Report to Linking Ring on the Unconventional Convention
RING 198, LEXINGTON, KY Thoroughbred Magic Guild
Meets second Sunday afternoon of most months at HOPE SPRINGS CHURCH, 1109 Versailles Road, Suite 150 Contact: MIKE WOODWARD, secretary email@example.com
Ring 198 and agreeable November weather hosted the club’s 44th “Unconvention” at Cumberland Fall in Kentucky. When attendees arrived for the opening Friday evening show at 8:07 PM, they understood the reason for the event’s unusual name.
Emcee Mark Comley opened with an arousing cut, restored, and jumping knot effect. Dinkey Gowan opened with his lovely assistant Jennifer—who provided more misdirection than Gowan would ever need. With a rope, he tied Jennifer’s hands behind her back and then tied her arms tightly to her body. A curtain was raised to obscure Jennifer and spectator Tom O’Neil; ten seconds later, Jennifer was wearing Tom’s jacket—still tied as before.
Jim Harris, performing as “Uncle Red,” performed a Professor’s Nightmare” rope effect that finished with a single long rope, and a Halloween themed effect to gross out kids—who would choose between five different “monster” cereals, like “Shredded Feet” and “Razor Bran;” the volunteer kid wound up with “Cocoa Puss” cereal. (Ingestion was optional.)
Sid Hagerty, a high school performer, performed a “lie detector” test with a large deck of cards. Jordan Allen, from Western Kentucky, led a woman on imaginary journey and then showed he had predicted the people who would join her, the month they would travel, and their destination.
Mark Comley provided a comedy transition. His dog “Scruffy” coughed up baseballs. Then Mark performed a “tossed out deck” type effect involving five travel destinations.
Roger Reeves then performed a TOD type effect in which he knew the six lottery numbers that as many spectators would draw. And Stuart McDonald, this year’s headliner, performed cut and restored newspaper and rope effects, and finished the show with a lovely thread effect—in which the knot took on an aesthetic pattern and then slowly disappeared.
The second show was a closeup show. Mike Woodward demonstrated that he was not, indeed, playing “with a full deck;” his four aces experienced a series of changes. Sid Hagerty performed a prediction effect with keys. “Samuel” escaped from thumb cuffs. Jordan Allan exhibited some spoon bending. Stuart MacDonald finished with a kid’s chosen card that traveled to various places within the deck and beyond, and finished with the deck’s complete disappearance—except for the chosen card.
The Saturday evening show was memorable. Dave and Lori Cotrell performed “I Am My Own Grandpa” and “Dueling Banjos” on a banjo and bass. Josh Fletcher discerned a person, a place, and a drawing from the minds of three spectators. For the kids, Jim Harris transformed several colored silk scarves into a large scarf with a skull symbol. Bill Pryor performed a topsy-turvy bottles effect in which he marketed “Professor Pryor’s Pain Killer.” Sir Patrick created an origami bird that changed to red confetti. Jaden Goins escaped from a strait jacket. Stuart MacDonald closed the show, and the convention, by performing his famous act that features a magic mirror and “fooled” Penn and Teller.
MacDonald’s seminar time with magicians was as illuminating as any Unconvention has ever hosted. In a Q and A session, he reflected on his lengthy evolution as a semi-professional magician who has kept his position at Whirlpool. In the late twentieth century, he performed hundreds of shows at colleges. He gradually shifted to performing in many venues and became involved in major magic competitions, including FISM—where he placed eighth. His recent exposure on Penn and Teller’s “Fool Us” television show has raised his visibility.
MacDonald models what it means to be a “reflective practitioner” in magic. Through self-critique and feedback from others, he realized his performances were more of a “show off act” than he liked; he moved to more of a Story-based approach, to present magic as Theater. Gradually, as a student of old movies like those of Abbot and Costello, he centered on magic as comedy theater.
In Stuart’s role at Whirlpool, his position includes work on “continuous Improvement”—a management discipline rooted in the Japanese practice of “kaizen,” also known as “LEAN” and “Six Sigma,” which focuses on improvement through many small changes to a process, method, or practice over time. He applied the discipline to his magic. As he prepared for major competition and for “Fool Us,” he rehearsed, videoed, and evaluated over 1000 performances, and made over 100 improvements.
MacDonald shared the story of his involvement with the “Fool Us” program. In a Q and A session, I reported that some magicians believe that Penn and Teller use the pro
gram for their research and development, i. e., that the duo learns, week by week and at comparatively low cost, the methods and secrets of the world’s most innovative magicians.
Stuart’s believes that is not a part of their agenda.
Submitted by George Hunter (with Tom O’N
2019 UNCONVENTIONAL CONVENTION INFORMATION
Planing is underway for a great convention in 2019. We should be announcing our special guests and other announcements soon.....stay tuned!
Our convention is a very very unconventional one! It's unlike no other. . . . soooooo here's what we know.
*The Convention will be held on Friday and Saturday November 1-2, at the DuPont Lodge at Cumberland Falls State Park. And now for some details.....
Directions to Cumberland Falls and Park Information:
*Take I-75 to Exit 25. At the end of the ramp turn right/west onto KY 25, next turn right on KY 90 W. The park is located 21 minutes from the interstate I-75.
*Park Address: 7351 Hwy 90 W , Corbin KY 40701
*Duponte Lodge number is 606-528-4121
*Use group code 1677 to get the room discount listed as "Thoroughbred Magic Guild". The hotel always sells out on this weekend so don't put off the decision. If there are any problems with the hotel finding the group, please contact Mike Woodward at firstname.lastname@example.org
*It starts with the Friday evening show at 8:07pm
*It is open to the public.
*The registration fee is $35 at the door.
*Annual club membership fee of $30 which is payable at the door.
*There is no pre-registration form.
*The schedule of events does not exist. Announcements about what will be happening at the convention are made at the end of each session. We don't know what's next so we can't tell you! It's the Unconventional Convention!
*There will be a magic dealer room in the Dupont Lodge. Usually there are at least 5 shops selling magic. We don't know who will be selling magic, so we can't tell you that either!
*The shows and lectures will be in the Dupont Lodge.
*If you want to perform in a show, there is one on Friday and Saturday night. Please contact Mike Woodward, Director of the show, before the convention at email@example.com
*You are invited!
*We hope to see everyone at there!
Emcee Mark Comley of Lexington
Dave and Lori Cotrell of Shelbyville KY
Josh Fletcher, Mentalist from Stanford Ky
"Uncle Red" aka Ji m Harris of Louisville KY
Copyright, 2018 Thoroughbred Magic Guild