On the Cover
By Karl Rabe
Magic Messenger February 2023
On the Cover is one of our newest members Bou-Yu Chen performing a new Soap Bubble routine he is in the process of developing. The club is a great place to experiment and try out new ideas!
In This Issue
Multiple times he offered to help me procure a tiger if I wanted one…
By Dan Jones
We had a great start to the year at our January meeting as we signed up 3 new members. The new members are Bou yu Chen, Chris Johnson and Paul Jones. Let's make sure we make them feel welcome and a part of our club.
Our theme for the February meeting is "Love" tying in to Valentine's Day. What tricks do you have that demonstrate love? Our introduction question is; What do you love about magic? Or What tricks do you perform for couples?
On Saturday, February 18th we are hosting a Magic Open House at the Plymouth Community Library from 2-4 pm. This is a chance for the community to "Meet the AAMC". We will be performing magic tricks to promote the art of magic, advertising our upcoming May show and recruiting members for our club. We would like to have everyone involved in this event. There will be more info and discussion at the meeting.
On Wednesday, March 8th at our meeting we will be hosting a lecture by Ohio magician Erik Tait. This promises to be a great lecture and we are inviting our friends from Ring 22 and Ring 68 to join us. Please see the article elsewhere in the newsletter for more details.
Last thing I have to say is to remind you that our dues are due. Please see our Treasurer at the meeting.
By Karl Rabe
As a reoccurring feature of the Magic Messenger we will highlight a member and ask them to answer a few questions about themselves. This month the "Spotlight" is on our club President, Dan Jones. Dan performs magic and performs as a clown using the stage name "Tippy the Clown".
Where did you grow up / where have you lived?
I was born in Detroit and grew up in Westland, Michigan. I have lived in the suburbs of Canton, Northville, Redford and now I reside in Livonia. I love Michigan and don't want to leave.
How did you get started in magic?
Just like a lot of us I got started in magic when my brother Dave received an Adam's Magic kit as a present and we both performed the tricks. We took magic lessons as teenagers and visited Romig Magic shop and the Emporium of Magic to purchase some professional effects. We performed at family gatherings and for our scout troop. I kept on performing while my brother liked to build magic tables and tricks. I still have the Square Circle that he made. In 1980 as a senior in high school I saw a clown (Ray Woiohowski) performing the same tricks I was and having a lot more fun. So, I took a 4-H clown class and "Tippy the Clown" was born. I enjoy performing as Tippy or as Dan equally.
What type of magic do you perform?
Mostly fun, family friendly and comedy magic. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Dan also performs as a Clown and does Balloon art.)
What is your favorite magic book?
"Now You See It, Now You Dont". Lessons in sleight of hand. By Bill Tarr. And Houdini - The man who walked through walls. By William Lindsay Gresham.
Who is your favorite Magician of all time?
There are many influences: Houdini, David Copperfield, and Doug Henning. But my favorite is Harry Blackstone Jr.
Do you have any words of wisdom for newer magicians?
Perform for people whenever you can to gain experience. Watch others perform, not to copy them but to pick up tips on audience management, staging, style and flow of an act or routine. It's difficult but don't buy every new trick you see.
By Karl Rabe
We kicked off January's meeting by officially welcoming three new members. We are glad to have you join the club.
- Chris Johnson - Chris is interested in ventriloquism and was a friend of John Osborne. Chris has what sounds like an impressive collection of Ventriloquist Dolls.
- Paul Jones - It sounds like Paul is very new to magic and is eager to learn.
- Bou-Yu Chen - Bou-Yu has attended a number of our meetings in the past and has displayed some impressive sleight of hand with coins, pens and cards.
Next it was on to our Magic Question roundtable. The question this month was "What is your MAGIC New Year's Resolution. We have a broad variety of interesting answers.
- Practice & Do the Tricks I own
- Develop a Maine Coon routine
- Get back into the game (of magic)
- Document the tricks I perform
- Develop 3 solid tricks
- Transform (remodel) house and make debt disappear.
- Develop a solid 30 min act
- Perfect the Mercury Card Fold
- Lean the tricks I already own
- Never Make a Resolution (resolved many years ago and kept to this day)
It was reported that lifetime member Marvin Mathena had suffered several minor strokes but was now back at Regency Heights Nursing Home (19100 W Seven Mile Rd, Detroit, MI 48219).
The slate of candidates for the AAMC Board was reviewed.
- President - Dan Jones
- Vice-President - Sean Naes
- Treasurer - Rob Krozal
- Secretary - Karl Rabe
- Sergeant at Arms - Mike Bogdas
As each candidate was running unopposed, the slate was accepted by the club members as given.
We want to extend a big thank-you to outgoing Sergeant at Arms Don Oesterwind. Don has made a huge positive impact on the club in the past and we know he will continue to do so. Not only does Don add encouragement and fun to all our meetings, he bolsters our Flea Market profits by providing his facility free of charge. In addition he has been instrumental in facilitating the large Rotary show the club put on in the past, which generated significant revenue for the club. Thank you Don.
Everyone was reminded of upcoming events.... see Around the Town for details
- March Lecture with Erik Tait
- AAMC Open House at the Plymouth District Library
- An informal trip to ABC Magic
It was suggested that although we have a Facebook "Page", this only allows administrators to post, so we should add a Facebook "Group" that would allow all members to post, share pictures, ask questions, etc. This has been created and you can join here if you already haven't. This group is private for AAMC members only.
Next it was on to performances. The theme of the month was "Silver".
- Ming performed Coins Through Table as taught to him by the master Slydini himself.
- Mike Bogdas performed Wonder Needle from Tannen's. A needle is put on a thread with both ends held by a spectator. The needle is covered with a hank, poked through the hank, and then inexplicably pulled off the thread.
- Dalton performed a mysterious bit with an old box of artifacts including a bottle of rum, parchment quoting from the Book of the Dead, a mummified finger, some old photos and various symbology.
- Boyu performed a work in progress where he blows bubbles that are then transformed into solid objects in the spectators hands. Later the marble changed colors.
- Sean performed a coins across routine with an in-the-spectator's-hands finale.
- Dan demonstrated the French Drop and then performed a baffling Sewing Needle through Mirror routine.
With that the official meeting was adjourned and members mingled and jammed for another half hour. Afterwords the magic continued with a few reconvening at Hermann's Old Time Grill.
By Sean Naes
Mirf Tales: How it started
I have started to write this dozens of times only to select all and delete, never happy with the results. I can be a perfectionist sometimes to my own detriment. Sadly, I also admit that I am writing this story mere hours before the deadline. I'll start at the beginning with two admissions. First, I vowed I would never work with livestock in a show and secondly, I loathed domestic cats. I always admired large cats like lions, tigers, panthers, cougars, etc... not domestic cats.
I'll start with the second admission first. My loathing for cats began as a child. I was 5 years old when my cat Tiger was run over by a grain hauler. It's the first memory of death that I have where I actually understood what death meant. I didn’t really know how to deal with this loss, I was a young child and I felt it wasn't fair. My way of dealing with it was I didn’t want another so it could get run over too. That's a five-year old's logic, I still grew up around cats anyway. We had barn cats that controlled the rodent population near the grain we fed the horses. Growing up in rural America, one of my chores was cleaning horse stalls. The barn cats were feral, their population controlled by nature. Periodically there was a litter of kittens, and the mother would hide them up in the hay loft. Periodically they would get too close to the stall opening and fall in, which scared the horses and horses stomp on that which scares them. I don't need to articulate the result. I became very detached from domestic cats for reasons of emotional self-preservation for years to come. My wife and kids are cat lovers, they successfully converted me into a "cat person" over the years; that's a different story.
Secondly, my first admission: I am breaking my vow to never work with livestock. I have not performed with any animals on stage yet. When I started working as a magician, I swore I would never work with livestock. In my lifetime I have trained a number of horses, dogs, and 3 cats. I remember the logistical hell of attending horse shows and 4H competitions. I also remember how much of a hassle it was taking dogs to the Coon Dog Trials in Ohio. Working with live animals always compounds the difficulty of everything. Traveling with livestock, regardless of size, is not to be taken lightly. First and foremost, care and treatment of livestock is paramount, negligence is intolerable. The whole reason I vowed not to work with livestock was I didn’t want to be responsible for anything other than myself when I'm on the road. I have a great friend, whom I admire, that has been performing a dove act for over 20 years. In my own mind, I unfairly judged his husbandry because of my ignorance of birds. I had seen his birds while they were molting and completely misunderstood what was happening. I never questioned him nor said anything negative about him, I kept it to myself. I used it as a modern reminder to not work with livestock. After becoming minimally educated in the subject I realized I was wrong. My friend's life is enriched by his birds and his love for them, they are also his companions at home and on the road. His care for his birds is impeccable. I should have asked him then, he would have happily and kindly taught me it was not neglect, carelessness or the stress of over performing. Molting is a natural occurrence, is healthy and expected. That lead to the next logical question for me, what else was I wrong about?
Another person in particular I have met and become friends with started training tigers (yes very big cats) at the age of 9 with his mother. I had a cat named tiger; he had a "tiger". In our conversations he planted the seed of traveling with a furry friend. Multiple times he offered to help me procure a tiger if I wanted one…I didn't then and I still don't. When I was young and didn’t think ahead, I may have said yes…I think I'm smarter now. I've also met many other performers of differing styles and varieties of entertainment that perform with livestock successfully on the road. Before I made the final decision to break my vow of never working with livestock, I needed to do more in depth research.
In the wonderful world of magic, I have been fortunate in the number of talented people I have met and learned from through organizations such as the IBM and the SAM. In my effort to research the invisible, everything you don't see or think of until you're in the middle of it,
I reached out to those people. I started contacting the people I knew, asking who they knew and if they would contact those people for permission for me to contact them. I didn't want to impose on anyone, but I needed to talk to professionals that live the life. Remember my friend with the doves I mentioned above, I contacted my friend and he kindly put me in contact with his friend in Las Vegas that has a big white fluffy cat in his dove act on the strip.
His friend in Las Vegas was one of the best conversations that I had regarding traveling with cats specifically. He's someone who's making a great living performing with doves and a cat living in harmony, that speaks for itself. He does admit traveling some places can be difficult if they do not like cats. He said he has a harder time booking lodging with the birds than his cat. Birds make a mess. Cats are pretty clean in their nature but can be very destructive if you don't meet their destructive instincts. The basics, like a travel litter box, toys, food dishes that seal and a short scratching post. He puts the litter box in the bathroom and a scratching post in the room. The way he does it.
While the iconic image of the rabbit in the top hat may be synonymous with magic, it is my irresponsible speculation that the rabbit is the least used animal in performance. I could be wrong, there is no research to back up my speculation, just my personal observations. I have seen more birds, rats, chinchillas and sugar gliders and yes, tigers than rabbits. During my quest I found two other magicians working with cat's...sort of. I did come across a street show in the Key West performed by a guy that some would think is off his rocker. His cats are well trained and fairly responsive. I think it's a good show. (I did not talk to him)
Enter stage left, Mirf the Magnificent Mouser. He's a very handsome, loveable Smokey Blue Maine Coon kitten that is my bestest fuzzy friend and I'm sure is a lot more manageable than a tiger. Mirf was born August 12, 2022, and I took delivery on October 14, 2022. My tiger trainer friend gives me advice and tips on working with and training Mirf to get him ready for the stage. Many of the same tactics used to train tigers work on domestic cats. Mainly, be consistent, persistent and fearless. I'll admit it's easier to be fearless with a Maine Coon than a tiger.
I knew that crossing an international border would have restrictions and required paperwork, I learned that applies when crossing State lines also.
My veterinarian informed me that I will need to maintain an interstate health certificate and accurate vaccine record while traveling with my fuzzy assistant. There are also additional vaccines that are recommended because of the varying environments indoors and out.
In the months to come, I will detail our journey together as Cap'n Sean & Mirf the Magnificent Mouser through this column, Mirf Tales.
Thank you for reading,
Around the Town
By Karl Rabe
You don't want to miss the Erik Tait lecture to be held March 8 at 7:00 pm at the Plymouth Community Arts Council. AAMC, Detroit and Toledo Magic Club members get in for only $10. Others are only $20. Hosted by the Ann Arbor Magic Club, this event will replace our normal monthly meeting. It is at the same time and location as our normally scheduled meeting.
Erik Tait has won awards for both standup comedy and magic throughout North America, appeared on Penn & Teller: Fool Us and was the 2018 current International Brotherhood of Magicians Gold Cups Close Up Competition Champion. He took home 3rd place at FISM Quebec 2022, the world championships of magic, in the category of card magic. Erik is only the fourth American to accomplish this, and the first American to stand on the podium for card magic in two decades. Erik hails from Wausau Wisconsin, which he doesn’t remember because he left it when he was very young. A top graduate of the Comedy Writing and Performance Program at Humber College in Toronto, Erik is currently the only magician in the world with a college degree in hilarious and can academically prove he is hysterical. His client list has some of the most recognizable brands in the country including Honda, Macy’s, and Bark Box.
Learn more about Erik at his website.
Check out John Luka's Magic page and his well maintained list of Michigan Events
All AAMC Events and details can be viewed on the website calendar.
By Karl Rabe
Overheard at the January meeting… “All I got for Christmas was an old deck of sticky cards…. I’m having a hard time dealing with it.”
For our Mentalists and Mind Readers....
This month we have two contests in one. Caption this photo AND name the club member.
Visit the club website for past issues, calendar of upcoming events, and other features and articles.
Join our Private Facebook Group to connect and exchange ideas and information with other members.
Like our Public Facebook Page and share it with Friends and Family.
The Ann Arbor Magic Club Board
Contact the board using these email addresses