Michael Ammar Experience Visits Grand Rapids

On September 10, Penguin Magic brought the Michael Ammar Experience to Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Experience has been happening in various cities and the last stop was Grand Rapids. Even though this was not a Ring event, many Ring 211 magicians attended and magi were drawn from all over the West Michigan area and even from as far away as Bay City. This was Michael’s fifth appearance in Grand Rapids over the last four decades. Brent Braun was demonstrating and selling his favorite Penguin products. The event took place at the DoubleTree Airport Hotel on the southeast side. In short,The Experience is a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn magic hands on and up close. It was three hour hands on learning experience where he taught not only how it works but why it works. Michael was one of the lecturers at the I.B.M. convention in San Antonio which was reviewed in the September issue of “The Linking Ring.” A big thanks to both Penguin Magic and to Michael. Ring 211 member Jesse Shira summarizes the Experience by writing the following:

The lecture was really well planned out. Michael said he was going to do two hours worth of magic at the start and the lecture went about 3 and a half. And after that he stuck around just to talk with anyone who had questions, wanted to show him something, take pictures, anything really. He shared a multitude of magic for every skill level ranging from an absolute beginner to the polished pro. There was a nice Q & A at the end where he talked about a bunch of things, including practice tips and stories about The Professor and the differences of performing on Johnny Carson and David Letterman. At the beginning he said he wanted this lecture to be better than his “Better Than Live” video tape series, and I say he did it. When signing up on the Penguin Magic website they don’t call it a lecture, they call it an experience, and that is exactly what it was, an experience nobody there will forget.

Fielding West Lecture

On Monday, September 17, at 7:30 pm, Ring 211 will host The Fielding West Lecture at Brann’s Steakhouse (click the link for map).

Fielding West is not only a magician’s magician but he possesses that very rare and impeccable sense of comedic timing that has landed him the opening spot for some of the biggest names in show business. A winner in the prestigious Desert Magic Seminar’s Comedy Magic Competition, Fielding has opened the show for such A-List celebrities as Liza Minnelli, Glen Campbel, Earth, Win and Fire, Mel Tillis, Phillis Diller, and dozens more.

His numerous network television appearances include spots on The Smothers Brother’s Comedy hour, A&E’s An Evening at the Improv, Caroline’s Comedy Hour, and NBC’s The World’s Greatest Magic and World’s Wildest Magic specials.

Fielding has also worked as a writer, magic consultant and technical director with Lance Burton, Siegfried and Roy on many of their TV specials. Fielding’s first one hour comedy magic special “Hocus Pocus it’s Fielding West” aired on WGN.

Fielding’s lecture covers wide areas of magic and comedy with NO cards.

  • The Fielding West finger ring vanish and reappearance
  • Large coin tricks
  • New uses for a thumb tip
  • Unpublished dye tube techniques taught to Fielding by Dai Vernon
  • All of his balloon tricks (published and unpublished), swallowing, and how to pull a fully inflated 260Q from your mouth at any point in your act, and how to produce a fully inflated balloon from a bag of balloons
  • DOVE magic – Fielding makes and sells Johnny Thompson’s “Wings of Warsaw” dove production (with his permission) and teaches how to produce several other inanimate objects from the same harness for the none dove workers
  • The Fielding West glass of liquid production
  • Fielding’s techniques for developing comedy from common magic props
  • Fielding’s head painting routine
  • Staging techniques for performing more professionally

Fielding’s lecture is filled with laugh provoking comedy and strong magic. You will find the lecture extremely entertaining as well as very informative.

Clear Your Calendars!

With 2011 quickly drawing to a close, the new year is shaping up to be an extraordinarily magical one. At the final 2011 board meeting held on December 12th, Lecture Chair Dave Bogdan and President Michelle Parkes announced a plethora of planned events for early 2012, including (but not limited to) the following.

The Juice Ball is January 7, 2012 at the J.W. Marriott Hotel Grand Rapids, 235 Louis Campau St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, from 6pm to 1am.

Theme this year is Medieval or Renaissance. So come in appropriate costume. The Kostume Room in Wyoming, MI is now taking reservations for costumes, which they said run in the $30 – $40 range, for the most part.

Please arrive one hour prior to your shift time. First shift goes from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. So arrive at 6 p.m. and look for Dave Bogdan on first floor near main entrance by circular drive. Second shift runs from 10 p.m. – 1 a.m. So this shift of performers should report at 9 p.m. to get see what is going on and be ready to perform at the start of their shift.

Performers are exempt from the Juice Ball ticket fee.

Note: Please feel free to work the entire night – as a handful of us did last year. The time really does go fast. We are expecting more than 3,000 people this year.

What type of performers are we looking for? Fortune Tellers telling fortunes and using the type of fortune telling that you would have seen during those times. We may be all set on this. Balloon Makers, making the same type of balloon creations that were popular during Medieval times. But seriously, if you can make jester hats, or swords, or any other creation that would fit the times, it would work.

And of course, magicians. As many as we can provide for the event. If you happen to know what type of magic was done during the Renaissance and can do it, then fine. But this has to be strolling, close up magic. Now if you don’t do any renaissance or jester style of magic, then any strolling magic will do, as long as you are in costume.

Money raised from this event goes to support the Kid’s Food Basket, which now provides more than 4,500 free lunches every day for kids in the Grand Rapids area. What an organization!!! This will be a who’s who of Grand Rapids” personalities at this event, mingled with people from all walks of life that support this cause.

Note: Ring 211 will be accepting a $1000 check from the organizers but will be providing a check in the same amount to be accepted by Tommy and the Kid’s Food Basket. At just this past board meeting, we elected to do this.

Please email Dave Bogdan at bogsmagic@comcast.net to let him know if you can join us at the JW Marriott on January 7th.

The regularly scheduled Ring 211 Board Meeting will be held Monday, January 9. All members are invited to attend the Ring’s monthly Board Meeting. If you want to have dinner with a few friends, show up about six o’clock; the meeting will start at 7:30. We’ll meet in the back room at Denny’s Restaurant, 715 44th Street SW, Wyoming, MI 49509 (44th Street @ US 131)

rickmerrillRick Merrill will be lecturing on Thursday, January 12, at Brann’s Sizzling Steaks & Sports Grille, 4157 S. Division Avenue, Wyoming, MI 49548. Rick, of course, needs no introduction to Ring 211 members. As is typical, the lecture will be in the back banquet room at 7:30 pm. Arrive near 6 PM if joining members for dinner and fellowship.

Ring 211 members: free. Other magicians: $15.00.

Visit Rick’s Web site: Rick Merrill – World Champion in Magic

Ring 211’s Holiday Party will be Sunday, January 15, 6 PM 5PM. It is at Ming Ten at 2090 Celebration Dr NE # 215 Grand Rapids, MI 49525. It is a buffet type restaurant serving excellent and delightful food: Chinese, Japanese, and American cuisine. View menu at http://www.mingtenrestaurant.com.

Part of our entertainment will be about eight of Ring Members doing a “Hocus Pocus” type of table hopping. We have six performers confirmed, and would like two more. Please let Randy know if you can perform.

The regularly scheduled Ring 211 Meeting on Monday, January 23, will include the Program Theme: NEW 2 YOU!

From Program Chair, Pete Stobie: “Present an effect you have learned in the last 6 months, August 2011 through January 2012. Perhaps you found something during your travels, bought something at the Ring 211 Auction, or got something new for the holidays? Please bring the effect or routine and perform it for our program.

“We will vote on the best performance. If interested contact Pete Stobie, Program Chair, or sign up the night of our January meeting. We will have as many magicians as we can perform within the 1 hour limit. Remember this is a performance, please do not lecture or sell anything at this time. The MC will be Pete Stobie.”

alainnuAlain Nu will lecture on Wednesday, February 8, at Brann’s Sizzling Steaks & Sports Grille, 4157 S. Division Avenue, Wyoming, MI 49548. The lecture will start at 7:30 pm, with optional dinner and fellowship at 6pm.

A headlining performer at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for four straight years, Nu was also the international star of the 2005 TLC four-part hour-long television specials entitled “The Mysterious World of Alain Nu.” You can check out some of his TV clips on YouTube. On January 20th, 2009, Alain was asked to appear before many of the living recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor at the Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball which celebrated President Obama’s inauguration into the White House. Alain Nu is also the author of  “Picture Your ESP,” available at Amazon books. Nu is a true working mentalist.

Ring 211 members: free. Other magicians: $15.00.

Alain Nu is also offering his workshop for this same night, starting at 5 p.m. Cost would be $60 per person, and each person would get a free copy of any of Alain’s $50 manuscripts. This is an excellent deal and opportunity for this hands on attention and secret work. This will happen if five people sign up for the workshop, which will run from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Please contact Dave Bogdan if interested.

Visit Alain Nu’s Web site: The Mysterious World of Alain Nu

Abracadabra Flyer

Click to see flyer

The annual Abracadabra Close-up Show will be held Sunday, February 12, from 1:30pm – 5:30pm. It will be on the Upper Floor of Celebration Cinema North, 2121 Celebration Dr. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

There will be two separate shows, one at 2 p.m., then another at 4 pm. All tickets are $10.00 and can be obtained through Hippity Hop Magic (Jim and Michele Parkes) at 616-742-3898 or 616-550-5406. Tickets are limited to 70 per show. Buy early! Six acclaimed performers will amuse and amaze. Each performer will travel to each of five rooms. The rooms only hold fifteen people, so we’re talking serious close-up viewing.

Scheduled performers include Ron Carnell, Tom Coverly, Krag Ryal, John Dudley, Brad Lancaster, and Jim Parkes.

The regularly scheduled Ring 211 Board Meeting for February will be held Monday, February 13. All members are invited to attend the Ring’s monthly Board Meeting. If you want to have dinner with a few friends, show up about six o’clock; the meeting will start at 7:30. We’ll meet in the back room at Denny’s Restaurant, 715 44th Street SW, Wyoming, MI 49509 (44th Street @ US 131)

The regularly scheduled Ring 211 Meeting on Monday, February 27, will include the Program Theme: Get LECTUREFIED!

From Program Chair, Pete Stobie: “Present an effect you have learned from one of our past lectures during January 2011 through December 2011. We had twelve amazing lectures for you to glean from. All you need to do is perform one effect from one of these excellent events sponsored by Ring 211.

“2011 Lectures included Jonathan Levit, Aaron Fisher, Dick Oslund, William Houston, Bill Wisch, Jay Sankey, Richard Osterlind, Aldo & Rachel Colombini, Duane Laflin x 2, David Kaplan and Wayne Houchin.

“We will vote on the best performance. If interested contact Pete Stobie Program Chair or sign up the night of our February meeting. We will have as many magicians as we can perform within the 1 hour limit. Remember this is a performance, please do not lecture or sell anything at this time. MC – Mike McNee”

leeasher2Lee Asher will lecture on Wednesday, April 11, at Brann’s Sizzling Steaks & Sports Grille, 4157 S. Division Avenue, Wyoming, MI 49548. The lecture will start at 7:30 pm, with optional dinner and fellowship at 6pm.

Lee Asher, a good friend of recent lecturer Wayne Houchin, was born in Florida, 1976, to semi-professional magician, Mark Horowitz. Horowitz learned his magic from the likes of Al Flosso and Lou Tannen in New York City during the Sixties. Lee knew, very early on, what he wanted to do with his life.

At fifteen, Asher invented an effect he called “The Asher Twist,” a card trick that quickly made an international name for him. In 1991 and 1992 he won 1st place, two years in a row, at the IBM Junior Close-up Championships. He was hired to work at Caesars Magical Empire in Caesars Palace performing card magic under the name “Cardius Sharkus,” from 1996 to 1997, often working with internationally known magicians like Jeff McBride, Chappy Brazil, Joey Burton, Daryl, Michael Ammar, Jonathan Pendragon and many more. In 2004 Asher set up the “X-elent Lecture Series” to bring the best magic lectures from around the world to his community (Pacific Northwest.) Since then, it’s grown into an eight city lecture tour spanning across Canada. Asher was also a featured lecturer at the inaugural Session Convention, a British convention for close-up magicians held in 2006.

Visit Lee Asher’s Web site: Lee Asher – CardStar Pro Magician


Ring 211 to host Duane Laflin and Wayne Houchin lectures

At the September 12 Board Meeting, Lecture chair Dave Bogden announced two lectures being added to the Ring 211 schedule.

October 10, 2011 – Duane Laflin Lecture

The Ring will host the first of what may be two back-to-back lectures by Duane Laflin (more details will follow should the second, very different, lecture be scheduled). Exact time and place will be forthcoming.

Update 9/27 – As hoped, Dave Bogden was able to schedule a second lecture for Duane while he’s in town. The first lecture will be Monday, October 9, with a second lecture following the next evening, Tuesday, October 10. Both lectures will start at 7:15pm and be held at Brann’s.

Duane is a sought-after lecturer among magic clubs, most recently both performing and lecturing at the 2011 Michigan Magic Day event (I was there; he was great!).  Duane was a featured lecturer at ClownFest 2004, a popular clown convention and also lectured at the 2007 convention of The International Brotherhood of Magicians held in Reno, Nevada. Duane produced and starred in a popular four-volume series of instructional videos on silk magic, and also produced and appeared in the instructional video, “Simply Beautiful Silk Magic”. For most of the past two years, his very popular stage show has been booked solidly at the “Magic Beyond Belief” theater in Pigeon Forge, TN, until the facility was sold in late 2010. Word has it that the Laflin family is currently building a new stage (literally) in South Dakota. We’re going to be very lucky to have him in Michigan for a few weeks this Fall.

Check out Duane’s Web site at http://christianillusionist.com/ for more details about the man and his magic.

November 11, 2011 – Wayne Houchin Lecture

Ring 211 will host a lecture by Wayne Houchin. We’ll get you the precise time and location as soon as we can.

Update 9/27The November 11 lecture with Wayne Houchin will start at 7:30pm and be held at Brann’s Steakhouse.

Wayne Houchin has been making national headlines since he was 16 (for escaping from a straightjacket while hanging upside-down fifty feet in the air). In 2003, or there abouts, Banachek stumbled across an underground tape featuring Houchin’s original magic and subsequently took the young magician under his wing. That led to consultation work for the A&E series, Criss Angel: Mindfreak, and that led to a DVD of Houchin’s signed quarter through soda can, Sinful, with Angel. Other effects released by Houchin include Stigmata and Indecent.

In 2007, Houchin joined forces with others to form www.theory11.com, a new online site devoted to the advancement of the art of magic that quickly gained in popularity.

Here’s a video of Houchin describing his X-Elent Lecture Tour, taped with Ring 211’s Lecturer of the year, Shawn Farquhar (okay, so Lee Asher makes an appearance, too).