Saturday, August 26, 2006

Join Ring 50!

The International Brotherhood of Magicians, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the art of magic, was founded in 1922 as a correspondence club among three magicians, one of whom lived in Canada, thereby giving the club its international flavor.

Its monthly publication, "The Linking Ring," originated as a mimeographed newsletter. Today it is the most widely read magic magazine in the world, sent to some 11,000 members in more than 35 countries.

The annual I.B.M. Convention is a showcase for the world's finest magicians.

For a printable membership application for the I.B.M., click here.

I.B.M. Ring 50, The National Capital Ring, is a local chapter of the I.B.M. It was organized in 1947 and has held monthly meetings ever since. The Ring has approximately 100 members ranging from novices to professional performers who create, publish, sell and perform close-up, table, cabaret and stage magic.

To join Ring 50, an applicant must be interested in magic and be (or become) a member of the I.B.M.

Why Join Ring 50?

1. Fellowship - Ring 50 is a place where you can get together with others who share your passion for our Art. You'll be encouraged and stay in touch with the latest developements of the craft. You'll see magic performed in widely different styles - and you'll have fun!

2. Learning - Our more experienced members are generous in sharing their knowledge, and some things are learned best from teacher to student, not from books or videos. Ring 50 provides a place for hands-on learning. Ring 50 also brings top magicians from around the country and the world to lecture -
lectures that are free to members.

3. Growing - In a very real sense, your local Ring provides a place to be bad so you can become good. We've all seen performers who give magic a bad name by performing in public (even for money!) before they are ready. Ring 50's "Open Mike" nights offer you the opportunity to get help and advice on that new routine before the public sees it.

4. Community Connection - Ring 50 has projects and benefit shows throughout the year that offer you the chance to bring magic to the local community, thereby helping you, helping the community and increasing awareness and interest in magic.

5. Giving Back - As a more experienced magician, you may have benefited from a mentor or teacher. Now you have a chance to give back. As magic shops close, younger magi have fewer mentors - and you can help mold the next generation of magicians.

6. Magi-Whirl - The DC area's ONLY magic convention has already attracted attendees from an 8-state radius. You don't have to drive that far - it's in your backyard!

7. FUN!

How to Join Ring 50
Initial dues are $18.00 for Ring 50 ($3.00 initiation fee plus $15.00 first year Ring dues.) Annual dues of $15.00 thereafter are payable each February.

For a printable Ring 50 membership application form, click here and save the PDF file to your computer. Then print it, complete and sign it, and bring it along with your I.B.M. membership card or acceptance letter from I.B.M. to the next Ring 50 meeting.

IMPORTANT: Dues are due and payable in February of each year. We understand that you might not be able to get to every meeting, so for your convenience, you can also make your dues check payable to "I.B.M. Ring 50" and mail it to:

Bob Patterson, Treasurer
3450 Wainscott Place
Lake Ridge, VA 22192-5263

If you have questions or need more information, please feel free to contact a Ring 50 Officer (see Officers link in right column.)

* Fees and dues of the I.B.M. and/or Ring 50 are subject to change without notice on this Web site.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

"The Illusionist" Movie To Open Nationwide

Heralds a Season of Magic-Themed Films
Review by Eric Henning

The folks behind the new Ed Norton film "The Illusionist" have been very busy. I got a call about six weeks ago and they were contacting all the magicians in the Baltimore/Washington DC area with free passes for a sneak preview on August 10. Betsy and I went, saw lots of magic friends and a good movie.

"The Illusionist" is set in early 1900's Vienna (although filmed in Berlin, Prague andVienna), and revolves around a deadly love triangle between a beautiful Hungarian countess (Jessica Biel) and the two men who love her: her brutal, boorish fiancé, the Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary (Rufus Sewell); and her childhood friend, a poor woodworker-turned-magician (Ed Norton). Adding to the fun is a great turn by Paul Giamatti (Sideways) as the dyspeptic local Chief Inspector caught between a desire for justice and his royal patron's bidding.

The murder-mystery plot is a bit thin, but the characters are robustly played by the excellent cast, with Oscar-caliber costumes and art direction. The magic is both sleight of hand and computer-generated (where needed, never gratuitous) and treated with great respect. There is even a moment when a major trick is "revealed" but not revealed. A common parlor trick is taught to one of the characters (and hence, the audience). I am told that Ed Norton really got into the sleight of hand, and he does bust some very nice moves with a billiard ball.

If you like period romances, you will love this movie. If you like thrillers, you will find it so-so. If you are looking for mostly magic, you will be disappointed, as the magic serves the plot and is not the star. I think this is as it should be, but some may feel otherwise. All in all, well worth seeing on the big screen, especially if you can get to a discount matinée. "The Illusionist" has been playing for two weeks in seleceted cities (including the Baltimore/Washington market), and opens nationwide Friday, September 1. Here's the trailer:

Coming October 20 is the big-budget thriller,
"The Prestige," based on the award-winning Christopher Priest novel about two rival magicians in turn-of-the-century England. Another magic-themed film with a star-studded cast, it should do well. Directed by Christopher Nolan (Memento, Batman Begins), and starring Christian Bale (Batman Begins), Hugh Jackman (X-Men) and Michael Caine (every English-language film of the past forty years).

Here's the trailer for "The Prestige":

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Children’s Magic Topic of August Meeting

Laurie Curry was the emcee for the National Capital Ring 50 August ‘Magic For Children’ meeting. There were 25 children and 72 adults attending the performance by eight Ring Magicians. After brief announcements the “Magic for Children” began.

Leading off the evening’s entertainment was President Dwight Redman with a Martin Lewis’ Cardiographic. A young boy selected a card from the deck and Dwight took a sketchpad and began to draw what he believed was the boy’s selected card. He revealed his sketch only to be told by everyone that it was incorrect. He then added a few lines to the picture and told the audience that it is really just the deck of cards he was drawing. He told the spectator to concentrate on his card and, as if by magic, the chosen card rose from the SKETCH of the deck! Truly an unbelievable sight. Then for the best part - the sketch was torn from the pad and given to the young man to keep!

Eric Redman’s Magic Coloring Book routine combined action, color, magic, children participation and even got some “oohs” from the adults. He showed the children a coloring book that they could clearly see had all blank pages. Suddenly, with a wave of his hand, black and white outlined pictures appeared in the book. After the cheers died, he took it one-step further and showed all the pictures colored. Next Eric did Ton Onosaka’s Royal Revision. He invited a young spectator to the stage and showed the audience a large Ace of Diamonds card as his prediction and then slid it into an open frame. The young spectator did not see this prediction. Eric showed the audience and oversized deck with all Ace of Diamonds. The spectator then selected a card. They laugh as they realize the magician can't miss! However the chosen card turned out to be the Queen of Diamonds. The large prediction card is then turned toward the audience and as Eric remove the Ace slowly from the frame it visibly turned into the Queen of Diamonds right before their eyes!!

This is Eric’s last meeting with us as he has taken a job in New Orleans, LA and will be leaving the area soon. Thanks Eric for the many performances and support of The National Capital Ring 50.

Matt Pernick was out to teach the kids some magic. He showed the audience an oversized Dubious Domino. First, the two-sided domino had one spot on it. The other side had four. But when he turned the domino over again, it was shown to have three spots on one side and six on the other. Professor Matt offered to teach the trick to the audience. But the explanation proved more puzzling than the trick first demonstrated. Spots on the domino multiplied unexpectedly, proving the magician's explanation useless. In the end, the domino was full of new spots. He followed that with a red silk that he packed into his fist. The silk turned into an egg, and both hands were shown empty. Then he let the kids in on the secret: Matt repeated the trick while explaining it all, and when they though they had it, he took the hole off the egg and broke the egg into a glass to show it was a real egg! Then Matt went on to the Torn and restored newspaper “illusion”. The magician tore the current “Washington Post” into pieces and openly displayed the pieces both
front and back keeping them in full sight at all times. He put the pieces together into a packet and gave them a shake. The pieces were instantly restored into the same undamaged newspaper!

Bob Greenwald with the help of a young lady, from the audience, performed the cut and restored string. After the string was cut, the two lengths of string seem to melt back together in her hands.

“Bugler” (aka Scott McDonald) came on with trumpets blowing. He opened with a blooming silk creating the illusion of a fountain of silk on his palm. Next a Genii Tube was opened and shown empty. When it was closed and latched, a production of silks was made. Again shown empty and again more silks appeared. “Bugler” began Topsy Turvy Bottles by holding one bottle covered by a metal tube and a young lady volunteer held a second bottle covered by a metal tube. The tubes were tilted back and forth with the girl duplicating the magicians every move. However, on raising the covers “Bugler” and the girl’s bottles were not in the same position; one is upright the other upside down. This was repeated several times and they never match even though they started out the same. A very amusing performance for the audience. “Bugler” used a unique deck that was actually cut in half diagonally for his next effect. Each split half was fanned out, face down and two spectators select a card, one from each half. After a bit of by-play and it was found that the selected cards did not match when put together. He removed from a previously displayed paper bag a jumbo card with the two selected diagonal halves mated to form a complete card!

Louis Meyer did a comedy tissue paper tear with the assistance of a young girl matching him tear for tear. His torn tissues were restored as several colorful streamers from his mouth. He took the torn tissues from the girl and made several hand jesters and made them disappear over her shoulders.

“Lorenzo the Great” (aka Larry Lipman) mystified his young assistant with a paper tear with the restoration being a Princess Hat. “Lorenzo” ask another kid from the audience to open the “Can of Wands” and take one out. When he did, out flew 5 spring wands to the surprise of the audience as well as the kid! They never expected wands to come jumping out of the little can! Then “Lorenzo” presented one of the classics, Mismade Flag. The magician used 3 different silks - one red, one white, and one blue. With the help of young President Abe Lincoln (complete with top hat and beard) the silks were placed in the bag but the blue silk fell to the floor apparently by accident. With a flourish our young Abe removed the silks from the bag and they had transformed into a flag, however, the Stars were missing. “Lorenzo” acted surprised and the audience along with young Abe was quick to point out the blue silk on the floor. The blue silk and the mismade flag are put back in the bag and this time when the flag is removed the colors are reversed. Nothing seems to be going right! Poor “Lorenzo”. The mismade flag is put back in the bag once again and this time it finally comes out as a normal flag.

To wrap up the evenings performance, “Secret Agent, James Wand” (aka James Munton) brought up onto the stage 5 potential Secret Agents. He grilled them and taught them how to lie. He had them repeat the lie back to him. One young girl even repeated it back with his British accent to the amusement of everyone. The gang mixed up the 4 blank cards and 1 card with the secret map. Each secret agent took a card and kept it hidden. As they were quizzed “James Wand” narrowed in on the agent with the hidden map card.

-- Bob Patterson