On Saturday, November 7, Ring 211 — The June Horowitz/John deVries Magic Club in Grand Rapids, Michigan — held its 29th Annual Earl Ray Wilcox Memorial Hocus Pocus Party. Members sold tickets to a crowd of 268 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 a fifty/fifty cash drawing, and a fabulous cabaret show.
The event was held at Lincoln Country Club on the northwest side of town. Magically, attractive designed table décor invited the guests to their tables. Magic-themed posters, streamers, and other party related décor were placed on the side walls to add to the festive appeal. This event was also advertised on local newspaper and TV station web site calendars, Facebook, Twitter, and on MLive.com.
Prior to the full dinner buffet and until the cabaret show, there was fortune telling by Bogga Kahn (Dave Bogdan). Also there was face painting by SuZie Zoerman and Cassandra Heimbecker as Whimsey T. Clown. David Storms provided many balloon creations to not only any kids, but to adults too. Raven Keckler as Harvee The Rabbit was also a favorite attraction.
The 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: MagicBob Zoerman, Bill Rasmussen accompanied by his son Christian, Gil Scott, Jesse Shira, Jim Parkes, Nicholas Watkins, Wayne Ramsdell, P. J. Weber, Gary Oisten, Dennis Favreau, Dr. Jack Vander Wal, Randy Vander Wal, Bruce Wehr, Steven Elkowitz, Gary Laundre’, Willow Bigham as Mystic Willow, Christian Fransted, Pete the Magician, and Leo Peters.
Our emcee for the cabaret show, Jesse Shira, thanked the close-up performers prior to the evening show and then recognized PIP June Horowitz (still “magic-partying” now at 102!) as she had the honor of pulling the ticket winner of the fifty/fifty raffle. A lucky winner received $159.00 and other winners received the giveaway prizes which included small beginner magic tricks, Mr. Burger coupons, a phone case, magic related posters that lit up (some had candy with them, others had DVDs), and other trinkets such as a Thurston metal sign, a craft gift of colorful markets, stickers, and coloring booklets.
The evening concluded with an extremely entertaining cabaret show featuring Jesse Shira as the emcee (at eighteen, the youngest ever to emcee this show and a job well done!), Brad Lancaster, Gil Scott, P. J. Weber, Steven Elkowitz, and headliner John Dudley. Brad Lancaster opened the show with his enticing Knots Off Silk routine, the famous Prayer Stick, and a nifty cut and restored rope routine. Gil Scott followed with Marked, a large card color changing back with letters (marked deck) routine. Next, Gil performed a trio of mental magic which included Glance, an image drawing revelation, and a card revelation. An entertaining pick pocket routine involving a poker chip, its purse, a wallet with bills, cards, and a passport added laughs. Somehow, the bills, cards, and the passport vanished from the wallet which was in the spectator’s back pocket and reappeared with Gil. He closed his segment with a torn and restored bill which reappeared inside an Altoids’ box. P. J. Weber enlightened us with his mouth coil to dove production, the Growing Head Illusion, a ball and vase illusion which included a card selection and the card being revealed on a silk from inside the vase. P. J. closed his segment with his version of the Torn & Restored Newspaper. Steven Elkowitz (at fourteen, youngest to have an act on this show!) began with an impressive manipulation act which included a flower petal to a balloon to a billiard ball production with color changes, vanishes, and appearances, plus multiple productions. White card fans and card productions followed from his finger tips and his mouth with even more card productions from his hands which even included colored cards appearing. His manipulation concluded with a silk fountain production with a large silk. Next, Steven shared his mentalism with us. During dinner he passed out twelve envelopes. Then he had three people come on stage and select random pages from a book. They tore the pages into a bunch of little pieces. One person picked a number from one to ten. He counted out that many ripped pieces. Then one person found the largest word on that piece (word being “disappearing”). Then he called up the twelve people from the audience and had them stand in the order of their envelopes. They opened their envelopes and it spelled the chosen word. He finished his segment by vanishing his pet bunny. Jesse Shira performed a hilarious Abbott Head Twister Illusion, the Vanishing Bandana to more laughs, and a suit jacket with chain cuffs escape with the assistance of two gentlemen. Jesse wore a seventies’ suit jacket and the two men wore glasses from that time, one with even side burns. It took Jesse a few attempts. Every time, the men lowed the curtain, he was in an awkward position with the jacket and the cuffs. John Dudley was the closing act. He first gave a greeting to a couple celebrating their wedding anniversary and did his Bill the Bird Silk Vanish, a gag. Next, he slopped-shuffle a deck of cards and magically restored the order. He followed with his “It” card selection and revelation routine in which he, at first, failed finding the card. It was not in his wallet with a bunch of other cards, nor was it the “It” card, but happened to be on the opposite side of the fifty-two on one card inside the prediction envelope. Next, was his version of B’Wave and an eight linking ring routine. He closed the show with his Randy the Raccoon Routine which was very funny indeed.
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, Brooks Alder for operating the sound, Charles Bennett with Jim & Michele Parkes for heading the prize drawings and raffle, Dr. Jack Vander Wal with supplying the jet sets, Jeff Veley for use of his attractive backdrop, Christian Fransted and Jennifer Elkowitz for stagehand help, Jerry and Kathy Herdegen for decorating each table to magic affair, and to my cousin Derek Lieverdink for photos and videotaping. Also, a thanks to Monica Cooper, Danielle Cuperus, and Stacey Krause (related to Michele Parkes) in assisting with ticket handling, decorations, and the prize drawings. A final thanks to any other member who helped out in any way and to the Lincoln Country Club’s staff for their pleasant hospitality. An event such as this allows Ring 211 to host many lectures throughout the year to its club members.