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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!

 

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The Magic Memories (15)

Hello everyone!

Here we are, at the 15th episode of The Magic Memories, gone online on SUN, April 11th, 00:07 o’clock.

Today’s session will be short and sweet, the main reason being that Barbara and I are working (almost) around the clock to finish my upcoming book. I’m currently implementing all the corrections and suggestions I received from Max Pritchard, my second proofreader, who must have worked a week full-time to work through all the tricks and techniques, research sources and historical facts, checking literary references and making around a thousand annotations and suggestions of how to improve the text, a Herculean task. I’ve mentioned the work that goes around a book in my 13th post, but now I’m living it in a full immersion. Another full day and the content is ready to be printed on paper, then another 3 days at least to check everything from photos, to titles, layout, and of course the complete text one last time. After that we’ll tackle the covers (see below!), and in about 10 days it should go to the printer’s, in Florence, Italy, supervised by my good friend and publisher Francesco Mugnai and his Florence Art Edizioni.

Signing your book with a Montblanc Heritage 1912 and Irish Green ink

However, we are still struggling with the title, and that’s were you can come in, if you wish. I will have a free copy of the book, duly signed to your name and shipped free of charge to any part of the world, to anyone who can come up with a title for the book that we will use. So, here is an open competition, and anyone can participate. These are some of the facts you should know:

  • CLICK HERE to see our latest design idea – the PDF shows the front cover and two versions of the back cover. The current title-idea is “Of Secrets”, but I’m looking for a better title.
  • Titles I had to eliminate are “Sleight-of-Mind” and “Beyond Secrets”, because they’ve been already used by others.
  • Titles I have eliminated and which are therefore not eligible are:
    • 52 Secrets
    • Essential Secrets
    • Real Secrets
    • True Secrets
    • Of Secrets

As you can see I tend toward “Secret” in the title, but this can be changed completely or made part of a longer title.

The subtitle is fix (unless someone comes up with something really genial): “The 52 Most Important and Practical Strategies in Magic”

As for the content, here is once again the link to the current “Table of Content” that gives you a first general idea (CLICK HERE).

The idea of the book is to identify the most important “theories”, i.e. conceptual ideas in magic and describe them on one single page, on the left side of the open book. On the opposite right page I’ll have a trick, technique or other idea illustrating the practical use of the concept described. There will be 53 such double-pages, including dozens of tricks etc. Plus there will be several essays on the subject, various lists of the fundamental concepts in magic, a rich bibliography, a short chapter with recommended books on the subject, with my comments.

CLICK HERE to see an example for such a double-page, which forms the core-content of the book. When you open the PDF in your PDF-Reader app, use the double-page view  to see how it will appear.

You can send your suggestions directly to me at giobbi@bluewin.ch. I will very briefly answer all incoming mail – if you don’t get an answer within 48 hours, it means I did not receive your email, so please, send again.

OK, folks, that’s it for today. If all goes well I’ll be done with the book by next week-end, and I’ll be able to spend some time talking a magic trick or related subject. Until then, have a great week!

 

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The Magic Memories (14)

Hello everyone!

Here we are, The Magic Memories no. 14, gone online on SUN, 4th April, 2021, at 0:007h.

Roberto Giobbi practicing…in 2002

Today’s offering is a 2-minute video clip of me performing my handling of Peter Kane’s “Jazz Aces”. The original has become a classic of modern card magic and has seen endless variations. If you are interested, you can stay another short 20 minutes and listen to a few thoughts of mine regarding the various construction levels of the trick. I do not discuss all the problems there are, of course, as I assume only few would be interested, but those who are can reach me anytime for online coaching lessons at giobbi@bluewin.ch.

To watch the Kane-Giobbi “Jazz Aces” performance and discussion CLICK HERE.

PS: Please don’t write in to say that the camera goes out of focus occasionally, or that there is too much white, or that the cards reflect; I know all this. And if you ask why I don’t fix it, well, consider the question a Koan to think about 🙂

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The Magic Memories (13)

Hello everyone!

This is the 13th installment of The Magic Memories, gone public on SUN 28th MAR, 0:07 o’clock. We are putting the finishing touches to our latest book, now tentatively titled Beyond Secrets – The 52 Most Important and Practical Strategies in Magic; more about this at the end of this post.

Today’s topic is one I’ve touched upon in my Secret Newsletter #6 (18th APR 2020), namely Barbara’s Orimotos. Meanwhile, she has reached black-belt status and teaches her skills to others in courses. Her magic-relevant output has now reached eight, considered a lucky number in the Asian cultures, and I thought it might make for an attractive change to have a little virtual exhibition of her works. Here they are:

1. The Dai Vernon Book of Magic

 

2. The Magic Spell 1 – Abracadabra
3. The Magic Spell 2 – Hokuspokus
4. The Four Suits
5. The Joker
6. It’s Magic
7. A Winning Hand – Royal Flush
8. Magic Top Hat

If you want to know more about this fascinating craft of Orimoto simply look it up in the Internet. But briefly: Each book is unique and entirely hand-made. Every page is incised with scissors, and then its elements folded in accordingly. The inside of the covers are decorated to match the theme of the Orimoto, e.g. “7. The Winning Hand -Royal Flush” shows the beautiful back design of the “Superior Brand” by The Expert Playing Card Co. Depending on the style, an Orimoto takes several days of work. Barbara sells some of them, from $150 upward plus shipping – if you’re interested send me a mail (please only if you are seriously interested).

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

Mike Vance, my first proof-reader, sent in his corrections and suggestions which have taken us about 10 hours to install, not counting his 40-plus hours of wading through the texts. This is just a very small part of what happens below the water-level of the magic-book-iceberg. When you think all is done, you’ll have to invest another ca. 100 hours until it goes to the printer (more for big books). On a recent count I realized that I have now 57 different lectures. One of them, which I gave only twice, once in Paris and once in Torino, deals with the process from the idea of a book to the moment it lands in front of the reader. If you are not in this business you cannot imagine even in your wildest dreams how much work and time goes into a professionally produced book. If you knew, you would insist on paying it twice as much, at least 🙂 One day I’ll write about this, for as far as I know nobody has done so in the world of magic before.

Each time I come to talk about this, I’m reminded what Schopenhauer once wrote: “My books have never earned me anything, but they have saved me a lot.” In this sense I can honestly say that my books have given me great satisfaction, made me meet some wonderful people and have taken me to places and events I will always cherish in my memory. There are lots of stories I could tell, but one comes spontaneously to mind: When I went to see the Penn & Teller show in Las Vegas with Barbara and our boys Rafael and Miro years ago, courtesy of Johnny and Pam Thompson, we stayed after the show to make photos. At some point Penn looked at me, came closer and said, “Hey, you are Roberto Giobbi, I read your column in Genii!” Maybe he even said, “…I have your books!” Anyway, it made my day.

Back to the book: it is now going to my second proof-reader Max Pritchard, we’ll install his suggestions after a week or so, then I’ll print the complete book on paper to do a final look-through, and then off it goes to the printer, hopefully right after Easter, and if all goes well it should reach me at the beginning of May. The idea of the book is to identify and describe 52 (of course!) of the most important and inlfuential concepts in magic and to illustrate them with a good trick, a technique or other very practical example. So, this will be a book for those who seek to better understand the essence of magic, and at the same time learn some top-notch professional material. I believe this has never been done before, and I look very much forward to what you’ll have to say. CLICK HERE to get a peek at the table of contents. More next week.

Have a splendid week!

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The Magic Memories (12)

Hello everyone!

This is the 12th part of The Magic Memories, online on SUN 21st March, as always exactly at 0:07!

Renate Lurz, Roberto Giobbi, Sepp Holzer (1986, Munich)

I received quite a few comments on last week’s post (“Inside Out” in Magic magazine) and especially about me writing that the two coin tricks had never seen publication before. The protesters are right: although the only write-up was in Magic magazine, the little routine also exists as a video recording, and it will be my offering to you for this week. If you are interested about a bit of background information before you watch it, here is the story:

In 1986 Heinz Lurz and Joseph Holzer, both from Munich, Germany, asked me to do three instructional videos with them. At that time I was still 27, not married, no children, no house. Which inevitably reminds me of Zorbas’ (Anthony Quinn) famous quote in answer to a journalist’s question if he’s married: “Am I not a man? And is not a man stupid? I’m a man, so I’m married. Wife, children, house–everything. The full catastrophe.” And whenever the word “stupid” comes up I cannot but smile at Einstein’s equally famous and unfortunately true statement, “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

Anyway, I followed their call and travelled from Basel to Munich, stayed four days with Heinz and his family, and in three days we taped three one-hour long videos, one on close-up, one on cards and one on gambling themed card tricks, which where then sold as VHS cassettes at 150 Deutschmark each! These were among the very first instructional tapes to appear on the magic market, and the first of its kind in German language. The taping took place in Heinz Lurz’s basement, which he had turned out into a small filming studio. The equipment at that time was quite expensive, so there was only one camera, however, the video eventually showed three camera settings. How was that possible? Yes, you guessed it. I had to perform the whole show and explanation part three times in a row, all recorded by the same camera, of course, and then they would paste the relevant sections together in the final edit, which was also done on expensive equipment and took a lot of know-how and time. We really had to work for the little money that eventually came in – I can’t remember how much I received, but it can’t have been much.

Remember, I was aged 27 then (35 years ago!), a year before turning professional, and when I recently looked at the recording myself it felt like another life. I feel a bit embarrassed about a few things, but then decided to look at this simply as a document of the past and to forgive myself – I hope you will, too. The language I speak is German, actually German in a Swiss-German regional variant, as linguists would say. So, if you don’t understand what I’m saying don’t worry, you don’t miss much 🙂 but I suspect that even the coin experts among you will find the second part of the routine interesting, where the coins travel from my left hand to the glass held in my right hand; you’ll notice that the right hand never holds the glass in the “typical” position…

To watch the 3-minute performance CLICK HERE – enjoy, and have a prosperous week!