PERFORMANCE Taking magic to the masses
The Youngstown Magic Club helps people learn the secrets behind the scenes.
LIBERTY -- True to the universal code of magicians, The Youngstown Magic Club never reveals its secrets.
The club will, however, give magic fans an opportunity to get in on the action from time to time. Sunday's annual Close-Up Show at the Holiday Inn MetroPlex, 1620 Motor Inn Drive, featured four magicians performing card and coin tricks and other sleight-of-hand illusions in an intimate setting.
Each performer incorporated members of the audience into the act to facilitate crowd participation and energize the show.
"It was fun to be in the tricks," said Allison Turnbull, 9, of North Lima, who was asked by nearly every magician to assist by holding coins or drawing cards.
"The magicians were all pretty good. I was able to figure out a couple of the tricks," said Allison, who hopes to someday learn a few magic tricks of her own.
Seasoned magician Tom Craven, 70, of Kent, travels the nation to teach the craft to other magic groups and said it's OK to share secrets "among the group."
Craven has been a member of the Youngstown Magic Club since 1962 and said the group offers a strong social bond in addition to hosting magic events such as Sunday's pair of hour-long performances.
"We're a family down here," Craven said. "Magic is the main thrust. It's what brought us together and keeps us together. These are my real friends."
The Youngstown group is one of the world's oldest magic clubs, having formed in 1917 or 1918. In 1922, it became the second "ring" of the International Brotherhood of Magic.
"We want everybody to see the magic that we can," said Bob Filips, who has been a member of the group for 62 years. Filips said the group includes active and inactive magicians of all ages.
Adam Mingo, 16, of Campbell, is one of the group's youngest members.
"I've been practicing since I was about 5," Mingo said after his first performance Sunday afternoon. "I got started by watching it on TV."
Mingo began performing in public when he was 11 and said that although he enjoys magic -- particularly card tricks -- he will probably pursue a career "where more money is involved."
Nick Verina, club secretary, said the Youngstown group has produced many famous entertainers and illusionists, including the recently deceased renowned magician Del Ray. The club also is open to women, but they make up just a small portion of the membership.
In addition to events such as Close-Up, the club performs for nonprofit groups, children's magic shows and educational events. The group's next public event is an appearance by lecturer and magician Dan Garrett at 7:30 p.m. April 21 at Christ's Church, 7155 Glenwood Ave., Boardman. Admission is $10. For advance tickets, call Verina at (330) 652-6499.