December 2019 Ring129 Meeting Report by Stu Lewis
The holiday spirit was in the air as we gathered for our December meeting. In what has become an annual event, members brought gifts to donate to Toys for Tots, and the table set aside for that purpose was overflowing with our donations.
To continue the holiday theme, David Sandy and Lance Rich performed a brief Christmas-themed act. David then explained that all of the props were collectables, including a silk and zombie ball from Andre Kole’s collection.
We then moved on to our teach-a-trick segment. Shaun Rivera demonstrated an effect that could be done impromptu with plastic straws and an ungimmicked version of “Mis-led.”
David Sandy showed us a home-made gimmick to vanish a box-full of crayons.
Finally, Duane Fields showed us how the classic Card Warp could be performed as a parlor trick with jumbo cards, along with the presentation he uses in his shows.
Our December meeting is one of four throughout the year designated as contest night. We began with the close-up competition (the first qualifier for next October’s annual contest). Three performers took part. Steve Steiner performed a variation of the familiar “Will the cards match?” routine, based on predictions about how an audience volunteer would spend her birthday. He also cut some loops of paper into linking loops and one long loop.
Korso’s routine included some card effects. The highlight was a routine with a chop cup in which the spectator actually performed some of the magic without knowing how she was doing it. I don’t recall ever seeing a chop-cup routine with so much spectator involvement.
Stu Lewis followed with two card routines based on the theme of a selected card winding up at a location named by the spectator: Rick Lax’s “Where it has to Be” and Bill Wisch’s “Impromptu Card at Any Number.” Up to three people can be selected as winners, and all three were approved for the annual contest.
The stage contest, on the other hand, was the final opportunity to qualify for the annual stage contest in January, and five members competed for the three available slots.
Korso performed a comedy two-ring linking-ring routine, focusing more on humor than on technique, and followed it with a rope escape during which he removed his jacket and put it back on.
Mentalist Duane Roberts showed that he could discern what three spectators had written and sealed in opaque envelopes.
Travis Porter had a spectator roll a die to choose one of six paper sacks to smash, showing that the unselected sack contained a sharp metal spike.
Gene Kean did a children’s act including color-changing silks and a mis-made flag.
Danny Tangelo’s card routine involved stapling cards to his forehead. In the voting, Korso, Travis, and Duane were selected to move on to the next level.
We concluded the evening with four members performing in the “share the magic” non-competitive session. John Hicks (with the help of his favorite audience volunteer, Janie Fields) performed several card effects, including an open travelers and variations on twisting the aces.
Danny Tangelo’s routine involved a rope and a finger ring. Rob Novak blindfolded himself and performed a routine in which he eliminated half the cards several times until only the selected card remained. He turned this into a hilarious comedy routine by pretending to try to put the selected cards aside only to miss the table and have them fall to the floor.
Finally, Bonita Yoder performed a ventriloquism routine in which she gave a lecture on the art of ventriloquism, using her dummy as a co-lecturer. It was both informative and funny.
Stu Lewis can be reached at