January 2013 Ring Meeting

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February 2013

Ring #320     The Blue Ridge Magicians

President            Wes Iseli
      Vice President   Eddie Tobey “Tobini”
   Treasurer           David Clauss
Sgt. at Arms       Jim Champion
Secretary            Dennis Phillips

Breaking News

Mark it down:
Elections were held! Be sure to respond to President Iseli’s request for membership information.
Friday Night, February 1st is Charter Night for the Charlottesville S.A.M. Assembly.
(The Hocus Pocus Club of Charlottesville)
George Schindler will be there for a lecture.
He is  the Dean of the Society of American Magicians will be presenting a lecture to all SAM or SYM members.  There is no cost lecture for members.  If you would like to attend the lecture but are not yet a member of SAM come and join us on Feb 1 and enjoy an informative and fun filled evening.  For $25 dollars you can enjoy a 4 month trial membership in SAM including the monthly publication.
7PM at the Forest Lakes North Pavilion Building.   Address is 1828 Timberwood Blvd
Call if you have any questions.    Hope some of you will be able to join us next Friday Feb 1
David Clauss  434.823.8584
Pres, Assembly #115
Peter Monticup is still planning for an upcoming  “Battle of the Magicians”, with prize money, in Waynesboro.
The date for the Magic Contest for Saturday, June 1st at 7PM at the Gateway Theatre in Waynesboro.
Call Peter at 540-832-0900

Daryl, the Magician(www.daryl.net), will be lecturing for us while he’s traveling.
This lecture is scheduled for Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 at the Wayne Hills Baptist Church.  Here’s a little information about his work:
World Champion Magician, Daryl, is internationally acknowledged as “The Magician’s Magician”. He is much sought after, world-wide, as a Professional Performing Magician, Lecturer and Keynote speaker. He has invented magic for many famous TV magicians and brings you some of the finest, most practical magic in the world. Daryl is a World Champion, first place FISM Gold medal winning, close-up magician with over 40 years of experience in both performing and selling the finest magic in the world. Daryl performed as a headline act at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for seven years fine tuning his already encyclopedic knowledge of magic. Daryl has performed literally thousands of shows for audiences as diverse as the Witch Doctors on the South Pacific island of Vanuatu to the movers and shakers of the political world at the Presidential Ball in Washington, D.C.
Ring Report    
January 2013 Meeting

Ring elections were held at our February business meeting . The new elected  Officers for IBM Ring 320 – The Blue Ridge Magicians are President Wes Iseli,  Vice President Eddie Tobey “Tobini”, Secretary Dennis Phillips, Treasurer David Clauss, Sergeant-At-Arms, Jim Champion.  All were elected by acclamation. The Ring wishes to thank Eddie “Tobini” for his three years of dedicated service for our Ring as our president. His term saw us do several successful public service projects and charity fundraisers.

Wes Iseli is our new President. Wes and Natalie are full time magical entertainers and own Party Magic in Ruckersville, Va. Wes has made his sole living from magic for the past 16 years. He works mostly in the Eastern part of the United States and his known for his annual charity show where he performs for 24 hours straight. Wes has been active in Ring #320 for many years and is eager to keep our Ring as the place for magic fellowship and learning. Wes is skilled at everything from large illusions to street magic.

Dennis Phillips began the Ring show with the trick that made Abbott’s famous, “Squash”. A shot glass filled with liquid vanishes in the performers hands. He showed his unique quick-and-easy set-up using paper clamps on his belt rather than safety pins. He next showed Jack Qwynn’s, Floating Drinking Glasses where a pair glasses float under a book. It is a classic older trick that is still mysterious. Steve Pittella remembered seeing the effect done on  a ruler. Dennis then showed Joe Fenichel’s Checkers trick and followed up with Grant’s Imperial Rice, Checkers and Orange Transposition. Finally, he did a teach-in on performing Neil Foster’s Center Tear, the paper tearing effect made famous in the FISM winning act of Lance Burton.

Eddie “Tobini” Tobey showed the amazing paper tear by Dan Harlan called Starckle. A napkin appears to have a round hole torn out of the middle but when opened the center part is a star and the hole is round. George Buckley showed a karate coin effect where a fifty cent piece is stabbed with a finger and becomes a finely crafted coin ring. He gave us the source on getting the special coin-ring.

Wes Iseli borrowed a signed dollar bill and tore a corner off and let the spectator hold the corner and the Sharpie pen. The bill disappeared  in his fist and when the Sharpie was disassembled the black ink tube transformed into the borrowed bill which matched the corner! Wes then provided instructions for a card trick that he found in an old magazine. It was very good and proved the old saying, “If you want to keep a trick a secret, publish it !”. Finally, Wes ended the show with his home–made Karate Coin. A quarter was tossed in the air and he poked his index finger through the middle.

Dennis Phillips

Dennis Deliberations….      Editorial and Comment
By Dennis Phillips
February 2013
I’m sure this has happened to you…… or many a magician….
A relative or close friend (neither one actually cares about the art of magic) begs you to show them how to do a few basic card tricks.
So you go really basic. No skill required. They don’t even need to know how to shuffle a deck.
The tricks are self-contained (as we say), likely in any children’s book of magic, such as : “101 Clever Card Tricks” by Clara Frost-Sharrott.
BUT THEN… they come back some days, weeks, or months later and when you ask him how things went, they say “I couldn’t remember a crazy thing!” or “I couldn’t fool anyone with them.
What the person fails to understand is that there are rudimentary PRESENTATION SKILLS required, for even the most simple trick: some acting ability, a bit of misdirection, some smoothness with the cards, even if sleight of hand is not employed. (in other words, PRACTICE the tricks first! Many times!)
What they (and sometimes magic fanatics) fail to grasp, is that without an innate, inbred DESIRE to do magic, the performance will be rock-bottom HOPELESS!
I learned some of these lessons the hard way  (my financial planner wanted to know some tricks. He can handle complex insurance and investment procedures, but needs a “key card” to locate his joker which is still in the box…)


The question came up in a magician’s discussion on what to do when you are performing and someone pulls out an I Phone and Googles and finds the Trick and the secret on line and starts telling everyone!  This is increasingly happening to magicians and it happens to me because most of my audiences are technologically hip high schoolers or college students.
If it is a group of college kids ( and sometimes young working adults), I will ask them for the phone and I will look at the screen, turn it sideways, make a funny face with exaggerated interest in the screen, act like I am zooming in, look very close  and say “Sheeze! You can find EVERYTHING on this thing!” Then I look at them and say, “This must be what you use to find love?” . I then hand them back the phone and say, “Take your pick. Do you want entertainment tonight or do you want education? Don’t you spend enough time in class, as it is?” Many times I will refer them to Brian Brushwood’s “Scam School” on You Tube, if they want to go home later and find out how I did everything. (Actually his site is more about bar bets and stunts but most people enjoy looking at it.) With adults I use other put-downs when I get their phone like, “Is this how you get your investment advice? No wonder you lost your retirement”. At a business leaders dinner , a few weeks ago, I actually said , ” This must be where Karl Rove got his election night forecast?” I try to deliver all these lines like Jackie Mason. If a woman says ( and many do!) “Can you make my husband disappear?” I answer, “What do I look like? A divorce lawyer?” or “I am Dennis Phillips, you have me confused with Dr. Phil!”
Recently I did a long term school substitute job at a local High School.  I was teaching “Marketing and Promotion” and a couple of business classes (Law and Accounting).    When we were doing “Branding” and “Publicity”, I showed clips from a collection of 80s and 90s and more recent magic TV specials while they were finishing up their projects.
The kids (born in 1995 or after) never heard of Copperfield. The only part of the special (the 1995 15 Year Retrospective) they enjoyed was the Spikes of Death. “Too much dancing and posing and bright lights. When is he going to do to the tricks?” Lance Burton was seen as too slow moving and “so what?”
They kind of liked Rudy Coby and thought that he was stupidly interesting. They like the bizarre stuff from his first special. (Nail in nose, knife in arm, hypno-wheel)   They were blown away by David Blaine. He was their overall favorite.  “Is he for real?” Blaine’s understatement and minimalism could be the key.
Their favorite dove worker was Jason Byrne. “Bring back the guy with the purple coat and pig tail!” The girls were in love with him.  Dan Sperry got a big “yuk”. The dove work of Lance Burton and Joseph Gabriel were deemed effeminate which did not appeal to some female students.  Rick Thomas ,Greg Frewin, Jonathan David Bass  and Jason Byrne were not seen that way.
They already knew Criss Angle but thought he was a phony and fake and referred me to exposure sites on You-Tube. “He sells all his stuff and its all fake. I got one of his magic kits for Christmas”
Marco Tempest’s act was called “boring”, saying, “Anyone can do that with an I pad”. They did not react well to a “variety” format such as “World’s Greatest Magic”.
In general the magic that appealed to them was not doves or big prop magic. They most liked, the close-up street magic with small objects which were presented in a way to ask, “Is that guy for real?” That is why they preferred Kevin James “Cutting the guy in half” over any danced illusion routine.  “Wow! Is that for real?”
That’s the latest on what high school kids think. I am not sure if it means anything but marketing people spend a fortune for this information. Don’t take this information as appropriate for live stage shows. There is a different expectation in watching television as opposed to seeing something live and in person. This may be the reason that Cirque du Soleil does not translate well to television.  In person it is breathtaking. On TV, not so much. I found this to be true when I was editing my own video segment for Steve Brown’s TV special a few years back. I had to delete my mirror ball production.  In person, the visual impact of the spotlights on the spinning, flaming ball was very powerful as the points of light swirled around the auditorium.   On the TV screen it was all lost.
There is an event-planning service called “Shows in a Box”. They have a slick Facebook page and a nice website:   http://www.showsinabox.com/   It appears that Illusionist Dave Thomas is one of the featured entertainers in their pantheon of performers.   He is an experienced professional. I have no doubts that this company has a great product. My only concern is the name of the company, “Shows in a Box”. I just do not know what kind of impression that name makes on a client. In my professional world, the term “Teacher in a Box” is a negative term for a canned and rigid program of generic pre-packaged lessons.
My family physician for many years used to speak disparagingly of the corner Medical Walk-In Clinics as a “Doc in a Box”.
Do you consider a “Dinner in a Box” for your family as a classy event? Think KFC chicken. It works but is not considered memorable personalized fine dining.  No convention has “Dinner in a Box” for the evening banquet. Perhaps this is just my problem, but from my long association with advertising and marketing, I know that  words carry power and motivation.  It seems to me that selling a show business service as “Shows in a Box” could end you up in a can. But, I wish them luck in today’s business environment.
Dennis Phillips


About blueridgemagiciansring320

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