TAOM 2008 Dedicated To Walter “Zaney” Blaney
Texas is a great place for Magic. In fact, many of magic’s leading names hail from, or are intimately associated with Texas. John Gaughan, Mark Wilson, MarcoM, Bill Palmer, Bob Blau, Scott Hollingsworth, Walter”Zaney” Blaney, Becky Blaney, Trixie Bond, Scott Wells, Banachek, Chuck Lehr, David Hira and a whole lot more too numerous to list.
The 2008 TAOM also promises to be something extra special. It will pay tribute and be dedicated to one of Magic’s living legends. Aged 80, but still performing, the one and only Walter ”Zaney” Blaney.
Part of the Convention will feature a Full Talk-Show entitled, ‘Tony Brook In Conversation With Walter “Zaney” Blaney’. This is a TAOM 1st and it will be a full TV style Talk Show that Explores the Life and Magic of one of Magic’s Greatest Icons. Not only will the show feature aspects of Walter’s life and career as a Performer and Inventor but will also include rarely glimpsed aspects of Walter’s life behind the curtain. During the Talk Show Walter will perform some of the effects that have earned him his richly deserved International reputation. Lance Burton, David Copperfield and many other magic notables have sought Walter’s advice and indeed use Walter’s inventions.
Full information including weekly updates by Common Tater go to: www.taom.org and click on all the buttons.
Read Steve Dacri's comments HERE>>
The First International Magic Convention in Israel
September 25th - 27th, 2005
The MARS (Magic At the Red Sea) convention took place in Eilat, Israel.
For the interview with Roei Zaltsman - MARS Convention Producer, click here.
Headliners (pictured above): Menny Lindenfeld, Anthony Darkstone, FL!P, Duane Laflin, Charles Brook, Pit Hartling & Max Maven
Eilat is located at the southernmost tip of the country. It is blessed with everything that makes a perfect vacation - beautiful mirror-like sea, lively beaches, seafront bars and restaurants, first-rate hotels, all kinds of water sports, a spectacular underwater world and coral reefs, diving clubs, desert treks, camel tours and even swimming with dolphins.
Magic At The Red
Sea - Convention Review
Having a dream is a good thing. Fulfilling a dream and making it come true is a better thing. And that is exactly what Roei Zaltsman did. Producing a good Magic Convention is a daunting and time-consuming task and it certainly is even harder if you do it independently and not as a Magic Club or organization. Roei had a dream of Producing the first ever International Magic Convention in Israel and achieved it splendidly. If there was an award for sheer excellence in Producing a magic Convention, I would wholeheartedly endorse the fact that the award should be given to Roei Zaltsman accompanied by a standing ovation.
If it seems that I am heaping masses of praise on Roei Zaltsman, it is well deserved. Along with everyone else who attended the MARS Convention I am full of admiration for the excellent way in which he brought all the elements together in superb co-ordination to achieve one of the most interesting Magic conventions I have attended. When I wrote my pre-Convention interview article, it was evident that he had worked hard to make it a success but now that it is over, I can personally vouch for the fact that everyone who attended had a wonderful time. They all truly made magical history.
Interestingly, he chose one of the best locations for a magic Convention. He chose his home town of Eilat in Israel. To state that Eilat is a truly magical place would be an understatement. It is literally on the shores of The Red Sea and its natural beauty leaves every visitor spellbound. The entire Convention was at the Queen of Sheba Hilton and was a very good choice for the convention. Friendly efficient staff, great views, excellent rooms, first-class facilities and spacious enough to house a 500 seat theater.
Roei Zaltsman assembled a great cast of headliners: Max Maven, Flip, Pit Hartling, Menny Lindenfeld, Charles Brook and Dr. Anthony Darkstone all shared their talents at this Convention. Other things kept me busy and the only lecture I managed to catch was Flip. Most interesting, informative and a pleasure to attend. I was also reliably informed that Max Maven, Menny Lindenfeld, Charles Brook, Pit Hartling, Harry Allen and Anthony Darkstone also provided the attendees with great lectures.
Pit Hartling, Menny Lindenfeld and Charles Brook were the Headliners in the Close-Up show and judging by the audience reactions completely blew everyone away. These excellent performers treated us to some truly awesome magic. Pit Hartling’s use of Orange juice as memory aid has to be seen to be believed. His card work is just extraordinary. Menny Lindenfeld’s divination involving a borrowed ring and several matchboxes brought stunned gasps of astonishment. Charles Brook’s Color Change Deck and the use of a pet mouse that he had been given by Dan Garrett to find a chosen card created much mirth and laughter.
The gala show was attended not only by Conventioneers but was also opened to the public. An excellent idea to help defray some of the costs of the Convention. The gala Headliners were Dr. Anthony Darkstone, Charles Brook, Flip and Max Maven. Also included were Israeli magicians. Darkstone mesmerized by creating simultaneous thought patterns involving audience members and concluded his act by introducing a new concept he referred to as TSP- Tactile Sensory Perception. Charles Brook despite being beset with a few technical sound problems wowed the audience with some highly original card magic including an effect that allowed cards to morph into different backs and fronts. Flip was his usual wonderful self. I always enjoy watching him perform. He creates flawless magic with great skill that he hides so well within his comical antics. Any serious magician who has seen Flip perform will know exactly what I mean when I refer to him as a Master magician. Max Maven did what Max Maven does best and that is being Max Maven. Max Maven was magnificent. To add any more accolades for this excellent performer would be superfluous.
It was a brave thing and a massive leap of faith to include some welterweight Israeli magicians within the gala show that featured such heavyweight talent but in a curious way the mix actually worked quite well and the audience totally lapped it up and provided all the gala performers with rapturous and appreciative applause. At the end of the gala Darkstone called for a round of applause for Harry Allen, who did an outstanding job as Emcee and took a well-deserved bow. I have had the honor to work with some of the best Emcees and on occasion have done a little Emceeing myself and so without any reservations I will gladly applaud Harry for a truly great job of Emceeing and maintaining the rhythm of the show.
Interestingly, some months prior to the convention, Roei and I had many conversations and indeed some doubts as to how well this would be received. At one time, we even thought of leaving it out of the program. Nevertheless, with hindsight, it was a very good thing that we followed our magical intuition and decided to include it as part of the main program. By the way, we are already in discussion with a major Las Vegas star magician as next year’s Talk Show guest and Star Headliner.
After this year’s Talk Show, I was especially deeply moved when Dahlia Palled, President of The Israeli Society of Magicians publicly acknowledged my part and asked for a round of applause for me in which Max graciously joined in as well. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, it did. Later that evening, I was totally taken by surprise, overwhelmed and just blown away when Roei Zaltsman publicly presented me with an engraved plaque for my services to magic. It is moments such as these that make me so delighted to be part of the wonderful International world of magic.
On personal note, another very pleasant surprise was to meet up with Galina & Sonny Hayes. It was wonderful to see them again. I had no idea they were Headlining in an amazing show called WOW! right in the center of Eilat. Great show, I highly recommend it. I loved it. And I am happy to say they included two of my favorite effects. Galina with her floating ball and then with Sonny they did my favorite routine involving buckets and Galina’s head. It had me and the rest of the audience roaring with laughter. No words of mine can do it justice. It just has to be seen first hand. It was great hanging out with them over dinner and late night sessions. Whenever they had time to spare, they graciously attended the Convention and mixed with everyone.
The Dealers’ Room was well located and easily accessible. It housed just seven dealers but each one provided the attendees with a very fine range of products including many new items that I personally had not seen anywhere else or even advertised in the Magic media.
Although I didn’t personally attend the Kid’s Magic show held in the open-air on the grounds of the King’s City Theme Park, it was very highly praised and covered by Israeli TV.
Generally, at Conventions of this nature there are always the little hiccups that inevitably occur but apart from some very minor glitches ( most of which went unnoticed) the Convention was, in its own unique way, very magical . Everyone I spoke to, comments that I overheard, the general atmosphere and the overall feel of the three days, ( September 25, 26 +27) was one of very real magic fellowship. At this point, a very special thanks and tribute must go to Mrs. Zaltsman (Senior), Gallia and Uncle Moshe who worked very efficiently behind the scenes taking care of a hundred logistics. A special thank you must also go to Dana who worked extremely hard taking care of all the Israeli Public Relations.
Several Israeli magicians have already made their mark on the International Magic scene and indeed continue to do so. Nevertheless, I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the very genuine love that Israelis, both magicians and lay people, have for magic. I deliberately spent time eavesdropping on public comments after the shows and I was quite impressed just how much the Israeli public enjoy watching magic. In conversation with Max and Flip on the flight back to Tel Aviv and later over dinner, that same evening, at a mutual friend’s home we concluded that all the Israeli magicians we had met had a very genuine passion for the performance of magic and indeed also had a great deal of respect for our Art.
I am delighted to inform the International Magic community that the Art of Magic is alive, well and flourishing in Israel. Take my word for it. If you want to attend a great Magic Convention in a unique setting with another great line-up of Headliners stayed tuned for news about the 2006 MARS Convention. L’Chaim - To Life.
Our thanks go to one of our Headliners Menny Lindenfeld who contacted his good friend Tony Brook and asked him to do a brief article on Roei. The aim was to elaborate on Roei’s background and provide an insight into the thinking behind the forthcoming MARS convention.
Tony Brook is well known Internationally for his work on Magic. He is The International Operations Director of the Magic Web Channel, which is headed by the magical Superstar, Steve Dacri. Tony Brook is a Member of The Panel of Advisors, which includes such illustrious names as Steve Dacri, Lance Burton, Paul Daniels, Dan Garrett and Mark Wilson to name but a few.
Tony Brook and Dan Garrett are the Hosts of World Class Magic in M-U-M, The Society of American Magicians International publication and they have featured many leading International names from the world of Magic. The impressive list of featured performers have included the highly acclaimed Simon Lovell, Jon Racherbaumer, and Eugene Burger along with several FISM winners, Silver Wand winners and Grand Prix winners.
As a result of his interesting “In Conversation With …….” articles with many of Magic’s leading names, Tony has also acquired a reputation as The Larry King of Magic. Included in this highly acclaimed series were Dan Garrett, Jon Racherbaumer, Eugene Burger, Walter ’Zaney’ Blaney, Scott Wells, Bob Blau, George Saterial, Mike Stratman, Bob Kniggne, Ayala and, more recently, Las Vegas’ leading Close-Up Magician, Steve Dacri
RZ: I guess like everyone else I was fascinated by it as a child. I began performing at around 15 years old and over the years it just grew and grew. I knew intuitively that was what I was destined to do. I live and breathe magic all the time; even when I am sleeping, I dream about magic. I am totally in love with the art. I suppose I was born to do magic. Actually, I was born in Eilat and there must have been something in the air that blew in from The Red Sea that stirred my soul to do magic. I have had some truly remarkable things happen to me that even I as a magician I cannot explain.
Sheer chance. Coincidence. Karma. Kismet. I don’t know.
Luckily, no one was hurt and I miraculously walked away without even a scratch. Even more outstanding was that during my show later that night three people in the audience whom I had never met before choose a random set of numbers that matched the seven digits on the license plate of my wrecked car.
TB: And I’ll be happy to talk to you about them but let’s leave that for another time. Let’s focus on what made you decide to hold an International Convention in Israel?
TB: Sounds like two excellent reasons to hold a Convention. But why Eilat and is it safe? Many magicians who would like to attend may have security concerns because of various religious and political happenings. What is your reaction to that?
TB: Right, I see what you mean. Thanks for clearing that up. I see you have contracted an impressive list of International and Israeli performers plus all attendees will have the cost of their rooms included within the registration fee and all this at one of the best hotels in Eilat. How have you managed all that for such a reasonable registration fee?
We have lots of very positive things going for us. Talent, location and great value for money. We have also decided to give away absolutely FREE another registration to any group of magicians who book a block of five registrations at the same time.
TB: What influenced your thinking regarding the headliners?
In addition, the Israeli winners of the 2004 and 2005 stage competitions will perform at the Gala show. With such a line up this convention will Rock!
TB: Yes indeed! Absolutely! I’m willingly to bet that with such a location and line-up it will rock. Thanks for taking the time to talk about yourself and MARS. I am really looking forward to being there.
RZ: Thank you, Tony. I appreciate it. Also I’m glad you said that you are looking forward to joining us because we are looking forward to having you here too and in all likelihood we may ask you to run a couple of your highly entertaining live interviews with our headliners.
TB: Well, that could be fun and interesting, we can discuss that later but I can tell you right now I won’t do it unless you give me lots of Falafel and Hummus and plenty of Goldstar and Maccabi beer to wash it all down with …….!!!!! L’Chaim!!!! Cheers!!!!
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