07 April 2016

Browser's Magic Bash 2016 recap

As many of you are aware, I live-Tweeted and live-blogged this year's Browser's Magic Bash last Saturday.  In this post I've consolidated (and edited) the blog posts and Tweets. (For the complete list of Tweets and photos check out this Twitter link to #BrowsersBash2016 .)  It's a very long post.  Click "read more" below to view it.  Thanks for joining in.

I hope you all had as much fun as I did!


I arrived at the hotel about 8am.  The event staff were working hard on the finishing touches and some attendees were already waiting (almost an hour early) to register!

Here's what it looked like closer to 8:30am.

And this is what it would have looked like if you had been inside, as they opened the doors:

I finished recording the above segment and lowered the tablet.  Who should I see looking back at me?  None other than Dan Morrissey, all the way from The Rock!  From there it was a whirlwind of reconnecting with familiar faces and meeting new magic friends.


Upon entering the room and grabbing some breakfast, there was lots of time to investigate the dealers.  There were representatives from United States Playing Card Company, Bobby Motta, Jason Palter, David Merry, and Greg Frewin.

And of course, there was also a mini-Browser's Den set up with deals to be had.

Some specialty items were available too:

The doors had only been open for about half an hour, and it looked (and sounded) like everyone was having a great time!


The day started of with a video segment where we got to see Lee Asher help out Jeff with his wardrobe choices.

Jeff’s greeted the crowd.  Apparently he was told to come out and just "wing it."

We're getting the official welcome to the 2016 Browser’s Magic Bash!

Jeff, looking more at home in his “trusty sweater vest” says, “thank you.”

Dan Morrissey received a warm welcome from the crowd.  We’ve missed you Phoebe and Dan!

Welcome to Phil and Evelyn Matlin (of Perfect Magic, Montreal)!

Jeff also recognized the achievements of Joan Caesar.

Welcome to Len Cooper’s family! Bernice, Len’s wife, as well as his children, Jack and Sandy Cooper!

Talk about one big magic family!

It was announced that “Zone performers” James Harrison, Ben Train, Chris Mayhew, Big Louie Lebetjis, and Joe Deng would be entertaining tables during breaks!

 Even the final bows after the show were entertaining!

After the show, Chris Mayhew filmed a “happy birthday” video for a special somebody turning 90 soon!

Michael Francis, who recently broke some Guinness Records for coin rolling, gave the crowd an impressive demonstration of his talents.

The United States Playing Card Company (USPC) was with us exhibiting their cards.
As a bonus, everyone at this year's Bash is invited to attend the 52 Plus Joker Playing Card meet June 12th at the Browser’s Den of Magic, for FREE!!

Next we had a mini-talk from Michael Close.  Know your magic history!  Among other things, he talked to us about his involvement with Penn and Teller's show "Fool Us."  It sounds like an incredible experience.

Then it was time for lunch.


As the crowd settled in for the afternoon, we were treated to footage of Len Cooper himself.  (It was a different compilation from last year, and just as nostalgic!)

We watched a video about Chad Juros of the “Spread The Magic Foundation.”  (Yes, the same Chad Juros honoured by David Copperfield on Good Morning America last Fall.)  The Spread The Magic Foundation spreads hope and inspiration to children battling cancer.  They also generously donated the lanyards for the event.  Thank you Chad!  Chad got a standing ovation for his hard work.  Let's all help him keep his promise to his father.

This year's Food Drive raised over 300 kgs of cans & dried goods for Toronto Food Bank. DOUBLE last year’s total!  Way to go Bashers!

Daniel Garcia talked about his magical history and talked about his horrific experience with a kitchen fire.  The fire resulted in 3rd degree burns on his hands.  The path to recovery was a hard road to hoe

It was announced that part of the proceeds from every ticket sold for this year's Bash being donated in Daniel Garcia’s name, to Chad's charity (Spread the Magic Foundation) and to the Burn Unit at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto.

It was then time for an emotional Garcia to give us fabulous lecture.  (During which we were reminded to keep our phones on silent, lest we wanted them encased in a balloon!)  He also taught a top change that even I might be able to pull off.  In the words of Alex Boyer, the lecture "was crazy good!"
Did I mention that everyone attending the Bash is going to get some free Garcia Magic in their inbox?  How cool is that?

Jeff took a moment to thanks to Steven Kline for working non-stop to ensure the day ran smoothly!  He also thanked Jeff Hinchliffe, Luiz Castro, and Jonathan Sy for helping Steven put the equipment and stage together!

And then it was time for the David Williamson lecture!  David dedicated the lecture to the memory of his good friend, Tom Mullica.  David talked about:
  • "Reading the writing on the wall."
  • "Yelling at children." ('cause "yelling is funny")
  • The importance of spelling.
  • The importance of math.
  • The entertainment value of yelly math.
  • The mystery of the growing deck.

There was some free time to check out the deals in the Dealers' Area, visit with the talent, catch-up with familiar people, and make new friends!  There was also Zone Performers for entertainment.  And then there were people like Noah, who were kind enough to share their talent with the rest of us!

After a lovely dinner, Cooper from the Frewin Theatre gave away some fabulous prizes.  Have a watch to see what was included in the Grand Prize package:


As we reconvened for the evening, Jeff made a point of thanking the MonteCassino staff (the office, engineering, hotel, bar, and kitchen staff).  In addition, he recognized the contributions of: Annie Pinsky, Dick Joiner, David Merry, Magic Mike Segal & Jen Segal, Ben Train, Michael Gillis, Chris Mayhew, Lidden Li, Shawna York, Nicole Lee, John Michalson, Roxanne Talbot, and Christina Asher!  He thanked the Zone Performers:  James Harrison, Ben Train, Chris Mayhew, Big Louie Lebetjis, & Joe Deng.

Jeff took a few moments for a special thank you to John Talbot and Lee Asher, without whom none of this would have been possible.

We were then treated to a touching video tribute to Tom Mullica.

David Merry emceed the stage show!

Gordon Precious opened the stage show with his signature Vanishing Birdcage.  Jason Palter had us laughing with amazementNext up was Steven Brundage with very dexterous fingers, a paper bag, a Rubik's cube, and a blindfold.  David Merry had us rolling in the aisles with laughter during his set, which included an expertly delivered killer joke involving Saint Peter.

Closing the show was David Williamson who made special arrangements to come up here and fill Tom Mullica’s spot.  Among other things we witnessed:

The hall was filled with laughter!

Jeff announced that the unofficial after party and jam sessions about to began!

He quoted John Lennon:
“A dream you dream alone ... is only a dream.  But a dream you dream together ... is reality.”

And then he thanked us for helping the Browser’s Magic Bash dream become a reality!

A great time was had by all!

Thank you Browser's Den et al, for a day to remember!

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