On Saturday, November 4, Ring 211 — The June Horowitz/John deVries Magic Club in Grand Rapids, Michigan — held its 31st Annual Earl Ray Wilcox Memorial Hocus Pocus Party. Members sold tickets to a crowd of 230 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 KC Banquet Center on the southwest 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. P. J. Weber had a spot on FOX 17’s “Morning Mix.” Ring President Jeff Brodrick and Randy Vander Wal shared the upcoming news on WZZM TV 13’s Weekend Morning Show the day of the event.
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. 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, Nicholas Watkins, Wayne Ramsdell, P. J. Weber, Gary Oisten, Dennis Favreau, Randy Vander Wal, Bruce Wehr, Randy Baker and his grandson Julian, Bob Panlener, Jeff Brodrick, Alan Kazam (Alan Smith), Evan Priem, Hank Slagter, Ron Jaxon, Steven Elkowitz, Don Tremblay, Gary Laundre’, and Leo Peters.
A lucky winner received $206.50 from the raffle and other winners received the giveaway prizes which included small beginner magic tricks from Hippity Hop Magic, pizza coupons, and other novelty items.
The evening concluded with an extremely entertaining cabaret show featuring Jesse Shira as the emcee, Christian Rasmussen & Katie Vander Stel, Jeff Brodrick with Gary Laundre’, Ron Jaxon, and Stuart MacDonald. Christian Rasmussen and Katie Vander Stel opened the show with the Card In Bottle routine by Gene Anderson, the Zig Zag Lady Illusion as a tribute to the late Dr. Jack Vander Wal (they used his illusion), and a stage version of Cataclysm by Brian Caswell. Ring President Jeff Brodrick as Jeffini teamed up with Gary Laundre’ to perform an act one could describe as a “Ballentine” one. Highlights were: a split bottle, snow ball from silk, swallowing of a telescoping rod, swallowing a sponge ball to appear from sock twice, lit candle bulb vanish and reappearance, torn and restored newspaper in envelope, balloon deflate in ear to blow balloon from mouth, and attempted to produce dove from blown and popped grocery bag instead feathers appeared. Ron Jaxon followed with a large ear production gag (he used to be deaf), the hand-wrist twist audience participation challenge, his endless cigarette bottom bud routine, miser’s dream, a card selection and find routine in which first attempts to find by smell and taste failed yet was found on wall and matched his prediction in an envelope, a multi-production sponge ball routine with a child including four balls over her head vanish and continuous balls from his mouth, balloon swallowing, and mouth coil production. Jesse Shira presented three classic routines of his grandpa, the late Dr. Jack Vander Wal. They were the Vanishing Canary & Cage with two ladies joining him holding the cage, a gospel/preacher spoof reading from “Little Bo Peep” and using the Mutilated Parasol (Abbott’s Magic), and his famous Snake Plant routine which involved two spectators dressed to the occasion to join him in dancing around the plant bud until it bloomed . . . the botania production. Stuart MacDonald was the closing act. He had just fooled Penn & Teller on their program “Fool Us.” The I.B.M./S.A.M. North American Champion’s act is more theater with a magic twist as he took the audience through a journey where the magic happened to him. Dressed in a plaid suit jacket and wearing a hat he experienced magic in a old room setting with a magic book and a mirror. Highlights are: candle and wand appearance from top hat, silk vanish to display magic book, sound of fly to appear the key to unlock the book, skull appears from among the pages, hat moves on table, hat and wand to silk and wand vanishes and appearances to zombie to his eye glasses vanishing and reappearing, then the unveiling of the mirror (all sides)and using the mirror to produce duplicates of silk, candle, hat , skull, money bill to vanish, one of his hands to vanish, then to restore hand, to duplicate of money bill production, to production of money bag duplicate and duplicate production of more money bags, to money bills flourishing from the bags! Wow! Now that’s magic! Yes, a standing ovation!
What another astounding Hocus Pocus Party! There are many to thank: the entireA membership for selling tickets, Jim and Michele Parkes for obtaining the place and managing all ticket sales, Jeff Brodrick for putting the show together, our stage, close-up performers, and other artists, Brooks Alder for operating the sound and lighting, Charles Bennett with Jim & Michele Parkes for heading the prize drawings and raffle, Randy Vander Wal with supplying the jet sets, Jeff Veley for use of his attractive backdrop, Kathy Herdegen and Michele Parkes for decorating each table to magic affair, and to my cousin Derek Lieverdink for photos and videotaping. A thanks to Bruce and Sara Wehr, Jeff Brodrick, P. J. Weber, and to Bill, Julie, and Christian Rasmussen for night before. Also, a thanks to Monica Cooper, Teresa Krause, Stacey Krause (relation 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 KC Banquet Center’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. View all photos on the club’s web site and Facebook Page.