15 September 2019

Toronto Magic Club Town Hall

Town Hall on Monday September 23rd, The Imperial Pub.  See the end of the post for more information.

From the September 13th post by James Alan in the (Sid Lorraine) Toronto Magic Club Facebook group:
Apologies in advance for the length of this post, from the conversations we have been having, a number of you would like to read it! A few people have brought up concerns or questions regarding the changes being proposed for the club, and we want to address them.
Please feel free to comment below, or to reach out to any of us privately. We have also organized a Town Hall on Monday September 23rd to discuss the changes and so anyone who wants to come talk in person is welcome (and invited!) to do so. - https://www.facebook.com/events/436950640256041/

But to answer some of your questions.

We are the same club, The Sid Lorraine Hat & Rabbit Club, IBM Ring 17. We are still committed to providing our members with valuable magic experiences and opportunities; to help grow individually as magic enthusiasts and to leave magic as a whole better off than we found it. (And if you are one of those distinguished humans with an honorary lifetime membership, it is still here waiting for you.)
However anyone who has been paying attention over the past few years has noticed that the club has not been providing as good an experience for its members as it could have. The club was slowly withering away in every way: our membership numbers were declining, especially younger members. The planning and communication coming from the executive was spotty and inconsistent. When we put out a request for members willing to serve on the executive at the end of the last season, the number of people who volunteered was TWO (and there are six elected positions in the executive plus three more appointed).

So when the Toronto Magic Company approached us with both a downtown venue AND the opportunity to partner for the coming season, we took it. They are focused on the performance of magic — both in presenting great magic to the public through ticketed shows, and in providing local performers with opportunities to learn and grow. We are focused on educational and social activities just for magicians. And since all of us naturally have our hands in many magic cookie jars, we saw a powerful opportunity to collaborate: coordinate our schedules and help bring performers to the city that we might not otherwise be able to afford.

Part of that partnership was rebranding. We are competing for attention in an internet age and rabbits and top hats do nothing to attract a new generation of members. So we went with Toronto Magic Club as the ultimate “Keep it Simple Stupid” solution. And while I have the deepest connection to Sid of my generation — I personally transcribed Peter Isaacs’ handwritten interview notes to form the Magical ChatterBox blog (which is sadly down for repair following a malware attack last year and we hope will be back up soon.) - we thought it would be in the best interest of the club (from a marketing standpoint) to keep the name simple.

That being said, we’ve heard from many valued members of the community who felt that this would be disrespectful to Sid’s legacy, which is something we don’t want. Based on our many conversations, the most likely compromise is that this will be *The Sid Lorraine Toronto Magic Club*- but we’ll wait until the town hall before making any more decisions!

Also at this point, we do not have an executive. We have an advisory board to steward the club for this season comprised of past members of the club and active participants in the magic community. We are governing by consensus without executive meetings or Roberts Rules of Order. But we are in regular contact and can be reached with questions (and suggestions!) at secrets@torontomagicclub.com. If you have an idea worth stealing, we want it. And if you want to help out in any way this season, we welcome your contributions!

We have made it easier than ever before to stay informed about what’s going on. No more last minute email reminders that there’s a meeting tomorrow, and pleeeeease come. You can be part of the group on Facebook, follow us on Instagram or receive updates through email, RSS or Wordpress. We have announced our programming for the season, starting with five OUTSTANDING lecturers and more programming to be announced as we work on the details. We have secured a venue that is more centrally located downtown with convenient TTC access and parking across the street (and that won’t snarl and kick us out at 9:30 PM). We don’t want anyone to be part of this club out of “habit”, for “tradition” or out of a sense that we need your support. We want our members to know what we’re offering up front and to be excited about being part of it!

My sincere apologies for the lengthy post, but if you have read this far, it means that you care deeply about being part of the club and we are thrilled to have you with us. We can’t wait to see you back this year.

From the September 13th post by Jacque Swan in the (Sid Lorraine) Toronto Magic Club Facebook group:
Hello Everyone!

Some of you know me, some of you don't, so I'd like to introduce myself before the new club season begins. I've been in magic for a couple years now. I frequently perform on Newest Trick, help backstage occasionally with shows in the city, and was invited by Jeff Pinsky to perform at this past Bash. I'm also the producer for the "Discourse in Magic" podcast. Ben, James and Jonah asked me to be on the advisory board this year to bring a fresh perspective to the club.

Given that a few people seem to be upset at the changes that have been made recently, I thought I’d offer my perspective as both a young magician and a woman in magic. I was never a member until this year. Why? Because the club never appealed to me for a variety of reasons. The programming wasn't for me, the location was a little depressing, the club seemed severely outdated, and young people just didn't seem welcome, let alone a young woman. We literally had a 30-minute discussion YESTERDAY about what to do about someone who told one of our female members that a woman’s place was in the kitchen, not on stage. We want everyone to feel welcome, so there's no place for bigotry in the club.

But what truly prevented me from joining the Hat & Rabbit Club was the fact that nobody seemed to want anything to do with it. Everything I heard about the club made it seem like it was in a constant state of chaos, and nobody wanted to fix it. Which was always unfortunate to me because the Toronto magic community deserves a thriving club that pushes magic forwards, not holds it back.

Ben, James and Jonah have been working hard over the past few months to revitalize the club and hopefully bring in new, younger members while giving the old members a club that they deserve. One where they can share their love for magic, help the incoming generation actually learn the history and traditions behind magic, and actually get their money's worth when it comes to the club events. A lot of the members of the club have shared a part in teaching me magic and helping me discover that there is a deep, rich history to the art, and I would love to see this knowledge shared with other incoming magicians.

Tradition is important. However, tradition can also prevent us from moving forward and adapting with the changing times. I don't want to see the magic club die because it refuses to adapt to the 21st century. I hope you give the changes a chance. I'm actually excited to be joining the club, and I'm hoping it encourages more young people to join!

This being said, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter! I'm not as stubborn as the boys on this committee and would like to find a middle ground that still honours the traditions of the club.

Also, if you wanna talk coin magic, hit me up.

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