On Saturday, November 3, Ring 211 — The June Horowitz/John deVries Magic Club in Grand Rapids, Michigan — held its 32nd 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, cash bar, a strolling close-up magic period, face painting, balloon twisting, fortune telling, sponsored raffle giveaway prizes which included 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. Ring President Jeff Brodrick and Randy Vander Wal shared the upcoming news of this event with a spot on FOX 17’s “Morning Mix” on Halloween. WWMT Channel 3, the Kalamazoo CBS affiliate, also posted a write-up on their web site.
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. Preston Eakins, Scoop the Balloonatic, provided many balloon creations to not only any kids, but also adults. A table had a memorial display set up in honor of three of our members who have passed this past year: PIP June Horowitz, Wayne Ramsdell, and Roselynne Peters (wife of Leo).
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, Christian Rasmussen (youth member and Bill’s son), Gil Scott, Nicholas Watkins, P. J. Weber, Gary Oisten, Dennis Favreau, Phil Gleason, Roger Bus from Kalamazoo, Marcus Denton, Tanyon Sanders (youth member), Al Munro, Randy Vander Wal, Bruce Wehr, Bob Panlener, Jeff Brodrick, Hank Slagter, Don Tremblay, Gary Laundre’, and Leo Peters. One of our headliners, The Amazing Corbin, joined the magi at strolling.
Just prior to the cabaret show, a lucky winner received $238.00 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 Gary Laundre’ as the emcee, Steven Michael, Dennis Favreau, the Amazing Corbin, and The Vegas Magic of Joel Douglas. Gary Laundre’ after a few inviting jokes introduced our first performer, “The Magic Stylings of Steven Micheal (Elkowitz).” This was his third appearance on the Hocus Pocus stage. This past year he has enlightened people at the American Museum of Magic, as a competitor in the recent Abbott’s Get Together, at an assembly at his high school, and busking during ArtPrize 9 and 10 on the Gillett Bridge. We were ready to be enticed with his spell- bounding manipulative act to music. From a petal of a white rose and a flame, a ball was produced to vanish to a silk appearance to knot vanish in silk to ball pop out to a silk and ball manipulation including a ball vanish from silk to silk roll up vanish to ball appearance and vanish to silk appearance with ball to a ball color change back and forth with hand vanishes and appearances to a vanish and reappearance from a top hat to production of multiple balls to more vanishes and appearances to multiple single ball productions to ball fans to ball to single card production and back to another single card production to card fan production to multiple card fan productions with productions of more single cards to a card fan from mouth to more card fans and single card productions to a color change card production to multiple color change card productions to varied color card fan productions to his vanish of Twix, his rabbit, from a folding box. One can see his act has become polished over the years from working with his mentor John Sterlini and his attendance at the Lance Burton Teen Seminar at the I.B.M. Convention Grand Rapids.
Gary Laundre’, known for his variety of hats for comic relief, wore a hunter’s cap with deer antlers for a brief moment as he entered the stage and then performed a gag on a cut and restored rope routine. He introduced Dennis Favreau, our second act. Dennis who is a diversified actor and entertainer who has appeared in print, television, commercials, and feature films also made made his third appearance. Dennis to music performed a smooth and impressive rope and knot and a “no ends” cut and restored rope routine which included a Professor’s Nightmare. Also, to music we enjoyed his two linking ring to a six linking ring routine. He got us laughing by doing the Vanishing Bandana . . . or banana. He concluded his segment by inviting a little girl from the audience to witness Knots Off Silk. And the expression on her face as she assisted with the tying and taking the knots off . . . magical moments!
Gary Laundre’ walked back on stage wearing a light bulb hat in which the bulb lit as he tapped it. I think he had an idea for correcting the first attempt at his cut and restored rope from previous. Yet, this time he mistakenly cut his tie. Well, he snipped more of his tie and the rope and placed the pieces in a bag and the result was one long “tie piece, rope piece, tie piece, rope piece, etc.” Is this the Gary Laundre’ who opened for the Statler Brothers, appeared in Las Vegas with Brenda Lee, and on national television? Yes. The Amazing Corbin — The Charming Cheat followed. Corbin is from London, Ontario, Canada and is the current president of Ring 265. He engaged us with sleight of hand, swindles, and con-games of skill. He presented a four card monte in which we were swindled upon following the Ace among three blank cards, in which the climax was three aces and a blank. Next, he invited a lady to assist in a “tell.” Three times the lady chose a number on a die and Corbin revealed the number by studying how she answered questions. First she answered “no” to all questions, then “yes.” The final reveal she said not a thing, just body language and in fact, the last reveal was spoken from a girl in the audience — a good way to get blown away. He concluded his segment with a rope tie escape. We were enthralled and delighted by the Amazing Corbin.
Gary Laundre’ entered the stage again but this time wearing a silver turban around his head. He informed us that his hair had to dry. He invited Ring member Ben Turner to assist with making a cake. Eggs and milk went into a container and mixed. This container was placed upside down on top of Ben’s head. Oops. Gary needed the instructions only to realize that sheet was between the container and the Ben’s head. He removed the sheet with no spill at all. Instead of a cake in the container, there was the appearance of a flower since Gary forgot the flour.
To close the show was Joel Douglas and Donna in “The Vegas Magic of Joel Douglas.” Joel has performed in Las Vegas for over twenty years and has been the opening act for Florence Henderson, yet a native of Lansing, Michigan. We saw a production of a dove from fire in a cage, the shrinking of one of his magic gloves to a size to fit a child assistant, and Ball to Jumbo Square and the red ball appearing from the child’s pocket. Next, there was a bunny silk to a live bunny production from a box. Then the bunny was flattened through another apparatus. Both the child and Joel agreed that is was better to bring “Mystery” the bunny back so the flattened bunny went into a feeder bucket and Mystery returned. Donna had us laughing as she tied two bandannas together and tucked the tied ends into his pants only to pull with the result of Joel’s large under briefs appearing between. Joel got Donna back with the Head Twister Illusion. To close the show, Joel did an underwater chain escape wearing a swim cap, goggles, and placed his head in a bucket of water.
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, Jeff Brodrick for putting the show together, our stage, close-up performers, and other artists, Brooks Alder for operating the sound and lighting, 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 and extraordinary sound system, Kathy Herdegen and Michele Parkes for decorating each table to magic affair the night before, and to my cousin Derek Lieverdink for photos and videotaping. A thanks to Christian Rasmussen for being the stage hand. A thanks to Jeff Brodrick, P. J. Weber, Dennis Favreau, Jeff Veley, Gary Laundre’, Jim Parkes, Dave Bogdan, and Julie Rasmussen for assisting the night before. Also, a thanks to Monica Cooper and Stacey Gitchel (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 (Dave Bogdan, our lecture chairman at firstname.lastname@example.org). View all photos on the club’s web site and its Facebook Page (Search I.B.M. Ring 211).