Meeting Report: February 14, 2018

Awards – raffle prizes – a mini-lecture – and magic performances. What more could one want for Valentine’s Day?

First on the agenda, the awards were handed out for the Ring’s magic competitions that took place last year. Beautiful first-place trophies were awarded to Alex Wu (Stage/Parlor) and to Danny Cheng (Walk-Around,Close-Up and Magician of the Year). Personalized certificates were awarded to the People’s Choice winners, Tom Collett (Stage/Parlor), Perry Yan (Walk-Around) and Luke Adams and Danny Cheng (Close-Up).

The free-for-members raffle followed with prizes of magic props and DVDs generously donated to the club by Fred Rasmussen, John Jones, David Martinez and Tom Collett.

David Martinez presented a mini-lecture on “Opening Lines.” Quoting Eugene Burger – “Every good trick deserves a good opening line” – David compared the compelling first lines of literary works to the typical opener of magicians: “Here I have an ordinary deck of cards.” David presented the characteristics of great lines and how to find them, with references to the ideas of Darwin Ortiz and Pete McCabe. At the end he handed out lecture notes with dozens of examples of openers.

In the open performances of the evening, in which feedback was provided by the members if the performer requested, the Ring enjoyed the following acts.

Anthony “Doc Boodle” Pratkanis – The Three Shell Game.
Gene Johnson – Four aces fairly lost in the deck rise to the top.
Danny Cheng – Coins fly from hand to hand.
Mitch Kothe – A new arrival to the Ring, presenting Valentine themed three card location with a color change, and the deck turning into a steel block.
John Jones – The Box of Doom card prediction.
David Martinez – Teleportation of a nickel from hand to hand as spectators held his wrists.
Ken King – The Wizard Clock prediction.
Raphael Delgadillo – Card magic.
Tom Collett – Vanishing ribbon.
Gary Goldberg – A Shuffling Lesson.
Stan Sieler – A divination.

Ring 216 members and friends:

Join us on March 14 at 7:30 p.m. sharp for a magic lecture by San Francisco's own Michael Feldman — sleight-of-hand artist and international man of mystery.

As a gift for Ring 216 members, Michael's lecture is free for paid members ($20 for non-members). You can sign up for membership at the meeting and enjoy all the benefits for just $25.

For the last 20 years, Michael has traveled the world with a deck of cards performing sleight-of-hand magic. He has been a featured performer at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, on Crystal Cruiselines, and at Monday Night Magic, New York’s longest-running, off-Broadway magic show.

At the lecture, Michael is planning to cover a variety of topics. He's most excited about (1) a stand up routine that can be customized to predict almost anything, (2) performing with signed cards, and (3) hands-off magic with cards.

In addition, he's interested to hear what people want to see or have him talk about. He can tailor the lecture to discuss what people would like to hear.

No need to RSVP... just show up!

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