Reported by David Corsaro
• Photographed by Dale Farris
2019 – Convention Review
On Wednesday April 24, 2019, there were two very
significant events that took place. The first event was the 49th
annual Obie’s FFFF Convention in Batavia NY. The second event was the
movie “Avengers: Endgame” was released in theaters. These two events
have a lot more in common than most think. Both brought together an
elite group of people who have incredible magical powers. Both contained
people who have skills that are so unique, they are world famous. And
finally, both are shrouded in secrecy. But that is all about to change.
So, sit back, relax and enjoy the new movie, “Avengers: 4F edition.”
We open our movie in the quiet town of Batavia NY. This
normally peaceful town is about to become the home for the best
magicians in the world. They are all gathering together to combine their
collective superpowers and learn, teach and do whatever is necessary to
accomplish their mission: to advance the art of magic. This will all
take place in their secret headquarters (which bears a striking
resemblance to a Clarion Inn and Suites.) The headquarters has
everything this group of superheroes need for the weekend including a
free continental breakfast (even superheroes need to start the day
right.) It is Wednesday April 24th and our heroes are
arriving at their headquarters with all the supplies they need such as
cards, coins and music on flash drives. These are the tools necessary to
succeed in their mission.
As our heroes are entering the headquarters, they are
greeting each other with the secret handshake (which looks a lot like a
normal handshake and maybe a hug.) For some of these people, they have
not seen each other since the last Avengers: 4F gathering one year ago.
Others have seen each other recently as many of our heroes travel the
world and visit with each other quite often. Once the pleasantries have
been exchanged, everyone gathers in the main conference room to begin
Our fearless leader, Captain Obie O’Brien (who is a lot
like Captain America except Obie is from Canada) assembles the troops
and opens the event. Obie mentions that the key to successfully
advancing the art of magic lies around one key person: Mike “The Math
Man” Powers. Obie explains that we need to do whatever is necessary to
protect The Math Man or else the whole mission could fail.
Our movie jumps to a planet called “Opening Gala” which
is ruled by Meir Yedid. Meir welcomes our heroes to his planet
and tries to make them feel comfortable with some jokes. Then he
introduces his own team of Avengers starting with 2 new superheroes.
First, Daniel Mormina casts spells with a magical looking lamp
and then Bernardo Sedlacek proves that he can make any card
appear at any number in a deck (which could prove to be crucial when
protecting a Math Man like Mike Powers.) Next, Nicolas Pierri
uses his mind power to influence the decisions of his spectator.
Alfonso Rituerto creates illusions using a magical juice known as
“coffee” (which proves to also help push people through sleep
deprivation, another key aspect to a successful mission this weekend.)
Next, we watched Bryan Saint, who himself has defeated (and
fooled) the mighty Penn & Teller. George Iglesias accessed a
brain-stone to predict which product someone would purchase (and hide it
in a jar full of marshmallows.) Johnson Huang and Horret Wu
both traveled a great distance to change the law of physics (mostly
using cards and light.) Quentin Reynolds showed how metal could
melt and reform (almost like a ninja). Finally, Henry Evans
closed our first meeting by proving that he is one step ahead of anyone
who dares challenge him. We have taken our first step to advancing the
art of magic.
But this international gathering of great warriors is not
just about displaying their skill. We now join one of the great teachers
who will be relaying his own knowledge onto our superheroes. The first
David “The Master’s Voice” Regal.
While David showcased many different examples of his powers, the one
where he made beer appear seemed to delight this group (which is also a
theme that would reoccur later in the weekend.) After David taught this
group all about his own magic powers, everyone retired to a large
banquet area and consumed the fuel necessary to survive this
After a successful first night, we move to Thursday. Some
of our superheroes who were not able to arrive on Day 1 are being seen
checking in now. This is significant because now the collective group is
complete, and things can really get underway. The learning continues as
from France teaches his recommended techniques that we can use on our
mission. It turns out that his incredible skills result in 2 amazing
powers…invisible card sleights and perfect hair.
We then moved to 2 more showcases where various heroes illustrate for
the group just how they will help advance the art of magic.
Gary Morton took the stage to introduce
from Spain who controls light to make everyday objects change color and
uses mind power to con everyone with 3-card monte.
said that he would go to Las Vegas and blend in by disguising himself as
a human slot machine.
both controlled money and
decided to help by blending in with everyday people and channeling his
inner Gilbert Gottfried.
showed his super-power by turning the world upside-down (or at least,
just his prediction.) Finally,
Eric “Ice cream cone” DeCamps
crafted some of the finest sleight of hand ever seen. After this group
was done, you could feel the balance of the world beginning to shift as
the level of magic was rising. But things are not done yet. What if the
next group of superheroes could not match the level of skill and talent
as our first? Would the quality of magic in the world suffer? The world
watches in anticipation….
Not to worry. Emcee
took the stage to ensure everyone that the next round of heroes would
not disappoint. First up was
who had to speak in his native language, emoji’s (he is from the planet
“Puns.”) Next up was
Liu Sing Z
who was delicate as a cotton ball. When you need to lighten the mood and
add some comedy to your magic, you reach out to the American trio of
David Schwartz, Jeff Eline and Gino Mozzarella
(who sometimes can hide in plain view under the name
In order to keep his identity a secret,
even had someone else read the punchlines to his jokes.
unleashed his inner “Human Torch” and had fire (and coins) coming out of
his hands. But sometimes to beat the bad guys, you must outsmart them.
That is why
played an old school version of “Find the Queen” to distract the enemy.
Finally, from Belgium,
controlled the colors of the world to obey his commands.
We closed out our Thursday at headquarters with 2
incredible lectures. First, our Guest of Honor
illustrated why he is a legend in his field. He walked through all types
of magic with some of the most creative methods ever. Granted, even some
superhero’s keep secrets to themselves as Mike never revealed his
greatest accomplishment, getting Maria to marry him.
took the stage. He not only demonstrated some of the best sleight of
hand I have ever seen, but he told stories of the last generation of
superhero’s (including some guy named Vernon.) When Howard speaks, his
love of magic is evident.
At this point in our movie, the bad guys were scared. The
4F team was way too overpowering so they began to adjust their plans.
The only way the 4F team could respond was to act quickly. Therefore,
the next day, Mike Powers organized his quickest-thinking team to teach
everyone “tricks to be done in less than 1 minute.” First up, a trio of
Canadian superhero’s named
Michel Huot, Marc Trudel and Yannick Lacroix
amazed and amused the crowd. Next up,
Jeff Eline, Gene Gordan, Dave Neighbors and Steve Friedberg
from the US performed, explained and astounded the audience in the blink
of an eye. We closed out this teaching experience with
Derek Finn, Keith Randolph, Geoff Williams
(at least, I think it was Geoff Williams…..tough to tell with a hand in
his face the whole time) and
(who with the help of Boris Wild, performed an entire trick with his
back to the audience.)
The 4F team was taking over the world. The bad guys were
retreating. But this is not the time to rest. The only way to continue
saving the planet was for the 4F team to continue to grow their
knowledgebase. So, a series of TED-style talks were organized by the
incredible…. the talented…. the amazing
(and her husband
The first talk was
who explained what is necessary to compete (and hopefully win) at FISM.
walked everyone through his extensive history of teamwork and making
connections (which for any group of superheroes’, is essential.)
proved to have possibly the most important superpower in the world by
explaining how she works with South American kids to expand the art of
magic. Next up,
transported the group to a beautiful, emotional place by going through
the history, creation and presentation for the napkin rose. At the end,
reminded everyone about the core reason why we all partake in this
incredible art with his own “happiness project.”
But learning great magic can only take our team so far.
In order to keep the bad guys on the ropes (3 ropes, different sizes),
our team needs to demonstrate their skill. Leading the next round of
The glare shining off the top of his head sent a signal to the world
that this next group of magicians was not to be reckoned with. From
rocked by solving Rubik’s cubes faster and in increasingly more
difficult ways. Occasionally a new superhero enters the team and must
prove his worth.
did just that and proved his mastery of magic with nothing more than a
cup and a cone.
from the US followed Thomas by showing how he can control cards at will.
made metal melt through solid metal and
caused cards to disappear in front of everyone’s eyes. The cards that
Christopher made disappear must have reappeared in
showed mastery over…a hank. Finally, our show concluded with
Christian and Katalina
proving that even if the bad guys tried to kill Christian, they would
not be able to.
Of course, world domination can only exist if you
showcase talent from all over the world. So, the
took the stage to welcome acts from France and Canada. First up is the
(both FISM winners.)
made one of the most unique entrances of the weekend and blew away the
audience with a family secret.
was masterful in front of the watchful crowd while the first half was
closed by the always unpredictable,
After a short intermission, the second half was kicked off by
continued his tradition of magic with alcohol (it’s a long story but a
followed William with some dazzling sleight of hand and the showcase was
who, despite teaching his secrets the day before, still had plenty of
tricks up his sleeve. At this point in our movie, the evil of the world
is basically on their last legs. They cannot fight this level of talent
and amazement. But our 4F superheroes are not even close to being done
When someone with the powers of David Stone enters your
world, you do not just limit him to one show. Oh no. David was brought
back early Saturday morning to lecture for his peers. What makes David
such an incredible person to watch lecture is the randomness of his act
and the amazing level of thought and planning that makes it seem so
random when it isn’t.
took the stage to kick off the “Mini World Show.” World famous
stood in front of the crowd and not only performed an incredible
prediction but even made furniture disappear instantaneously.
stood in front of the 4F crowd for the first time in his life and did
not disappoint. Next,
brought comedy and magic together (his multi-powers at work.)
John Michael Hinton
demonstrated why he was asked to be on “Fool Us” by doing just that to
Then 2 masters from Japan,
both displayed incredible attention to detail as each move, sleight and
action in their routines were flawless. Many thought they were seeing
double, but they were not as
came back once again to knock everyone on their butts with his magic.
Finally, our show was closed out by the energy and excitement of
The quality of magic in the world was in top form and
many would think that our movie would be over. But every good superhero
knows that usually towards the end of the fight, the bad guy comes back
for one final shot. Therefore, our 4F crew decided to keep the momentum
of success going. Our next show was supposed to be hosted by
but he was battling the forces of evil back home (and he has the battle
scars to prove it.) So,
came to host (and every time he came on to introduce someone new, he had
his own new battle scars.)
took the stage and performed his unique brand of magic.
took the powers from his mystic beard to absolutely amaze the room. Next
combine fantastic magic with a very engaging presentation.
from Spain celebrated his 11th time at 4F and was immediately
followed by the incredible
The FISM winners from France continued as
took the stage. The energy did not decrease as
lived up to the recommendations of his sponsors.
from Japan made everyone’s eye bug out. And our afternoon concluded with
the one and only,
giving everyone a sneak peek on what is to come in his next exciting
adventure (trust me, you will not want to miss this.)
After a short ceremony dedicated to our guest of honor
Mike Powers, the final show was ready to begin. It’s hard to believe
that the magic from this weekend could get any stronger, but our
superheroes are not done yet. Hosted by the 2 head 4F’ers,
Obie “Blue Line” O’Brien
Joan “High Stick” Caesar,
the closing show was in good hands. First up was one of the funniest and
most mind-boggling duos’ I have ever seen,
The magic with these 2 was happening so fast, your eyes grew tired from
looking back and forth. Next
from China had the crowd on the edge of their seats with every move.
from Taiwan had small objects moving around the table with lightning
speed (and usually without any cover.) Many in the crowd were not ready
(especially…. DAAAAAAAN.) Lucy brought magic, charm and amusement. Next,
continued his tradition of only performing magic obtained that day from
Target (an odd superpower I would agree but it does work for him.) The
first half was closed by the Italian Stallion himself….no the other
You might think you know exactly where Rocco gets his superpower from,
but even with a clear jacket, he always proves to be 1 step ahead of
The second half of our final show was opened by our guest
of honor Mike Powers. This was followed by
from Spain who had cards obeying his every command.
returned to perform at 4F for the 3rd time and did not
from Austria can make any card named rise, appear and disappear with
nothing more than the wave of his hand.
from Spain had cards and coins flying around the table with incredible
speed. Finally, our show concluded with
doing their own TED-talk about how magic should be done.
Well, as you can probably imagine, with a weekend like
that in the books, the bad guys are completely defeated. This collection
of over 150 superheroes came to this small town and collectively raised
the level of quality magic in the world. But as everyone who watches a
superhero movie knows, there is always an extra scene. A quick shot
sometime during the movie credits that gives you an indication whether
our heroes will need to come back and fight again. And in our movie,
there is in fact an extra scene. It is a close-up of a dealer table. And
as the camera pans back, we see a collection of heroes watching a man
perform magic. This man reveals a secret that gets a huge reaction from
the crowd. The man is Mark Mason. And our movie concludes with the words
“…. find out the secret, in April 2020.”