Today is December 14th, and my offering to you is a film clip of an Abbott & Costello routine that has magical qualities without being magic: originality, plot, humor, rhythm, timing and more for you to think about…or just enjoy.
Clearly, there is a lot to be learned by watching people who do something very well, as it somehow rubs off and forms our mentality of excellence. Simply by saying, “I want to do my thing as well as they do theirs”, is as important as constant work; however, one doesn’t function without the other.
To watch Abbott & Costello in their amazing routine “Money Swap and Roulette” CLICK HERE.
Before anything else: I’m humbled by all your kind comments and wishes, most of them sent to me privately. Please know that each one is greatly appreciated! See the PS at the end (where else…) of this post.
This is the 13th offering on the Magic Advent Calendar and is a partial answer to the question I often get of how to take and store notes.
In my Newsletters # 6 and # 9 I already wrote about different aspects of note-taking, and you might want to review those. To read or download my past Secret Newsletters go to the “Newsletter” item in the menu bar, or simply CLICK HERE.
Today’s PDF are my notes I took from a Dai Vernon video lecture, and it is almost a transcript of it. You can therefore even study it without having access to the video, but if you have, all the better. The video in question is part of the Vernon Revelations 30th Anniversary Commemorative Boxed Set published by L&L in 2003 and which contained 12 DVDs. One of the DVDs has the lecture at the Magic Castle from 1st April 1977.
PS: Several wrote in to comment on the past posts and sent in further information, which I forward to you here. Denis Behr sent a link, which contains all magic-related performers who have appeared on the Knoff-Hoff Show, including Jerry Andrus’s in a much better quality – CLICK HERE to watch (this might not show up in all countries). And Marco Pusterla sent in a link, which all of you who are interested in optical illusions, should find interesting, CLICK HERE. Thank you, Denis and Marco!
This is my December 12th gift: a rare recording of Jerry Andrus demonstrating and explaining some of his 3D-illusions on the Knoff-Hoff-Show on German TV.
Knoff Hoff is not misspelled, but alludes to the English term “know-how”, of course, spelled as a speaker of German would pronounce it – this is considered amusing over here 🙂 Anyway, it was a successful and most interesting program on German TV, which combined scientific topics with entertaining presentations, I guess they call it “infotainment” nowadays. In one of the episodes they invited Jerry Andrus, and you can see him demonstrate some of his fantastic three-dimensional optical illusions – I’m sure most of you have never seen them.
Pour la petite histoire (english: anecdotally) let me tell you that I met Jerry Andrus for the first time in 1982 at the FISM convention in Lausanne; I was 23 at the time. Part of the program was a ship cruise on beautiful Lac Léman, on a splendid sunny summer day, with an amazing view on the Swiss-Italian-French Alps. However, to Young Giobbi this was mere decoration, as for circumstances I cannot remember I somehow got to talk to Jerry Andrus. Although I was an absolute nobody at that time, Jerry took to me, and we spent the whole trip doing magic! Or more precisely I should say that Jerry showed me (almost) every item from his Andrus Deals You In, a remarkable book. Years later we met again, when he and his card magic were the subject of one of those legendary Escorial Card Conferences, and I once again had the pleasure and privilege to experience his genius.
To see Jerry Andrus on the Knoff-Hoff ShowCLICK HERE.
This is item #11 of the Magic Advent Calendar and it deals with a bit of a specialized subject in form of a PDF (actually two!), which at first sight only a few will find of interest. However, I’m confident that you, my intelligent reader, once you’ve perused the first page, will realize that this is much more than what it seems.
Stephen Minch, arguably magic’s most erudite and talented author and publisher, discusses and gives guidelines on how to write about magic, a subject of eminent importance. If we ever want magic to be recognized as an artistic and academic discipline – Art & Science, if you will – we need a unified terminology…and taxonomy, I might add. I sometimes get desperate when I read magic books, magazines or lectures notes, not to mention when I attend live lectures, where many authors seem to make an effort to reinvent magic’s vocabulary. And I still find it hard to believe that Mr. Biddle gets credit for holding a deck at its ends, whereas this must have been done (we assume!) at least since 1370, when the first playing cards were mentioned. In any other recognized discipline once a term has been coined it will be used in all future publications. Even if you only occasionally write or speak about magic, you will want to make sure to use correct and understandable terms.
When I conceived my Card College series, one of my very first worries was to find a logical and intuitive terminology for everything pertaining to cards, and I believe I’m the first to have come up and published such a detailed nomenclature. All of you who are interested can download the PDF with the “Map of the Hands, Deck, Card Case & Card” by CLICKING HERE – I authorize you to use this map, as is, in your own publications, and only ask you to mention the origin (e.g. “From Roberto Giobbi’s Card College“).
To read and download Stephen Minch’s Stylebook, with his kind permission, CLICK HERE.
My little surprise for December 10th is my favorite short film by Georges Méliès (1861 – 1938), for me one of the geniuses in the history of civilization.
I look at this clip as a metaphor for what we are aiming at with our performances as magicians, and with the most simple and commonplace of instruments, a deck of cards. I mean, it’s not a Steinway Concert Grand Piano for more than 170’000 USD, just a very good deck of cards for under 10 USD. But people like Ricky Jay, René Lavand or Juan Tamariz create a similar esthetic experience, not the same, of course, but similar, in a way. A deck of cards reminds me of Picasso, who could take just a pencil, which most use to write a shopping list, and create great art that nowadays sells for hundreds of millions… Ah, you see, that’s why FISM bestowed upon me the award for “Theory and Philosophy” 🙂
I used to show this clip for many years before my lectures, as a prologue, and I have no doubt that you will like it. For a change this is a short one, just under 3 minutes 🙂
Maybe it will motivate you to do a little research on Méliès – It’s easy, as there is quite a bit of information on the Internet, and of course in wonderfully illustrated books about his life and work, and even movies: remember Hugo, by Martin Scorsese, winner of 5 Oscars, with Ben Kingsley? And not to forget the commercially available DVD collections with many of Méliès’s works, still available for little money.
Today is December 9th, and our subject is the “Cups & Balls”, and more specifically Sam Leo Horowitz’s routine published in the SPHINX, issue of September 1938. Although it’s only two pages, it will take some concentration to get through it. My recommendation is to read through it with the instruments at hand; that’s almost always the best way of understanding a written description anyway.
You will find some excellent ideas in it, especially the opening sequence. If you have my book Confidences, re-read my “Overture for Cups and Balls” (pp. 119). Curious to note, that the initial set-up of Horowitz’s and my routine are exactly the same – how did he know 82 years ahead 🙂
If you want more of Horowitz’s genius, go to Stars of Magic or George Kaplan’s The Fine Art of Magic: you will immediately recognize the originality and expertise of this outstanding artist, who was part of the exclusive New York circle in the 1920s. I do not, though, suggest that you follow Horowitz’s advice of repeating the sequences, as this will make the routine too long. Such lengthy and repetitious presentations are only good if you work in streets or maybe some trade shows, where the audience walks on and off. Similar to “Linking Rings”, “C&B” is one of the very few magic pieces, where as a spectator you can come in at almost any moment of the presentation and still understand and enjoy what is going on. You don’t get that with mental magic 🙂
When it comes to the artistic interpretation of C&B Dai Vernon’s routine remains the template, in my opinion. I have gone in great detail in analyzing his routine in my DVD-project Dai Vernon Seminar, which also includes a film clip of Vernon himself performing his brilliant creation. You can get it from most dealers of directly from me (I’m happy to autograph it if you mention that in the comment field of the order form). One of the two DVDs also contains a 80-page e-book in PDF format, don’t miss that!
To read and download the PDF with the Horowitz routine from the SPHINXCLICK HERE.
To see an interesting photograph of Horowitz, CLICK HERE (the photo is copyrighted – you can’t use it, but you can look at it 🙂
Today’s offering is purely nostalgic and might amuse you :-), although I must say, that at the time, this was quite something, but that’s about forty (!?) years ago.
You see me at about age twenty, in the library of my friends and mentors Dieter & Agi Haldimann, performing a routine with chips conceived by Eckhard Böttcher (all credit to him!), who at that time had a very successful magic shop called “Zauberbutike” in Germany. I hope you’ll forgive the imperfections of a youthful and inexperienced but certainly enthusiastic Young Giobbi.
In any performance it is attractive to present something topical. An easy way to do this, is to use the current day’s number, in our case number SEVEN, and this is what the 7th episode of the Magic Advent Calendar is about. In the PDF you can download as today’s Magic Advent Calendar gift, the piece “Seven” will fit the bill. Some of you may recognize it as an early write-up of the trick that later went into my book Confidences.
I go even further, and give you the complete PDF of what were the notes for a lecture I gave at Brent Geris’s Magic Apple magic shop in Hollywood, Los Angeles, on ? April 2012. I titled them The Unedited Card Magic of Roberto Giobbi to make it sound intriguing, but really it was exactly what it read: I had only little time to put the notes together, so nobody could proof-read them, and I thought it was a clever way of “staging” any mistakes in it. Of course it was not so clever, but just necessary 🙂 Nonetheless, the edition was limited and numbered, and only 50 printed an signed copies exist, legal ones, I mean 🙂
You’ll find that most of the content later went into my book Confidences, and the item titled “TTTCBE” (The Trick That Can Be Explained) even made it into a commercial trick, one of the very few I ever put out, with moderate success, although those who have it insist that it is quite good (you can get it from The Magic Apple or directly from me, if you really need to…). I can only tell you that I have fooled luminaries like Juan Tamariz and Bernard Bilis with it, so it has to be good – oh my, this sounds like a mail from Penguin 🙂
To read or download The Unedited Card Magic of Roberto GiobbiCLICK HERE.
Do not send in any editing suggestions, it’s too late now 🙂
PS: My book Confidences is now out of print and will likely never be reprinted. However, I do have a few copies left, which I’m happy to sign to your name and send them to you, but you will have to buy it: CLICK HERE.
For many December 6th is a holiday, where Santa Claus leaves little presents in children’s shoes. Well, here is my present for the child in you (and me!): it is an old clip my friend Marco Aimone, the president of the magic club in Torino, Italy, sent me years ago. It aired on Italy’s national TV RAI – I have not been able to find the original airing date and place.
This clip is short and sweet, and it uses Card Magic to show yet another little quarrel between Donald and Mickey. Also, it gives us a glimpse into how non-magicians perceive magic and magicians, and important thing to learn, if we want to better understand ourselves and what we do. I like this little clip, and I hope you too.
Here we are at the 5th installment of the Magic Advent Calendar.
While leisurely walking through Basel, my home town, the display in front of an antique book shop caught my attention: they were selling the Encyclopedia Britannica of 1910/11 in 26 volumes individually for 5 Francs the volume (cost of 1 cup of coffee in Switzerland, 5 espressi in Italy…). So I immediately checked the entry «conjuring», and lo and behold, as in several other editions, there was an extensive essay on the subject.
I bought the copy for you (and me!), scanned the essay, and here it is for your perusal and collection. (BTW: It would be nice if at some point we got all entries from all the EB editions on «conjuring» – as you might know the EB had a new edition about every ten years, and each time the essays were penned by different experts).
The authors of the article are three: John Nevil Maskelyne (well-known), G. Faur (I have never heard of him), John Algernon Clarke (maybe Sidney Clarke’s father?). I haven’t researched Faur nor Clarke, so if you have any info, let me know.
Later articles are by John Mulholland and Ricky Jay, very interesting.
Also, it would be informative to see what other big encyclopedias wrote/write about «conjuring-magic» (Brockhaus in Germany, Larousse in France, Treccani in Italy, Spain??? etc.). If you live in one of these countries and are interested, you can find and send me the PDFs. Be aware that there might be various editions with various entries.
I find it enlightening to read definitions of magic by experts and laymen alike, as they reflect the understanding (or not-so-understanding) of the subject, how magic is perceived from inside and outside, and in different cultures, at different times. As far as I know this focus has not yet been discussed…much.
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