VA Volunteer Magic Show 1/31/19

January 31st was a very cold winter’s night.  And while most of the country was enveloped by a Polar Vortex, 5 outstanding magicians, representing S.A.M. Assemblies 161 and 168 ventured over to the Lyons VA Hospital in Basking Ridge NJ. Over the next 2 hours, their marathon performances lifted the spirits of many deserving veterans and transformed the hospital into a playground for magic, mystery and mirth.  

Many thanks to Michael Healy, Tom Durnin, Topher Sutton, Bob Dinsmore and Greg Ferdinand for supporting veteran’s volunteer program and giving so generously of their time. 

February 27th Meeting

Our February meeting started off with a discussion around our season opener “Magic on Main” show on April 5th. We are currently looking for stage acts and close-up acts for on-going shows this year. If anyone has an interest in performing please contact Ron Toffolo at Next, we discussed marketing and using social media to drive younger people to our shows. Next topic was lights and sound. If anyone knows a technical person that can volunteer to operate the lights and sound at our shows please let us know as it’s been an on-going problem we need to solve. Magic happenings at the Sparta Avenue Stage the next couple months are: 24t Close-up featuring Kevin Bethea- March 2 at 8pm, Boris Wild - April 20th at 8pm and David Corsair- May 4th at 8pm. NEMCON 1-day convention will be held on March 8 in Connecticut. Upcoming lecturers will be Peter Samelson on March 11th at SAM 161, John Carney on March 11th at Tannens. This years SAM "Salute to Magic” will be held on March 30th at the Abrons Arts Center in Manhattan.

During our break members had a brief swap meet where they sold or traded tricks they didn’t use or want. Afterward, members performed magic routines with the theme “Valentine’s” or “Something with Hearts”. First up was Paul Cohen who performed a Jon Allen effect where two married spectators found each other name in a deck of card using heart shaped stickers. Next, Andrew Cardella performed Jay Sankey’s version of Crazy Man’s Handcuffs where the rubber bands were broken and tied together at the beginning of the effect. He performed the classic routine but as a kicker ending he handed the bands to the spectator and they were linked together. Very cool spin on a classic and was performed beautifully. Lou Antonucci performed an effect called “One” where a couple signed the back of a 4 of hearts. Lou then proceeded to slowly move one of the heart pip till it was touching another heart making them “One”. This left the couple with a very special souvenir. Ron Toffolo did a beautiful paper tear to music using two hearts torn by the spectator. He ended by not only restoring the hearts but making a necklace of of them! Well done Ron! Ray Witkowski brought in a super cool “Davinci Code” puzzle that his wife bought him for their Anniversary. His wife gave him a card with some clues about how to open the puzzle. When the dials were turned to spell “ILOVEU” the puzzle unlocked to display two wedding bands framed by a heart. Up next was James Challes who performed a signature effect called “Banned from Vegas”. James had a spectator pick a pile of cards and the cards were dealt into five piles, he took the top cards of each pile and used them as his hand in a game of poker. The spectator then was asked to make the best poker hand he can from the remaining cards. In the end the spectators hand couldn’t beat the Royal Flush in spades that James held. Carl Morano presented a Dunninger effect called “The Spectator Knows”. He had a spectator shuffles cards and then select one from behind his back sight unseen. He then had the card returned and gave it to another spectator who knew exactly what card was the chosen card. A very simple trick with a cheeky method, well done. Lastly, Alan Thompson showed us a cool optical illusion where a high ball glass’s diameter was longer than 9 or more stacked card boxes! Who would of thought! All in all, great meeting, great magic, see you all next month!

March 27th Lecture/ John Bukowski

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Our March meeting started off with a brief business meeting where we discussed our upcoming show “Magic on Main” and other magic happenings in the area. We were then treated to a lecture/ dealer demo by John Bukowski of Invictus Magic, an online magic dealer based in Wayne, NJ. John Bukowski is well known in the industry for some of his creations such as Scion, Stolen Intuition and many DVD appearances. John matured his skills while working with master magicians of SLYDINI. His commitment to the art of magic manifests not only in his performances, but also in his strong commitment to teaching the skill, misdirection and psychology of magic to other magicians. It is this combination of imagination and skill that has led John to be a sought after speaker for lectures and conventions. For more info about Invictus Magic visit their website at

John arrived at our lecture early and set-up 3 large tables of recent marketed magic effects. He also had 1 table dedicated to effects that were marked down 30-50% off. John demoed some of the latest and greatest magic effects and then showed us the workings to give our members an idea of the difficulty level of each trick. Throughout the lecture John also gave our members insights and subtleties to some basic magic handlings such as forces, controls and coin vanishes. John has a new exclusive effect based of Lennert Green’s “Stolen Cards” called “Stolen Intuition”. It’s a two phase effect that has the classic plot but with a twist ending that brings it to the next level. To find out more about the effect and other Invictus exclusives visit his website. John is a very generous guy and gave discounts on most of the effects demoed and even gave a free DVD of choice for each sale. It was a great lecture/ dealer demo and if you see John and Invictus Magic at any upcoming conventions, go over and say hi, he’s a really nice guy and super knowledgeable!


April 24th Lecture/ Dameon

Our April meeting was held on April 24th when we were treated to a lecture by DAMEON (aka Hal Meyers) during his East Coast tour.   Thank you, Mike Miller.

Dameon held court for three hours.  He has performed all over the world in every type of venue and was the opening act for several A-list celebrities.  He was recently, a featured performer at the annual Society of American Magicians’ convention in Orlando, Florida.

You could easily say it was a “hands-on” workshop as participants had to pick up a paper bag and fill it with balls, cards, rope, etc. – all provided by Dameon - that would be used during the lecture.  Everyone got to keep their stuff! 

Dameon reviewed six categories: cards, balls, rope, thimbles, doves and tips on setting up for a manipulation act.

Dameon took the time to walk around the room and assist members where needed whether it was throwing cards, ball manipulation, making a knot vanish, making thimbles appear/disappear, etc.   There were several dove workers present who appreciated Dameon’s tips on dove productions, vanishes and his own “spin” on the Nielsen vanishing dove cage.

Everyone learned from Dameon’s years of experience.   He is especially proud of his performances in North Korea which are memorialized in an article in VANISH magazine (October/November 2013) 

Inventor of the Skyliner lighted toy, he has sold over a 1,000,000 of them!  He incorporates one into his act.

The lecture began by having participants select “BALLS” as his first category to teach.  During the 20 minutes (each section was given 20 minutes), he taught basic rolls and flourishes, several color changes, vanishes, reappearances and tips on palming.  Dameon walked around the room as participants practiced.  “THIMBLES” included basic thimble moves, jumping thimbles, color-changing thimbles and Dameon’s special thimble routine (which will remain a secret).  Next was “ROPE” which involved a vanishing knot, shoelace knot and a special jumbo (stage) version of a ring and string routine which turned into hoola hoop and rope.

After a short break, Dameon moved on to “DOVES.”  He explained about loading doves, dove harnesses, single tail vanish and incorporating a throw streamer in with a dove production.   Also, Dameon’s version of an improvement on Nielsen’s vanishing bird cage.  Then came “MANIPULATION ACT SET-UP” where we learned from Dameon’s years of experience.  He showed us cases, cue sheets, containers and necessary items to bring to every performance (various tapes, markers, scissors, rubber bands, etc.)

Lastly, we were on to “CARDS” – everything you could imagine:  manipulation moves, shooting cards, flourishes and his own version of rising cards (easy to do but you have to see the lecture!).

All in all, it was a GREAT lecture.  If you think you’d like to have Dameon lecture to your group, contact Mike Miller at We highly recommend him!


May 22nd Meeting

Our May meeting started off with a discussion about Magic on Main and the acts that will be performing on stage and in close-up rooms. We are always looking for new acts, both stage and close-up, so if your interested in performing please contact Michael Healy @ The shows is every first Friday of the month at the Darress Theatre in Boonton, NJ and starts at 8pm, please see our website for more info at Magic happenings in the area are Peter Samelson at the Sparta Avenue Stage on Sunday, June 2 @ 7:30, for more info go to Also, the Misfits of Magic will be performing a show at the Wayne Farmers Market, 475 Valley Road, Wayne on June1st at 10am to 1pm. Al Callus will be performing and lecturing at Morley's Magic Shop for SAM 25 on June 21st about his new venture into being a comedian and will share his insights on the subject. In advance notice, our September meeting will be a flea market or auction so gather all your magic stuff you want to sell and participate in this event. 

This months’s theme for performances was “Your Latest Trick”. Starting off was Drew Cardella who performed and effect called “Chromatic Alchemy” that used his go to deck and specially gimmicked Svengali. Drew showed a red back deck and a prediction card that came from a blue deck. He had a spectators choose a card in a very fair manner and it turned out to match his prediction perfectly, well not exactly, the back was a different color. Drew then said “It’s not a perfect prediction because the cards are different colors” so he put the red card back in the red deck and changed all the card to match the prediction both front and backs! Next Ron Toffolo opened with a comedy bit where he produced a little bird from his close hand which turned out to be a hand with the middle finger up, funny and very Ron's style. Ron then went onto performing and effect called “Invisible Dice”. Ron had Jay Rosenberg roll  a set of imaginary dice and come up with a number. He then had Jay count down that many cards and remember the card at that position. He then had 2 members riffle shuffle and cut the deck. Ron then went through the deck and named Jay card. This was a real fooler with a very simple principle. Michael Healy presented a twist on a confabulation effect called “It’s In My Gene’s”. Michael had a members just name any numbers, letters and then select a card from a deck of flags. Hhe used post-it notes to write the predictions on and then placed them onto a members hand, chest and had him hold a flag. He then produced an envelope which had childish drawings on it and prediction inside that was drawn by a child. The drawing matched the members position exactly with all the predictions 100% accurate. This effect had a very clever principle and I am sure many members in the room already went online to buy it because it’s that good! Alen Thompson performed  a silk effect he called “Color-Changing Vanishing Silk”. This was a sucker effect where a silk changed color and then when showed how to perform the effect he unexpectedly vanished the last silk right under our noses. Lou Antonucci showed off a new gimmick called “Level One”  that allows for a super clean and very visual deck vanish leaving you with one card in your hand. This looked like trick photography in real life! Al Callus performed and effect with a very under used gimmick deck called The Mental Photography Deck. Al talked about the US playing card company and how they send him blank cards to print cards whenever he needs. As a bonus, Al even printed the card box that was all white and caught all the magicians off guard. It was a great performance and always nice to see something from the past brought back and made fresh again. I know I will be dusting mine off and playing with it again, Thanks Al! Lastly Phil Schwartz performed and very clever card routine called “The Card Whisperer”. Phil had a member select and card from half the pack and then insert it into his half. Without any moves, Phil had a Jack of Spades whisper the card in his ear that turned out to be the selected card. This effect used a old principle but with a new specially gimmicked deck by another SAM member. It was a nice turnout and we hope to more of you next month!



After a short business meeting, our group enjoyed a “suitcase auction” courtesy of longtime magician and friend Vinnie LeFante. He donated multiple suitcases chock full of magical apparatus, and the members were ready to bid! After the successful auction, there was some backroom wheeling and dealing going on, and many of us left the meeting with all sorts of new magic items and effects. We are grateful to Vinnie for his generosity, and we can assure him that his equipment has all gone to loving homes. Some of the winners for the evening included Alen Thompson, Tim Fortune, Jason McClean, Drew Cardella, Ray Witkowski and Jay Rosenberg, among others. A great time was had by all, and there is a rumor that there are more suitcases to be seen and discovered at a future Assembly meeting…