VA Volunteer Magic Show

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 ron.toffolo@gmail.com. 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!