Waynesboro Magic Cavalcade
Friday September 28th
Saturday September 29th
Ring Report July 2012 Meeting
Our mid-summer July Ring meeting had lots of talk about the national convention in Norfolk. Everyone who went had a good time. Following the business meeting, it was show time and this month’s theme was “Things gathering dust”.
First up was John Coleman who talked about old classic tricks that he still does such as the torn and restored paper and the Linking Rings. He then showed a classic effect where a one dollar turns into a five dollar bill. Eddie Tobey then did the classic Card Warp where a card flips inside another folded card. Jim Oberg did a mechanical three card monte that was one of his first tricks. Bryan Bence had a card selected and then a small mechanical rabbit hopped around and found the card. He followed with Jay Sankey’s linking chain links and concluded with a detailed demonstration of ways to use the powerful “Wow” card gimmick.
George Buckley showed a clever effect where the spectator seemed to cut to their selected card. David Clauss had an oldie but goodie. It was a set of dice that transported magically ending with a giant die that emitted a bright flash. He explain that it would probably be the last time he did the trick because it uses “flash cubes” which are no longer available now that we have digital photography.
Dennis Phillips presented a trick from a 1957 Linking Ring by (Gene Grant) Phantini called The Ghost Rope. A white rope is wrapped around the magician and instantly penetrates him. He then did the classic Soft Soap which is seldom seen but was a popular effect in the 50s and 60s. He showed Warren Stephens “Comedy Card in Balloon”, a great kid’s effect. He concluded with his version of an effect from Lee Earle’s Syzygy. A dozen cards with action scenarios are given to spectator and he is able to sketch the scenario on a marker board.
Jim Champion concluded the show with a skillful effect where signed coins change paces in the magicians and spectator’s hands and end eventually in a nest of boxes.
Dennis Deliberations…. Editorial and Comment
The poet Paul Valery observed after World War One: ” Nous autres civilisations savons que nous sommes mortelles” (We, civilizations now know we are mortal)
I would not say that we are looking at the end of “Magic” as we knew it, but certainly the potential mortality of the hobby and business is apparent. Barry’s Magic Shop in Suburban D.C. just closed and it made the AP wire. I saw it on the “State News” part of the regional Associated Press feed while I was preparing the Sunday Morning News for my radio broadcast.
Let’s talk about why the Norfolk International Brotherhood of Magicians National Convention reflects the contraction of magic. My understanding is that attendance was down and certainly there were a lot less dealers. Show quality was considered still good as were the lectures. Those who attended had a good time. The IBM has always been the hobbyist group and mostly middle class.
First, Norfolk is not a resort town. Conventions today are too expensive for the shrinking Middle Class. There is nothing new in magic other than the latest packet trick and Grunge Magic is all the rage now and that genre does not lend itself to convention attendance. I heard it was 400 people and 10 dealers!
All the same lectures are easily available on the lecture circuit and You Tube. All the acts have been around for years. One night was all Asian and I was told that all they did was productions.
Very few people are now making a living from magic and thus you have almost no pros to talk to, just a bunch of move monkeys and finger flickers. “Try the Hamman frustration count just before the Elmsley Move, but Faro shuffle……” Zzzzzzzzzzzz……( by the way, I just Googled “Hamman Frustration Count” and three You Tube videos popped up!)
I have heard dismal reports from FISM.
It will be interesting to see how the Genii and Daytona Convention will fare both being in Central Florida and being only four weeks from each other in the October-November time frame.
They may appeal to 2 totally different crowds. You have to mortgage your house, which probably has an underwater mortgage, to go to the Genii Convention. It is being held at an Orlando Hotel next to the Florida Mall and near the Orlando Airport. It promises to have a celebrity line-up on the bill.
SAM always was a classy group but we in SAM often seemed like a kinky magic clique. “We’re number two and we don’t try harder!” Apparently with a Vegas venue and David Copperfield, the SAM Convention was well received. But I look at the names. Lots of old guys! Let’s face it in Magic, the old guard is dying off and the new people are businessmen. (Josh Jay, Andrew Mayne, Jay Sankey, Wayne Houchin, Nathan Kranzo, Daniel Garcia.)
Denny Haney fancies himself, according to his cover story (August 2012) in MUM, as the last brick and mortar magic shop hold out. No pun intended with the term “hold out”; an old method for doing magic effects. The local corner store just can’t make it when faced with the Wal*Marts of magic. The biggest problem is not so much with other shops which can provide props cheaper. The problem is You Tube when all the secrets are open. Honestly now, a large percentage of people who buy magic buy it for the secret. If it is free on You Tube, they will not buy it.
I have a friend going to the MAES Convention in Cherry Hill, New Jersey in September. We will see how that one goes.