Thursday, September 4, 2008

Tony Eng Youth Program

In May 2008, Magicana created a tribute fund in the name of the late Tony Eng. The fund was designed to promote and support youths interested in the art of magic. The first of our program series was the Tony Eng Youth Challenge.

Participants under the age of twenty-five were invited to write a short essay telling us what they would hope to gain by attending one of the many magic related events in Toronto during the month of August. In total, we sponsored four winning prizes: a seat at the limited-engagement, Giobbi on Vernon; a seat at the Eric Mead Lecture; a seat at the Michael Ammar Lecture; and finally, a seat at the Michael Ammar Workshop.

We were thrilled with the entries. A "blind" panel of judges read through the essays and assigned two winners and two first-runner ups. Congratulations to our winners. Below is an account by Shane Cobalt, winner of the Giobbi on Vernon Seminar prize:
"Earlier this summer, special guest Roberto Giobbi (of Switzerland) delivered a lecture that will never be forgotten. For three hours (actually three and a half), Roberto discussed the magic of Dai Vernon. He demonstrated routines which were previously unheard of including a hilarious sequence using bananas. He carefully analyzed and deconstructed the psychology behind each effect.

Roberto's card handling was world class and a number of seldom seen techniques were brought to life for the intimate audience of 25. Roberto demonstrated a table shift (a technique Vernon had acquired which was designed for use at a card table) which was not made available until very recently. He demonstrated the shift so slowly that many in the audience were left blinking in disbelief. Roberto did a superb job of choosing and presenting some of Dai Vernon's masterpieces."
Many of Vernon's technical achievements were chronicled in the recently released Revelation, edited by Magicana's Chairman, David Ben (and published by Mike Caveney's Magic Words). Part one of Dai Vernon's biography was released in 2006. The second volume is currently being researched and is expected to be released in 2010.

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