Ring 211 February 2019 Report

Our February workshop was presented by MagicBob Zoerman. He and his wife, SuZie, had just returned from two trips. One was their trip to India again in which he performs magic shows and she does her chalk art. Two other magi also were on this trip but did a different set of cities. In three weeks, they all performed 38 shows with an audience attendance of over 50,000 people. The other trip was a tour through Israel with a native as the guide. The focus of the workshop was that MagicBob performed seven tricks which were all made in India. He also had these for sale. The tricks were: Mental Dye, Shimmed Bicycle Cards, PK Rings, Okito Boxes, Super Mental Dye — Brass, Finger Chopper, and Wonders of the World (four card prediction routine). He also had some giveaways such as card packet tricks, magic routine writings, and the like from the June Horowitz Estate Sale. These giveaways were souvenirs to remember her. Thanks MagicBob.

Tonight was High Risk Magic with Ring 211 President Jeff Brodrick as our emcee. The focus was that each performer was performing a trick which enlightened some danger. Jeff performed a torn and restored tape routine. MagicBob Zoerman presented a book test with a “hangman” scenario in which he broke away as he retrieved the book. Randy Vander Wal successfully escape from chain cuffs. Dennis Favreau really got into this topic. He invited Jennifer Elkowitz to join him in showing the crowd what “he had learned at a cooking institute.” There was an array of cooking utensils, vegetables, dog food — bagged and canned, etc. Among the demonstration, Dennis ate from a bag of dog food, put a skewer through his hand, ate some canned dog food, swallowed a few big spoonfuls of mayo, smashed a bottle and enjoyed the chewing of the pieces of glass, sliced through his finger instead of the food, and drank a glass of gasoline finishing the aftertaste with a glass of window cleaner. Freaky and the element of danger was sure displayed by Dennis!

Tonight was another night of magic and fun. We thank all who came to the meeting and, of course, our performers.

Ring 211 January 2019 Report

Oh, Jim Parkes! We blame him, that jovial fella! Many should know that Jim and Michele Parkes operate Hippity Hop Magic. Well, he did it again. It happens every year but not to the degree of this year. Jim was fooling around with what is known as snow powder. As he tripped over the cord of his running room fan (why that was on in the winter, who knows?) while holding a 2 liter bottle of lemon-lime soda in one hand and a cup of the snow powder in the other . . . he fell . . . the soda and the powder from the cup along with all the piles of powder he was packaging for shipment mixed and a combustion of produced snow resulted! When he fell (and glad he is okay), he had also fallen toward the door to the outside. That door opened and the fan blew all the produced snow out of his southwest side home and completely covered the Grand Rapids area with a winter blizzard! Schools and businesses closed, with organization events all being canceled, including our January Ring 211 regular meeting!

Of course, the above paragraph is fictitious. In short, our meeting was canceled. The magic and fun at a Ring 211 meeting will thus continue at our February regular meeting.

Ring 211 December 2018 Report

T’was the night exactly two weeks after Christmas and all through the house not a mouse was stirring, except at the China Buffet restaurant on the southwest side of town where Ring 211 held its annual Holiday Party. After a delicious filling buffet lunch among the lively friendly chatter, Ring President Jeff Brodrick and Gary Laundre’ performed and then taught a new dice trick. No formal performance program was set. Just a good time of food, magic (for any member who may have performed a trick informally), fun, and fellowship. Looks to be a bright and exciting year ahead in 2019! Stay tuned with Ring 211 by viewing its web site.

What a fun holiday party. We thank Michele Parkes and her sidekick Jim for their work organizing this party. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year!

Ring 211 November 2018 Report

For our November regular meeting we do not hold a workshop and the business meeting is very brief so we may have enough selling and buying time for our annual auction. The doors opened early for a flea market. Sellers were MagicBob Zoerman, Rick Howell, Jeff Veley, Jim Parkes (Hippity Hop Magic), Dave Barritt, and Steven Elkowitz. Each had an array of magic product which enticed our eyes. The flea market part was ready at 5:30 PM for any early arrivals. Just past 7:30 PM, as a tribute to the Late Dr. Jack Vander Wal, I had the honors of presenting the Candy Grab Bag Sale. This sale is actually attributed to Percy Abbott as he had many of these types of sales back in the early days of the Abbott Magic Get Togethers. Ever since our Ring held auctions, my dad would present this sale with a unique story of how the candy was obtained. We continue this tradition. Eighty bags were filled with five pieces of special candy delights. This year the candy was provided by the First Place, People’s Choice, and Gold Medal winners of the 2018 I.B.M. Convention in Grand Rapids who were Zhou-Zhou and Yuanyuan of the People’s Republic of China. Jim Parkes and I had the pleasure of escorting them and their team to a nature center during that convention. As a “thank you,” I received a shipment of candy and somehow Dave Barritt (sent to him instead of Jim) received candy plus trick prizes too. Four bags yet were a tad bit more of interest as each of these contained a one dollar bill. The bags sold faster than lit flash paper as they were fifty cents a bag or three for one dollar. Over five lengthy (8 foot) tables displayed enticing magic apparatus, tricks, and books. Small illusions, various card tricks, rope, coins, and escape items appealed many. Other items were sold as package deals. Pamphlets, books, magazines, posters, DVDs, and memorabilia filled in any empty spots on the tables. All these items were from the flea market sellers and any other member who had items.

MagicBob Zoerman was the auctioneer. He used his auctioning skilled voice to force those bids to the highest potential. Many of the items sold. The sellers made their profits, the buyers were pleased with their newly purchased “toys,” and the club made ten percent of all sales. Ring Treasurer Michele Parkes and I kept track of each sale making sure the debits matched the credits. P. J. Weber was our biggest buyer this year. Our biggest seller was MagicBob Zoerman with Jeff Veley following a close second, and tagging along third was Rick Howell.

Another night of fun and fellowship. The club thanks all who came and either bought, sold, and/or enjoyed the festivities. A thanks to MagicBob and Michele for their devotion to this auction. Thanks to Dave Barritt for supplying candy and trick prizes in the Candy Grab Bag Sale.

Ring Event: Ring 211 Hosts Amazing Corbin Lecture

On Sunday, November 4, the day after Ring 211’s 32nd Annual Hocus Pocus Party (see article in a recent issue), The Amazing Corbin presented his “Fair To Foul” lecture to Ring 211 (Grand Rapids, Michigan). The sub title is “The Twisted Transitions of Magic and Magicians in the 19th Century.” He has also published a booklet with the same title. The lecture was a treat to our membership. The Amazing Corbin was one of our headliners of the party and many of time, we will have the headliner present a lecture the following day. We were quite “charmed” from this “Charming Cheat” during his performance at the party. He is known as The Amazing Corbin — The Charming Cheat!

Michael Fisher, known as The Amazing Corbin, is from London, Ontario, Canada. He also is the president of Ring 265 — London Magicians Guild. Read from his poster was also “Secrets Revealed — Miracles Performed.” Also, “Commencing with magic’s humble beginnings at European fairs and markets, travel through the parlours of Victorian high society and finally onto the stages of North America where magician’s often mounted an attack on SPIRITUALISTS and the SUPERNATURAL! During this you will learn magician’s have some secrets they want to share!”

This was a historical presentation explaining how magicians transformed from distrusted street performers (liars, cheats, shady tricksters, thieves, and spiritualists), to consummate performers of skill, and most importantly, to concluding the 1800’s by debunking the foul spiritualists who were known to take advantage of the gullible and those mourning the loss of loved ones. Magicians covered were:

* John Rannie — kicked out of Scotland and America’s first magician being “a jack of all trades” performing magic, ventriloquism, bird calls, and acrobatics. His magic included cups and balls, card to leg of lamb, wooden duck to card, turning a playing card into a cat, and then he revealed his tricks.
* James Rannie — convinced by brother John to come to America and he also did ventriloquism.
* Richard Potter — born in New Hampshire and America’s first Black magician who learned from the Rannie brothers, was very nice, and began to raise the status of the performer in that era.
* Professor Hoffmann — published first book in the English language which explained how to perform magical feats, “Modern Magic” in 1876
* Pinetti — a professor of physics who performed magic tricks in class to illustrate concepts, performed card shot to ceiling, and what is known as the Troublewitt (a folding Venetian blind)
* Feuer Salamander
* Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin — a watchmaker and known for his auto-mans, considered as the father of of the modern style of conjuring, took magic to the theater to attract a higher class of people — rising card from French roulette
* Kate and Maggie Fox — from New York who talked to the dead, were spiritualists, and put on seances.
* Davenport Brothers — spirit cabinet
* John Nevil Maskeylne and George Cooke — debunked Davenport brothers and put on their own improved show, played Egyptian Hall in plays such “Witch, Will, and Watchman”
* and many more including Canadian connections

Within the lecture, The Amazing Corbin performed a cups and balls routine using two cups with the climax being the production of three tennis balls, the Troublewitt, and a spirit demonstration. The demonstration used a tambourine, a bell, and a light bulb. Multiple times, the chosen number on a die was revealed by hearing the ringing of the bell setting all alone in the near distance. The bell must have been haunted! We were on the edge of our seats.

The club enjoyed this so-called historical tour and highly recommends The Amazing Corbin, not just for his magic, but for the history he shares. One may connect with him on Facebook and at www.charmingcheat.ca/. We suggest his book, “From Fair To Foul: The Twisted Transitions of Magic and Magicians in the 19th Century” which not only includes the full script of the lecture but has much more detail and biographies of these great magicians of that era.

Ring Event: Ring 211 Hosts 32nd Annual Hocus Pocus Party!

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 bogsmagic@comcast.net). View all photos on the club’s web site and its Facebook Page (Search I.B.M. Ring 211).