Blue Ridge Magic Chronicle June 2013

IBM Logo

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

November 19th  is the Peter Pitchford Lecture.


June 23rd  is “Magic Day” at Steve’s Boardwalk Café.

Performing opportunities available


Ring members and everyone are invited to come and support one of our own magicians, Brian Bence on Saturday, June 1st at the Gateway Theater Waynesboro. 7:30PM  Magic Contest


Here are the themes for the Ring Meetings for the rest of the 2013.

Remember these are only suggested themes

June – Magic with a story

July – Gimmicks & Gaffs

August – Comedy magic

September – Holiday themed magic

October – Swap Meet

November – First trick / favorite trick….. or both

December – Christmas Dinner & Show 

Remember the blog address is

Ring Report 

Keeoing the Magic Alive

Keeping the Magic Alive

May  21, 2013 Ring Meeting

Our Ring meeting began with a short pre-meeting lecture. President Wes Iseli presented an informative teach-in on thumb-tie methods. He showed the classic thumb-tie using a short rope, twist ties and zip-ties. We discussed other methods such as pip-cleaners and electrician’s tape. The meeting was gaveled to order and we had 11 attendees. Old business involved discussion about the up-coming March of Dimes show and where and when to have it.  New business was about plans for another Waynesboro Magic Day.

The show portion of the meeting featured George Buckley as our Emcee. He began by showing us the first two books that got him into magic. One was Harry Lorraine’s and the other was Henry Hay’s , Amateur Magician’s Handbook. The show theme was “old magic” and John Coleman opened the show with the “Flash Camera” card frame. It is where a chosen card appears on a ribbon in a fire flash in a fame. Bryan Bence had an antique P&L thread reel. He also showed “Pentro Penny” where a penny penetrates inside a small matchbox. Lastly, he had a wooden finger chopper.  David Clauss showed a old effect he learned from a Harry Lorraine book.  It was a magic square where all the numbers in all the rows added up to a number named by a spectator.  Richard Gimbert showed an old MAK Magic prop, the Double Load Pagoda.  It was given to him a long time ago by his aunt,.

Dennis Phillips presented a trick that is seldom seen now days, Jack Hughes Giant and the Dwarf. Dennis discussed political correctness in props and how a dwarf may not be acceptable today. It was suggested by several ring members that if the patter is changed to bullying, the prop would be better accepted by modern sensibilities. Wes Iseli closed the show with an Okito Card Prediction and a locket effect where a vanished ring appears in a locket. He then showed some rare collector’s items such as the coin that David Copperfield gave to those who were at the site when he vanished the Statue of Liberty and a rare Dante Tobacco card.

Dennis Phillips


Dennis Deliberations….      Editorial and Comment

Dennis, Secretary Ring #32o

Dennis, Secretary Ring #32o

By Dennis Phillips

June 2013


If Global Warming gets any worse, “Ice” McDonald, will be forced to change his act to “Steam” McDonald!  

Carl Ballantine used to have a very funny line. He would freeze his movement and with a arrogant swagger say, “Every move a picture!” Few realize that his phrase is taught as the key to all performance dance….the “position”, the “transition”, the “pose”…It is all created to make a pretty picture. When my wife and I taught ballroom dance, most pictures taken at dance recitals were always greeting with pain by the students. They would complain about their body, leg and arm positions as well as the look on their faces. I would always say, “Make every move a picture!”

Every serious student of stagecraft, show production and stage shows should  recognize Italian, French and Russian ballet and the differences among them.  (French style) pays more attention to elegance and precision. Cecchetti (Italian style) pays more attention to technique.  Vaganova (Russian style) is very precise and focuses on flexibility. I prefer Vagaova. In terms of a dance style for illusionists it is similar to the very physical and dynamic Gene Kelly as opposed to the more French Fred Astaire.   James Dinmare is an example of  Fred Astaire style


The magic magazines make it sound so easy to get on the road with a show and pack out houses. They imply that IF you are no able to, then you must not be spending enough money on gear, props, music, promotion or not have a hot enough assistant working your boxes…

There is almost never a frank and clear statement that it is tough as nails to get and keep going. They cannot afford too! Luck, location and who-you-know have the most to do with in.  It has very little to do with outstanding talent and production values, otherwise George Goble ( of Baltimore) and many others would have been the household magic names in the 60s to 80s.

Magic publishing is a BUSINESS. They print what grabs readers and then sell ads to the readers.  The stories are not about the whole TRUTH, they are a magical fantasy for wannabees who are clinging to the hope that they can be like the phony heroes in the pages.   This myth theme is common in every part of human existence.  Stage mothers push their kids into theater, dance, beauty contests to play out their own ruptured fantasies.

There is a MYTH, an insidious  MYTH that pervades the American psyche and is what drives us.  I suggest you read “Death of a Salesman”. Arthur Miller captured the essence of the phony myth in the character of Willie Loman…(The MYTH is that “anyone can make it if they only believe and try hard enough and if you fail, it is because you are lazy and stupid. Thus, you need to learn more, spend more money and be more aggressive and stomp over everyone as you are pretending to be a nice guy)

Willie: What’s the mystery? The man knew what he wanted and went out and got it! Walked into a jungle, and comes out, the age of twenty-one, and he’s rich! The world is an oyster, but you don’t crack it open on a mattress! (Act 1)

Charley’s speech about Willie: He’s a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine . . . A salesman is got to dream, boy.(Act II)

Critics who saw the first performance in 1949, with Lee J. Cobb as Willy, said that when the curtain closed, they only heard silence. Then, sobbing.

“It’s the only play I know that sends men weeping into the men’s room,” said director Robert Falls.

1949 America was far more realistic about success. Today ( 2013) after a generation of phony printed money, political finger-pointing, contrived class warfare and the bifurcation of wealth, our hopes are pinned on the Lottery and whatever money-grab we can make. We have lost our humanity. We have lost the ability to understand our personal identity.  We all must become salesmen or we are labeled as leeches and parasites. We all know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

What is ticking me off about our magazines is their obvious self-serving hype.  But then again, no one wants to hear realism. They want to hear baloney and anything that only bolsters their dreams.  Its why Paula White ( a preacher), Joel Osteen, Tony Robbins, Richard DeVoss and J Glenn Turner made MILLIONS.  It is the same classic American Myth:

“I always had a dream but I was nothin’ but a loser, a failure, livin’ a life of shame AND THEN  I saw the light!  I got up off my lazy backside and said, “I gotta think smart”. See, I was ignorant, dumb and stupid ,but I got smart.     And now for cash, I will sell you the secrets of getting’ smart!  Send your money to me, buy the stuff that I sell, get addicted to my “Get Smart” message and you WILL BE just like me…and if you do all that and you still fail then it is because you are  lazy, and ignorant and deserve to be a loser and a failure”.

THIS is the essence of the American Success “Dream”…. It is actually a universal theme in human cultures, as Joseph Campbell points out.   Using Jungian analysis Campbell opens up an understanding of the human social thinking process.

It is an incomplete retelling of the Mary and Christ story… (Every human culture has a similar tale) “out of humble beginnings, comes shame and failure. But obedience and perseverance are the path to glory”.,_Jr.

If you personally want to GET RICH… forget “Magic”. Become a baloney artist!  Sell dreams.

In many ways David Blaine  and Cyril latched onto the

Universal Christ-image ( for Cyril, the Buddha-image) which is deep in the psyche of humans.

Watch the visuals and the audience on their specials.

Blaine walks among the poor, brings pigeons back to live, creates a cup of coins for a poor beggar. In most specials he cheats death and is brought back.

Houdini was successful by capitalizing on the myth of the triumphant underdog. He was a poor immigrant, an underdog who cast off the chains of the establishment.

Copperfield was the young kid who went on to rearrange national landmarks, get the hot women, beat the law ( Alcatraz) and death (Niagara Falls and building explosion)  and “rise again”.   Their success was all accomplished by using myth along with Big Business connections.

How many wannabees read the magic magazines and are clueless about the psychological truth behind all the success stories?

Dennis Phillips







About blueridgemagiciansring320

Secretary of Ring 320 of the International Brotherhood of Magicians located in the Western Virginia.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s