The 41st is picking up speed!

Well, the line up is all set for the 41st Annual MCA Weekend, May 13-15th in Chicago.  We’ll be announcing the roster of speakers over the next few weeks to give you a sense of the program. We’ve assembled a broad range of speakers, including some who will be making their debut at this type of gathering.

We’ve programmed presenters for all constituents – those interested in apparatus, books and periodicals, magic collecting, magic history, and the personalities that ignite our passion for all things magical.

As we mentioned in our last post, registration for the Conference is strictly limited.  The theatre where we will be holding our events has limited seating. I’m pleased to say that we are already at the 50% mark for attendance, and that is before our flyer has been distributed in the forthcoming issue of Magicol, our traditional mode for advertising the Conference.

In future years we hope that, given the limited seating, the Conference will become a hot ticket for those interested in magic history and collecting, much like it is for the Los Angeles Conference on Magic History. This will mean that some who are late registering will inevitably be disappointed as the Conference will be sold out. We may even have to move towards offering previous attendees first right of refusal to return to the Conference. We’ll cross that bridge, however, when we come to it!

For those of you have attended in the past, we’ve changed the format slightly from previous years. First, there will be no Saturday night banquet.

As many of you know, any conference that takes place in a hotel is usually required to spend a certain amount on “food and beverage”.  As a banquet absorbs a tremendous amount of the budget, well in excess of what minimum is required by the hotel, we’ve elected to spend our food and beverage – still above the minimum, but not as extravagant as a sit down dinner – on two receptions. We are rolling the savings into other initiatives.

The first reception will be a dessert reception on the Thursday evening after George Daily and Mike Caveney, our Guests of Honor, have enthralled our group with tales from their Crypt!

The second reception will be a business-style luncheon on the Friday. We have packed a lot of presentations on the Friday – during the day – in order to have Friday night free.  (More on this in a moment.)  So, rather than venture off site to grab lunch, we thought we would provide delegates with a bite to eat at Friday lunch so that they can spend more time in our halls, and in the dealers’ room, prior to returning for the afternoon sessions.

Now, I said that Friday night is free.  This is another change to the traditional program.

Like more traditional business conferences, we believe that sometimes we can become overloaded with keynote presentations.  Also, some delegates would like to spend time in Chicago, perhaps enjoying some of the fabulous dining or theatre that the city has to offer.  So, Friday night is open to do exactly that sort of thing.

But, there will be other options.

First, we have hired a shuttle service for attendees who want to go downtown.  The shuttle will depart from the hotel at select times and do a drop off and pick up at a convenient location in the Loop. We will have to get a sense of the number of delegates who want to take advantage of this service in advance. We’ll do that, however, as we get closer to the event.

The shuttle will also be available to do a drop off and pick up at Potter & Potter, Gabe Fajuri’s auction firm that will be running the Jay Marshall Estate auction on the Sunday after the Conference. This will give those delegates interested in attending the auction preview a chance to do so Friday evening.

Norman Beck Aug 23

For those who just want to hang out at the hotel, we’ve arranged for Jason England, one of the world’s premier experts on Advantage Play and card magic, to do a show. Again, we’ll need to get a sense of the numbers interested in attending Jason’s performance in order to get the appropriate space in the hotel. It will be a show, however, and not a lecture. Jason, as you can now imagine, will also be doing a keynote presentation on gambling-related collectibles that every magician should have in their collection as part of our regular programming.

Finally, as Chicago is the cradle of bar magic, we have hired a Chicago-area magician to work the lounge where many of us like to congregate late at night to have drink and share a story or two.

So, as you can see, although Friday night is “free”, there are many interesting options for those attending to do.

In our next posting, we will take a step back from touting the Conference and introduce a special offer or two for all members.

Stay tuned!


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