This September, Ring 177 commemorates the 56th anniversary of the founding of the Bangalore Ring in 1964 by Prof S K Vasantha Kumar and friends. To celebrate this, on 13th September, we hosted a one-day Magic Fiesta online event which attracted 45 registrants from all across India and other parts of the world. We are most thankful to the technology powered by Zoom that enabled us to dream and host such a unique event, online!
From 9:30AM to 6:30PM, a bunch of magicians were glued to their screens and participating in lecture demos, performances, interactions, and of course, teach-in sessions. We also received good wishes from magician friends at Ring 2100, and of course the TVP India, Solyl Kundu. During the long day of proceedings, we also had a quick members-only business session, unanimously adopting some amendments to the Ring By-Laws. The most important of these was that the IBM Ring 177 would henceforth be known as “The Bangalore Ring” to best-represent its modern, global nature.
The day began with a brief welcome and agenda-setting session by our Secretary, Nakul Shenoy. He explained the reasons we were hosting this event online, and also briefed us about the rich 56 year history of our Ring — the third oldest (and the oldest active) Ring in India. Then Shameer Salim, one of our newest members, joined in from North Carolina and over the next hour gave us a detailed demonstration of some of the most awesome magic apps that he has created, including H**ra – an app that will release later this year.
Just after we had seen the magical possibilities the latest technologies could provide us, we had our minds blown by a series of performances by our members and special guests. The first trick session began with Anandan Kumaran from Chennai showing the mystery of the jumping toothpicks. Then it was the turn of the “iTwins” to take centerstage. Armed with just a set of gaming cards, 11-year-old Ishaan Shenoy transported us to the land and times of Sherlock Holmes, while his twin Inesh Shenoy followed him with a classic rendition of the cups and balls. That their first real performance was for magician friends from around the world was not lost on the iTwins, especially since the one and only Shankar Junior was among their audience!
Amazing David from Kolkata took to the screen next, sharing the wonderful work he has put in creating a home-studio for his online performances. David has recently got a lot of good ink among the most important newspapers in the country, and he held nothing back and shared every single tool and arrangement and nuance he has undertaken to create a simple but highly effective online performing arena — inside his house! It was clear to everybody present that David bared his heart and soul to us, and shared every single detail and the lecture was by far the highlight of the day!
David’s practical “lessons learnt” session was followed by Anandan Kumaran, a former Microsoft, tech geek, who spent the next hour showing us advanced features and functions in Zoom and OBS and how they could be used for online magic shows. While most of the features were advanced and looked difficult, Kumaran tried his best to dumb it down and demystify them, so that we could use it to our advantage. Best of all, his session ended with an open offer from him to help the other members with their technical set-ups at any point that they needed. More than anything, this kind offer was welcomed with enthusiasm by all the attendees.
A quick lunch break followed, during which time, a few recorded teach-in videos were played, as kindly received from Kakinada Sreenivas – a prolific creator and innovator of magic tricks.
The group reconvened at 2PM with Rakesh Syam taking the screen, to perform a most impossible effect. He had Shankar junior (who had logged in from Udupi) shuffle his deck of cards, think of a card, and then return the card to the pack, and mix it up in a haphazard way. Shankar was asked to spread the cards on the table in front of him. All this while Rakesh was not just at his house in Bangalore, but also looking away from the screen. Rakesh then turned to look at the cards and miraculously divulged the card Shankar was thinking about! This brought a lot of OOHS and AAHS from the audience who were shocked beyond comprehension. If that was not enough, Rakesh then spent the next 30 minutes explaining ever nuance and handling of this most impossible effect to all of us. Wow! This is an effect we will be looking for an opportunity to perform — for it is a miracle in any scenario.
Now it was the turn of The Mind Reader, Nakul Shenoy to demonstrate and teach some advanced handlings of the PAT**, and the most effective way of using that in conjunction with the Magician’s Choice principle. First up, Nakul performed a prediction with all the people logged in to the meeting via Zoom. After a series of free selections and clear eliminations, only one person was left selected on the screen — and that mysteriously matched the prediction card that hung behind Nakul all the time! Then he followed this up with an effect with 10 miniature collectibles, where the one car that was finally selected by the audience, turned out to have a pair that was found hidden in a small box! All these effects were explained in detail by Nakul and the advanced handlings demonstrated in full. This is again an effect that the members felt could be performed anywhere, especially online — given the current scenario.
It was now time for the second trick session of the day. Our newest member Soumyabrata Banerjee performed his take on the travelling holes with a playing card. His presentation of “Atmanirbhar” (self-reliance) was both entertaining and topical. Abhilash Purohit performed an interesting effect with envelopes, where the envelope chosen by the spectator turned out to have a letter addressed to him, while the rest of the envelopes were found to be empty.
Shankar Junior followed this with his take on the mis-made card prediction. This was a beautiful effect where many pieces of post cards were mixed together and only four of these chosen at the end to make a card. This turned out to be not as perfect as one of the four pieces was from another postcard. All hell broke loose when the prediction was opened, for it was a mis-made postcard that matched the result perfectly!
This was followed by Balu The Magician who performed his variation of the coin matrix with four different coloured chips. And just when we thought the trick session was over, Inesh of the iTwins returned to perform his take on the classic card effect, “Out of Sight, Out of Mind”. These 11-year-olds reminded us that magic may indeed be in good hands with our future generations, especially if they stick to the classics and bolster that with their storytelling.
Shankar Junior took the screen for his magic teach-in. Despite the expectations being very high, Shankar delivered and with much ease. The effects he performed and taught were both effective and mind-blowing. Best of all, given the current circumstances where most of us are locked in in our homes, these effects could be performed easily via the internet and that was appreciated hugely.
The last session of the day was Raja Moorthy from Trivandrum, who conducted a magic teach-in with his usual aplomb. The effects he performed and taught were direct, shell-shocking, and once learnt — easy to do after due attention to the concepts taught. This was a session worth waiting for, and the perfect was to end a day-long online conference of magic, a first time for most of us.
Before we called it a day, we had an open discussion on a variety of topics, from how to improve the Rings’ outreach and activities, to improving the membership further. With nearly 10 new members added in the last couple of months, Ring 177 is excited to be one of the fast growing rings. Some of the other members and magicians who joined the session through the day, included Anand Omanakuttan, Clifford N Parekh, Dr BLN Raju, Karthik Rao, Leons George, Nanda Kumar Kalathil, Shridhar Parthasarathy, Subramanian, and Venu Vinjamoori.
What was most amazing is we all went through nearly nine-hours of online interactions, and with sufficient time for performances and interactions, this really felt like we were in a real convention! Given the circumstances, this was the closest we could come to being in a room together – and this was highly appreciated by all the attendees.
We already look forward to our next meeting, and more fun, interactions, and of course, MAGIC with our members. Stay well, stay safe.
PS: As always, all members of Ring 177 can access the recordings of all these performances and lecture demonstrations in the Members Area. Enjoy!