Meeting Report: April 2021 - Francis Menotti Lecture

The members of Ring 216 were pleased to host Francis Menotti for a live Zoom lecture at their April 14, 2021 meeting.  A compendium of creative effects infused with Francis' thoughtfully off-center presentations, the lecture followed up each presentation of a routine with the philosophy of performance that led to its creation and use.

Francis’ opener was “Shunuffled,” an example of finding an opener that one is very comfortable with, reveals one's personality, and surprises the audience and forces them to focus. Next, an effect of writing with an invisible pen demonstrated his approach to the question, “How do I take an impossibility and make it more interesting?” Sleight of hand was then given added intrigue in a routine with three coins, two of which were shown to have only one side each, and an effect with a coin that vanishes when covered with a piece of nothing. A calculator effect with a spooky premise illustrated the Paul Harris maxim, “When you find a piece of strange, ask how to make it magical.”

Francis recounted in detail his two “Fool Us” performances, the first using Scrabble to divine a thought-of word and the second, “Boxed”, employing metaphysics to switch the properties of a wooden box and a deck of cards. There were many more effects discussed, including his unique razor swallowing routine. At last, in response to the audience question, “Where does inspiration come from?”, he answered that it comes from surrounding yourself with good people. His concluding advice: magic is a small community, go ahead and reach out to anyone whose work you admire.