February 2024 Meeting Report

The February meeting before the meeting (dinner!) was well-attended, and several more people showed up at the normal time to give us a really good crowd. As we were meeting on National Handcuff Day, the theme was Escape Magic and after a round of introductions several people rose to the challenge. 

Craig Brooks started by weaving a thin rope forward and back through his fingers and then apparently pulling the rope through his fingers. He followed that with a thumbcuff escape and concluded with a story about Houdini and thumbcuffs.

Previous Ring President and Regional VP John Thornton brought out a set of wrist shackles with the request that we workshop some ways to perform it and make it as compelling as possible. He showed a nice small tweak he made to the chains and then a great discussion broke out with Graham Rogers adding some tips and techniques. Jeff Peterson then reached into his bag of tricks and brought out his own set of shackles and performed a fun routine before giving some suggestions on handling the shackles to make them more mystifying. 

Club President Robert Ray showed an effect that Houdini might have performed (exposing spiritualists), performed Crazy Man’s Handcuffs as an escape, and then entertained us with stories from his teen years when he planned on becoming an escapologist. 

Graham Rogers jumped back in with a couple effects using the info from the book Machinations by Ben Harris and then talked about different methods he used to fool magicians — in general, he’d use the absolute easiest way to get the effect he wanted. Great info. 

Club Secretary Jay Jennings talked about two escapes he did back in the 80s — a 9’ guillotine used just one time and the 100’ Rope Escape, the latter which caused a doctor in the crowd to check on his health after the show. That was the day Jay learned he didn’t have to work quite so hard to make the escape look real.

Visiting magician Jess Cone from Salt Lake City showed a handling variation for Professor’s Nightmare that was published in the July 2016 issue of M-U-M and that started a fun discussion on the history of the effect.

We saw a lot of magic during the meeting and had a lot of very useful discussion sessions. Assembly 248 has the best members!

(Pictures courtesy of Stuart Friedman.)