Meeting Report: August 11, 2021 - Gregory Wilson Lecture

Gregory Wilson made a return visit to Ring 216 – but only via Zoom – to lecture at the August 2021 meeting. This well-attended presentation featured half unpublished material and half effects “you’ve seen before but probably have forgotten.” Even those familiar with some of the material realized again that just watching Greg was to receive a master course in misdirection and the use of persuasion.

Greg’s classic material included the poker chip that vanishes and repeatedly appears on a spectator’s shoulder; his quick opener, in which five blank cards turn into a royal flush; a bill that changes into several different foreign currencies; three coins that appear out of nothing and then vanish completely; a pencil that mysteriously flips end for end; and how to have a spectator correctly guess the amount of change in his pocket. The latter two effects were Greg’s favorites for obtaining free upgrades at ticket counters, as he described with a series of amusing real-life stories. As for the newer material…to preserve the surprise, let’s wait until they are released.

Among the many audience questions, perhaps the one that received the lengthiest answer was asked by Suyash J.: “What do you want the spectators to care about?” It is a subject on which Greg has given much thought, and he gave several examples of his philosophy of starting with an idea that arouses their curiosity, rather than immediately diving into the trick. “Grab their attention, sustain their interest; the magic is a visual exclamation mark on what you just said.”