Meeting Report - March 9, 2022: Curtis Kam Lecture


At the March 2022 meeting of Ring 216, Jim Blashek announced the sad news of the passing of Ken Gielow. Ken’s estate has donated 600 dollars to the Ring, and Jim is handling the distribution of many boxes filled with the collection of a lifetime in magic.


For the night’s lecture, the Ring was pleased to welcome a master magician and friend to many in the Bay Area: Curtis Kam! During the pandemic Curtis started in some fresh directions, including starting a monthly magazine, The Disclaimer ( In the lecture, he presented many new things he had been working on, including Zoom-centric magic.


The starting effect was a very clean Coins Across with three coins and a finger ring. He then caused the ring (ungimmicked) to penetrate on and off his fingers, then, going too far, pulls off the ring and his finger comes off with it. Next came a a triple color changing deck routine performed with a dealer item that Curtis created. Then his ingenious variation of a classic trick: two decks of different colors that won’t stay in their cases – put one deck in its case, and the other pops out. The recasting of the classic was itself a lesson in inventiveness.


For card tricks that can be done over Zoom, Curtis taught a trick with five cards that combined ideas from Jacob Dailey and Larry Jennings, and a variation of a Dave Solomon effect (based on an Alex Elmsley principle) in which a spectator makes a series of free choices in order to find their own selected card. He had a new self-working card trick with an amusing premise, “The Spectator Almost Cuts to the Aces”. Then he presented a version of a currently notorious effect, in which a freely chosen number gives the exact location of the only printed card in a completely blank deck – unlike a current dealer item, this version is truly ungimmicked and examinable.


There were plenty of stories about performing and tips on numerous tricks. Many of the effects were described in lecture notes Curtis distributed free and instantly over Zoom as a PDF file. It was a great evening of creative magic.