Ring Meeting Report



April 2012


Breaking NEWS


Next Month’s (April) theme: Strolling magic












540 943-9999




 We are planning a Ring Show around the 4th of July


using a Patriotic theme for the local military reserve unit




March 20, 2012 Meeting


The weather has been unusually warm here in the Shenandoah Valley and the magic has been hot!  Our March meeting had 12 attendees.  President Eddie Tobey, “Tobini”, was so excited that he could not wait for the official opening of the Ring meeting to show us his new iPhone app.  It is called iForce and will convince anyone who sees you do it that you can read their mind.  


 The meeting opened and we discussed Ring plans for the rest of the year.


Wes Iseli announced that he will be headlining at the FCM convention in Columbus, Ohio in 2013.


 This month’s theme was mentalism and Jim Champion opened the monthly show with a John Banyon coin effect. He demonstrated to a spectator that he knew if they would select a penny, dime or quarter.  Wes Iseli also showed his version using a method he learned from Slydini through Rocco.


 Dennis Phillips presented a series of his own creations in the mentalism theme.


He gave a spectator an envelope and then he had him think of one of five ESP cards that were displayed and when Phillips opened took back the envelope and opened it, the prediction matched. He then showed an effect he made based on Gaeton Bloom’s Quarto. He used a horserace them and reveled that he knew the order of the winners.


 Dennis then showed a few ways to secretly read the contents of envelopes and get impressions from Post-it notes. He showed a way to hide an anagram in a slate. Several shiner methods were shown using reflective materials on clip boards. One standout was his shiner made from a small convex mirror, such as used to attach to an auto mirror. He used it to duplicate what was drawn on a spectator’s legal pad.  He also showed a clock in a box and was able to reveal the time to which it was set by a spectator.


 George Buckley presented a trick with business cards where the spectator selected the correct card.  He also showed a way to use a shiny card business card case as a shiner.  Finally, he showed the way he gimmicked a mini- composition book to reveal a selected card.  He also showed silverware bending.


 Wes Iseli wrapped it up with a Charles Gucci mental effect where Wes can positively know in which hand a spectator is holding a small ball.


 Dennis Phillips


 Dennis’ Deliberations……………    Comment and Editorial


Hey! The crumble of the brick and mortar shops seems to be accelerating. Now, even the on-line shops could be thinning.  I am speaking of the latest legal issues with Hank Lee, as reported by Boston media. http://www.thebostonchannel.com/r/30805445/detail.html   


“Harry P. Levy, the owner of Hank Lee’s Magic Factory, admitted he made 134 false transactions between 2009 to 2011 on a customer’s American Express card totaling $561,927, according to a stipulation of facts signed by Levy and prosecutors. The document was filed in Federal Court in Boston Friday, March 30th. Levy has agreed to plead guilty to credit card fraud and making false statements, and in exchange prosecutors won’t charge him with wire fraud or aggravated identity theft, according to a plea agreement. Levy faces a total of up to 20 years in prison on the charges. Prosecutors will seek a sentence at the “low end of sentencing guidelines,” and to have Levy ordered to pay restitution to the victim, according to the plea agreement.”




We all know the average membership demographics in a magic club are slanted toward older men.  Research studies show that female membership in magic clubs and performances hovers around 5 percent. That is incredibly low. As Melinda attempts to revive her career in Las Vegas, we are aware that there are probably no female names that are recognized by the public as being female magicians or illusionists.  Magic hobbyists know about Charlotte Pendragon, Adrian Black. Jade, Princess Tenko, Joanie Spina and others:




Why there aren’t more women magicians is an intriguing question, especially in an age when women are more likely to participate in comedy, acting, sports and music. What is it about magic that discourages women from an active role and sees them primarily as magicians’ assistants? http://www.miller-mccune.com/culture-society/why-have-women-magicians-vanished-8369/


More sizes” sfsi=”View full image”>I will look at the article: Perhaps by looking at this unusual hobby and form of entertainment, we can better understand how gender is performed and how differences continue throughout today’s society. What does magic tell us about the persistence of gender roles in our supposedly more egalitarian era?


Instead of speculating, consider the explanations from magicians themselves. Responding to a survey posted on various magic Web sites and boards (and thus not meant to generalize all magicians), 220 male and seven female amateur and professional magicians answered the question: Why aren’t there more women magicians?


These are the answers provided by the seven female magicians:


Males seem to better identify with famous magicians, most of who are male, and therefore are more apt to develop an interest in magic.


Because magic at its heart is about power. Men in general have an internal desire to move into chaotic situations with power to bring about order. Is that not in essence what magicians do? Now, I know sometimes the magician causes the chaos in the first place — cutting the rope, tearing the paper, sawing the lady — but the magician always makes things turn out right. Women, by contrast, usually desire to build strong, intimate relationships with others, and this doesn’t always translate well to magic. Part of the great challenge in being a female magician is not simply to amaze people – which is crazy easy — but to put a deeper meaning into the things we do in order to build that relationship to a level where meaningful ideas can be exchanged.


Because women have not seen themselves as magicians they have not been encouraged. Women have to invent for themselves ways to do things that men do not. Most magic instruction is designed for men with jackets. Women’s clothes don’t have pockets and women can’t reach into their breast pockets.


Magic books and magazines gear more for men in their advertising and descriptions of magic. It’s hard for women to find role models that they identify with. Also, women are under intense pressure to stay thin to perform, they are criticized more, where men often do not have the same pressures when performing.


Like most performing arts, there weren’t many women as a lead performer. It wasn’t socially acceptable for women to be in a “lead” role since they were housewives and mothers of children. To break that mold took a lot of courage. Women were known as the assistants to create a beauty and distraction for the stage magician. So the lesser role was really played by the woman, yet the one with the most responsibility is the woman. It is the assistant who is the real magician.


Just recently women are starting to appear in more science- and math-related jobs, and the same goes for magic. Men never take women seriously, and it is harder for some women to find mentors. Also women see a magician do a stage act with skinny models dancing around and have a hard time visualizing the woman doing magic with men dancing around her. Large men can’t be box jumpers, so [they] can’t have a male assistant in the box all the time, which adds to the difficulty of a woman performing.




To summarizing the key explanations, the actual words of the magicians are presented: (for more details on these see the on-line article)




It’s rare to see women become interested in technology and gadgets to the same extent as men. It interests guys more in general to know how stuff works.




Magic suggests power, or a show or display of power. Magic attracts men for the most part because of this power, which is oft associated with men in patriarchal societies. Men feel more social pressure to be in control. It stems from the initial power trip most young men are on when they first begin the pursuit of magic (“I know something you don’t know”).


Competitive, Confrontational and Commanding


The initial steps in magic tend to be attempts to prove “I know something you do not.” This is a very confrontational relationship that is more typical of men than women. The “boldness” required to present yourself is, historically, a masculine trait. Women present magic more as an art form.


Hobby for Geeks


It’s the boys-and-their-toys syndrome. Magic is often considered a childish phase and fixation, which is more acceptable for men to have than it is for women.


Traditional Gender Roles


It’s about stereotyping and social acceptability. Parents give magic sets to little boys and dolls to little girls. The classic image of a magician is male, so more males are drawn to it as an acceptable hobby, and the next generation sees mostly male magicians and thinks it a pursuit for males, so the pattern perpetuates itself. Also, differences in social acceptance of keeping secrets may be a factor for magic. Men tend not to believe they have deceived a friend by keeping a secret (not restricted to magic) while females relate it to trust. Males accept keeping secrets such as customer base, market information, etc., as just another day at the office. Women “share” and aren’t generally the best at keeping secrets.


The Nature of Magic


Historically, women have been persecuted for participating in magic and women who practiced magic were historically identified with witchcraft. Perhaps people expect males to be wizards/magicians and women to be witches. Because women are smaller, they are better suited as the subjects for levitations and other illusions where close confinement is required. A woman’s hands are usually smaller than a man’s and therefore less suited for concealing cards and other large objects. It also seems to be more difficult to adapt women’s clothing with pockets for concealment of birds and other objects used in magic.




Brains are wired differently for men and women. Most of contemporary magic is presented as an analytical challenge/puzzle. This is analogue to the left part of the brain, which is the “male” part. Women are more right brain oriented and respond better to the emotional, lyrical and mythical. There are different interests between women and men, mainly due to a difference in their brains. This does not mean that women are inferior to men, just that they are different. Although there are many young female magicians entering the field, and despite less overt discrimination in magic clubs and performance venues, the continued male-dominance of magic highlights the entrenched values and social roles in our society today.


Looking at the increased number of women in other traditionally all-male occupations, such as medicine or law, obscures how many still view gender differences in areas characterized by issues of power and control. Perhaps only when magic’s gender imbalance changes can we declare that discrimination based on sex has truly vanished.


I would encourage you to read the entire article. The answers given were by seven female magicians.  As the father of two daughters, it seems to me that the ancient Roman Myth of Dido-Elissa, is still deeply embedded in Western thought!


Dennis Phillips



About blueridgemagiciansring320

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