Meeting Report: January 10, 2018

Cheryl, the receptionist at the Yu Ai Kai Center, was impressed by the number of magicians trooping through the lobby on Ring 216’s meeting night. “Everyone wants to see John Carney,” she said. “They say he’s The Man.”

The man himself began by telling the capacity crowd his mission: “I teach the thinking behind tricks. To me this is the fun – working things out, discovering things.” John demonstrated his thinking process by detailing the reasoning behind every move in his first two routines, “Coffee Cups and Grapes,” inspired by Michael Skinner, and Ramsay’s “Coins in Hat.” Make changes and see what results, he urged. Coffee cups have handles – what new moves does that make possible? Consider whether each visible movement can be made more graceful and more efficient, each hidden sleight covered by misdirection. Apply the attention-controlling concepts of tension and relaxation, punctuation, focus. “You can’t misdirect until you know where they’re looking.” At the end of these two teaching sessions, John remarked truthfully, “We only talked about two tricks, but one hundred secrets.”

The lecture continued with Mora Balls, Quarter through Plate, and coin vanishes, card controls and color changes, each showing the improvements that occur when one tries out additions and subtractions to routines, and works on changing the moment of secret actions. He reminisced about Vernon and other magicians he had met and learned from. At the end, John summarized again his message of inspiration: “To improve, make adjustments. Don’t practice the same way for forty years.”

The magicians lingered talking with John Carney long after the appointed time for the center to close. At the front desk, Cheryl, waiting patiently, said she did not mind. It looked to her like it had been an important night for the magicians.

Coming February 14: Awards, Mini-Lecture, and Open Performance

When: Wednesday, February 14, 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Where: Yu-Ai Kai Senior Center, 588 North 4th Street, San Jose, CA
Join us on February 14 for our next Ring 216 meeting featuring an awards ceremony, mini-lecture, and open performances.

We hope you can get away from your significant other for a few hours on Wednesday, February 14, and spend it with your family in magic. Here's our agenda:
  • Awards ceremony honoring the winners of last year's competitions, including Danny Cheng and Alex Wu
  • Mini-lecture on opening lines by David Martinez (adapted from his essay in the Ring 216 publication, The Real Magic of Silicon Valley: Volume 2).
  • Open performance — share your magic with the club.
  • Food and beverage will be served.
This is a great opportunity to re-connect with your friends, honor our award winners, learn something new, and enjoy some fun magic.

Pre-Meeting Workshop Opportunity

We are thinking about holding an informal, free workshop before our February meeting to discuss a routine we learned at the recent John Carney lecture: Coin Thru Plate. The workshop will run from 6:30–7:15 p.m. on February 14.

If at least 5-6 people will commit to attending, then we will host the workshop. Otherwise, we will schedule a workshop for a future date. Please email to let us know if you will attend.

Ring 216 President’s Message: 2017 Edition

Dear Ring 216 Members and Friends,

Another eventful year for magic has flown by, and so now is a great time to reflect on what we accomplished in 2017 and look ahead to what’s in store for 2018.

In 2017, we had the good fortune to host some wonderful lecturers: Tony Clark in January, Jeff Prace in February, Shawn McMaster in May, and John Lovick in September. Each of them brought a unique and interesting perspective to their effects and presentations, and I hope all of you gained some inspiration from watching and learning from them.

Ring 216 implemented several new initiatives in 2017 that we hope you enjoyed. One new program was offering the Jeff Prace lecture free to all Ring 216 members as another benefit of membership; we will do that again in 2018 (more information below). In 2017, we hosted a panel discussion on restaurant magic, we raffled off free magic items to members, and we experimented with streamlining our competitions.

Other milestones of 2017 included our annual Flea Market and Auction in June, and our three competitions: Walk-Around, Close-Up, and Stage/Parlor. We loved seeing several new faces in those competitions, and we hope to see more in 2018. We also conducted several pre-meeting workshops and held mini-lectures on interesting topics… thank you to all who contributed!

At our officers elections, we had a changing of the guard as Cal Tong decided to step down as an officer for the first time in many, many years. But not to worry: Cal will continue as a board member, and he is succeeded as Vice President by the estimable Tom Collett. John Jones continues as Treasurer, Gary Goldberg as Secretary, and Thomas Busk as Sergeant at Arms. Jeremiah Junkins is our new webmaster.

No recap of 2017 would be complete without an acknowledgement of some of the magical lives we lost. On a global scale, the community lost three giants: Daryl, Bob Cassidy, and Eugene Burger. Locally, we were all saddened by the passing of Bill Benson, for whom the Ring conducted a Broken Wand Ceremony featuring wonderful remembrances by Jim Blashek, Anthony Pratkanis, and Bill Jacobson.

Looking ahead to 2018, we have several exciting things planned but also lots of room to add new things as they come up. The officers and I have proposed a theme for 2018: Stand-Up Magic. So throughout the year, we’re going to offer mini-lectures and discussions on to help us perform more effectively for groups. We’re looking at concepts like scripting, music, theatricality, and other elements used in stand-up performances. Stay tuned for details.

As for our lectures, right now we have two accomplished magicians booked for 2018: the wonderful John Carney on January 10, and our own local cardician Michael Feldman on March 14. Michael’s lecture will be offered free to members as a gift from Ring 216, continuing the tradition we started in 2017.

As the president of Ring 216, I want to say thank you for supporting our club and for helping keeping magic alive in the Silicon Valley. For 2018, I ask each of you to think about what you would like to see from Ring 216, and share those ideas with the other officers and me. We do this because we enjoy your company and your contributions. 

Let’s keep the momentum going into the New Year!

David Martinez
President, I.B.M. Ring 216

Coming in January: John Carney — A Magic Lecture

John’s seminars include stage and close-up magic using cards, coins, cigars and a variety of everyday objects. Each routine is a lesson in itself, containing the insights and ingenuities that have made John one of the premier teachers of magic today.

Topics include presentation, routining, misdirection, and creativity.

Cost: $15 for Ring 216 members, $30 for non-members

Date: January 10, 2018
Time: 7:30 - 10:00 p.m.
Location: Yu-Ai Kai Senior Center

More details to come!

Coming in December: Stage/Parlor Magic Competition

Join us on Wednesday, December 13, 2017, for the IBM Ring 216 Annual Stage & Parlor Magic Competition.

Where: Yu-Ai Kai Community Center (see map at right)
When: December 13, 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free

We hope you all can show up to enjoy some fun magic and support your fellow Ring members who have signed up to compete.

Bring your friends or family with you to enjoy an evening of great magic. The more people we have, the better the magic.

We already have a few signups, so if you want to compete, please send an email to David Martinez (

All contestants should check the rules and information on competitions.

Magicians in attendance will serve as the judges for the competition. Family and friends (non-magicians) will be the judges for the People's Choice Award, assuming we have at least 10 non-magicians present. All competitors will compete in a single division.

The time and place are the same as usual: Yu-Ai Kai Community Center at 7:30 p.m. sharp. See you then!