Peoria Magicians Assembly

Creating magical experiences everywhere we go.


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Posted on March 14, 2015 at 6:35 AM Comments comments (396)

Board Members in attendance were Jay Zenko, Jerry Tupper, Gambit, Michael Baker, and Rodney Nordstrom. The meeting started with the Financial Report from our Treasurer, Jay, who reported we have approximately $5,300.00 in our account. Next was old business. The board decided to hold our board meetings at Perkins on War Memorial Drive. The results of the auction were somewhat disappointing in that the club only made about approximately $70.00 from the sales. The turnout was low this year due to inclement whether. Our biggest conversation for the night had to do with the Central Illinois Magic Get Together, better known as the Stars Of America Magic Spectacular. This event will be held on April 25 at Expo Gardens starting at 7:00 with the doors opening at 6:30. The talent is lined up and it appears we are one stage performer short. Michael has volunteered to get somebody to fill that spot. Michael also informs us that the lighting and sound system are lined up. Ticket prices are $10.00 for kids 12 and under and $15.00 for adults. It was decided that we would make 60 posters of our event. Michael and Troy also agreed to check prices so we can get the best possible rate. It was estimated that the poster price would be somewhere between $1.00 to $1.50. In the last magic show we used large screens, however, this year it was decided not to use the screens because they offered very little. Jay informed us that his wife, Becky, would be manning concessions with our club member, Matt, as assistant. Also, since concessions will be going all day, many of the board members will have to fill in as needed. Jay will get a few different snacks together as well as soft drinks for sale. All items will sell for $1.00. Michael informed us that the dealers are going well and we still have room for one more which he is in the process of confirming.

We are in good shape for marketing this year and in fact I have already began public exposure on several web pages including the Chamber of Commerce. Rodney will continue to develop newspaper announcements. The importance of Facebook was highlighted. Troy and others who are familiar with the Facebook will continue to develop all possible contacts. We will put table teepees at restaurants that will allow us to do so. Also, it was discussed to give Eldon Roark copies of the poster so he can make posters and distribute them.

New business consisted of discussion about the possibility of performing at the Chiefs' game this year. It was anticipated that there would be two to three magicians doing walk around and an after game show on the infield perhaps at the pitchers mound with kids on the field sitting and watching. It was estimated that this event would last approximately 15 to 20 minutes before the fireworks started. We have been asked to again perform at the farmers market this year on the second and fourth Saturdays. Also, we are scheduled to perform one or two shows at IGNITE Peoria at the Civic Center in August. This is the second year doing this and we had a good time last year. Performances have yet to be confirmed.

Also, in anticipation of our April 25th show, we are going to do a week of magic starting Monday through Friday and the members have all volunteered to participate once we have identified the location of the respective restaurants. It is recommended that two magicians perform at each of the restaurants and monitor the table teepees announcing our April 25th show. Also, Rodney and Michael have been in contact with Leslie Renken from the Peoria Journal Star and trying to get her to do an interview regarding our event.

Our monthly topic for March is glass magic followed by April freestyle magic, May is flower magic, June is office magic and July is creative magic. Also, we have locked in Pop Haden for our September 19th lecture with the location to be announced.


2014 October Meeting Report

Posted on November 24, 2014 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (15)

On October 25th we held our Magic Teach-in for kids. Char Gott, Regis Kormick, Kyle Bassett, C.J. Diamond, and Michael Baker each taught easy to learn tricks. Brad Borland and Rodney Nordstrom were on hand to assist. The turnout was low with only 10 kids in attendance, but it seemed to be a fun time for all involved.


That evening, we had our Tribute to Houdini show to kick off Magic Week. Performers included Grant Golden, Troy Keefer, Jay Zentko, Brad Borland, Matthew Gardner, Kyle and Mollie Sue Pfister, Kyle Bassett, Michael Baker, and C.J. Diamond, who graciously flew in from Boston to be part of the show. Each performed with a tie-in to Houdini. Dennis Peacock served as the MC. Kyle Pfister supplied projection screens that had clips of Houdini running before the show and during intermission. Several other PMA members played integral roles taking tickets, serving concessions, running spotlight and doing close-up magic. The turnout was better than expected and the audience seemed to really like the show.


Happy Magical Halloween!

2014 September Meeting Reports

Posted on November 24, 2014 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (8)

Fall is in the air in Peoria!! Our September meeting took the guise of our annual picnic. As we have in the past, we held this at Marquette Heights, and we thank Barb Griffin for securing the use of the pavilion. There were a number of members and guests, and lots of great food. The PMA supplied the chicken, the Gardner family supplied the drinks, everyone brought wonderful side dishes, and a handful of magicians supplied the entertainment after we ate.

September also saw the Diamond Jim Tyler lecture and the final two appearances at the Riverfront Market for 2014.

Our October meeting began with some business, mostly associated with the Teach-in and Houdini Tribute show. Scott Gardner won the drawing in our quarterly incentive program.


Our theme of rope magic was well represented beginning with an in-depth discussion and demonstration of ropes through body. Regis Kormick, Jay Zentko, Grant Golden, and Kyle Pfister all participated. Grant then demonstrated and explained the Pretzel Bow Knot that vanishes, and Silk Through Rope.


Michael Baker used pieces of orange and black tissue paper to make a Jack-O-Lantern mask. Brock Cassidy showed his furry dragon pet and Rodney Nordstrom showed how two chosen card values come together in spite of the deck being well shuffled. Actually he showed us the .001% of the time that it doesn’t work! It was kind of funny because the trick usually will work.

2014 July Meeting Report

Posted on November 24, 2014 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (14)

So much magic happening in Peoria! July has seen the following events: We had a 10 day run at the Heart of Illinois fair, with several PMA members taking a turn at performing on stage each day, plus many showing up to perform close-up magic in the entertainment tent. Rodney Nordstrom, Jay Zentko, Kyle Bassett, and Michael Baker performed at the Riverfront Museum in conjunction with the Ripley’s Believe it or Not exhibit. Plus, we have performed our summertime gig at the Farmers Market twice this month!


On top of that, we of course had our monthly board meeting and our regular meeting.


This month’s meeting theme was Magic & Music. To start the meeting, we introduced ourselves to several guests, who came to check us out after learning of us through some of the public events and from other members. It’s great to see all the new faces!


There was a brief bit of business to bring us up to speed on upcoming events, and to recap those just finished.


Jerry Tupper performed a very nice routine called, “The Mother of all Diamonds”, where several lumps of coal magically transform into a shimmering pile of diamonds, except for one that served as a lesson to the magician. Jerry had appropriate music playing in the background.


New member prospect, Matthew showed his chops by performing a coin in a nest of boxes, appearing cards, and a mentalism trick with numbers on cards. Very accomplished for a young person, he will make a good addition to our group.


Terry Meridan performed an appearing wand. The prop was not behaving well, so there was some input on how to remedy the problem, so it will work better. Helping each other is part of what we do here.


Michael Baker performed his spin on René Lavand’s Three Card Monte to Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer”.


There was a lot of discussion of techniques with music, different sound systems, how to choose music, how to choose magic to go with a piece of music, how to edit, etc. Overall, the meeting was good and seemed to be enjoyed by all!


2014 June Meeting Report

Posted on June 23, 2014 at 6:45 PM Comments comments (2)

The June meeting began with updates on upcoming events, including the Riverfront Museum, the HOI Fair, Farmers Market, the Teach-in and the Houdini tribute. We learned the date for the Diamond Jim Tyler lecture will be September 18.


Jerry Tupper won the first of our incentive program $50. Prizes. Congrats!


Next, we went straight to the magic part of the evening with our theme Grab Bag. Grant Golden had gathered a nice array of various magic tricks that were all then hidden in bags. Each attendee was given a bag by a drawing, and each had a few minutes to study their trick and then perform it.


Jay Zentko was able to make a silk vanish and reappear with a unique gimmick, not often seen. Regis Kormick demonstrated rope through neck and body. Michael Baker made coins appear in two small cups, and Jerry Tupper performed Comedy Split Deck.


Brock Cassidy did the One Ace Trick, Grant Golden showed a wand and silk trick. Rodney Nordstrom had a Die, Rod and Tube penetration, and also performed Devil’s Nails. Kyle Bassett made salt poured from a shaker change to a ball and then demonstrated rope through neck.


Barb Griffin showed three cards and one disappeared. Grant Golden then read the risqué patter that Barb was wise enough not to use. Bob Sumner showed a torn and restored bill. Michael Couri performed with a deck that caused selected cards to vanish. Brad Borland performed a growing wand and a rattlesnake prediction effect.


Many comments were heard that this was a fun meeting. Several of us gathered at a nearby restaurant for dinner, drinks and more magic.


~ Michael Baker

2014 May Meeting Report

Posted on May 21, 2014 at 5:00 AM Comments comments (6)

May meeting report


Our May meeting began with President Rodney Nordstrom giving brief business updates, mostly regarding upcoming events. These included the Riverfront Farmer’s Market (2nd & 4th Saturdays through the Summer), the Believe It or Not Show at the Riverfront Museum July 19, a possible segment with Mark & Gretchen from WHOI-TV, the teaching session and Houdini Tribute in October, and the Bradley basketball halftime show with date TBA.


Rodney and Michael Baker gave a review of Abracorndabra convention this past weekend.


The magic theme for tonight was Flower Magic. Michael Baker began by demonstrating and describing a spring flower segment he once used. This involved a small folding screen that continued to produce flowers and finishes with a shower of several dozen flowers. Michael also demonstrated a trick with matches.


Paul Buob came very well stocked with the many flower devices he uses in his stage show. This involved appearing roses, flowers to silks, color-changing flowers, light up roses, and a floating rose, among other really fun ideas and props. Paul also showed a few ideas with silks that he uses in conjunction with the rose magic.


Grant Golden brought a new Botania, which he recently purchased at a magic auction. This adds to his ever-growing collection of Botanias. He also demonstrated a Garden of Flowers shawl, and discussed ideas for improving the handling of it.


There was a bit of conversation, drinks and dinner, and of course a lot of magic following the formal meeting at a nearby restaurant.


Submitted by Michael Baker – PMA Secretary

2014 April Meeting Report

Posted on April 27, 2014 at 9:15 PM Comments comments (4)

April is Alive with Magic in Peoria!


The April meeting, with 14 people in attendance and the first decent weather that we have had in several months, began with a bit of business in the form of updates regarding upcoming events. We have a busy year planned and no sign of stopping yet! The Peoria Magicians Assembly is making a point of increasing our visibility within the community. This involves several planned public performances, as well as a teach-in day for Cub Scouts in October, that will culminate in a “Tribute to Houdini” show that evening.


Ahead of that, we will perform at the Riverfront Museum and the Heart of Illinois Fair, and be regular attendees at the Farmer’s Market through the summer.


This month also began our new incentive program. Any member who attends all three consecutive meetings in any calendar quarter will be entered into a drawing for a $50.00 cash prize for that quarter.


Our theme for the evening was on the topic of “patter”. This began unceremoniously as Regis Kormick took the floor and began discussing his thoughts on patter and it’s value in magic. He described it as putting the magic into magic, and said that the magician should be a storyteller.


This discussion went on for quite some time, with almost everyone adding his or her thoughts on this topic. Troy Keefer brought up the point that patter is a great form of misdirection. Rodney Nordstrom gave us the dictionary definition of patter and then introduced us to a book, “Sleights of Mind”, which is an in-depth study on the psychology of words, as used in magic. He also brought up a mini-discussion of using patter to recover from mistakes.


Jerry Tupper brought up the use of comedy in patter, a discussion that transcended into a discussion on the use of negative put downs and certain comedy props… a bit of a side track for us all as we joined that mini discussion, but one worth the exploration.


Dr Ron Sumner brought up a good point in mentioning that patter can easily be overused, as well as underused. Most agreed that first drafts of patter are often way too long and are trimmed back with experience.


Grant Golden demonstrated a Chinese Sticks routine using an old patter bit, a story of Sing Hi and Sing Lo. This was obviously recognized as being obsolete with regard to political correctness, but was used to demonstrate how patter can be used to integrate with a trick to give a level of meaning to the action.


Michael Baker demonstrated a Cut & Restored Rope, and a Sponge Ball/Gozinta Box routine, both of which used patter with a nostalgic theme.


Finally, Betty Giacobazzi performed a routine she calls “Sam & Andy”, a story trick with a deck of cards, not unlike “Sam, the Bellhop”. This was performed with apparent confidence, and I think left a few of us stunned by the chops of this newcomer to the club.


There was a bit of split-group discussion following the meeting, and several of us met in the parking lot to look over and purchase some books and other items from Gordon Snow’s estate. Grant Golden has been doing a wonderful job helping Janie Snow deal with this monumental task.


Visit us when you can! We meet third Monday of each month at Schnucks on University at Glen (in the Metro Center).

2014 March Meeting Report

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (7)

On March 1st we held our annual auction at Congregational United Church in Pekin, where our Past President is the pastor. Thanks to him for arranging this location for us. The event was filled with many tables of regular sale items and the auction block was humming with the larger and higher priced items. Lots of members sold their items and many others went home with their newly acquired goodies.


Our March meeting was called to order by PMA President Rodney Nordstrom. There were 13 members in attendance.


The topic was “Present your favorite magic trick or discuss your favorite magician”. It was interesting to get feedback on the most popular tricks and favorite magicians.


Much of the evening’s discussion was aimed at our annual show on April 5th at Expo Gardens’ Opera House.. Rodney outlined our goals this year. Media blitz will start next week with several television and radio appearances by our magicians. Our show lineup includes eight magicians and our MC, Jay Zenko on a Matinee and Evening Show, too. Many different disciplines of magic will be included, from manipulation to comedy, and from mentalism to illusions.


As part of our arrangement with Expo Gardens, we will be doing 20 performances at the Heart of Illinois fair in July.


Also in July will be a performance at the Riverfront Museum, in conjunction with their exhibit theme of “Believe it or Not”. In the same area of town, every other Saturday throughout the summer, we will have a tent at the Riverfront Farmer’s Market, where we will perform close-up.


As if that weren't enough, we are also planning a "Tribute to Houdini" for October and will be performing at the men's Bradley University basketball game later this year in front of over six thousand people! We want to thank all those who are volunteering to perform at the events this year and our backstage help, as well!


Posted on March 23, 2014 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (2)




The following members were in attendance: Brad Borland, Michael Baker, Jay

Zenko, Dr. Jerry Tupper and Rodney Nordstrom.

Members not present were Grant Golden and Kyle Bassett.

Our meeting started with approval of the board minutes for February 3rd, by

unanimous agreement.



The Apollo Theatre possibility was revisited. It was the general consensus

of the board that we should proceed with additional information from the Apollo and that

it would be a HOUDINI TRIBUTE. It was also discussed that we need a partner with a

local group to help with attendance and possible defray some cost. Naturally, in the

event we have a partner on this endeavor some sort of monetary split would be

expected. Rodney will continue to update the board on developments and report at the

next meeting. October 25th

was discussed as a possible date. Expo Gardens was

identified as a back-up plan.


Jerry Tupper has made contact with Brian Ualenhopt from the Boy Scouts. We

are planning an event on October 25th

at the Opera House at Expo Gardens primarily

toward teaching magic to youngsters. It was also discussed about the possibility of the

Boy Scouts earning a merit badge for their attendance and participation. Other youth

agencies could attend if they wish. Jerry will continue to work with the Boy Scouts while

board members will attempt to identify other groups who might want to participate in the

magic training on October 25th



No discussion. This topic was tabled.


Rodney reported that he is still pursuing the opportunity to present magic at the

local libraries. He will continue to develop this opportunity for local magicians to present

for one hour at various libraries.



Jerry indicated that he contacted Dave Osborn about the use of Troublefree as a

place for our lectures. Jerry said that David was acceptable with that.


A final list of performers was prepared by Michael Baker. Performers and the

amount of time allotted to each were agreed upon. Michael Baker also indicated he had

a contract with the sound and lighting provider for the same terms as last year. The

evening show will consist of Ken Tassalar, Gambit, D’Nordo, C J Diamond, Michael

Baker, Jerry Tupper, Grant Golden and Troy Keefer. The matinee show will be the

same performers and adding Troy Keefer’s son, James, to the performers list.


Brad Borland, our Treasurer, reported that we made a $175.60 from our auction

last week. Our ending balance for February was approximately $4,400.


Rodney said we were asked to perform at the Farmer’s Market by Sharon

Graham every other Saturday morning as we have done at the riverfront for the last

three years. It would start June 14, 2014 and be the 2nd

and 4th

Saturdays thereafter.


Rodney will contact all media late March regarding the April 5th



Rodney will call SAM at IBM for insurance quotes for the main events this year.


Rodney and Michael met with the director of the Peoria Museum. We might have

the opportunity to do a show(s) during Ripley’s Believe It Or Not month in September.

The location is not ideal but does offer close-up opportunities on a 50 ft. screen.


Posted on February 7, 2014 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)

The following members were in attendance: Brad Borland, Michael Baker, Jay Zenko, Dr. Jerry Tupper, Grant Golden, Kyle Bassett and Rodney Nordstrom.

Our next club meeting is set for Monday, February 17th at 7:00 o’clock at Schnucks Grocery Store in Peoria and the topic will be LOVE magic.

Auction: our auction this year will be held Saturday, March 1st at the Congregational Church, 2200 Willow in Pekin, Illinois (corner of Willow and Parkway). Any questions should be directed to Jerry Tupper at (309) 673-7899. Doors open at 11:00 for dealers with the formal auction beginning at 12:00 to 6:00 P.M. Tables available for $10.00 per table for items selling for less than $10.00.

Apolo Theatre the possibility of doing a tribute to Harry Houdini during the month of October to coincide with his death was discussed. The group was generally in favor of pursuing this opportunity but we need more input and information.

Bradley Basketball half time show. The board generally agreed that it was worth pursuing to perform at a half time Bradley Basketball show that would last approximately seven minutes. We have many months to develop this opportunity but seems like a good chance to get public exposure for our group. Rodney will keep the board informed.

Our annual show will be April 5th. Many members expressed an interest in performing at this year’s show which will be held on Saturday, April 5th at Expo Gardens. The Board agreed to hire the sound and lighting guy from last year at the cost of approximately $250.00. There will be two shows on April the 5th one at two o’clock which will be the child’s matinée and then Saturday evening at 7:00 consisting of all members who wish to perform. So far the list includes about 8 or 9 possible performers and minutes per performance will be adjusted accordingly so that all wishing to perform would likely have an opportunity to perform. Gambit will be designing the tickets entitled AN EVENING OF MAGIC and matinee tickets will be priced at $5.00 per person for both children and adults and the evening show will be $10.00 with one free ticket for the child and $5.00 for each additional child. A two color ticket system will be used as it worked well last year. Gambit will forward ticket design to board members this week.

Libraries: We will be pursuing doing performances at local libraries. Also discussed was the possibility of setting up glass display cases at the library. The library is getting some ideas for us to explore, e.g. dates and $ budget.

Boy Scotts: Jerry said he has some contacts with this group and will contact them to see if we can possibly do some teaching so they could earn some kind of performance badge.

Jerry Tupper said that he would contact Dave Osborn from Trouble Free Plumbing to tell him that the auction will be changed to a new location this year. We do want to thank him for letting us use his place to meet. It is also agreed that we would like to keep the lectures at his place for this year if it is okay with him.

Web Page: Gambit gets a big Kudos for his work on our web page.