So how do you summarize the oldest and best magic convention in the world? How many hours there were of events and activities? How many performers and lecturers there were? How many people attended? Pick your own measurements. The 84th Annual Convention of the International Brotherhood of Magicians formally opened at noon, Tuesday, July 3, and ended around midnight Saturday, July 7. Let's take a look at some of the obvious numbers:
• According to the Schedule of Events, the "official hours" of the convention came to about seventy-eight hours. But, the Schedule also pointed out that there was a "24-hour Session Room" available -- so those early-risers, night-owls, insomniacs, etc., had a place to go and talk and exchange ideas and share moves ANY time during the 108 hours from noon Tuesday to midnight Saturday. But we also have to figure in Tuesday morning, when a number of magicians performed a magic show at a local hospital (and another in the afternoon). And, many magicians, I.B.M. staff members, committee members and officers arrived on Monday, and immediately went into planning, setting-up, stuffing, etc.
• Some people would like to talk about the performers and lecturers in the summary. We can't separate the two because many of them did double duty. In other words, some lecturers were performers, and some performers were also lecturers. There was a total of thirty-two performers and lecturers, with the addition of another half-dozen or so assistants. And we aren't even counting the Fife and Drum Corps during the Opening Party.
• How many people does it take to put on a major convention? We're talking about the convention staff and committees. Looking at the Convention Program, we counted over thirty-five people listed. And we know there were at least that many more people and volunteers who also worked behind the scenes. As has been said before in other contexts, "It takes a village."
• Each night, I.B.M. Web Portal editor Dennis Schick wrote a report on that day's activities, and posted it on the Portal. At the same time, official convention photographer Michael Messing, was going through his long-day's-worth of digital photographs, and writing cutlines for each. He sent them to Jessica Friend, graphic designer for both The Linking Ring and the I.B.M. Web Portal. She, in turn, laid out the photos within the article. Altogether, there were six articles posted during the week (one for each day, plus the contest winner's story), and forty-two photos (including six of the winning magicians).
• And how about all the hours of planning before the convention and during the convention -- not to mention all the post-convention hours to wrap-up all the events and activities (from billing to thank-you notes)? Of course there is no way to even estimate how many hours were spent before, during, and after. We just know that it was in the hundreds.
Since I coordinated fifty-one three-day conventions over the twenty-five years I was Executive Director of the Arkansas Press Association, I -- more than most people -- fully appreciate what has to happen for a successful convention. A deep bow and tip of the top hat to anyone who had anything to do with making this a succssful convention.
Watch for complete coverage of the conveition -- including many more photos -- in the August and September issues of The Linking Ring. And remember, all the photos at the convention were taken by Michael Messing, and all are copyrighted by the I.B.M.