Ring Event: Ring 211’s 27th Annual Hocus Pocus Party & John Sterlini Lecture

On Saturday, November 2, Ring 211 — The June Horowitz/John deVries Magic Club in Grand Rapids, Michigan — held its 27th Annual Earl Ray Wilcox Memorial Hocus Pocus Party. Members sold tickets to a crowd of nearly 225 people. Attendees came from all over West Michigan. Members, their friends and family members enjoyed a fun-filled evening of magical wonderment which included a delicious buffet dinner and cash bar, a strolling close-up magic period, sponsored raffle giveaway prizes such as pizza coupons from Russo’s and magic kits with wands from Hippity Hop Magic, and a fabulous cabaret show. Again it was held at The Knights of Columbus Hall on the south end of town. Magically, attractive designed table decor invited the guests to their tables. Also, a program sheet was available to each attendee which showcased each act. This event was also advertised on local newspaper and TV station web site calendars, Facebook, Twitter, GRNow.com, and and on MLive.com.

img_3558img_3548Prior to the full dinner buffet and until the cabaret show, there was fortune telling by Bogga Kahn (Dave Bogdan) and assisted by his son, Kellen. Also there was face painting by SuZie Zoerman and Cassandra Heimbecker as Whimsey T. Clown. Jerry Herdegen, who has always done so, provided many balloon creations to not only any kids, but to adults too. Preston Eakins also provided balloon creations.

img_3581img_3595The strolling close-up magic began during the food buffet period and continued for about an hour after the dinner. Magicians began by going to tables waiting to go through the buffet line. The following Ring 211 magi amused, amazed, and dazzled our guests: Roger Bus, MagicBob Zoerman, Bill Rasmussen, Gil Scott, Ron Carnell, Charles Bennett, John Dykstra, Peter Stobie, Jesse Shira (youth), Jim Parkes, Nicholas Watkins, Wayne Ramsdell, Bob Panlener, Don Tremblay, P. J. Weber, Gary Oisten, Dennis Favreau, Dr. Jack Vander Wal, Randy Vander Wal, Vince Rosso, Bruce Wehr, and Alan Kazam (Smith).

img_3549img_3554Ring 211 President Michele Parkes thanked the close-up performers prior to the evening show and then recognized PIP June Horowitz (still “magic-partying” now at 100!). This year’s Hocus Pocus Party was dedicated to June. Guests could browse a table which had memorabilia of her which was showcased at her birthday party. At this time, a lucky winner received $175.50 from the 50/50 raffle.

The evening concluded with an extremely entertaining cabaret show featuring Gary Laundre’ as the emcee, MagicBob Zoerman, Gil Scott, Preston Eakins, P. J. Weber, and headliner John Sterlini from Colon, Michigan, the Magic Capital of the World.

MagicBob Zoerman opened the show with a bang by performing Big Time Root Beer and an escape from a genuine straightjacket. Gary Laundre’, who at one time was known as “Captain Magic” on the local Bozo Show, besides the many comic one-liners and stories he shared between the acts, also performed Terry Seabrooke’s Comedy Bullet Through Card, a cut and semi restored tie with an audience member, and his version of McCombical Deck. Gil Scott added more comedy with his new ESP act which included a baby picture gag, Inferno, a truth or lie card routine, and a bank night routine. Preston Eakins impressed us with his juggling by juggling sets of cigar boxes and then balancing on a board being supported by a ball and juggling successfully a set of Machete knives. P. J. Weber added more amazement with his production of a dove from many balloons, the Head Growing Illusion, his variation of Bee Wave using large size Kings, a nifty short version of Miser’s Dream, and his granddaddy . . . his version of Gene Anderson’s Torn & Restored Newspaper. Our featured act, John Sterlini, closed the show. He was assisted by his lovely wife, Tamara. First, they performed Find the Lady. Then, he performed a manipulation part which included a flower bud to a billiard ball production and to a multi number of billiard balls, card fans and diminishing in size, many single card productions right out of thin air, and coin productions into a wine glass to a deluxe Miser’s Dream. A mentalism gag followed before one spectator survived Sterlini’s own manufactured Head Chopper Illusion with comic fears and chills.

What another astounding Hocus Pocus Party! There are many to thank: the entire membership for selling tickets, Jim and Michele Parkes for obtaining the place and managing all ticket sales, Gil Scott and Dave Bogdan for putting the show together, our stage, close-up performers, and other artists, Bill Rasmussen for heading the sound and lighting, Brooks Alder for operating the sound, Charles Bennett with Jim & Michele Parkes for heading the prize drawings and raffle, Danielle Caperus with Stacey Krause (nieces of Michele) for miscellaneous help, Teresa Krause (niece of Michele) for a Happy Birthday cake, Dr. Jack Vander Wal with supplying the jet sets, Jeff Veley for use of his attractive backdrop, Jerry and Kathy Herdegen for decorating each table to magic affair, and to Tina Weber, and my cousin Derek Lieverdink for photos and videotaping. A final thanks to any other member who helped out in any way and to The Knights of Columbus’ staff for their pleasant hospitality. An event such as this allows Ring 211 to host many lectures throughout the year being free to its club members.

The following day, John Sterlini, a 1984 Chavez graduate, continued the blast of magic by presenting a lecture to our club at our regular meeting place. His title was “There Is More To Magic Than Card Tricks.” He focused on repairing and routining of props, sound, and shared some magic, with the final being an illustration of his card fans and billiard ball production routine.

Highlights of the lecture were:

  • Props — Change decorations, repaint, make them look your own. When refinishing think “Disney colors” which are bright. Cautions and advice on using paint and primer and use paint as an advantage for “sizing” your props. Satin black is great for hiding imperfections. Use a rubberized undercoating before primer on illusion bases. Laminates are a durable alternative. Protect props with ATA and fiber cases and use a castor board with rubber wheels.
  • Sound — Invest in quality sound and amplifiers. Countryman Head Set works best for him. Sennheiser wireless system is also great. Tutorials are available (from Amazon.com) to help with editing music. Use of back drops adds to the look of your performance.
  • Routining — Make sure your costuming, props, and music fits your act as well as “now” not “then.” Do not overproduce items. Using cue cards, even placing them at specific spots on the stage floor aides the smoothness of your performance.
  • Magic he shared and had for sale — Royal Magic’s Flying Coins, Showtime (a DVD version of McCombical Deck), Crystal Car (using a one way deck as well as “lady photo” cards), Disintegration Chamber (ball through rubber band box), and Color Vision.

It was a pleasure to meet John and Tamara. We thank him for his lecture. One may contact John through his web sites: http://www.sterlinimagic.com/ and http://www.sterlini.com/.

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