Thanks to Joe O'Donnell who showed his appreciation for what I do here by throwing a few quid in our tip jar ealier today. As I always say any donations received filter their way down through the community one way or another. The hosting and work that goes in to this site is really a labour of love and my way of giving back to an industry that has helped me so much. If you fancy helping out please do so either by donating through Paypal on the site or see me in person. Thanks again Joe.
Entries in Joe O' Donnell (7)
For those who can’t be bothered to read this in its entirety the quick review is that the Cork Uncorked Convention was a huge success and a good time was had by all. Okay? Now to the nitty gritty:Cork is a state of mind. It is boisterous, canny, gregarious, opinionated and infinitely welcoming. At a pinch it will suffer fools if not gladly at least with good grace. It is the Opera House, Barry’s Tea, The Banks, Murphy’s Stout, Drisheen, the Blarney Stone and Jimmy Crowley and the Boys of Fairhill.But this weekend (June 27, 28 and 29 for the record) it was Magic.When the Munster Society of Magicians for a variety of reasons found itself unable to host the Annual IBM Convention, the Southern Brotherhood –Ring 363 – stepped up to the plate and accepted the challenge. And that’s Cork for you.Running a convention is no pushover: it involves hard work and lots of it. Those of us who’ve been down that road, raised an eyebrow and wished the SBM luck. Thus was a dream born. A dream which came into boisterous reality over last weekend.It was a weekend packed with lectures, shows and impromptu sessions in bar, lounge and certain bedrooms. And the magic was good too! Rather than trudge through the events as they happened here is a random collection of snapshots - thumbnail impressions in no particular order which might convey some of the flavour of this remarkable weekend. And do note that this is a personal reaction and is no way intended to be fair minded or impartial.
- Luke Jermay frying a packed room with two mind reading demonstrations: dual reality or what? No. One involved a stripper deck and the other a reader. Talk about pulling the rug from beneath your feet.
- The same roomful all munching from paper bags. Munching what? Sweets, homemade sweets from John Coleman’s elaborate help yourself free candy buffet. A child’s dream come true, but devoured with relish by grown men and women.
- The quirky liquid suspension from a Red Bull Can taught by Diamond Jim Tyler. And they say it gives you wings.
- The suggestion that You Tube, Face Book and Twitter be combined in a single application to be known as YouTwitFace.
- FISM winner Helder Guimarães’ version of the classic Cards Across –simple, direct and elegant. A maestro at work.
- Just about anything done, said or performed by John Linehan.
- Late at night, the ubiquitous Luke Jermay, Tarot pack in hand, whispering sweet everything’s in a young lady’s ear. In the early nineteen hundreds, Luke would have been up there with The Davenports, the medium Margery and the other psychics. In the 16th century he would have been burned at the stake. Today he is a louche gem in the crown of contemporary mentalism.
- Quentin Reynolds generously sharing the work of a lifetime and revealing a treasure trove of stunning Children’s magic , the distillation of a quarter of a century of meticulously honed craft. His version of Dante’s Lazy Magician is ten minutes of sheer entertainment.
- The elegance of Laurent Baretta in both his appearances on the Gala Show. The movements, the gestures, the sheer – I don’t know – the sheer je ne sais quoi? Well, what do you expect – the man’s French, isn’t he?
- Aonghus McAnally barnstorming his way through stories, songs, slagging, and other stuff beginning with S. And still they gazed and still the wonder grew. And he was heading off at the crack of dawn on Sunday to take on the best in a snooker championship. Is it fair that one man should be so talented? I merely ask.
- Paul Gordon’s very funny lecture cloaking the skill and talent that puts him in the galaxy of the greats. He’s also one sweet guy as well.
- Generosity – here we go again: the open handed generosity of all performers, lecturers and attendees. Must be something in the Cork water. Or the Barry’s Tea.
- Buzz words – logical disconnects, dual reality.
- Apropos of the free sweets (see above): having a chat with the guy who makes them. He explains how he can usually tell what’s lacking in a person’s life from the type of sweets they fancy. Oh yeh? Opens up a whole new tranche of cold reading possibilities, eh?
- Bloody mobile phones going off in the middle of lectures and performances: some people have no cop on.
- The Triskel Chistchurch venue for the Gala show. Weird, weird, weird. A narrow converted church. I can imagine it working as a rock or concert venue, but for a magic show: I had some reservations, not the least of which were the sight lines. The show was great, however.
- John Linehan’s six card repeat with contemporary references to the Greek economy, and a side swipe at Fianna Fail.
- Apropos of the Triskel sight lines: I have a scribbled note on Laurent Baretta’s second appearance: “think he’s doing card fans, but can’t see the f**king thing!”
- And lest it be forgotten in the general maelstrom, turmoil and frenzied scramble that is a Magical Convention let me mention with a great deal of awe, that e-book offered initially as a fund raiser by Ring 363, and called appropriately enough CORK UNCORKED. Edited and compiled by Tony Galvin, it has over 40 effects from 17 contributors, in 130 pages, and is priced at a ridiculously low €10. All good workable effects from the likes of Ger Godley, Luke Jermay, Ger Kearney, Tom Moloney, Quentin Reynolds, John Bowden and Diamond Jim Tyler. Sorry if I missed out the other contributors. This is a book of little and large gems from complete routines to insightful essays, and from self-working effects to much more advanced stuff. Not sure if it is still available, but it is a must buy. I’ve spent over five times as much for much less. Hey, three long routines from Luke Jermay for €10! Tony Galvin’s mad routines from his own act. A little killer from Paul Gordon. And seven – SEVEN – bamboozlers from Diamond Jim Tyler. Come on!Unfortunately I had to leave early Sunday afternoon, and had to miss the three hour Luke Jermay workshop, and Tom Moloney’s lecture on children’s magic incorporating his own ideas on games – both events to which I was looking forward. Congratulations to the officers and members of Ring 363 for putting together with heart a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.
A packed house at the SIM last Tuesday evening were treated to a thought provoking nights entertainment by the brilliant Noel Britten and luckily for those of you who missed it Joe O'Donnell was there to capture it.
My first encounter with Noel Britten was at the IBM Irish Ring Convention in Belfast in 2007; I have fond memories of an uproarious re-enactment which he did in the course of the lecture of his famous Walk around Bath. To see an entire roomful of magicians get to their feet and follow Noel around the room as he described what and why he did this walk was both a hilarious and memorable experience. For those who don’t know, Noel is famous for–among many other things–his Bizarre Bath Walk whereby he leads a walking tour of his native city in a ninety minute blizzard of gags, historical information and improvised hilarity. Now in its twentieth year, the Walk , Noel states and who are we to disagree is the longest running magic show on the planet. It runs from March through October most nights and is a must–see for any visitor to Bath.
To a packed house of members and guests on a cold Tuesday night in January, Noel lectured the Society of Irish Magicians. I am not sure what the audience expected but there were mixed sighs of relief and disappointment when Noel announced that there would be no tricks. This was followed by a salvo on the lines of ‘As magicians we think we are special, but in fact we’re not. We’re not as great as we think we are.” This launched us into a witty and sometimes acerbic analysis of who we are, what we are, and what we could be. One could sense the unease as magicians were forced to face up to the reality of who we think we are.
In a world where the pros look down on the amateurs, the mentalists look down on the magicians, the magicians look down on the mentalists, and everybody looks down on the children’s entertainers–‘though if the truth be known, children’s entertainment becomes the banker to many a close-up or corporate career.
The cold hand of ineptitude falls heavy on those who look at their work through the perspective of ‘ah sure, it’ll do.” Attitude is all: and this was alarmingly illustrated by the showing of two clips from the TV Talent Show BRITAIN HAS TALENT. But the other Britten–Noel, that is–proved more than a hurler on the ditch; he offered some straight from the shoulder advice on what we as magicians can do to improve our art.
Scripting: do you have a definite script for every effect you do? Or do you leave it to the inspiration of the moment? Writing a script and rewriting and pruning and editing that script is the royal road to a cogent and fluent performance.
Cut out the sloppiness: fumbling in your case for instance while you look for the next prop in your set.
Learn something new every day, enlarge your horizons: and this applies not only to magic but to the allied disciplines of movement, speech, lighting and sound.
Personal charm, humility and a sense of humour are three things that can be enhanced by critical feedback from your peers.
The Question and Answer session that followed Noel’s lecture was as illuminating in what the questions proposed as it was to the tentative answers that were offered.
It was a brilliant if unsettling start to the New Year, and did precisely what Noel Britten had set out to do: shake us out of our complacency.
IrishMagicNews would like to thank Joe for the review and the SIM would like to thank everyone who was there. Over 40 of you.
Former SIM President and all round theatrically brilliant guy Joe O'Donnell has just had a short story published on the online literary magazine Cyclamens and Swords Publishing. Joe's past writings have won prestigious international awards and he is a much respected writer, producer and director. You can read Epicedium by Joe O'Donnell here.
Society season kicks back in next month and as it does the committee of The Society of Irish Magicians have asked your editor to pass on their deep appreciation to retiring SIM newsletter Editor Joe O'Donnell. Joe has been the man behind SIM-sala-bim for the last number of years and under his editorship it has never been more worth reading. Joe as an award winning writer has a beautiful way with words and this couples with his love of magic always made the voice box of The SIM a pleasure to read. Deepest thanks Joe from one and all.
After a long hiatus we are back with our "In conversation with.." series. This time joined by Nevin Cody and Joe O'Donnell. Joe has an amazing rich history in theatre and variety and Nevin has been on a personal journey in developing an award winning act. Hear what both men have to say below.
These interviews were recorded live at the May SIM meeting and as a result suffer a little on audio quality particularly during our interview with Joe. You might find you have to crank the volume up to hear Joe and then when I come in you will get your ears blasted off you. I have tried to correct the audio as best as possible in post. Thanks for your understanding.
IrishMagicNews would like to thank Joe O'Donnell and Kerry Scorah for their kind donations that make them our most recent Leprechauns. This site is not for profit but does take considerable time and fair expense on my part so all donations are greatly received. If you would like to donate please do so by clicking on one of the "become a Leprechaun" buttons on the site. If you are a Society officer bear in mind that we also take donations from Societies or organisations too