We’ve come to the 24th and last installment of the Magic Advent Calendar – sniff, sniff 🙁 …BUT I left the best (?) and certainly most personal item for the last day, and here it is:
In 2004 director Matteo Bellinelli from the Swiss-Italian TV TSI approached me for a documentary on me and my magic. I managed to include information that would educate the public about magic, its history, science, psychology, and also some of my talented colleagues. I’m happy to say that this is not just an ego-tripping showcase, a danger every “documentary” runs, but an informative and entertaining look at the art and science of magic.
You’ll get a glimpse of me at my home, as well as on tour in Paris, Milano, Saragossa, and of course my home town Basel, where I perform and meet magic friends. We visit the Playing Card Museum in Issy les Moulineaux, George Proust’s Musée de la Curiosité in the Marais, arguably Paris’s most charming quarter, a magic convention in Spain, see Juan Tamariz, Vanni Bossi, Manolo Tena, Bebel, Yves Carbonnier and other remarkable magicians perform and give original insights into magic, plus lots more.
I think that this documentary, whose original title is Il giardino dei giochi segreti (“garden of secret games”) was inspired by an old Italian manuscript on magic, gives a truly inspiring view of the world of conjuring. This is the version subtitled in English and called The Secret World of Magic, which never aired, as far as I know. The original Italian version was broadcasted in 2004 on various channels in Switzerland and Italy. The first airing was on a Sunday evening 8 pm, prime time, on TSI1 (Televisione Svizzera Italiana).
PS: I’ve given you 24 gifts in the past 3 plus weeks, and I hope you have enjoyed them. If you would like to make me a gift, well, then promise me to study and perform magic with dignity. And if you insist to make me a more tangible gift, do not send wine, liquor or boxes of cigars, as this is detrimental to my health (come to think of it: why not :-), well, then I have an idea for you: I have gathered all 24 installments of the Magic Advent Calendar in one PDF/e-book, which is available on my webshop for € 24 (24 days = € 24, what else?), but you can have it for € 12 until December 31, 2020. So, to make each other a gift: CLICK HERE.
Welcome to December 23, with flashback to December 21: Remember – we prepared a Graved Lax.
Here now is what happens after the salmon has been marinated for 48 hours: it’s all really straight forward and simple. As long as the fish was very fresh to begin with, you can keep your Graved Lax in the fridge for at least a week, wrapped in cling film. And don’t worry about not being able to cut large, thin slices like a pro; you can also use a normal sharp knife and cut shorter slices, about three fingers long, and even a bit thicker, very similar to the Spanish ham served as tapas, and it will still look and taste very good.
Clearly, preparing food for yourself and guests is marrying necessity with personal pleasure, which leads to an esthetical and social experience; the result is more than the sum of its parts, and is the expression of something which cannot be put into words. This reminds me of Goethe’s definition of Art: “Art is a mediator of the unspeakable.” So, you see, there seems to be some kind of affinity between Art, Gastronomy and Magic…
To watch and learn the presentation of our Graved Lax CLICK HERE.
PS: I received quite a bit of feedback on this one (almost more than the magic!), and José Angel from Vitoria (the home of Fournier playing cards!), a friend of many years and a talented chef, suggested pouring some vodka on top of the sugar-salt-mix before covering it with dill. I made a note for next time…
I welcome you to the 22nd installment of the Magic Advent Calendar, and we’re going to talk…cards, what else? So, here is some background information on the Card College Playing Cards.
In October 2019 I was invited to visit China by my publisher TCC, who has meanwhile translated and published my 5 Card College books, along with the Light-trilogy, total eight books, all in less than three years! We, that’s Barbara and me, flew via Beijing to Hong Kong, where we were taken to TCC’s headquarters in Shenzhen. From there we embarked on a tour taking us to 9 cities with 26 events (workshops, lectures, masterclasses & shows). That, of course , is another story…and I might tell it in my biography, in case I’ll ever write one… Part of the venture were other ideas for projects: lecture notes, a lavish notebook, playing cards, a card clip, a commemorative coin, a box with my act and all the props to go with it, and more.
Ultimately, only a few saw the light of day, notably the Card College Playing Cards. Some of you will have heard of them, and I know a few have bought various editions on the Kickstarter project earlier this year, or from dealers in the past few weeks, but for completeness sake, here is the trailer that publicized the project. To see the short clip CLICK HERE (or the photo):
All was done with my authorization and to the highest quality standards I could wish for – both TCC and ARC deserve our thanks and appreciation for an outstanding work. They did even surprise me, when they announced some additional Collector Editions not mentioned in the initial trailer: they are on its way to me shortly, and to those who have supported the project via Kickstarter. As far as I know all Collector Editions sold out after a few hours – I have a few sets left, but will keep them for my old-age-piggy-bank (I speculate that if a single Jerry’s Nugget deck nowadays get’s $350 per deck, these, which come as a trilogy and are in my opinion superior in any conceivable way, should get a multiple of it…but don’t take my word for it).
HOWEVER, for all those who would have liked a Collector’s Set, but could not make it, the good news is that the Card College Playing Cards Regular Edition is now out.
Here are a few of my comments, which have not been advertised:
Limited First Edition (see below), which will soon be sold out (I’m told).
The cards come in two beautiful colors: burgundy red & royal blue.
They are printed by USPCC on their Casino Premium Stock, the best currently available.
They are cut top-down, i.e. you can faro them as taught in Chapter 35 “The Faro Shuffle” in Card College Volume 3. They are NOT cut bottom-up. The latter are called “Traditionally Cut”, and are good for tabled faros and hand-faros done from bottom up. But which insane performer will risk screwing his show up by doing a tabled faro at a payed show? There are only a handful in the world who can do that. The rest of us will want to play it safe. The Card College Playing Cards, being cut top-down, will allow for risk-free hand-faros, especially in view of two facts: first, most Faro applications are Partial Faros, second, if a mistake occurs, it will be at the end and not at the beginning of the Faro, but most uses are to get the top section right, not the bottom. Therefore, for the vast majority of applications in magic a top-down Faro is superior to the bottom-up Faro.
The quality is such, that you can use them “out-of-the-box”.
The Ace of Spades has my logo, which is found on some of the Card College editions (English, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, but not on the German, Italian, French and Spanish); I’m very happy with its design, and everyone I spoke to liked it, too.
The 2 Jokers are a conversion of a photo of mine into a line drawing and might be one of the two things I’d like to change if there will be a second printing. The “Guarantee Joker” has a humorous text, which you can use for several tricks (e.g. “Guaranteed!” or “The Fine Print”, both from Confidences, or “Card Call” from Stand-up Card Magic).
There are 9 (nine!) surfaces that can be designed on a card case:
On the two sides (1 & 2) are two great motivational and poetic quotes (one by Hofzinser, the other by Socrates). Plus, as a wine aficionado, I have insisted on giving the cards a vintage year: So, next to the quotes, you’ll find “2019” on one side (the year the cards were printed) , and “1st” on the other side (meaning 1st edition). That’s the degree of sophistication I like 🙂
One side-tab (3) carries the years the Card College books originally appeared in German (1992, 1994 & 2003), the other tab (4) shows my birthday (1st May 1959), so from now on you can send me birthday greetings and gifts 🙂
The flap (5) has a short but informative text on me, the Card College books and TCC as the publishers of the books and cards.
The bottom of the case (6) has my logo and that of TCC, the copyright note, AND hidden in the open, so to speak, the formula for the Haymow Shuffle, which is at the basis of several excellent card tricks, with “Dai Vernon’s Poker Demonstration” being top-of-the-list (you’ll find it in Ganson’s Dai Vernon Book of Magic, or on my DVD Dai Vernon Seminarboth in the video and in the enclosed PDF). Or see my column “The Genii Session” in Genii of August 2007 called “The Horowitz Poker Deal”. If you are a subscriber to Genii, and you should, you have access to all their older issues, and my 14 years (!) of columns, of course 🙂
The face of the case (7) reflects the dustcover design of the American edition of Card College and pays tribute to the many years I’ve been working with Stephen Minch and his Hermetic Press, recently acquired by Acar Altinsel and his Penguin Magic.
The back of the case is a brilliant nod in the direction of Barbara’s drawings in the books, which were done before today’s sophisticated drawing softwares were available to mere mortals as we were when we embarked on the Card College Odyssey: the hatched back reflects the hatched backs of the cards in the book’s illustrations (yes, check it out).
Finally, the 9th surface is the top of the case and reads “R. Giobbi’s Card College Playing Cards”. With this you can perform the trick “Tally-Ho” as described in my book Confidences: simply place a Joker instead of a “Six” at the 3rd position from the face, and then substitute “A. Dougherty” (10 cards) with “R.Giobbi’s” including the full stop and the apostrophe in the count (totals 10), Tally-Ho” (7 cards) with “College” (also 7), “Playing” and “Cards” are the same. When you turn up the Joker, spell “Joker”, and you get to the last Ace. It’s a trick that is lengthy to read, but that everyone who has seen wants to do. It’s an old Henry Christ plot, with a super-touch by Richard Vollmer, and my presentational and handling details.
It’s still not all: the cards have a very subtly one-way design, which n-o-b-o-d-y will see at first sight, but once you know it, you will immediately and clearly see it, even in a hand- or table-spread. They did not tell me when they designed it, and I was a bit taken aback at first, but then found it a very good idea, and now I’m quite happy with it – the design is truly excellent.
Oh, and there are two trick cards, double-backers that come with it, too, but I’ll stop here before losing everyone…
You can get the cards from most dealers worldwide (at ca. $ 10-12 per deck), BUT since we’re on the Magic Advent Calendar, and its gift-time, here is a little offer: if you want two decks, one red, one blue, with my signature on the cellophane which you can still open to use the cards, plus a photo of mine dedicated to your name, I will ship them directly to you. Due to the various shipping rates, there are 3 options and prices:
Switzerland & Germany: EURO 19.00
European Community: EURO 22.00
Rest of the World: EURO 28.00
The prices are all inclusive (2 decks, autographed photo, shipping and PayPal-fee) but are only for 2 decks, which fit in weight and thickness. To order send me an email with your shipping address (!) at email@example.com, and I’ll send you a PayPal link.
If you want more decks, or even a brick (12 decks), please buy from your dealer, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll send you a quote.
Here we are, on the 21st episodes of our 24-part series in the Magic Advent Calendar. Since we’re getting closer to the finale, we need some extra energy, in the true sense of the word…
Frank Garcia in his two books Million Dollar Card Secrets and Super Subtle Card Miracles, both containing excellent ideas, had at the end of each a recipe; I recommend you try the “Super Meatloaf” – it’s at least as good as the magic in the book. Whenever we have magicians visiting us who stay for dinner, we – that’s Barbara (who does all the illustrations!) and me – we serve Garcia’s “Super Meatloaf” as the main course. And before serving it, I always ask, “What is the connection of this course with magic?” Almost everyone is surprised when I produce Garcia’s book from under my cooking apron: they all know the book, but nobody seems to ever have done the recipe!
I’ve always wanted to do something similar in one of my publications. Well, I somehow never did it, but today took a chance with my Magic Advent Calendar 2020. So, here I am, in my kitchen, preparing one of my favorite recipes, a Graved Lax, as simple as a self-working card trick from my Light-series. As I say in the video, “Any 10-year-old could do it.” That’s true, even if you have never stood in a kitchen, you can reproduce this to great effect. However, like with all so-called “self-working card tricks”, you need to put some time and attention to it, and of course the most important ingredient, a little passion: you must like what you do, otherwise you have nothing to sincerely share. And both magic and cooking are about sharing a part of your life, interests and passion. Besides, as I already wrote in Secret Agenda, “Gastronomy is the basis of all good magic. Because gastronomy has to do with eating, if you don’t eat you die, and if you’re dead you cannot do good magic. Therefore, gastronomy is the basis of all good magic. Q.E.D!”
To watch how to prepare this super-simple recipe, which will make you look (almost) like a Michelin star chef, CLICK HERE:
This is your magical surprise for December 20th of the Magic Advent Calendar, and it is a brief but hopefully interesting and inspiring film clip.
Years ago my magic friend Joe Gallant from Boston recommended a documentary to me, Jiro Dreams of Sushi. If you’re not familiar with it, just watch this two-minute-clip. If you take any interest at all in excellence, and also have a little affinity for gastronomy, you’ll want to find the complete film. To me this is one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen: it’s information and inspiration pure.
Here we are with another chocolate on the 19th installment of the Magic Advent Calendar: it is a Multiple-Content PDF – I just made up the term 🙂
In 2015 Chris Wasshuber from library.com asked me if I’d be interested to create a new product, which would consist of sending out one “Magic Tweet” per day for a complete year (!) via Twitter and which we would call Secret Twitter, akin to Secret Agenda.
Naively, I said “yes”, as I had also done with Chris’s request to start the Ask Roberto Project. In both cases I had completely misjudged the time it would take to research, collect, write, illustrate, edit and layout the contents. If I count the hours Barbara and I (and Chris, of course) have put into those projects, we’d get a salary that borders to the illegal because far below the minimal wages. BUT, as in so many cases in life, it has brought pleasure and insight to many people, so it seems, and I’m very proud of both achievements. It shows that money is not important (but unfortunately necessary). At the time Twitter was very limited in text length, and after some trials I realized that it would not be possible to create 365 worthy items. Well, not until it occurred to Barbara that Twitter also allowed photos, not just text. So she set out to design a “photo” of every daily item, and this made it possible to process longer and more substantial texts! That was the egg of Columbus, and the rest is history.
The item hidden behind today’s “calendar door” is a small choice from my Secret Twitter, and fittingly consist of 24 selected tweets for your edification and entertainment pleasure. Come to think of it: this is a a calendar within a calendar, a sort of “nested boxes” 🙂 To read and download the Secret Tweets CLICK HERE.
PS: You can still get the complete Secret Twitter file in one PDF: it consists of 12 months PLUS 2 free months, total of over 420 magical and inspirational tweets.
PPS: I have a promotion on Ask Roberto as an e-book, and you can order it HERE, if you don’t have it, yet. (If you want the printed book and live outside of Europe, please order it directly from lybrary.com, as due to Corona the USA only allows express shipping, which costs more than the book.)
Welcome to the 18th offering on the Magic Advent Calendar, which is “broadcasted” 🙂 from my studio, at the table where all my books since 1996 have been written. You’ll have to forgive the not-so-perfect recording, but I did this on purpose, of course, because I believe that perfection only pertains to God…(OK, I stole that line from the ancient Persian carpet makers, who made the most beautiful carpets, but always made a little mistake at the end, well, because…see above). And Goethe should have said, “Good is better than perfect”, but he didn’t. Anyway, why argue about form – let’s move on to the content:
This is my yet unpublished presentation and handling of Dai Vernon’s “Ectoplasmic Aces”. The original idea can be found as a rather cryptic note in Frank Csuri’s Jacob Daley’s Notebooks (The Gutenberg Press, USA 1974). If you’re curious, here is the original note from the Daley Notebooks:
I should mention that at The Session (January 2020), Vanishing Inc’s yearly convention in London, Dominic Twose gave a short lecture on precisely this note of Daley’s, in which he spoke about his interpretation of the trick. This stirred up my curiosity, and having studied Vernon and his work for decades, I tried to figure out how Vernon might have really done it, considering his constant search for perfection and artistic criteria. So, what you have here, is the result of my efforts. This is still a work in progress, but you’ll see me do a short performance, followed by a discussion of some points of interest. I thought it’s good enough to be offered here, and I hope it finds your favor.
To watch my interpretation of “Vernon’s Ectoplasmic Aces” CLICK HERE.
It is December 17th, and here is today’s little gift for you.
You will see me, Roberto Giobbi, with the piece “The Deck of the Missed Opportunities” from my book Confidences (performance only). In the summer of 2017, as I was spending a week at Juan Tamariz’s home in the south of Spain, Dani DaOrtiz called and asked if I would be interested to tape the performance and explanation of a few pieces of mine for his Enfilo video series. We agreed to meet early afternoon at the Maestro’s home, while the latter was still sleeping the sleep of the just. We recorded this one, from Confidences, and my “Color Changing Deck” from Card College Volume 5.
A curiosity aside: The location of the take is Juan Tamariz’s home, the exact table and background you’ve watched if you saw his latest video seminars through Dani’s Enfilo web channel 🙂
To watch me perform “The Deck of the Missed Opportunities” CLICK HERE.
Hope you like it!
PS: If you’re interested to learn the trick, you can do so from my book Confidences. The book is now out of print, but I have a few left, and you can order your copy HERE – if you want it signed to your name, please mention it in the comment field of the order form. If you prefer the explanation on video (in English or Spanish), you can get it from Dani’s webshop Enfilo HERE.
I hope you are doing well on this 16th installment of the Magic Advent Calendar.
Today’s “Advent Door” will open to one of the most unusual and original performances I have ever seen. As I’ve expressed many times in my writings, I have a great affinity for minimalism, especially in the Arts. I prefer a “simple” card trick by René Lavand to an elaborate illusion by any famous illusionist, although I do respect and appreciate the latter, too. It’s just that I prefer to see an artist with his instrument, and little more.
Buka, who is not easy to research (I wish I could tell you a bit more about him), has created an act with just one single playing card…and little more. It is, well, quite extraordinary.
To watch Buka’s most unusual act CLICK HERE – and enjoy!
Welcome to entry number 15 of the Magic Advent Calendar.
Most of you will have read or heard this quote: “He asked me if I like card tricks. I said no. He showed me five.” And variations thereof…
The quote is not quite correct. If you are interested to learn the exact wording you’ll find it on page 2 of the attached PDF, which is the complete short story Mr. Know-All by Somerset Maugham (1874 – 1965), the brilliant British writer, and which was first published in 1924 (so is now out of copyright). It was later reprinted in various collections of Maugham’s.
December, the Holiday Season, is the perfect month to read short stories – to do so CLICK HERE.
Wish you a good day!
PS: There is a short movie, ca. 20 minutes long, about Maugham’s short story Mr. Know-All, and you can watch it on YouTube HERE.
PPS: Many have said that Maugham’s A Writer’s Notebook is the best of its genre, and you can get it as a book or e-book for little money – I remember I immensely enjoyed it, and it is part of my non-magic library.
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