December Ring Meeting Report

Ring #320     The Blue Ridge Magicians
President            Eddie Tobey “Tobini”
Vice President      George Buckley
Treasurer           David Clauss
Sgt. at Arms       Jim Champion
Secretary          Dennis Phillips

Breaking News

The current Ring Officers have agreed to stay in office but President Tobey’s work schedule for the coming year will impact his ability to give his full attention to his Ring responsibilities.  He believes that the Ring is at a critical juncture where attentive and fresh creative leadership is needed to keep us as the historic and fun gathering place for all magic enthusiasts in our area.

We need to finalize the annual ELECTION of Officers and Ring leadership for 2013!

Peter Monticup is still planning for an upcoming  “Battle of the Magicians”, with prize money, in Waynesboro.

Ring Report
December 2012 Meeting
The month of December is the time for our annual Holiday Banquet and Party and the wacky gift exchange. The Ring extends thanks to Richard Gimbert and our host meeting location, the Wayne Hills Baptist in Waynesboro.  After a short business meeting, where we postponed the official election of ring officers, we began our evening of pot luck food and fellowship. There was plenty of turkey and smoked ham and side dishes along with a table of desserts. It was then time for the annual riot of fun where surprise gifts are selected by order which is drawn from numbers in a top hat. Each person has the option of taking an unknown gift or “stealing” someone else’s gift which has been previously opened. If they steal, then that person now gets to take an unknown gift.  We all went home with a fun memento from this year’s festivities.   
Dennis Phillips

Dennis Deliberations… Editorial and Comment  January 2013

By Dennis Phillips 

The Public Outcry for a Ban on Magic Props

2013 is shaping up to be a political battle over the need to ban high-powered magic props.  Reports of 25 children being traumatized with “Run Rabbit Run” by a malevolent magician at a birthday party in Mason City, Iowa has been the leading topic of discussion on the right-slant FOXY news channel (named after Karroll Fox?).   They oppose any ban on magic props and believe that every home should have a set of high-powered kid’s show props such as Hippity-Hop Rabbits and a Breakaway Wand.  The National Magic Retailers Association (NMRA), President, Wayne La-pee-er (professionally known as Crappo the Magic Clown) reasserted his long standing slogan, “When Magic Props are outlawed; only outlaws will have Magic Props” and “Then only way they will get my Cups and Balls out of my hands is when they pry my cold dead clammy fingers from around them!” 

 The left-slant MSNBC (Magical Society of No Brain Conjurers) supports a total ban on high-powered magic props.  Al Sharpen (The Amazing Sharpo) said on his program, “This nonsense has to stop! There is no justifiable reason from a birthday party magician to have a hand chopper!  The Second Amendment does not guarantee the right of every sociopathic incompetent kiddy magician to own these high-powered props”   These things need to be registered and belong in the hands of licensed professionals.

Experts say that statistically the vivid carnage has not historically increased recently.  Professor Inah Lockdown, PhD, recently said in his landmark book, “Wackos with Wands” , “There has always been bad magicians. When the Pea Can was put on the market in the 1920s, it was used to traumatize kids until most magicians discarded it from their acts. Thurston traumatized kids by putting them in an embarrassing situation where they were forced to drop eggs on the stage.  The whole idea of a kid’s sucker trick is to mentally assault them and make them feel stupid. The real villain here is the magic industry who is doing everything they can to make money off the situation, but anyone saying that would be accused of being anti-capitalist”. He continued, “This whole thing is driven by fear and despair. These wacko wizards are afraid that they will not have the latest effect and be outgunned. The problem isn’t props; the problem is props in the hands of the wrong people!”

 The President, Obama the Mysterious, checked into the debate with a pledge to make meaningful changes. “I am appointing Donald Trump to a Blue Ribbon Commission.  Trump did an excellent job of unraveling the perplexities of my signature effect, the birth certificate illusion”.

 The public wants security.  A woman with 3 young children, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “I just want my kids to be safe from these magic maniacs. No more of those disgusting traumatizing lines like, ‘Hold out your clean hand’ or ‘Are you married? I didn’t think so. You look too happy to be married’ ”.   

If past history is an indication, the furor will die down and decades from now, kiddy magicians will still be traumatizing kids with lines like “Stand right here on the trap door!” and then having them feel guilty that an “expensive” fan broke in their hands.


Even though it is the New Year, I guess I am stuck in a time warp. I know, all my sophisticated gag lines are older than the Jurassic Age but they still get big laughs from older people.

My line is, “And it will vanish into thin air. Now…that is a heck of a lot harder than vanishing into thick air!”

More…( balloon to dove)  “I am going to blow up this white balloon and…oh, did you know of the way to this show one of your nice policemen here in town pulled me over and wanted me to blow up his balloon. I asked him if he wanted me to twist it into a poodle and he told me. “Just for that you can also walk the center line with your finger on your nose” He let the air out of my balloon and said, “ Go on, you are okay…just crazy, I guess”. 

After the dove appears, say to audience.  “Do you like that?  I also have a couple of swallows in a bottle in the car!”

The performing arts of the future will be unlike anything we’ve seen up to now. Conventional platforms, stages, and arenas that have existed since antiquity with its paying audiences watching linear stories and variety acts, and thereby passively absorbing whatever is on display, will soon become a thing of the past.

 Robert Houdin came along in the mid-19th century just as modern theaters were being built. Major social changes-the industrial revolution, technological advances, and the rise of nationalism-took place between 1800 and 1875. The dramatic arts exploded during these 75 years: the masses who filled the fast-growing cities demanded theater; for these new audiences it was a fad, a passion, and also a seeming necessity. Nineteenth-century Theater, therefore, was a true popular entertainment. It attracted huge numbers of people, and its escapist dramas – though written quickly and often not particularly well – helped them forget the cares and drudgery of their lives. Audiences had a passionate involvement and theater reflected a struggle between the working and upper classes, and the militancy of lower-class audiences foreshadowed later social revolutions. Vaudeville, Burlesque, Minstrel Shows and Circuses rounded out the theatrical offerings until talking pictures and then broadcast radio and television brought the second wave. We are at the end of that second era. 

So what will replace the entertainment of today?  The present addicting video games hardly begin to tell the story.

Juggernauts of intertwined digital technological advances are rushing at us at breakneck speed and will alter the world of entertainment in new and revolutionary ways. They will be as transformative as the startling inventions at the turn of the last century that gave us analogue recorded music, radio, and talking pictures; and fifty years later, the most mind-numbing and ear-shattering technological pieces of brain-candy in the history of modern civilization: television and rock and roll.

 Within the next 50-100 years, entertainment will consist of fully-immersive, haptic, holographic images that will saturate the senses with “virtual and augmented reality”, ushering in limitless fantasies. Where the 20th century’s hardware consisted of analog recorders, chemically-coated celluloid run through mechanical projectors, and tubes and transistors driving banal television and highly amplified music, by the middle of the 21st century the entertainment industry will employ: Internet-enabled eye-glasses (in its embryonic stage as we speak), electronically enhanced contact lenses (almost here!), and possibly even electronic signals transmitted directly the brain. Think Blue-tooth on steroids.

 Beyond the 100-year mark, all bets are off: the human species may become enhanced or even grotesquely reduced, depending on your point of view, into Cyborg-like creatures (part living flesh, part inorganic) and jacked permanently into the future Internet’s “infosphere”. Those with the discipline and maturity to cope will survive nicely. But what about the rest of humanity?  Will those unable to live a balanced life will lack the will to resist (“Resistance is Futile”), and so will succumb to the overpowering pull of the technological muse of their times; and in doing so, will “trip-out” on a stunning carnival of distractions, sending them haplessly downwards into an Entertainment Pit of Hell,  to their utter and total detriment?

 Currently, the kids hooked on interactive video games may be a harbinger of the dark side. The bright side is that the attentive and serious student can learn almost everything known sitting where you are!   Try it!  Sadly, the casualty of all this may be our humanity.  I hope not.  I hope that we never lose the arts. Somewhere there will always be a place for magic. Martin Gardner may have been the prototype for the future magician.    

Happy 2013,




About blueridgemagiciansring320

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