of Jeff McBrides school performed. Amazing Jonathan and Sophie Evens showed up and there was crowds around them. I saw Erica and Irene Larsen too.
At 10pm I attended the Fielding West lecture which was $10. I don't know how I feel about paying for a lecture at a conference I already paid for but it was good. Fielding is very informative and entertaining. He also provided performance tips. One thing I enjoyed but do not know if I will use is swallowing a balloon and taking it back out.
Monday morning came and there was a 10am lecture with Joshua Jay. He was very good but I didn't find much that I would use. He did show Troy Hooser's Charming Chinese Challenge and I like that a lot but I do not know if it would fit my character. He also showed Cornered, which I perform already and he showed a 3 coin vanish that is similar to what I do already. It was a good lecture and I did buy some items.
At 11:30am Max Maven interviewed Sandy Marshall. Before the interview, I was sitting in the front, levitating a finger ring. Next to me, a couple seats over, John Lovick was watching me with Mac King next to him. I asked what he was looking at as he was trying to look under the ring. I walked to him, floating the ring and asked him to stick out a finger. He actually gave me the finger, I then said "No silly, stick OUT your finger". He stuck out his middle finger. I landed the ring on his finger and backed away. I said, I am just working on a hook. The interview started and included video of Jay Marshall. It was interesting stories and history.
In the afternoon, 1pm, was the WMS Stage Show. This was cool Fielding West was the MC and the acts were awesome with an exception. Tina Lenert did her ring act, Shawn Farquhar did a bottle and tube act with a volunteer, Henrik Bothe did plate spinning and Neonman, Jan Rouven was great, Soma performed his FISM act and received a standing ovation. The only bad issue was Shawn Anthony. His ring act started after he removed rings from their bag, his metamorphosis was slow and didn't have a twist he promised, his story of levitation ended with a zombie ball act.
Later in the afternoon, 4pm, was a performance by Max Howard of Professor Gus Richardson. It was a great theater piece but I was tired and the presentation was not helping my sleepy condition.
6pm started the Teen Closeup Competition. All the acts were awesome. I wish I could remember all the names but one kid did a soda jerk cups and balls routine that had personality, one Canadian had presentational skills, and the Korean kid was amazing. He looked like he was schooled by Shoot.
8pm was the Encore Foundation Show with Lance Burton, Mac King, Luke Jermay, Michael Carbona (who sculpted shaving creme all over his face and body), John Lovick, Johnny Thompson and Lindsay Benner
who presented a great story with juggling. It was a perfect performance.
Late evening, after 11pm, was the Mickey Silver lecture. Mickey Silver was the most magical coin act I have seen in a while. It was a good lecture.
Midnight was the Bowling with the Stars of Magic. I made friends from the closeup bull session and I bowled with new friends Jeff, Adrian, Glen and Wess. There were dollar drinks, and it was so fun. Shawn Faquhar bowled next to us and it was great hanging out with him. We didn't win any prizes but I got to talk with Becky Wells, one of the coordinators of WMS, and she is wonderful.
Tuesday, 10am, was the lecture given by Shawn Farquhar. This lecture changed my life again. Seeing his practical methods and also seeing Torn 2 Pieces gave me great enthusiasm. I bought his notes and Torn 2 Pieces. He is one of the best lecturers I have seen.
At 1pm we sat for the international stage contest. There were 8 acts and I only knew Chris Randall but the acts were awesome. Nester Hato came out with red hair like me but did a color changing act with cards, balls, his outfit and then his hair. It was great. The peoples choice went to the Canadian pair Trevor and Lorena Waters and it had so much personality and was the most entertaining.
4pm brought the Adult Closeup, there was some great acts. My friend Jeff did some great card word, some d'lite work and gypsy thread. A girl did some great coin work. The clear winner was Ben Jackson who did some productions of a lemon and lemonade leading into coin one. It was great.
At 6 we went to the Shawn Anthony lecture and didn't have much that I cared for.
Evening Closeup show was great. Bizarro did a great act that was zany and ended with a signed card stabbed to his back with a pocket knife. Shawn Farquhar did cups and balls ending with solid steel cups. Howard Hamburg had some awesome card work. Joshua Jay presented card work as well. Curtis Kam must have pockets in his palms. He produced like 16 real coins from empty hands. Mickey Silver is in-describable but he turned his face into a human slot machine.
Wednesday was the last day with the Teen Stage Finals at 9am. These teens were so good,, some of them better than the adult acts I saw.
At 11:15am, I went to the Soma lecture which was about music and sound effects, he performed David Stone's Cell. He had a signed card and then it disappears to end up in the battery compartment of a cell phone. He also showed a new effect that he hasn't marketed yet of signed card supposed to go to pocket but doesn't. He then turns the deck into an illustrated cell phone and dials the Magic Call Center. It ends up in the volunteers pocket.
1pm was the Awards Show and holy moly what a closer. Lance Burton with Mike Caveney opened the show. Mike Caveney was very funny. Then came out Sigfried and Roy, it was amazing. They joked, and then came out Lance with a proclamation that March 3rd was declared by the governor was to be Sigfried and Roy Day. Then from the back, Penn and Teller entered yelling and presented a proclamation from the governor that March would be Sigfried and Roy month. Criss Angel showed up, with not a lot of applause. He said some nice things and put his handcuff necklace on Roy and then on Sigfried later. The acts were awesome. Jan Rouven did a great puzzle illusion with a story of Sigfried and Roy. Hiroki Hara did a great mask, umbrella and manipulation act.
4pm was the closing party and was a little slow. Then I left about 6pm
It was great seeing Derek, Craig, Rick, AJ, Jeremy, Josh, Jeff, Adrian, Wess, and Bizarro. It was awesome meeting all the new people and great magicians. I had a blast and will be back next year. I thank Becky Wells for all the unused show tickets with the drink coupons on the back and awesome converations, I thank Shawn Farquhar for being such and awesome guy and all the magic. Now it's time for rest because in a couple weeks, it's Magic-Con.