It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas …

It’s December 23rd and with less than two days left till Christmas I think I’ll go shopping …

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Our 2008 tree
snow keeps coming.....

Change of plans …

Well by the time this is published it will be December 22nd which means the first official day of Winter has come and past. We had intended to enjoy the wonderful town of Leavenworth for the weekend but weather changed everything …

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I got a great review in London from the Magic Circle …

Some of the quotes that I read include:

“Shawn performs with masses of energy, and child-like excitement, which was quite infectious.”

“It was a fabulous evening full of tricks and ideas, which could have gone on all night. Unfortunately all good things come to an end, but Shawn Farquhar had given us a real treat.”

I also saw a video today that was quite inspiring for those that think failure is a bad thing. I recall once being asked by a reporter just how many magic awards I had won over the years. I told that reporter that the question was not the right one to ask. That the number of wins was not as important as the number of times I lost! This video shows the other side of many famous folks who didn’t always succeed …

While on the subject of not being perfect. The greatest, without a doubt, magician with birds was Channing Pollock. I spent most of my youth day dreaming that one day I would be perfect like him. In fact he was billed as “the most beautiful man in the world”. Well in this classic video you may notice near the end he vanishes a bird … that doesn’t vanish. Channing never even blinks and goes ahead as if nothing has happened. His assistant even bends down and picks up the bird off the ground without flinching … in my humble opinion … perfect!


Here’s the full article from the Magic Circular … if you’re bored!

Monday 14 January 2008
A Lecture by Shawn Farquhar
by Paul Roffman

We were privileged to have an unannounced visit from the three-time award winner at FISM. He had been touring Spain and Portugal and a full theatre greeted our Canadian guest, Shawn Farquhar .

He began with a cup and balls routine with a difference; the cups ended up as solid pieces of metal. A good magicians’ trick but, as he said himself, the original works just as well with laymen as they do not know any difference and the surprises are as effective as ever.

This was followed by the use of an assistant for his next effect – me! I got to review this new (and unexplained) trick up close. A card was forced, I mean selected, signed and put back in the deck, which was placed in my hands. The deck then magically changed into a sealed deck, in new deck order, with my signed card in its appropriate numerical position.

Shawn performs with masses of energy, and child-like excitement, which was quite infectious. He talked about the real-world workings of his magic effects and the differences between working on stage, in trade shows and close-up. He utilizes inventive magic which is appropriate for each client. He talked about having four clients whom he worked with for nine years. In one example of inventive magic the effect incorporated a signed CD which could have either the emblem of the client or Shawn’s own details on it.

Another great example of this was his presentation of the Omni (clear, solid) deck which could also have the client’s details. In his explanation of this trick, which is in itself fabulous, he discussed the ins and outs of the deck switch and the various timings involved. He also discussed the importance in eliciting cheers and applause from your audience in walk-around situations in order to impress your effectiveness on your client or event organizer, even when they don’t actually see your magic during the evening.

The stand-out effect was something which he had performed for a very high end client. Shawn has performed an improved, and independently realized, version of Dan Harlan’s “Crazy Eights”, which Harlan himself thought was an improvement on his own trick.

A photo was signed on the bottom right corner, folded and torn into pieces. The pieces were put in the spectator’s hand and magically restored, only the quarters of the photo were in the wrong places and the signed part had moved impossibly to the top left corner.

It was a fabulous evening full of tricks and ideas, which could have gone on all night. Unfortunately all good things come to an end, but Shawn Farquhar had given us a real treat.

Hank Lee’s Conclave

It’s been a great day here at the Conclave. It truly is a small and friendly convention. The people are great and the hotel is super nice. We are like a hundred feet from the beach. It’s really cold but still worth a walk on the beach.
Cape Cod beach at Sea Crest Resort

I had a stage show this evening at the luxurious Mashpee High School auditorium. It was actually a great little theatre that was perfect for my style of show. I could see everyone in the audience and they responded well to me and my families magic. Hannah got a huge “ahhhhhh” when she appeared and Shape of my Heart went over very well. I was especially happy to have found a great volunteer for the hand/sweater routine. He was a young man named Zachary who was ten years old and stole the audiences heart. Rafael Benatar was the Master of Ceremonies and was brilliant. He introduced me using my name and credits and was even there at the end of the act to take me off too!

The show featured some incredible magic and great friends. Opening the show was Stoil and Ekaterina doing a quick change act, Sonny Fontana and the act he performed for FISM, Mikael Szanyiel with his FISM act too and the yours truly followed by Peter Samelson and his theatrical magic.

The entire show was a great success and it is all due to the hard work of the crew of the theatre. David Oliver and his crew worked super hard to not only make the show but to make sure the acts felt secure knowing they were in good hands. I would especially like to thank Arthur, the house tech, for working so hard to make the projector and my camera work together.

After the show we headed off to have some lobster, after all I am in Cape Cod! We found a little restaurant that was open after midnight called the Silver Lounge and I had a HUGE lobster salad. Yes a salad … pretty healthy choice huh? Hannah loved the place as it had a whole section made from an old Canadian Pacific Rail car.

After getting back to the Sea Crest hotel I found a small gathering of magicians and made some new friends. I called it an evening around 5 AM as I had to get up early for the close up show and lecture.

Day Two of the largest magic convention in the WORLD!

I was up at the crack of dawn today as the jet lag just won’t give up. Our hotel is now full of guests and the heat has been turned on so I took a warm shower and headed down for another delicious English Breakfast. I was pleasantly surprised to find Obie O’brien and Joan Caesar in the breakfast room and had a great chat before dining on some eggs, bacon, sausage, beans, toast and fried tomato!

I decide to drop by the Vendor booth and see if anyone was really interested in visiting me. Wow! What a fun day it was hanging out at the booth. I am really happy to have the booth as so many people came by to compliment me on my lecture and to purchase lecture packages. Most had wanted to buy them the night before but had been shoved out of the room by security. I spent most of the morning in the booth. I have never had a booth before so the idea of demonstrating my magic and selling it was really quite foreign to me. My friend, Simon, on the other hand is quite the sales man and basically did everything for me while I just hung out and played! Fun!

In the afternoon I was expected to perform for a VIP close up show. This time someone actually came to talk to me about the show and I really wish I had gotten his name as he was super nice. In the room I met Bob Wooding who was a gracious host and made me feel very comfortable before my performance. The room was large and so was the crowd but with the aid of the video and a microphone it was a great show. I was especially pleased and surprised by the rapturous round of applause at the commencement of my act. All in all the best event I had at the convention as it was without incident. But there was still the evening show and that was “Craptacular”!

I spent a bit more time in the booth and then headed back to “Chez Gresham” to prepare for the evening gala/competition of the UK vs the World. As I had said early in this blog if I had know it was going to be billed as a contest I would never have agreed to perform. But I am a man of my word so I loaded up my gear to present “Shape of my Heart”.

Had I known what and ass Stu Francis was going be as the compere (master of ceremonies) for the evening I would have never have even gone to the show let alone be a part of a 4 and half hour production! I can only say that I knew it was not going well when I indicated to the gentleman that the act on stage, Raphael, was ending and it was time for him to “take off the act” and he responded by running over to a grand piano off far stage left and proceeded to change his shirt! Yes, change his shirt! By the time he had done his quick change the act had already left the stage to no farewell bow … what a joke. I had noticed earlier how he was presenting acts so I had already taken time to direct him on how to introduce me and my act. I think it is rather simple to just say “Please welcome 3 time FISM award winner from Canada … Shawn Farquhar”. Go ahead try it … I’ll wait. No really try it! See it wasn’t hard at all was it? Well Mr. “it’s all about me” Francis went out on the stage and started chatting up my Wife on stage and then forgot what to say so he returned to stage left and asked Lori what he was supposed to say. Yes you read that right. Then came the crowning moment for me that told me just how much I was loved … he introduced me as Derrick … then corrected himself and called me David!
Stu” I’m an ass and can crush a grape” Francis
I was so embarrassed and angry at the same time. Who hired this unprofessional clown to host a gala at the world’s largest magic convention? What were they thinking? I did my act but to be honest I just wasn’t “in the moment” and just went through the actions and I am sure many of the 3500 audience members would agree. I am so sorry I could not shake the feeling … I just have never been treated like this before … anywhere.

For a full review of the show you can visit Naquada’s blog or Tim Ellis’s blog which has been written by Craig Mitchell of the College of Magic in Capetown, South Africa.

Day One of the largest magic convention in the WORLD!

Well I didn’t get to my vendors booth all day. I had some fun trying to get registered for the convention. Turns out the organizers mailed the package to my house in Canada. Those of you who know me, know my house is not exactly the place I often visit! So without a package I asked the charming ladies of the registration counter to perhaps get me a badge and tickets so I could start enjoying the convention. They were very nice and tried their best to find out anything but after an hour of waiting I went in search of additional help.

I headed over to the VIP desk, but they told me I was just a performer and the other desk would look after me. Back I went to meet Arthur Casson, the convention registration chairman. I told him my name was Shawn Farquhar and that they did not seem to have a package for me. His reply was that the package was mailed and if I didn’t have it then I would most likely be without tickets to the Sunday Gala. He gave me tickets to the Saturday Gala and I told him I wouldn’t need those as it was my understanding I was on the Saturday evening show. His reply, “oh you’re performing here?”. I have never felt so much love. Now with badge in hand I headed off to the hotel to take a nap as the event up to now had been quite stressful and I had just a few hours before I had to lecture.

I was an hour into my “jet lag” induced nap when the front desk called my room to tell me I was late for my “stage act rehearsal” in the Opera House. I am never late for a rehearsal and besides he show isn’t until tomorrow night so why would they need to rehearse today? Turns out I was late for a rehearsal. I was later to find out someone just left a note on the chair of my vendors booth earlier in the day with a schedule of rehearsals …
The rehearsal was quick and to the point and the crew of the theatre and club members backstage were outstanding. I was less than totally coherent during the run through as I was still half asleep. I did however get the understanding that the Saturday Gala was billed as a competition of the UK vs the World. What an odd idea for a gala. If I had known it was going to be billed as a competition I would not have agreed to perform.

Now with that out of the way I headed back to the fabulous Gresham Hotel to prepare for my evening lecture. I was even more thrilled to hear my event was up against the British Close Up Championship. This I felt meant I would have a very small audience and not much exposure for my magic.
I was so wrong… My lecture was standing room only with people out in the hall ways looking in to see what all the fuss was about. I was only given an hour to lecture and the traditional 30 minutes to sell following. I had a great group of tech working for me and the video projector they set up made the lecture perfect. I always travel with my own projector and camera but having professional working their own made it “Easy”. My lecture last 1 hour and one minute and they really seemed to like the stuff. I wish I could have done everything and explained things better but I just didn’t have enough time. I think the organizers should seriously consider extending lecture to 90 minutes to allow for better explanations and more material to be covered. As I said my thanks and left the stage the table where Lori and Simon were standing was mobbed and my effects were being snatched up very fast. I tried to make my way to the crowd and got stuck signing autographs and taking photo’s. I love this part of my job. That people like my magic is the true mark of my success. I would love to have basked in the moment but 10 minutes into it the security guard started shouting that everyone had to leave now. Within 13 minutes of finishing my lecture everyone was out of the hall and I was even in the hallway with out my lecture material. I explained I needed to get back in to get my stuff and the security guard was annoyed as he was in a hurry to be done. What a glorious way to end my first day at the Blackpool Convention.

Another persons opinon of my lecture can be found at this blog by Naquada. Don’t be thrown off that he begins by calling me Steve. Calling me names other than Shawn became a theme of this convention ….