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The Magic Memories (154)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: What Will Not Go Into the Unexpected Agenda; The Advent Calendar of Good Ideas Addendum; Pol Pollux Ninetieth Birthday; A Quick Trick; The missing link (Pepe Carroll FISM 1888 card act)

These are The Magic Memories 154, gone online Sunday, December 10th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

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

What Will Not Go Into the Unexpected Agenda

As I’m looking through the thousands of notes I have made in the past almost fifty years in order to extract the very best for the upcoming Unexpected Agenda, I stumbled over this little anecdote from my very first performance at the Magic Castle in Hollywood at the end of the Eighties.

I was performing at the Close-up Gallery. I remember very well that at that time the fee for one week’s work, i.e., 21 shows on seven days, was $ 500, plus you got $ 200 for doing two shows at Friday Lunch, plus $ 300 for the lecture on Sunday in the Parlor of Prestidigitation. That was a total of $ 800, but I had to pay for my intercontinental flight, the hotel and most of the food. I leave the math to you… Still, it was an experience not to be missed (but I had to pay the price).

Now, under new management, the conditions have greatly improved, and even if you come from abroad and still have to pay your own travel, you can expect to bring home a little something. Times have changed 🙂

Anyway, here is the story:

I was working the Close-up room with a “card act” of about twenty minutes plus. Part of it was a piece that you can find in Card College 5, titled «All’s Wells That Ends Wells» (not a typo, but an allusion to H. G. Wells’ novel The Time Machine). My trick is based on Larry Jennings’ “Morlock’s Revenge” from one of the Symposium books.

When I did this trick within a card routine in the Close-up room of the Magic Castle many years ago, Larry Jennings came to watch me three times (!), and afterwards he asked me why I had changed his routine around – he liked my version better than his! As you can imagine, this was quite a compliment for Young Giobbi.

Vernon was not in that week. Jennings said that if he had been in, they would have named me «Close-up Magician of the Year».

I have no idea if this is true, and if Vernon was so influential in giving that title, but the story is true, and I like to remember it.

Giobbi, Paviato, Carney, Vernon, Jennings at Magic Castle bar

The Advent Calendar of Good Ideas Addendum

Thank you to all who wrote in to say they like The Advent Calendar of Good Ideas, to appear daily in your mailbox until December 24th, provided you have put your email in the subscription field of the newsletter on the webshop.

Some came a few days late and are asking if they can receive the ones they missed.

Briefly: Not now, but on DEC 25th you can.

Explanation: Due to the way this is automated I cannot install a function that sends back items (at least I have no idea how to do that…).

BUT: On December 25th, I plan to give you the entire 24 Calendar entries in one PDF, so you have all together, can review them, and maybe extract your favorites to reread from time to time.

Pol Pollux Ninetieth Birthday

Pol Pollux, the “World’s Only Card Juggler”, as he billed himself in the decades of his successful professional life, turned ninety on November 28th, 2023.

early photo of Pol Pollux (ca. 1955)

I’ve known Pollux, whose real name is Rudolf Hägler, for many years now, and we are both members of the Zauberring Basel (ZRB), the magic club of Basel (Switzerland).

When I became a member in 1977, Pollux was already an established professional magician working internationally.

On rare occasions, when he came back to Basel, were he keeps an apartment to this very day, he would visit the club and tell about his many travels around the world, in an era when there were still top class nightclubs booking artists. I always listened in awe, never imagining that one day I would myself embark on a professional career in magic!

Pollux was always very supportive of my efforts, and kept saying to others about me: “He’s our best man!” Never mind its truthfulness, it was balm on the soul of Young Giobbi. Pollux is one of the people I owe a great debt to for having encouraged and believed in me: Danggschöön viilmool, Pollux (Baseldytsch Swiss German for “many thanks”).

Again, I hope to tell you more about this man, who very early in his life made his dream come true by turning professional, at a time when in Switzerland there were only very few who dared doing this.

Anyway, Pollux has become a dear friend over the years, especially now as he has retired and we see each other more often, and I congratulate him to his fantastic birthday and wish him well for the next ten years, when we will celebrate his hundredth birthday!

There is a lovely post by one Judge Brown, with details about Pollux’s career, complemented by a rich iconography. To see and read CLICK HERE.

And for all those who understand Swiss German, or just would like to hear how it sounds, well, Kevin Stieger and Lorenz Schär put together a nicely made video with friends congratulating Pollux on his ninetieth birthday: To watch or just quickly look into CLICK HERE.

A Quick Trick

Here is a quick trick you can use for any situation really, but which I created to open a Close-up Gala at a Magic Convention.

The deck can be fully stacked, with just a blank-faced card 2nd from the top in the face down deck.

“Good evening, I’ve been told I only have ten minutes, so I need to hurry up. A deck of 52 cards… (fan), … you can count them: 1, 17, 52… (Dribble Waterfall Gag)… and this is your card!”

Produce the top card in a flourishy manner, and let the balance of the deck fall into left hand Dealing Position, as the right hand displays the top x-card. Look expectantly at spectator “The X of Y – was this the card you took?”

He will (hopefully) say, “I didn’t take any card.”

Top change x-card in hand for the blank-faced card resting on top of balance. Look at its face yourself, without showing it for the moment, asking back, “You didn’t take any card?”

After three seconds of hesitation show the blank card, “Correct!”

As the audience reacts, do the Jinx Switch: The right hand puts the blank card back on top of the deck, takes all minus the bottom card, the latter remaining face down in the left hand, and places the balance of the deck on the table. Look at the supposed blank card, really a duplicate of, e.g., the 5D. Put aside, or in breast pocket, still visible to all, back to the audience, naturellement. They think it’s the blank card.

Continue (optional): Force the regular 5D from the deck, make sure everyone sees it (!), and then lose it in the deck.

Say that you will find the card. Look through the deck, but pretend not to find it. Say that all cards are there, so one must be his… do a Dribble Flourish, apparently counting the cards, “1, 2, 3… 51! Oh, one card is missing?!”

Look at card initially put aside, supposed to be blank: It is the 5D, the selection!

If done in a stand-up situation, don’t even bother stealing the duplicate 5D out of the deck.

Can also be used simply as a quick opening gag: After the blank card is shown, simply put it away, and then start performance.

The Missing Link

This week’s link will take you to the card act Pepe Carroll from Spain performed in 1988 in The Hague at the FISM convention. For this he was deservedly awarded the First Prize.

It will amuse you to know that I also entered the same competition and became second, as one of the judges afterwards told me with 0,9 points on 100 behind Pepe 🙂

Pepe was a very good friend, and we both had Juan Tamariz as our mentor, often meeting when I came to Spain visiting Tamariz. I’m determined to tell you more of my personal get-togethers with him as he was without doubt one of the most extraordinary cardicians I’ve ever met in my life – I hope to do so in the near future.

Meanwhile, to enjoy Pepe’s FISM act CLICK HERE.

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (153)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: The Unexpected Agenda; The Magic Advent Calendar of Good Ideas; Cloned Video With AI – Ascanio; The “Easy” Stuff From Sharing Secrets; The Missing Link; JPG and Video Compression

These are The Magic Memories 153, gone online Sunday, December 3rd, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

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

The Unexpected Agenda

First and foremost many thanks to the over 50 (fifty!) who wrote in in answer to last week’s inquiry if you would be interested to have a third (and last) “Agenda”, similar to Secret Agenda and Hidden Agenda. OK, I listen to you, and if all works out well, you’ll have it for the Holiday Season next year, tentatively titled Unexpected Agenda.

Secret Agenda is still available, from me, as a book or as an e-book (PDF), the book signed to your name (request on the order form), from your favorite dealer (not signed…), or from the publisher Penguin Magic directly postpaid (not signed).

Hidden Agenda, published by Vanishing Inc., unfortunately has been out of print for five years now, and I’m tired of asking them if and when they will reprint… in the new year I might try to fight them to relinquish the copyright to me, but they have become tough guys since they are now “the biggest magic store in the world” (so they write on their own webshop). I’ll keep you posted.

The Magic Advent Calendar of Good Ideas

This is a new idea, and I hope you like it: In December 2021 I wrote The Magic Calendar, where I posted one installment for every day from December 1st to 24th, the Advent days of the Christian calendar. Obviously, “Advent” was only a “McGuffin”, as anyone could enjoy it, completely independent from religious connotations, the only condition being a love for magic.

Many have asked me to repeat this, but, the day having only 24 hours, I am incapable to do so.

However, the project appealed to so many, even to myself (the most important thing!), that I decided to bring it back in a minimalistic form, and I call it The Magic Advent Calendar of Good Ideas.

If IT and Internet allow it, I will send out one “good idea” a day, from December 1st to 24th, via the “Newsletter”-app, i.e., in order to receive it you have to subscribe to the “Newsletter” – due to the new laws for the protection of privacy I cannot do that, YOU must do it.

You can unsubscribe at any time, but as most of you know, I’m not a dealer, and therefore you will only receive a “Newsletter” when I publish a new item…

How to receive “The Magic Advent Calendar of Good Ideas”

As you are reading this, those who have registered for the “Newsletter” should already have received two installments, with the third on its way. If you did not receive them, it means you have not subscribed to the “Newsletter”, so, please, do it now.

I hope you like the idea 🙂

And if you like it, tell your friends.

Cloned Video With AI: Ascanio

Donato Capitella from the UK sent in a link to a video of Ascanio performing his interpretation of Ed Marlo’s “Torn and Restored Card” from The Cardician in Juan Tamariz’ Magia Potagia, a series for Spanish TV that featured Juan Tamariz himself plus many of his colleagues, almost all from Spain.

The punchline of this, however, is that Ascanio speaks English… thanks to Donato’s time and effort he put into dubbing the video with the aid of AI. Ha!

(yet) unknown with Ascanio (ca. 1980)

To watch Ascanio and hear him speak in “his own voice” in (almost) impeccable English, with Spanish accent (!), CLICK HERE.

The “Easy” Stuff From Sharing Secrets

I have already devoted four blogs (!) to the tricks within Sharing Secrets in an effort to make the book palatable also to those who, besides “theory”, are looking for “tricks”.

Check The Magic Memories 78 to and including 81, the articles titled “List of tricks & bits from Sharing Secrets”. You find the list of all The Magic Memories HERE.

Recently a good friend, who is a delightful hobbyist, but has no interest in advanced card magic, asked me if there are also tricks that even he could do.

Here is a list of nine items you can perform once you have read and understood the description without having to learn any sleight-of-hand whatsoever:

  • S. 25: “Authentic Prop” – you only need a cigarette case with flap (Tenyo used to have one), or adapt to any other changing device, such as Double Envelope, Himber Wallet, etc. (use your head).
  • S. 39: “Visible and Invisible World” – use the Si Stebbins stack; you can replace the False Shuffle with a sequence of straight cuts done by various spectators.
  • S. 73: “Managing Management” – you can do this without a jacket, simply with your pants’ pocket. To control the selection use a Key Card and the “Oops-Control” (see Card College Volume 1).
  • S. 85: “The Marvelous Book” – the Furoshiki idea can be used in many other situations, and to any professional performer is worth the price of the book, let alone the trick itself; you can make up the bag yourself easily.
  • S. 91: “Dice and Aces” – get out your deck and a pair of dice, and you are ready to do it.
  • S. 97: “Seeing is Believing” – anyone can do this.
  • S. 109: “The Trick That Can Be Explained” – for twenty years I have been fooling the best with this one as part of my lecture on deck switches.
  • S. 113. “CardSpeak” – Dr. Jaks would have said, “Sensationell!”
  • S. 117: “Triple Prediction” – simple and direct, a gem by Rolf Andra from his book “Eine Kartenroutine am Tisch”.

That’s it, NINE “self-working” tricks in a book devoted to “theory” – and there are more that require just a little sleight-of-hand, but all doable with average skill.

Just in case you missed it, Michael Close’s review of Sharing Secrets is HERE.

The Missing Link

Today’s link takes you to the production process of playing cards in the Fournier factory in Vitoria, Spain.

It is in Spanish, but you can still fast forward through it and see the major manufacturing steps. This is very interesting, as I can confirm, as I have been taken twice on a tour in this same factory, fascinating.

And maybe you can use AI or subtitles to get the English translation (it’s your turn, Donato!). To enjoy the video CLICK HERE.

JPG and Video Compression

BTW of videos: Most jpgs and videos are sent around in a far too high resolution when this is not necessary.

Especially those Zoom conference videos that are interesting to listen to, but there is nothing or little demonstrated, can be compressed to at least half their size; obviously the image deteriorates, but the sound remains the same (as far as I can judge…): I have used VEED.IO, and for jpgs COMPRESS JPEG, both with good results. You simply upload the file, click the compression button, wait, and then download the compressed file again. Done. Very practical, I say.

The main reason I’m mentioning this, though, is that VEED.IO offers a language translation feature in its beta-version, which can be applied to your compressed video, and you may want to try this (I haven’, yet, but let me know if it works).

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (152)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: The Samelson Reunion; Museo della magia in Cherasco; Tre Re Castellamonte; Thoughts on FISM; Firenze magica

These are The Magic Memories 152, gone online Sunday, November 26th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

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

I’m back from my extensive “Giro d’Italia”, my yearly Italian magic-truffle-tour, and have lots to tell you 🙂

The Samelson Reunion

My first stop on my travel from Basel to Italy, across the Swiss Alps, was in Brissago, on the shore of Lago Maggiore, still in Switzerland but just a few minutes from the Italian border.

Peter Samelson, of Monday Night Magic fame, had invited me along with P. G. Varola, his wife Helen, and Mauro Massironi to visit with him for a week-end in his aunt’s beautiful house on Lake Maggiore. The photo below gives you an idea of the inspirational setting our meeting took place.


View from the house on Swiss-Italian Alps


a view from my bedroom

So, from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, we discussed magic in many of its aspects, each one of the participants giving talks on several subjects. The photo below shows the truly inspirational living room, with books in the shelves, and a Steinway grand piano in the front.

a magical room

This reminds me of one of the advertisings Steinway, also called “the instrument of the immortals”, used in the past (I’m quoting from memory):

“Since 1950 our craftsmen couldn’t find a way to improve our pianos.”

Wonder if we could say the same things about anything in magic… If anyone can find the precise quote, please let me know via the webshop contact – thank you.

Peter Samelson, whom I only knew from fame and from his writings, performed and discussed one of his battle-horses, the burned and restored handkerchief, truly a Masterpiece in his hands.

There is plenty about Peter on the Internet, of course, but you may start with an interview that also has some performance pieces HERE.

Helen, G.P., RG, Peter, Mauro – taking a break

P.G. Varola will only be known to the insiders of magic, or maybe those who live in NYC, and of course he’s a household name in Italy, now retired. He’s certainly a most eccentric individual with a great knowledge of magic in all its facets, and his presentations where quite provocative and caused some interesting discussions.

P. G. Varola giving a passionate talk

Helen, P.G.’s wife, not a performer herself, an art historian, curator of art exhibitions (with P. G.) etc., in her talk gave some interesting insights into magic and the fine arts.

Mauro, possibly less known in the magic community at large, gave an insightful talk on the Italian Horatio Galasso, who should be known to all historians from his Giochi di carte, published in Venice in 1593.

Until recently this was known to be the first source of what later became known as the Si Stebbins Stack.

More recent research by Preverino and Kalush, however, have uncovered an even earlier source, namely Giovanni Battista Verini’s Lo specchio del mercatante, published in Milan in 1542, where “Si Stebbins”, or at least the principle at its base, is exposed.

Cards having been documented since 1370 in Italy, I have no doubt that the principle of the stacked deck – be it mathematical, rosary, or mnemonic – goes back even further than 1542 – the question is just to find a written record of it…

Mauro wrote about Galasso, about whom we knew only little, in Bill Kalush’s Gibecière (Summer 2016, Vol. 11 No. 2), and is now researching if Galasso ever met Caravaggio.

Yes, this may sound as crazy and unnecessary as coming up with seventeen variations of the Multiple Shift (Marlo!), but without these people and their research we would not move magic toward being recognized as an art and science…

Mauro floating over Galasso…

We talked a lot about history and theory, so, in order to complement and balance the event, I performed quite a few of my own pieces, and then discussed them, with emphasis on the concepts set forth in Sharing Secrets. I was glad to notice that even experts found this interesting.

I also showed some of the Collector Sets of my Card College Playing Cards, which were new to the participants, and caused a different kind of astonishment…

Card College Playing Cards Collector Set

Originally, Stephen Minch, of Hermetic Press fame, and one of magic’s iconic writers and publishers, should have joined the group, but circumstances prevented him from being with us live.

However, through the magic of modern technology, we managed to bring him in anyway, and he gave a most informative talk on his career and how his Hermetic Press came about, with lots of inside information not even known to us. This is particularly topical in view of Micky Hades’ recent disappearance.

Stephen Minch joins in via Skype

I cannot praise such meetings high enough, especially in a time were lots of “communication” takes place virtually. There is in my opinion absolutely nothing that can cause so much happiness and have such an influence on one’s life and magic as to meet face-to-face with people who have a similar interest.

… in an interval of relief

You see, all my travels, professional or not, have but one goal: To meet up with other people, most of them inspired magicians, and to talk and do magic together, to see them and listen to them, and thereby broaden my horizons. I recommend this, particularly to the younger members of our fraternity, but to all others, too.

you have to enjoy in order to learn…

Museo della Magia in Cherasco

Sunday early afternoon we bid each other good-bye, with the promise to meet again next year in a similar setting.

I drove leisurely along the shores of Lake Maggiore, passed Torino, one of my favorite cities, and drove down to Don Silvio Mantelli’s “Museo della Magia” in Cherasco, a village at the south end of the Langhe, one of Piedmont’s most spectacular landscapes (and near Alba, with its yearly truffle market).

I have reported about Don Silvio and his amazing “magic empire” before in my The Magic Memories, so will just remind you that the main reason for my regular visits is Don Silvio’s incredible library with over 20’000 volumes of magic, plus thousands of magic magazines, lectures notes, pamphlets etc.

I took several hours to peruse the Chavez Course in Magic, which only very few have in their libraries. At some point I need to tell you more about it…

trying to understand a Swedish magic magazine

The museum also boasts a theater, which is an extension of the museum, and can seat about eighty spectators.

Don Silvio himself introducing the next performer

At the end of the museum tour the visitors are treated to a 25-minute magic show by professional magician and President of the CADM Marco Aimone.

Marco Aimone in action at the Museo della Magia

Nowhere does Confucius’ credo apply as much as in Cherasco: “Live as if it was the last day, learn as if it was the first.”

food for thought – Gnudi with truffles
after a hard day of study and shows (Silvana, Roberto, Don Silvio, Marco)

Tre Re in Castellamonte

Meeting at “Tre Re”, the “Three Kings Restaurant” in Castellamonte, located between Aosta and Torino, has become a tradition, and this was our 10th yearly gathering!

Originally, this was the gastronomical extension of the “Symposiomagia”, a one-day mini-magic-convention I had initiated ten years ago with the help of my friends Aurelio Paviato, FISM 1982 winner, and Marco Aimone, the latter being the President of “Circolo Amici della Magia” (CADM), Italy’s biggest private magic club, with close to 300 members, and who put their premises at our disposal.

After four years the gathering “died”, but the gastro-magical “lunch” survived, mainly because it was always held in “truffle season” (OCT-NOV). This, of course, makes sense, since you can live without magic (although that would be a sad life…), but you cannot live without food… and that’s what gastronomy is about 🙂

Thoughts on FISM

Fabio Rossello, who is the head of the Italian National Magic Team, told us about some extraordinary talents we can expect to see (and win?) the upcoming European FISM competition in 2024 in St. Vincent, and then hopefully at the FISM World Convention in 2025 in Torino.

The official title of these FISM events is “Championship of Magic”, preceded by either “European-North American-Asian” or “World”.

Personally – and I’ve said this before and will repeat it here – I do not think that it does the Art of Magic a service by reducing such an important event to a competition. All arts have competitions, that’s fine, especially to discover and encourage (young) talent. However, in no other art is the idea of “competing” in the sense of a competition the central idea. Neither magic nor any other art is like a sport that can be measured. To call the most important gathering of professional magicians and those interested in magic a “World Championship” reduces it to sport level. Rather it should be called something along the lines of “World Convention of the Art of Magic”, and as a part of it, but only a part, host a championship of magic. The main focus should be Talks, Exhibitions, Workshops, innovation etc.. Instead, in practically all documentaries on magic conventions what do they do? They show the dealer room, as if magic could be bought (!!!), and they hype the competition and the “World Champions”. Does painting, theater, literature have “World Champions”?

The day we stop hyping magic as an activity the essence of which is “to win a competition” or “to fool” the audience (meaning that people who don’t know how magic is done are fools…), well, that will be the day the intelligentsia of this world will start to perceive magic as an art and science, and with them the public.

Anyway, back to our modest lunch, with lots of magic talk and performance between the courses: Roberto Marchello, the chef, once again excelled himself, and served some of his signature dishes, some of them topped by the sought-after “white gold”, as white truffles are sometimes called.

Tajarin (Tagliatelle in Piedmontese)

(BTW: 3 kilos – ca. 6 pounds – of flour are mixed with seventy-two egg yolks PLUS twenty-four whole eggs to obtain the Tajarin, yes, all figures are correct!).

I feel incredibly privileged, that thanks to Roberto Marchello being a fan of magic, and his cousin an amateur magician who greatly exaggerates the merits of my books in Italy, we get that meal for less of what a steak and a bottle of wine would cost in NYC (including tax and tip!). If you want the same privilege, simply write nineteen magic books that are translated into up to eight languages… it will take a lot of time, you won’t make much money, but you’ll get a yummy twelve-course lunch with truffles and top Piedmontese wines, not to speak of the welcome drinks, the Grappa, coffees, cigars…

This year’s group was an intimate one, but you can see the happy faces in the photo below, taken after long magic talks and a most satisfying lunch (over four hours…).

Gianfranco Preverino, Marco Aimone, Fabio & Lorena Rossello, RG

Firenze Magica

I decided to leave my car in Torino in a parking garage, which cost me almost as much as taking the fast train Business Class to Florence, over 400 km in less than three hours, and back.

Without disrespect to Italian railways, the “Freccia Rossa”, the “Red Arrow”, is the only train I recommend taking in this country, a country which is otherwise overwhelming in beauty, innovation and creativity (not so much in politics, and practical things of life, though…).

View on Ponte Vecchio in Florence

This time I had the good luck of staying in an airbnb-apartment owned by a member of the Magic Club of Firenze.

view over the roofs of Florence from my flat

The drawback is that the flat, being located in the historical center of Florence, cannot be reached by car, only taxis have a permit to enter the area.

However, this far outweighs the privilege of living in the “heart” of one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, and, arguably, in the world, I may add.

Florence by night ready for Xmas
impression from Florence

On each of my visits I make it a point to invite my friend and publisher Francesco Mugnai to Bistecca alla Fiorentina, the signature dish of the city of Florence.

If you ever go there, take note of Trattoria Baldini, where you won’t see any tourists, but get real folk comfort food with seasonal products from the territory, prepared in the original Florentine way, and best of all at a reasonable price.

the real Bistecca alla Fiorentina

Francesco also took me to the spectacular Biblioteca Marucelliana, which did not have as many magic books as Don Silvio’s library, but a few others…

Biblioteca Marucelliana

I should also mention that the magic club of Florence, of whom Francesco is the president, on Friday night put on their monthly show for the public in a small theater that took about sixty seats, sold out, and did a very decent show with various performers displaying their skills in front of a more than just appreciative audience. I was even introduced as the guest of honor and given a center front seat, which made a few performers nervous. This was not necessary, as they all gave their best and performed with much panache and likeability.

Highlights where Francesco Mugnai aka Francesco Meraviglia, who very capably and professionally led through the program, and René Luden, an internationally successful professional ventriloquist who for years played the most important cruise ships, speaking about a dozen languages!

Like all stories of Asterix and Obelix, the adventure ends around a festive table, which you can see below, after a great dinner in San Miniato, the equivalent of Alba in Tuscany, with more truffles and wines, in the best of companies.

See if you recognize Giacomo Bertini, Francesco di Luciano (attorney by day, translator of Erdnase by night), Simone Venturi (attorney & prolific translator of Tamariz, Burger, Giobbi etc.),  Franceso Mugnai (Italy’s most important publisher and performer), Gianluca aka Mago Sander (one of Italy’s most successful international professionals), Alessandro Daloiso (inspired amateur and truffle expert).

(not) the last supper…

On the morning of Sunday, 19th November 2023, I took my train back to Torino, and then drove back to Switzerland to home sweet home, always my favorite place after only ten days travel, but which seemed like a month of joyful encounters, magic and pleasant learning.

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (151)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Quotes on Perfection and Excellence

These are The Magic Memories 151, gone online Sunday, November 19th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

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

As you are reading this I am on my way home from Florence and Torino, ready to tell you about my adventures in the next The Magic Memories 152.

Meanwhile consider each of the quotes below as a Zen Koan, and you will have enough food for thought until we next meet. I left some of the quotes in the original language I heard, read or found them.

Quotes on Perfection and Excellence

Good is better than perfect.

Strive for perfection, settle with excellence.

Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence. – Vince Lombardi

Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it. Autograph your work with excellence. – Jerry Smith

Ein Gericht ist perfekt, wenn man nichts mehr weglassen kann. – Joel Robuchon

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,

Perfektion ist nicht dann erreicht, wenn es nichts mehr hinzuzufügen gibt, sondern wenn man nichts mehr weglassen kann. – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Das ist alles, was wir tun können: immer wieder von neuem anfangen – immer wieder und wieder… -Thornton Wilder That’s all we do—always beginning again! Over and over again. Always beginning again.

Rastlos vorwärts musst du streben,

Nie ermüdet stille stehen!

Willst du die Vollendung sehen,

Musst ins Breite dich entfalten,

Soll sich dir die Welt gestalten!

In die Tiefe musst du steigen,

Soll sich dir das Wesen zeigen!

Nur Beharrung führt zum Ziel!

(Friedrich von Schiller)

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning. – Benjamin Franklin

Quality is not an act, it is a habit. – Aristotle

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work. – Aristotle

Lieber fehlerhaft beginnen als perfekt verzögern.

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation: we not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather have these because we have acted rightly; these virtues are formed in man by doing his actions; we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. – Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy (1926)

If you perceive something that you think is brilliant, but cannot explain why, it probably is. – Roberto Giobbi

The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of his chosen field of endeavor. – Vince Lombardi

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit. ~ Aristotle

There is great satisfaction in learning something new, but there is even greater satisfaction in learning how to do something you already know better. – Roberto Giobbi)

Die Zeit vergeht, so oder so, aber wenn man inzwischen etwas tut, dann kann man nach dieser Zeit etwas, was die anderen, die währenddessen nichts taten, nicht können. – Roberto Giobbi)

Du bist nur gut, wenn Du Dinge machst, die dir selbst ähnlich sind. – Depardieu in an interview (Das Magazin 43/2010)

You should perform every trick as if it was the last. Roberto Giobbi inspired by: Man sollte jedes Konzert so spielen, als könnte es das letzte sein. – Sol Gabetta, argentinische Cellistin

In order to cut ham you need attitude, concentration, and technique… as well as a sharp knife. – anonymous Spanish ham cutter

Die That ist alles, nichts der Ruhm. – Goethe, Faust

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (150)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Preview to Giro d’italia 2023; Ca(r)davre Exquis; Abracadabra Wine

These are The Magic Memories 150, gone online Sunday, November 12th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

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

As you are reading this I’m on the road in the South of Switzerland and Italy (Muttenz – Brissago – Cherasco – Torino – Castellamonte – Torino – Florence – Torino – Muttenz).

Preview to Giro d’Italia 2023

Right now (SUN, 12th NOV 2023, at 0:07 h) I will be sessioning with Peter Samelson, GP Varola and Mauro Massironi in a private house on the Lake Maggiore, in Switzerland, and at 5 minutes from the Italian border.

On Sunday afternoon I’ll be off to Cherasco to visit Don Silvio about whom I have reported several times – I look very much forward to study in his library that boasts well over 100’000 magic books, interrupted by sessions with magic friends, and in-between a few lunches and dinners honoring the Piemontese tradition 🙂

I also look forward to visiting my friends of the Magic Club in Torino, of which I’m an honorary member: The Club Amici Della Magia have an outstanding club room and some world-class members, Arturo Brachetti (THE magical quick change artist), Alexander (a TV star in Italy) and Marco Aimone (just back from the Magic Castle) being just three of them.

Then Florence, to see my publisher Francesco Mugnai to talk about upcoming translations of Sharing Secrets and other books… and meet up with Giacomo Bertini (the coin expert and organizer of the International Close-up Symposium), Simone Venturi (lawyer, translator and historian), Francesco Di Luciano (Italian translator of Erdnase, as well as the friends from the Magic Club Florence.

Anyway, I will tell you more upon my return in The Magic Memories 152 (NOV 26th).

Due to my traveling this and the next The Magic Memories will be short ones. Still, I hope that the following item finds your interest.

Ca(r)davre Exquis

There is a genre called “Art Games”, of which Cadavre Exquis, invented by the Surrealists, is probably best known.

It can be played wonderfully  with the family or a team. In it you take a sheet of paper and draw something at the top edge without the others seeing it, a tree, a head, a mountain peak, anything that comes to mind.

Then you fold the portion of the paper containing the drawing to the back of the sheet (try a portion of one or two inches).

Now you pass the paper over to the next participant who again draws anything on the new top of the sheet, folds it back and passes it over to the next. And so on.

At the end, the sheet of paper is unfolded revealing some kind of absurd drawing composed of the parts each participant previously drew.

To see a few examples CLICK HERE.

I was reading this in the column of Hans Ulrich Obrist, who is the director of the Serpentine Galleries in London, and it occurred to me that at the next gathering with fellow magicians you could try this by taking a deck of cards, the first does something with it, hands it to the next who does something else with it, and you end up with a performance piece.

Here is an idea to start: The first arranges the Aces on top of the deck (secretly by culling), the second does a false shuffle retaining the Aces on top, the third produces them magically, the fourth does some trick with it, etc.

Maybe you film it and put it on YouTube… remember to mention these The Magic Memories 🙂

Abracadabra Wine

As a little night cap for today’s blog, here is a wine from Spain that my friend Xavier Solar from Barcelona sent in.

The wine is really inexpensive, and they probably send out anywhere in the world. I have not tried it, yet, but plan to do so soon. To know more CLICK HERE.

Wine with a magical label

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (149)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Are you working on a new book – should I do a new Agenda?; The Jornadas cartomagicas (Escorial) 2023 – detailed report; Subjects for Escorial 2024.

These are The Magic Memories 149, gone online Sunday, November 5th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

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

Are You Working On a New Book?

Whenever I am at a gathering with other practitioners of the art, someone asks the inevitable question, “Are you working on a new book?”

My inevitable answer is, “Yes, I’m always working on something that could turn out to be a book…” Of course, I do. I have over a dozen candidates…

However, the more books I write and publish, the more I ask myself, “Does the magic world really need this?” I’ve pondered the question in a short essay published in Genii years ago, and if you care to read the one-page text, CLICK HERE.

However, the reason I’m mentioning this here is that after the Escorial Card Conference (see my report below), I went to see my Spanish publisher Laura Avilés in Madrid. Her shop combines magic and teas and is called “Parentesis de olvido” (an Ascanian concept I translated in Card College and Sharing Secrets with “Positive Insertion”…).

José Ángel, anonymous best-selling author, Laura, David

Years ago, Laura took over what was then the “Editorial Frakson” from Juan Tamariz and Ramon Mayrata, and then single-handedly went on to publish some of the most important books in magic.

With ten titles of mine, Laura tells me I’m her best-selling author… in a tiny niche-market, that is, which still forces me to fly with EasyJet (a cheap British airline) to Madrid, instead of using a private jet 🙂

Laura tells me that the two Agendas – Secret Agenda and Hidden Agenda  – are very successful in Spain.

Gaby Pareras used to recommend it to everyone and even did a complete week-end seminar just on Secret Agenda and some of its content! And he wrote a lengthy foreword to the Spanish edition of Hidden Agenda 🙂

Anyway, I would like to ask you a questions, if I may:

Are you interested and would you buy a new Agenda, tentatively title The Unexpected Agenda?

If you have an opinion and a moment, please send me an email via the “Contact” item of my webshop HERE.

A simple “Yes” or “No” would do, thank you.

Oh, and if you like, please specify if you would rather have a book like the first two, or a PDF, or, why not, both (book price ca. $ 65, but consider that printing and shipping costs are going up, the PDF ca. $ 29.50, for all the work of writing, illustrating, layouting, proof-reading etc. is the same as if I do a book – only the printing costs and the shipping disappear).

If I get enough “Yes”, The Unexpected Agenda could be out before Xmas 2024… and make a nice gift 🙂

PS: You can also make suggestions for other book topics, but please understand that I cannot correspond.

Las jornadas cartomágicas (Escorial) 2023

This year’s topics were four:

  1. Cards and Dice
  2. Card Magic Before Robert-Houdin (1886)
  3. The Card Magic of Nick Trost
  4. Unusual Trick Cards

1. Cards & Dice

The first talk on the subject was a lengthy one, too long, as most felt, but it exposed an original and interesting idea where the (paper) dice were Origamis that when unfolded revealed to be playing cards.

Next, Gianfranco Preverino started with a most interesting and original performance of about twenty minutes, all using cards & dice, of course, really an “act”.

He then commented on the various tricks and principles used, some of which went back centuries (1584!), and also gave a historical overview on the subject.

Gianfranco is quite an expert when it comes to dice, in magic as well as in gambling. He has a large book coming out on the subject of dice & cards, the “Card College” of dice, as he himself said to me.

It will be in Italian, but due to the interesting subject and the scarcity of literature on the subject, it may very well be translate into English soon.

This was followed by a presentation by Juan Luis Rubiales, who surprised us all with lots of novel ideas on the subject, truly exceptional.

This session lasted from 6:30 pm, when the event started, until almost 10 pm, when everyone got up, and swarmed out in groups to support the local gastronomy…

2. Card Magic Before Robert-Houdin (1886)

The talks on the second topic started after dinner, well after midnight, and lasted until about 3 am, without a pause (see below my comment on he lack of pauses).

Decremps: The Testament of Jérome Sharp

I did a very short talk on Henri Decremp’s Testament de Jérome Sharph (first edition was 1785).

Decremps was a lawyer who had an interest in the arts, particularly music and magic.

It is assumed that he was in some sort an amateur magician, and in his landmark books (five!), which were published in France from 1784 to 1789, he disclosed the tricks and secrets of the Italian Giuseppe Pinetti, who at that time was the “Copperfield” of Europe. So, Decremps was the “Masked Magician” of his time… fortunately without TV.

In the photo below I’m sitting next to Juan Tamariz, who took charge of this session.

I made a few comments regarding the importance and influence of the Testament, and I also performed two tricks from the book.

Look at the photo and try to identify a few heavy-weights of international card magic – there are quite a few, literally 🙂

Giobbi on Decremps (photo Lorenz Schär)

The Testament is arguably the very first didactical work on card magic, as it brought together the knowledge about card magic of the period, and in over sixty pages and two dozen illustrations (woodcuts!) explained the techniques, tricks, presentations and even some abstract concepts in an orderly fashion and an intelligible language, briefly, it was the Card College of its time 🙂

In an upcoming The Magic Memories I’ll make some more comments on it, and will also put the 32-page study I did on the subject on my webshop for a nominal fee.

Juan himself gave a historical overview of the books before Robert-Houdin (1886), with various participants intervening by making more detailed comments on the individual books, and some performing a few tricks, or commenting on some techniques and other concepts.

I’d love to tell you more about this enormously important subject, but am afraid it is not possible…

For those who care, I have been working on a chronological bibliography of card magic, taking into account all languages I know (plus a few more). Usually bibliographies consider only books in one language, so, this might be one of the very few that crosses the language barriers.

It is, of course, incomplete, but you might agree that it is better than nothing.

CLICK HERE to see/download the PDF (please do not circulate on Internet without my permission, thank you).

We stopped at about 3 am, but the talks on this subject were continued on the next day at 6:30 pm, when the “day” starts at “Tamariz Time” 🙂

3. The Card Magic of Nick Trost

This was obviously a huge subject as Trost has contributed hundreds of items to the infinite universe of card magic.

Therefore, the presentations took almost the whole “day” (6:30 pm to 10 pm, dinner break, then again 12:30 to 3 am, considering we got an extra hour because of the shift of time from summer to winter time).

Woody Aragon took charge of the subject, gave a brief introduction about Trost, the man, and also gave a brief overview of his most important works (there are a lot!).

Many of the attendees had been recruited by Woody to perform one or more of Trost’s tricks, and so we had about a dozen presenters who gave their best to perform for us tricks that are usually not in their repertoire…

In any case, this turned out to be a highly entertaining session, as it was mostly tricks, their explanations and occasional comments on the underlying principles.

I apologize that I am not able to credit the presenters by name, but there were so many, several of whom I did not even know, and at some point I stopped taking notes…

However, I would like to mention Aitor Marcilla, who gave a splendid talk on some lesser known Trost-contributions, namely those published in two “Hocus Pocus Parades” in The Linking Ring of 1955 and 1957.

Trost, himself a lifetime amateur, has certainly brought a lot of pleasurable performance pieces for those who like mostly quick, visual and easy-to-do tricks, several using special cards and reduced to packet tricks.

On a professional level, though, and as an influence on the history of card magic, his impact was little. His “Eight -Card-Brainwave” and a handling of the “Ten Card Poker Deal” using two sets of nine cards are an exception.

If someone among you thinks there are more important and influential ideas by Trost, please let me know; I shall be happy to mention them in an upcoming issue of The Magic Memories.

(This said, you will find two items by Nick Trost, which I have only slightly varied, in Volume 1 of Card College, so, like many, I am thankful for his contributions!)

4. Unusual Trick Cards

This topic had been already started last year, and because time was short then, it was decided to pick it up again this year.

Well, this year the “unusual trick cards” suffered a similar fate: Due to the lengthy treatment of the other subjects, most presentations were postponed to Sunday noon, where only a restricted group attended, some sleeping, some going for lunch, and some already leaving.

There were, however, a few quick contributions, among others Consuelo Lorgia, who presented an original “painting” of hers; to the amusement of the group, she choose me as her assistant, this being a sort of “running gag”, since Tamariz once declared that I’m the worst spectator 🙂 This is due to me inevitably changing whenever the performer asks me if I wanted to change… of course I do this on purpose, in order to teach the younger performers that they only have to ask the spectator if he wants to change when they know how to do it (most don’t, they just imitate Juan, and more often than not fail).

Roberto assisting Consuelo in a trick

Closing Comments

This years’ gathering, as almost all of the others preceding it, had many positive moments making it worth attending.

Before getting into this, I simply have to mention the hotel room I had, with a bathroom the size of a room in Venise or Paris…

Look at the shower in the photo below. If you zoom into the control panel, you will notice it has 35 (!) menu items, with several having more sub-menus.

In front of the cabin is the opened user manual, which has 16 (sixteen!) pages explaining all the functions (in Spanish). After ten minutes I was able to activate the shower function, which was all I needed. The shower had everything, except shampoo and shower gel – these were attached to the nearby jacuzzi and washing basin and could not be removed from the wall…

This shower reminded me of several magic tricks and acts I have lately seen done by young performers: They are incredibly complex, but ignore the essence, namely the effect and how to get it across to the audience in a fascinating (better term than “entertaining”) manner.

what a shower and modern magic have in common…

Back to “Escorial”: No question, the atmosphere is unique, with mostly world-class, top-notch cardicians attending from over a dozen countries!

One of the amazing things is that they are all coming at their own expenses and give presentations without renumeration. A question you may want to answer yourself: What makes them do that?

Plus: There are great exchanges of wild ideas well into the wee hours, old friendships are renewed, new friendships made. Many of the talks are well-prepared, well-delivered and interesting, a few a little less… with uplifting sessions before, after and in-between…

Non-stop sessions going on until early in the morning…

… and of course, for those who care, some unforgettable meals! Below a frugal meal with only one Carabinero per person…

with Tamariz, Engblom, Wilson, Suarez, Consuelo and Srinivasan at our favorite restaurant Charoles

On the downside are presenters who, understandably, get carried away by their enthusiasm for the subject, but who then lose control of the time allotted to them, thus taking time from other, more relevant presentations.

By no means do I say that I think to know it all, far from it, but I have certainly learned from my own mistakes.

A few years ago I gave a short talk on “How to Give a Lecture”, where I tried to summarize my experience of over forty years doing lectures, talks, presentations, workshops etc. I don’t think that many are interested to hear that again…

This goes hand in hand with the “new schedule” introduced a few years before the pandemic.

In former times the talks started on Friday around 6 pm and went until ca. 10 pm, dinner break, then usually a “gala” until 2 am, plus sessions until, who knows…

Saturday started again towards noon, until 2 pm, lunch break, then from ca. 4 pm to 10 pm with two or three coffee breaks. More talks after midnight.

Then Sunday again talks from noon to ca. 2 pm (for many years Ascanio did a lecture here), lunch break, then last talks and preparation for the next meeting from ca 4 to 6 pm. Back to Madrid for a relaxed dinner.

The “new schedule” has about the same time for Friday, but by starting only at 6:30 pm on Saturday, and dropping almost all of Sunday, the result is an almost 50% time loss for formal talks. Although some of it is compensated by “early risers” in informal sessions (and too copious meals…), a lot of the talent, which came together from so far, is wasted, in my opinion.

Also, when I started to come to Escorial, we were a group of about fifteen people, which not only gave much more intimacy to the affair, but also allowed more and better interaction during the talks.

Nowadays there are simply too many attendants, many of which do not contribute, the latter being a conditio sine qua non. Still, being an invitation-only event, the level of the event is kept at a high level.

This year the schedule was very tight, the subjects hefty, and the session on Sunday cancelled for most, also there was no gala show, were usually those perform who do not contribute to the talks.

This resulted in sessions being longer than usual, three hours and more, without pause, which in turn caused participants to go in and out to go to the bathroom or have a drink. We need to bring those pauses back, after maybe 90, max 120, minutes.

Not only are the pauses beneficial to the concentration, they also allow for welcome interaction with other participants.

The photo (ca. 1980) below with Ascanio and Young Giobbi was taken at the bar just outside the room of the Hotel Victoria Palace, where for at least twenty years the “Jornadas” took place, until a refurbishing of the hotel forced us to move to the Hotel Lanceros nearby.

Ascanio signing one of his books to an unknown… (ca. 1980 – photo courtesy Sebastian Pons)

All this said, attending the “Jornadas” has several additional benefits, such as staying another day or two in Madrid and meeting lots of other magicians (again!), visiting a plethora of cultural institutions (Madrid boasts some of the most important museums in the world), shops, parks, and last but by no means least, some great restaurants (I knew you were waiting for that 🙂

One of the places to eat you can place in your Evernote Notebook (“Travels – Madrid – Restaurants”) is “Barril de las Letras” specialized in seafood and fish: Take “Tartar de atun”, Chipirones”, Pulpo”, “Boquerones fritos”, sharing all with your diners, but stay away from the Arroz (what tourists call (“Paella”).

I went there with Mahdi Gilbert, Christian Engblom, Paul Wilson, José Angel Suarez and Juanjo Alvarez. The latter then invited us to a private club, of which he is a member. The house has seven (magical!) floors, and from the terrace on the 7th floor we had a dashing view over the roofs of Madrid, and you could see the hills in the background with El Escorial, too!

The photo below shows us all indulging in Spanish Brandy and Cuban cigars, late afternoon, in the beautiful library of the club, where the dapper tradition of smoking is still allowed.

Alvarez, Giobbi, Suarez, Gilbert, Wilson, Engblom

And this was not even the end of the day, which would have been indeed a beautiful end, no, in the evening José Angel and I, who were staying at the same hotel, met up with Juan Tamariz and other magic friends for a late dinner at “El Pimiento Verde” (take “alcachofas”, small artichokes – two per person, as well as “rape”, monk fish, and you’ll be a happier person 🙂

I won’t torture you with more details…

Escorial 2024

Next year’s topics will be (in the photo below in Alfredo Marchese’s handwriting):

Subjects for Escorial 2024

Translation & Comments

  • “Cartas gigantes” means “Jumbo Cards”; tricks, techniques, special cards & decks, etc. Overview, with special attention to original ideas, as usual.
  • “Hugard” means Jean Hugard; the author, his work, personal contributions and influence. This will be a combination of biography, bibliography, as well as tricks and techniques.
  • “Trilleros” means “Three Card Monte”; history, authentic techniques and strategies, application to magic, original ideas
  • “Estuches” means “Card Boxes”; how to use a normal cad box in magic (cards and others…), unusual gimmicked boxes, etc.

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (148)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: On Effect, Method & Presentation – The Jar of Life Story; The missing link: The Rastelli Clowns (Italy)

These are The Magic Memories 148, gone online Sunday, October 29th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

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

Absence for Escorial Card Conference

As you are reading this I’m at the Card Conference in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, near Madrid, Spain.

Just in case  you are reading this at 0:07, when this blog invariably goes online, we just came back from dinner (hey, it’s Spain!), and we’re starting our next session on talks (original trick cards; cards & dice; Nick Trost; card magic before Robert-Houdin) which will go until about 4 am. After that quite a few will continue with private sessions, still others might go to bed… next day’s sessions start only late afternoon.

In the photo below, taken at one of my very first attendances at the Card Conference (ca. 1982), you can see, from left to right: Joan Font, Arturo Ascanio, Aurelio Paviato, Toni Cachadiña, and guess who…

early photo of past Escorial (ca. 1982)

On Effect, Method & Presentation – The Jar of Life Story

As the recipient of the FISM Award for Theory and Philosophy (2015) I’m entitled to a little philosophy from time to time, agree?

So, below is a little story that has been circulating on Internet for a while: You may have read it, but forgot it, or you may read it here for the first time. Anyway, you’ll like it, and at the end I’ll make a suggestion how it relates to our magic.

The Jar of Life

A philosophy professor stood before his class, in front of him a large and empty jar.

He then proceeded to fill the jar with golf balls.

“Is the jar full?” he asked his students. “Yes,” everyone responded.

The professor then picked up a box of small pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly; the pebbles rolled into the areas between the golf balls.

“Is the jar full?” he asked again. The students responded with an unanimous: “Yes.”

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course the sand filled up all the space left.

He asked once more: “Is the jar full?”. “Yes, of course,” everyone responded.

The professor then produced two beers from under the table and poured the entire content into the jar, filling the empty space between the sand.

Everyone laughed.

“Now,” the professor said as the laughter subsided. “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things. Your family, your children, health, friends and favorite passions. If everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house or car.

The sand is everything else, the small stuff.

If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit your grandparents. Take your spouse out for dinner. Go out with your friends. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented. The professor smiled and said: “I am glad you asked. The beer just shows that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers with a friend.”

End of the story.

Now for the the transfer to magic: Replace the golf balls with “The Effect”, the pebbles with “The Method”, the sand with “The Presentation”. I find this a quite fitting analogy for good magic.

Oh, what about the beer, you ask? Well, that’s a little humor, not comedy, just a bit of humor (humor = intelligent comedy).

Agree with this or not, it will make you think, and that’s what philosophy is about…

The Missing Link

This week’s “Missing Link” takes us back in time (a little) to remind us of one of the most famous clown families in circus history, The Rastelli Clowns (Italy), with many “special effects”, several of them outright “magical”.

See some photos of the Rastellis HERE.

When have you last seen a clown act with so many wonderfully original ideas?

To watch the Rastellis CLICK HERE.

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (147)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: International Close-up Symposium 2023 – Impressions from Vienna – Close-up Symposium, the location and program; French National Magic Convention 2023 in La Grande-Motte; Tom Stone on the Merlin Award; The missing link (apple carvings).

These are The Magic Memories 147, gone online Sunday, October 22nd, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

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

In last week’s The Magic Memories I promised to report on my attendance at the International Close-up Symposium in Austria, as well as the French national convention of the FFAP (Fédération Française des Artistes Prestidigitateurs).

So, here we go:

International Close-up Symposium 2023

This gathering with a little over 100 participants and by invitation only, took place in Bill Cheung’s Magic Theatre in Wiener Neustadt.

Some attendants brought their partners along, who were disappointed to see that the event took place in an industrial zone ca. 50 km outside of Vienna, and a small hour by train or car from the Austrian capital. Obviously, a quick look at Google Maps and a little thought would have told them… reminding me of Bertrand Russell, who said: “If he would have thought about it for a moment, he would have known. But a moment is so short, and thinking so painful.”

Impressions From Vienna

Having anticipated the situation 🙂 I came into Vienna already on Monday, spend two great days in the city that is listed as the best city to live in globally, according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). So, if you have never been to Vienna, put it towards the top of your “life list” or “things to do before you die list”.

Although Vienna has a large number of museums and historical sites to visit, the city itself is a museum!

So, just walking around the historical center as well as in the surrounding “Bezirke” – that’s how the in Vienna the city districts are called – makes for a memorable experience, and it’s free. And there is a lot of magic, too.

I do not know of any other city in the world I have been to, where the people in general have such a high-standard nightlife culture: People go to the theatre, to the opera, to music performances etc., and of course to magic shows, too.  At one time Vienna boasted seven different magic clubs, each with a very active program for their members and the public.

I will always remember how in one instance I was in Vienna on the occasion of the German Cardworkshop, The German equivalent of the Spanish “Escorial Card Conference”, and on the street happened to meet Gary Kurtz!

I asked him how long he was staying and what he was doing. He said, “Five days – I’m doing five lectures, every day for a different club.”

In the past forty years I have myself given maybe a dozen lectures, workshops and masterclasses to as many different magic groups in and around Vienna.

Anyway, this fact, and having written over a dozen books in German language, plus having been into magic for such a long time, has bestowed upon me the privilege that I can go to virtually any city in this world, and I have a few friends – this is arguably the greatest benefit magic has had for me, and is still having. (As the German writer Jean Paul once said: “Books are only thick letters to friends.”)

Consequently, the very first lunch was spent in the company of the gentlemen which you can admire in the photo below, from left to right: Dr. Peter Wurnig, Wolfgang Moser, Harry Lucas, unknown, Kurt Freytag. They are all members of the prestigious Magischer Cercle Wien worth visiting if you are ever in Vienna – get  a preview of their fabulous club room by CLICKING HERE.

Magic lunch with members of Magic Circle Vienna

Ref. visiting Vienna (or any other worthwhile location): Aldous Huxley (1884 – 1963) said, “For every traveller who has any taste of his own, the only useful guidebook will be the one which he himself has written.”

Here is how I implement this idea in my own notebooks (meanwhile electronic via Evernote, before using the city notebooks by Moleskine): I create a Main Notebook (folder) “Travels” in Evernote. In this Main Notebook I then create a Sub-Notebook (sub-folder) “Vienna” (actually for any city or place I travel to), within that folder I open as many Individual Notes as necessary, such as “Restaurants”, “Travel Info”, “Hotel Reservation” (I send the reservation email from the hotel directly to the notebook “Vienna”), “Flight/Train Ticket & Reservation”, “Museums”, “Favorite Places”, “Magic Friends”, “Coffee Houses”, “Favorite Shops” etc.

BTW: I quote Huxley at the beginning of most of my lectures, saying that the best Lecture Notes are those written by the attendants of the lecture themselves, and I then sometimes give a 3-minute talk on how to take notes according to Cornell University (I wrote about this years ago when The Magic Memories were called Secret Newsletter).

But I digress…

The restaurant we went to is called “Zum schwarzen Kameel”; Kameel with two “ee” as it doesn’t refer to the desert animal, but to the restaurant’s founder…

So, put that in your note for the restaurants in Vienna. And while you are at it, put “Steirereck”, arguably Austria’s best restaurant: Go for lunch and take the lunch menu (generally speaking, most top restaurants in the world for lunch offer affordable menus, while if you go for dinner you might have to sell your first-edition Discoverie of Witchcraft...). And if you are a meat person, Plachutta in the Wollzeile is your best choice (in my opinion…). If you want a real Wiener Schnitzel go to “Café Engländer” in the Postgasse, and for desert take Milchrahmstrudel at the Café Central. Sorry, I got carried away… and I didn’t even mention that Vienna boasts the best coffee outside of Italy… ok, enough!

In the afternoon I visited Michael Swatosch, the co-owner of the Wiener Zirkus- und Clownmuseum, at Ilgplatz 7, a gem of a museum dedicated to Circus and Clowns, but also to magic.

In the photo below you can also get a glimpse of the performing area that adorns this beautiful little place. Call ahead, say hello from my part, and you will probably get a privat guided tour through the exhibits, all originals.

Swatosch and Giobbi at the Circus and Clown Museum Vienna


To get a virtual visit CLICK HERE.

Close-up Symposium – Location and Program

Once you enter Bill Cheung’s Magic Theater, you forget that it is too far away from Vienna and located in an industrial zone, as it is simply put a jewel. CLICK HERE and see for yourself.

Also, all the hotels, were the 100-plus participants stayed, were within 5 minutes walking distance, one of the most important things of any convention.

If you want to get an impression of the program as well know who participated at the competition, read or download the Program-PDF HERE.

There are just three things that can be improved for the next year, just in case the event is repeated.

1. Get a way of controlling the temperature within the theatre – do to the summerly temperatures outside (good!), the temperature in the theater was unbearable.

2. Start the events on time. They did for the first few on the first day, after that almost every event was delayed by up to 30 minutes – I had to start my lecture 30 minutes late on the last day when people had to leave. The problem of delays is that once people get used to it, they simply do not show up on time and you have to push, beg and threaten them to get from the bar into the theater. All of this can easily be avoided by starting all activities on time; people get used to it immediately and all flows. Alternatively, a gong or a simple bell, that signals the start in 5 minutes would do the job.

3. The bar, a potentially great one, was not staffed as it should have been. We asked for a Gin Tonic or a Cuba Libre, and were looked at as if we had asked for the moon. On the second day they did serve a very basic Gin Tonic, but ran out of ice before midnight. I feel sorry for Bill, who could have made at least twice as much turnover just with proper drinks.

All three things are easily solved, you only need to anticipate the problem… (so easy: Go to ANY magic convention, write down what they do wrong, and then do it better!)

The Competition

My tasks at the meeting were to be a judge at the competition, host private sessions at around midnight, and do a lecture on Sunday morning (see below). I was successful with the first and third task…

The “Private Sessions” were a bit of a pipe-dream and need to be re-evaluated. Originally individuals could book 20-minute one-to-one sessions with about a dozen “teachers”. This had worked out quite well in previous editions of the Symposium in Milan, but here didn’t seem to work.

It all ended up with some unorganized sessions, which of course were also great fun, considering the high-density of top talent present at the meeting – simply have a look at the list of participants in the PDF above (p. 13), virtually a “Who’s Who” of international close-up magic. I was so glad to meet friends I hadn’t seen for years (bloody pandemic!), Flip, Kurt Freytag, Robert Stacher, Joachim Solberg, Hanno Rhomberg, Francis Tabary, Jean Xueref, Jon Tgetgel, Tony Cachadiña, Camilo Vazquez, Armando Lucero and so many others – superb.

Let me tell you a bit about the competition, from the viewpoint of a judge.

The competition was called “Fred Kaps Award”, although I suspect that a good part of the attendants didn0t even know who Fred Kaps was, and even less had ever met him personally. I short intro in this respect would have given the event more dignity (we hope that Flip next year can do a short lecture on him).

The competition and judging were to be held according to FISM-criteria. You can get an insight into the FISM Contest Rules HERE (including a 10-page PDF, no less). Or simply have a quick look at the table below:

FISM Grading Scale

There were 36 contestants from over a dozen countries to judge, not an easy task for various reasons:

  1. Magic is not a sport and cannot be measured in figures – a lot remains a question of what the judge likes or not.
  2. Although the heading was “Close-up Magic”, there were at least four categories that are different from each other: 1. card magic; 2. parlor (stand-up) magic; 3. close.up magic; 4. theatrical close.up with no interaction with the audience. It is virtually impossible to compare the beautiful card act of Miguel Ajo, for instance, with the theatrical act of Sergio Starman.
  3. If you look at the grading scale in the diagram above, you will realize that the first three prizes will result from the three contestants that have the highest points, i.e., this that are close to the top. There is no point even considering second and third prizes, as those will not even get close to a third prize.
  4. Many of the competitors after thewards came up to me and asked for feedback. I had to tell everyone the same: It is impossible to remember in detail what each did, and how, and what he should do differently and better. As a judge you have to concentrate on the one act, judge it to the best of your knowledge and criteria, and then do the same for the next act. In order to satisfy this need, the acts would have to be taped, and later a feedback session provided. Although I am not clear about how this could work in detail, it would certainly be an adorable idea.

Anyway, all these are problems of the FISM, too, but I doubt that they will be doing something about it.

The winners are: First prize Sergio Starman, 2nd prize Rune Carlsen, 3rd Prize Robin Deville. For more info check the Symposium’s Facebook page HERE.

Below is a snapshot of the winners and the jury:

Winners (and jury) at Close-up Symposium 2023

The Lecture – Sleight of Mind

On Sunday morning I gave a 60-minute lecture titled “Sleight of Mind – The Psychological Construction of Magic”, based on the content of my latest book Sharing Secrets.

Although asking me to do a 60-minute lecture is like asking a Michelin chef to serve finger food and sandwiches for a party, I was pleased with the result, and I admit flattered to have some heavy-weights in the audience. In the photo below try to find Magic Christian, Flip, Francis Tabary, Camil Vazquez, Boris Wild, Giancarlo Scaglia…

RG lecturing at the Close-up Symposium on “Sleight-of-mind”

I presented the lecture similar to the book, i.e., I performed a piece, and then focussed on one conceptual thought. Due to the restricted time frame I was given, I decided to completely ignore the explanation of the tricks. I was glad to note that most appreciated this approach, as the short report below proves:

Together with short seminars, the range of seminars was so large that you left the symposium with what felt like a million new ideas.

From classic seminars with Boris Wild, to an explanation of a beautiful rope routine without any gimmicks from Francis Tabary, to incredibly practical ideas from Flip and much more.

For me, though, the highlight here was clearly Roberto Giobbi. Not so much because of the tricks shown and explained, which were all superb, but even more so because of the many theoretical considerations about magic in general, which we otherwise hear and talk about so little!

Gregor Schubert

Gregor’s complete report is in German, but with Google Translate or Deepl you can easily get it into your native language – CLICK HERE.

I would have liked zo give you a synopsis of my lecture “Sleight-of-mind” I gave on Sunday, but time and space force me (Classic Force) to postpone this to another The Magic Memories

French National Magic Convention 2023

Since the report of the Close-up Symposium turned out to be much longer than planned… I’ll keep my memories of the convention in La Grande-Motte, in the South of France, brief: All in all, it was an excellent convention, with some great, international talent: Alain Choquette, Juliana Chen, Michael Ammar, David Stone, Ondrej Psenicka, John Bannon, Giancarlo Scaglia, Alexandra Duvivier, Michel Huot, plus many more, and guest of honor Jean Régil, who is a legend in his native France.

Almost everything necessary was excellent: the convention center ideally fitted the six-hundred plus conventioneers without being too big, the larger theatrerwas located within 3-minutes walking distance just behind the convention center; the hotels were almost all at 5 minutes walk away; the temperature in the rooms was acceptable although it was summer weather outside; the dealers room had some innovative dealers and several book publishers (Ludo Mignon’s Marchand de Trucs, Frantz Réjasse’s CCEditions; Daniel Rhod, and George Naudet with a superb array of collectibles). Briefly, a gathering which was worth attending.

By the many photos I had to pose for with participants, and the books I was asked to sign, plus the many people that came up to say hallo and thank me for my contributions to magic, I got the impression that I have a lot more readers in France than books of mine are sold in that country – I hate to think why this is so…

My own raison d’être at the convention was that the organizer Serge Arial had booked me to give a talk in form of an interview conducted by talented Bertrand Mora of Bordeaux.

The topic was “The Book in Magic Learning”, and which turned around the subject of the book in magic, its importance as a learning tool, its history etc. I was quite pleased that during the 75-minute interview only about half a dozen people left… Wish they had recorded the event, as several interesting questions wer discussed and brought up in the final Q&A with the audience.

Announcement of Roberto Giobbi Talk

Tom Stone on The Merlin Award

Sweden’s Tom Stone has published a lengthy report about Tony Hassini’s IMS (International Magicians Society) and “The Merlin Award” Hassini bestowed upon well-known and lesser-known individuals in magic.

Tom tells me he took six weeks (!) to research the matter, investigative journalism at its best, and you can read all about it if you CLICK HERE.

The Missing Link

Make the ordinary look extraordinary – that’s what we magicians do when we take an everyday object, such as a deck of cards, a coin, a length or rope – convert the object into an insrument, and then do something extraordinary with it. Watching this short fruit sculpture video made me think of that – CLICK HERE.

Can you come up with as many Ace Tricks as apple carvings in this video? Why? Because an Ace Trick a day keeps the audience away 🙂

Coming week-end I will be in Spain, attending the prestigious Jornadas Cartomagicas in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, the “Escorial Card Conference”, organized by the EMM (Escuela Magica de Madrid). Therefore, The Magic Memories 148 will be short & sweet, but I will report on the meeting in edition 149 🙂

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (146)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Paris, the City That has Inspired so Many Great Minds (The Tartare Recipe – The Magic); Sevilla to San Fernando – The Tamariz Days Nights; Magialdia THE convention; Five-card Follow the Leader

These are The Magic Memories 146, gone online Sunday, October 15th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

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

Here I am, back from France, Spain at two events, Vienna, and then France again, with more to tell than there is space – I’ll start at the beginning and see how far we get 🙂

Paris, the City That has Inspired so Many Great Minds

I’m lucky to live at a little over three hours fast train ride from Paris, possibly my favorite city, certainly when I’m there 🙂

This time it was only a “one-night-stand” at my friend Yves Carbonnier’s home, so to speak “in-transit” to our next day’s flight to Sevilla to visit with Juan Tamariz.

Still, I had time for several essential activities.

First, gastronomy. As I have mentioned several times, gastronomy is the basis of all good magic. Because gastronomy has to do with eating. If you don’t eat you die. if you’re dead you cannot do good magic. Ergo, gastronomy is the basis of all good magic – q.e.d.

So , after Yves met me at the train station, we headed straight away to Le Louchébeme, argot for “the butcher”, a good address for carnivores in Paris, in a typical Bistrot style, at very affordable prices.

In Switzerland for the same quality and half the quantity you pay twice as much – you do the math… Reminds me of Dai Vernon, who once said to Tony Giorgio, “If you were only half as good as you think you are, that would still be twice as much as you really are.” I assume this was said in jest.

For a quick impression of Le Louchébeme and a look at their menu CLICK HERE.

The Tartare

Talking of tartare, and continuing the tradition of the Garcia books (…), here is a succulent recipe Yves sent me and which should please people who like this sort of thing:

Beef tartare with anchovies


Preparation: ca. 30 min
– 400 g of beef fillet – other parts will do, too, such as beef top round or beef sirloin flap (also known as bavette), which are cheaper and make a much better tartare due to their texture and more robust flavor.
– 2 shallots
– 4 anchovy fillets in olive oil or salt
– 8 sprigs of chives
– 2 tbsp. vinegared capers
– 2 tbsp mustard (Dijon-style preferred)
– 4 tbsp. ketchup
– chili sauce
– 4 tsp. olive oil
– 4 raw egg yolks (optional)

1. Chop the beef with a knife into 2mm pieces.
2. Peel and finely chop the shallots. Chop the anchovies. Finely chop the chives. Mix the beef with the anchovies, shallot, chives, capers, mustard, ketchup and a few drops of chili sauce. If the anchovies are in oil, season with a little salt.
3. Serve immediately with 1 egg yolk (optional) and a few drops of chili sauce.

The Magic

Now I was ready for the second part, magic, which took place by visiting Bebel in his hangout bistrot Café le Bruant, in the 18th arrondissement, a neighborhood in Paris that has experienced an upgrade and has become an attractive place to visit, with lots of original shops, cafés, bistros etc.

Needles to say Bebel always surprises me with his creativity and skill, all done low-key with humble authority and competence.

For me – and certainly for many an audience member – a welcome change of pace from the frenzies of “show business” type of braggadocio presentations of which there are too many, were form by far surpasses content, and missing talent is compensated by artificial self-confidence.

Bebel is writing a book, but for those who do not want to wait (you never know how long it takes between announcing and publishing a book…), there is lots of video material of Bebel’s magic around – please honor the legal stuff over the pirated, as Bebel is still alive and does magic for a living.

Also, I gave Bebel my little lecture on how to use Evernote to manage notes and projects – and he seemed to like it 🙂 Hope to put this at the disposal of all, one day…

The afternoon was all too short.

Yves and I spent a quite evening at home, over a simple meal (which to many would be fancy…) and a few bottles of wine… and hit the road on the next day, Friday 8th of September 2023.

Sevilla to San Fernando – The Tamariz Days Nights

We arrived in Sevilla, parts of this outstanding city being under the UNESCO world heritage – but this time no time to visit, instead we rented a car and drove straight away in 90 minutes to Juan Tamariz’s summer home in San Fernando, near Cadiz, another emblematic city in the history of Spain, its origin dating back some ca. 3’500 years – that’s older than playing cards (who, alas, surfaced only ca. 1370 in Europe)…

Needless to say, that after the mandatory dinner at Ventorillo del Chato, one of our favorites – never do magic on an empty stomach! – we headed back “home” and the magic started (well, it had already started around the table, of course…) at Juan’s Magic Round Table, which is actually rectangular.

Yves, as usual cracks at 2 or 3 o’clock, while I endured, and managed to stay awake until 6 o’clock, when I had to call it a day… while the Maestro now turned to other “secret” projects, until 9, 10, 11 in the morning… who knows what the muses and angels do to a genius 🙂

We kept this rhythm up for five days!

Secret Session at Tamariz’s (SEP 2023)

For all those who asked how the Maestro is doing: He’s just fine, at (soon) 81 full of energy and ideas, busy with 1001 projects, of which one after the other will reach us (Letters From Juan Volume 6 was just released as I’m writing this…).

In the photo below he drinks to your (and his) health:

Salud – Santé – Cheers – Salute – zum Wohl – Campai

Once again my notebook is brimming over with notes of the topics discussed, the tricks, techniques, presentations, theories, bits and pieces that were discussed and demonstrated.

I’ve always kept copious notes of all our encounters over the past 45 years.

I still vividly remember when I took the first note of something that Juan told me in private, at that time an absolute novelty known to only a few close friends from the recently founded Escuela Magica de Madrid: It was what is now know as TPC, the “Tamariz Perpendicular Control”, and below is a photo from my very first notebook, the very first page, which I started at my very first FISM convention in 1979 in Brussels (where I also met Ascanio, Vernon, Jennings, Bilis, Sanvert, Paviato, and were I saw Fred Kaps on video for the first time).

My very first note in my very first notebook… (FISM Brussels 1979)

And should I say that the TPC is the subject of one of Juan’s upcoming book projects?

Although the basic technique and some of its applications were described by Juan in his book Sonata, that has meanwhile become a classic, you will be knocked off your socks when you read what else Juan has come up with using the TPC. This is a book Im going to devour from the first page to the last when it comes out.

If you are interested to know what Juan has fooled and then enlightened me with over these decades, then you can do no better than read his literary and video output, but above all his most recent Letters From Juan, which contains much of the stuff that has made me happy.

Lots of it is there, but even more is awaiting publication, and all of it is the output of one of the supreme geniuses in the history of magic. I cannot say how privileged I feel to have been a small part of this history, and to count myself among his closest friends and students.

The photo below shows Juan (with friends sitting around the table) and me performing my version of Vernon’s “Ectoplasmic Aces” (Sharing Secrets, p. 17). Juan liked it, but we agreed it was a “minor miracle”, albeit with a clever construction (you can see a video of it HERE).

Ectoplasmic Kings for Tamariz

This report deserves a lengthy essay, but alas you and I won’t have the time for it, so I’ll just finish by saying that the visits at Juan’s are not only full of fantastic magic and delicious meals, but also encounters with local friends, Pedro, Ramón, Pepe, Juan Luis, plus whoever is visiting, and you never know who and when…

After five days and five nights (!) it was time to say goodbye.

And off we were, Yves and I, in company of our friends Pepe Dominguez and Pedro Morillo, to the airport of Seville, to catch our plane to Vitoria, where we were picked up by Jorge in his limousine that would deliver us at the Hotel Canciller NH, headquarter of the Magialdia convention, the next adventure…

Magialdia 2023 – THE Convention

I’ve been an invited guest for the past almost 20 years – and “invited” means invited in the Old World’s sense of the term, which differs from the definition people have in other parts of the world…

… a standing invitation at Magialdia since 2005

This year I had a busy schedule. No sooner had I arrived, that I started out by taping five lessons of 35 minutes each for Borja Monton’s Card Magic Masterclass, which is part of an ongoing teaching project.

Borja, who during the difficult times of the pandemic was also the president of the Spanish Society of Magicians in Madrid (SEI – Sociedad Española de Magia), is a successful YouTuber, well-known influencer and head of his own “Instituto de Magia”. You can have a quick look HERE.

Borja and Roberto in a break during taping

Borja and I had met in July at the Spanish national convention in Valladolid, and he quickly convinced me to participate in his project.

i suggested to do a five-part Masterclass on the subject of “Sleight of Mind – The Psychological Construction of Magic”. Based on my recent book Sharing Secrets, I conceived five lessons discussing five of the concepts detailed in the book, together with one trick each, where the practicality of the “theory” was demonstrated.

So, the students of the course are now not only learning five polyvalent and super-practical concepts, they also get five good performance pieces to go with it. In a future The Magic Memories I shall be happy to tell you more about the content of the five-part course.

Meanwhile, here is one of the tricks I taught, to illustrate “The Space-Information-Continuum” (see p. 102 of Sharing Secrets). The description is brief, but as an advanced reader you should be able to follow:

Five-card Follow the Leader

Prologue:  The cards have a family sense. Let me demonstrate with the two most important families in the deck: the Royal Flush in Hearts, and the Royal Flush in Spades.”

Drop 5 red spot-cards face up on the table, then drop 5 black spot cards on top. Take high cards as they have more color on the face.

Display the cards face up by spreading them between your hands, “Red and black cards, the values do not matter, as long as they are red and black.” As you are saying this, cull one of the blacks under the spread (I cull the fourth card from the face).

Close the spread, turn the packet face down, and then immediately deal five cards face down to your right, turning the fifth face up and leaving it in front of the face down packet, “Five red cards over here…”

Reverse deal the remaining five cards in a face down packet on your left, turning the last black card face up and placing it in front of the packet analogously to the packet on the right.

As the cards are dealt, merely the first card dealt in each packet must be protected, so the others could be flashed in a natural manner.

Confirm: “The red cards with the red… the black cards with the black.” As you are saying this, each hand turns the top card of a packet face up, keeping it in the space over its respective packet(Space-information Continuum), and then deals it on top of the Leader Card.

Square each of the two three-card-packets, “The cards have a strong magical family sense that keeps them together.”

Exchange the Leaders.

With the right hand pick up the packet behind the red Leader in End Grip, and by supinating the hand show a red card on its face. Place the packet face down in Dealing Position, and then do a Double Lift from the bottom, reshowing the card just seen on top of the packet. Turn the double face down, and then place the packet face down back on the table behind the red Leader.

Do the same for the packet behind the black Leader.

Again exchange the Leaders.

Immediately turn the top card of each packet face up, holding them above their respective packets (Space-information Continuum), and then deal it on top of the Leader Card.

Exchange the packets, show the top card, and then deal on the Leader.

One last time exchange the Leader-packet, hesitate to reveal the last card (Tamariz!), then show.

Epilogue (maybe): “Birds of a feather always flock together…”

Presentational detail: To visualize the transposition of the colors, each time do the “Winged Hands Bit”as explained in the Light book (see Card College Lightest, “Follow the Leader”, p. 26).

As usual the convention was a hotspot of international talent, with great close-up show, lectures, theater shows and a final big show on the Plaza in the heart of Vitoria’s historical center.

Armando Lucero practicing his act in the hotel lobby for us

Sunday at noon, closing the convention, Ignacio Lopez from Buenos Aires, Michel (also from Buenos Aires) and I filled a 75-minute event where we discussed the Art of Magic in its various facets.

If you understand Spanish or want to practice your language skill in it, you can view the introductory video by CLICKING HERE.

“Confluencias” – Ignacio, Michel and Roberto discussing magic

The format with great questions proved to be quite successful, and we were asked to repeat this at some other convention. We’ll see…

Lots more to tell, of course, but we’ll leave it at that.

In the next The Magic Memories 147 more tales about my participation at the “International Close-up Symposium” in Wiener Neustadt, at Bill Chueng’s amazing theater, and some insider-talk from the French national convention in La Grande-Motte in the South of France.

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (145)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Bonjour, Bonsoir et Bon Appétit!

These are The Magic Memories 145, gone online Sunday, October 8th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

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

Bonjour, Bonsoir et Bon Appétit!

As you are reading these The Magic Memories I’m in La Grande Motte, close to Montpellier, in the South of France, at the yearly national convention of the FFAF (Fédération Française des Artistes Prestidigitateurs).

Sharing Secrets, as well as a new edition of the complete Card College series, will be released in French, there titled Secrets and Cours de Cartomagie Moderne, respectively.

The organizer Serge Arial and his team have invited me to give a one-hour interview-talk on the occasion of these publications, and the subject will turn around “the book in magic”, its importance in a virtual world, its past and future, and I’ll be taking questions on the subject from the audience.

If it’s worth doing, I will tell you about it in an upcoming The Magic Memories.

Below are a few photo-memories from my travels to France.

Carbonnier, Bilis, Zarrow, RG, Amato at Bilis’ home
… with the legendary Pierre Edernac
CIPI Masterclass in front of Robert-Houdin Museum, Blois

I will be back in The Magic Memories 146 with some worthwhile contributions. Stay tuned, and please remember that you have to actively seek out these The Magic Memories by going to the webshop and clicking “News”, as no reminder will be sent out (well, occasionally I might).

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi