Tuesday, November 22, 2016

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 18th November 2016

The theme of the meeting was “Packet Card Tricks”, hosed by John Ferguson, and he led off with a “Prediction Card” effect in which the spectator chose four cards, and more cards were dealt on top of each of these, then by counting down to the total of the indices of the four cards, the predicted card was revealed.   He later performed “8-card Brainwave”, a.k.a. “Red Hot Mama”, in which the one card of the eight displayed that is chosen by the spectator is the only one with a differently coloured back.

Joel Howlett performed  five close up items.  He did three classic rubber band tricks – Crazy Man’s Handcuffs,  Band through Thumb, and Travelling Cash. In this, Joel asked Tom Blunden to fold a $5 note around one of four strands of rubber band between Joel’s fingers. When Joel flexed the rubber strands, the note moved by itself down to the next strand. It was nice to see these classics carried out again so neatly.  He followed these with sugar grains to filled sugar packet, and torn and restored paper napkin.

David Whitson presented three single-coloured cards to pick, and the one chosen by Al Hirschel was the one he had predicted.  Then David showed us a packet trick of four king cards called the “Mystic Kings”, purchased many years ago.  The chosen king vanished.  Al Hirschel recalled that Alf Hayes who ran De Larno’s so long ago in the Piccadilly Arcade had told him that of all the packet tricks he had, “Mystic Kings” was the most popular ! Next, David had a card chosen, and it appeared sliding out of a large colourful card frame.

“Mind Reading Extraordinaire” was the theme of Michael Blakeman’s item.   He tried to find the card Steve Howlett had chosen by questioning him Steve about it, and judging from his facial expressions what the card was.  He succeeded.  Twice.  This was impressive !  His next item, and the final item of the night, was a chosen card revelation by making the chosen card reverse face up in the middle of the spread face down deck.  This was a very visual conclusion !

Monday, October 24, 2016

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 21st October

Andrew Pickard led the evening, which had the theme of “Apparatus Magic”.  He showed a nut screwed on to a bolt.  When he pressed the top of the bolt, the nut eerily unscrewed by itself. The item was completely examinable.  Next he had a card chosen and vanished in the pack, then used he pack to explode an inflated balloon, and there was the chosen card, from inside the balloon !

The layout of metal apparatus in front of Al Hirschel was so impressive that someone wondered if this was a metal-worker’s shop!  He displayed two brass tubes, one long and one shorter.  After your reporter put a pencil in the short tube, Al said the magic word and opened the two tubes, and the pencil had moved to the longer tube.  Al’s father had given him the next item – the classic ball bearing passing mysteriously through the too-small diameter hole.

John Ferguson caused a silk with a picture of a caterpillar to vanish in a silk box, and then he tapped a crystal casket and a large butterfly silk appeared inside it – the caterpillar had grown up!  A “Foo Can” allowed John to pour water or to show it empty at will.  Next. a large box was shown empty, and then from the inside were taken plates of sweets for everyone – a bit of a surprise.

Another surprise was in store for us as David Whitson brought out a round metal box that was labelled “sweets”. However, when he opened it, an orange spring snake jumped out of it – a quick way to get our attention! He then gave a demonstration of some pretty card fans.  Next, using a whole pack of giant cards, he told a story in which at each point of the story, the cards he showed illustrated the story (e.g. the German waiter said “Nein, nein, Nein!” and David produced three of the nines). We were really absorbed with this, wondering each moment what he would say next and how he would work the cards into the story.

Noel Clair was brilliant at handling a stack of brass coins – make them appear and disappear on command.  He is clearly enjoying coin magic, and did other nice coin items for us.

The apparatus that Steve Irwin had brought was a cigarette box.  He opened it and three cigarettes were present. He closed and opened it, and only one was present.  He was able to control how many cigarettes were in the box.

Michael Blakeman did a nice chosen card to wallet item, showing the wallet empty to start, and then the card appeared in it.  Smooth handling!

Smooth handling was evident too when Joel Howlett manipulated two appearing canes – a visual surprise from thin air !  A colourful silk fountain led on to the production of an elephant silk.  Next he put a needle and thread inside a wallet with a blank card, and he had a card chosen (2D), then there appeared in the wallet a card with the two of diamonds embroidered into it!

Dennis Norman had brought along an optical illusion of two curved specimen plastic pieces to show us.  It resembled the well-known banana illusion, but this one also had a measuring strip – when Dennis “stretched” the banana–like specimen, the measuring strip showed it had lengthened!  He also asked for help with a “Silver Sceptre”, and Joel demonstrated how he had used one.  This is one of the useful advantages of being part of a magic club – learning from each other!

Monday, July 18, 2016

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 15th July 2016

 David Whitson, the host, introduced the themes of the night, which were, “Colour Changes” and “Classics Tricks’.  It was a brilliant night.

John Ferguson demonstrated the use of the Svengali Deck.  A card was chosen by a spectator, which was returned to the deck.   The chosen card then appeared inside a sand frame.  Both items are classic tricks.  The Svengali deck was invented by Burling Hull in the early part of the last century.   The sand frame allows a chosen card to appear in a picture frame when a covering of sand drains away. It was invented by Eugene Bosco.

John also showed the Magic Egg cup or Ball Vase.  The cover of an egg cup is lifted to display an egg.  The cover is replaced.  Waving his hand, and lifting the cover again, he showed that the egg had vanished. This classic trick dates from at least 1675, when it was first published (340 years ago!).  Many of those present  remembered using this classic from childhood.

A favourite trick of Al Hirschel is a brass key, made by Viking Haenchen.  Al was able to move the tongue of the key up and down at will, but as soon as it left his hand, the tongue was firmly locked in place. No-one else could move it.  Neatly turned brass magic is really wonderful.

Following the theme of the night, Michael Blakeman did a card trick – a nice colour change from red to black in which he simply slapped his hand on the red card on top of the deck and it changed instantly to a black one.

Following the theme of “Colour”, Steve Irwin set up four Jumbo cards of different colours, turned his back, and asked someone to touch one of the cards.  Steve not only knew which one had been chosen (blue), but when he turned back to face us, he was wearing a blue sponge ball on his nose !!  Hilarious !

Joel Howlett loves manipulation of objects, and this was the theme of his presentation.  He produced one, then two fans of cards.  He produced a series of cards from thin air (like the Miser’s Dream).   He asked a spectator to choose and sign one of several spoons – a free choice – and then as he shook it, the spoon bent slowly and finally broke in two. One member came up afterwards puzzled by what had happened….

Using a brilliant script from Jim McKeague, Joel transformed the fairly tame cups and balls.  He named all the balls – two ladies and a gent, then we found out what a Romeo the gent was – and how jealous etc. etc – you get the picture, and it was fascinating.  Then taking the Multiplying Billiard Balls (from Buatier de Kolta), he not only made them multiply but also move through his fingers – like liquid – and then he started juggling them.  (No, he didn’t drop even one!)

President David commenced with the Egg Bag, a trick that complements the Ball Vase used by John (but who had forgotten to bring it!).  David’s clever manipulation of the egg and bag would have really stirred up any children in the audience – finishing with his showing a cloth chicken inside the bag – “this is Henrietta, who helps me with this”.  Another classic item he showed us was the Chinese Sticks.  He also had a lot of fun with the classic Die Box.

Yes, it was a brilliant night.  If you missed it, you missed something special.

Monday, May 23, 2016

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 20th May 2016

The meeting had the theme "Card Tricks with a Borrowed Deck" and was led by Al Hirschel.  After the meeting, Al commented that it was a really great night, that we had had EIGHT magicians presenting items, which is a record for us.

Under the "Older Posts" on this blog, you will find an article "We try to be an Active Club" - well, at this last Friday's meeting we certainly achieved this aim !

Our host, Al Hirschel, led off with four items.   Two of these he credited to local Newcastle magicians George Cornford, and the late Peter Jones.   A pile of Jacks and a pile of ordinary cards mysteriously changed places.   In the “Coincidence of Matching Pairs”, chosen cards were found in the deck to be next to the pair of their colour and value.  In “Check the Sonar”, we learnt a lot about the Navy’s use of Sonar to detect U-boats, as Al dealt a layout of cards and progressively removed rows and columns for good Sonar reasons until only one card was left – the U-boat card, which was also the chosen card.  Al also performed his favourite “Seven Card Trick” and whether the spectator chooses to lie or to tell the truth about the chosen card, it still ends up being revealed.

Michael Blakeman is keen on card magic, and did two items for us.  One was a trick in which the chosen card kept rising repeatedly to the top of the pack no matter what he did – a very puzzling effect.  We could see him push the card into the centre of the deck, but nonetheless, on his command, there it was at the top again – and again. Yes, we know it is an illusion, but it still challenges our eyes when we see it happen !

A little piece of metallic wire was used in one trick by John Ferguson.  The wire was able to show what the chosen card was. Dropped into hot water, the wire formed the shape of an “A” and a spade.  John workshopped two tricks – the “Lazy Magician” and “Full Deck Spell”.  Did you know that if you spell all the values of the cards of a suit – “A-C-E”, “T-W-O” and so on, there are exactly fifty two letters, one for each of the cards in a deck?  John used this to discover the chosen card, and gave out instructions to us all..  If you missed out, genuine magicians should email John at  johnferguson1 at optusnet.com.au.  The other trick, Lazy Magician, involved the spectator doing most of the work and dealing out the “value” card and the “suit” card that ended up agreeing with John’s prediction card.  Again, instructions are available to genuine magicians from the above email address.

“Cutting Aces” is a classic effect, and Joel Howlett did it very neatly.  Every time he cut the deck, another ace popped out!  Smooth and startling!  Joel also did an ambitious card routine, and this one also had a section in which the deck, with the chosen card inserted, was cut in two, but the card did not come to the top – no, it came to the top of the other section that he had removed – “the real top of the deck” as Joel pointed out.  Joel did nice humour using the Classic force, with the very same card repeatedly being chosen by us until we were all laughing.

Joel’s father is Steve Howlett, and he took the well-known 21 card trick and experimented nicely with two different endings to the same trick.  As someone has said, if you have a card chosen, and find it in five different ways, it appears to the audience that you have five different tricks.  Steve showed us cleverly how this worked out.

Our President, David Whitson, contributed to the general mayhem, having a card chosen and putting on his “special glasses” to reveal the chosen card.  Great fun !

Andrew Pickard did a “one out of five prediction”, and added in the vanishing card case – a puzzling item that many of us may have wondered about.  We always enjoy Andrew’s performances.

Several items were performed by Noel Clair.  In one,  all four aces came to the top of a shuffled deck!  Noel did the only non-card item of the night, telling us a story about a chicken, while he fashioned a chicken out of a hand towel.  There were jokes made about the “chosen towel” instead of the “chosen card”….   He made aces appear, and then disappear.  He showed us that he had four Kings of Diamonds in his hand, and they all changed to four Queens.  This card magic is something of a new direction for Noel, who loves manipulation and coin magic effects, and we wish him well in developing his card magic interests!

Monday, April 18, 2016

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 15th April

The meeting had the theme “Silks and Handkerchiefs” and was hosted by Vice President Joel Howlett, who led off the magic.  Among several effects, he produced a rabbit silk from a top hat silk. 

Our President, David Whitson, rehearsed aspects of his Ecology show – the turtle puppet we saw last month came to talk to us again  with variations, and  David also showed us a seagull puppet and a round globe puppet of the whole world strangling itself in plastic.

Our newest member, Michael Blakeman, performed two clever card items.  We clearly saw him place the black two and the black three into the middle of the pack.  So how did he, with a flick of his hand, produce them from the pack as he tossed it on the table ?  Impressive.  In the next item, he had a card chosen but it did not match the prediction written on a piece of paper being held by a spectator.  No problem to Michael – he heated the paper with a lighter and the prediction changed to read the correct chosen card !

Joel came back with a red ribbon and a white ribbon pushed into his closed fist, and then they both changed into a red/white striped ribbon which he pulled out of his hand.   Next, he put a silk with a black horse picture and one with a white horse picture into a paper bag.  He burst the bag, and out popped a silk with a picture of a black and white striped zebra !

Steve Irwin loves colour changes in the hands, and this time for us he produced a blue ribbon from nothing, changed its colour and made it turn red in his hand, and then vanished the lot !

Handkerchiefs were the subject of several items from Noel Clair.  He did the amazing item that we have read about but never seen – in which a large safety pin, clearly pushed through a handkerchief, is pulled along to the other end of the handkerchief without tearing it.   It’s amazing when you see someone do what you’ve read about – and your doubts about it are removed.   He passed the body of one safety pin through another.  He made a white mouse puppet out of a handkerchief – and it “came alive” as it ran up his chest and round his neck. Wow it looked good !  He did a “world first” with linking rings passed through thumb tie.  His own thumbs, and also the thumbs of two spectators were tied together, but this was no barrier to Noel’s passing two linking rings through them.

John Ferguson started off briefly with an instant change of red coloured water into red silk (to keep the silk theme), and then told us about Möbius strips.  He took a strip of paper, gave it a single twist, and taped the ends.  When cut  down the middle, one long loop was formed.  Again, he took two strips that crossed each other, and joined the ends of the strips, first giving each a single twist, one of them to the left and the other to the right.  When cut down the middle, heart shaped loops were formed, and they were interlinked.  This is a good item to present around Valentine’s day, or for a Wedding anniversary.  There is a Youtube video of this at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xLFf_SwaK4&feature=youtu.be

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday, 18th March

The theme of the meeting was “Coins, Shells and Things”, and our Host Steve Irwin led off with a production of a coin from thin air, which was quite startling.  He then demonstrated a coin matrix very smoothly.

Joel Howlett vanished a coin by folding it in a piece of paper – a straightforward vanish, which he had recommended at the last meeting that we should learn.  The folded paper is cut up with scissors, and no trace of the coin is found.  He next laid out several coins, all numbered with texta, and asked a spectator to drop them on the table, and the face ups were eliminated – and this very fair elimination was repeated until only one coin was left – and it matched Joel's prediction.

Andrew Pickard is hugely enthusiastic about magic, and his 50 cents to $50 transformation gave good reason for this !  Many comments were made about solving our personal finances this way !

An antique Japanese coin slide was David Whitson’s choice (at least he said it was antique Japanese..) to make a coin vanish and reappear.   He placed lumps of coal in a beaker and transformed them into a diamond necklace (at least he said it was diamond…..)    He showed us a work in progress and reminded us that a magicians’ meeting is a good place to practise a work in progress!  This was a turtle puppet that was able to eat plastic – to its own destruction – an upcoming item from David’s environmental show.

Steve Howlett was welcomed to the performing table.  It is great to see Steve performing!  He did the Atomic Coin trick.

Noel Clair showed us a coin appearing and disappearing,  turned a small coin into a huge coin 5cm across, used platypus 20cent coins and kangaroo pennies in a coin matrix,  sent coins from a coin box through the table, and did another coin matrix with six coins.  What an amount of coin magic he has at his fingertips !

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 19th February

The theme of the evening was “Dinner Magic”, suggested by Noel Clair.  He knew we would all be sitting at a table, and thought it was an excellent opportunity for Dinner Magic.

Noel started with a coin matrix, then a coin transposition.  He did the difficult triple coin roll, and then coin through bottom of glass.   He did another matrix with bottle tops, but this time he added a clever story in which the disappearing bottle tops were prisoners escaping from Alcatraz, despite the careful attention of prison guards.  To finish off, he did a rope trick with cut / no-cut scissors and vanishing knots.  

The first item done by John Ferguson failed – involving supporting straws.  More success was achieved with a credit card balanced on the rim of a glass – how to support it when a coin was placed on the outer side of the card? Answer (by Neil Lynch) – fill the glass with water until the surface tension supports the card !  Other “Bar Betchas”, so beloved by our past member Gary Neville, were done with varying success. One easy item was how to support a sheet of paper vertically on your fingertip? – Answer, flute the paper from its corner.

Carrying on from John’s item with the folding paper, Al Hirschel showed us the difference in strength when paper is corrugated.  Placing the sheet between two cups, it became easy to support another cup when it was folded longitudinally in 1 cm folds.

Joel Howlett very  boldly did a disappearing silk – an item that is usually done at a distance, but which he did now in a close-up situation – and, no, we didn’t see anything !  Again, he performed ring on rope and ring off rope, but this happened while the rope was held in the hand of a spectator !  Joel then had 5 cards selected by spectators and torn up into pieces.  The pieces were cast on the table by a spectator and the face up pieces eliminated, until only one piece was left.  A card in a prediction envelope was opened and it matched the piece in suit and number.  Pulled out of the envelope, it was missing a piece – and the piece on the table fitted.  Incredible!

Dennis Norman started with a card and coin matrix, very smoothly done !  He showed us a diamante paddle and proceeded  with a paddle routine where diamonds appeared and disappeared so fast that it had us completely confused – and amazed - by the time it was finished.  

The Genies and IBM had enjoyed a lecture by Chris Capehart, a magician from USA.  Dennis gave a review of this excellent lecture, and what he said was seconded by Joel Howlett, who also was present.

Our President, David Whitson, showed us the impact of story telling in magic.  He did the Chinese sticks, quite nicely.  Someone reminded him of the story that he had told before with this item, and he launched into this story of a Chinese Emperor and the suitor for the Emperor’s daughter.  With the story, the whole item was really enjoyable and entertaining.  May we remember this lesson!   David then did the union of the multicoloured ropes to encourage our own like-mindedness in our Club.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 15th January 2016

Al Hirschel opened the time of Magic, with the theme “Free Choice”, and demonstrated a favourite close-up item of his.  A match is pushed through the centre of a matchbox.  Not surprising, you say, until you realize that there is a block of brass in the tray of the matchbox !  

Al had been fascinated by the television show “Fool Us !”, with Penn and Teller, and gave a review of this, which led to general discussion by club members.  We were all intrigued by the way in which Penn and Teller, critiquing the trick just performed for them by the magician on stage, were able to talk in magicians’ code to the magician (and maintain the secret of the trick) without the audience being aware of how the trick was done. For instance, they used “tortoise” to speak about a coin trick.

The classic fooler item of a card with black spots was presented by David Whitson.  The spots change and change again at David’s command.   Then he presented the first phase of a Jumbo 3-card monte item “Chase the Ace” which he is developing.    (Members should note that the magic session at the club is a good time to try out items you are developing in a non-threatening atmosphere !)   He showed us the “Silver Shackles” in a different presentation to one he had done before.

John Ferguson performed the classic Jumbo “Split Deck” trick, with President David and Treasurer Al, in order to show how much in tune with each other are our office-bearers. 

Neil Lynch workshopped a card trick, in which he threw away cards (of the spectator’s choice) until the only card left in his hand was the spectator’s chosen card. 

Ambitious Card is a fine card effect, and it was beautifully presented for us by Joel Howlett.   The signed card kept appearing at the top of the deck regardless of how obviously Joel placed it in the centre of the deck.   Joel added to the “Ambitious Card” plot by combining it with “Signed Card to Wallet”, so that the signed card this time disappeared from the deck, and appearing in his wallet.

Noel Clair has become known in our club for his routine of “Time Travel”, and by popular request, he presented it again for us.  Having marked the time on a clock, he carried out several actions – burning matches, breaking matches in a handkerchief etc.  Then he returned us to the current time and showed us that the previously burnt matches could burn again, and the previously broken matches were now whole again.

Appearing and vanishing thimble was the contribution of Steve Irwin.  Steve loves tricks in which things appear and vanish in your hands, and this was a dazzling vanish and re-appearance of a metal thimble on his finger.