P Howard Lyons

All in Good Fun

When groups of magicians gather together, strange things happen. I imagine the same thing must happen if you assemble any group of likeminded individuals like artists, musicians or politicians. But this is especially true with the P. Howard Lyons Ring.

Where to begin?

The P. Howard Lyons Ring, sometimes known as Ring 99, is a chapter of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the world's largest fraternal organization of magicians. The club meets at a secret location known only as "The Usual Place and Time." The membership is a motley crew of magicians, mentalists, psychics, comedians, university students, philosophers and general dilettantes. The ring's objectives lie vaguely between "advancing the art of magic" and "perfecting esoteric techniques for the vanishment and disappearance of pub foods."

This is a group that doesn't take themselves too seriously and certainly knows how to have a good time. They also had the misfortune of having me as their president.

Awards season takes on a whole new meaning

At the close of the 2012-13 season, the club decided to give out two special awards, one of which was:

The Mark Lewis Memorial Award for Imagination, Integrity, Curmudgeonhood or Best Two Out Of Three

While I should point out that the award itself is completely facetious (see photos below), the individual it is named after does deserve some recognition.

Mark Lewis is a staple of the Toronto magic community. He performs as the elderly curmudgeon, and when watching others perform, he is as harsh a critic as one can imagine. He is also never one to shy away from offering an opinion, on any subject. He is decidedly "old school" and constantly pushing others to raise the quality of the magic they perform and to bring respect and honour to the art of magic. If something can earn a slight nod of approval from "The Great Mark Lewis" then you must be on to something. (Or perhaps, it is one of the seven signs of the coming apocalypse, who knows.) In addition to being a superlative children's entertainer, he is also one of the main characters in Ninety-Nine Fabrications Volumes 1 & 2.

Special mention is also due to Lisa Close who presented this "prestigious" award.Lisa crafted a speech which is probably the single greatest piece of magic verbiage since Bob Farmer's treatise on Wombats and Wildebeests (don't ask). She was somehow able to transition an award for James Alan into a roast of for James Alan so seamlessly we didn't even notice. Well done Lisa!

Lisa's speech, along with several other Ring secrets will be included in the forthcoming volume of Ninety-Nine Fabrications, because we clearly have too much time on our hands.

I'm honoured that the club would choose to present me with this prestigious (and infinitely practical) award. I will display it proudly in my home next to my other made up award.

Mark Lewis Award

Seventeen Secrets Volume 2

I've just seen the first copies of the second volume of Seventeen Secrets. The booklet was produced by the Sid Lorraine Hat & Rabbit Club in Toronto. It was intended as a way to create something unique for our members by leveraging the talent of the amazing magicians that the club brings to the city. Editing Volume 1 was a tremendous experience. It was a collaboration with eight other people from three different countries. It was also a valuable growth experience for me as I was working with other people's material covering a wide range of fields from close up magic to stage magic to mentalism to gambling demonstrations.

The format was inspired by an earlier Toronto publication, Ibidem, which was a magazine published irregularly by P. Howard Lyons from 1955-1979. I never met Howard Lyons, so I suppose it is more accurate to say I was inspired by his legend. The cover of Seventeen Secrets was an image that reminded me of the artwork of Pat Lyons, which filled the original Ibidems inside and out. It struck me as suitably unusual for this project.

That volume was very well received and the executive asked me if I would work on another so here we are. I am even more impressed with the final product this time than I was with Volume 1. We were able to obtain more contributions (probably because the first book turned out so well). We were also able to do some rather unusual things. Chris Mayhew contributed his flourish, "Trinado" which took a huge amount of work to describe in print. Denis Behr, from Germany, contributed a card trick that comes with its own smartphone app and is so intricately constructed, I'm not even sure Denis himself knows how it works.  The only one we missed as Shane Cobalt who lectured for the club in November, but I suspect thad had something to do with our print deadlines conflicting with his wedding... next time perhaps.

The new booklet is available from the Hat & Rabbit Club here. I believe there are also a handful of copies of Volume 1 left if you act quickly.

Seventeen Secrets Vol 2

Ninety-Nine Fabrications

I'm pleased to announce a special publication written in conjunction with Dr. Sammy Jakubowicz and the P. Howard Lyons Ring of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. The P. Howard Lyons Ring meets at a regular location on an irregular basis in Toronto. The membership comprises a motley crew of magicians, mentalists, comedians, psychics, university students, philosophers and general dilettantes. Topics of discussion include advancing the art of magic and techniques for the vanishment and disappearance of liquids.

Reports of the activities of the Ring are chronicled in The Linking Ring, the official organ of the IBM. These reports are based on facts only in the loosest way possible.

I became involved with Ring 99 as its secretary in 2008 and was elected to the Presidency in 2010. In the spirit of the late P. Howard Lyons, we have assembled some of our Ring Reports in a special eBook now available for purchase on Kobo, Kindle and iTunes for the appropriate sum of ninety nine cents.

99fab