New stage, new sound system, new champions! Tonight began with a brand-new performance area in our meeting space. Just the weekend before, five members helped to clean off the stage and wings, and restrung the broken stage curtain: Hunter Gaul, Roger Beatty, Dave Kelly, Jeff Carson, and master rope rigger Dan Cashin. Now we will have a great space to perform, and give guest lecturers a very visible platform. Jeff Carson also broke out our new and improved sound system – complete with wireless mics and inputs for music players. We used it tonight for our annual Stage Magic contest.
All contestants operated under a strict 8 minute time limit. Joe McHugh opened the night with a funny three ball and one cup routine. Assuming the role of a visiting Italian magician, the balls appeared and vanished under a small brass bowl. All of the balls vanished at the end, turning into a bouquet of dollar bills. Ari Felber brought on a great mentalism routine. He started with a “Blind sight” test where a volunteer correctly guessed the location of three different color cards. Next was a mental effect that resulted in Ari revealing a picture of Tom Cruise – age 8 months. But then Ari turned the photo over, and there was a current picture of the actor. Finally, Ari asked two people to name numbers, and in 15 seconds he created a magic square where columns of numbers added up to the randomly named number.
Jim Straub did one card effect. A volunteer named a card, and Jim revealed it – the 10 of Spades. He then showed that the rest of the deck was blank on the faces. Bill McElvenny had an assistant join him in a tightly-scripted, funny, cut and restored tie routine. He cut the volunteer’s tie, and in return the volunteer cut his! Bill restored both – and Bill’s tie never left his neck.
Veteran performer George Hample showed off a new mental effect. George showed his AAA vacation catalogue. Another volunteer gave him a number, and George counted down to a card that showed a vacation to Alaska. George then opened a large envelope that had been on display, and showed a large map inside – of Alaska!
Mort Feldman dazzled with a variety of beautiful stage magic. He began with color changing and linking plastic rings. His ropes changed color, and he had a great ring on rope routine. Knots slipped off silks, and D-Lites appeared and vanished. Reba Strong did an original routine with standard rope effects that were “strung” together cleverly. She pulled magic from Crackerjack boxes, and all of the magic was simple and visible. Her ropes tied themselves into knots, penetrated a solid metal ring, and untied the knots themselves! She also did a funny cut and restored rope effect. Truly a magic veteran here!
Finally, Jim Capobianco and Aurelio Pontarelli performed as two magicians with one brain. Their exquisitely timed routine had Pon reading Jim’s mind as he named the numbers from a borrowed dollar bill.
We then cast ballots, counted by Dave Storey and me. The winners (and prizes) of the 2013 Stage Competition: Third Place – Reba Strong ($50); Second Place – Bill McElvenney ($75); Champion(s) – Jim Capobianco and Aurelio Pontarelli ($100).
DAVE KELLY, Recording Secretary