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The Magic Memories (126)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Vernon’s Deja-vu (TTTCBE); Museo della magia Cherasco; Masters of Magic Convention Torino; Letters from Juan 2; Who is Erdnase? (Wasshuber’s book); European Close-up Symposium

These are The Magic Memories 126, gone online Sunday, May 28th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

In the last post I promised to continue my report on my Swiss-Italian travel. So, here it is:

Vernon’s Deja-vu (TTTCBE)

After a short night following the lecture and evening show reported last time, and before embarking on the travel to Italy, José Ángel and I had to fortify ourselves first, and what better way of doing so than having a Fondue for lunch, one of Switzerland’s gastronomical battle-horses.

For this you need to know that the region we were is la région par excellence of Fondue.

Lennart and Roberto sharing a Swiss Fondue

One of the best place to have Fondue, if not the best, is the Café Tivoli in Chatel-Saint Denis. We had “moitié-moitié”, half-half, meaning half Gruyère and half Vacherin cheese, very creamy, not too hot (temperature) and served in a pot over a “réchaud”, a food-warmer, with bread and small boiled potatoes. This, with a Chasselas wine from the region, and you’ll feel happy as a clam on high tide.

If you ever come to Switzerland, I recommend you plan a visit to the Chaplin Museum in Vevey, one of the world’s best museums, and before doing so, for lunch go to the Café Tivoli and have a Fondue (and a Meringue with double-cream for dessert!). It is then only a ten-minute car-drive to the Chaplin museum. Spend three hours there, drive down to Vevey (five minutes), take a stroll along the lake-side promenade in Vevey, and then stay overnight in one of the beautiful hotels overseeing Lake Geneva and the Alp panorama.

You’re welcome 🙂

But here comes the punchline: We were four at table, José Ángel, my friend Jean-François (JF) Tuberosi, and his son Matteo. After the satisfying meal, JF asked me to do a trick for his son.

I had to smile, as at this moment a story told about Ricky Jay flashed across my mind: Ricky had been asked for dinner by a good friend who had a teenage son. Ricky accepted under the explicit condition that he would not be asked to perform a trick for his friend’s son, or else he would immediately leave. You guessed what happened: Upon arrival, his friend asked Ricky to do a trick for his son! Reportedly, Ricky, without missing a beat, turned round and left.

Not having a fraction of Mr. Jay’s talent, but also not his, well, “challenging character”, I had anticipated the situation and in a previously unwatched moment written “7H” on my paper napkin, and placed the napkin aside on the table.

When JF asked the inevitable question, I told Matteo that I would only perform if I could do so with his father’s cards… (the day before I had given him a deck of my Card College Playing Cards, so knew what I would get). I instructed Matteo to take the cards from the case, eliminate the Jokers, and then shuffle the deck. Upon taking it back I glimpsed the top and bottom cards – no 7H.

I, “Did you cut the cards?”

Matteo, “No.”

I, “Even if you shuffle the cards yourself – always cut the cards.” (Sharing Secrets, “Memory Editing”, joke to anchor the shuffle, p. 74)

In placing the deck back on the table I again glimpsed the top and bottom cards. Lo and behold, the top card was the 7H! (The Annotated Sharing Secrets, “The Principle of F***ing Luck”, p. 69)

Were Vernon and Koran watching?

I reminded the company what had just taken place (Sharing Secrets, “Principle of Recap”, p. 86), then asked Matteo to turn the deck’s top card, displaying the 7H. I dropped the paper napkin next to the card, and then slowly unfolded it to reveal the writing “7H”.

Loud silence! Interrupted by a “click” of dropping jaws.

Of course I couldn’t resist looking at Matteo and saying: “So, that’s the kind of magic I do. What does your father do with these cards?” (Cliff Green must have been watching, too…)

It was only thanks to years of friendship with JF that he didn’t physically attack me…

Final comment: Statistics says that if you perform the above actions 52 times, it will happen once. Or, because we glimpsed four cards, maybe only 13 times?

The mathematicians among you might tell me…

Anyway, when I’m back home I’ll do this same procedure 51 times for my wife, so I should hit it again on my next “real” performance 🙂

And one more thing: When doing TTTCBE (Ganson, Dai Vernon’s More Inner Secrets of Card Magic, p. 76), and it works like described above, the only solution the cognoscenti will have, is that you had the card palmed, and then added it to the top of the deck. If you don’t want to deprive them of the exquisite experience of astonishment, make it a point to show your hands empty, rub and clap them several times (Frakson to Tamariz, “Las palmadas, Juanito, las palmadas!”)before the spectator starts the shuffling process; you don’t want to do that later, before taking the deck back, as it would draw attention to the glimpsing action…

Museo della magia Cherasco

Now, for the travel, finally: From the “Anneaux Magiques” in Morges (see The Magic Memories 125), José Ángel and I took it upon us to cross the Alps and get to Italy.

Compared to Hannibal, who in 218 BC, a period when Carthage and Rome were competing for world dominance, traversed the mountains, once thought uncrossable, with a force of more than 30,000 soldiers, 15,000 cavalry and, most famous of all, 37 elephants, our trip was easy.

He did all this in sixteen days, as the annals report. It took us by car about four hours, as these Magic Memories tell. 

Not only did we cross the Alps on civilized roads and through a (expensive!) tunnel, the Great Saint Bernhard Tunnel, but we also managed to drive around Torino, down the “Langhe”, the famous region between Asti and Alba, famous for arguably Italy’s best wines, Barolo and Barbaresco, and in season for white truffle, and then reached Don Silvio Mantelli’s “Museo della magia” in Cherasco, where we would stay for the next few days.

Don Silvio’s Magic Museum is of course worth a lengthy report, sometimes in the future… For now I will content myself with serving a glass of wine to the Mona Lisa (see below):

unknown magician serves wine to Mona Lisa (1503)

We used the time between two card tricks and the perusal of several books…

Hard work in the library: Roberto, Don Silvio, José Ángel

… to visit the countryside around Cherasco. On Tuesday we took a quick side-trip to la banca del vino, the wine bank, an institution that has the task of storing and displaying a case of each wine in Italy: They store well over 100’000 bottles from thousands of producers, a visit to behold. And they have a museum-wine shop, too…

The Banca del vino is located in Pollenzo, in one of the many imperial country castles that characterize Piedmont, which in former times was the residence of the Savoy (history buffs read more HERE).

“La banca del vino” boasts over 100’000 bottles

The photo above shows the entry to the wine bank, with over 100’000 bottles of wine. Below a peek at Don Silvio’s magic library with ca. 22’000 magic books and ca. 3’000 magazines (bound volumes, that is!), total ca. 25’000 magic publications. This proves that in Italy there are at least four times as many wines as there are magic books…

partial look at Don Silvio’s magic library – 25’000 volumes

In the afternoon we visited the village that gave its name to Italy’s most famous and oldest wine denomination, Barolo.

view from the village of Barolo

On a side-note: Traditionally, in Europe the names of the wines, and the names you find on the labels, reflect the precise location they are produced, and also the location within the location. So, if you read Barbaresco, Rabaja, on the label, you know that it is a wine from a producer in and around the village of Barbaresco, and from the very limited vineyards of Rabaja. This is a very honest way of a declaration, which has been lost on most modern wines, which carry fantasy names, whose only purpose is marketing (take “Opus One”, not really a paramount example of modesty… but I agree that the wine is good!).

After lunch, on our way back to Cherasco, we stopped at yet another Castello, in Novello, the birthplace of Don Silvio – have a brief look HERE, you will be amazed. The castle is now an event location with a hotel and restaurant (open only for special events).

Thanks to Don Silvio’s connections, the owner of the castle gave us a tour – wonderful! And we got free drinks at the bar.

The photo below shows one of the several smaller “private” rooms that can host a group. The table you see could take 13 guests, a perfect setting for a magic dinner titled “The Thirteenth Guest”… Notice the fantastic frescoes on the ceiling, and the carpets on the walls – everything original (ca. 1850), of course, not Las Vegas fakes…

Private room in the Castello di Novello

Masters of Magic Convention Torino

On Wednesday we got to Torino, where Thursday the Master of Magic convention started. Due to professional obligations I could only stay that one day, and had to head back home on Friday. Hence, only a short comment.

Still, I could enjoy the location, the Automobile museum in Torino (see HERE), in itself worth traveling to. This museum, along with the film museum, the Egyptian museum and the Royal Palace, make Torino one of the culturally most interesting “smaller” cities in the world  – by all means seek it out when traveling to Italy (and I did not talk about the libraries, shops, cafes, restaurants, arcades, historic buildings etc.).

As for the convention, anything Walter Rolfo touches has highest production value, as this is his forte: Tired seating in the small theatre for the lectures and presentations with good visibility and camera work (Vanishing Inc. take note for “The Session”), excellent reception, interesting dealers, world-class artists (not all with world-class lectures, though…).

The evening shows and stage competition took place at the other end of the city (!), at the Teatro Alfieri, and this, along with the lack of affordable hotels nearby, made it a bitter pill. When we looked for a hotel nearby we only found rooms for € 300 and over, and the one we found at € 120, albeit very nice, was 25 minutes car drive away (plus searching for parking), simply unacceptable.

There is no question that organizing a magic convention, big or small, is a challenge that only few can overcome to the satisfaction of all… and we’ll leave it at that.

That’s the end of the Italo-Swiss adventure, which, like any Asterix & Obelix adventure, ends in a gastronomical feast, this time at “Tre re”, the “Three Kings”, Roberto Marchello’s ristorante in Castellamonte. We talked, sat, discussed, eat, argued, drank, from noon to over 4 pm – hard to understand if you live in the New World.

Both the French gastronomer Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin and the German philosopher Immanuel Kant maintained that “it’s only at a table that already the first hour is amusing.” Brillat-Savarin cared for good food and wines, Kant for inspiring company – I vote for a combination of the two 🙂

José Ángel, Gianfranco, Fabio, unknown, Marco, Joe, Lorena; behind emptied glasses…

Letters from Juan 2

Albert Einstein once said about Niels Bohr: “He expresses his opinion like someone who constantly searches, never like someone, who thinks to hold the complete truth.” Einstein’s utterance fits Juan Tamariz like a glove, and it shows up in all of Tamariz’s  writings, and it is only one of the reasons we should read them.

Letters from Juan – Volume 2
So, Juan’s Letter 2 arrived, and like the first issue brought back memories of when Juan performed all of these pieces to me, year after year in an improved version, and fooled me with it, and when he explained it all, I was in even greater awe of his genius. This will happen to you, too, when you read these Letters.
I only feel sorry for you that you can’t see these pieces performed first, and be amazed by the Maestro himself. In order to fully appreciate the content, you have to develop the ability to imagine how you would experience the miracle described.

Granted, several of the routines you will be reading in this and in all upcoming Letters (how many? many!) are 100% Tamariz, idiosyncratic pieces that only he can pull off in the way described. So, the way to learn from it is to read it through carefully, ideally with instruments in hands, mostly a deck of cards, and extract every idea that catches your fancy in an external notebook, paper or electronic.

One of the notes I made is on p. 18, where at the beginning of a trick description he says: “Since it doesn’t have any technical challenge, you can focus on the most important thing of this, and of any other trick: feeling the effect.” Brilliant!

This is such an important thought, and it overshadows that bullshit sentence you can find in so many places in the magic literature: “…so you can focus entirely on the presentation“. What a rubbish, and what’s that supposed to mean anyway?

My favorite practical item in this issue? “Impromptu Double Flying”, on p. 31, no more comments – go, and read it for yourself.

Who is Erdnase?

Chris Wasshuber, of, wrote a hefty book on a subject that has been haunting magic historians in general, and cardicians in particular, namely: Who is Erdnase? On over 400 pages he argues his case, with unprecedented minutiae.

If this topic is your cup of tea (or as Denis Behr in Germany would say: “If this is your beer”) it goes without saying that you want to add this elaborate research to your bookshelf next to Gardner, Busby, Hatch, James, Sawyer etc.

The publication is obtainable as a PDF or as a hardbound book with dustcover: For details and to order CLICK HERE.

European Close-up Symposium

Years ago David Ben invited Stephen Minch and myself as guests of honor to the famous “31 Faces North” convention in Toronto, an invitation-only event sponsored by the late Allan Slaight.

This certainly deserves a report of its own in a future edition of The Magic Memories, but I’m mentioning it here because the meeting, running over several days, was organized such, that each participant would give a short presentation, from ten to twenty minutes, and the two guests of honor would do a lecture-performance-interview type of presentation for an hour or so.

Unlike the gathering at “Escorial”, where several subjects are defined a year ahead, and then various groups prepare over the year their presentations, the “31 Faces North” plan is that each presenter can choose to talk about any topic he fancies.

Well, I found this so inspiring, that upon my return I decided to initiate something similar in Italy. I called it “Magic Symposium”. We did that four times in Torino, on the premises of the magic club there, Club Amici Della Magia (CADM), in November (truffle season…), and it was quite successful, even though we lacked the support of a billionaire sponsor 🙂

Giacomo Bertini, of System of Amazement fame, written by no less than Stephen Minch, attended the meetings in Torino, and asked me if he could take the idea and do a “Coin Magic Symposium” in Milan, which later became the “European Close-up Symposium”. So, Toronto begets Torino begets Milan, and now Vienna! As they say: “If you have an idea, you’re adding, if you share an idea, you’re multiplying.”

Performing “Card Call” from Stand-up Card Magic

So, after a three-year hiatus due to Corona, this great idea is back, taking place in Bill Chueng’s new close-up theatre, outside of Vienna. More details HERE.

Close-up Symposium 2023

BTW: Giacomo has a website with lots of free video tutorials you will like if coins are your thing, and you might like them even if they aren’t – CLICK HERE.

Now, I have to run, as tonight we’re celebrating my birthday in a belated dinner with my family (Barbara, Rafael and Miro). I apologize for such a long post, but I didn’t have the time to write a shorter one 🙂

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (125)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Thank you for birthday; Anneaux Magiques Morges – Lectures – Show & Competition; Paper Cuttings by Barbara

These are The Magic Memories 125, gone online Sunday, May 21st, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

Thank you!

First and foremost, I would like to thank all those who have sent in good wishes for my birthday of May 1st. Please know that they are all read and very much appreciated, but forgive me for not answering them: Although I am on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Messenger and what have you, I forget to look at them… my webmaster Andrea Pancotti set this all up for me, with lots of goodwill, but I still have to understand its use… I promise I will one day…

Meanwhile, if you want to contact me with a good probability of me answering, send an email over the webshop contact form, or email me directly if you have my mail 🙂

At least in this point I’m am very much like Dai Vernon, who started many of his hand-written letters thusly: “Dear friend, please forgive me for being such a bad correspondent…”

Anneaux Magiques Morges

On May 6th, 2023, I attended the “Anneaux Magiques”, French for “Magic Rings”, a one-day affair whose highlight is the big evening show discussed below.

The event takes place every two years in the Theatre Beausobre in Morges, in the French speaking part of Switzerland, a town on the border of picturesque Lac Leman (Lake Geneva). See the photos below, and imagine how the place looks on a sunny day 🙂

View of the Alps from Morges over Lake Geneva
with José Ángel Suarez at the port of Morges

Comments on Lecture

To make it a full magic day, the organizers book three lecturers for the day. This year they were Cyril Harvey (F), Pierric (CH) and Roberto Giobbi (CH).

This was a god mix, as Cyrill talked about manipulation and various original gimmicks of his invention, Pierric on how to bring magic to the theatre, and vice-versa, and I did my talk on Stand-up Card Magic, which I had to do in less than 75 minutes, a bit tight for my type of lecture that not only discusses tricks, techniques and presentation, but also polyvalent concepts.

The reason I’m mentioning it here, is that although the room was adequate to receive the ca. 60 attendants, the set-up wasn’t. So, what to do in such situations that can occur anytime you are booked to perform?

In the photo below you can see Cyril lecturing. He had to step down from the stage (on the left) they had set up and which had the windows on the back with the daylight (sun!) shining through and dazzling the audience; from the three sides which would have worked, they picked the fourth side, the worst of all, to set up the stage and the sound equipment. It is hard to believe how this can be. Both Cyrill and Pierric suffered from this condition, but above all their audience.

Cyril Harvey lecturing (photo: Yann Gentil)

Fortunately, they had put my lecture last, at 4:30 pm, so when I entered the room I asked four strong men to assist me, and in 15 minutes we re-set the situation, so that my stage was now against a uniform wall with the light coming from the front. The photo below (me performing “Card Call” from Stand-up Card Magic) is not very good, but you can see how the situation has been considerably improved.

stage re-set (photo: Yann Gentil)

Obviously, the best option is to carry your own stage, backdrops, sound equipment etc., but in some cases this is neither desirable nor practical, and you have to rely on the people who book you. However, when you see that the situation is inadequate, have the courage to speak up, and ask them to change the situation. Very often this can be done with reasonable effort.

If you are interested in the details of such things related to performing in stand-up situations, read the first two chapters of my book Stand-up Card Magic and/or get the DVD of my first Penguin Lecture. As far as I know, these are the only publications that discuss step by step all those things, as well as the card techniques to be adapted. The conditions under which we are performing are as important as the performance itself, and it should be taken care of by talking to the even manager before the show, ideally days before…

Show & Competition

The raison d’être of the Anneaux Magiques is the evening show that takes place in a truly magnificent theatre that can take up to 850 seats, and according to the organizers was sold out.

Theatre Beausobre, Morges, filled to capacity

The show is split into two parts: The first part is a competition by invitation only, the second part (to give time to the judges to discuss) another show, and it is hard to say which part was better, as they both starred high-caliber acts.

The idea of the competition is to choose and invite five acts presented by an MC. The acts get all expenses paid for and have the opportunity to win one of the four prestigious awards, three given by an elect jury of combined magicians and laymen, and then one award decided upon by the audience. The latter is an interesting idea and simply works by giving each spectator when they enter the theatre a chip, which in the break they then drop in one of five boxes, each bearing the name of the competitor. Simple and efficient, provided all is handled by an honest staff, and what could be more honest in an impartial and neutral country than Switzerland 🙂

Pierric, the winner of the Close-up Grand Prix in Rimini 2015, was a great MC, with fresh and original presentations. He introduced the various acts, which all had their merit, but were also very different genre-wise from each other, so I did not envy the jury. How can you compare a comedy illusion act with a manipulation act?

Obviously, the most “flashy” act won, Man Ho from Korea, who also was the audience’s favorite.

As always, all of this is debatable, also the utterance of a magician jury member, who told the non–magicians that an act needs to be “commercial”… However, in order to be recognized as an art form, we should keep in mind that one of the factors that make something art, is that it certainly doesn’t need to be commercial, although it can become so at some point, but that’s another conversation…

The one and only Pierric

The second part of the evening was moderated by another FISM world champion, Norbert Ferré, who, like a good wines, has reached a point of high artistic maturity – his pieces would deserve a longer discussion.

He introduced Laurent Piron, yet another FISM winner, who did what he did very well; you may like it or not, but it was very well thought out and performed.

Mortenn Christiansen (again a FISM champion), whom I had seen and reviewed in January at The Session, in London, did his act in French, well, some of it, and was successful, although by far not as good as in London, where he could perform in his native (well, almost) language English (he’s Danish…).

Finally, Artem Schukin – you got it by now, also a FISM winner, like all the others – is, to me, in a class by himself, just beautiful. This is my kind of magic, I admit, formal minimalism, with maximum artistic content and expression.

Schukin, Ferré, Suarez, Giobbi

Briefly: The evening event was truly superb, and Christophe Crovara and his team receive my sincerest thanks and compliments. The next Anneaux Magiques will take place in 2025, and if you have a chance, you should attend.

The winners of 2023 were:

  • Les Anneaux Magiques d’Or to Man Ho (Korea)
  • Les Anneaux Magiques d’Argent to Francesco Della Bona (Italy)
  • Les Anneaux Magiques de Bronze to Ramo & Alegria (Spain)
  • Audience Award to Man Ho (Korea)
The Winners! (photo Yann Gentil)

Needless to say that the event brought together some interesting people from magic, and similar to the adventures of Asterix and Obelix, it ended in a gastronomical feast:

a friendly table: Jean-François, RG, José Ángel, Pierric

Paper Cuttings by Barbara

Barbara not only does layouts, pottery and orimotos, she’s now trying her hand at paper cutting.

Below is one of her first attempts at reproducing the logo from the Card College books – you must admit that she’s quite talented in this, too!

If you have any subject you would like to be interpreted as a paper cut or silhouette, send in your request via the contact form the webshop, and we’ll tell you if it can be done and what it would cost (ca. $ 150 – 350 depending on complexity). Every piece is of course a unique piece.

Paper cut by Barbara Giobbi

I’m just back from watching Michel Gammenthaler’s show at a small theatre im Basel, a “theatre de poche” a “pocket theatre” as the French would say, meaning an intimate setting that takes ca. 150 spectators. The show was very good and enthusiastically received by the audience, as Michel is of course a consummate professional stand-up comedian and magician. However, it cut into my time, and I’ll have to postpone my report about the rest of my Italian trip to the The Magic Memories 126 – see you then.

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (124)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Eleven Fingers Routine (video)

These are The Magic Memories 124, gone online Sunday, May 14th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

Back, But

I’m back from the “Anneaux Magiques” in Morges, the visit at Don Silvio’s Magic Museum & Library, as well as from the “Masters of Magic” convention in Torino, but a show comes up in 24 hours, and the “jet lag” plus the preparation for the show result in today’s The Magic Memories being again shorter than usual, BUT I promise a lengthier one with all the reports and photos and some extras next week 🙂 Below a photo taken after the show in Morges, Switzerland:

Artem Shukin, Norbert Ferré, José Angel Suarez, RG (photo: Yann Gentil)

Thank you for Birthday Wishes

Thank you to all of you who sent in good wishes for my birthday on May, 1st – I’m now 64 years of age, and my friend Joe Gallant in his email assured me that at least some among you will “still need me, and still feed me”, in the best of Beatles manner… so, I’ll try to keep doing what I’ve been doing up to now. To hear the song and read the wonderful lyrics, CLICK HERE.

The Eleven Fingers Routine

In my book “Secret Agenda”, entries for May 7 & 8, I mention a very simple three-part routine using fingers.

My friend Alfonso Aceituno asked me for it, after I had shown it to him years before. Therefore, I made this little private video clip for him, and thought some of you might be interested in it, too. So, here it is, with my compliments.

To watch the short video CLICK HERE.

This little routine is ideal to show to a small child, but all the adults around will also enjoy it. I found that it even surprises those into magic, as somehow most have never seen it, at least not the first two parts. It also comes in handy if someone asks you to “do a trick”, and you don’t feel like it: Simply do the stunt as shown, and then say that with those fingers you simply cannot do anything. There will be a laugh, and that will be it.

Besides, I would like to say that it is absolutely not necessary to “do a trick” when someone asks you, as is so often suggested by dealer ads, who want you to sell a trick with which you will be “always ready to perform when asked for”. But this subject is yet another conversation, and we won’t lead it today (but you’re welcome to think about it).

I can’t remember where I saw the first part, but the second part was done by someone at the G4G7 convention, a meeting dedicated to Martin Gardner, at a Night Before Party on the subject of puzzles and stunts. The handling was different, though. When I showed it to my sons, Miro remarked that folding back only one finger instead of two and changing the rhythm could be more deceptive. He was right, and you can see the result in the clip.

The very last part, with the twelve fingers, the one I’m using as the Epilogue, was suggested by Ron Wohl.

Back next week with a lengthier contribution 🙂

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (123)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: The Acrobat family video clip – a different handling; Pause for travel to Morges and Italy.

These are The Magic Memories 123, gone online Sunday, May 7th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

This week’s The Magic Memories will be short as I’m on the road lecturing at the one-day event “Les Anneaux Magiques” in Morges, Switzerland, an invitation-only high-caliber competition.

After that I’ll head to Cherasco to visit Don Silvio Mantelli who has a magic museum and one of the largest magic libraries (I’ve reported about this before), this together with my friend José Ángel, the organizer of Magialdia, the world’s most remarkable convention (my opinion, of course). Then a quick visit to Walter Rolfo’s Masters of Magic convention in Torino, and back to Switzerland for an evening of magic for the “Kulturverein Muttenz“.

Hopefully I’ll find time to tell you about my adventures abroad in The Magic Memories 124… else, it will be in The Magic Memories 125.

The Acrobat Family

Here is a little video clip you might enjoy: It is a really simple and straightforward trick, purely for laymen, based on the “Elevator” plot, as dealt with in the Chapter 8 on the Glide in Card College Volume 1.

Obviously, at such an early stage in the Card College course, I was forced to stick to the techniques that had been taught up to that point, which were not many. But I still think that the original as described in Card College using the Glide is an interesting use of that almost-forgotten sleight.

The version you’ll see in the video uses a more advanced technique, the Braue Addition (Card College 1, Chapter 14). Note how the “Space-Information Continuum” explained in Sharing Secrets is applied to make the position of the cards crystal-clear and thus enhance the effect.

Also observe how the pacing is an important part of the performance, with the hesitation at the end, in order to break monotony, boosting the curve of interest and adding suspense before the final reversal is revealed, a slight variation in effect, all previous ones being penetrations, a little-used phenomenon in card magic. There are indeed a lot of details in this little piece…

Ref. Glide I remember an anecdote with Juan Tamariz. Years ago, we were sessioning at Juan’s home in San Fernando, in the south of Spain. Several renowned performers were present, each performing his latest ideas. Imagine…

At some point the discussion came to the Glide. Most opined that the sleight was old-fashioned and not very useful and natural. Juan, as usual, did not agree, and defended the Glide passionately, also bringing up the original handling described in Scot’s Discovery of Witchcraft (look it up!).

A little later we went for dinner. And to prove his point about the effectiveness of the Glide, after dinner Juan did a 20-minute show (at least!) for the waiters of the restaurant, in which he used the Glide in every trick! Now even the most sceptic had been converted. Such is the power of Tamariz…

To watch the video CLICK HERE.

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (122)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Berlin Visit; Crazy cut-ups; Card College 5 on video; Masters of Magic Convention in Torino, Italy.

These are The Magic Memories 122, gone online Sunday, April 30th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

Berlin Visit

I’m just back from a flying visit to Berlin to meet my old friend Chris Wasshuber, founder & owner of

Chris has devoted himself full-time to e-books since 2009, but started much earlier, and has now accumulated the largest collection of commercially available magic e-books. To get on his newsletter, which I recommend, and to see what he has to offer, CLICK HERE.

Chris and I have done some very interesting projects together, if I may say so myself, such as Ask Roberto, originally conceived as an e-book, later also available as a book, and now again only obtainable as a PDF (this is the ideal format for this type of publication).

The last time we met was in 2001, at my home in Muttenz, Switzerland, were he made video clips of all the moves from Card College volumes 1 and 2, and then created an e-book version with the text from the books plus the videos to illustrate the sleights. Originally, this was available in a HTML-format on a CD/DVD, and has now been converted into PDFs. So, if you are interested, you can get each chapter individually, or the whole lot together from Chris’s webshop HERE.

We kicked back and forth a few ideas, and in the near future you might hear about them – stay tuned (get on the Newsletter on my webshop, and read the The Magic Memories every Sunday…).

Our meeting took place at a perfect location, a restaurant named “The Kitchen Library”!

In the photo below you can see the reason for the name: The walls are filled with hundreds of books, obviously all about food, wines, cooking etc. Great location for an illustrator, layouter and Orimoto artist (Barbara), an author of magic books (me), and another author, publisher and entrepreneur (Chris).

Barbara, RG, Chris at “The Kitchen Library”, Berlin 2023

Although the table is cleared, as the photo was taken at the end of the meal, the menu was a sophisticated one and worth at least one Michelin star.

The photo below shows one course: A beef’s heart, braised for 72 hours, served as a (cold) tartare, with celery mousse and with a dried heart of a tuna fish (!) grated over it, with a crispy cone filled with fresh cheese as a side (in the bowl behind).

I’m mentioning this because this dish is so incredibly unusual and original, and it was excellent.

This is just one of the similarities between gastronomy and magic, that we are in constant search of innovation in methods, effects and presentation.

Much of it is to no avail, in gastronomy and magic (“good is better than original”). BUT, it is necessary and it is the price to pay for progress: We need to create a lot, eliminate most, to keep a little, but that little advances the art, and it reflects life and the universe around us.

As you can see, whenever I’m in those restaurants, it is not for pleasure, of course not… it is hard work, to be inspire and to inspire 🙂

beef heart tartare with tuna fish heart flakes

On a side-note: Since Chris is a teetotaler, we didn’t have wines with the meal, but excellent “Chateau d’Eau 2023” 🙂

However, perhaps for an “occupational hazard”, I spotted a bottle of wine which I’ll reproduce below.

Without claiming to be a collector of such things, in the past years I have accumulated in my wine cellar a small dozen of wines that have a label relating in some way to magic, several of them to playing cards as can be seen in the photo below. So, if you happen to have one, too, send it to me, and I’ll publish it in a forthcoming The Magic Memories.

wine with a “magical” label

There is so much more I’d like to tell you about Berlin, certainly worth the trip from any part of the world, but your time and mine, too, is limited, alas…

Crazy Cut-ups

I received some lovely comments for last week’s “Behind-the-ear Glimpse”. Gary Plants, a much admired friend and creator, for instance, wrote in to say, ” Behind the ear glimpse is a wonderful idea. It would have fooled me easily.” If you missed it, check it out HERE (at the end of the blog)

So, here is another idea, completely different, that might find the favor of some of you, not only to do at a special occasion, but maybe also to teach a child (remember to make a list of tricks and things magical that could be taught to a child or to a layperson – see Hidden Agenda, entry for January 27). I found it as a single photocopy in my archive, without reference, but Thomas Lenouvel tells me it was first published in a little booklet called “Party Trix a la Carte” by Howard P. Albright, in 1936 by Unique Magic Studio, Albany, NY, and later by Supreme Magic, England, in the 1950s.

The read or download the one-page PDF CLICK HERE.

Card College 5 on Video

I keep getting requests for a video-version of Card College Volume 5, similar to Card College 1&2 – Personal Instruction and Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction. This is much appreciated, and I thank you all for your interest.

However, I’m a bit reluctant to do this, for several reasons. Besides being another herculean task, requiring not only a lot of my time for preparation and recording, it will be taxing on Guillaume Cerati who so beautifully did the Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction.

Also, I will not hide from you, that I’m a bit disappointed with the reception of the last project we did, the Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction.

Certainly, I got a rave review in Genii, and everyone whom I asked and who owns the product speaks highly of it. That’s fantastic, and I’m very pleased.

Also, several friends are helping promote it (big THANK YOU!), as I’m a dead duck when it comes to marketing, preferring to waste my time on a blog like this one, rather than cultivate the socials and other marketing platforms that would sell.

But, although several hundreds were sold, and it keeps selling, I feel it is not enough to make it worthwhile – after all, magic is my profession, and not my hobby, and I have to make a living from it. It is a slap in my face to see that some people are sending the downloads around to their friends, and that professional webshops offer a pirated version of the product.

I don’t care so much for the pirated PDFs of my books (all my books have been pirated!), as a PDF is never the same as a real book, and those who get the PDFs would probably not have bought the book, but the pirated MP4-downloads are technically the same as the originals, so those are taking away a lot of business from me. And there is no magic organization or foundation in the world that helps protect the rights of us authors.

Last but not least, I find it hard to understand that some people spend $10 or $12 to buy the download of one single sleight or one single trick, but shy away from spending the $78 it costs to buy the Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction that contains over 150 sleights AND over 40 tricks, all explained in painstaking detail, with the theory and the professional experience of almost 50 years that goes into their execution and performance, all in all over twenty-two (!) hours.

Anyway, that’s the long answer to why I probably won’t do it… (unless there is a millionaire among my readership who wants to sponsor such a project for charity’s sake…). Yes, I know, I could do that as a fundraising project, but the procedures involved for this are just not my cup of tea…

To end this on a positive note, I would like to thank all of you honest people who have bought Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction (and Card College 1&2 – Personal Instruction) from me and have thus supported the project, and I hope you feel you have received a lot more than you have paid for 🙂 Please keep telling your friends, and send them to my webshop.

Masters of Magic Convention in Torino, Italy

Walter Rolfo, organizer of the past FISM 2014 in Rimini and future FISM in Torino 2025, kindly invited me to attend his convention “Masters of Magic” (MoM) in Torino from May 11 to 14. So, if you are there, please come up and say hello.

Masters of Magic, Torino 2023

At Walter’s conventions you are always in for a surprise, actually several.

Talking to Max Maven at a past MoM-convention, Max mentioned the famous quote, “Less is more“. (This oxymoronic quote, usually attributed to Mies van der Rohe, a German-born architect, is much older, though,…). Max jokingly commented, “With Walter more is more!” Fact is, that you meet a lot of talent, and that’s the good part. And Torino, the capital of Piemont, is simply a superb city, with lots of history, fantastic museums (film museum, Egyptian museum, Royal Residence, automobile etc.), great architecture, and some of the best food and wines on this planet.

However, personally, I wish most conventions booked less performers who were give more time (and a better fee…). I will never forget the French convention in Vannes years ago where they had booked Johnny Thompson to perform in the gala… and that was it.

Here they had one of the last Greats of the “old school” (Vernon, Slydini, Goshman, etc.), who would have been more than happy to give a lecture, a workshop and even a talk-interview of some kind. Instead, the organizers preferred to fill the time slots with items on the programme with performers of less interest and talent.

For more information on MoM 2023 and how to register CLICK HERE.

Wish you all a very successful week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (121)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: International Magic Festival of San Marino; Behind-the-ear Glimpse

These are The Magic Memories 121, gone online Sunday, April 23rd, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

International Magic Festival of San Marino

San Marino, located in the middle-south-east of Italy, near Rimini (FISM 2015!), is number four in the list of the smallest independent countries in the world (what are the other three?). Gabriel and his team organized the 24th edition of the Festival internazionale della magia di San Marino. This event is not only remarkable for its magical quality, but also for the fact that it is sponsored by the government. This really is the type of festival-convention we should aim for, as it brings far more recognition to the art and the artists than merely a public show as it is the case for most magic conventions.

From left to right: unknown, Gabriel, José Angel

I was booked for a lecture and to be part of the close-up show.

I did my lecture on Stand-up Card Magic, which they put on as the very first event of the convention, on Friday at 11:30 am. I was told that in earlier editions of the festival they started the events only in the afternoon, giving people time to come into San Marino. So, I had only about 60 people in the audience, but at least everyone seemed to leave with a happy face.

Nonetheless, 75 minutes are a very tight timeframe for my type of lecture, which I would characterize as a conceptional lecture, where the tricks, techniques and presentations are placed into a larger context: Although I try to give a detailed explanation of the technical construction of the individual items, my focus is on the polyvalent principles that make magic work, and that can be applied to all magic. The result is that even if someone will not do the trick or technique performed, they will still be able to learn something to apply to their own magic.

Since the lecture was delayed by about 15 minutes, but most of the audience was present, I did a “pre-show” by giving a mini lecture on how to take notes, and also mentioned how I transfer the notes in a more sophisticated system using Evernote. This seemed to be very much appreciated by several.

An Artist’s Badge

Friday evening saw a stage competition, sponsored by a jeweler of San Marino (lovely idea), with twelve acts. Fortunately I was not asked to be a judge (in theory I’m a FISM judge, but am glad most don’t seem to know…), although the task for once would have been easy, as most were so bad that you didn’t even have to consider them for an award. The standard was one of the lowest I have ever seen, with but three or four acts that should have competed. This, of course, is an eternal problem of all competitions, and  the only way to get around it, is to have a pre-selection, which admittedly is a hassle and takes time and nerves, for various reasons we won’t discuss here…

This said, I would still want to express my respect and in a certain way my admiration for all the participants. I learned this from an advertising expert, who, years ago, said to me, “Even those with bad ideas and poor execution have invested a lot of their time and thinking in what they do.” Hmmmm…

This was certainly true of most acts, some of which must have spend thousands of Euros and hundreds of hours making up their props and practicing and rehearsing; unfortunately to no avail. Very much like a beautiful sports car that drives into the wrong direction… One of the conventioneers was overheard to say, “They don’t seem to have any friends…”

But of course we all know how difficult it is to tell a friend that what he’s doing is not as good as he thinks… The only solution I see is to try to take yourself not too seriously, to develop a sense of healthy self-criticism, to learn the tools of the trade, to develop criteria, and to have a small group of friends whom you can ask for their sincere constructive opinion.

In theory a magic club could be such a place, but it is also the place that shows that the difference between theory and practice is even bigger in practice than it is in theory. Reminding my of what Al Goshman once told me when I asked him about his opinion of magic clubs. He said, “That’s were the blinds lead the blinds.” I don’t entirely agree, but I will never forget what he said.

Saturday evening saw the traditional gala show which lasted about two and a half hours, too long like most convention gala shows, but with an enthusiastic audience and a group of talented performers. To comment on all the acts simply goes over the scope of this blog, as all the thoughts and implications would deserve an essay of its own.

I liked the dove act of Maxim a lot (you can see two of his remarkable productions HERE).

I realize that magic with animals in general, and doves in particular, are considered problematic by several, and I don’t want to argue this here. As far as I could judge, Maxim treats his animals really well, and the effects he does with them are truly magical with a poetic quality. In my opinion the appearance of a dove, if done artistically, is the epitome of the symbolism of creation; there is no other type of production that so deeply affects the mind and the heart. A subject that merits to be discussed. (Every convention should have at least one 60-minute format or so that has a panel of competent people discussing topics that are normally not treated in the books and magazines, and there are plenty of them: Let’s make a list of such topics and compare in a future issue of The Magic Memories!

Gals Show San Marino 2023

I was also greatly amused and laughed like seldom before by the presentations of my friend Raul Cremona of Milan, who emceed the show and who is a household name in Italy, with hundreds of appearances on TV and full-evening theatre shows were he mixes magic and stand-up comedy.

What is so incredible about him is that he’s a stage animal, I mean he has a stage instinct only few have, and within the first few seconds puts any audience into his pocket. It feels as if he was born on stage, and the stage was his natural habitat. For all of us who struggle with stage fright and similar inconveniences days before a show Raul is inspiring. (Although I did not like so much what he said the next day in his lecture, were he explained that the reason he could feel so comfortable on stage is that he despises the audience. Of course it is still an interesting point, as it seems to work, at least for him. Yet another subject to discuss on a panel: “What are your thoughts towards an audience before, during and after you perform?”

Years ago Raul and I met after a lecture of mine in Bologna (he says he’s a fan of mine and has all my books!), and it was already quite late, midnight or so. The two of us, along with a few friends, were hungry, but didn’t know were to go to eat at this time. It so happened that we were standing on the sidewalk in front  of the convention center, under a bright street lantern, and a police car passed by. They suddenly stopped, and one of the policemen shouted out of the window, “Hey, you, aren’t you Raul Cremona!? We’re great fans of yours!”

Raul joked around with them, as is his way, and then said they should escort us to a place we can eat. Said, done. We got in two cars, and the police car in front of us took us to the only Pizzeria in Bologna that was open at this time and that had a line waiting to be seated. Unimpressed by this the two policemen got out, and by their authority got us immediate seating in that great Pizza place. Needless to say that Raul had to give dozens of autographs and make photos. Certainly, this can only happen n Italy 🙂

Before I leave the convention, I would like to comment on two more lectures. One by someone you will never have heard of, Lodovico Marchetti, and whose vocation is not giving lectures. But in spite of his poor abilities as a lecturer, he delighted the audience (and me!) with his original ideas and his superior skill, very much in the style of Vernon’s philosophy of naturalness, as there was not a second were you would suspect a move, and there were many! He lectured on three variations of the Cups & Balls, with truly excellent ideas and handlings.

Although he had a special table, he also showed two ideas of how to provide a table with an improvised servant. One of them was to sit down, place a doctor-type of bag (see in the back in the photo below) on his lap to overtly take out some props and place them on the table. When the bag is removed and placed on the floor or on a nearby chair, the loaded servant is left on the lap. It reminded me of the initial coffin scene on the roads of New Orleans in James Bond’s Live And Let Die 🙂

I’m convinced you would have appreciated him.

Lodovico Marchetti on C & B

The other lecture that impressed me a lot was that of Gabriel Gascon. You can see him HERE fooling Penn & Teller.

He and Julio Merino have done to sponge ball magic what David Roth did to coin magic in the Seventies and Eighties: With their original gimmicks, techniques, handlings and presentations they have elevated sponge ball magic to a level it had never been before. I remember when in the seventies Benito and Giannola Nonino, brought Grappa, in particular Picolit Nonino, to the level of a great Cognac. Now these two have brought sponge ball magic to the level of great card magic…

But what would a convention be without meeting old friends, making new ones and spending great moments in their company!

I have always been a great admirer (and secretly in love…) of Karly Ann from Trieste, one of the few Italian magiciennes who won international awards. Well, I found her as charming and beautiful as ever, and we had a great time remembering our first meeting in Austria years ago…

Nada (Karly Ann) and Roberto

And then there were several memorable excursions, one to Rimini and the other to San Leo, in the company of my friends José Angel, Victor and Marta from Magialdia, Vitoria, Spain. You can see us on the photo below on the beach of Rimini: In a few months this beach will be populated by thousands of vacationers seeking the sun and waves of the Mare Adriatico.

Victor, Marta, unknown, José Angel at Rimini beach


unknown, José Angel, Marta, Victor with old bridge in Rimini

And what would be a convention report without a glimpse (see below for a real Glimpse…) at one of our legendary meals… here at the Osteria Belvedere (it truly had a superb view) in San Leo.

Possibly the best “Bistecca alla Fiorentina” I’ve ever had

Behind-the-ear Glimpse

Reading through an old Swiss magic magazine titled  La baguette magique – Der Zauberstab (“The Magic Wand”), one of the earliest periodicals in Switzerland, published in French and German (there are FOUR official languages in Switzerland, in country with just eight million people), in vol. 1, no. 4, of July 1945, I ran across a short article signed Dr. W. Weyeneth, a dentist by trade, who was an active and influential amateur in his time. He was a prolific author, bringing a lot of information from around the world to Switzerland, and corresponding with some of the important professionals of his time, such as Stanley Jaks and Rolf Andra.

Albeit a relatively small thing, I cannot remember having read it before, and immediately liked it and thought it practical… and whenever I do, I assume a few others could like it, too. So, here is a little shenanigan that allows you to glimpse the top or the bottom card of the deck  in the course of a humorous byplay.
Give the deck to someone for shuffling, and as you take it back say, “…and may I have these, too, please!” With your right hand palm off a packet of cards from the top and produce them in a one-handed fan from behind the ear of the spectator who just shuffled the cards.
Producing something from behind a spectator’s ear – a coin, a card, or anything – is a long-time favorite in magic and always produces a laugh. Correctly done, it is a beautifully innocent sight-gag, and the emotional reaction it provokes will not only bring you closer to your audience, remembering that “a laugh is the shortest distance between two people”, as Victor Borges once said,  but it will also create an interference in the audience’s ultra-short memory, and not make them suspect, let alone detect, that you glimpsed the top or bottom card of the fan!
Depending on where you need your glimpsed card, on top or on bottom, you look at the top or bottom card of the fan, and then replace it on top or bottom of the deck. Punctuate the action (Sharing Secrets, “Punctuation”) with an Intelligent Injog Shuffle (Sharing Secrets, “Intelligent Movements”), as you say, “Good, the deck has been shuffled and cut. Would you please…” Proceed according to the requirements of the routine.

Wish you all a very successful week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (120)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Pause.

These are The Magic Memories 120, gone online Sunday, April 16th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020 can be found HERE.

I am still at the international magic convention in San Marino, which causes this week’s The Magic Memories to pause.

I’ll see you back next week-end, with The Magic Memories 121, and a report about my adventures in Italy and San Marino, plus the usual who-knows-bits.

Lennart Green explaining a natural move to unknown (ca. 1990)

Wish you all a very successful week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (119)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Letters From Juan (Vernon’s three secrets); Chalk Talk; Hintertuxer Zaubertage

These are The Magic Memories 119, gone online Sunday, April 9th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020 can be found HERE.

Letters From Juan

A few weeks ago the first installment of Letters From Juan by the one and only, the inimitable, Juan Tamariz arrived, and a few hours before I started to write these lines, the ad for the second volume reached me via the Penguin Magic Newsletter.

I’m sure most of you who are reading these The Magic Memories know about it, so I won’t need to say much, besides, going to the Penguin website will tell you all you need to place your order and form your own opinion.

I was surprised to read two negative comments on the Penguin website, and it is the price we are paying for a free and democratic civilization where everyone can express his/her opinion on everything, and the Internet has potentiated this to the n-th degree, where people who have nothing to say actually do. On the other hand, it might be a good thing, as those who let themselves be influenced by such opinions, will not get the books, and those wonderful secrets (now no longer secret) will only reach those who deserve it.

As for comments on products, my opinion is that all buyers (and only those!) should have a right to express their opinion, unless it contains obvious incorrect information and/or insulting formulations, of course. But at the same time I opine that their full name should show up, and not just an alias. Whether you are in favor or against something, and you try to influence other people’s opinion by publishing yours, is OK, but you should at least stand by it with your name… as I do now with my opinion (no more, no less).

Anyway, the reason I’m mentioning Juan’s Letters is that the first volume already brought back great memories, as I’ve had the privilege of seeing almost all of the items explained on the occasion of my many visits to Juan’s home in the past forty years plus, either in Madrid or in the South of Spain. And I can’t wait to see what the next volumes will bring…

Here, I would like to address something Juan writes in his first “Foreword”, concerning the sharing of secrets, namely when he went to the Magic Castle for the first time and there met Dai Vernon, who later would call Juan “the best in the world”.

They obviously had several sessions, some with others, some in private. On one such “private” occasion Vernon took Tamariz to the library, at that time located on the Castle’s upper floor, and said, “I’m going to show you three things that you must keep to yourself.” And when Tamariz protested, explaining that he is used to share his secrets with his closest friends, Vernon was very firm, “No, no! Just for yourself!” He then proceeded to show Tamariz three quite wonderful moves, which at that time were still closely guarded secrets.

Well, meanwhile Dai Vernon is unfortunately no longer among us, and as Juan writes, “…I feel liberated from the secrets, which I eventually shared with my friends.”

Juan tells this story to express his attitude towards magic secrets in general, and those revealed in these volumes in particular, a philosophy that has been responsibly for putting Spain on the map of the world of magic, and which in my opinion is the main reason why today’s generation of Spanish close-up and card magic is at the very top. It also led to the foundation of the EMM, the Escuela Magica de Madrid, about which I have written in earlier posts (you’ll find the the PDF of the Manifest of the EMM in an earlier The Magic Memories, or in Ask Roberto).

(Yes, I remember that library on the upper floor, where I also met Vernon and had a long session with Bruce Cervon, where he showed me some “closely guarded secrets”, two of which went into Card College (with his permission)… but that’s another story for some other time…)

Juan further comments in reference to those “three secrets Vernon told me”:

Nowadays they are public domain because they have already been described by Stephen Minch in the magnificent Vernon Chronicles books.

Unfortunately, he gives no more detail, and “The Chronicles” spanning over four volumes, make it three needles in a huge haystack…

Would you like to know?

After Vernon left us, and after Tamariz has now unveiled the story himself, I, too, very much like Juan, feel “liberated” from my oath to secrecy: Yes, because I was one of the fortunate close friends to whom Juan told them.

So, without further ado and flourish, here are the “secrets” and their exact lieu of publication for you to explore over the Easter Holidays:

  1. “A New Peek Control”, in Minch, Stephen, The Lost Inner Secrets, Vol. 1, p. 86
  2. “The Transfer Force”, in Minch, Stephen, The Lost Inner Secrets, Vol. 1, p. 93
  3. “The Gordon Bruce False Shuffle”, in Duffie, Peter, 5 Times Five of Scotland, p. 16

I know this will make the day of some of you… You’re welcome 🙂

Unknown and better-known discussing secrets in books…

Chalk Talks

According to Wikipedia:

“A chalk talk is an illustrated performance in which the speaker draws pictures to emphasize lecture points and create a memorable and entertaining experience for listeners.

I know this will interest only a few among you, but if it does and helps only one, the purpose is fulfilled.

Briefly: I have a collection of twenty publications on the topic, one hardbound, the rest softbound, all in immaculate condition. You can have them for $ 150 including shipping worldwide. Check Internet, and you’ll see that they are worth a multiple (just the Tarbell book goes for up to $ 80), and as far as I know, these are complete collections of the respective authors, which is an additional feature. See the photo below.

Collection of 20 publications on “Chalk Talk”

If you’re interested send me an email HERE, and I’ll send you a PayPal-link: First come, first served (I ship from Germany).

Hintertuxer Zaubertage

From WED, July 12th to SUN July 16th I’ll be lecturing and performing together with Thomas Fraps and Christian Knudsen at the Hintertuxer Zaubertage. If you can handle German and want to spend four days in a superb location in the Austrian Alps, with lots of magic, excellent food and as much drinks as you can handle, this is the place.

Unlike a large convention in Las Vegas, where everyone rushes off to some restaurant or show after the last event of the day, once you are stuck at the Adler Inn in Hintertux you won’t want to get away: On one side is an insurmountable glacier that allows for alpine skiing even in summer, on the other side a looong way back to the next spot of civilization. In others words: Once you’re there, you’re there. And that’s, of course, the whole point.

I’ll tell you more after the event. All  info in the PDF HERE. (All of this at a fraction of the money you’d have to spend if you went to the VI-Retreat in Alaska…).

The Magic Memories 120 Pauses

Next week-end The Magic Memories will go on another hiatus, as I will still be at the international convention in San Marino. See you all back on SUN, 23rd April, with The Magic Memories 121.

Wish you all a very successful week – and Happy Easter to those who celebrate that (all religious holidays should be celebrated, by all, not so much for the religion, but because a celebration is something against war and hatred, and for peace and love, and that’s what it is all about)!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (118)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Remembering… the guillotine (an anecdote with  lots of interruptions); a marketing idea (photo-postcard); News from Helder Guimaraes; practical advice for downloads.

These are The Magic Memories 118, gone online Sunday, April 2nd, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020 can be found HERE.

Remembering… the Guillotine

As I’m wading through the estate which a deceased friend left me, trying to sort out what can still be used, and donated to our club, I keep running into memories, not only of the life of my friend, but also of the many tricks and props I’ve come across in the past fifty (!) years of my involvement with magic. I had almost forgotten my fascination with all those things I consider trivial today… but they were part of my magical apprenticeship and education, if you will, and as such more important than I thought.

Finger Guillotine by Tenyo

One of the props that made me smile and reminded me of an amusing happening was the guillotine depicted above. This is a model created and sold by Tenyo years ago. Although it functions admirably well, with little risk of really cutting off one’s finger (see below!), it is not a good one, and a good example why psychology comes before design, mechanical working, handling and presentation. I’ll explain:

The Tenyo guillotine misses the essential second hole below the large hole. In the presentation you first show that the guillotine works and its blade is “sharp”. For this you introduce an object that represents a finger into the “Work Hole” (a small carrot), as well as a “checking-prop” into the “Check Hole” (e.g., a cigarette). The blade is then pushed down with force, cutting both through the carrot and the cigarette, proving in an “Action of Explicit Conviction” (Sharing Secrets, p. 16) that the guillotine works as it is supposed to. And of course this is where the situation comedy starts… (no explanation needed).

When the climax occurs, and the guillotine magically “penetrates” the spectator’s finger, leaving it unharmed (symbolism of invulnerability – s. Sharing Secrets, p. 110 “Symbolism”), the blade must cut the cigarette in the “Check Hole”, this being an “Action of Implicit Conviction” that proves the blade is sharp after all and works. Without this, the piece remains a demonstration of a mechanical curiosity.

Bottom line: A trick that doesn’t consider the psychological construction of a trick, and only its technical and dramatic construction, may be surprising, even entertaining, but will never be magical in the sense of evoking the emotion of wonder.

Anyway, back to the anecdote I was going to tell you: I was booked by a private bank in Liechtenstein (info about this micro-state HERE), maybe it is the bank you have your money in 🙂 The event was the Xmas Party for the employees of this small private bank, as far as I can remember less than twenty people, all seated around one large table, and taking place in the country’s best restaurant inside a castle.

Upon my arrival the organizer informed me that they would have a six course dinner, and that they would like me to do a short interval with magical entertainment between each course, total 5 mini-shows. Good for me, my specialty!

Of course I was prepared, because before any show, I call the responsible person for the event, and I run through the evening with them in our mind… but that’s another conversation we’ll have to leave for some other time (still, I mention it because occasionally I have professional friends who complain about the conditions of their performance, whereupon I always wonder how this can be, as it is a professional imperative to foresee such things – and it is really very easy provided you talk to your client before the event, regardless of how many agencies are in-between…).

OK, back to the story. First course has been enjoyed, I wait for the table to be cleared, drinks being served, and get the maître d’ to withdraw his staff for the duration of my short performance (again, I have seen colleagues who start before, and then wonder why they’re not receiving full attention…). After having been announced by the CEO (no less!), who first explained how successful their bank business has been during the year, and that they had to do quite a bit of “magic” to achieve this, and this is why they have hired a professional magician tonight, to see if he can, “…teach us a few tricks. Please welcome Mr. Roberto Giobbi!”

I come on, thank and greet, perform some kind of visual opener (can’t remember what, as this is over twenty years ago…), and then, for my first audience participation piece, address a gentleman sitting near me. Immediately a big uproar, loud laughs, applause, cheers… I mean, I had no idea what was going on.

I had not said anything funny, I had not done anything (neither funny nor else). However, with the stoicism of the consummate professional I carried on as if nothing had happened, but made a mental note to ask the organizer in the break what had happened there, as I was sure it was some kind of inside-joke that I simply didn’t get.

Briefly, I finished the trick to kind applause, and let the restaurant staff discharge their duties… they served the second course.

And so it went until the end, to the satisfaction of the customer and his invited guests. After this show they booked me back two years later, being of course the most sincere way of saying, “We liked what you did.”

Oh, yes, lest I forget… the punchline: In a break I asked the organizer about that incredible reaction when I picked an assistant. She laughed and almost fell over, but finally told me that last year they had also booked a magician, a young one and apparently not so experienced, she pointed out.

One of his tricks was the “Guillotine Trick”, as she called it, where a spectator has to put his arm into the guillotine. Well, to cut this short – forgive the pun – the poor chap must have forgotten to activate the mechanism before letting the spectator put his arm into the “Work Hole”. When – after apparently endless jokes – he eventually slammed down the blade, the spectator was seriously injured and had to see a doctor after the show. Apparently he had the arm in a sling for a while, and of course his colleagues at work kept picking on hin and making jokes about it. So, when I chose exactly that one spectator, it all came back again!

Yes, very funny, I agree!

And, of course, I’m full-circle back at the guillotine I started with, proving that although I keep side-tracking all of the time, I never forget the point I want to make 🙂

A Marketing Idea

Recently my young friend Kevin Stieger sent me a physical postcard through the mail, reminding me of a lovely dinner we had in a one-star Michelin restaurant in nearby Alsatia, France: Living in Basel where Switzerland, Germany and France meet, I have access to the gastronomy of three regions!

The front of the card depicts the five courses we had in a restaurant- all except the dessert with lobster from Brittany (homard bleu de Bretagne, arguably the best) – and on the back it has a personalized stamp (Jimmy, the cat, taking a rest after practicing the Takagi Rope Routine I have been doing now for over 30 Years to open my professional performance), and there is plenty of space for a personal message (the photo only shows the upper right corner of the back of the card with the stamp).

Five photos on a postcard
Personalized Stamp (Jimmy on card table)

How about taking five or so photos from you performing for a client, maybe at the table or else, arranging them as per above, and then sending it to your client after the show, or on his or her birthday as a memento/reminder?

In Switzerland the post office offers to print and send one such postcard per day for free. You can simply upload your photos into their predefined form, and they do the rest. If you want to send more than one, you’ll have to pay a fee.

Isn’t that a lovely idea, and so simple? I remember that when our son Miro went to a trip to Australia, he had the post office send us a photo-postcard almost every day with a photo documenting his travel. This probably works only to an address in Switzerland, but very probably every country has a similar service for its own country.

To see how this works in Switzerland (text in English), CLICK HERE.

If you like, using that service, you should be able to send me a postcard of you doing something, since my address is in Switzerland (send to: Roberto Giobbi, Schlossbergstr. 5, 4132 Muttenz, Switzerland).

Secret Language and Inside Story by Helder Guimaraes

You’re probably aware of this, but just to make sure: My good friend Helder Guimareaes has a very well made new project up called “Inside Story”. It deals with how to come up with your own presentations, and he illustrates this in much detail with some of his own creations, which are all quite wonderful, as you’ve come to expect from this over-talented young man.

As you know from my own writings and several blogs I’ve devoted to the subject, how to come up with one’s own presentations is a topic I’m very fond of, and I not only have a lecture on this, but also a full-day workshop. (No, there is neither a set of lecture notes nor a video documenting that…).

To learn more about Helder’s project, CLICK HERE.

If you bought a download…

Occasionally I receive an email from customers who can no longer find the download-link to a video they bought. I apologize, but this is due to a technicality that is of no interest to anyone, so I’ll save you the explanation.

However, as I clearly write in the description of each download on my webshop, IF YOU BUY A DOWNLOAD, please, do not just stream-view it, do download it on your computer, and if you think you are going to watch it again (I hope you do, as almost all my videos are made just for that!), then you should make a backup on an external hard disk, or on a USB-stick, and to a cloud service. I use Dropbox.

This is recommendable not just for my videos, of course, but for all you want to keep. You never know how long a particular site remains online.

I’m flattered that many out there seem to think that I’m at the head of a huge operation, possibly because my Card College books are so famous and widely translated, and that I’m a wealthy man with lots of employees. Actually, it’s only me, a small (but oh my…) one-man and one-woman (Barbara) micro-business. So, if I die, or a cyber-attack sets lose, or, or , or… your download-links will be gone, too, very fast, I assume…

THEREFORE: Do not rely on your links staying in your account, download the videos and SAVE them on your own devices.

End of lecture 🙂

Wish you all a very successful week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (117)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Magic in Rome March 2023 (and lots of sub-subjects…)

These are The Magic Memories 117, gone online Sunday, March 26th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020 can be found HERE.

Magic in Rome

Rome, the “Eternal City”, is one of the mythical cities on this planet. I had the good fortune of having been there several times in the past, almost always performing and teaching magic in some way. Before going into the details of my most recent visit, I have to tell you two little anecdotes related to Rome.

My First Time in Rome (ca. 1980)

My very first visit to Rome with my wife-to-be Barbara, was purely as a tourist when we both were in our early twenties, and I was still a student of linguistics and literature. Two curious things happened that I remember to this very day.

One evening we were strolling through the historical center of Rome, and came to Piazza Navona, the famous square (which in reality is neither square nor round, but oval, as it was formerly used for horse races). At the time there were lots of artists offering to paint your portrait sitting in various spots on the plaza. One of them was an older man offering to read your future, can’t remember what “technique” (palmistry, tarot cards etc.).

Anyway, believe it or not, in a mix of curiosity, ignorance, naïveté, after-dinner-mood (wine?), or what-have-you, I decided to pay whatever it cost (certainly not much, since still students we didn’t have much money) and get his “advice” on my future.

From what he said I only remember this: “You have a great career as a writer in front of you, it will take a little time, and if you were gay the success would come earlier.” That’s what I remember – funny, eh?

Of course I didn’t believe what he said, but still, it somehow happened. Which reminds me of Nils Bohr who used to keep a horseshoe on the door of his house, which is believed to be an object that guards the house against the evil spirits. A friend, upon seeing the horseshoe on the door of Bohr’s house, asked Bohr as to whether he subscribed to the relevant superstitions. Bohr replied that he didn’t believe in them but he was told that the horseshoe works whether or not one believes in their power.

RG on Piazza Navona 2023 (photo Norbert Fazio)

The other event I remember from that time is that for dinner we went into a Trattoria located on a small street behind the famous Spanish Steps. Barbara and I had a very simple but succulent dinner with Roman specialties. It turned out that this place was a favorite of local artists and intellectuals. As we were the only tourists, we somehow got into a conversation with a few journalists at the next table, and inevitably the conversation turned to what we were doing, which then led to telling them about my passion for magic, especially card magic (I was still an amateur then).

They were immediately full of enthusiasm and asked me to do something for them. As incredible as it sounds, having been quite hot during the day, I did not have anything with me, let alone a deck of cards.

Not to be deterred from this, one of the journalists got up and offered to buy a deck from a shop nearby. However, it was already about 10 pm or so, and most shops were closed. In spite of this, the journalist rushed out, and we waited at least half an hour before he came back with a used deck he had found somewhere. This in itself I will never forget!

And then I started an hour-long session, doing magic with the borrowed deck. Can’t remember what I did, of course, probably all the “classics” I knew, and I also did “Cannibal Cards” (see Card College Volume 3, and for an updated version Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction).

But the punchline to the story is yet to come! One of the journalists liked us so much, that he offered us to use his flat in Rome while he was abroad on a professional assignment for his newspaper. So, the next day we checked out of the B&B we had, to the dismay of the Italian landlady to whom we offered to pay an extra night, and spend the rest of the week in the beautifully chaotic flat of a Roman journalist, located in downtown Rome.

That’s something you can’t buy with money, only with magic 🙂

How “Il giardino dei giochi segreti” happened

And another one related to Rome:

Most among my readership will be aware of the documentary Il giardino dei giochi segreti, sub-titled in English as The Secret World of Magic (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can see it HERE).

It is the year 2003: Matteo Bellinelli, who then was a director with Swiss-Italian Television, had just finished a documentary on a heavy subject, and was looking for a new topic on a “lighter” vein. As he was walking through Rome he came to Eclectica, a lovely magic shop in the historical center of Rome.

He entered, started to chat with the owner and manifested his interest in the subject, saying he might want to do a documentary on magic and an interesting magician. Whereupon the owner pointed out my Card College books in Italian, saying that I live in Switzerland. Well, Matteo bought the books, came back to Switzerland, called me over the phone, and then one thing led to the other, and in 2004 the 50-minute documentary was produced and aired. Talk about the butterfly effect.

Masterclass on Deck Switches

The main reason for my trip to Rome was a full-day Masterclass on the subject of deck switches. From 10 am to 7 pm, with a few coffee breaks (Italian coffee, of course, which doesn’t compare to anything else in the world, least of all to Starbucks…), and a three-course lunch with local wine… anything below this is considered a sin in Italy, and so close to the Vatican you have to respect religion, and Gastronomy in Italy is a Religion!

Flyer & photos by Fazio & Turchi

A full-day session, such as a Masterclass provides, is by far my favorite teaching format: I only get interested people, because they have to invest money (very little, compared to other disciplines, and somehow you can get that back) and time (much more precious, as you never get that back).

The eleven students and I performed, practiced, discussed techniques, tricks, presentations and theories, all turning around the deck switch and what you can do with it. But obviously a lot of the material taught and many of the ideas were polyvalent, applicably to all of magic, and therefore went far beyond the mere topic of “deck switches”.

Everyone was more than happy, including myself, and I’m the most difficult to satisfy. But there is no doubt that besides private coaching this is the format one learns most. I wish I could do such an event once or twice a month…

For all who couldn’t attend, the next best thing is my book The Art of Switching Decks, that also includes the video lecture I gave at the Genii Convention in Orlando in 2012. The book has seen an unusual success and is now in its fourth printing (instead of the DVD you now receive a download link for the video, making it practical for modern requirements).

Impressions of the day (photos Andrea Turchi)

Lecture for IBM Ring

On Monday night I gave a lecture for members only of the IBM Ring 204 in Rome.

The lecture’s title was “Excursus magicus” (in Latin to honor Rome, of course…), sub-title, “A roundtrip in the world of magic”. I assembled three topics for which I have three other lectures: One, how to find your own presentation for magic tricks; two, how to study a technique taking Controls as an example; three, criteria and staging of professional magic. I had planned two hours, I did three and a half. Everyone stayed awake and survived 🙂

In my personal opinion lectures should not be misused to sell things (although I perfectly understand the necessity of doing so for my colleagues who do lecture tours and accept to do so at dishonorable fees), but to share knowledge and insights gained by someone who has studied the matter, very much like professors impart lectures and workshops at universities. As a result of this, a lecture needs a specific focus that should be communicated so as to have only interested people in the audience. I have a lecture on “How to Give a Magic Lecture” (what else did you expect?), and the more I think about it, the more I’m led to believe that it could interest more than just a few. We’ll have to leave it for another time, though…

To my great surprise, and as an unforgettable moment of the evening, Silvan attended, yes, the one and only… When entered the room to greet me, he whispered into my ear, “I came only to see you…” And in the break I overheard him saying to President Andrea Turchi, “Giobbi é un grande.” Made my day.

Silvan with best seat for Giobbi lecture

It should not be necessary for me to do so, but if there are newcomers to the magic world who are reading these memories, I should add that Silvan is arguably Italy’s most famous conjuror, I mean of all times, including Giuseppe Pinetti and Bartolomeo Bosco.

In Italy, if you do magic well, people will say to you, “Sei proprio un Silvan – you are really a Silvan.” The name “Silvan” has entered the urban vocabulary, and that’s a feat to behold. This man justifies a big book, and as a matter of fact he has written several, all for the public, most out of print, unfortunately, including an autobiography that is still available (Silvan – La magia della vita. La mia storia.If you read Italian or want to practice it, you can get it HERE.


from left to right: Unknown, Silvan (Rome 2023)

In the photo-montage below you can see the two organizers Prof. Dr. Andrea Turchi (bottom left) and Norbert Fazio (center right) who were responsible for bringing me to Rome for these two wonderful events.

Impressions of the Lecture for IBM Ring 204

Luca d’Agostini on Marked Cards

A participant to both the masterclass and the lecture was Luca d’Agostini, a man of many talents. Among other things he’s quite an expert with playing cards and also a collector. See more HERE.

He gave me his latest offering, a set of lecture notes, which is about to be turned into a book, on the subject of marked cards, “readers” to be more precise. Readers, as opposed to other marking systems, are marked with letters and numbers, e.g., 7D (Seven of Diamonds), so that upon seeing the mark, you instantly know the card’s identity without having to learn an obscure symbolic system.

The notes have only some 30 pages, but are packed with historical, technical and other information, plus feature some really good tricks using readers. The notes come with several transfer sheets that will allow you to make up your own reader deck, an excellent idea.

We hope that Luca will make this publication available in English soon for all of us to enjoy and learn from it.

Luca d’Agostini’s publication on readers

Alea Jacta Est

Since we’re talking marked cards and Rome, an obvious association are dice, as well as one of the most popular Latin sayings, “alea jacta est – the die has been cast”. Which brings me to my friend Gianfranco Preverino from Varese, Italy.

Gianfranco is not only an accomplished magician, but also quite an expert in gambling matters. He’s currently writing a large book about dice and magic which will hopefully be available also in English soon.

I met Gianfranco for the first time when he came to an event sponsored by the “Silvan Magic Academy” and where I taught for three consecutive days, a total of 16 different lectures, workshops, sessions – never have done anything similar before or after, and it deserves an entire blog (might do sometime in the future…).

Anyway, I fine friendship developed since, and Gianfranco, who had then started magic quite recently, made an exponential career and is today a household name of Italian magic. In May he will be performing for the second time in the Close-up Gallery of the Magic Castle, and if you have a chance you should try to see and meet him.

You can see him do some interesting dice moves HERE – enjoy!

Gianfranco and Roberto: First meeting, Tuscany 1999.

Roman Curiosities

As much as I would like to, neither space nor time allow me to tell you about my touristic and gastronomical adventures around the magic events. With one exception: There is a tourist attraction that is off the beaten path and reminds me of a trick I used to do years ago.

On one of the seven hills of Rome, the Aventine Hill, resides the Villa del Priorato di Malta, and looking through its key-hole from outside you can see the dome of St. Peters’ Basilica, through three states, namely, Malty, Italy and the Vatican. Find all info HERE.

view through a key-hole

Many years ago I used a Two of Hearts with a blank back, into which I had cut a key-hole that fits nicely between the two pips of the 2H.

Using the Carlyle Business Card Move you can show it on both sides blank. Force the 2H from the deck in use, and have all see the card, except one person whom you ask to stand beside you.

Now show the “Key-hole Card” with its blank side to the audience and ask what they see through the key-hole. They will say nothing, or simply what they see (you, someone else, etc.). Now you could tell the story of the key-hole on the Roman hill, and maintain that similarly some people have the ability to see further than others. Hold the gimmicked card in front of the spectator standing beside you, with the 2H facing him, and ask what he sees through the key-hole. If he’s at all a good sport, he’ll name “The Two of Hearts”!

You could later switch the card for a double-blank card with a key-hole, or the commercially oriented among my readership might even want to make it up as a business card…

I’m also reminded of the following stunt I’ve read about, but have only done once, if memory serves me well: Force three known cards on three spectators (I would force the 4C, 2H and 7D, the first three of Mnemonica, because I can’t remember three cards… but I can remember 52, which some might find is a paradox… but it isn’t, it’s just practical).

Ask the spectators to put their respective cards face up on a chair and to sit on it. Then ask them to open their mouth. Yes, you can see it come, can^t you? You look into each person’s mouth and announce the name of the cards!

Freud would have called this “free association”.

To be done after midnight, and in male company only.

Wish you all a very successful week!

Roberto Giobbi