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The Magic Memories (24)

Hi everyone!

Welcome to  number 24 in the series of The Magic Memories, gone online SUN 13th June, 2021.

Thanks to all those of you who wrote in to say nice things, and ask a few questions, which I have taken note of and filed, so will answer them at some point as part of this series: More about Kaps (I have a lot!), how I take notes from watching videos, the philosophy of the Spanish School of Magic, what cards I prefer, and a large etcetera.

Interviews, quite a few…

In the past pandemic year, which seems to extend far too long into this year, I’ve been asked to give quite a few interviews, talks, lectures and private coachings. So, if you search Internet, you’ll find me answering all types of questions and do some magic in Spanish, Italian, German, French, and of course English. Just finished giving a lengthy audio interview to Michael Close, which should appear soon as part of his newsletter, and just the day before yesterday I chatted well over an hour for Stéphane Bergounioux from Paris and his channel.

Today, I would like to link you to my friend Fabian Weiss from Berlin, Germany, who has recently opened a YouTube Channel of his own, that bears the promising name “Wunderakademie”, and managed to collect quite a few interesting pieces you might want to explore – to do so CLICK HERE. Below you should be able to click on the “play” symbol of the photo and get my answers to some interesting questions he asked me.

The interview comes in two parts. Here is the first part:

And here is the second part:

Have a great week!

Yours sincerely,

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (23)

Hi everyone!

Here we are on the 23rd installment of The Magic Memories, born into the virtual world on SUN, 6th June 2021, at 0:07.

Thank you to all who sent their feedback on last week’s topic discussing Fred Kaps’ “Chinese Sticks”. I could spend the rest of the year writing about him and his achievements, as he was such an allrounder, and tops in everything he touched.

“Gipsy Thread” done by Fred Kaps

My work and studies have several links to Fred Kaps, one of them is his “Thought Card In Cigarette”, which I discuss in my book Stand-up Card Magic, also available in German, Italian and French, and in my first Penguin Live Lecture (BTW: Those who say that cigarette tricks are outdated should use their head by putting the idea in a new context…). Another one is “Gipsy Thread” that has been one of the top five “battle horses” in my professional close-up work. There are so many great things about this essentially “simple” trick: it has a clear symbolism, the effect is straightforward and easy to understand, because of this it is easy to tell to others (the hallmark of all classics!), it can be performed for one person or for several hundred in a fairly large theatre, provided the light and sound are good, and of course it is an excellent trick for TV. Before I make a few more comments, see Fred performing the trick on The Parkinson Magic Show from 1976. (You can find the complete show featuring Richiardi Jr., a young Ricky Jay, and of course Fred Kaps with his stage act, plus various close-up pieces, plus his legendary “Eleven Dollar Bill Trick” as a stand-up item on YouTube. ) To watch Kaps do “The Gipsy Thread”, CLICK HERE.

It is only after watching it several times that you discover the many beautiful things contained. The handling with the spool is prodigious. I’ve never found an exact explanation of the handling he uses, and all the methods I’ve tried just did not work 100%. This is why I finally settled on the method I teach on my DVD/Download The Close-up Act. Another very interesting thing is how he handles the switch. Again, I’ve never seen this done by anyone, let alone published anywhere. Most handlings of this moment I’ve seen lack the absolute clarity Kaps’ handling has and which is worth its weight in gold. I seem to be the only one who has recognized and used it for decades now. Last but not least he has a lovely way of getting into and out of it, his management, technical and presentational.

I could give a complete talk about this trick alone, and I have (you bet I did – it’s one of my 58 talks). As far as I can remember I only gave that once at a a three-day workshop for young people (age 12 to 21) organized by the Magischer Zirkel of Deutschland. The poor chaps must have expected a firework of sleights and tricks, but all they got was the performance of one little trick, plus a 45-minute talk on all the tiny details making it up. It was a cruel thing of me to do this 🙂

If you are curious to see my handling and presentation of “Gipsy Thread”, CLICK HERE. You will appreciate that I’ve solved several problems of this trick, e.g. using a flat “spool”, a fool-proof unwinding (you can see that Kaps briefly has a problem when the ball unwinds), the Prologue and Epilogue, and a lot more.

Similar to The Linking Rings, this is one of the tricks that really play big and that can be used for all types of audiences, in virtually all types of situations – there are not many tricks that do this. I will be very candid with you and tell you that The Close-up Act is one of the items I produced in my lifetime that sold very badly, compared to my other products, similar to Confidences, the slowest selling book of mine. I was not surprise, but still very disappointed. In over 3 hours I teach only 4 tricks, but with many additional thoughts, unlike any other magic video I know. However, the tricks themselves are not novel, nor is the presentation eccentric, simply because I’m not an eccentric. But I can honestly say that I’ve been using these tricks (and some others, of course) in the past 30 years of my professional career, that has taken me to four continents, to some of the most beautiful places, performing for some very exclusive companies and private people. So, it is the Real Work, as they say, much more real than the novel stuff that dazzles the eye and is then put aside.

As a last comment, if you have Sharing Secrets, on p. 33 I give my script for the performance of “Gipsy Thread” in the theatre, inspired by Al Koran’s presentation of “The Torn & Restored Cigarette Paper”.

Did I say I like this trick?

Sharing Secrets News

Almost everyone in Europe seems to have received the book, and reactions have been very kind: judging from the feedback I got up to now, it seems that the book is not so bad 🙂 If you are in Europe and have not yet received the book, let me know, and I’ll check/send you the tracking – not all, but most books are trackable (I won’t let you into the intricacies of why some are and others are not, as this is one of the deep mysteries of the post office…). Once again: If you live outside of Europe you need to be patient. However, I’ve received notice that some in USA have already got their copy, so I’m confident this might be faster than the threats from the post office made me think…

Have a great week!

Yours sincerely,

Roberto Giobbi

 

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The Magic Memories (22)

Hi everyone!

Here we are with the 22nd installation of The Magic Memories, gone online on SUN, 30th May 2021, at 0:07 o’clock.

Today, let’s talk about Fred Kaps, just briefly, I’m afraid, as the man and his magic warrant a huge project. If you search Internet, you’ll find quite a bit of information, photos and videos. In particular I would like to focus on Kaps’ personal version of an old chestnut, the Chinese Sticks. In the PDF, which is today’s gift to you, I’ll give you a bit of info on the context. Before you read the text in the PDF, may I suggest that you watch Kaps himself do the routine. To see a young Fred Kaps, at the age of 37, perform his interpretation of the Chinese Sticks on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1963, CLICK HERE. (If, for whatever reason, the link shouldn’t work, simply search “Kaps Chinese Sticks” on YouTube.)

Kaps kept performing this trick long into his professional career. So, several years later, in The Fred Kaps Show, you could see a mature Fred Kaps doing the same routine, with the same text, but it has aged beautifully, like a great port. I couldn’t find the clip on Internet, and am reluctant to upload it from my private file for reasons of TV-copyright, which can be quite a hassle. To read and/or download the PDF with my script of Kaps’ Chinese Sticks, CLICK HERE.

Below is a photo of Fred Kaps performing in an informal close-up situation – he was a master at this. The photo was kindly given to me by Flip Hallema – if you know the photo credit, please advise.

Of course, we could go on a tour exploring the cultural history of the Chinese Sticks, and what an interesting and enlightening exploration it would be, I’m convinced it would even make the subject of a fascinating book, but since I just finished writing one, and know of its implications (!), we won’t do it here 🙂 BUT, if you give yourself 3 minutes, have a look at the British magician Sutherland Felce, who performed the Chinese Sticks in quite a different way, CLICK HERE to watch.

(Maybe…) Final News About Sharing Secrets 

Finally, it’s done! By the time you are reading this, the books have all arrived here at our home in Muttenz, Switzerland, near Basel, have been carried, stocked, unpacked, signed, repacked, taken to the post office, and are now in the hands of the shippers. Those who live in Switzerland and Germany can expect it Monday or Tuesday, or have it already received. Those living in Europe should get it the coming week, so keep an eye on the postman. For all others outside of Europe I’ll have to beg for a little patience. Due to Corona the post office announced that the planes are overbooked and do not exclude the possibility of sending via ship, which will take several weeks. We’re still living in an exceptional time, and need to put up with exceptional measures.

I wish you a pleasant and successful week!

Roberto Giobbi

 

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Notes on Patrick Page Workshop in Switzerland (2008)

On the 28th and 29th of October 2008, the Magic Circle of Switzerland booked Britain’s inimitable Patrick Page for a two-day seminar to Switzerland. It took place in Reto Breitenmoser’s amazing Miracle Factory in Degersheim, a secluded village in the north-east part of the country, in the canton where the famous Appenzeller cheese is produced. It’s a great event place, houses the library of the Magic Circle of Switzerland (MRS/CMS), as well as a museum of magic, so, if you’re ever cast up in that corner of the world, it’s worth a visit.

Due to professional commitments, I could only assist at one of the two days, but thought that you might be interested in the copious notes I took at the time. The more experienced among you will recognize some great Pat Page classics, but I’m more than confident, that some of them will be worthy rediscoveries and some of it new – as it was to me when I attended this remarkable and memorable event. Now that Pat Page sadly has passed away, my notes and annotations might not only bring to you some really useful professional tricks, techniques, and presentations, but hopefully a bit of his incomparable personality and insight he had into magic.

To read and/or download the PDF, CLICK HERE.

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The Magic Memories (21)

Hello everyone!

It is SUN, 23rd May 2021, 0:07h, and time for the 21st edition of The Magic Memories to go online.

My gift to you today is a PDF with the notes I took when attending a two-day workshop held by Britain’s inimitable Patrick Page.

Patrick Page (1929 – 2010)

On the 28th of October 2008, Sven Bolliger (aka Sven Spacey), President of the Magic Circle of Switzerland, booked Patrick Page for a full two-day seminar in Switzerland. It took place in Reto Breitenmoser’s amazing Miracle Factory in Degersheim, a secluded village in the north-east part of the country, in the canton where the famous Appenzeller cheese is produced. It’s a great event place, houses the library of the Magic Circle of Switzerland (MRS/CMS), as well as a museum of magic, so, if you’re ever cast up in that corner of the world, it’s worth a visit.

Due to professional commitments, I could only assist at one of the two days, but inviting Pat for dinner the night before near Zurich Airport compensated for this. I thought that you might be interested in the notes I took at the time. The more experienced among you will recognize some great Pat Page classics, but I’m more than confident, that some of them will be worthy rediscoveries and some of it new – as it was to me when I attended this remarkable and memorable event. Now that Pat Page sadly has passed away, my notes and annotations might not only bring to you some really useful professional tricks, techniques, and presentations, but hopefully a bit of his incomparable personality and insight he had into magic.

To read and/or download the PDF, CLICK HERE. I’ll also put the PDF in the section of “Free Downloads” on the webshop, where you can find other essays of mine that mind find your favor. It’s all free 🙂

Sharing Secrets Update

The books are still on their way from Italy to me (Switzerland) – it’s only about 800 km from Florence to Basel – but scheduled to arrive beginning of next week, after Whitsun, so I’ll be able to ship all orders before next Friday. All who ordered from Switzerland and Germany will then get the book within one or two days, Europeans within 3 to 5 days. For all who ordered from outside of Europe (USA, Canada etc.) I beg for a little more patience: all books are insured and trackable, but the post office announces delays in delivery due to Corona (will this ever have and end!? There is only one other option, and that’s paying “Premium” delivery, which is ca. $ 80 per book! And this is just unacceptable.)

So, your books will arrive, eventually, but will take a few weeks. As announced earlier, 1’500 books will officially hit the USA-shores by end July/beginning August, and you can then order it directly from penguinmagic.com (they even pay shipping worldwide) or from your favorite dealer. However, I do thank all of you who ordered directly by me and thus help finance the book in advance. After one year of work, close to 1’000 working hours between Barbara, Francesco and myself, and an investment of close to $ 20’000, it is nice to get some of it back. If I was a professor at a University, the College, or a foundation, would take care of at least the printing expenses for such an important book, but in magic we are far away from such a model… You can still order at the pre-publication rate until May 31st BY CLICKING HERE.

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The Magic Memories (20)

Hello everyone!

This is no. 20 of The Magic Memories, gone online SUN, 16th May, at 0:07h.

On Vernon

As you will know, if you follow my publications, I greatly admire Dai Vernon. Like Hofzinser and Robert-Houdin in their time, and Juan Tamariz today, he created a major paradigm shift in the world of magic. I still think that the books Ganson wrote on his magic – the Inner Secrets quadrilogy – are as topical today as they were when they were published in the Sixties of the last century (millenary!) – I discuss a few of Vernon’s tricks in my DVD project Favorites.

I had the good fortune of meeting Vernon on three occasions, the first being in London, in 1979, at one of the legendary One-day Conventions, organized by the late, great Ron MacMillan. At the time the MacMillans (Ron, his wife Teresa, his son Martin, who now runs the shop, and his daughter Georgina) scheduled their unique conventions at the beginning of December, so by going to London you got the whole pre-Xmas hurly-burly as a Bonus. Fully decorated Picadilly Circus, exceptional Portobello Row Market, oh my, that was quite something for a twenty-year-old. And of course you’d stay at least one or two days longer to visit the Magic Circle on Monday evening, where luminaries such as Fred Robinson, Eric Mason, Ali Bongo, David Berglas held court. I have no idea why those people, stars of world-renown, would talk to Young Giobbi, do magic for him and even patiently endure some of his card tricks. I consider myself very lucky for this.

And then of course there was the visit to Ken Brooke’s shop in Soho. A friendly magician I had met at the German Cardworkshop took me there, and I remember the three things I bought on his recommendation: Fred Kaps’s “Working Man’s Wallet” that I’ve used all my performing life to this day, Jerry Andrus’s “Miser’s Miracle” that although a great idea I’ve never used, and Gaetan Bloom’s “Missing Diget” that became part of my FISM prize-winning act in 1991 and inspired the corner switch I’ve been using all my professional life for my “Bill in Lemon” routine. I mention this, because in my life I have only bought very, very few things other than books from a magic shop, a fact that might surprise some. Tamariz, whom I had met in 1978 at a German convention, even took me for a visit at Ken Brooke’s home. Ha, I will never forget that! There were Juan Tamariz doing his “Tamariz Rabbits”, Dick Koornwinder his “Koornwinder Car”, Gaetan Bloom his “3 Card Monte”, and Ken himself performed Fin Jon’s “Esoteric” by placing the deck on the floor of his living room, dancing around it (hilarious!), and then the deck started to split in three movements, only to produce the three previously selected cards. At that time I had no idea how this worked and was utterly amazed, to say the least. But the most astonishing thing to me, in retrospect, was, how the heck I got into that round, as an absolute nobody then. Anyway, these are indelible memories and have become an important part of my life.

To come back to Vernon: The convention took place for many years at the “Empire Rooms” in London’s Tottenham Court Road, how could anyone, who has attended one of these events, forget that! I’ll tell you some other time about when Ron booked me to perform close-up, with Tamariz on my right and Williamson on my left side… However, the real “action” took place the evenings before and after the convention in the Kennedy Hotel, which for some miraculous reason seemed to be able to host all out-of-town visitors, or so it seemed to me. Some kind of “Water from India”, but with magicians from a hotel instead 🙂

I can’t remember how this happened, but suddenly, in the bar, I was sitting at a table with Dai Vernon and Ron Wilson, who had accompanied him. With the innocence and naivité of an enthusiastic youth, I started to do card tricks for Vernon and Wilson! In hindsight I’ve asked myself several times if I had just dreamt that, but no, it really happened. And I know for one particular reason – here is the story: I had done several tricks for them, and then closed with “Aces Faroleros” from Frank Garcia’s Super Subtle Card Miracles. Vernon, as the gentleman he was, made some kind remarks, whereupon I said to him: “Professor, this is a trick by Frank Garcia.” Somehow, at the time, I wasn’t aware of the controversy Garcia’s two books had created in the world of magic. I attribute it to this fact much more than to my abilities that Vernon paused for a moment and frowned, but then jovially exclaimed in a loud voice that made everyone nearby turn around, “Oh, you are much better than Garcia, much better!” I confess I can’t remember whet happened then, nor how the evening continued, but I’ve never forgotten this little vignette in my life.

The photo below was taken at the Magic Castle in 1989, the third and lamentably last time I met Vernon, after a performance of mine in the Close-up Gallery, and you can see The Professor doing the unpublished version of his “Vernon-Giobbi hand-to-hand Palm Transfer”…

More on Vernon

One of my 58 lectures is on the Life & Work of Dai Vernon – some of you might have seen it. I have given that lecture many times, mostly as a 3-hour lecture, but occasionally also as a full-day Masterclass. Once I gave it in Las Vegas as a day-before Workshop to the World Magic Convention. On that occasion Michael Close interviewed me on Vernon and my talk on him, and published it in M-U-M, of which he was the editor. This will be my gift to you of this week. It’s not just bla-bla: If you read it, I believe you will get some very practical advice and ideas you will be able to use. To read the interview CLICK HERE.

I had always wanted to record this lecture, but it only happened at The Session in 2015, when Andi Gladwin and Joshua Jay invited me to their event; the day before I did the three-hours-plus lecture for a select group of attendants, and we taped the entire session. Because I’m very happy that my next book is finally out (see below!), I will extend a little extra offer to you: If you still don’t have my Dai Vernon Seminar, you can get it now at 25% off the regular price (only for 007 days). Notet: my publishers at Vanishing Inc. tell me that this physical double-DVD-set is out of print, and they are not planning on reissuing it. It really is a beautiful set with two DVDs  that folds out and is housed in an elegant slipcase. I only have about two dozens left, and then they will be gone. There is also a nice black page inside, where I can sign it to your name with a silver-colored Sharpie, but you must request that on the order form, please. To order a set CLICK HERE.

Sharing Secrets Breaking News!

The photo below was taken by my co-publisher Francesco Mugnai from Florence Art Edizioni at the binder’s in Florence, Italy: With me conceiving and writing it, Barbara taking photos and layouting, Francesco and Sylvia consulting and also layouting lots of details, the graphic designer conceiving the cover, Mike Vance and Max Pritchard proof-reading and editing, a company printing, another doing the hardcover, yet another binding all, still another putting the cellophane around and packing it, well, that makes eleven different “companies” producing that one book, and we won’t count those involved in the logistics to get it first to me and then to you. If you want to acknowledge all that work, and at the same time do yourself a favor, you can order it BY CLICKING HERE (at a pre-publication price until May 31st).

And now, my friends, have an excellent week!

As always, with much affection, yours truly,

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The Magic Memories (19)

Hello everyone!

These are The Magic Memories no. 19, gone online on SUN, 9th May 2021, at 0:07 o’clock.

Thank you!

First and foremost, a BIG thank you to all who sent in birthday wishes, all much appreciated, but it happens to all of us, once a year… so it’s no big achievement 🙂

Magic in the Springtime…

In the photo below you can see me under the beautifully blooming Japanese Cherry Tree in our garden, holding the three books from the Light Series – the Japanese version, of course.

Japanese Lights Under Japanese Cherry Tree

Both the Card College and the Light series have now been translated and published in eight languages, no mean achievement in the small world of magic. So I’ll take your congrats for this 🙂

Talk on “How do you do a book, Mr. Giobbi?”

Second, in the last Magic Memories (18) I mentioned the talk I gave in Paris in 2005 for the “Club Magique de Paris”, of which I was the first and sole honorary member, which means I gave the lecture for free… This lecture was recorded by my dear friend and co-gastro-magician Yves Carbonnier and never intended to be published, just for archival purposes. It was a one-time talk I gave on the subject of what happens from the moment I have an idea for a book, to the moment the book hits the market. I do this on the occasion of the publication of Cours de cartomagie moderne – Tome 3, the French translation of Grosse Kartenschule Band 5, in English Card College Volume 5 (any questions?). I also perform and discuss three tricks from this book. Even if you don’t speak French, which is easy because it is so similar to Italian and Spanish and based on Latin, you can fast forward to the tricks. I perform “A Psychological Test” (CC5, p. 1137), “The Color-changing Deck” (CC5, p. 1333) and “The Joker Folds up” (CC5, p. 1349), which are superb tricks, if I may say so myself.  To watch the talk CLICK HERE.

Third, let’s talk shop, what else?

The above-mentioned “Color-changing Deck” from Card College Volume 5 makes the ideal offering for today. I’ve used this routine for years, and am still using it, to open a close-up performance. It is visual and interactive, has a good pacing, and has a very nice multiple-climax built-up at the end that is not confusing at all – a danger of this type of trick – but quite on the contrary is impressive and memorable. Furthermore, it has the benefit of starting with a set-up deck, a convenience that should always be taken advantage of. At the end you are left with a complete deck, “free from guile”, to paraphrase the Professor, which you can hand out for shuffling… and then start your next miracle. This is the performance part of an instructional video I did for Spain’s Dani DaOrtiz. To watch the performance CLICK HERE. You can find its explanation on p. 1333 of Card College 5. Danny also has the explanation in English and Spanish for sale on his webshop www.gkaps.com at a ludicrous price, and you’ll find an amazing number of talent on that page, too. (Pour la petite histoire, as the French say: The recording was done in the entry hall of Juan and Consuelo Tamariz’s home in the south of Spain, in the summer of 2014.)

Sharing Secrets – The 52 Most Important and Practical Strategies in Magic 

Last, but not least, for all those who’ve been following along the good and the bad times of a magic-book-author, here are the latest news: the book went from the printer to the binder, and there is a good chance that it will be finished by next week-end, in which case you’ll be told, of course. To take advantage of the pre-publication offer CLICK HERE.

Have an enjoyable week!

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The Magic Memories (18)

Hello everyone!

This is the 18th installment of The Magic Memories, going online SUN, 2nd May 2021, at 0:007h, but written on the 1st of May, which is my birthday! Therefore I hope you will forgive me if I take this week-end off, because I need the time to blow out all 62 candles 🙂 I’ll be back next week-end with The Magic Memories (19) and I plan to make it a little video tutorial of a good trick.

HOWEVER, I will not leave you without letting you know that Sharing Secrets has gone to the printer on Tuesday already, and if all goes well I should receive them by the end of May (2021, that is!). And since it is my birthday, I want to make you a little, symbolic gift, by making you a pre-publication offer, which is valid until May 31st. Please understand that if you are making use of this offer, i.e. if you are ordering and paying, the shipping of the book will only take place once the book reaches me. So, depending from where you live, it will take from 2 to 20 days to reach you, and that might be mid-June.

For more information about the book and to order PLEASE CLICK HERE. Note: Many seem to buy my books as a gift for others, therefore I never know to whom they go; if you would like me to sign the book,  you must mention this on the order form.

Extra Information for those of you NOT LIVING IN EUROPE: Until the end of May 2021, Sharing Secrets will only be available through me and my Webshop, worldwide. After that it will start to be available in (geographic…) Europe also from dealers. The book is printed and bound in Florence, Italy, by Florence Art Edizioni, to the highest standards of Italian typography, famous to produce some of the most beautiful printing products. 1’500 copies will go on a container ship to the warehouse of Penguin Magic. If the ship doesn’t sink, is not attacked by pirates or doesn’t get stuck in a Canal, it will take 2 months (!) to reach the USA. You will then be able to buy the book directly from penguinmagic.com, and they will even pay the shipping! So, if you need to save a few Dollars (or Euros, or whatever), you’ll have to wait until about the beginning of August to order your copy either directly from penguinmagic.com, or from your favorite dealer, obviously without my signature 🙁

And here is the final design of the cover, for those wo asked:

Have a great weekend. Look forward to sharing some great magic with you next week-end in The Magic Memories (19) – Cheers!

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The Magic Memories (17)

Hello everyone!

Here we are, on SUN 25th April, 0:07 o’clock, with The Magic Memories No. 17.

Today I’d like to say a few things about “How to Find a Presentation for a Trick”. As you can imagine I have a whole talk on the subject, actually it is a full-day Masterclass – what else did you expect  🙂 Don’t fear, I won’t deliver it here;  I will just mention one presentational idea, explain how I got it, and then briefly discuss three examples of a trick to which the presentation could be applied.

Within the Masterclass I have a workshop where I make groups of three to four people each, and then give each group a newspaper or a magazine, whatever I find on site. The groups are given 15 minutes to go through the hand-out and are instructed to find three presentational ideas, of which they will present one by showing how it can be applied to a known trick, or one they can come up with on the spur of the moment. What at first sounds like a difficult task, turns out to be great fun, and I must say that each time I’m amazed at the excellent results presented.

I use the exercise above to demonstrate how presentational ideas are everywhere you look and listen, and will then discuss ten examples of mine. I’ve found presentational ideas in non-magic books, posters, advertisements of any type, on the labels of wine bottles, in train schedules, in interviews, in movies, by overhearing someone talk in an airplane, in essays and articles in various types of non-magic magazines, in instructions on how to sharpen a knife, on the back of tear-off calendars, etc.

For this chat we’ll keep it at one example: The other day I was watching an old episode of”Monk”, one of my favorite detective series starring Tony Shalhoub. I like it because the comedy doesn’t kill the mystery, no visible blood flows. and nobody is vomiting (it seems to me that almost all modern movies have at least one scene where someone is vomiting). In this episode Lt. Disher, the lovable-clumsy partner of Captain Stottlemeyer, utters one of his absurd-naiv ideas and says, “He might have a Doppelgänger. It is said that everyone has a Doppelgänger.” This last sentence immediately struck me as a captivating remark, ideal for a Prologue. So I immediately hit the pause key – the most important key on a remote control – made a note of the exact sentence, and then continued watching the delightful episode. Like in the Butterfly Effect from chaos theory this can be the beginning of a great piece of magic. The lesson here: always carry a small notebook or use your mobile phone’s recording function (I use an app called “4Memo”) to secure even the smallest idea.

Now, what do you do with that note? I tell you how I do it, and you do it likewise, or find a way that works for you. First, I go to my Evernote app, where I have a notebook called “magic” (really? :-), with a sub-notebook called “Presentations” that by now has hundreds of entries in almost as many notes. In this particular case I create a new note titled “Doppelgänger”. There I have made the following note:

This makes for a very nice Prologue to a trick: Triggered by a comment made by Lt. Disher in a Monk episode: “Man sagt, jeder Mensch habe einen Doppelgänger.” (I watch the German version).
Text: “They say that everyone has a Doppelgänger, a double, someone that looks like you, a look-alike. Therefore, playing cards, which are a symbolic representation of life and the universe, also have a double. Every card has a Doppelgänger, a card that is not exactly the same, but looks very much like it.” Point out three examples from the deck.
Tricks this could be used for:
      • “Hat Trick”, from Card College 1, p. 62
      • “A Real Prediction”, (Vernon), from: Steele, W. F. Rufus, The Last Word on Cards, USA 1952
      • “Cards of Coincidence”. This is a classic in Pat Page’s repertoire and an excellent impromptu card trick that can be performed stand-up before a larger group but is also very good for more intimate settings. Have several pairs of cards on top of deck, e.g., 7H/7D, QS/QC, etc. Hand a spectator the bottom half of the deck and you both shuffle your packets. You false shuffle your packet, retaining the top stock. Hand the spectator the top card of your packet and take the top card of his packet, placing each card on top of your respective packets. Then both turn the top card face up to reveal a matching pair (you Double Lift, of course). Place the cards on the bottom and repeat a few times. Page then palms a few cards from the top of his packet and offers to exchange packets. Repeat again once or twice.
        RG Comment:
        • Use only three pairs. Do the effect twice, then palm off the the third pair and repeat once.
        • As a right-handed person holding the cards in your left hand, turn your right side toward the audience asking your assisting spectator to stand on your left. In order to better protect the break you are holding under the top two cards, keep the packet slanted at about 45 degrees toward the floor. This will also better display the face of the card when you turn over the double card. Make sure everybody can see the cards, especially those sitting on the sides, by briefly bringing the cards, which are held in dealing position, into a vertical position and turning the body from left to right! Page sometimes neglected to do that and the break occasionally flashed. I thought this was an important lesson: regardless of how experienced we get, and how often we have done a trick, we should respect the trick as if it’s the first time we’re doing it. Try to never become negligent and always remain attentive. Nonchalance and self-confidence are important characteristics of a performer and only come after many years of intelligent practice and conscientious analysis, but this doesn’t relieve us from paying special attention to our technique at all times.

OK, that’s the full note… for now. As you can see, the simple sentence, “It is said that everyone has a Doppelgänger”, immediately got me to wonder what tricks could go with it. I quickly found three ideas, which are the ones I’m giving you here. As soon as I have a little free time I’ll go back to the note and find another ten tricks, that’s what I call “The Vernon Rule of Creativity” (because as a small boy he set out to find ten tricks with a string, but thought he’d never manage to do this, however, after he had started he found over one hundred… so he recounted himself).

Hope this triggers something in you.

Sharing Secrets – The 52 Most Important and Practical Strategies in Magic

How is the book doing? Thank you for asking! The book will go to the printer in Florence, Italy, on Monday, 26th April 2021, and it will then take about four weeks to complete, plus another week to get to me. If you’re not in the book business you’ll be surprised to hear that there are several companies involved in just making the physical book. This is of course only one of the reasons a book is so much more expensive than let’s say a DVD. And this doesn’t even take into account that it takes about a year to write and make a book, whereas you can tape the content of a DVD in one day plus a few days for editing and graphics.

Important: Make sure you have subscribed to the Secret Newsletter to get my pre-publication offer and more info. Here, as a first teaser, the first draft of the back and front cover:

Front and Back Cover of Sharing Secrets – The 52 Most Important and Practical Strategies in Magic

BTW: You might not be surprised to learn that I have a talk on the subject of how a book is created, from the initial idea in the author’s head until it hits the shops. I gave this talk only once, in 2005 in Paris, presenting Card College Volume 5, which had then just appeared in French. I speak about the many aspects of book-making and also perform and explain three tricks from the book. The talk has been filmed and is obviously in French, but if I get more than three solicitations I might upload it to YouTube, so those who are interested can watch it.

OK, my friends, that’s it for another week, which I hope will be most successful for you!

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The Magic Memories (16)

Hello everyone!

Here we are at number 16 of The Magic Memories, gone online SUN, 18th April 2021, at precisely 0:07.

Seminar in Las Vegas 2007 with Lennart Green and happy participants

First and foremost a BIG THANK YOU to all of you who sat down to think of titles for my upcoming book and took the time to send them in. I received well over one hundred (!) tittle suggestions from the four corners of the world. It deeply humbles me to know that so many seem to consider reading these little ramblings worth their while. I must admit that many of the titles you sent in were really good ones and could have made it. I felt like the man going to his wine cellar, stocked with hundreds of different wines, but having to decide on one particular bottle for the dinner.

You might be interested to know that my first title was “52 Theories,” but several advised me against using the word “Theory” in the title because it would scare off potential buyers. Frankly, to this day I’m not convinced by this reasoning. Yes, most of us who practice magic are doing this as hobbyist or amateurs, in the sense that they do not do it for a living, so are more interested to learn new tricks rather than other things. However, my experience in decades of interacting with people in the world of magic, who come from all walks of life, is that the large part of them is very smart, well-educated and have broad interests, furthermore many of them are very successful in their jobs. Certainly, theory books won’t make up the larger part of their library, but almost all of them know when they hear and see an original and intelligent thought. And in my lengthy talks that focus a lot on the conceptional aspects of magic, I very rarely have people walk out. I have learned not to underestimate someone who practices magic only on the grounds that he or she is not a professional. Quite the opposite is true, some of my most interesting discussions have been with non-professionals, and there is a good chance that if you are reading this, you are one of those.

Anyway, back to titles. My next idea was “Sleight-of-Mind,” but that was taken by Macknik and Martinez-Conde. They came to my Masterclass at Larry Hass’s convention years ago, and in an interview I’m almost sure I mentioned this title, which is a term I’ve used occasionally in my lectures, inspired by NLP’s term “sleight-of-tongue.” Next was “Beyond Secrets,” until my proofreader Max Pritchard told me it was taken by Jay Sankey. And so it went.

Briefly, the title that I’ve eventually chosen is. “Sharing Secrets,” one I myself came up at some point, but eliminated because it is the slogan for the Slaight Awards. However, when I asked David Ben and Julie Eng, they graciously agreed to let me use that name, so I guess they should get the signed book! I hope you are not too disappointed that I didn’t pick your suggestion; please know that I truly appreciate you having participated, and I hope that I can make good through the content of these Magic Memories – if I manage to do this for a full year – and I’m determined to do so. Still, the book is not finished yet, another few hours of rereading and checking, plus hoping for Barbara or Francesco to do the magic on the cover design. I hope that next week-end I can tell you, “The book is at the printer’s!”

Which brings us to this week’s offering, namely three recommendations – I hope you find this interesting for a change.

First, Benji Wilkins of “The Daily Magician” fame wrote in to say: “If you want some great content for the blog, we’ve set up a resource with 24 public domain/copyright free magic books that magicians can read for free. To get them, they just have to enter their email on the page below and sign up to our newsletter: https://thedailymagician.com/classic-books. We’d appreciate the emails, and hopefully your audience will appreciate the books.” End of quote. Well, have a look, and I believe several among you should be pleased.

Second, is sending you to TCC, my Chinese publisher, and their new webshop. See how you like their newsletter: they keep putting excellent products on Kickstarter, which you might enjoy (they did my wonderful Card College Playing Cards Collector Sets and the normal Card College Playing Cards). I particularly like their “Accessories” section, which you can access if you CLICK HERE. I’ve just reordered their “Packet Wallet” ($ 4.95), several Leather Card Clips ($ 15) and their “Accordion-style Multifunction Bag” ($ 22), which I find very useful to put a deck on one side, and on the other side special cards matching the deck. Shipping is free from $ 50, with the exception of some heavy items, but even then it’s a bargain.

Third, is an immaterial recommendation. If you do not know Victor Borge or George Carl, you’re in for a treat. I will readily admit that most of today’s “comedy” performers leave me cold. But Borge, well, that’s another universe, in my opinion. A big, big lesson in how skill and competence beats anything else. There is not one political or topical joke, all is situation comedy, and it is hilarious. Also, you’ll understand most even if you are not a native speaker of English. For a good start on Victor Borge, CLICK HERE. And for George Carl, who mostly lived on one act, just enter his name in Google and you’ll be spoilt for choice. I remember how Gaetan Bloom many years ago at a magic convention, in one of our night-long sessions, mentioned the two names to me, which I had never heard of. It was one of my most memorable discoveries.

OK, folks, that’s it for today – I’m off to another few hours of checking and fighting with my book. I should have kept a diary titled “The Pleasures and Sorrows of a Magic Writer”, certainly a book nobody would want to read 🙂

Have a great week!