Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 20th September

Noel Clair had returned from a holiday in Vanuatu, excited that he had been able to do informal performances of magic for people in restaurants and elsewhere, and was well received.  He thought he had given about 30 performances.

He went on for us to do the Bottle Top Matrix to the theme of escaping prisoners, calling it “Escape from Alcatraz”.  Noel demonstrated his acting skills as he showed us the frustration of the governor of the prison as his prisoners kept escaping !  

He did magic with brass cups and coins, moving the coin to the cup you least expected.  He had modified the equipment to make it more serviceable.   He had a magic wallet that enabled playing cards to jump from one side, with “X” cross tapes to the other side.  

Then he launched out on to “Card Warp”, that marvelous card reversal trick that requires careful, rehearsed handling.  His handling was as smooth as silk.  At one point he said “Can you credit that ?” – well, no we couldn’t – even though we knew how it worked, it was still amazing.

Using hair bands instead of rubber bands for the jumping bands, and spot on dinner knife with the Paddle move, again Noel put new energy and inventiveness into classical items.

The sudden appearance of a slice of watermelon in David Whitson’s mouth startled us !  He had produced the watermelon to celebrate the Chinese Moon Festival, which is the theme of the Public Show we are having in October.  Next, he set the scene by talking about static electricity – pieces of paper sticking to  a plastic rod – and then he went on to show a wand sticking to his hand “as if by magic". He also demonstrated how to turn a handkerchief into a finger puppet that moved mysteriously at command. 

A mini-workshop followed, in which David demonstrated how to catch an invisible ball in a brown paper bag and make it appear as though a real ball had suddenly materialized inside the bag.  This involved careful timing to snap the paper bag with the fingers at just the right moment when the invisible ball thrown to you would have arrived at the bag.

BarryWhitson did a restoration item.   Having had a match lit so that it was blackened, he covered it in a handkerchief,  and had it cleanly broken by a spectator.  Yet, when the handkerchief was opened up, the match had been restored.

The next item was “Incredible”.   Josey showed us two pieces of paper that spelled the word “Incredible” when they were pulled apart, and, as they were pulled apart, two paper clips on the sides of the papers became linked together.

A psychology Professor demonstrates challenges with everyday objects in video on the internet, and he had just posted a new video in the week of our meeting.  John Ferguson did some of these items.  He displayed an empty glass tumbler and a partly filled balloon, and challenged us to use the balloon to lift the tumbler without touching the tumbler. (You drop a lighted match into the tumbler and put the balloon on top of the glass.  Reduced air pressure sucks the balloon into the glass and it is easy to lift the tumbler.)

He placed a cherry tomato in a wine glass, and challenged us to remove the tomato without touching or moving the glass. 

He showed a glass half filled with water and balanced a credit card on the rim.  The challenge was to place a coin on the outer half of the credit card and keep it balanced.  Josey was the one who solved it – fill the glass to the rim with water and the surface tension  of the water will hold the credit card steady even with a coin added to it.

There were more items that seemed to fascinate everyone …  what a shame you missed the meeting !   Please try to be there at the November meeting, with the themes “Thumb Tip Magic” and “Mentalism”.

Remember that the October meeting is not being held at the Mayfield RSL club but at the Wesley Uniting Church Hall because it is  rehearsal for our show.

Friday, August 23, 2013

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 16th August

The theme was “Self Working Tricks”, and the host David Whitson led off the evening with a demonstration of animating a stuffed animal,  “Wally the Wombat”.  While making a stuffed animal appear alive is not directly magic, it is linked to the production of a stuffed animal – especially for those of us who do not wish to raise a live rabbit or dove.   He next used a Drawer Box to produce a teddy bear puppet.

The theme of self-working tricks covers just about every facet of magic, as demonstrated by Barry Whitson performing a rope cutting trick, followed by Al Hirschel performing a close-up item – a magic key in which the tongue could be moved up and down by the magician but not by the spectator.

Tom Blunden had two items for us – the rolling together of a $10 and $20 bills so that they changed places, and the paper cutting item, “Staricle” (from Dan Harlan). Straight cuts with scissors produce a star and a round  circle - the production of this large round hole allows the performer to put his head inside it for an applause cue !

The workings of the “Fire-book” were shown and explained by John Ferguson.  He next showed how a vanished silk reappeared inside a Coke bottle.  Another silk effect used was the Crystal Box, in which a silk appears instantly inside an empty perspex box just with a wave of the hand.  John demonstrated the Egyptian water box, a wooden box that can be shown empty and then a glass of Coke is produced from inside it.  There are problems in using this, though with sight angles.  Cards with coloured spots were used in a baffling mind-reading effect. Because John had not practiced the Penetrating Block effect, and wanted to do it, he was grateful when David Whitson volunteered to perform it for him.

What a collection of magic items Noel Clair had for us!  He had been given a “D-Lite”, and he manipulated the glowing red light so it appeared to come from his mouth, his ear, and so on.  Two coins passed magically through a glass.  He did for us the age-old miracle of the Magic Colouring Book, in which initially blank pages turn into drawings and then into coloured pictures. Coins tricks followed – he loves them – a coin disappearing from a little double door box, Coins Across, and one of the Coin Box type tricks.  His version of Three Card Monte was very smooth, as was the card wallet switch.  The Card Warp effect is a superb mystery, and he did it justice.  He passed a rope around, then through, a volunteer’s arm, foot and leg.  He finished off with colour changing silks and colour changing shoelaces.  His concatenation of items shows just how widely the term “Self-working trick” applies!

Monica Howlett and Deadra gave us a change of pace. Monica sang for us two songs to Deadra’s great guitar playing – “How to Save a Life”, and “Little Talks”.  Nice rendition, and a neat rehearsal for items in our October Show.  Moody and expressive !

Al Hirschel rounded the evening off with his automatic trick with the theme of islands and treasure.  He showed us just how self-working is this item.  This one really is "From A Shuffled Deck In Use"!  Starting with any pack, even a borrowed one, he showed us how to deal the cards out from a shuffled pack, and still tell a fascinating story, with a surprising finish.  This was a vivid practical demonstration of how useful is a self-working trick, allowing the magician to concentrate on presentation.  He did a great job.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What Happened at the meeting on Friday 19th July

The theme of the meeting was “Close-up Magic”.  It was hosted by John Ferguson who led off with Tenyo’s “Invisible Zone”, in which the middle of a biro pen vanishes.  He had been circulating around the room earlier showing an illusion – a finger ring that appears to grow larger as it is turned around the finger (from

David Whitson, our President, recalled his earliest years in magic as he did his earliest items - spikes through coin, a coin vanishing in a slide, and Professor’s Nightmare with woven ropes that looked like wands.  Cheerful nostalgia!

One of our recent visitors, Elliott, asked a spectator to give a number, then he dealt cards to that number, and there was previously the chosen card face up in the deck. Clever!   

Andrew Pickard, who loves bill changes, made a spectator’s $20 change into a $5 bill, then handed the $5 back to the spectator!  After making a hole in a bill with a pen, he showed it had healed itself.  Finally, the poor spectator was rewarded with his money back when Andrew restored his $20.

A visit to Disneyland for Steve Irwin had enabled him to buy a tower of three blocks with a picture of Mickey Mouse on them.   No matter how he threaded them in the holder, they reassembled to form Mickey Mouse again – mysterious!  He displayed a stage size “Hot Rod”, and the colour chosen by the spectator took over all the colours on the rod.   We groaned when he produced a finger chopper – but he made it highly amusing as he got a poor victim – um – a volunteer - to risk their finger in this device….  and it all worked out nicely.

Noel Clair did a whole range of close up, starting with  rubber band through finger, and then revealing a chosen card using a crystal ball. He loves the coin matrix, and he did that for us, and then moved on to another coin effect,  “Escape from Alcatraz” the script for which he had invented, in which the convicts are trying to escape and the guards trying to stop them.  Then he gave us the pea and shell game using walnut shells, and another matrix effect using nuts and screws ending with a nut on a screw (how the heck?), and then a commercial item - the rising metal ball in the tube effect. Most of these items were not commercial ones, but ones he had developed himself.

John Ferguson came back to do an item made up years ago by our Club’s founder and famous early magician, Rex Sinclair – a counter elimination game, with the instructions written by Rex himself.  John did Tenyo’s “Tunnel of Darkness”, and another similar dice-change item.  Water poured into a cup on Elliottt’s head vanished, but reappeared when he poured it out of a jug (i.e. a Foo can).  A tiny metal can (“Particle Chamber”) caused a Singapore 5 cents to disintegrate into particles. 

New member Josey Yan did several items for us this time. One was a sweet romantic effect, Love Heart (“two hearts beat as one”).  She tackled the cups and balls, using her knowledge of Chinese language to advantage as she taught us the Chinese words for the colours of the cups she was using!  The dice box with big dice in it she successfully shook into lots of smaller dice.  Her final items were the svengali pack and penetrating Chinese money (naturally!) with a pen, showing it undamaged.

Elliott, and a new visitor Joe Stallard, were bursting with enthusiasm and rounded off the evening very nicely with a clever assortment of card items. These included Joe finding a chosen card stuck under one of the tables in the room – don’t know how he did that undetected, since the room was locked before anyone arrived!

Did you miss the joyful and mysterious time we had?  Oh, you must come to the next meetiing, on "Self-Working Magic" !

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 21st June

This meeting had as its theme, "Silks, Handkerchiefs and Ribbon Magic", with Steve Irwin as Host.

The Ghost tube is a brilliant piece of gear, and  David Whitson handled it nicely, producing a bunch of silks from the Ghost cylinder, which had previously been shown empty – we could see right through it. Then he did an open-handed Blendo in which four silks were clearly shown and then blended in mid air into a four panel multicoloured silk.  Using a  change bag with two volunteers, he produced three enormous silks from nothing, and then draped them across the front of the two volunteers and himself, showing all three persons transformed into circus animals and performer.

Joel Howlett started with a silk in his hand, shook it, and other coloured silks edged their way up from the centre of it, like a silk fountain, and then suddenly there was a bottle in the middle of it all!   He also did the 20th Century silks (should it be called 21st Century now?).

Four colour changes were shown us by Noel Clair ! He pushed a coloured silk into his hand and it changed colour as it went through his hand – and changed colour again, and changed colour again, and changed colour again !  Yes, four colour changes !

Our newest member, Josie Yan, delighted us all by “having a go”, getting up to present us with a magic trick – the torn and restored tissue.  It went well.  Congratulations!

The Host for the evening was Steve Irwin.   He kept doing amazing items throughout the evening in between the others' presentations. Leading off with a very neat colour changing silk,  he later did a nice flash paper effect.  It is always effective to mix the sheen of silk with the fire of flashpaper.   Another brilliant item was appearing flowers from finger tips – both pretty and unexpected.   He also surprised us with silk appearing tied on wand.

A really great evening, in all.  I hope I have whetted your interest, and that if you missed this evening, you’ll make a point of being there at the next one !

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 19th April

Our theme was "Sponge Ball Magic", led by Noel Clair.

We welcomed our Patron Graham Holstein, who was visiting us.

Another arrival was the happy return from Canberra of our member Stuart Gray, who has been posted back to Williamtown after some years.  Greetings Stuart !  Great to see you again !

Joel Howlett showed us his sponge ball routine, in which he makes a sponge ball appear and disappear, all choreographed to music.  Every move was accentuated by the timing of the music.  It was brilliant.

Then David Whitson displayed his skill at manipulation of sponge bananas, including multiplying them (David Ginn's item).  He also did Goshman's "Star of the Show" in which a sponge ball, handed to the spectator, changes into a large star-shaped sponge.

Steve Irwin had worked out a "Sponge Bob" routine in which a round sponge ball turns into a sponge cube shaped like "Sponge Bob".

Barry Whitson caused sponge balls to multiply themselves and to divide into two pieces.

John Ferguson followed with card items - "One More Chance", in which a card chosen by the spectator appeared in John's wallet, which had been lying openly on the table from the start. Also, he had a card chosen, and then found it with the help of a Tulip flower because tulips have had an eerie effect on people over the years.

John's volunteer, Andrew Pickard, chose the opportunity while out the front to show us card items -  a chosen card discovered by spreading the deck - it had reversed itself in the spread. Next, he placed a chosen card into the deck and found it had jumped to the top of the deck.

Noel Clair finished off with both sponge ball magic and card magic.  He caused sponge balls to change colour.  He magically divided one sponge ball in two, and he vanished sponge balls. Then, in a  couple of card items, he showed the invisible pass and the premiere performance of the invisible flat pass.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Magicians you may meet when you Come to the Club

One person who will certainly welcome you to the club is our President, DAVID WHITSON:

 David's interest in magic began at the age of seven. He learnt magic from reading books at his local library. As a teenager he joined the Magic Department of the Young Peoples Theatre in Newcastle. After completing a Degree in Drama David launched into a full-time career as a professional magician. He performs at schools, preschools, festivals, clubs, shopping centres, churches, as well as birthday parties. He was a winner of Bert Newton's National Television Program: 'New Faces'. David is a past winner of Newcastle's 'Magician of the Year.'

David's website for his new Eco-show is well worth visiting, and the address is


Another person you may meet at the club is our Vice-President, JOEL HOWLETT, of JD Magic.

Joel's first magic performance for an audience was at the age of seven, when after an audition he was invited to perform on an NBN Television telethon, an experience that intensified and animated his love for magic and the stage. Busking, birthday parties and Saturday Guest Appearances in shows, such as, 'The Rowdy Rabbit Fun Show' at the local shopping centre, helped to establish Joel in his early years as a confident and talented young magician.

Since those early days Joel's showmanship has matured and taken him around Australia and the world, where he has appeared, in his own right:
· As the Australian Representative at Disney World Florida for The Millennium Dreamers Awards
· Featured Guest Artist at the Riviera Hotel, Las Vegas in The Stars of Tomorrow Show:
· Featured Act on 'The Gala Show at the Adelaide Magic Convention, where he also won both the Junior Close-up and Open Stage Competitions:
· Also a guest act at The Australian Centenary Magic Convention:
· Special Guest in 'The World Festival of Magic' Show

Joel's website is  and it's worth while visiting it !

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 15th March

At the Meeting on Friday 15th March, "Card Tricks with a Borrowed Deck", our host for the night Al Hirschel led off, and asked new member Josey to help him, and he performed three items - Truth or Lie, Assembly of Jacks, and South Sea Island Story.  Al excels at setting card tricks to a well-told story.

President David Whitson also told a story, and at each facet of the story he pulled out one or more Jumbo cards from the pack until all the pack was used up at the end of the story. Clever ! He also did a mathematical card trick, and an item with Environmental cards from his show.

Noel Clair has quietly been working hard at Card Magic, and what he showed us was excellent !  He is well known in our club for coin manipulation, and now he has transferred that skill to cards - card appearing from elbow, card from knee...  He asked helper Barry Whitson to randomly sort a deck of cards into two, and he mentally made him achieve a complete separation of reds and blacks (he told us that this is Paul Curry's trick "Out of This World").  Then he vanished four aces and made them reappear.

John Ferguson had bought a book. "Revelations" by Lewis Jones from the UK on the basis of a rave review in the "Linking Ring" magazine, and he entertained us with "Live Long and Prosper" from that book.   He also performed Sean Taylor's "Handful of Aces", and "8-card Brainwave" by Michael Ammar (which uses a sleight known as the Flustration Count, or Olram Subtlety)

Well, alll in all, it was a great night of fine card magic.  We concluded by excitedly welcoming our new member, Josey.