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The Magic Memories (18)

Hello everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Magic Memories (17)

Hello everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope this triggers something in you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Magic Memories (16)

Hello everyone!

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

Seminar in Las Vegas 2007 with Lennart Green and happy participants

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great week!

 

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The Magic Memories (15)

Hello everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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The Magic Memories (14)

Hello everyone!

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

Roberto Giobbi practicing…in 2002

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

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

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

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The Magic Memories (13)

Hello everyone!

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

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

1. The Dai Vernon Book of Magic

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a splendid week!

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The Magic Memories (12)

Hello everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Magic Memories (11)

Hello everyone!

Welcome to the 11th episode of The Magic Memories, gone online on SUN, 14th MAR at 0:07 CET.

Me 20 years younger! (photo Zitzelsperger)

Twenty years ago, almost to the day, Stan Allen of MAGIC magazine (and convention!) fame called me up and asked me if I would be willing to take over for one month their then trick-column “Inside Out” of May (2001). I agreed, and the result was a 12-page “magazine inside the magazine”, similar to Charlie Miller’s “Magicana” in Genii, but a bit longer…

This will be my offering to you for this month, and I hope you’ll like it, at least some of it. Those who are familiar with my published work will notice that a few of the items, those pertaining to cards, went into some of my later publications, Card College 5 and Card College Lightest. The two coin routines, however, were never released in any other format, and since I’ve received some lovely feedback for my take on Shigeo Tagaki’s “Coin Assembly”/”Coinvergence” (see “The Magic Memories 08”) I thought I’d let you into a little more of my “coin work” 🙂

To read CLICK HERE. Enjoy!

Teaser: I’ve finished writing my latest book, and Barbara did some beautiful work on the layout. The tentative title is 52 Secrets, sub-titled The Most Important and Influential Concepts in Magic.  It’s now going to the proof-readers, and if all goes well we go to print in a few weeks to make it available before the summer holidays. I’ll have more information next week 🙂

BTW: These blog-post-texts do not go to my proof-readers, they’re published as I write them, just in case you native speakers of English out there have been wondering about this or that strange way of putting something…and the odd typo…

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The Magic Memories (10)

Hello everyone!

Welcome to the 10th installment of The Magic Memories on SUN, FEB 7th, 0:07 sharp (or as Juan Tamariz likes to say at the Escorial Card Conferences, “…o’clock!”)

This week I had a Skype Session, one of several, with my good friend JesĂșs Etcheverry of Ascanio-books fame. He performed his lovely “Bilbo’s Off-color Ace Assembly” for me. It reminded me of a routine which used to be Lennart Green’s favorite Giobbi-routine. Each time we met he asked me, “Roberto, do that trick with the Aces for me!” This brings back lots of memories of the times spent with Lennart, doubtless one of the few living geniuses of our beloved art, and of course many an anecdote which I might relate on some other occasion. We do occasionally converse over the phone, but I’m infinitively sad that we have not been able to meet personally for years now.

Lennart & Roberto sharing a Swiss Fondue after a card session & before the next

Anyway, on a happier note, this week’s item is my interpretation of Max Maven’s “Picasso Aces” from his book Focus (Hermetic Press 1990) which he published under his real name Phil Goldstein. I renamed the trick “Miro Aces” as it differs in several Details of Handling, and because of my son Miro Alessandro. It is from a private recording I made for Lennart in 1993 on the occasion of his visit to my ancient home in Reinach, Switzerland. This is performance only;  the explanation is on a 65-minute DVD which was part of the Collector’s Edition of Card Magic Masterclass published by Vanishing Inc. in 2018, and of course you’ll find the Maven-Goldstein original handling in his book.

As most recordings of this type the quality is so-so but good enough to see and understand all the necessary. You’ll appreciate the great complexity of techniques and subtleties, I hope. I think this trick alone, if discussed in detail, would fill a lecture. Doing a lecture on one trick only has always been a dream of mine, and actually I did it, once, but that’s again another (amusing) story 🙂

To watch “Miro Aces” CLICK HERE.

Enjoy – and then have a good week!

PS-Trivia: Speaking of “Picasso Aces”, did you know that Picasso’s full name is Pablo Diego JosĂ© Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno MarĂ­a de los Remedios Cipriano de la SantĂ­sima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso? Note the “Nepomuk”…

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The Magic Memories (09)

Hello Everyone!

This is number nine in the series of The Magic Memories, and I’d like to share an interview I did years ago with my dear friend Dave Solomon of Chicago.

David and me at Escorial with Toni Cachadiña and JesĂșs Etcheverry

I met David for the first time in the summer of 1996 at Ginny and Simon Aronson’s home,  where I stayed in the guest room of their amazing apartment (actually three!) on the n-th floor of a magnificent building overseeing Lake Michigan. Hank Moorehouse had booked me for the SAM convention in Las Vegas, where I performed and lectured on the stage of Bally’s Casino – so I’m one of the few who can justly say to have performed in Las Vegas with a contract and a fee 🙂

Simon Aronson, whom I only knew by reputation, had heard that I’m at the convention. Imagine my surprise when I came back to my hotel room and had a message on the answering machine of the room phone (that was before mobile phones and Internet) by Simon inviting me to stay with Ginny and him when in Chicago. That’s true magic! Dave and I hadn’t met before, so it was another surprise when on a Sunday morning he came to see me at Aronson’s, with a  baguette under his arm, and a bag with delicious cheese and a bottle of Opus One in his hands! You can imagine the magic session that followed…

After that we met several times in Europe, at the Escorial Card Conference, and he and his lovely wife Madeleine visited with us in Switzerland, and I went to see them several times in Chicago, staying at their home. The sessions we had with Jimmy Nuzzo, Simon Aronson, John Bannon and the Chicago boys, the visit at Schulien’s, and my lectures and talks I gave at Marshall’s magic shop shall always stay in my memory. The meeting with Jay Marshall and Eddie Fields , well, that’s another story.

Years later I sent Dave several questions in various categories, and he answered in written form. The text was then translated into German and published in MAGIE, the organ of the MZvD (Magischer Zirkel von Deutschland – the German Magic Circle), with about 3’000 members this is Europe’s largest magic club.

The English version of this interview has never seen print, and I hope you enjoy it – CLICK HERE to read and/or download the PDF.

Have a good week!