The 22nd Annual New
England Gathering Of The Magi
NOW SEE & THEN READ WHAT YOU MISSED!
On November 14-16, 2013 a small group of magical performers got together for the Inner Circle of Bizarre Magick’s 22nd Annual New England Gathering of the Magi. In past years it had been called The Inner Circle of Bizarre Magick’s Annual Gathering of the Magi. The name was changed a few years ago in the hopes of attracting mainstream magicians as well as those into the bizarre.
The ICBM Gathering of the Magi started as Christmas dinner at a local restaurant where members would put on a show for themselves and gather for good food, good drink and good company. As interest grew, it became a one day convention held in November, right after the busy Halloween season. Then, once Docc Hilford officially announced the end of his Weerd Weekend, an annual three day bizarre magick convention, Joe Cabral picked up the slack and extended the Gathering to three days.
The members of the ICBM are not a group of Satanists. They do not perform ritual goat sacrifices. Nor do they sacrifice virgins. They don’t drink blood but they do wear black robes from time to time, play with voodoo dolls, and call upon the spirit of the dearly departed. Hope you’re still with us.
The Gathering runs Thursday night through Saturday night. Thursday is usually a meet and greet. People travelling from out of state or out of the United States can gather in the hospitality suite and hang with other early attendees and guests. More often than not, there will be a special performance planned for that evening as well; small and fitting the space and the amount of attendees. In the past the likes of Brother Shadow, Ed Fowler and Odes Odhner have performed. This year Bev Bergeron talked about his life in magic, working with Mark Wilson and his connection with such luminaries as Lucille Ball to name just a few. I wasn’t there for the Thursday night talk, but having seen Bev Bergeron talk years ago about his exploits, I wish I was able to make it. Bev gives you an insider’s look into show business that you rarely see.
Friday is geared for the bizarre magicians. There are usually two lectures during the day. One in the morning and one in the afternoon. This year’s Friday lectures were FISM Champion Rick Merrill and Stephan Bargatze. There is also a works in progress show (where performers can show something they are working on and get constructive criticism and other feedback) and the Friday night Bizarre Show.
Saturday is geared for the mainstream magicians with a close up show, two lectures (this year were Oscar Munoz and Bev Bergeron) and the Saturday Evening Gala Dinner and Show. Once again, Bev was in rare form teaching us classics of magic that a rarely performed today. In essence, new magic to most.
Sunday may have an extra workshop or master class by one of the attendees/performers. In the past we’ve had workshops by Jeff McBride, Bob Fitch, Todd Robbins, and Eugene Burger to name a few.
Joe Cabral works hard all year networking with top performers in the world to get them to attend the Gathering. Some say yes immediately. For others, It may take a few years, but eventually they warm up to Joe and say yes. After attending the Gathering, they wonder why it took them so long to attend.
Joe Cabral and I sat down with Oscar Munoz and Stephan Bargatze this year to see what they thought about the convention. Both admitted that when they were invited by Joe to come to the Gathering, they didn’t know what to expect. But now that they’ve been here, it was a lot different than what they expected. Stephen Bargatze said that he didn’t think he’d have anything in common with anyone here but discovered that “it’s the love of the art of magic that we share. That’s our common bond. “
Both Oscar and Stephan performed in the Friday Night Bizarre Show. Stephan said that you don’t have to be bizarre, you’re already bizarre if you’re into magic. Both noted that by committing to perform in the bizarre show, it caused them to think outside of the box. They knew that they had to come up with something special. Of the magic presented over the weekend, Oscar noted: “There are no repeats. I didn’t see any repeats.” You won’t see four appearing canes or 2 billiard ball routines during the Gathering.
You may see a vampire gambling with an audience member for their soul, a Voodoo priest with the world’s only living Voodoo doll, a card trick where the selected card winds up in the chest cavity of the magician’s assistant, or a ginger haired Irish lad with a green triangle painted on his face performing an escape that will remind you of the Sword of Damocles. These will most likely be members of the Inner Circle of Bizarre Magick or attendees that have been there before.
You’ll also see top names in magic like: Jeff McBride, Eugene Burger, Max Maven, Losander, Ed Fowler, Chris Capehart, Shawn Farquhar, etc., in addition to the performers already mentioned in this year’s lineup.
Any good magic convention will have down time. This gives you an opportunity to catch your breath and prepare for the next event. The Gathering is no exception. The Dealer’s Room stays open through most of the weekend. They do shut down to eat. There’s a bar in the hotel and the lobby where some attendees like to hang out.
Probably the most talked about event at the Gathering is the hospitality suite. Joe ensures that it’s loaded up with enough to eat and drink for the weekend. You’ll find soda, wine, beer, Strega along with chips, dip, sandwich platter and homemade offerings of pulled pork, chili and baked goods. If you happened to miss a chance to go out for dinner, you won’t go to bed hungry.
The hospitality suite is where the attendees and performers get together and schmooze. It’s like one big cocktail party. Some are discussing magic, some are discussing raising their kids, some are discussing the cost of health care in Canada vs the US. EVERYONE is approachable and everyone is on the same playing field. Angelique Steelgrave noted that there is no barrier between performer and attendee here. This is not like other conventions. And this is why the hospitality suite is my favorite part of the Gathering. The hospitality suite is where people connect. It’s where new friendships are made and old friendships are renewed. It’s the common ground that allows you to join in and start conversations with anyone you want. It’s where we all become family.
One last thing. The hospitality suite is open until the last body leaves. No, really.
that we’ve lifted the veil of this wonderful convention, have you signed
up for the 23rd Annual Gathering of the Magi yet?
LESLIE MELVILLE writes:-
recovering from jet-lag following an exhilarating week in the US;
for me at the Gathering, in no particular order - Evildan's
is without doubt a unique weekend where there are no excessive displays
Merrill's lecture was revelation! He first presented his masterful
a personal level, it was nice to renew friendships with Joe Cabral, Gil
you to all of those who purchased copies of the new book(s) and
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