Ring Report – August 2012

After another big Abbott’s Get-together (the 75th!), you’d think everyone in and around the tiny village of Colon would be getting a little tired of magic. Apparently not, though, because Ring 386’s August meeting (third Thursday) was another banner month for the fledgling club, with nearly twenty people in attendance.

Bill Watson called the meeting to order and spent a few minutes discussing business issues. There weren’t a lot. Bill reported on the meet-and-greet at the Masonic Lodge the Ring had sponsored during magic week, offering visiting magi coffee, pastries, and a chance to get to know our local club a little better. Plans were also made for Rick Fisher to open a bank account for the club. That way he’d have something to report every month when Bill calls for the Treasurer’s Report. We concluded the business portion of the meeting by singing Happy Birthday to Kristen Engster.

There were a lot of new faces at the meeting, so introductions were made all around. Karen Carnell Stevenson was attending her first ever Ring meeting with her daughter, Chelsea, who had been bitten by the magic bug just a few weeks earlier during the Get-together. Jayden Engster had brought a buddy with him, Austin Bunker, and Mark Parks from the Lansing area was making his first visit to the club. Jim (Mr. Jim) and Vicky Merrills happened to be visiting the Magic Capital and stuck around town long enough to attend our monthly meeting. Finally, Frank Gayda won the award for Longest Drive, coming all the way from the Chicago area specifically to be a part of the Abbott/Watson Ring.

With business concluded, it was time for the magic. The suggested theme for the month was Color Change.

Bill Watson browbeat me (Ron Carnell) into going first. When I offered the club a choice between two tricks, one a Color Change and one not, they very quickly said they wanted to see both. The first was a Wild Card effect where three jokers changed into blue-backed duplicates of a selected red-backed card — after which the backs also changed colors to make them true duplicates. My second trick was an original matrix variation called Love Matrix. A role playing game, three of our male spectators (Jayden, Austin and Frank) were given envelopes containing their lines, while one female (Kristen) was also given a role to play. The three males, represented by Kennedy half dollars, moved magically across the nightclub floor to congregate at the table of the Lovely Maria, who was represented by a Mexican centavo. As each coin moved, the spectators opened their envelopes and read their lines. (Note to self: Don’t ask a fourteen-year-old to read a pickup line to his own mother.) Finally, all four coins were covered with a card so Maria could decide which of the three gentlemen had most impressed her. Her decision was something of a surprise to everyone.

Bill Watson performed a card trick taught to him many, many decades ago by his father, the legendary Monk Watson. One at a time, Bill showed us four blue-backed Kings and then, again one at a time, the Kings changed into four blue-backed Aces. The blue-backed Bicycles then changed into red-backed cards. It was a very visual effect and one clearly enjoyed by the entire club. Bill would later show a few interested members how to do the trick.

It turned into a night for multiple effects for most of the performers, each taking separate turns to amaze the audience. Jayden Engster started his flurry of card tricks by having a card freely selected and then changing the color of the card from blue to red. He also demonstrated an Erdnase Color Change to the delight of everyone, and then actually did another card trick his mother, Kristen, claims she never saw him do. Jayden has clearly been spending a LOT of time with his cards and has made some truly dramatic improvements in just a few months time.

Rick Fisher showed two silks, one green and one white, that he said represented the school colors for Michigan State University. Trouble was, he said, he was something of a University of Michigan fan — so he dramatically changed the silks to blue and gold, the UofM’s school colors. A little later in the evening, Rick would do a delightful hat tear routine for Kristen’s birthday, using a very limp spring wand that would reduce Kristen to giggling fits.

Rick Lansdale did a visually dramatic rope to scarf effect, and would later perform a very involved and mystifying card trick based on the story of a ship wreck. Groups of cards that started as Ace, King, Queen and Jack of each suit would strangely morph into groups of four of a kind as they found their way to a fictional desert island. Then, when rescued and returned to civilization, the cards would inexplicably morph right back again.

Krag Ryal changed a silk from one color to another several times, an effect he typically uses to open his 30 minute shows. He later followed that with a color changing card trick.

Jim Merrills asked Karen Carnell Stevenson to select a card from a borrowed deck and then found the card — with the help of a little flea he had been carrying in his pocket. The flea had a little ham in him, however, and instead of directly finding Karen’s card, the flea led Jim to an “indicator” card that signified the selected card would be found four cards from the top of the deck. Why did he do that, Jim asked? So he could be sure he got a good hand, Jim explained, displaying the top four cards to all be Aces.

With the stage closed for the evening, the group broke into smaller groups as magicians did what magicians always do. Krag showed Jayden and Austin a few moves, with Kristen watching over their shoulders, I showed Bill and Frank a series of color changes using a Bicycle deck, while Ron Davis spent a good half hour or more amazing Karen and Chelsea with a little toy set of cups and balls. People would move from group to group over the next few hours, teaching, learning, enjoying the magic. It was a really good meeting.

The suggested Theme for our September meeting is (drum roll, please) Cards. It’s hard to believe we haven’t hit this one yet, but there it is. I suspect our Members might be able to come up with a few applicable effects?

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Ring Report – July 2012

President Bill Watson opened our July meeting with a short discussion of Ring business. We had to determine what to do with our $20 treasury (bank or credit union, savings or checking) and it was also decided to sponsor a morning meet-and-greet, featuring coffee and donuts, during the upcoming Abbott’s Get-Together. It would provide an introduction of the new Abbott/Watson Ring to the greater magic community.

With business quickly concluded, we moved on to the important stuff: Magic.

The suggested theme for the evening was sponge balls, and Preston Eakins started us off with a short (and experimental) color changing sponge ball move. It was delightful and showed a lot of promise.

Rick Fisher used the classic Square Sponge Ball to good effect on Todd McAuliffe, and then Randy Morris performed his handling of a Forgetful Freddie routine using props that had literally been in his closet for over twenty years. The audience enjoyed Randy’s set and decided it should be called, “Forgetful Freddie Comes Out of the Closet.”

Bill Watson demonstrated some sponge ball false transfers for layperson, Kristen Engster. Kristen’s son, Jayden, the Ring’s official Youth Coordinator, then performed a fascinating card trick he called “Four Good Men,” involving several King transpositions. Jayden also did a little sponge ball magic after the card trick.

Doug Gancer also graced us with a card trick, one where he found the 9 of hearts in a most unusual way. Brett Flikkema amazed everyone with a story-telling deck in the tradition of Sam The Bellhop using the Shadow Stack by Tom Crosbie. Brett has those false shuffles and cuts pretty well wired.

Ron Carnell performed a Cards Across routine, moving two thought-of cards from a card packet Kristen was sitting on to a similar packet hidden beneath the ponderous posterior of Bill Watson. Surprisingly, no one was harmed in the process.

Visiting Ring 89er Todd McAuliffe showed us a quick and quite amazing card trick that resulted in the entire deck reversing itself right before our eyes. Krag Ryal concluded the evening’s entertainment with his original handling of a sponge bunny routine.

The stage was closed, but the magic continued for well over an hour as smaller groups broke off for discussion and sessioning. July was another banner turnout for the Ring 386 monthly meeting. We’re really happy to see more youth finding time in their busy summer schedules to attend the meetings and strut their stuff for us old timers. It’s also great when the parents join us — so we have some laypeople to fool. Unlike our fellow magicians, they actually applaud the effect, instead of the method.

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