Magic club’s annual show brings it into perspective
By VIRGINIA ROSS
LIBERTY — The sparkle in Kelsie Tenney’s eye got a little brighter when the magic man mysteriously put her card back together after tearing it into four sections.
The 10-year-old girl had written her name on the eight of diamonds before Jim Klayder folded it into quarters, ripped it into pieces and then quickly made it whole again.
“How did I do that?” Klayder asked his young assistant. “I’m not sure myself.”
Kelsie, of Vienna, said she had never seen anyone perform magic before attending the Youngstown Magic Club’s annual Close-Up Magic Show on Sunday at the MetroPlex.
The club offered two afternoon performances that featured shows in three rooms, with each program lasting about an hour. Four rotating magicians demonstrated about 15 minutes of magic before moving on to the next station.
“We weren’t really sure what to expect,” said Donna Stevens of Champion. “But we really liked it. I have no idea how they did what they did.”
Stevens said she was shocked when a card with her name on it ended up in a small tin container in the hands of Sue Davis of Howland, who had been sitting on the other side of the room.
Here’s how it went: At the beginning of his performance, Michael P. Lair asked Davis to hold the tin, periodically shaking it to remind everyone it was still in her possession. He later asked Stevens to write her own name on a card, place the card in a deck and tuck the deck of cards away in her pocket. Later, Stevens realized her card had “moved” from her deck of cards into Davis’ container.
“That’s amazing.” Davis said. “That’s just amazing.”
The rooms, each with about 30 to 40 audience members, filled with applause and gasps as the men continued to work their magic. Coins disappeared and reappeared, scarves changed colors and passed through drinking glasses and cartoon rabbits jumped from one card to another.
“This is close-up magic because these are actual tricks that you do right in front of people,” said Niland Herbkersman, a program emcee. “These guys have to be really good because you’re sitting pretty close to them. They really have to know what they’re doing. And they’re very entertaining.”
The Youngstown Magic Club was established in 1917 and is the oldest independent magic club in the country, explained senior member Bob Filips. The club gathers the second Friday of every month, with about 20 members typically attending each meeting.
When the International Brotherhood of Magicians was formed, each club was called a ring. The local club joined and was assigned the name Ring 2, becoming the second oldest ring in the world.
Club members have performed by invitation at the New Haven Connecticut Convention, Columbus Magi-Fest and several banquets in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
“People really seem to enjoy the shows,” Filips said. “I think just about everyone loves magic, and we try to give people a good taste of some of the best we have to offer.”
Filips said club shows typically feature performances by members invited to participate. Sunday’s program included Klayder, Tom Craven and Nick Verina, all local club members, and Lair, a professional magician and lecturer from Canton. Verina is club president. All of the magicians are members of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.
“Most of us start doing magic at young ages, and it’s something we love to do and continue doing as long as we can,” Filips said. “We have club members as young as 18 or 19 and into their 80s. Once you start, it’s something you keep up with. It just never leaves you.”