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 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 ….

Almussafes, January 23, 2008

Yesterday we traveled a short distance from Valencia to a wonderfully modern hotel where we met some more super great people.The lecture was attended by about 32 magicians at the local civic center which is also home to a huge magic festival in April.  I have been invited back for this festival and hope to be able to attend in the next few years. The afternoon was spent eating and drinking.  It was an incredible meal of meats, rice, vegetables, bread and wine.  I really wish I was feeling better.  I have a sore throat and stuffy nose.  I believe all the travel and no sleep is getting me sick. The lecture was fun and the magicians had a good time.  I did learn a new Spanish word last night which got a huge laugh.  It appear when I say the word “pen” and add my Canadian “eh” to the end …  it sounds like “pen-eh”, which to you and me would remind you of a pasta dish.  Well in Spanish this means “Dick” so I kept saying ” to distract the spectator I reach for my Dick!” which I am sure would distract just about anyone! The evening ended with dinner in a traditional Cafeteria and some great local food including fried pigs ears.  Quite tasty when you get over the fact its a pigs ear! 


 We left the cafeteria and went to a local bar where just  six of us played darts.  I learned another lesson here.  I suck at darts.  In both games I came in dead last.  I was however having fun watching David Wilson hurl the darts at the board.  I can’t really laugh as he was always in the top three.  Well of course he was, he has an arm long enough to reach almost half way to the board. 


  The evening ended with an attractive young lady asking me if I had plans for the rest of the evening.  Now that was flattering, but I told her I had a date with Wilson! Off to bed and onto Barcelona! 

Valencia, January 22, 2008

Last night I did a presentation for about 25 magicians in Valencia.  They had expected double but it was a holiday weekend and many of the magicians of the area had left the city.  They had their own club house and were very generous hosts.  



Following my presentation we went to dinner, Chinese cuisine, and onto the bar scene.  Here in Spain most of the bars are quite smoky and it is killing my throat.  I am almost completely without a voice!  Imagine that!

Today we have what has to be the shortest trip, just twenty minutes so I was hoping to sleep in and get some well deserved rest!  Not!  Woke to church bells, screaming baby and some body with a death wish hammering somewhere in the building.  Now I have a goal for the day … find the bastard and kill him!  Ok maybe not kill him, just wound him so he will warn others!  

Yesterday started off quite special when David Wilson, my travel friend and I realized we were quite low on fuel.  Of course we realized this after entering a toll highway with no service for 39 kilometers . So off I went to convince a Police office rto stop 12 lanes of traffic so I could do a U-Turn and exit the toll area.  Oh they wanted 20 Euro to exit!  Yes, I did enter but only went about 30 feet on their road!  So off I went to convince the kind toll people to let me out without payment…  I love magic and apparently they do too as it cost me nothing and it was some fun to watch 12 lines of cars staring at us as we slowly crossed the huge highway, over the meridian and out the other side.

Lunch was also a treat.  We had spent the better part of an hour trying to find our hotel in Valencia.  It turns out you can’t drive to the hotel as it is in an alley way. What a cute hotel … did I mention they are doing construction? So if you were in the third largest city in Spain where would you have lunch?  McDonalds .. good news their food tastes just as bad over here!Well I’m off to nurse my sore throat and get ready for the huge 20 minute journey to our next destination …