"Olympics of Magic"
- I spied this on CNN.COM - thought it might peak everyone's interest:
Copied & Pasted because the URL may change:
'Olympics of magic' has profit up its sleeve
Winners get guaranteed performance contracts
STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) -- A German illusionist levitates a table
covered with a purple cloth, as fellow magicians scrutinize his every
"Even though I know how it works, I just can't understand how it can
work," mutters a rival. "That's magic for you."
Tables floating shoulder-high, cards sailing through the air, rabbits
pulled out of hats: Every old trick in the book and plenty of new ones
are being conjured up as more than 2,000 magicians from China to the
Virgin Islands take part this week in the World Championship in Magic.
Stakes are high for the 156 top magicians competing in the main event
for best illusionist stage show and sleight-of-hand routine: Three top
finishers are guaranteed contracts for lucrative shows in Las Vegas,
Paris and Monaco.
"This is like the Olympics of magic," said Connecticut magician John
Connelly. "If you win (the main event), you're made. You'll probably
make a million dollars."
The championship, which started Monday and ends Saturday, is not open
to the public -- only to magicians registered for the event. It's held
every three years in a different city; winners get a gold medal and a
trophy, but no cash prize.
Arthur Trace of Chicago is one of the hopefuls to become the next
Lance Burton, the celebrated Las Vegas magician who won the event in
1982 when it was staged in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Trace, 26, said he worked four years to perfect the 10-minute routine
he performed in the stage competition -- a conceptual artist
interacting with a painting while balls and cards keep appearing and
disappearing in his hands.
"I am both an artist and an athlete," he said. "Magic is just like a
painting. I use it to say what I want."
For most magicians here, the gathering is just a fun way to share
trade secrets, learn new tricks and peddle their magical tools -- the
vast majority are not competing in the main event.
But the influx of magicians has suddenly turned Stockholm into a
conjurers' capital: Visiting magicians are giving public shows,
conducting workshops and performing street acts throughout the city
In the hall, dozens of professionals have also set up booths to
display their skills and products. This part of the event is open to
the public, and it gives the layman a chance to discover the secrets
of famous magic tricks.
Want to know how to shove a bottle cap through the bottom of a bottle?
Rey Ben of Argentina is happy to explain it -- and sell the device to
pull it off.
Israeli Menny Lindenfeld illustrates how to tease a waitress by giving
her a credit card with a small hole over the magnetic strip, and then
making the hole wander across the card to a different spot. "It is
great for talking to girls," he said.
While peddlers and performers have come from all over the world, many
of their tricks are similar. Magic, it turns out, is much the same
anywhere you go.
"It is all based on the same secret," said Dirk Losander, the German
levitating illusionist. "It is like there are only seven notes (in
music), but you can arrange them in different ways."
Or according to top Las Vegas magician Jeff McBride: "Magic is an
international language ... It transcends all the language and cultural