March 2013 Ring News Letter

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March 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:

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(, 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    

February  19th  2013 Meeting 

February’s meeting was a warm spot for magic in the middle of the cold winter. The meeting opened up with a Teach-in by George Buckley. George taught us his  “Ring and Ribbon Routine”.  He put a lot of thought into this baffling and versatile routine and even provided extensive written notes. President Wes Iseli gaveled the business segment to order and gave his “State of the Ring” speech and agenda for the upcoming year. Wes would like to have another banquet show and social during the year. He would like to do a big show at our host church with a split of the ticket sales for charity. Wes also had some suggestions for upcoming lectures. He would like to set up a book and tape library for the benefit of Ring Members and finally he suggested that every member think about what they would like said at their Broken Wand ceremony.  With the business meeting over, nine performers stepped up for the Ring Show. The theme this month was “Packs Flat, Plays Big”. George Buckley kicked off the show with his Virginia Shuffle. It is a Card Monte effect where blank cards and a single card are never where the audience believed they are. George has all the fine touches to make this an entertaining routine that involved the spectators.  Jim Oberg had a nice handling with his Losander Floating table. He even had a spectator hold one side of the tablecloth. He used a nice touch with an origami dollar bill folded into a butterfly and placed in a small wooden box on the table. The butterfly made the table fly.  Jim Champion showed some Clairvoyance. A card was selected and then a stack of pennies were thrown on the table. Jim was able to look at the pattern of the pennies and determine the value of the selected card. John Leeth performed “Validate”. A pocket calendar is shown to have a different card written into every date. A spectator selects a card and then names a date that is special to them.. The selected card  mysteriously is the one that is written in on that date.  Brian Bence had an interesting item called “Truth”. A spectator is told to secretly select a poker chip and place it in a paper sack. Brian removed the chips and had the spectator lie and say that he did not put either chip in the bag. Brian then caught him in a lie with the truth. The effect was repeated again and then five chips were used. Brian always knew when the spectator was lying.  Eddie Tobini (Tobey) showed how he could magically pass a coin through a red handkerchief and make the handkerchief stand up on the table. Steve Pittella displayed the classic stage-size  Find the Lady, a Three Card Monte.  Dennis Phillips showed some pack flat effects such as The Stop Light Trick and Stung Again. He did the Max Maven’s B-Wave effect and demonstrated the Popcorn Die Box utility item. He dyed a blue scarf to a red scarf. He performed the old vaudeville Chapeaugraphy act. Chapeaugraphy dates back to the 1750’s and was first created as a performance art piece by a French comedian named Tabarin. Dennis then held up some funny Doodle Art. Lastly, he did Bob Sheet’s  “Hang ‘em High where a rope penetrates the magician’s body while the rope ends are held by spectators. Closing out the ring show was president Wes Iseli  who did his original Gospel Magic effect called The Love Story with pictorial cards showing great love stories of history. The last card presents the Gospel message. He has them for sale on his website. He then showed Mark Mason’s No Tear Newspaper Tear. He concluded with an ESP effect where the spectator eliminates paper bags with the jumbo ESP cards in them ending with the last paper bag holding what he had pre-named. If you are not at the next ring meeting, you are going to miss out on some great stuff! Good things are always happening in Ring 320. Dennis Phillips, Secretary

Dennis Deliberations….      Editorial and Comment

By Dennis Phillips

March 2013

We live in the Post-Modern Age.  Post-modern audiences seem to lack of any form of social manners.

I attribute it to the stress of quickly emerging cultural, economic and social changes. One psycho-social motivation for the lack of social graces may be: Individuals screaming for notice in a world where the things that used to bind us together are disintegrating. “Us” seems to be a verboten word. It is all about “Me”.

Characteristics of Post-Modernism in all the arts are : frustration, rage, arrogance, audacity, rudeness, individualism, the bizarre, loads of scorn, ridicule and sadistic playfulness. These not only hold in magic but in music ( Maroon 5), film (Tarantino) ,TV (AGT), politics (Limbaugh, Beck), cartoons (Simpsons, Southpark), personal body decoration (tattoos, scarification, piercings), architecture ,modern literature and graphics (Wired Magazine).

We now experience much of our lives in imposed cyber-isolation. Clapping and an audience response comes from a physically assembled group. Electronic connections are not interpersonal connections. Even a two-way talk radio show is heard while the listener is alone in an air-conditioned automobile and they hear a carefully crafted presentation that forbids any contradiction with the viewpoints of the host.  The old-time “front-porch” was where people gathered and looked into and  watched other’s faces and learned that listening and reacting was a skill.  Our minds are being conditioned to programmed cyber-stimulation and we lose the personal connection. Look at the magical arts. A David Blaine and Street Magic is designed for one-on-one and a personal response. It is highly edited and demands no reaction. You don’t “clap”. You say, “Do that again, for ME!” or “How did YOU fool ME?” or “How did you do that?” 

I heard from Bev Bergeron and Dan Stapleton about Penn and Teller’s recent show at the Hard Rock Café in Orlando. They both loved it. As you probably know, I have always been hypercritical of Penn and Teller. I just never warmed up to their style. After hearing from Orlando, I think that I have a handle on my problem.

I think I knew the answer all along but just don’t want to admit it. I just have problems with Post Modernism.

I believe that it is their appeal is reflective of Post-Modern Magic.

Like ’em or hate ’em, the thoroughly Post-Modern , Penn Gillette does has turned both him and his partner into multi-millionaires.   In his books ( okay, I copped a look at Barnes and Noble without buying)– he constantly berates himself with self-deprecating comments and humor, such that you realize he is very much aware that he is, indeed, a freak, both mentally and physically; he thinks he has a goofy name, and that he detests the fact that he is a 280-pound, 6 ft. 7 inch bizzaro who walks around like a dumb boxer, and dresses like a total slob (when not working), and has all kinds of degenerate friends (not his regret), and is a walking, talking, loud-mouthed “grab-bag” of opinions and feelings, most of which he admits freely to not being formally “schooled” for.  He constantly says how incredibly fortunate he is to be earning an insanely lucrative living, in a world where most everybody else is stuck in insufferably dead-end jobs and with bosses they detest but have to answer to.

So… is he ACTUALLY the obnoxious blowhard that he appears to be? Well, YES, and NO: As much as Penn’s distasteful persona seems to be an intrinsic part of the man (and it is), he also admits to an apparently self-calculated schizophrenic nature: He is actually rather “normal” (should I remove the quotes?) in his private life, at home with the wife and kids, around Teller when they are planning new effects and strategies, and with his many friends and associates.  

And I’m sure he and Teller are acutely aware that there are hundreds of magicians not understanding how they’ve become so successful, not understanding what Penn’s “obnoxious” behavior is doing for them [$$$], and not understanding some of the most basic psychology of the post-modern entertainment business. They are people like me who either reject or detest Post-Modernism.

Penn & Teller have always been deeply appreciative of their fans. After every show, says Penn, they go out into the lobby and spend at least an hour meeting the audience, chatting to them, signing autographs, posing for photos, and… well, just being damn nice guys. Penn adds, “What the hell else do we have to do with our time?”   (As he tells it: One of those female fans came up to him after a show and waxed ecstatically about how she was an atheist and skeptic, and ‘name-dropped’ atheists like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens and others; and then, hung around until everyone else had left, and offered to take him out for coffee.  Penn joked, “You know, stalkers don’t bother me in the least. Hell, I married one!”. 

Meanwhile, the so-called “bad boys of magic” are down in Vegas loving every minute of their existence, and rolling in cash.

They know the formula. I just don’t like it.

Dennis Phillips




About blueridgemagiciansring320

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