LUDLOW – On August 13, the Society of American Magicians Assembly 17 will hold its 100th anniversary celebration at the Gremio Lusitano Club in Ludlow.
The event will include a daytime convention for majicians, as well as a dinner and show featuring professional magic acts, which will be open to the public.
17th Assembly Secretary Mark Bail spoke with Reminder publication on the assembly and the plan of the celebration.
“We are about 30 members, and we meet monthly, share magical news and perform tricks for each other. We periodically try to organize charity events and perform in public,” he said. “It’s a bit like being part of the Elks Club but they’re just magicians, we’re united by a common interest in magic. The goal is to socialize and have fun with magic.
Along with other organizations in Hartford, CT and New York, Bail said he didn’t realize there was a national magical community until he joined Assembly 17.
“I’ve been involved in a lot of organizations – mostly in politics – but when I joined I didn’t really know what I was doing except that I was interested in magic,” he said. “It’s not something I’ve experienced before.”
Assembly 17 is always looking for more people interested in magic of any level.
“I had no ability when I started, I wouldn’t say I’m a great magician by any stretch of the imagination, but some of our people are really good. There’s a guy called Ed Popielarczyk and that’s his day job — as a magician,” Bail said.
Some of the members even performed comedy shows at the Mohegan Sun.
Currently, Assembly 17 meets at RP Magic in Ludlow on the first Friday of each month and Bail said it is one of the few remaining magic shops in New England.
“Before they were big, that’s how people learned magic and got interested, you would go to a magic shop and people would show you things and you would do tricks. We are very lucky to have a physical magic shop, I think there might be another one in New England, it’s in some guy’s garage in Connecticut,” he said.
Bail also detailed the story of the assembly’s founder, Dr. IR Calkins, a resident of Springfield.
“He graduated from medical school before he was old enough to practice, he was on the 1908 Olympic team, he served on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association, he was a member of the Committee Olympic in 1948, he was a successful surgeon all his time in Springfield and he was the president of the Society of American Magicians,” he said.
Originally known as the Goofus Club, Bail said the assembly was run from the theater built in the Calkins’ Central Street house where he also ran his doctor’s practice.
Bail said dinner attendees can expect performances from magicians who have performed around the world.
“They are not members of our organization, they are real professional magicians, and they are top flight. These guys have performed everywhere from Broadway to Australia,” he said.
As for the performers, attendees can expect appearances from magicians such as Jimmy C, George Saterial, Lyn Dillies, Meadow Perry and Bob Hale.
Bail detailed how magic shows have evolved over the years and what attendees can expect from the next performance.
“It used to be a guy in a tuxedo and a top hat pulling bunnies out of it, and then in the 1980s they kind of wore rock and roll jumpsuits and there were all kinds of crazy moves, these days you’re more likely to have magicians interacting with the audience – they’re usually funny – they’re not just there to impress and fool people,” he said. , sometimes you almost forget that he does magic.”
The cost to attend the show is $30 for adults and $10 for children under 12. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. For those also interested in the buffet, adult tickets are $50 for dinner and the show, while tickets for children under 12 are $20. Tickets can be purchased by sending a check to Tom Gentile at 4 Bass Cove Rd. in Southampton, via PayPal at [email protected] or by paying in person at RP Magic, which is located at 69 East St. in Ludlow. Payments for dinner tickets must be sent by August 7.
During the day, Bail said magicians can also attend a convention at the Lusitano Club before dinner and the celebration.
Bail added that he is looking forward to the event.
“I’m always excited about magic, I really enjoy lectures because that’s when a magician will combine performance and explain how they do things,” he said. “They teach you how to play, how to do magic tricks, how to manage the public, it’s quite fascinating. I also really like watching magicians play, but it’s different when you know things.