May’s Meeting: Elections!

This month’s meeting featured nominations and elections for office.  The current office holders are:

President: Randy Von Smith

Treasurer: Geoff Milller

Sargent-at-arms: Aubrey Smith

Secretary: Kevin Roberge

The meeting’s conversation revolved around a few topics as usual but coin magic held sway.  Kevin and Geoff had brought a number of coins and poker chips and the conversation revolved around uses of the various types and sizes.  It was decided that the theme for the June meeting would be “Color Changes” which while inspired by conversations of Spellbound, can include anything you’d like to share.  I know I’m working on coin and card color changes.

Randy made an interesting observation/suggestion that the ring might consider looking into farmer’s markets as a venue for promotion.  There’s a lot of promotion in that idea and would provide exposure for ring but also practice to those who wished to staff the stall.  Ideas ranged from Fast & Loose, balloon animals, simple tricks with a souvenir ending and so on.

The next meeting of the ring will be Sunday, June 12th, at noon in the Riverside Cafe once again.  We’ll have the backroom in return for patronage.  The choice of date was made to avoid a conflict with Father’s Day.  If you have any suggestions for what you’d like to see at a future ring meeting please feel free to let us know.

Ring 362 to Meet on May 15th

Ring 362 will meet on Sunday May 15, 2016 Noon to 2:00 at the Riverside Cafe in Ellsworth, Maine. Last month we had six attendees. We will post more details on that meeting when the insanity of the end-of-semester rush has subsided.

The Riverside Cafe will host us in their party room. Come with an appetite! The room is free fo charge if we order off the menu. The food is delicious and the company even more so.

See you there!

March 20th

A nice showing of members arrived on the UMaine campus today, March 20th, for the third meeting of the ring this year.  A number of effects and mysteries were shared by those in attendance.  An interesting device was shared by Randy called the staple-less stapler.  While not a ‘trick’ per se, it certainly engaged and intrigued us.

The theme for this meeting was “Ridiculously Simple Tricks.” Kevin led off with a Bill Malone variation on the 21 Card Trick that occurs in three stages. Each was more mystifying than those before. The principle was the same as the old trick, but the process and reveals made it more deceptive than usual.

Professor Miller followed with his own version of Out To Lunch, that was political in nature – if a bit outdated.

Finally, Randy Von Smith demonstrated a simple but powerful gimmick for presenting a business card. Using an elastic band, a small stack of business cards, and a deft twist, the pack was arranged so that when paced on the table, the top of the pack swiveled and tossed one card out onto the table. A very novel presentation.

The business portion of the meeting was brief. The treasury currently has just over $1,630 at this time. Randy listed some concerns that included communication and the website. Current actions will include an update to the website (Kevin), and possibly moving the current email list to Google not only for security reasons, but because Google has many other tools that a group or club can use.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned.

The next meeting will be located at the Riverside Cafe in Ellsworth, 12 Noon, April 17th (third Sunday of the month).  No theme has been specified.




Ring 362 To Meet on March 20th



Noon, Sunday March 20th will be the third meeting of Ring 362 this year.  We’ll be meeting in Neville Room 108 again (on the UMaine campus in Orono).  Detailed direction are supplied below.  Remember the theme is Ridiculously Simple Tricks.  Tricks that seem so simple they couldn’t possibly work, and yet they do.  We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

From the Old Town I-95 exit.  If you’re coming from south, take a right off from the exit ramp. You’re on Stillwater Avenue.  Continue over the bridge and make a right turn at the intersection of Stillwater and College Avenue (there’s a McDonald’s at the intersection).  You’re now on College Avenue.  Drive until you come to the Alfond Arena Entrance to UMaine which will be on  your left and feature a short steep hill.  You’re now on campus and you’ll essentially just follow this road until you pass by the University Ambulance service (which will be on  your left).  Consult the bottom image for parking possibilities.  There are two easy entrances into Neville Hall, Room 108 is on the first floor.

From the Old Town exit of 395

From College Avenue into Campus to Neville Hall

Parking options around Neville Hall and the entrances

Ring #362’s 2nd revival meeting

Sunday, February 21st, was a lovely day.  Not simply the weather of course, but this was the second meeting of Ring 362.  The meeting occurred, as scheduled, at Neville Hall in room 108 at noon on the UMaine campus.  While it was only Geoff and Kevin (me), it was a heck of a good time.

Geoff had promised to show Fast & Loose, and didn’t disappoint! With a close  up table set up, and a beautiful chain from School for Scoundrels he made me feel like the ‘mark’ that I’d be should I ever hazard my chances at such a con.  As a great follow up Geoff gave a demonstration of 3 card monte with some lovely twists and history on how the game is typically conducted by the more nefarious.  We rounded up cons and swindles with a discussion of Pricking the Garter which uses an ordinary belt and is, I’ve heard, related to Fast & Loose.

I was also treated to Geoff’s rope routine that he’s working on for the Variety Show Extravaganza next month at the Next Generation Theater in Brewer on March 25th. This kept with the original theme of the meeting; Rope, String and Endless  loops.  I had brought a selection of colored string loops to hand out and will bring them in the future in case anyone would like to learn a bit about string figures.  As it was I didn’t end up showing Geoff anything, I was having too much fun playing the spectator.

We agreed to meet March 20th at UMaine, location TBA.  I’m going to investigate the possibility of using a room in the Memorial Union.  The theme of the next meeting will be Ridiculously Simple Tricks.  The sorts of things you might downplay because they’re ‘obvious’ to magicians but play well with non-magicians.   So take a break from those knuckle busting sleights and join us next month!

(NOTE: We will put up a separate post when the location is announced along with directions and a map.)

Ring 362 Magically Reappears

On January 10th a handful of interested individuals met at a small cafe to discuss something wonderful, the revival of IBM Ring #362.  It’s a  new year and a  new chance to further magic whether it’s your own performance or understanding of it or the appearance of magic and magicians to the public. We have so many opportunities to connect with communities and engage with individuals.

In April of 2014, the 113th Congress of the US voted in favor of classifying magic as an art.  It also recognized the work of our friends and colleagues in SAM for their work in furthering magic in the US.  This is a great time to be interested in magic, whether you are interested in performing, love the history or theory of magic or are a collector.  Folks from all walks of life can find something satisfying and rewarding in the art of magic.

The next ring meeting will be February 21st, on the University of Maine campus, Neville Hall, room 108.  A map is provided below.  The time of the meeting will be noon.  We hope to see you there.  If you have any questions at all please contact Geoff Miller or Kevin Roberge.


Daryl to Lecture in Augusta


Only ONE WEEK AWAY! Go to the Facebook page for this event and click “Attending” for some of the best instruction you will ever get from a seasoned pro!

SAM Assembly #174 and the Maine MagiKings will present a master class and lecture for Maine magicians Featuring Daryl, the Magician’s Magician. The event will take place in Augusta on May 10, 2015. The master class starts at 2:30 with the lecture beginning at 5:00. The location is the Buker Community Center, 22 Armory Drive, Augusta. Full details on the lecture and cost of attendance can be found here.

World Champion magician, Daryl, is known by his peers around the globe as “The Magician’s Magician” because he represents the best of the best in the highly specialized world of close-up magic. Daryl was voted by readers of MAGIC Magazine as one of the top ten most influential magicians of the twentieth century!

Daryl’s sleight of hand technique is flawless, his magic is original and astonishing and his presentations are hilariously entertaining! Daryl has earned just about every major magic award imaginable including a gold medal at the F.I.S.M. World Congress of Magic (which is equivalent to the “Olympics” of magic) and SIX Academy Awards from the world famous Academy of Magical Arts (The Magic Castle) in Hollywood, California!

In 1999 and 2000 Daryl’s New Millennium World Tour saw him performing and teaching his original creations in more than 250 cities, in 25 different countries. But Daryl says “One of the greatest honors of my career was to be selected to perform for the President’s Inaugural Candlelight Dinner in Washington D.C.” Daryl was also a resident headlining act at Caesars Magical Empire at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for seven years, before settling in the Sierra Foothills of Northern California.

Daryl now concentrates on performing for select private and corporate functions, producing and marketing his original magical creations and instructional DVDs and providing personalized tuition to magicians and magic enthusiasts around the world.

Personal Reflections: Dr. Wilson

“I met this guy at the Farmer’s Market in Bar Harbor and I think you two should get together.”

PaulI remember a friend telling me this a few short years ago. She had been watching me perform a few minor miracles in my living room. Nothing fancy, just card tricks and pretty basic ones at that. I had been practicing magic in the comfort of my home ever since doing a short performance for a fundraiser in Blue Hill in 2001.

It was 2005 and the person who had been busking at the Bar Harbor Farmer’s Market was Paul Szauter, also known as Dr, Wilson. My friend got his contact information and I called him. The rest, as they say, is history.

We met over dinner at The Mex in Ellsworth. It took us three quarters of an hour just to order because we fell into a very animated conversation on magic. Paul was active in starting a new I.B.M. Ring and had brought a membership application with him for me to fill out. I had once tried to get into the I.B.M. when I was younger, but there were no magicians I knew of who could vouch for me. And there was the matter of the $50 fee.

That was then and this was now. In the course of our dinner conversation, Paul suddenly had an idea. He was putting on a show in Town Hill in a few weeks and wondered if I would care to join him. I agreed, and Professor Miller joined Wilson and Dark’s Traveling Carnival and Theater of Marvels. The performances went so well that the two of us joined forces the following summer to create Miller and Wilson’s Theater of Marvels. The show ran for four summers and evolved from the rough cut of the first year to a polished show that actually ran without a hitch on several occasions. Not only was it a good entertainment for summer audiences (outselling Paula Poundstone at the Criterion on one night), but it became a “breeder reactor” for new performers. Middle Eastern dancers, jugglers and other variety artists found some of their first audiences in Theater of Marvels. Some are performing professionally today.
Theater of Marvels was a learning experience for both of us. It’s rare that two people will simultaneously find the time, inclination and a venue for developing a show like this. It presented a number of challenges for us. The conversation on the nature of the show itself was an ongoing one over all four years. We created many scenarios and character perspectives for the show. We started by focusing on the similarities of our two characters, but quickly found that the real strength of the show could be found in their differences. We investigated a lot of magic material, built prototypes for equipment, wrote scripts and debated every detail. The illusions and demonstrations that appeared onstage represented untold hours of development and no small amount of heartbreak. After all, for every piece of material we used, we probably rejected at least five. Our cutting room floor may never be found again.

You can’t do street magic in a Victorian lyceum. Neither can you fit a large stage act involving a five foot tall Tesla coil on a stage barely sixteen feet wide. Oh well.

I have a four year degree in performing arts with a concentration in theater. By the time I met Paul, I was quite accustomed to constructive criticism. I got what I needed working with Paul. People look at me oddly when I say how fortunate I felt to have a working partner who would watch my material then look me straight in the eye and say, “That was terrible!” That sort of honesty is hard to come by, but so important when needed. And it was always followed up with ideas and concrete suggestions for improvement. Some I took, other I didn’t. But the act invariably got better.

Things got even more interesting when Paul bought a video camera. All I needed to hear was, “Ok, come watch what you did.” Cameras don’t lie and they are unmerciful. But it’s incredible what you learn once you acquire a stomach for watching yourself. There is a big difference between what you think you look like and what you really look like. There is also a difference between seeing it for yourself and having someone describe it to you.

One of my favorite memories concerns the trip we took on New Year’s Eve 2008. We had been hired to do two shows in Orange, Massachusetts for their community New Year’s Celebration. We drove down in a howling blizzard while I endured a horrible toothache. A trip that should have taken about four hours took six. We arrived only to find the venue had not yet been plowed. We waited until the parking lot was clear and then packed in. We hauled all of our equipment (including Paul’s mammoth sound system) up three flights of stairs because the elevator was out of order. We performed two shows and then hauled all that stuff back down. We spent the night at a host home and headed back to Maine the next morning. We split $500. While crossing the Piscataqua River Bridge between New Hampshire and Maine, I announced that I was now cured of any desire I ever had to earn my living as a magician on the road. And I admire anyone who is able to.

The last act Paul saw me perform was the only act that he never saw in rehearsal. By this time, I had come to think of him as my director. We had had one conversation about it early in the year and sketched out a few ideas. I took the notes from that conversation home and started working on the act. I realized sometime in the week before the performance that Paul had not seen the material at all and I wondered how he would react. After the show, he came backstage, shook my hand and told me the act had been fantastic. That was the Chung Ling Soo contest and while I won the trophy that night, all I really cared about was Paul’s opinion. Score.

Nothing lasts forever. Paul gave us the news that he would be leaving Maine for Albuquerque in September of 2011. Although Theater of Marvels had been dark for two years by that time there was now no chance at all that it would see the stage again. And while Paul would remain an influence (I plan to start performing some of the material he used to do since he’s no longer here doing it), he would not be as accessible as before. Ouch.Professor Miller

I’ll miss you, Paul. I’ll miss your knowledge, your sense of humor, even your biting criticism. But I’m already asking myself, “What would Paul say about this?” And given the miracles of email and YouTube, I suppose an answer to that question can still be had.

–Professor Miller


Ring 362 to Meet

Productions Ring 362 will meet along with S.A.M. Assembly 174 (Ralph Greenwood Assembly) and the Maine MagiKings on Sunday March 3rd from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

The meeting will take place at the Next Generation Theater in Brewer, Maine.

We will start with an Open Mic session. Bring your latest, your greatest or something you are just starting out on. This is a chance to reconnect and have a good time.

A general meeting and meeting of the Ring will then follow. There is much to discuss!

There is a rumor that we will adjourn to an eatery as yet to be determined after the meeting.