American Society of Magicians Convention 2020

So this past MLK weekend was amazing. I was out in Vegas for the American Society of Magicians convention. It is an annual convention but this was one of the years that it was close enough for me to attend. The previous 5 years, the convention was held on the east coast, so I never bothered to attend because I don’t have the vacation time and money to go out east to some place like louisville. (Rather spend that time with my wife going somewhere). Since it was in las Vegas, it is a a fairly cheap and short flight . This was a wonderful trip packed full of fun and exciting things.
For some reason i decided to take the Las Vegas Bus system to get to the Golden Nugget Hotel, because the convention didn’t really have anything happening for an hour. The ride felt like it took forever, and it went through a lot of the other parts of vegas i would never go through. The one hard thing to figure out at the casino was where the convention was being held. The hotel was huge, and they had signs saying there was a 100k slot machine tournament. They did not have a big sign at the front saying “this way to magic convention”, so i just started walking around hoping to see other convention goers. Eventually, I did find the check in area (which was on the 2nd floor) and they gave me a schedule that told me of everything happening. The one thing that was hard to really figure out were the names of the rooms we had to go to. They had renamed them as “Houdini Theatre” and didn’t have a map of the hotel with the locations mapped. There were not too many rooms so it was easy to figure it out.
What is it like at a convention like this? A lot of it is watching people perform magic for us. Usually the best magic shows that everyone has, and then after that there are lectures by various magicians who show us how they do some of their tricks. Also, i’m not sure if you noticed. But most of the people at this convention are much older than me. In their 50’s +, with a lot of them being retired from work (not magic) people.
They have a fairly small room with convention vendors. I think there were maybe 15 vendors. If you look at these guys, they really have a small footprint, because most of the tricks are small items. They can put around 20-30 items on a small 6 foot table. Then these vendors perform the trick 60-80 times a day to sell their stuff. It is pretty fun to watch them reset under the table and redo their trick. I ended up buying tricks from one british vendor who was selling the shining trick and from a guy selling books. I got this book that showed how to make magic tricks from the beginning of the 1900’s. I feel like i might try to make some of those items.
One of the magic shows that we went to was the Mat Franco show. He is a member of society of american magicians, so he actually gave a talk that morning before his show at night. The talk was pretty interesting, because the questions asked to him are more magician specific question versus stuff that regular people would ask like. Questions would be like “how did you as a magician choose your tricks, what do you think about learning tricks (books vs video). As for his show, since we are the same age, I could see he had a lot of energy and was super excited throughout his performance. This would be a big difference from watching David Copperfield.
Overall my first day of the Magician Convention was awesome. I ended up meeting a lot of older guys who were super nice. I became friends with this 55 year old man from massachusetts who was starting to become more involved in magic after his sons were all in college. He showed me some of the cool things he did. One thing I noticed, there are a lot of people who just enjoy talking about how tricks are done. Which I don’t really think is that interesting, where I enjoy the idea of understanding how people come up with their ideas for a trick, or just their lives outside of magic. Overall, what have I learned about magic from the convention. I think it is that theoretically, I most likely know how to do all these tricks. The only thing I just don’t know is how they come up with the storyline/ideas to utilize all the tricks/techniques. A lot of what I just need to do is to just have a jar of ideas and pull out random pieces of paper to force myself to come up with a trick.

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