Monthly Ring Newsletter June 2011

Keeping the Magic Alive!

Ring #320 Newsletter

Of the International Brotherhood of magicians

President – Eddie Tobey   Vice President – Brian Bence   Secretary – Dennis Phillips   Treasurer – David Clauss

Sergeant at Arms – Jim Champion

 June 2011

Breaking NEWS

 The Proud but the Few!    The Peter Monticup Saturday was fun. Those of you that skipped missed a good time.

 The Natural Bridge Convergence planned for June has been cancelled.

 Wes Iseli, our Ring Professional, reports a sell-out summer of magic shows full of performing and a new little Iseli on the way.



MAY, 2011 meeting

 The May Ring meeting was held as a Saturday afternoon picnic at Peter Monicup’s Magic Manor nestled in the rolling hills east ofCharlottesville.  The afternoon was warm and sunny and as the sun faded, the crickets sang and the frogs added the bass lines. Peter’s Victorian magical house is a charming and disarming place. Gargoyles peak from walls and stand guard.  He has rooms filled with display cases and magic collectables. Peter is also a “Freak Show” expert and former operator. He has a library of magic books and magazines that fills an entire room. Peter is also a Jazz pianist so a music jam at the picnic was assured with Peter on the keyboards and President Eddie Tobey on guitar and keyboards and Jim Oberg was also on guitar. Occasionally Dennis Phillips took the strings with some early 60’s Ventures picking.  Lots of magic still flowed. Peter provided a barrage of great card effects at the picnic tables and Dennis Phillips premiered his new effect themed on Seal Team Six. The ring ladies served dinner: Peter’s wife, Jackie, Jim’s wife, Susie and Eddie’s wife, Yvonne.

President Eddie Tobey says that after all the e-mails back and forth; it has come to making a final decision on this event. What started out as a simple idea had, unfortunately, become a large burden. With the expense of all that is involved, coupled with minimal participation, he decided that this summer’s mini-convention atNaturalBridgeshould be cancelled. The board agreed. Perhaps with more planning we can try for next year.

We are ready for a magic summer in the historicShenandoah Valley.

Dennis Phillips

 Dennis’ Deliberations……………    Comment and Editorial

 Okay, I feel like a magic polygamist!  My two “ladies” are not women, but IBM Magician’s Rings.  For years I was active with Ring #170,Orlando. I was brought into Ring leadership by Bev Bergeron to help in doing the newsletter (when we used to print and mail it!) as soon as I finished the intensive work on my Masters degree from Rollins College. And then… 2 years ago my wife and I moved to the Shenandoah Valley inVirginiaand I hooked up, pardon the pun, with Ring #320.  Over Mother’s Day weekend, I was back inOrlandoto see my youngest daughter graduate fromRollinsCollegeand to be with our grown children who still live there.  It so happened that A magic name, Tony Clark, was in town for his lecture, so I got a chance to get together again with some of the Orlando Ring members at the IHOP meeting room.

This month’s column will be a double report on recent ring events in both rings:

The first was the May 10th lecture by Tony Clark at Ring #170 inOrlando.  Tony is well known in the magic word and has been seen many times on a number of Gay Blackstone produced TV shows such as, The World’s Greatest Magicians and Masters of Illusion. Tony is known as a consultant for magic in movies and just finished working on Nicolas Cage’s latest movie which features magic. Clark was a student of Slydini and learned well from the master.  He stressed the concept of “tension” and “relax” in misdirection.

He opened with a Slydini jumbo coin and silk routine. All the moves were logical and justified in secretly moving and loading the coin. The jumbo coin appeared in an empty silk and kept disappearing and appearing and finally the coin vanished in a shower of silver confetti.  Tony followed up with a Slydini Classic, the Knotted Silks.  Anyone who has ever witnessed the white silks magically tying and untying knows the power of this simple effect.  Clark used twoChampaigngoblets and made the knots migrate from one set of silks to the other.

Tony then took a seat for some examples of Slydini’s table magic.  Most know that Slydini was an expert at “lapping” or secretly dropping items or retrieving them from his lap.  The cleverness is in making all the actions undetectable.  Tony Clark showed an impromptu knife-swallowing bit that blew away the crowd of magicians. At just the right moment and combined with the “tension and relax” technique and body shifting, he was able to convince the crowd that he actually swallowed a table knife. He then invited up a magican in the audience and immediately taught him the technique.  Tony followed up with cigarettes and coins, the same coins he exchanged with Slydini a generation ago.  Tony Slydini  wasNew Yorkbased and Clark took lesions from him once a week by commuting intoManhattanfrom his home inConnecticut. He credits Slydini and a love of magic instilled into him with saving his life from steroid abuse. Clarkhad been a power-lifter and “ripped” at over 225 pounds. He focused on magic and is now a healthy 165 pounds at 45 years old.

Clarkwrapped up the lecture with some dealer demos such as his beer bottle-through-the-body or through-the-table. It is a new updating of the old table-magic bit using a salt shaker and a clever gimmick. He did his version of 3 borrowed rings in tissue paper, the classic Slydini migrations done to music.  He showed a clever small box without a back that made loading the rings simple. As I watched Tony, I could see the same movements that Slydini used to make. Tony did them naturally and well. The oldChavezMagicSchooluses to also teach a series of identical body moves and poses so that the look of a Chavez graduate is almost identical.

Tony Clark then demonstrated his handling of the Keller Robe tie and Gypsy Balloon.  He had a helium balloon and did the Classic Gypsy Thread routine using the string on the balloon!  Eugene Berger would be thrilled. Clarkthen told about how his young son helped him create the illusion and how he used it as the finale of his Lake Tahoe Casino show followed by a balloon drop over the audience.  Both Dan Stapleton and I saw the possibilities of an equally intriguing and emotionally powerful finale for a stage show in the same vein as the Chinese Snowstorm.

Tony Clark is a likable performer and good lecturer with valuable information and products.  President Craig Fennessy and the Ring are keeping up the quality and fun of the Ring experience!   The next morning it was back in the car for the 14 hour car-ride back home toVirginia.

I had a great time performing with Ring #320 the Saturday before Easter at the annual Waynesboro Theatrical Alliance Festival inWaynesboro,Virginia. They are a local group of boosters and supporters for restoring The Wayne Vaudeville Theater in downtownWaynesboro.  The job is almost completed.  The theater had been a vaudeville showcase and began to decline, as most downtown theaters did, in the late 1950s as suburban flight gutted many downtowns.   This theater did hang on into the 80s.   Mark Cline, the owner of several tourist attractions and the Haunted House atNatural Bridge,Virginiatold me that as a youngster he sneaked in through a bathroom window , in theWayneTheater, without paying the admission to see Phil Morris’ Ghost Show. Years later, Mark said he sent Phil the $1.50 admission with an apology!   The old theater is still there and will soon be ready for a new generation of shows and art films. 

The festival was held in the park by the river that runs through the town.Waynesborowas the old industrial center of theShenandoah Valleyand filled with factories such as DuPont Paints and Mohawk Carpets.  Then in the 80s the deindustrialization of American began as factories moved to the third world seeking cheaper labor.  The impact on the town, and many towns acrossAmericawas devastation, depopulation and dilapidation. The collapse of jobs left unemployment and poverty.  The simplistic answer from some politicians is that the workers should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and with no help from anyone settle for permanent poverty from odd-jobs and part time work with one-third of their former income.  Other politicians grudgingly approved of minimal welfare relief along with calling those displaced by the industrial decline, lazy, stupid and deserving of what happened to them.  The blame game has led to the current political war in this country.  The fact is that the modern world is built on Industrial power and there is no way to assure world leadership and a large and prosperous middle class and employment without it.  The past 30 years has been with the gluttony of financial speculation, market bubbles and personal and government debt all in an attempt to smother over the jobs problems that caused aWaynesboro,VirginiaandLuray,VirginiaandDetroit,MichiganandYoungstown,OhioandCamden,New Jerseyand thousands of industrial towns across this great land.

Perhaps American can experience a national Easter, a Resurrection.   At least in a small way, The Wayne Theater may be a part of the resurrection ofWaynesboro.

Our IBM Ring performance area was set up in the open air Pavilion and the wind was strong. Those that have never performed outdoors can not appreciate the effect of wind on silks, ropes, tables on wheels, props on tables and backdrop curtains.    Steve Pittella set up a great pipe and drape backdrop and we struggled all afternoon fighting the wind. He braced it well and it did help cut some of the wind.  Ring President Eddie Tobey was the magic Master of Ceremonies and opened the show with a cute Trevor Lewis Clap-o-meter where audience clapping moves a thermometer.   He introduced Steve Pittella.  Steve is an old pro who spent many years inNew York Cityas a children’s performer. He had a colorful routine with lots of audience participation and engagement with the kids. I loved his packing tables all Formica covered and cleverly foldable. He got a lot of mileage out of a three kids in costumes and a comic kazoo version of the Blue Danube Waltz.  Eddie was back on with some MC fun.

Richard Gimbert followed with a nice Stratosphere routine, What’s Next and orange silks and oranges and Hippity-Hop Rabbits.   Eddie kept up the momentum by pulling a gigantic mouth coil out of a marshmallow.  John Coleman did a Professor’s Nightmare and the classic comic “Vanishing Bandana”.  Eddie then introduced Dennis Phillips who brought up three young volunteers for a comedy version of 20th century Silks with a Breakaway wand and Fan . The center silk vanished from a change bag which only contained a string of sausages. He then asked for a mother in the audience, who was the best cook. Naturally all the kids volunteered their Moms but one was chosen. Dennis put her hand in the Disecto carrot-chopper, which he called the Kitchen Magician, but all ended well.

Dennis Phillips


About blueridgemagiciansring320

Secretary of Ring 320 of the International Brotherhood of Magicians located in the Western Virginia.
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