Ring Report February 18 Meeting

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March 2014

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

18th is our regular meeting night and the 25th is Duane Laflin Lecture night

We have TWO meetings this month… 

It was voted on last year if the lecturer fell on a night that was not a regular meeting night and it was on a different week we would have a lecturer and a meeting that month.

Ring Report

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February 18 ,2014  Meeting and Holiday Banquet

Winter storms did ease up and we were able to have a February Ring meeting. Prior to the meeting we did our “Teach In” . President Wes Iseli did a sleeving teach in. He revealed many of the secrets that Rocco taught him. Things just magically appear and disappear. Wes also showed the correct coat to wear and how to gimmick it. Rocco was the FISM award winning act and sleeving was brought to a high art by Rocco’s mentor, Tony Slydini.

Our business meeting had no old business other than our planning for doing a charity public ring show.   Wes went over maintaining and improving our on-line digital library.

It was show time and starting off was Ron Schneider who did a 10 card trick that everyone enjoyed so much he said he would make it a teach in next month or in April.

John Leeth did a really cool to do list prediction.  John showed a simple hand-written list of things that he had to do. He had a spectator pick a number between 1 and 10 and quickly look at the item at that number.  John then slowly revealed that he could read the spectator’s mind.

Dennis Phillips performed the classic UF Grant Temple Screen  and showed how he worked out a way to do the effect surrounded. Dennis then performed The Banner Nest of Boxes where  the center box with a dove in it vanishes and is then found back inside  the nest of boxes . Following the meeting, we hung around  and shared stories and more magic

Dennis Phillips

Comments welcome

Dennis Deliberations….      Editorial and Comment

By Dennis Phillips

March 2014 

Illusionists Perform the Same Dozen Illusions. This is a sad fact.

Spend one hour on YouTube and view videos and you will find this to be true: Same illusions, same choreography, same movements and same presentations

Here are 12 illusions that are too commonly seen in programs of illusionists worldwide:




Packing Crate Sub Trunk

Fire Spiker

Suspended Animation

Fire Cage

Modern Art

Wakeling Sawing

Mini Kub Zag

Chair or Broom Suspension

Snowstorm/ Snow Animator

Floating Table

The last two are not illusions but they are larger stage effects and almost everyone performs them.

So what drives this uniformity?

1) Convenience. It is easier to buy a stock illusion prop rather than to create, prototype and fabricate an original illusion.

2) Illusionists want no risk. They would rather invest in illusions that are proven. Seeing another illusionists success with an illusion makes it easy to feel assured of the same reactions from the audience.

3) Illusionists feel confident with the illusions. Their judgment is compromised because they believe they will succeed with that illusion.

4) More than a handful of illusionists do not care that they are performing the same (and pirated) illusions because they feel their audience reacts well to those illusions

5) Technology has made the world flat and the Internet & YouTube allow media to be shared worldwide at the click of a mouse. Illusions are also more accessible to illusionists from different parts of the world because of the Internet.

Illusionists say: “it is not what you do, but how you do it!” That is true, but only if you do something different. Just because you use a different piece of music or smile instead of act dramatic or add a costume change at the illusion does not warrant enough of a difference. The people who do matter, educated clients, agents, show bookers , the media know the difference.  If you want to make it to the top, you need to not be the “best” but be “the only” and that means a lot of originality.


My wife keeps telling me about “Chicken Soup for the Soul” articles. Reader’s Digest Warm and Fuzzies, I call them.

I think she subscribes to online “Chicken Soup for the Soul” articles.

I always considered them, as good as they may be, stories that appeal mostly to women. In fact, I’d hazard the guess that if there were only men in the world (hah!) that the multi-million-dollar “Chicken Soup” industry would have been dead in the water from the get-go. Yes, we men are sentimental, but not THAT sentimental!  — Not enough to build an “emotional empire” on it, anyway.  Oprah was built on female appeal.  Nothing wrong with that. I am just taking a realistic look at marketing and audience demographics.

Here is a limited market but it would probably be a loyal one:

“CHICKEN SOUP for the STARVING MAGICIAN”     Byline: For the magician who is having trouble putting FOOD on the table — they’ll always have CHICKEN SOUP!”

Note the byline: So I looked for “Chicken Soup for the MAN’S Soul” — it doesn’t exist!

And just how BIG is this industry? It’s astounding: http://www.amazon.com/Most-Popular-quot-Chicken-Books/lm/R381X3M8XAEUV

I had an old friend years ago who had been a music director on Broadway. At one point, Liberace flew him out to Vegas to interview for being Liberace’s Music Director.   My friend said, Liberace told him, “My secret is that I PLAY TO THE WOMEN! They are where the money is!”

All marketers know this… Copperfield’s biggest demographic was late 20s women with a kid or two. There has never been a successful general public magician or illusionist whose main appeal was not to women.  Consider that in your career planning.

Dennis Phillips



About blueridgemagiciansring320

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