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!