Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Panel of Experts Enrich December Meeting

The December 1st meeting hosted fifty members and guests. President Arnie Fuoco introduced former member Homer Lambeth, who was reinstated into Ring 50. After the raffle and 50/50, Treasurer Bob Patterson proposed that the Counts of Conjuring (Magic Youth International) annual prize be a paid membership in the I.B.M. The motion was passed.

President Fuoco facilitated the “Ask the Experts” panel discussion, answering questions submitted by email in advance. The panel consisted of Dick Christian, Hugh Turley, Mike Taggert, Wayne Alan, Buddy Smith and Louis Meyer. While many questions generated in-depth discussion, highlights follow.

One person asked about dealing with anxiety and shaking hands in performance. Some offered humorous lines, such as “I learned this trick in Minnesota,” while others stressed the importance of preparation and rehearsal. One member wanted to rent illusions on an occasional basis. The illusionists on the panel pointed out the difficulties involved and encouraged study of the many books of practical, low-cost illusions.

L to R: Dick Christian, Hugh Turley, Michael Taggert, Wayne Alan, Buddy Smith, Louis Meyer, Arnie Fuoco.

How would one practice the classic palm with coins without palming a coin all day? Coin expert Buddy Smith replied that Fred Kaps practiced with half dollars and held on in classic palm from sunrise to sunset. Buddy then reminded us of the many practical alternatives, such as Finger Palm and Thumb Clip, which could be acquired with less effort.

How to turn professional? This generated a huge discussion, with aspects of showmanship, finance, marketing, and raising fees once one’s calendar fills up. A related question on Internet marketing brought some great answers from Louis Meyer, who recently flew to California for a class at Google HQ.

How to sell an effect one has invented was the net topic, and this time the emphasis was on studying the background and history to ensure that the invention is in fact novel. The experts also discussed arrangements with magic dealers and wholesalers. To refresh old playing cards, try fanning powder, or just buy a new deck. A great card trick for strolling that resets and last under a minute? Turley recommends the old Three Card Monte with the flap card, which can be customized for each event or used as a giveaway. How does Kreskin find his check at the end of each show? The answer: muscle reading, also known as contact mind reading or Hellstromism.

Thinking about entering a contest? Attend other conventions and contests and observe the contests, noting the high level of copying. Then design an act that is novel, visually amazing and entertaining. Make sure to understand thoroughly the grading system and contest rules, especially time limits.

The final question was about working with agents, and again emphasized knowing the agent’s rules before you book through them. Getting things clearly in writing ahead of time saves much trouble.

A big THANK YOU to all our experts who made the discussions lively and very informative!

The final lineup for MAGI-WHIRL 2011 (April 29-30) is LOSANDER, LUNA SHIMADA, KEITH FIELDS and MARK MASON. Get all the info at

Monday, December 13, 2010

December Magi-Gram is Here!

You can read it by clicking here or by looking for the link in the right column. Thanks to Bob Patterson for a wonderful, fun-filled issue!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

TLR Reviewers Perform at November Meeting

The November 3rd meeting had more than 50 in attendance, including new members Cassandra Rogers and Julian Ortiza, who were officially voted in. Magi-Whirl 2011 Chairman Theo Rushin, Jr., announced the full lineup for the April 29-30 event: Losander, Luna Shimada, Keith Fields and Mark Mason. Magi-Whirl will have a truly international flavor this year and you can get details at

The November showcase featured Ring 50 members performing tricks they had reviewed for The Linking Ring. Since Associate Editor Jason Goldberg is in charge of Hocus in Focus and is also a Ring 50 members, most of the reviewers are from Ring 50. (Because of the sheer number of performers that follow, there is no room for full descriptions, which you can find in the November 2010 Magi-Gram newsletter.)

President Arnie Fuoco introduced the acts, which began with Jason Goldberg doing a charming rendition of Christian Schenk’s “Metamorphosis,” in which caterpillars on cards change to butterflies and one comes off as a souvenir. Treasurer Bob Patterson did Cameron Francis’ “Annihilation Deck,” in which two prediction cards are removed from the deck, and then a helper chooses a card. The prediction cards do not match the selection, but have the value and suit of the selection written on their backs! Bob Continued with “Prohibition” from Blacks Magic, a very clean, nearly impromptu cap-in-bottle effect. Bob concluded with “Double Coincidence,” one of the effects from Jean-Pierre Vallarino’s “Fasten” DVD.

Dick Christian did several mental magic and mentalism items, including “School Daze” by Black’s Magic, Asi Wind’s “Switcher,” and Devin Knight’s “Word Sight.” Kevin McGuire switched gears into children’s magic with a modified version of “Fronkey” from Oliver Meech’s “5 for £5 Kids Magic,” a sort of McCombical Deck routine for children, which was very cute.

With many funny bits of business, Arnie Levin did a four ace trick from the Criss Angel DVD, and then recommended we simply buy McDonald’s Aces. He finished with “Keyruption” by Bob Solari, in which a borrowed, signed, bill vanishes and winds up in a zippered leather key case – a definite recommendation.

Rucj Uffelman performed Devin Knight’s “Inside Thoughts” and “Schezuan Sampler” from Mentalism Unlimited. Bob Carnathan performed Devin Knight’s “Unshop,” and Danny Selnick did Gaeton Bloom’s “The Die.” Geoff Weber astonished all with the signature routine from Steve Spill’s “Confessions of a Needle Swallower” DVD.

Eric Henning had a last-minute change of program, announcing that he had been privileged to perform for President and the First Family at the White House Halloween party. He proceeded to do the routine he had developed for this engagement, which combined Bill Abbott’s “The Thing” with the DaVinci Floating Table. Afterward, Michael Taggert came up and reiterated his reviews of “The Thing” and also Jim Kleefeld’s “Sound Control” utility device, which Henning had used in his act.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

TLR Reviewers Perform the Latest Items

The November 3rd meeting will be demonstrations of the latest magic items on the market by our Ring 50 product reviewers for the "Hocus in Focus" section of The Linking Ring. New items arrive at TLR editor’s office for review. He sends them to the Associate Editor, Jason Goldberg, for his reviewers to examine, tear apart, perform, and evaluate. Many are new items, books, DVDs, and some are revisions or modifications to classic magic effects. This will be a good chance to see a demo of an item you have seen advertised and want to know more about.

We appreciate the time the "Hocus in Focus" team spends on their reviews. It is not an easy task to critically examine the hard work of others. Our Ring 50 reviewers are:
Jason Goldberg,
Tom Bohacek, Sam Brothers, Dick Christian, Eric Henning, Dick Kahane, Arnie Levin, Larry Lipman, Kevin McGuire, Louis Meyer, Bob Patterson, Tom Paxton, Dwight Redman, Danny Selnick, Dave Shepherd, Ed Spells, Michael Taggert, Geoff Weber, Rucj Uffelman, Bill Wells and Paul White.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

October Magi-Gram is Here!

You can read it online or download it and print it out from your own computer if you like. Just click here. Special thanks to Bob Patterson, who in addition to his duties as Treasurer, has been faithfully creating this great newsletter monthly.

You can see the online newsletter archive at

Friday, October 15, 2010

Magician's Ghosts Featured in October Meeting

The October meeting began with President Arnie Fuoco introducing prospective new member John Cloninger of Woodbridge, Virginia, who was voted in by the members present. Fuoco also promoted Magi-Whirl, April 29-30, 2011, asking for volunteers to help Convention Chairman Theo Rushin, Jr. You can see more info at

Our guest lecturer was well-known magic collector Ken Trombly, whose extensive collection of magic ephemera is merely hinted at on his Website at .

Starting as a magician at the age of ten, Ken’s interest slowly evolved, and he began collecting magic posters and other paper from the “Golden Age” of magic about thirty years ago. Ken is an active member of the Magic Collector’s Association and ran their 2006 conference in Washington, DC. By day, Ken is a trial attorney. He has written articles or been featured in most of the major magic publications, including a recent profile in TLR.

His presentation, “Paper Treasures: Collecting Magic Ephemera,” took us on a tour of the publicity, and sometimes, behind the curtain of the great magicians of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Ken started out with a sampling of his vast collection of magic posters, most in near-mint condition, shown in hi-res photos. Ken has numerous specimens from Robert-Houdin, John Henry Anderson, the Herrmanns (all of them), Kellar, Thurston, Goldin, Chung Ling Soo (and even earlier when he was still William Robinson), Lafayette, LeRoy, Blackstone Sr., Jansen (later Dante), Hardeen and, of course, Houdini.

Among numerous photographs, Houdini provided the highlight of the evening, when Ken showed a receipt for magic apparatus bought by Houdini in 1897, and then showed us a famous promo photo of a young Houdini. Putting the two side by side, Ken demonstrated that all of the apparatus from the receipt was arranged in the photo! This was clearly an attempt by Houdini, then still trying to make it as a magician, to impress the agents. (See below.)

From posters and photographs, Ken moved neatly into promotional giveaways such as throw out cards, hand mirrors, pins, fans, fake money, fake tickets, coupons, even cigars -the band (below) bearing the facsimile signature of "Herrmann" still remains! We saw letters and letterheads, postcards, business cards, cartes de visite, paperback books, sheet music, newspaper stories (real and fake), newspapers (ditto) and even photo montages. Cartoons, both editorial and political, done by legends such as Daumier and Nast, reminded us of the incredible fame these performers enjoyed.

One “accidental” collectible is a hotel postcard. The photographer, snapping the hotel’s great fa├žade on a busy city street, captured a local bus going by. In large letters, the bus’s side banner shouts “HOUDINI.”

All photos in this article courtesy Ken Trombly collection and (c) 2010 Ken Trombly.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ken Trombly to Lecture at October Meeting

The October 6th meeting features a lifelong magic enthusiast and longtime magic collector, Ken Trombly. He has been performing magic since the age of 10 and has been a serious collector of magic posters and related items for at least the last couple of decades when he began collecting "original magic posters from the :Golden Age of Magic". Trombly will be sharing his knowledge of magic posters with us at the meeting. He has lecture at the Magic Collectors Association conventions, and given his slide show presentation to other magic clubs as well. He has publishd articles on magic posters and collecting in Paper Collectors Marketplace, Collectors Showcase, MUM, and MAGIC magazines. Come out an enjoy the presentation.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

September Magi-Gram is here!

Thanks to Bob Patterson for another brilliant job and in-depth coverage of the September New Performers Show. You can read all about it here.
There's also a link in the right column ---->

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Magic by First Time Performers at September 1st Meeting

For our September 1st meeting will be entertained by the members that have never performed for the Ring thus called “Magic by First Time Performers” night. Let’s get some new faces to perform at the meeting. For the September meeting we will have an opportunity for people who don’t normally perform at the meetings to show their stuff. If you have not performed or it’s been a long time since you performed for the Ring you are invited to bring a trick or two and perform for the Ring members. This will help develop their skills and provide encouraging feedback. Contact President Arnie Fuoco at (afuoco2@Yahoo.Com) or 703-521-6286 so he can put you on the program.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Alain Nu - The Man Who Knows

August's meeting kicked off with the members approving President Arnie Fuoco's proposal to purchase a portable stage light set and a portable wireless PA.We also voted in two new members. Magi-Whirl Chairman Theo Rushin announced that MAGI-WHIRL 2011 will take place on April 29 & 30 at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, Virginia. He also announced our headliners: Dirk Losander and Luna Shimada, along with legendary UK street magician Keith Fields. We have more surprises, and you can keep up with the news at

Our lecturer was a longtime friend of Ring 50, international star and local resident Alain Nu, who had done a special intensive mentalism workshop earlier in the evening.

Alain's lecture was quite unusual, not only for his focus on mentalism, but also for his teaching style. He teaches principles which form the basis for numerous tricks and routines, limited only by the performer's imagination. He performed "Nu Wave," his take on "B'Wave;" did an excellent book test; did his version of Any Card at Any Number; divined an audience member's zodiac sign and bent ordinary spoons in the extraordinary fashion for which he is so justly famous.

Nu then spent the next 90 minutes going into great detail on the principals and variations involved in the first three items. This was really a master class in routine construction, teaching how to craft the script and the action to cancel out the method. He spent a brief time on the zodiac divination, which is found in one of his manuscripts, which are available at his lectures. As he had warned us, he did not teach his spoon-bending secrets, although he does a special workshop on just this topic the day before Mindvention each year. You can get more info by contacting Alain at Alain Nu is a deep thinker who has much of value to teach any magician or mentalist.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Alain Nu to Lecture at Ring 50!

I.B.M. Ring 50 is having an exciting lecture you won't want to miss. Join us this Wednesday, August 4, 2010, as we welcome mentalist Alain Nu! You've never heard of Alain Nu? Then you need to study-up, as this is surely not something you're going to want to miss out on. If you don't practice mentalism, then maybe this lecture is the one that will introduce you into this whole new world. Alain was a headlining performer at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for four straight years. He was the international star of four hour-long television specials for TLC entitled “The Mysterious World of Alain Nu.” On January 20th, 2009, Alain was asked to appear before many of the living recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor at the Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball. With Halloween on the horizon, it's prime time to not only brush up on, but also expand your mentalism repertoire so that you're ready for that seasonal party. Be sure to take a moment to check out his website here. The lecture will take place on Wednesday, August 4th beginning at 8:15. Before the Ring meeting and lecture there will be an optional workshop that will begin at 5:30pm and go until 7:30pm. Workshop price: $60 per attendee. The 8:15 lecture is free to paid-up Ring 50 members, all other magicians $10 at the door.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Ring Officers 2010-2011

Congratulations to our new officers!

Arnie Fuoco
(703) 521-6286

Vice President
Danny Selnick
(202) 250-3834

Secretary & Webmaster
Eric Henning

Bob Patterson
(703) 490-1222

Tom Paxton
(301) 596-7407

Magi-Gram Editor
Bob Patterson
(703) 490-1222

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

2010-2011 Officers & Board Sworn into Office

NEW LEADERSArnold Fuoco, third from right, was sworn in as the new president of Ring 50 at the June meeting. Dwight Redman, left, who is the IBM’s Territorial Vice President for the Washington area, performed the installation ceremony. Others seen here are (from far left) Dwight Redman, Board Member; Mike Taggert Board Member, Louis Meyer Board Member, incoming Vice President Danny Selnick, Eric Henning returning as Secretary, Arnold Fuoco, Bob Patterson, returning as treasurer; and Tom Paxton returning sergeant-at-arms.

Sixty-one members and guests attended the June 2 meeting. Dwight Redman, TVP Washington, DC, using the eight points of light, conducted installation and oath of office for the new officers for 2010-2011: President, Arnold Fuoco; Vice President, Danny Selnick; Treasure, Bob Patterson; Secretary, Eric Henning, and Sergeant-at-Arms, Tom Paxton. The Board of Directors are: Sr. Director Dwight Redman, Past President Michael Taggert, and Retiring President Louis Meyer.

Comedy Magician Contest

(Click on photos for larger view)
The other main event at the June meeting was the annual Winton Carroll Humorous Magician Contest, named after a former Ring 50 President known for his love of magic and his comedic routines. First up was former TVP John Roberts (right) as a screwball magician character whose magic went all wrong, especially the Needle Javelin through Balloon! He got big laughs with a Paper Balls over the Head in which he threw the balls over his own head!

Next was Bob Carnathan (left), who did a Spotted Silk Can with rhyming patter from his famous “Black and White” act. He followed with the Leo
pard Silk and Karrell Fox’s Invisible Deck routine.

Geoff Weber (right) did some original material, opening with a rod holding six index cards. He asked the audience helper to get him out of his daily rut by picking a random action written on one card. Her card read “HUG,” and when he turned to hug her, we saw that all the other cards said “KILL”! Geoff, or Geo as he is known professionally, then did a beautiful version of the Malini Egg Bag, followed by an original presentation for Bob Sheets’ Hang ‘Em High.

Two-time winner Reggie Rice (left) followed, with an unusual bowling ball production (no pad!), and a nice handling of Barry Mitchell’s Moo Masher with a young girl from the audience. As usual, Reggie got the most laughs of anyone in the show.

Brian Garner (right), the “Funny Magic Dude,” did a nifty bottle production and a nice routine with the Axtell Drawing Board. A card trick with a jumbo deck went wrong, whereupon Brian went into full “American Idol” mode, singing and getting dissed by the voice of Simon Cowell. He ended with a nice Kabuki Streamer and produced silks from the streamer.

Next up were two of our junior members, Alina Selnick and Karl Keat (left). They did a comedy sketch in which the Alina was the magician and Karl was her bumbling assistant who got the magic wrong. It was great to see them aiming so high so young, and we look for more from them.

Bert Udovin
(right) had three people select cards and failed to find them and then cut holes in a folded newspaper to reveal the pips of each card in succession. He then did an Invisible Deck routine.

Last year’s winner, Hugh Turley (left), did an observation test with kids from the audience miscalling the colors of several silks, which were placed inside a tube, changing into a 20-foot rainbow silk streamer. This routine had lots of laughs and great interaction with the kids.

The final contestant was Theo Rushin (right), who has reworked the old Vanishing Bandanna bit with his own recordings on CD. He borrowed a signed $20 bill, sealed it in an envelope marked “Mine.” He gave an empty envelope marked “Yours” to the lender, who sealed it. Chaos ensued as the first envelope was shredded, the bill not in the helper’s envelope or seemingly anywhere else. A lemon contained the wrong $20 bill. Theo, dutifully following directions, found $1 bills in each shoe, all his pockets, and even taped to his chest! Finally, the borrowed bill was found in the CD case. Congratulations to our new DC Comedy Magician of the Year, Theo Rushin!
- Eric Henning
Photos: Bob Patterson

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Most Humorous Magician Contest Scheduled for June 2

For great laughs and comical magicians you want to miss Ring 50’s meeting in June. The fourth annual Winton Carroll Most Humorous Magician competition will be staged. This event is held in memory of Winton Carroll, a former Ring 50 president, who performed as “The Magical Major” incorporating humor into his act. Ring 50 members attending the show will vote on the winner who displays the most unique humor in their presentation. The winner will be awarded a cash prize as well as a magical staff. Hugh Turley is the current titleholder.

Alain Nu to Lecture
Tentatively we have Alain Nu scheduled for the August 4th meeting. He will present a workshop before the meeting if there are 5 or more people interested. The “Pro Mental Workshop” would start sharply at 5:30pm till 7:30pm. Cost: $60 per attendee. Here’s the special deal-- each participant gets a GIFT of their choice of any ONE of Alain’s $50 (discounted to $30) manuscripts for FREE! There must be a minimum of FIVE interested people to do this, however, so spread the word, and let’s see how many extra people we can get for this! Contact Arnie Fuococ if you are interested in this work shop at (afuoco2@Yahoo.Com) or 703-521-6286.

Noland Montgomery Wins Again!

REPEAT WINNER--Noland Montgomery, left, was presented with the Dan Lacey Memorial Trophy for his performance by Ring 50 President Louis Meyer after he was chosen Magician of the Year. Noland has won the cup five times (2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, & 2010).

The May 5th meeting featured the Dan Lacey Contest for “Magician of the Year”. Fifty-five members and guests attended the meeting. Noland Montgomery was the winner and he received a rotating trophy and a spot to perform at the 2011 Ring 50 Magi-Whirl Gala show. The late Dan Lacey was a president of Ring 50 (1999-2000) who inspired others--especially newcomers to magic—to hone their skills. The contest provides an opportunity to recognize the exceptional magic skills of our members. The memorial contest was started in 2003 to honor the deceased magician.

Starting off the contest was a new member George Bradley presenting Lee Asher's poker chip routine. Next he performed his version of Edwin Sachs Chinese marbles.

Danny Selnick - performed a silent routine (with music) as Charlie Chaplin and produced and handed out several flowers to women in the audience. Then he produced a cane from a silk handkerchief. After pouring liquid from a can of Sprite he produced a dry handkerchief and changed it to a white ball before changing it to a red ball.

Reggie Rice – began with dove production from a T-shirt. He went on to perform his version of Bob Miller’s "Relentless Ring and String” using a borrowed ring. The ring was lost. He then went on to do a card trick and that failed too. Some quarters were found. One was put into a gumball machine and out came an egg with a message to look in the box on the table. The box contained a large silk with the selected card on it. The next quarter was inserted and an egg appeared this time with the spectators ring!

Bob Carnathan – did a pseudo-scientific explanation of how satellites work using a sky blue handkerchief and a golf ball. The golf ball, became suspended halfway through the silk. It was then rolled off leaving the silk and ball intact. Next he did a cut & restored rope effect with a comedy theme.

Dwight Redman - did Martin Lewis' Sidewalk Shuffle routine. Next up he did Pat Page's version of the Roy Benson Bowl routine, a true classic of magic. Dwight ended his routine with Losander's Haunted Box.

Geoff Weber - did a comedy baking routine featuring original effects of his own creation. He started with a ball of dough breaking it apart to form three small balls of dough; from one of these he produced a real egg. These were placed in the baking tube, a little heat applied and “viola” there was a muffin.

Dick Christian - His rope routine was an amalgam of selected portions of George Sands' "Sandsational Rope." This was followed by Al Cohen's comedy wrist tie and escape (which Al gave him permission to use back in the late 1970s). All was Dick’s original scripting and personal bits of business.

Avi Littky – A member of our Counts of Conjuring performed a very good D-lite routine with red lights passing from side to side, thru his body, hand to hand, and all around. This was followed with a multiplying ball routine. Finally he put four balls into the assistant’s hand and when she opened them there were six.

Noland Montgomery - opened with Karrell Fox's vanishing cane-to-wand. He twirled a solid red cane between his fingers and while he held the cane on each end, it instantaneously changed into a matching red wand. Noland followed this with a great one-to-four multiplying billiard ball routine. He closed with a very nice rapid-fire three ring linking ring routine going to a six-ring finish that he uses in his street magic performances.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dan Lacey Competition “Magician of the Year”

Sharpen up your skills and compete at the May 5th meeting for the Dan Lacey Memorial Trophy and the title “Magician of the Year”. The winner will receive a rotating trophy and a spot to perform at the 2011 Ring 50 Magi-Whirl Gala show. All paid-up Ring 50 members both new and veteran members can seek the title. A panel of judges will declare the winner. Each performance should be 8 minutes or less. Contestants will be graded on Originality (technical, timing, flashes), Presentation (volunteer management, confidence, eye contact), Performance Skills (introduction, patter, speech), and Entertainment (effect strength, entertainment value, routine strength). The late Dan Lacey was a president of Ring 50 (1999-2000) who inspired others--especially newcomers to magic—to hone their skills. The contest provides an opportunity to recognize the exceptional magic skills of our members. The contest was started in 2003 to honor the deceased magician. Contact Louis Meyer, Ph 703-765-1923 or if you are interested in being in the competition

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Creativity Springs Up at April Meeting

"How many of you have a drawer full of tricks that you bought years ago and never even opened? A roomful? A HOUSE full? Before you buy another trick, let’s learn how to use the ones you already have." This was the challenge and the promise of the April 7 meeting, where Kyle and Kelly Peron presented their lecture on "Creativity in Magic." The Perons hail from Reading, PA, where they are very busy doing family and community events, fairs and festivals. Kyle, whose background as a graphic artist gives him an unusual perspective, claims that we are all creative, and proceeded to demonstrate it. Calling four people up, he handed them each a clipboard with a sheet of paper containing a simple shape, on which they were to add their own embellishments. It turned out they each had gotten a circle, and each did something vastly different with it.

After this demonstration, Kyle talked about some of the blocks to creativity, chief among them being fear: fear of failure, fear of what others might think, etc. He provided some funny examples and told stories of his own successes and failures along the way. Kelly aided and abetted like a lecture ninja, making sure the visual aids and notes flowed smoothly. This was important, because until he told us, nearly nobody noticed that Kyle is almost totally deaf.

After giving us the theory, Kyle moved into the practical, leading the group on several exercises to help us learn how to generate ideas and make connections. “The goal,” he reminded us, “is for the magic to come from YOU.” This was certainly not a typical trick-trick-trick lecture, and the members were suitably impressed. Kyle also shared with us some very useful tips for our shows and our business, which have the same weight of experience as his book on Blue and Gold Banquets.

Just two days later, Ring 50 hosted our annual Magi-Whirl convention, featuring Duane Laflin and Company, Darwin Ortiz, Jim Sisti, Linking Ring Editor Samuel Patrick Smith, DC Magician of the Year Dick Christian, former International President Bill Wells, Buddy Smith and more. You can get updates on next year’s Magi-Whirl and see photos from this year at

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Kyle Peron to Lecture at April 7th Meeting

Peron presents “Encore - Creativity in the Art of Magic!” This lecture and workshop is about learning how to be creative, think creatively and how to apply direct exercises and techniques to allow the members creativity to grow with the magic that they perform. Every single person possesses the ability to be creative. This lecture teaches you techniques and exercises that your members can use to unlock the doors to their own creativity. What makes this lecture so different is that it is not just a long speech where people sit, watch and listen. It is much more than that. Kyle believes that the power of learning anything is in the act of doing. That is why “Encore” is both a lecture and hands on workshop experience.

Kyle is both an S.A.M and I.B.M local Stage Contest Winner numerous times, SAM National Contest Judge, and respected Performer. He is an author of over 135 articles (and numerous books) in relation to various aspects of the performance and presentation of magic. He is acclaimed Graphic Designer, Illustrator and an expert on Logotype Design. He is a Mentor, SYM leader and recipient of the Charles Hopkins Award for Magical Excellence. Peron is highly skilled in the areas of Children¹s magic and Open-Air performances.

The lecture is free to paid-up Ring 50 members, all other magicians $10 at the door.

May 5th – Dan Lacey Contest
Sharpen up your skills for the annual Dan Lacey “Washington DC Magician of the Year” contest. The contest is open to all paid up Ring 50 members. If you want to compete in the contest contact Louis Meyer, 703-765-1923 or email: Potential candidates will perform a magic act lasting no longer than eight minutes and will be judged by a panel of four judges. The winner will be awarded a traveling trophy and will perform at the Gala Show for Magi-Whirl 2011.

Ring 50 Treasurer Collecting Dues for 2010
Ring 50 annual dues of $15 for 2010 were due in February. Anyone, wishing to do so, can pay their dues at the April 7th meeting. The Ring 50 Treasurer, Bob Patterson, requests that you pay by check, as this eases the record keeping. Make checks payable to IBM Ring 50. Cash will be accepted providing you have the correct change ($15). If you are unable to make the meetings, you can also send a check to his home address at 3450 Wainscott Place, Lake Ridge, VA 22192-5362. Enjoy your Ring activities throughout 2010 by paying your dues now.

Ring 50 Magic Youth International Meeting
"The Counts of Conjuring"

Don’t forget to encourage a youth to attend the Ring 50 MYI. The youth meeting starts at 6:00 pm at the Holiday Inn in Alexandria. The Youth Ring is open for children ages 7-17. Please let Louis know if you are bringing any youths so that we can be better prepared for them. A Magic Youth International Ring will offer a fun, interactive, and safe environment for the young magicians. We have averaged about 5 kids per meeting but we would love to build that up.
- Bob Patterson

Monday, March 15, 2010

Going, going GONE to the Highest Bidder!

The March 3rd meeting was the annual auction for Ring 50 members. Forty-nine members and guests attended the auction with 37 registered bidders. Auctioneers Dick Christian and Wayne Alan did a fantastic job demonstrating the live auction items and coaxing out the best dollar. Overall lucky bidders bought some great magic equipment, publications and videos.

An eight volume set of “The Tarbell Course in Magic” drew very active bidding but Danny Selnick gave the final bid of $120 and walked away with them. A break-apart wood wrist chopper was another piece of magic that drew a lot of bids but was won for only $115 by Theo Rushin. After escalating bids, Tom Bohacek succeeded in winning Richard Sander’s “Interlace: The Borrowed Ring on Shoelace Miracle” for $45. Larry Lipman walked away with a Crystal Silk Cylinder, another great buy. Avi Littky took home Nails Thru Arm Illusion.

Altogether, it was a very busy night with a total of 183 items being sold, of which 32 items were bought in the live auction and 151 magic items sold in the silent auction. Ring 50 collected $207.20 as 10% of the total auction sales and donations. The auction tabulators were Rucj Uffelman, Danny Selnick and Ring President Louis Meyer, led by Treasurer Bob Patterson. - Bob Patterson

March Magi-Gram is here!

You can view it, download and print it here. Thanks to Bob Patterson for his hard work on this!

Friday, March 05, 2010

New Magi-Whirl Website!

Thanks to Theo Rushin, the Magi-Whirl Website has a new look! The location is the same, at Based on member comments, we've made the site cleaner and easier to read, the navigation simpler and easier to use. We are maintaining the old blog site as a blog for updates.

On the new site, you can see the lineup, get background on the performers and lecturers, buy show tickets (so can your friends!), register for the convention (so can your magic friends!), see the schedule, the dealers and travel and lodging info (for out-of-town friends).

Please email any suggestions to Webmaster Eric Henning.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bizzaro, The Optical Illusionist, Lectures

The magician produced a red silk handkerchief, cleanly and magically. Ho hum. Then he pushed it INTO HIS OPEN PALM AND VISIBLY THROUGH HIS HAND, and we were off and running. Ring 50 had been pulled into Bizzaro’s eponymous world, where the magic is more than impossible – it’s uncanny.

For the next 90 minutes, Bizzaro showed us why he has been featured in Las Vegas and on network TV. Imagine your favorite manipulator combined with a Max Fleischer cartoon, and you can get close to the feeling. Bizzaro shared his own original work, plus his refreshingly different takes on classics such as the Bottle Production, Sponge Balls, Vanishing Sharpie™ and the Vanishing Bottle using – surprise! – a REAL bottle.

When Bizzaro punctuates his one coin routine by producing a jumbo coin, it’s nice, but normal. When he peels off the foil to reveal a chocolate coin, then visibly changes it back to metal, that is simply outrageous.

And that’s what makes Bizzaro….well, bizarre. He takes his magic a step further… and then runs it off the rails. A prime example is “One Step Ahead,” his take on the Ambitious Card, in which a signed selection does the usual dance through the deck (albeit very cleanly, with some nice moves for the move guys). So far, so what? Then the selection vanishes from the pack. A card that had fallen on the floor during an earlier routine turns out to be the signed selection!

He had our attention, and then spent the final 20 minutes or so on theory – which helped us to understand why his magic is so effective. He talked about the difference between style, persona and character, and how to use the boundaries of your character as fuel for creativity. His motto is “Don’t bend to the magic – bend the magic to you,” and he left us shocked and amazed and hungry for more. Bizzaro’s Website is

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bizzaro, The Optical Illusionist – Lectures at February 3rd Meeting

In a world full of reality TV and lackluster entertainment, Bizzaro, The Optical Illusionist strives to open people’s eyes and prove that Different isn’t Bad. Bizzaro has performed from coast to coast and appeared on FOX, NBC, America’s got Talent, and the Travel Channel’s Extreme Conventions. "My lecture has a little bit for everyone. Anyone who has seen me before knows a big part of my lectures is about building creativity and character as well.” All of that and some new products developed and performed in Las Vegas await you so come join the party and bring a friend! The lecture is free to paid-up Ring 50 members, all other magicians $10 at the door.

Ring 50 Treasurer Collecting Dues for 2010
Ring 50 annual dues of $15 for 2010 are due by February. Anyone, wishing to do so, can pay their dues at the February 3rd meeting. The Ring 50 Treasurer, Bob Patterson, requests that you pay by check, as this eases the record keeping. Make checks payable to IBM Ring 50. Cash will be accepted providing you have the correct change ($15). If you are unable to make the meetings contact Bob for a mailing address at Treasurer@IBMRing50.Org. Enjoy your Ring activities throughout 2010 by paying your dues now.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Spirit of Houdini at Ring 50

President Louis Meyer opened the January 6th meeting promptly at 8:00 PM. After announcements about Magi-Whirl, the I.B.M. Convention in San Diego, and the KapitalKidvention the Houdini Night program began before a crowd of 62 people.

Rucj Uffelman (right) began with an escape from a chain dog collar locked around his wrists. Harry Houdini saw this system used to transport prisoners to Siberia (and we all know that no one escapes from Siberia). Rucj’s wrists were securely bound with the steel chain and padlocked by a spectator. He amazed the audience by getting out of the chain in a matter of seconds.

Challenges by the US Postal Service led Houdini into escaping from a sealed and locked mailbag (a canvas bag, with metal grommets on top). Danny Selnick (Photo: on left) re-created that event with his ankles and wrists tightly secured to the ends of long metal shackles by means of two heavy duty chains and locks before being locked in a mailbag using a solid steel bar is passing through the grommets, with padlocks on both ends of the bar. A backdrop was placed around him and within a record time he made his escape as the crowd applauded him.

John Roberts (right) claimed Houdini failed to have a timing device when performing his escapes. John displayed a small pole with a woodpecker at the top that he used to time his escape from his securely rope tied wrists. His hands were covered with a cloth as the woodpecker made his way down the pole, John began his escape. When the woodpecker reached the bottom before John could escape, he reset the timer and in a flash was free of the ropes.

Louis Hofheimer (a.k.a. Captain Token) and two lovely girl assistants performed two stage escapes. Using several pieces of rope one girl was secured to a 4 inch square totem pole 6 feet tall. A rope was tied around her neck, her waist, her legs and her ankles. In the blink of an eye, in full view of the audience, she magically materializes through the ropes! Next, a large mystic looking box was brought onto the stage area. A young lady entered the box. The doors were closed and without hesitation the magician stabbed ten swords into all parts of the box. The audience could plainly see the smallness of the box did not permit the girl evading the swords. The box was then opened and the girl had vanished! The box was revolved so that all sides were visible. The doors were closed ... the swords quickly withdrawn ... the top of the box was opened ... and up popped the girl, unharmed!

VP Arnold Fuoco (right) told the story about the time Dai Vernon fooled Harry Houdini (who in his early years billed himself as "The King of Cards"). Houdini often boasted that if he saw a card trick performed three times in a row he would be able to figure it out. Vernon then showed Houdini a trick, where he removed the top card of the deck and placed it in the middle, and then turned over the top card to again reveal the original card. Houdini watched Vernon do the trick seven times, each time insisting that Vernon "do it again". Finally Houdini's wife, and Vernon's friends said, "Face it Houdini, you're fooled." For years afterward, Vernon used the title The Man Who Fooled Houdini in his advertisements. The trick Dai Vernon chose to fool Houdini with was his own version of the classic ambitious card routine, so named because the spectator's chosen card always wants to get to the top of the deck. Arnie demonstrated this as he told the story.

Wayne Alan showed some pieces from the collection in his home “Houdini Room.” One was a handcuff made by a spectator and was used on Houdini during a performance. He also had the metal air vent grate from the hospital room in which Harry Houdini died. Wayne’s cookbook, Magical Meatless Meals shares over 100 healthy and delectable vegetarian recipes collected during his storied and award-winning career in show business. Many of these and the pictures are linked to the Houdini fame.

By the 1920's, Houdini's career was going into a slump. As he approached age 50, his escapes were becoming too strenuous and his "death-defying" feats no longer enthralled increasingly jaded audiences. Vaudeville itself was slowly being strangled by competition from radio and movies, which were cheaper for audiences and more profitable for producers. Houdini switched to exposing fraudulent spirit mediums. Louis Meyer presented Houdini's original “Fraudulent Spirit Medium Expose Lecture” with pictures. Although many believe that people were more gullible back then, the popularity of "mediums" such as John Edwards makes this a timely topic.