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Sisters of Mystery Virtual Magic Seminar 2020 Review
At times I wonder how people are doing with the pandemic of 2020. There are so many unemployed, and although a lot of businesses are open, they are operational in a restricted basis. Food and entertainment are the hardest hit, with restaurants having to limit the number of people at their establishments to comply with social distancing regulations. Every single live show in Las Vegas has been cancelled, awaiting instructions from the state government regarding permission to open.
These are not normal times.
Every single magic convention I was scheduled to attend this year has been cancelled due to the Covid pandemic.
Is This the Age of Virtual Magic Conventions?
For several years, after the Magic Live Convention – which normally starts on the first Sunday of August through the following Wednesday – the McBride Magic and Mystery School has a seminar for women in magic. Alas! I have not attended the event in several years. My responsibilities as a caretaker for Norm made this difficult, as I would have to leave him for four days during the main Magic Live event (where we had a booth), and could not take yet another day off to hang out with the ladies.
Sisters of Mystery Online Event
This year was different. The event titled “Sisters of Mystery” met this year virtually, via Zoom, the day after what was supposed to be Magic Live, on Thursday, August 6, 2020.
WOMEN IN MAGIC – For all those who say that there are no women in magic, in my opinion, there are many. This gathering had between 30 – 34 women from all parts of the world: From Europe, to the Middle East, to all regions in the United States and Canada.
It was a lively group of women with various interests and goals. Some of them were amateur magicians, other were writers trying to find more information about women in magic, others were full-time professionals (who discussed the challenges of making a living during these difficult times), others used their magic to help others – as in teaching or counseling, etc. It was quite a talented and diverse group.
The event was organized and moderated by Abigail Spinner McBride, who has always had as one of her goals to encourage other women to join the world of magic and performance.
The starting time was promptly at 10:00 am, and after brief introductions we were treated to a Zoom magic show by several performers:
- Joan Dukore – Who skillfully handles a deck of cards and showed us a complete routine that concluded in her signature version of and effect called “Further than That”.
- Jen Kramer – A current headliner here in Las Vegas, performed next with more card miracles.
- Heather Rogers – Entertained us with general magic and had a hilarious act themed around being ready to date “extraterrestrials.” Lol!
- Abigail Spinner McBride – Closed the show with her signature Zig Zag card effect.
After the show, we were broken into various groups within the Zoom interface where we got to know each other, and what our goals were regarding our practice of magic.
Upon our return, we were treated to various talks and lectures.
Virtual Magic Talks and Lectures During the Sisters of Mystery Seminar
- Romany, from England, spoke to us about the “Power of Persistence” and how important it is to visualize and put out into the universe what you want out of life and your career. Somehow, magically, things will work in your favor if you are focused and work towards your goals. As a real life example he told us about her adventures in writing her magic book: “Spun into Gold”. She described about how she was inspired to write it, and how she became a keynote speaker.
- Zarina Potapova, from Russia, came next. For those who do not know her, she is one of the premiere magic assistants in the business. She has been assisting Hans Klok for the last twenty years. The energy and quality of a stage act is dependent not only on the performer, but the assistant as well. The energy and charisma she brings to Mr. Klok’s show is breathtaking.
- Joan Dukore, from Las Vegas, Nevada, lectured next on card magic. She taught us seven different card forces she has learned throughout the years. This was my favorite lecture, as it appealed to my hands-on temperament, and my love for magic tricks. One of the little forces that she learned from Jen Adams was worth the price of admission for me. I am doing it right now! Lol!
The opportunity to take a forty-five minute lunch break came next.
After lunch, a new panel of females in magic returned to the screen to provide more insight into our wonderful world of mystery!
- Connie Boyd, from Canada, lectured on her new role as a magic show producer for cruise ships along with her “Magical Women” channel on You Tube.
- Krystyn Lambert also came by and gave us a surprise visit, and so did Kayla Drescher.
- Lynetta Welch, who is the premiere manufacturer of magic fabric products, gave a lecture on the Egg Bag, and the history of this effect, along with the story on how she started making the very best Egg Bags in the world with the guidance of Johnny Thompson, who learned from Charlie Miller, who learned directly from Malini himself. Hence! The reason she calls it the “Silk Legacy Malini Egg Bag”.
- A panel discussion with Heather Bruno, Hollie England and Melanie Kramer came next. They all spoke about their lives as magicians’ assistants, and how it is to work in a magic show. Abigail, also gave some input in her experience assisting Jeff McBride. It was eye-opening to see what troopers these gals are. They all have an intense physical job, when jumping in and out of illusions, and they put up with a lot of risk and the possibility of accidents. Many assistants, have scars, bruises, burns and broken bones from the job. “The show must go on,” is not only a cliché, but a reality with them.
- The final lecture was given by Heather Rogers. She spoke about various techniques, methods, and gadgets to improve time management, overall health and even brain function. Being healthy and organized in show business is important, and she had a lot to share in this department.
Closing remarks, and a hearty farewell followed, to conclude the day successfully.
About the Sisters of Mystery Magic Seminar
We spent a total of seven hours, sharing our experiences and listening to interesting talks and lectures. I enjoyed the day and the camaraderie amongst the ladies. How remarkable it is that we were able to get together (virtually) through our love for magic, and to share so many interesting ideas.
To a certain extent, I am starting to get used to the Zoom platform. Everyone has a “front row” seat and more people from other parts of the world are able to participate easily. Although I am still old fashioned – where I value personal interactions for conferences – I guess we will all have to adapt to this brave new world from now on.
Kudos to the organizers of this magical event!
A huge thank you goes to Abigail for organizing and hosting the event, and to her sidekick Katherine Rettke who was the co-hostess. I also suspect that Scott Steelfyre was also invisibly present. He is the techno wiz that gets all the seminars at the school organized for later viewing by the participants. If he was there, my gratitude goes to him as well.
I had fun, and it was a positive experience. I look forward to the next Sisters of Mystery gathering in 2021. If you are interested, please check out the McBride Magic and Mystery School for their upcoming schedule of events.
- Lupe Nielsen
(August 9, 2020)