international brotherhood of magicians

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

Review of my KW Lecture

I just received a review of my lecture earlier this year at the Joan Caesar Hat & Wand Club in Kitchener. It appeared in the May 2013 issue of The Linking Ring, tucked in the back on p 141. I'll leave it to subscribers to read the whole review (including the interesting way they misspelled my name) but here are some highlights.

James' prediction of a spectator's [named] card along with a fifty dollar bet under impossible conditions, left our members in awe. It was almost an impossible prediction.

When James located all of the hearts in order in a shuffled deck while thoroughly blindfolded, we were totally dumbfounded and amazed - a great way to finish the evening. We would definitely have James back again to enjoy his reality-based magic.

-Darryl Hutton

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