Posted on Leave a comment

The Magic Memories (172)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Rusduck Card Location; Magicon in Lüdenscheid

These are The Magic Memories 172, gone online Sunday, April 14th, 2024, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, and 2023, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

Rusduck Card Location

For the past half year I have been working on my upcoming book, Unexpected Agenda… well, not so unexpected, as I am telling you now 🙂

Albeit very time-consuming, I have a great time revising my notes from the past decades to filter out the best possible information that in my opinion is still very useful nowadays to anyone involved in magic.

I am now at the third revision, and keep throwing out items and bring others in… Maybe you are interested to know of an item I just decided to eliminate, although most of you will probably not know it, or if you do, not use it.

So, for today, here is a principle that is quite curious; it belongs to the big family of “clocking principles”, therefore of mathematical nature, but I am convinced that with an appropriate presentation it can be made into an entertaining and baffling piece of magic. I have tried it out several times on small audiences, in informal settings, and by combining it with other tricks, it went over quite well.

The trick is by Rusduck (1909 – 1959), of mirror-deck-fame, and publisher-editor of The Cardiste, a not-so-well-known magazine that ran for eleven issues in 1957/58; it appeared in Phoenix, an important magic magazine in its time, edited by Bruce Elliott, more precisely in issue #77 (USA, 1945).

To read the trick and its explanation CLICK HERE – have fun 🙂

Magicon in Lüdenscheid

As announced in the previous The Magic Memories, when you are reading this I am at an intimate magic convention in the North of Germany, which is why this edition of The Magic Memories is a short one.

I will catch up next week, where I hope to tell you a bit about my adventures at Magicon.

Workshop in Beijing 2019

Wish you all a successful and happy week,

Roberto Giobbi

Posted on 3 Comments

The Magic Memories (171)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Cervon on Vernon’s C&B Loading Sequence; Séminaire Paris SUN May 5th; Magicon II Convention in Lüdenscheid (Announcement); Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland

These are The Magic Memories 171, gone online Sunday, April 7th, 2024, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, and 2023, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

Cervon on Vernon’s C&B Loading Sequence

A few Memories back I promised to bring something about Dai Vernon’s famous Cups & Balls Routine.

The description of the routine was originally published by England’s Harry Stanley in Lewis Ganson’s The Dai Vernon Book of Magic, one of the best books in magic.

For those among my readers who have not yet seen the recording, you can watch Dai Vernon do the routine in person, on Mark Wilson’s TV show The Magic Circus. There Vernon, aged seventy-eight, opens with a line that has become legendary, “Ladies and gentlemen, I am no youngster. I am seventy-eight years of age, and I have been studying magic for over seventy-two years… I wasted the first six years of my life.” To watch CLICK HERE.

Dai Vernon performing C&B on Mark Wilson “Magic Circus”

However, the main reason why I mention this, is to share with you a rare video clip of Bruce Cervon doing the final phase of Dai Vernon’s C&B, i.e., the all-important loading sequence. This is the one phase that spectators will most remember, place in their “communicative memory” (see Sharing Secrets, p. 74), and tell to others.

This one-minute clip was extracted from “A Touch of Magic”, a program within the Fifth Estate TV Show, an acclaimed Canadian production that aired for the first time in 1975 and went on for forty-seven seasons.

The program dealt with magic and was aptly titled “A Touch of Magic”, possibly an allusion to Dai Vernon’s Genii-column “The Vernon Touch”. The episode, with a running time of twenty-one minutes, particularly showcases Dai Vernon, being Canadian, of course, but also has clips of several of his acolytes speaking and performing.

Bruce Cervon doing C&B on The Fifth Estate

To watch Bruce Cervon perform the last phase of the Vernon C&B Routine CLICK HERE.

I though about transcribing and commenting this short piece, but that would be a lot for me to write and for you to read. It is my belief that whoever has an affinity for the topic, by viewing the video, maybe a few times, will recognize the difference to the original and agree that the changes are interesting and above all practical.

Besides using coffee cups, instead of the standard “magician’s cups”, Cervon got rid of the “false explanation” part that exposes the French Drop, something many have never liked (you have to understand the time and context this was created), but he also streamlined the technical construction. Not many are able to take a Master’s work like the one of Vernon’s and make changes without butchering the original. But Cervon, a Master in his own right, understood Vernon and his work, as well as the essence of the C&B, and I think that the changes he made would have found Vernon’s approval.

We can identify a similar talent of Cervon’s to streamline the technical structure of Classics when we for instance look at “All Backs” from Ultra Cervon (p. 33), where he took Elmsley’s take on Vernon’s original from Expert Card Technique, adding the final production of the Aces. It clearly shows that Cervon was a professional who performed for real people, while Elmsley did this a lot less.

Anyway, I will leave this to your appreciation without further comment.

I will remind those of you who seem to have most of my publications, that the two-DVD-set with the recording of my Masterclass on Dai Vernon, Dai Vernon Seminar: Life and Work, includes an eighty-page PDF (!) where I discuss Vernon’s C&B Routine at great length.

For those who do not have this, I shall give you the study I made on the C&B as a gift; you can download the PDF for free by CLICKING HERE.

And since I am at distributing gifts, in the Genii issue of May 2009 I discussed an unpublished alternative loading sequence that Dai Vernon himself did on a TV show: I transcribed and commented the complete sequence and offer it here for your edification and archives. To get the PDF CLICK HERE.

I meant to write a lot more, but looking at all the above, I believe that those who have an interest in this kind of thing, have enough material to read and watch 🙂

Séminaire Paris SUN May 5th

I briefly mentioned the one-day Masterclass I will be giving in Paris on Sunday, May 5th, 2024.

So, for all of you who read French, live in or near Paris, or now finally have an excuse to come to one of the most fascinating cities in the world, CLICK HERE for the PDF with all relevant information, in French, naturellement, since the classes will be conducted in French, too 🙂

Tamariz & Giobbi Masterclass (Torino 2007)

Magicon II Convention in Lüdenscheid (Announcement)

Next week-end I will be lecturing and performing at the Magicon Convention in Lüdenscheid (Germany), so The Magic Memories 172 might be short. I shall report about it in The Magic Memories 173, as usual.

Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland

I was amused to read in the news that recently the US State Department mixed up Switzerland and Sweden while announcing Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron 🙂

This reminds me of when a magic dealer, from whom I had ordered several books, sent the wares to Swaziland… Amazingly enough, to me, the parcel finally found its way to me.

The mistake can happen, not so much because of geographical ignorance, but because on the online-forms that need to be filled in on the homepage of the carriers, Swaziland, Sweden, and Switzerland are right one after the other, and it is easy to click on the wrong item, especially because the names appear in a minuscule type.

This reminds me of my favorite quote by Confucius: “If you see a worthy man, imitate him; if you see an unworthy man, examine yourself.”

So, let us examine ourselves and our magic: What is the lesson to be learned for magic?

Which brings us to one of my next-favorite quotes, I keep repeating in my writings, by André Gide, who was asked by a journalist what was the most important thing in language. He answered, “La clarté, la clarté, la clarté – clarity, clarity, clarity.”

Therefore, when presenting our magic, let’s make sure that our spectators never mix up Swaziland, Sweden, and Switzerland!

Wish you all a successful and happy week,

Roberto Giobbi

Posted on 2 Comments

The Magic Memories (170)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Easter Holiday.

These are The Magic Memories 170, gone online Sunday, March 31st, 2024, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, and 2023, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

Easter Holiday

Closed for Easter Holidays.

Party at Joan Lawton’s (April 2020)

See you next week 🙂

Wish you all a successful and happy week,

Roberto Giobbi

Posted on 1 Comment

The Magic Memories (169)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Folded Card to Box in “Nada x aqui”; Seminar in Paris (announcement)

These are The Magic Memories 169, gone online Sunday, March 24th, 2024, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, and 2023, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

Folded Card to Box in “Nada por aqui”

Last week I reported about Jorge Blass and his Magic Festival in Madrid, and this reminded me of a few more things: I had worked with Jorge years ago, but had completely forgotten about this. I guess this is why I have called this blog The Magic Memories

It was the occasion of the FISM convention in Stockholm in 2006, the one where I spent most of my time as a member of the jury…

Jorge Blass, together with Luis Piedrahita and Ines la maga, had already done a magic program on Spanish TV by the title of Nada x aqui, pronounced Nada por aqui, an idiomatic expression in Spanish meaning something like “nothing up my sleeves”. The magic show ran over several years, was very successful, and it lay the foundation to the future career of Jorge, Luis, and Ines, who would all become house-hold names in the Spanish entertainment business.

Ines la maga

Jorge and Luis have attained international fame, with Luis publishing a much-noticed book on original coin magic, but Ines might be less-known to most of you.

In the video below you can see Ines do a very interesting prediction trick.

Even though it is in Spanish, you will be able to follow the plot, which is simple: The spectator names any card, in this case the Two of Hearts. Ines says that she has two predictions, one of which is a Joker, which stands for any card (the old gag), and the other being, precisely, the Two of Hearts.

Good, eh?

It uses an old principle discussed in chapter 14 of Hugard’s Encyclopedia of Card Magic 🙂 Plus another principle and a sleight.

This fact of being based on multi-layered operational principles is really why card tricks are usually superior to most other magic tricks, especially mentalism and large scale illusions, where all too many tricks rely on one single principle that an intelligent spectator can see through (and sometimes even not so intelligent ones do…).

The danger with such card tricks, however, is that the hobbyist falls in love with the wonderful method, and then forgets to take care of how to stimulate the spectator’s Logos and Pathos.

Now, Ines has all of this clear, and does an excellent job.

Luis Piedrahita

If you do not know Luis, who nowadays is more famous in Spain as a stand-up comedian than for the magic, and want to get an idea of how clever he is, watch the clip below. It is in Spanish from the aforementioned program, but sub-titled in English, although I think you could enjoy it as much if you simply turned the sound off.

The Folded Card in Box (Giobbi Version)

Anyway, back to the taping at FISM: Jorge came up to me and asked me if I would be willing to tape a piece of mine for their program, and so we did in the lobby of the hotel, with some conventioneers as an audience.

I have just watched it again on YouTube, almost ten years after it had been taped, and was surprised to read all those nice comments people made on it, and it occurred to me that some of you might want to watch the few minutes where I do “The Joker Folds up” (from Card College Volume 5) in the lobby of the convention hotel. The performance was taped there and then included in an upcoming episode of Nada x aqui.

Seminar in Paris

For all of you who are living in and around Paris, but also for those who are looking for an excuse to comme to the arguably most beautiful city in the world (with 15.834 million tourists per year on rank 6 of the most visited cities in the world), I will do a Seminar on Sunday, 5th May 2024, from 1 to 5 pm, at the premises of the FFAP, the French magic association, at 257 rue Saint-Martin, 75003 Paris.

The seminar is titled “Sleight-of-mind – The Psychological Construction of Magic”, and I will perform, explain and discuss tricks, techniques and presentations with a focus on the psychological concepts therein. So, this is going to be very practical. Tout en français, évidemment!

Limited to 20 attendants, € 80 p.p. Details to follow in the upcoming The Magic Memories 170.

I plan to devote The Magic Memories 170 to one single subject, namely Dai Vernon’s Cups and Balls routine, and especially to the final loading sequence, which I think is one of the most brilliant compositions in magic. So, if this is your cup of tea, I look very much forward to seeing you next week.

Wish you all a successful and happy week,

Roberto Giobbi

Posted on Leave a comment

The Magic Memories (168)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Frank Garcia Anecdote; Festival de Magia Madrid 2024 by Jorge Blass; Computer Glasses Next Week

These are The Magic Memories 168, gone online Sunday, March 17th, 2024, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, and 2023, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

Frank Garcia Anecdote

In The Magic Memories 165 I discussed my presentation of Frank Garcia within the meeting of the German Card Conference (CardWorkshop), and received several comments of appreciation.

Mark Gallo, from Northport, USA, wrote in to share this anecdote:

I met Garcia at one of the Abbott’s Close-Up Conventions in Colon, Michigan, USA, in the late ’80s or early ’90s.

He did a fabulous trick with two toy cars (like the British “Matchbox” cars).  He put a dark blue one in one hand and a white one in the other.  He spread his hands.  A little woo-woo and they had changed places!  I was astonished!

The next week I was in the local magic shop and told the owner about this impossible piece of magic.  He calmly and patiently explained to me that these cars–with heat-sensitive paint–are available at every toy store.

Well, sure–but if you never go to toy stores…

Festival de Magia Madrid 2024 by Jorge Blass

Last week I gave you an insider’s view of a two-hour event honoring Juan Tamariz, for which they flew in Gaetan Bloom and myself from Paris and Basel respectively.

The editing of the event is still in the works, and Jorge Blass promised to send me the finished version when ready – it should then go on YouTube for you to enjoy, too, and I will let you know. I promise you will find this most interesting.

Dialogo magico con Juan Tamariz

Since both Gaetan and I never miss a chance when we can stay one or two days longer in a fascinating location – and Madrid is one of the most fascinating in the world, especially when it comes to magic and gastronomy – we gladly accepted Jorge Blass’ invitation to the magic show of his Festival de Magia; the night before we had done the Homage for Juan Tamariz on the same stage.

XIV Festival de Magia

In the show I was sitting next to Gaetan Bloom. Briefly: We both were most impressed by the show, its concept and, of course, its artists.

Here are a few scattered impressions for your enjoyment. I did not take notes, so all of this is from memory, making these The Magic Memories in the real sense of the term 🙂

Show Production

First thing to say is that the way the whole show was set-up was truly excellent, original, and modern. It ran for ca. 90 Minutes, without pause (my preferred format).

One should consider that such shows, albeit running for several weeks and within a super-professional setting, do not have the privilege other theatrical productions have.

Plays, operas, musicals, and similar productions have weeks and sometimes months of rehearsal, where the complete cast is paid for.

In the case of  magic shows, the likes we usually get to see at magic conventions, the rehearsal time is limited to one afternoon.

But even with a show that runs over three weeks, as does the one by Jorge Blass, the artists coming from several parts of the world, with a tight budget, the rehearsal time is one day.

Nonetheless, and in spite of these restrictions, Blass manages to put up a complex show, and this is only possibly thanks to his immense experience as a producer and performer of various kinds of shows for television and theaters.

The first thing that surprises most magicians who are used to the “magic galas” at magic conventions is that the presentation of the artists breaks out of the traditional format emcee-artist-emcee-artist etc.

Instead, a modern choreography, where light and music are matched, accompanies the audience through a diverse universe of magical artists and effects: Each artist is announced on the large lateral screens, one on each side of the large stage, but still part of it, so that visual unity is maintained.

Then the artist is greeted from the off. The entrance, the performance, and the exit are well thought out in an attractive but untypical way, giving the whole proceeding an up-to-date touch using state-of-the-art technologies. Very well thought out and executed.

Jorge Blass

Blass himself, as the host and producer of the festival, which is now in its fourteenths edition, did an excellent interactive piece where he had everyone in the audience use their mobile phone to go through some apparently completely haphazard calculations to reach a result, which he had predicted.

Not only that: The final number gave the day’s date and the exact time. (In the back of my head I remember seeing this somewhere, but cannot recall where – maybe someone can help…).

Jorge Blass himself

Blass had two more appearances, one of which being a very nice routine, which stared with an Out of This World theme using Polaroid photos.

Normally I find such adaptations corny, but in this case the presentation as well as the method were really good.

The routine ended with the ring of the female spectator vanishing in a very convincing way, and reappaering in a sealed box, which had been created by a 3D-printer!

The printer, which had been standing far away from where the performance took place, had been introduced before the spectator even had come on stage, and Blass explained that it was about to create “something”.

The routine was brought to an end by having the assisting lady’s husband come on stage and putting the wedding ring back on his wife’s finger, amusing and a bit sentimental, but certainly fitting for Spain, and it made the whole piece well-rounded, a great trick for sure.

Gaetan and I booth looked at each other and had no clue, although I am sure that Gaetan knew how he would have done it… but that is the way geniuses work🙂

Gonzalo Albiñana

Gonzalo Albiñana from Spain, who had won a major award at last year’s Spanish National Convention (I have reported about the convention in The Magic Memories 135), was the fil rouge of the show with some very good shadowgraphs and a repeat bird-cage vanish routine, all wrapped in a theatrical presentation with poetry and mime.

The silent tones characterizing his performance registered well with the theater-going audience, and were a lovely counterpoint to the louder productions in the show.

Personally, I tend to agree with Juan Tamariz when he writes in his The Magic Rainbow, that when magic is combined with a “theatrical story”, the magic suffers.

I remember seeing Harry Blackstone Jr. doing his bird cage vanish live with lots of children on stage, and it touched me emotionally much more than the poetic staging of Albaniña’s, although the latter was by all definitions more “artistic”, while Blackstone simply had more down-to-earth “showmanship”.

These things are had to pinpoint in words, but the emotions do not cheat.

Anyway, well done, but not my cup of tea.

Gonzalo Albiñana-Spain

Bruno Tarnecci

Bruno Tarnecci came all the way from Peru, and did a very elegant act with lots of effects and great complexity.

In such an act there are hundreds of things that can go wrong, but everything worked in unison and created a very magical atmosphere that enchanted the audience.

You can see a small part of the act he presented – the floating cane in the clip below:

Mortenn Christiansen

All the artists up to here had been received extremely well, but Mortenn Christiansen from Denmark, who was up next, brought the house down, as they say.

I also admit that this is my kind of magic: Formal minimalism, just the Artistic Trinity formed by the artist, his instrument, and his words – no special effects, no music, no smoke and mirrors, the pure thing, magic.

I had seen Mortenn already several times, last time I believe at The Session in London Heathrow, were he was good, but here in Madrid he was incredible.

First, he is a “stand-up magician” in the real sense of the word: He stands on a huge stage, almost always in the same spot, and commands the attention of at least 800 spectators; this already is remarkable.

Second, me, who is not such a friend of comedy, he made me laugh, and he kept surprising and fooling me. What I particularly liked is that his comedy does not come in the way of his magic, as so often happens when performers start to be “funny”, or start to tell “stories” to make tricks “more meaningful”.

Mortenn has intuitively understood that a good effect speaks for itself, and with a most natural way of expressing himself, combines situation comedy of the finest caliber with original and impactful effects.

This man has a great future ahead.

If you have never seen Mortenn, you can get an idea from his performance at Penn & Teller’s Fool Us, but the act is by no means the same as the one I saw here in Madrid, which was far more complex and complete.

Juno Park

Juno Park, from South Korea, did a manipulation act that leaned on the well-known South-Korean school of magic, but had a clear identity of its own.

An act of sheer beauty, that is characterized by the fact that magic effects and musical queues seamlessly form a poetic-visual unity.

With the precision of a piano player, and the coolness of the modern manipulator, he captivated the Madrid audience from the first to the last moment. (Traditionally, the Madrid audience is the toughest of Spain: For the bull-fighters, if they made it in the Arena of Madrid, they had reached the peak of their career!)

Although you can get an idea of his performing persona, his style and some of his effects in the video clip below, the act I saw in Madrid was now much more complete and rounded, of great artistic quality, a joy to behold.

Here is another man who has a great future ahead, and you will see him at many magic conventions.

Personally, I still prefer real playing cards being used in card manipulations, rather than colored pieces of cardboards, as most in the South-Korean school of manipulation do, because playing cards have a meaning, while colored cardboards look like made props… certainly, beautiful props 🙂

I predict that someone from that school will soon revert back to real playing cards, or at least pieces of cardboard that look like real playing cards, and be a smash hit. If it happens, remember I said that in The Magic Memories 168, 2024, if it doesn’t happen, well, forget that I said anything… (this is how prophecies in the history of civilization work anyway).

Josephine Lee

Josephine Lee from the UK, who had already had a part before, got to close the show with some truly well presented and spectacular illusions.

The plots were classic, but the design of the illusions was exquisite. This is very important, since the solution of an illusion is usually too linear, and more often than not the illusionist fools him- or herself into believing that the audience doesn’t know how it is done, but really many do…

Therefore, if the design is well thought-out, the Space-Information-Continuum on the stage is correctly managed, the actions are motivated by an apparent “story”, and the synchronization-timing has been well rehearsed, also with the assistants, then a large scale illusion, like the big opera in music, can overwhelm an audience. And this it did.

Josephine Lee brought an excellent finale to a superb magic show.

I should mention one more thing that was brought up by Juan Tamariz when we discussed her performance over dinner, which he liked a lot (Lee’s illusions and dinner), as I did: Lee does “Sawing a Woman in Half”, an illusion occasionally criticized by female magicians in the sense that male illusionist always use female “victims” to stab through, saw in half, etc.

Well, Lee, as a lady magician, used a female assistant to saw through…

One more thing made me think: Lee’s show is professional in every detail, no question. What men used to do before, and are still doing, she does with equal charm and competence, in her very own way.

I was just wondering if a woman could maybe do those things men do in a different way, in a “Yin-way”, as opposed to the “Yang-way”. How that could look? I do not know. One day someone will come along and show us…

Finale and Resolution

At the end all the artists and the production team received a well-deserved standing ovation, led by Gaetan Bloom and myself (my readers in the New World should remember that in Europe standing ovations are not as common as in the USA).

I made a note to travel to Madrid in spring next year to see the new show… if you have never been to Madrid, I humbly advise you to make this one of the 100 things to do in life…

Computer Glasses Next Week

After my cataract operation on both eyes I will finally get my glassed to work at the computer screen next week! (Ophthalmologist, “You have to wait about two months until the eyes calibrate…”. Me, “I see…”)

This is why I will stop this week’s blog here, as my eyes get strained, but truly hope that I will get back to “normal” by next week, and if so, promise a longer blog with some magic.

Among other things I will tell you about my experience working with Jorge Blass and his partners in a TV series of his, Nada por aqui, and a taping they did of me, with the discussion of a very interesting trick.

Stay tuned 🙂

Wish you all a successful and happy week,

Roberto Giobbi

Posted on 1 Comment

The Magic Memories (167)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Magic Day in Łódź, Poland; Homage to Juan Tamariz at Teatro Circo Price, Madrid

These are The Magic Memories 167, gone online Sunday, March 10th, 2024, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, and 2023, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

I am just back from two trips abroad, one to Łódź, Poland, the other to Madrid, Spain, two destinations that could not be more different from each other, and both fascinating and memorable.

Magic Day in Łódź, Poland

Arsene Lupin, Poland’s premier conjuror, had invited me to lecture and perform at his magic day in Lodz on Sunday, 3rd March 2024. Here are a few brief impressions.

The City of Lodz

The title shows the exact spelling of the city’s name, the third largest in Poland, but to save me breaking my fingers on the keyboard, I’ll spell it simply Lodz, with all respect 🙂

Poland has a colorful past, and so do its cities. What is so remarkable about Lodz is that the ugly and the beautiful are so close to each other.

There were places which were simply magnificent: the architecture, the museums, downtown. Instead of pulling down old buildings many are thoughtfully renovated, and it looks like the city has a bright future.

I wish I had the time to tell you more, but will concentrate on the magic (below). For more info on the city of Lodz, CLICK HERE.

To me, who is fluent in six languages, this was one of the few “culture shocks” of my life, as I did not understand a word of Polish, nor could I read the signs. I had similar experiences only in Japan and China. Fortunately, most in Poland understand English, and some speak it quite well.

Downtown Lodz

Poland’s Magic Tradition

Poland has an interesting magic tradition, like so many countries, and it is little-known. I wish we had more people, resources and finances to conduct more research on this particular aspect of magic, namely that of investigating the magical history of each country, the important and less important figures they brought forth (performers, inventors, authors, historians, craftsmen, etc.).

You may want to ask ChatGPT and see what you get (…), meanwhile here are a few names of outstanding Polish magicians who have left an indelible mark on the history of magic: Max Malini, Chan Canasta, Johnny Thompson, Salvano, all of whom have left us.

Fortunately, their work has been documented in books and videos, and anyone who is interested can find out more about them, just enter their names in your favorite search engine, or go to YouTube, and you will be spoilt for choice.

I had the great fortune of meeting Salvano early in my life, when I was still a student in Paris.

He came to a very early lecture of mine, and afterwards approached me saying some very nice things to me. At the time he was working at “Le Milliardaire”, one of Paris’ top night clubs, that is now closed, and he invited me to see his show.

This was quite incredible to Young Giobbi, as I had never been in a night club before.

Briefly: His was one of the most sophisticated acts I had ever seen, and I think that most who have known Salvano will agree if I now write that his act was in the same class as the acts of Cardini, Pollock or Fred Kaps.

Later in life I met Salvano several times, booked him for a lecture in Basel, and even hosted him at my home.

See The Magic Memories 74 for more on Salvano.

Arsene Lupin

For the past decades, Arsene Lupin, has been Poland’s most successful magic performer and inventor.

He is also a Past President of the Polish magician’s association, and in this function organized several national magic conventions.

Lupin – the man and his work – deserve a book that I will not be able to write here, but the first thing you might want to do is to have a look at a few videos to see his work, among other things his act with which he won a FISM prize, clips from his full-evening shows, etc.

For years Lupin had his own magic show on Polish TV, and his inventions are being performed by some of the world’s top professionals.

In one of our conversations we found out that we had competed at the same FISM conventions in 1991 in Lausanne and both won the 2nd prize, Lupin in Manipulations, I in Card Magic… behind Lennart Green 🙂

The Magic Day

For the day I flew into Warsaw Chopin Airport (yes, Chopin was Polish and another credit to this amazing culture), where Arsene met me personally and had me as his house guest for the next three days.

He is one of the most charming hosts I have ever had, showing me around the city of Lodz and taking care of anything I needed; I spent a wonderful time, and made a new friend!

The magic event itself took place in Lupin’s residence which hosts a small theatre that can take up to 40 guests; the little theatre was filled to capacity and had sold out months in advance, as Arsene told me.

Arsene Lupin greeting the Magic Day guests

The program was varied, with performances and talks, all of which were in Polish, so I did not understand a word, but could see some excellent ideas as well as the positive reactions from the audience.

I did a two-part lecture: One, one hour from my Stand-up Card Magic lecture, the another 90 minutes with more tricks, but with a focus on their psychological construction, based on my book Sharing Secrets.

Although I had my doubts about speaking in English to people who were non-native speakers of English, my presentations went over very well. So well, actually, that I got a long standing ovation at the end.

Arsene later told me that in all these years only three people had received this honor: Dani DaOrtiz and David Stone… so I am in good company 🙂

One of the nicest additional benefits of such events is that I get to know a lot of new people, and also get an insight into the magic of a country I had never been to before.

This is one of the main reasons I have never accepted to do those “Lecture Tours” many of my colleagues have done: I make it a point to come in one day earlier, and to stay at least one extra day to see the city/country and meet people.

In the evening, after the event, several came for a traditional Polish dinner; Arsene told me that only rarely do so many attend the dinner, so I take this as another compliment. On the back end you can see Arsene and myself.

Dinner in Lodz 3rd March 2024

In the photo below, which was taken after dinner, I am with a group of very talented magicians who came all the way from Krakow. Michael, on the right in the photo, promised to organize a one- or two-day seminar in his hometown, so I look very much froward to coming back to Poland soon.

The Krakow Magic Group

BTW: Poland’s national beverage is Vodka. As you can see in the photo above, there is a row of empty glasses… guess what was inside.

During the three days of my stay I was able to taste over a dozen different Vodkas, not so bad…

Homage to Juan Tamariz at Teatro Circo Price, Madrid

I came back from Warsaw on Monday evening, and Tuesday morning had my flight to Madrid, taking me there just in time for lunch at Dantxari, one of my (and Tamariz’s!) favorite restaurants.

Whenever you go to Spain and meet up with magicians, you should know that their dinner time is not earlier than 10 pm, rather 11 pm, therefore, when you arrive on the first day, I recommend you get a good lunch so you can survive until dinner…

In Madrid I had been invited, along with Gaetan Bloom, who flew in from Paris, to participate in a two-hour Homage to Juan Tamariz, as part of a three-week Festival of Magic organized by Spain’s magic celebrity Jorge Blass (see The Magic Memories 164 for more info).

We met up at 7 pm at the theatre, which used to be a in-house circus, and set up the session, which was masterfully arranged and organized by Jorge Blass and his team.

preparing for the Homage to Juan Tamariz

With ca. 500 people the theatre was filled to capacity and we found a very enthusiastic audience who came to celebrate the Great Master of Magic, not only of Spain, but of the world.

The people who attended were about 30% magicians, mostly from Madrid, and 70% laypeople, young and old, who had seen Tamariz in one of his many TV-shows or performances in the theatres of Spain.

The lay audience in Spain knows Tamariz mainly as a star magic performer, but only few know about his role in the world of magic. Therefore, the idea of this event was not only to honor Juan Tamariz, who in October of this year will turn eighty-two, but above all to shed light on the many facets that make Tamariz one of the most important and influential magicians of all times.

I like to compare any profession with an iceberg: As an outsider you only see the 10% above the water, and ignore the 90% that are invisible.

In the two hours at our disposal Jorge Blass had arranged an excellent mix of photos, video clips, and personal talks with some surprise guests.

Jorge started out with a lovely introduction showing some amazing film clips of Young Tamariz I had never seen before myself, followed by a thoughtful interview about Juan’s beginnings.

Next Gaetan Bloom came on, and the two chatted about the many TV appearances and theatre projects they had done together. This part of the interview was preceded by a hilarious bit where Gaetan performed in French, and Juan translated in Spanish.

Next I came on and conversed with Juan about him as an author of magic books, lecturer, and founder of the Escuela Magica de Madrid (EMM), along with its mouthpieces, the Escorial Card Conference and the Circular, a printed publication of the EMM, that went on for over thirty years, and where the forty members would publish thousands of essays on the most diverse topics related to magic. This is of great interest to any intelligent practitioner of the art and should be translated into English (maybe one day when we will have a foundation that finances all of this).

Roberto conversing with Juan

And so it went on with Luis Piedrahita, a star magician and stand-up comedian, and Yunke, who won the first prize for Illusions at the recent FISM in Quebec.

At the end Juan did one of his interactive card tricks, with the entire audience joining in and throwing cards into the air, until each is left with a previously selected card; I’ve seen Juan do this many times, once when we worked together on the TV show Carta Blanca , and it is always a hit – in the photo below you can see everyone throwing cards in the air and having a great time, most of all the Maestro himself 🙂

This event will eventually be available on YouTube, and I will let you know through an upcoming The Magic Memories. Although it is in Spanish, of course, you will still be able to enjoy some rare video footage, and see Gaetan and Juan perform.

In the photo below you can see all who joined in the “Dialogo Magico con Juan Tamariz”, a memorable event, if there ever was one.

Yunke, Piedrahita, Tamariz, Bloom, Giobbi, Blass

The icing on the cake of such events, especially in Spain, is that the participants in the adventure, like the Gauls from Asterix and Obelix, will gather around a table in a restaurants for human beings (which is NOT a fast-food restaurant, nor one where you eat sandwiches etc.), and enjoy a copious meal, with great wines, and even greater company – viva la magia!

A quite extraordinary round table!

Forgive today’s accounts, which read a bit disruptive, but I did not have the time to put them in a more elegant form 🙂

Wish you all a successful and happy week,

Roberto Giobbi

Posted on Leave a comment

The Magic Memories (166)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Pause for travel.

These are The Magic Memories 166, gone online Sunday, March 3rd, 2024, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, and 2023, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

As you are reading this I am giving two lectures at Arsene Lupin’s studio in Poland, and right after that I will head to Madrid, where I will be part of an evening honoring Juan Tamariz at the Teatro Circolo Price

Paviato, Andrus, Tamariz, Giobbi at Escorial

I shall report about both events in The Magic Memories 167.

Meanwhile, go back to some of the older The Magic Memories – there is plenty you might have overseen 🙂

Wish you all a successful and happy week,

Roberto Giobbi

Posted on 2 Comments

The Magic Memories (165)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: CardWorkShop 2024; Basler Fasnacht playing cards clique

These are The Magic Memories 165, gone online Sunday, February 25th, 2024, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, and 2023, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

CardWorkShop (CWS) 2024

I am just back from the 56th German CardWorkShop (CWS). As promised in The Magic Memories 164, here is a report about the event.

For those who came in late, I remind you that this is a yearly event of card aficionados that takes place in Germany. For more background information see The Magic Memories 113.

Location

During the years the location kept changing, but for the past decade it has been taking place in Stephan Kirschbaum’s Wundermanufaktur, the most recent from FEB 18th to 20th, 20024: Sunday evening, Monday full day, and Tuesday (late) morning, plus individual sessions at night with varying bedtimes…

The CardWorkShop: a gemütliche setting

Similar to the Spanish Escorial Card Conference, this is an invitation-only event which brings together some of the best cardmen of German-speaking Europe (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland).

Yes, “cardMEN”, as in the entire history of the CWS there has never been a woman who asked to be invited; she would certainly be welcome.

I should further mention that, similar to Escorial, everyone comes at his own expenses, pays his own hotel, and pays a flat fee for drinks, snacks, and meals (there is no “convention fee”, the costs are simply that: costs).

Depending from how far you arrive and whether you stay an extra day or not, this costs ca. $ 500 (it takes me over six hours from door-to-door to come from Basel to Nuremberg). So, this would sound quite remarkable for an outsider for doing card ticks during three days – for us, of course, it is something else…

The Subjects

The idea of the gathering is that subjects are decided upon at the end of the previous meeting, with those who want to participate in the relative presentations putting up their name in a list.

The group then works on the subject during the year and delivers a group-presentation in the following year. Well, that’s the idea, in theory, fact is that most start their work at the last moment…

In 2023 we decided on the following subjects to be presented in 2024:

1. The magic and publications of Frank Garcia (Markus Zadina, Tom Merten, Karl-Heinz Ritter, Magic Christian, Kurt Freitag, Roberto Giobbi)

2. Card tricks that require a set-up or lead into a set-up (Denis Behr, Pit Hartling)

3. Multiple Card Revelation (Helge Thun, Wolfgang Moser, Jörg Alexander)

4. Magic of Japan (Lorenz Schär, Tino Plaz, Marc Haufer)

The Schedule & Content

So that you get a general idea of how things work, here is an approximative schedule with a few of my comments.

When the CWS started out in 1975 it was composed almost exclusively of amateurs, i.e., people who had a “real” (!) job and card magic as a hobby, some at a high level, but still, a hobby.

Nowadays things have changed, as about 75% (!) of the participants are full-time professionals making their living exclusively from magic. An astonishing shift that has led to many changes in structure and content (again, see The Magic Memories 113 for more on the history).

In the past the CWS took place on FRI, SAT and SUN, work free week-ends for amateurs. Now it does on SUN, MON and TUE, as that is when professionals have less shows.

This year twenty-two attended.

Attendants start to come into the Wundermanufaktur on SUN late afternoon; there is greeting, small-talk and, of course, an apéro , i.e., drinks and delicious snacks, without which no worthy event in Europe is imaginable.

At 6 pm the first scheduled event starts, “The Personal Minutes”, where each one relates something outside of the main subjects. This can be a brief summary of what one has done in the past year, the presentation of some personal ideas, a book review, etc. This lasts about 90 minutes and is always a lovely ice breaker.

I gave an ultra-short presentation of one of Padre Ciuro’s booklets Juegos de manos y bolsillo, a first edition of which goes for several hundred Euros. Tamariz started out with these books, a whole series of them, and keeps recommending them – I agree.

I pointed out a presentational idea – how to steal someone’s memory – and an application I found with it. Those who follow this blog have seen it before, for newcomers, HERE IS the video clip.

Padre Ciuró (1895 – 1978)

After that we usually have a rich buffet, with lots of drinks and camaraderie, until about 10 pm, when the first big subject starts.

This year we began with “The magic and works of Frank Garcia” that lasted until well past 1 am, with presentations about the life of Garcia, anecdotes, comments on his books, the performance of some of the best tricks in the books, plus a large etc.

The man, his magic, and his publications could make for a substantial lecture.

Some of you will have seen my take on three tricks published in his legendary Super Subtle Card Miracles which I have discussed in Favorites, a video project I did with Vanishing Inc. several years ago. (You can get the DVD with two more “lectures” on it about Vernon and Elmsley, or get the download from the VI webshop).

Garcia was certainly a controversial figure because of the many uncredited entries in his books, although he did add several pages of credits at the end of Super Subtle Card Miracles about this book and Million Dollar Card Mysteries.

I, for my part, am thankful to Garcia, as especially the two aforementioned books where like a fresh breeze at the time they came out, with lots of truly magnificent material, techniques and tricks. The descriptions, though, I must say, are not very good, and certainly most beginners who bought the books at the time where at loss.

Well, these books typically show that magic is a profession, and that you need to learn the fundamentals of the art and its instruments. It is not the purpose of a magic book on great tricks to explain every technique and procedure from scratch. This is one of the reasons I wrote the Card College series.

Anyway, several of us who had met Garcia personally (Kurt, Christian and I) told various anecdotes, and we did lots of tricks from his books. These books are insofar a goldmine for the experienced card worker, as they require a lot of interpretation in the execution and presentation, the descriptions being so terse. They are a great exercise for creativity. And anyone, who learns the basics first, then studies the detailed work of the masters, plus reads material from “unfinished” books such as the one by Garcia, well, this person is on the way to become a fine magician.

(Nowadays beginners have the good chance to be able to supplement this written heritage with video material, but I am convinced that videos alone cannot replace written instructions and/or personal coaching.)

Back to the schedule: After this, it’s “open night”…

Monday morning talks start at 10 pm until 1 pm: “The card magic of Japan”.

Lorenz Schär, a professional from Berne, Switzerland, whom I have mentioned several times in these The Magic Memories, gave an excellent overview of the history of playing cards and card magic in Japan, before and after the opening.

This was supplemented with tricks, comments, etc. by Tino Plaz, another professional and very talented young man, and by Marc Haufer, who can certainly be called an inspired amateur with lots of performing experience and a very pleasing personality.

After a lunch break, the presentations continue, from 2:30 pm to dinner time, which is around 8:30 pm.

The main subject treated in this time slot was “Multiple Card Revelations”, presented by several. The subject is huge, of course, but we got a nice panoramic view of several of the problems that this interesting topic brings along.

Pit Hartling, a genius if there ever was one, performed a very original routine, where he had several cards selected, then, by tearing up a “wrong” card, managed to fold and hold the torn pieces in such a way, that they represented the chosen cards. I hope you have a chance to see this one day.

Helge Thun, Jörg Alexander, Wolfgang Moser

Denis Behr performed and walked us through one of his complex card concoctions which rely heavily on the fact that one trick sets up the order of the cards needed in the following trick. Denis, the creator and manager of the “Archives” and “Conjuring Credits”, is a remarkable man, and if you have a chance you should see him.

The topic, however, of setting up decks and delaying stacks, harbors more complexity than the presenters were able to disclose. There is certainly a lot of work that can be done here.

After dinner and the next morning, Tuesday, until almost 2 pm, there were more presentations, among others by Peter Grandt on the symbols hidden in playing cards, and Reinhard Müller on Mozart and his interest in card magic.

Break-out Sessions

A nice part of the gathering are those small moments of relax between the heavier talks and performances.

Marc, Reinhard, Tino sharing a secret move…

Below a take from the Coffee Shop right below the Wundermanufaktur, which does a great Cappuccino, here accompanied by a Portuguese pastel de nata. For me remarkable that Germany, who as recently as ten years ago had one of the worst coffees in Europe, now boasts many places that equal the best… as in Italy and Vienna, the two arguably, and of course only in my opinion, best in the world 🙂

Break at the Coffee shop

And then it’s dinner time…

a turning table at a Chinese restaurant

Varia

The CWS is also a great opportunity to meet some friends I see only once a year. Kurt Freitag from Vienna, one of my oldest friends in both senses of the term, had a wonderful photo he gave me that showed him and me in the company of Ascanio.

Although he could neither remember who the photographer was, nor where the photo was taken, my guess is that it was at the Austrian national convention in Graz that took place from June 5th to 8th, 1980, that is forty-four years ago!

The photo shows me in my youthful innocence performing some kind of Ace Trick to Ascanio. We had previously met at FISM 1979 in Brussels, my first World Convention, so he had already taken me under his wings 🙂

Pit Kaiser, RG, Kurt Freitag, Arturo Ascanio

Basler Fasnacht 2024

As some of you might know, the carnival of Basel, along with that of Rio and Venice, is considered one of the three most important in the world.

The city of Basel that counts ca. 200’000 inhabitants grows to several millions during the three days of the carnival, quite amazing.

The Basler Fasnacht is by far the biggest event in the city that has also gained world-renown through the Art Basel and the Baselworld, the Watch and Jewelry Fair; not so bad for a city the size of Fayetteville in North Carolina 🙂

This is not the place to report about this quite beautiful and complex event; If you are interested, you can see some representative photos, film clips and read some info (in six languages, including English!) by CLICKING HERE.

Let me just mention that over 300 “groups” called cliques celebrate the Fasnacht with music, songs, texts and colorful costumes, plus huge lanterns, wagons, etc.

Below you see a clique that has playing cards as a subject… what else!

Swiss playing cards
clique in playing card costumes

Wish you all a successful and happy week,

Roberto Giobbi

Posted on 1 Comment

The Magic Memories (164)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: 56th German CardWorkShop (CWS); Irasshaimase Card College; Juan Tamariz at the XIV Festival of Magic in Madrid; A Useful Acquitment – Old Paper; Fred Kaps – It’s So Simple (Introduction)

These are The Magic Memories 164, gone online Sunday, February 18th, 2024, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, and 2023, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

56th German CardWorkShop (CWS)

As you are reading this, I am on my way to the 56th German CardWorkShop (CWS), a yearly event that this year takes place in Stephan Kirschbaum’s Wundermanufaktur from FEB 18th to 20th, 20024: Sunday evening, Monday full day, and Tuesday (late) morning, plus individual sessions at night with varying bedtimes…

Group photo of CardWorkShop participants

I have reported before about the CWS in The Magic Memories 112 & 113, and the info plus a few photos are just a CLICK AWAY.

Click HERE to now more about Kirschbaum’s “Pocket Theatre”, certainly one of Europe’s most charming and unusual cultural institutions.

Irasshaimase Card College

The Japanese translation of Card College came out after the French, Spanish and English translation, and was supervised by Ton Onosaka with whom I had signed a one-page hand-written “agreement” at the FISM convention in Lissabon in July 2000, twenty-four years ago.

After about fifteen years or so, I inquired if there ever had been another edition, and indeed it had, so thanks to my proactivity managed to get paid for that second edition.

In the following years it seems the publication had been discontinued, or the publisher failed, well, I never found out…

But four years ago Atsushi Takizawa and his Script Maneuver, who had already published Card College Volume 5 and Stand-up Card Magic, renegotiated the publishing rights, but for reasons that I still do not understand had to redo the complete translation and layout.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I received my six author’s copies, and if you want to learn Japanese and cannot get yourself a Japanese wife or husband, the best way to learn a language, go for the second-best way by buying a copy of the Japanese Card College 🙂

Card College in Japan

Juan Tamariz at the XIV Festival of Magic in Madrid

A few weeks ago I got a call from Jorge Blass, who many have called the “Copperfield” of Spain, who asked if I was willing to join him, Gaetan Bloom and others in Madrid to honor Juan Tamariz within the frame of his yearly Magic Festival.

“The XIV Festival Internacional de Magia”, the official name of the event, will be held at the renowned Teatro Circo Price (pronounced “pree-se”), a former In-house circus remodeled as a theater, and will take place in Madrid from FEB 14th to MAR 3rd, 2024.

 

XIV Festival de Magia

The fact that this is already in its fourteenth edition, in Spain’s capital that boasts some of the world’s top cultural activities, tells you something about its quality and success.

In the video clip below you can get a one-minute idea of last year’s edition.

As part of the festival, Jorge Blass  will stage an exceptional Homage to Juan Tamariz, who is not only a legend in his own lifetime for us magicians, but who also has the highest status an artist can have in his own native Spain.

To mention just one honor: In 2011 the Medalla de Oro al Mérito en Bellas Artes was bestowed upon him, the highest honor a civilian can receive in Spain, and it is the King of Spain himself who presents it. Needless to say that Tamariz refused to kneel in front of the King and sent someone else to collect the medal…

The event will take place on Tuesday, 5th March, at 8pm at the Teatro Circo Price.

To the public Tamariz is known as a TV celebrity of magic, having starred in a dozen of his own shows until ca. 1990, when he stopped doing TV and started to conquer the theatre circuit, filling the largest theaters across the country for the next three decades.

However, few “muggles” know about Tamariz’ importance and influence in the world of magic, although large interviews in the national and international press have appeared, including a much-noticed portrait in the New York Times’ literary supplement (I spent more than an hour over Zoom with the journalist who authored the portrait and who had contacted me for information only those have who have known Tamariz for the past almost fifty years, as I have; I was neither mentioned nor thanked in the essay… ingratus mundi).

So, the idea is to present Tamariz to the Spanish lay public from a different angle than he is known for. Among other bits, Gaetan Bloom and myself will each spend ten minutes or so to interview the Maestro.

In my part I will try to talk about his importance as lecturer and author of some of the most significant books in magic, without obviously revealing any secrets (I will thus not be able to mention his two books Mnemonica, as that would implicitly give away one of Tamariz’ most used methods…).

If you have any suggestions for good questions, please send them along over the “Contact” menu item on the webshop.

A Useful Acquitment – Old Paper

My friend Claudio Viotto sent in the video clip below about how to make a piecer of paper look old.

Some of you might use that for those “Story Telling Magic” pieces…

Fred Kaps – It’s So Simple (Introduction)

In yet another attempt to put some order in the thousand of items I have accumulated in my magic life, I came across an old lecture audio tape that was sold by Martin Breese in the 1980s titled It’s So Simple, this being the recording of a magic lecture Fred Kaps gave in England. The audio cassette fortunately came with a 28-page booklet, where the entire lecture was transcribed and supplemented by a few illustrations, far too little, of course.

As a little aside: As a student I spent several months in England to perfect my English (as you can tell from these unedited The Magic Memories it is far from perfect…), and visited Martin Breese on several occasion as he still had a brick-and-mortar shop in London. I was there in 1984 – I know because on one of my visits Dai Vernon’s book on Erdnase, Revelation, had just come in. When I looked at it and commented on the large amount of white space in the comments column, David Britland, who was also there and a kind of “adviser” to Martin Breese, said to me, “Don’t judge the white space, judge what is written.” He was absolutely right: Like a large Cognac snifter you do not drink the large empty part of it, you drink the comparatively little amount of Cognac in it 🙂

At that time I had written my first book and gave the manuscript to Martin, who refused to publish it, probably because David told him that it was not good enough (he was again right…). But, had he accepted to publish it, I would very probably have gone with him as publisher for the Card College books, which later were published by Stephen Minch and his Hermetic Press. But I digress, as I often do…

At any rate, although the Kaps lecture is not always easy to follow, as it is an audio of a visual lecture, there is a lot of information that still today I found captivating.

I have taken the liberty to reproduce for you the introductory words with which Fred Kaps addressed his audience. From this introduction, and from the subsequent lecture, you can tell that Kaps was not an intellectual, but rather an intuitive genius, as is so often the case with most artists in most disciplines (except maybe literature, where most authors are intellectuals). Nonetheless, you will find that Kaps was very clear about what magic is and what made a successful performer and performance. I have listened to all his interviews available (see The Patrick Page Audio Archives) and am a big fan of what he says and how he says it.

I hope you find the following as interesting as I did.

It’s So Simple

Peter Warlock has asked me to give you a lecture. Now I am not a lecturer but a full-time professional magician, as you know. This is not going to be a lecture about tricks; all I want to show you are principles; principles on which you can build further and make something out of them. You have to do that because there is nobody like yourself. There is no trick that everybody can do exactly the same: that is absolutely impossible, in my opinion.

First of all, there are the fundamentals.

We all know that there are only a few fundamentals in magic, and I think that they are absolutely necessary. For instance, you buy a trick and read the instructions, do the trick, and call yourself a magician. This is, of course, ridiculous.

You can buy fifty tricks and still not be a magician. You can be an entertainer, but that’s another thing. Because the tricks never are important. You have a library in which these principles are written down, thought out, put down for you to read.

And what do we do, most of the time? We take a book and just look at the tricks that are in there: ”Oh, that’s nice. That’s nothing. Oh, there’s nothing in this book,” and you put it back. Don’t do that. When you have the Tarbell Course or the Dai Vernon Book of Magic and several others, for instance, the most interesting part of those books are in the preface.

For instance, in the Dai Vernon Book of Magic, the first two chapters are the most important of the whole book. You will find the basis of all the techniques he lectures about, like Slydini did.

There was a time when Slydini was here and in Holland and all over Europe, and everybody was crazy about him: this was Slydini.

Dai Vernon cannot do what Slydini does; Slydini can’t do what Dai Vernon does. They are masters in their own fields. They don’t copy each other because they know it is impossible. They are that far that they know it’s impossible. You have to translate the moves for yourself. I cannot tell you to do a move this way: I can only tell you what it is, so you understand for yourself how to translate a move or a sleight or a principle for yourself.

Wish you all a successful and happy week,

Roberto Giobbi

Posted on Leave a comment

The Magic Memories (163)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Quick Revelations – Vernon One-handed Shift Production; Shadow Theory; Visiting Giobbi; The Missing Link: How Houdini Named Buster Keaton; Hilarious Last Word

These are The Magic Memories 163, gone online Sunday, February 11th, 2024, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, and 2023, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

Quick Revelations – Vernon One-handed Shift Production

Here is something for those who like to flick their fingers.

As I am sifting through thousands of notes in my notebooks to find interesting material for my upcoming Unexpected Agenda, I hit on the following item, dated August 1989, and which was inspired by reading and practicing a One-handed Shift by Dai Vernon that starts out from an Altman Trap. This unusual Shift, very few seem to know and even less use it, is described on p. 25 of Stephen Minch’s The Vernon Chronicles Vol. 1 – The Lost Inner Secrets. 

If you are a Vernon fan, or simply enjoy refined card magic in all its aspects, I highly recommend you get all four volumes: The first three are on Vernon’s magic, the fourth is a biography – these are among the books in my library I read several times…

Coming back to the “Shift”: It is the fastest  One-hand Pass I know, and as you can see here, it can be put to other good uses than to merely restore the cut, which very probably was its original intention (maybe done as the other hand reaches for a glass, or puts the ante into the pot).

Here is a quick run-through: Control the selection to the bottom of deck which is held in Dealing Position. Gently riffle its inner end, thereby obtaining an Altman Trap (a break held by the heel of the left thumb).

Start the first part of Vernon’s “One-handed Shift”.

When the former bottom portion flops back, insert the left thumb between the packets; the left thumb then drags the bottom card of the upper packet to the left and flips it face up on the closing deck. The selection now rests face up on the face down deck and can for instance be one-hand spin-dealt to the table.

Here is yet another application of this Shift you might want to explore: Do the old gag of shuffling the cards with a Riffle Shuffle in the Air and then extending the deck toward a spectator, saying, “Would you please cut the deck?” As she reaches for the deck, give it a One-handed Cut, “Thank you, that’s enough.” Done with kindness, to paraphrase David Devant, this will always produce merriment.

However, by using the Vernon One-handed Shift, instead of the traditional Charlier Cut, you will notice that you can see the full face of the shifting packet’s bottom card, and you can then catch a break between the packets as they close; use both hands to facilitate the final square-up.

You now have a known card in the approximate center of the deck, located by a break, which you can use as a force card, a key card, or anything else.

Shadow Theory

Years ago Tamariz mentioned the “Shadow Theory” to me, the fact that if you turn slightly sideways to display something on a stage, rather than doing so full-front, it will be seen better from far away.

The first time this most useful idea saw publication was in my own Stand-up Card Magic, p. 16, there still called “Shadow Rule”. Seven years later (a magic number!), in Sharing Secrets, I discussed it in more detail, calling it “The Shadow Theory”.

I was reminded of this when I saw the drawing below, published in the puzzle section of a popular Swiss magazine: You had to find the shadow that matched the drawing.

“The Shadow Theory”

And maybe you are now reminded of this concept, too… if you apply it, it will make your magic better, promised.

Visiting Giobbi

It is said that if you read, you are never lonely. And if you write books has even more far-reaching consequences.

One of the pleasures of being an author of magic books is the meeting of readers at conventions, club meetings etc. Meanwhile, so it seems, there are several generations of magicians, many of whom started their career with my Card College books… the disadvantage of this is, of course, that it makes me old🙂

Another benefit is that books make friends. I am reminded of Jean Paul who said, “Books are merely thick letters to friends”.  So, I keep making new friends with every book that goes out into the small world of magic (which has meanwhile become a big world, I should add…).

And then there are the “old friends” , most younger than I, who visit with me regularly. Below is a photo of Denis Behr from Munich, Germany, and Lorenz Schär from Berne, Switzerland, who joined me for a rich lunch and an afternoon of magic.

RG, Denis Behr, Lorenz Schär in a session break

Both gentlemen are talented far above average, and do some superb magic.

Both are also authors of books, and if you enter their names in Google (always add “magic” after entering a magician’s name!) you will find them. Denis wrote three books, and Lorenz one, all in English, and all are original and good.

The Missing Link: How Houdini Named Buster Keaton

The video clip, which was brought to my attention by my friend Marco Aimone, is interesting for various reasons.

First, it connects Houdini to Buster Keaton – notice at the beginning how Houdini gave him the name “Buster”.

Second, witness yet another use Artificial Intelligence can be put to.

Third, it is fun and instructional.

Hilarious Last Word

The clip below popped up as I was looking for a term that was not included in Behr’s Magic Archives, only for insiders, no comment 🙂

Wish you all a successful and happy week,

Roberto Giobbi