Eight members competed for the title of Close-Up Magician of the year honors tonight. Reba Strong opened up the magic with a brand-new money magic routine. A dollar bill visible transformed into a jumbo bill, a pack of coupons into dollar billes, a $1 bill became a 5, and her spreadsheet turned into a bouquet of money. A very clever and new routine, and a great way to open the competition.
Jeff Carson did a little card magic, sort of. He explained how gamblers sometimes put small crimps and notches into playing cards. Of course, Jeff was tearing large holes into the cards, which then linked, unlinked, tore, and restored! He had a deck of oversize playing cards that he used for his next miracle. He asked volunteers to select cards. He place the cards face down on the table, then showed a set of stacking blocks with random parts of cards on each of the blocks. Jeff stacked the six blocks, covered them with a cloth, and when he took away the cloth, the faces of the selected cards appeared.
Aurelio Pontarelli (Magic Pont) used two volunteers for a trick that I’ll call “Pick 3.” He spoke about coincidences happening in sets of three, and how some people are very superstitious about threes, then he brought out three decks of cards. One volunteer sorted one deck into three stacks, and when he turned the top card of each stack over, each one was a 3 card! Several other effects produced threes in some combination until Pon got to the finale, where the top cards were a 4, a 2, and a 7! He offered the volunteers a parting gift – a selection from three boxes, and inside the box was a short poem, and three New Jersey Lotto “Pick 3” lottery tickets. Guess what! The numbers on the tickets were all 4, 2,7!
Mort Feldman began by producing four half dollars from an “invisible” coin purse, then did a coins-across routine. He finished this with a Jumbo coin dropped out of a small pill bottle! He then did a nice Wild-Card type effect, using a mirror. When he finished, all six playing cards now had mirror faces on both sides.
George Hample returned to competition with a unique routine using three walnuts and a clear drinking glass. He placed the glass under a handkerchief, and magically the walnuts vanished from his bare hands and appeared inside the glass. For the finale, he covered the glass with a small bag. We were all looking for the three walnuts, but when George lifted the bag, a small stuffed squirrel was there! He had eaten the walnuts.
Ryan Adamowicz showed the “Oldest trick in the book.” Literally. He did a great stand-up routine with Cups and Balls. His copper cups produced small balls, vanished them, and his finish was with two large balls and a lemon. Great, classic magic with comedy included.
Jim Straub had us all laughing as he did a masterful Ambitious Card effect. He then moved into a four ace type of routine, except he did it with the four 4s! These then transformed into four aces, and Jim made the red and black aces change places in a volunteer’s hand. Jim finished with a Chop Cup routine using a leather dice cup. A small ball kept vanishing from his hand or pocket and appeared under the cup. When we finally saw him slowly place the ball away, he lifted the cup and there was a potato, then a lemon under the cup!
Bill McElvenney did a stand-up routine, and told a tale of Rapunzel and her long hair. He used a string to represent the hair, which he cut and magically restored. He did his masterful ring and rope routine, and then tied a scarf around a spectator’s arm, which he then pulled through the arm! He also did his version of the Professor’s Nightmare.
Magic over, all members of the club voted in secret. When the votes came in, our results: Third Place (and a $50 check) Jim Straub; Second Place(and a $75 check) Aurelion Pontarelli; Champion (and a $100 check) Jeff Carson. Resident calligrapher Megan Weber created the award certificates.
DAVE KELLY, Recording Secretary