Magic’s 76-Year-Old Schmoozefest Goes Virtual
Secrets, Gossip, and Wisecracks Shared as Magicians Gather in the Lunchtime Event Organized by Parent Assembly of the Society of American Magicians
The Magic Table Not Only Survives but Thrives in its New Virtual Setting
The Magic Table has gone virtual. From Brooklyn 93-year-old magician George Schindler is snapping out borscht-belt-style one-liners as he regales a group of fellow conjurors with tales from his 75 year career in magic. Across the country in Los Angeles, sleight of hand whiz Howard Hamburg joins in and teaches techniques for card magic while also sharing stories of his legendary friends Dai Vernon and Charlie Miller. Twenty-something magician Holden Summers dives into learning magic from magicians at the “table” who are willing to pass on their secrets to a new generation. Other magicians, from Florida, New Jersey, Indiana and points far and wide gather to demonstrate tricks, share magic news, gossip and schmooze about their shared interest in legerdemain. After meeting for years in Times Square area restaurants, the 76-year-old lunchtime get-together has thrived after a recent transition to a virtual version.
“When it became obvious that we would have to suspend in-person get-togethers due to health concerns, we were determined to make sure that the longstanding tradition of our magic lunch continued.” said Herb Scher, President of the Parent Assembly of the Society of American Magicians, which sponsors the meet-ups. What we didn’t anticipate is that the virtual format would breathe new vitality into the event. Now we are able to welcome magicians from any location, so we are seeing participation from across the country, as well as increased involvement from local magicians who sign in from their homes and offices. Even though we have shifted the platform, the Magic Table continues its role as a hub, a clearinghouse for information, and a social gathering point for friends old and new.”
The Magic Table was founded by the Parent Assembly in 1944. At its start it was a daily roundtable for local magicians, who in the pre-internet age relied on such in-person get-togethers in order to share techniques, tips, and news. It also was a de-riguer way station for magicians visiting New York. Everyone in magic it seemed made a stop at The Magic Table, which in its early days met at the restaurant of the Hotel Dixie. Over the years several unofficial “Chairmen” of the table have spearheaded the gathering, including Larry Acuri, Joe Barnett, Mike Bornstein, and most recently, Tom Klem. For decades the exploits of the table were documented in a monthly magazine column in M-U-M, the national magazine published by the S.A.M. Until mid-March 2020 the Table was meeting on Fridays at the Times Square Diner before the Parent Assembly made the decision to move the gathering to a digital platform. Anyone with an interest in magic is welcome to attend the sessions. The Zoom link is published on Friday mornings at magicsampa1.com.
Parent Assembly, #1, founded in 1902, is the oldest magic club in New York and the largest chapter of the national Society of American Magicians. Its mission is to elevate the art of magic and provide its members with opportunities to perform, learn magic, and connect with others who share a love of conjuring. The Assembly holds monthly member meetings that feature a wide range of programming, including instructional sessions with well-known magicians, performances by members, collector’s events, history talks and more. The Assembly also produces the annual Salute to Magic show which features an annual bill of top flight magicians and over the years has presented such legendary conjurors as Houdini, Cardini, Blackstone, Slydini, the Amazing Randi, Johnny Thompson, the Pendragons, and Asi Wind, to name just a few.
Press Contact: Herb Scher, firstname.lastname@example.org