Abbott’s Close-Up Convention

Abbott’s – The Center of the Magic World

The Abbott?s Spring Close-Up Convention was a great event. It was my first but it won?t be my last.

The Midwest has been in the midst of one heck of a winter. We?ve had ice-storms, snow, more snow and bitter cold, followed by more snow. As if by magic, Winter ended on Friday, and Spring kicked in. The sun came out (except at night) and the temperatures rose to the 50?s. I watched animals thaw as I walked towards the Abbott?s Magic Company.

The magic inside Abbott?s was almost as remarkable. I hesitated in purchasing my tickets and was only able to get the standing room spots along side the bleacher that makes up the center of the Abbott?s showroom. The event was, according to Abbott?s, the best attended ever.

Doc Eason was first up.

I?ve never seen Doc perform but certainly his reputation precedes him. Doc has been at the same bar for more than 25 years and while I have family members that exceed that record, he was actually working behind the bar as a magician. (I do have an uncle who fell over a bar and thus was behind it for a while until the paramedics came).

Doc Eason



Abbott’s – The Center of the Magic World

The Abbott?s Spring Close-Up Convention was a great event. It was my first but it won?t be my last.

The Midwest has been in the midst of one heck of a winter. We?ve had ice-storms, snow, more snow and bitter cold, followed by more snow. As if by magic, Winter ended on Friday, and Spring kicked in. The sun came out (except at night) and the temperatures rose to the 50?s. I watched animals thaw as I walked towards the Abbott?s Magic Company.

The magic inside Abbott?s was almost as remarkable. I hesitated in purchasing my tickets and was only able to get the standing room spots along side the bleacher that makes up the center of the Abbott?s showroom. The event was, according to Abbott?s, the best attended ever.

Doc Eason was first up.

I?ve never seen Doc perform but certainly his reputation precedes him. Doc has been at the same bar for more than 25 years and while I have family members that exceed that record, he was actually working behind the bar as a magician. (I do have an uncle who fell over a bar and thus was behind it for a while until the paramedics came).

Doc Eason

You figure someone who has been as successful as Doc, would have to be in his late 90?s but he is a young man with lots of energy and great ideas.His lecture was an amalgam of thoughts, routines, and a few pretty neat effects. He began the lecture by polling the audience?s experience in magic with the hope of tailoring his presentation to meet the abilities of the attendees. It also provided a neat snap-shot of the varying skill levels and time in this great art.

We had folks with less than six months and some with more than 40 years. Doc jokingly pointed out that Tom Craven (seated in the front row)?has been in magic for over 124 years.?

He began with a routine involving nuts and bolts where the nuts would vanish from his pocket and reappear in his hand, turned into a bold and then finally the bolt was threaded with the nuts. For those with some experience in magic, the secret was not unknown, but the handling and presentation was something to behold. Very smooth, very well-polished and very funny.

Unfortunately, I can?t repeat some of the lines because they were slightly pg-13 rated. (Doc explained that at the Tower Bar, his show starts out at PG-13 and moves to a hard R in a few hours).

Doc Eason Performing 3 Coin Trick

He then used his next effect, the three coin trick, to explain his theory on performance and his use of ?Wonder Words? in his routine.

At first, the concept of Wonder Words and the science of Neural Linguistic Programming, seemed alien or, as Doc said, ?kind of Woo-Woo.?

The concept, stripped down, is something all magicians do to some extent. You suggest, through your choice of words, what the audience or a volunteer should think. Doc used the example of telling a spectator, ?Here is something you?ll talk about on your drive home, tonight. This is an effect that you?ll tell your friends about tomorrow and you?ll think about for months to come.? (I?m sure I?m not getting the wording exactly as Doc provided).

By using the Wonder Words, you provide the spectators the thought you want them to have by the words you use. I realized that I use the same technique (and you probably do as well) in many of my tricks. I just never knew it had a name or that it could be done more effectively. It has obvious application in mentalism — where I’ve been using it unknowingly — but Doc demonstrated how it could be used with almost any effect.

Doc is very good at what he does and, unlike many lecturers given by working professionals, he is also very good at teaching. I think that if you went to see his lecture hoping to learn new effects, you would likely have been disappointed. But if you came to see why he was so popular, to learn about performing bar magic, to learn some great lines, to see some neat handlings of tricks we own but haven?t taken from the junk drawer in a while, to laugh and to be challenged to perform better, you would have felt very satisfied. As Doc repeated (probably using his own set of Wonder Words): ?The trick is not the thing. It is how you make the audience feel ? that?s what they?ll remember.?

Blue Gate in Shipshewana, IN

We took our lunch break and I drove like a maniac towards Shipshewana, Indiana for a meal at the Blue Gate Restaurant. I?m sure you are not as obsessed as I am with the Amish and their food so I?ll leave out my glowing review of the Blue Gate and the kindness the extended by letting me skip ahead in line. I then drove back to Colon ? again like a maniac in my V-8; thus providing a wonderful contrast to the peaceful, horse-drawn transportation used by the Amish family I passed.

I made it back in time to see Chad Long?s lecture ? again from my standing room spot along side the bleachers.

Chad Demonstrating a Finger Palm

Chad has got to have the highest energy level I?ve ever witnessed. He doesn?t seem manic or out of control but just working and thinking at a speed that makes me look like I?m driving the Amish buggy compared to his Lincoln LS. He performed so many different effects that I can?t even recall all of them. He taught the audience not only brand new stuff but how to think up brand new stuff.

He began with an effect that I will steal and use liberally. He taught us how to use a back palm to give the appearance of pulling a card from a wall. I wish I could describe the image but I am lucky to use verbs properly. (That sentence originally read, ?but I luckily used verbiage gooder?). It is an amazing sight.

Using his handling, you can make it appear that you are literally pulling a playing card from the wall. As a bonus, he told us how to make a gimmick to give the illusion that the card was stuck half way out of the wall. This allows you to walk away from the wall and then return to finish the job of pulling the card out.

Chad?s greatest asset, in my opinion, is his quick wit. He is like Robin Williams in his ability to take anything and turn it instantly into a great bit. Chad also entertained the magicians with magic geared just for magicians. The lay public would not get the jokes but for those on the inside, he was hysterical. As he demonstrated his version of the Razor Blade trick with uncooked spaghetti, he instructed that we could keep the gimmick ?in the classic rubber band palm under your top lip.? If your lay audience didn?t fall for a particular set-up, Chad advised, ?they?re not very good laymen. You need to get a better audience.?

Chad demonstrated his effect ?Scattered? using four half dollars and four cards. The production of the four half dollars was incredible. He appeared to select four cards freely from a deck, set them on the close-up pad and then with nothing more, moved the cards to expose the four half dollars. I was stumped.

Chad Long Teaches How to Eat a Card

Chad invented an explanation for the production that almost seemed plausible: you only needed to classic palm two of the coins, finger palm one and Down?s palm the last coin all in one hand. I saw people taking notes until Chad told us he was just joking and that he used a very ingenious gimmick to accomplish the production.

Chad?s Ninja Coin and Ninja Key have been discussed elsewhere on the Net but his handling of the move was great to see. I?ve practiced the move since learning it this weekend and while I am not nearly as smooth as Chad, I have hope that I too will one day be able to perform this move as casually as Chad.

Chad comes across as a humble, modest person who enjoys entertaining. His presentation fit perfectly with Doc Eason?s mantra that ?The trick is not the thing. It is how you make your audience feel that they?ll remember.? He leaves you with the impression that he could have done anything and it would have been impressive. He has incredible talent in both presentation and sleight of hand.

Either of the lectures would have been worth the price of admission; both lectures left me excited about upgrading my own presentation. These lectures should not be missed. They are worth a speeding ticket.

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