Editor, Dennis Phillips
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
November 19th is the Peter Pitchford Lecture.
Fun Magic Day happened at The Boardwalk Café June 23th
Many Ring members performed for Steve and Jane
June 18, 2013 Ring Meeting
Our Ring meeting began with a teach-in by Eddie Tobey. He had his own original patter to a classic effect. Using a “Friday Night Allowance” story, he transformed five one-dollar bills into five ten-dollar bills. He credited Greg Wilson and Pat Page for the method.
After a very short business meeting we began the Ring show. The theme of the show was “Tricks with a Story”. Pastor Vic Bright showed us a clever idea of making a magic table from a leaf bag holder. He then did a paper tear with a wonder patter about children and the world.
Jim Champion presented an effect called “Hotel” where is predicts a what a spectator’s free choice of hotel business cards will be. He then ended with a Hotel prediction that appeared in a an envelope in full view all along.
Dennis Phillips showed his Block-Go with a story about Quantum Physics and then presented his version of Super Duper Balloon where a balloon floats and moves with nothing attached to it. His story was about 1972 he took up his girlfriend for a plane ride, in which he was the pilot, and on the way to the airport, he played Volare by the Letterman on the car’s 8 track tape player. The ride when well and he is happy to say that they have been married 41 years. He drew a woman’s face on the balloon and at the end it float back to his waiting lips and he gave it a kiss.
Ron Schneider did several excellent versions, with nice moves, of a 3 Card Monte and the old sidewalk shuffle.
Wes Iseli showed a couple of innovative effects that had his own touch. The first was a strip of paper with his name on it that he tore and restored. He then presented pictures of several cartoon characters. One was slightly singed with a lighter and a voice came out of a card box revealing the victim.
George Buckley had a few effects with storylines. One was with dice and old cards and a sailor’s game. They always predicted the card chosen. Finally George had a bone chilling effect with coins made into a Bermuda Triangle. A real compass needle in the center turned in circles and coins placed into the triangle vanished. When counting the numbers of coins there was always no sign of the inserted coin. Just the same way, the coins reappeared.
Dennis Deliberations…. Editorial and Comment
By Dennis Phillips
Amateur magicians go for finger-flicking, painted boxes, pre-packaged clone routines ( Banana-Bandana, Collector’s Workshop, etc.), the latest trendy effect they saw on You-Tube or TV. Few realize that great magic exists in the mind and the performer creates the enchantment with their attitude and personality. They don’t do magic; they ARE magic. Consider Mac King’s Cards Across, Paul Daniel’s Chop Cup, Jeff Hobson’s Egg Bag. These are effects that almost all magicians have on their back shelf but cannot put across.
If a person cannot go out and do 10 minutes without a prop and entertain with a story, humor and impression, they have no business working with props. Props come after you have learned how to entertain!
The age when “spectacle” could carry a no-name magician is long past. I think it is over for most circuses due to the ante being raised by the Circus-So-Lame franchise. You are never going to outspend them in glitz and spectacle and when you do anything you will be compared.
With the rise of video games, movies with computer generated effects and modern TV production, no magicians will be able to sell only spectacle.
After Doug Henning’s abdication of TV specials, David Copperfield was at the top of televised magic in the 1980s, releasing a new special every year (except 1982), complete with a Vanishing Statue of Liberty, Jet Airplane ,The Bermuda Triangle, Imploding buildings and so on. Since 1995, Copperfield has only released one televised special.
It’s not just Copperfield. Aside from a couple of specials, bizarrists Penn & Teller moved from magic and into Atheism/Scepticism with the show Bulls**t! (concluded in 2010), they have tried Discovery with a show called Tell A Lie, and had a contest show , Fool Us, which ran until last year in the UK. Street magician-turned-television star Criss Angel had his hit show, Mindfreak, cancelled in 2010.
So what happened to magic shows, specials and series on television?
I offer a couple of theories.
Maybe we’re too cynical to enjoy magic on TV any more. Magic shows require a suspension of disbelief which many viewers, particularly older viewers, can’t do. Today , if anyone is interested in seeing a magic show on TV , they will watch the trick TV and spend all their energy skeptically wondering how it works, rather than just sitting back and enjoying the show.
On a cruise ship and in a theme park you have a captive audience. After you have stuffed yourself and lost your last dime in the casino, the alternative is to stand on the promenade deck and watch the fish.
Most viewers consider that knowledge is power. When a magician does a trick, we may feel like magician is using that knowledge on us, belittling us and making us feel stupid and we don’t like that. Recall Mitch Pileggi’s tone of narration voice on the Masked Magician expose series? “It’s simple but he knows the secret and makes you feel like an idiot” Now, you can Google the trick and watch it explained on You Tube.
Lastly, magic has a reputation problem. Think about a stage magic-illusion show. You are probably imagining fans blowing hair, fog machines, too much feather plumage and rhinestones, leather morticians coats or straps and nail studs, cheezy synthesizer music and lots of mugging and posturing for dramatic emphasis. You might even be thinking about guys with arrested development; grown men who play with boxes and girls as if they are toys.
One trend that I am hearing about is the revival of the “Home Show”. A Magician is hired to do a parlor sized show in a home for a small gathering. Usually the clients are upscale in the socio-economic level. As the American economy continues with a bifurcation of wealth, the parlor show may be the next source of steady income.