Today’s topics are: Berlin Visit; Crazy cut-ups; Card College 5 on video; Masters of Magic Convention in Torino, Italy.
These are The Magic Memories 122, gone online Sunday, April 30th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.
All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.
I’m just back from a flying visit to Berlin to meet my old friend Chris Wasshuber, founder & owner of lybrary.com.
Chris has devoted himself full-time to e-books since 2009, but started much earlier, and has now accumulated the largest collection of commercially available magic e-books. To get on his newsletter, which I recommend, and to see what he has to offer, CLICK HERE.
Chris and I have done some very interesting projects together, if I may say so myself, such as Ask Roberto, originally conceived as an e-book, later also available as a book, and now again only obtainable as a PDF (this is the ideal format for this type of publication).
The last time we met was in 2001, at my home in Muttenz, Switzerland, were he made video clips of all the moves from Card College volumes 1 and 2, and then created an e-book version with the text from the books plus the videos to illustrate the sleights. Originally, this was available in a HTML-format on a CD/DVD, and has now been converted into PDFs. So, if you are interested, you can get each chapter individually, or the whole lot together from Chris’s webshop HERE.
We kicked back and forth a few ideas, and in the near future you might hear about them – stay tuned (get on the Newsletter on my webshop, and read the The Magic Memories every Sunday…).
Our meeting took place at a perfect location, a restaurant named “The Kitchen Library”!
In the photo below you can see the reason for the name: The walls are filled with hundreds of books, obviously all about food, wines, cooking etc. Great location for an illustrator, layouter and Orimoto artist (Barbara), an author of magic books (me), and another author, publisher and entrepreneur (Chris).
Although the table is cleared, as the photo was taken at the end of the meal, the menu was a sophisticated one and worth at least one Michelin star.
The photo below shows one course: A beef’s heart, braised for 72 hours, served as a (cold) tartare, with celery mousse and with a dried heart of a tuna fish (!) grated over it, with a crispy cone filled with fresh cheese as a side (in the bowl behind).
I’m mentioning this because this dish is so incredibly unusual and original, and it was excellent.
This is just one of the similarities between gastronomy and magic, that we are in constant search of innovation in methods, effects and presentation.
Much of it is to no avail, in gastronomy and magic (“good is better than original”). BUT, it is necessary and it is the price to pay for progress: We need to create a lot, eliminate most, to keep a little, but that little advances the art, and it reflects life and the universe around us.
As you can see, whenever I’m in those restaurants, it is not for pleasure, of course not… it is hard work, to be inspire and to inspire 🙂
On a side-note: Since Chris is a teetotaler, we didn’t have wines with the meal, but excellent “Chateau d’Eau 2023” 🙂
However, perhaps for an “occupational hazard”, I spotted a bottle of wine which I’ll reproduce below.
Without claiming to be a collector of such things, in the past years I have accumulated in my wine cellar a small dozen of wines that have a label relating in some way to magic, several of them to playing cards as can be seen in the photo below. So, if you happen to have one, too, send it to me, and I’ll publish it in a forthcoming The Magic Memories.
There is so much more I’d like to tell you about Berlin, certainly worth the trip from any part of the world, but your time and mine, too, is limited, alas…
I received some lovely comments for last week’s “Behind-the-ear Glimpse”. Gary Plants, a much admired friend and creator, for instance, wrote in to say, ” Behind the ear glimpse is a wonderful idea. It would have fooled me easily.” If you missed it, check it out HERE (at the end of the blog)
So, here is another idea, completely different, that might find the favor of some of you, not only to do at a special occasion, but maybe also to teach a child (remember to make a list of tricks and things magical that could be taught to a child or to a layperson – see Hidden Agenda, entry for January 27). I found it as a single photocopy in my archive, without reference, but Thomas Lenouvel tells me it was first published in a little booklet called “Party Trix a la Carte” by Howard P. Albright, in 1936 by Unique Magic Studio, Albany, NY, and later by Supreme Magic, England, in the 1950s.
The read or download the one-page PDF CLICK HERE.
Card College 5 on Video
I keep getting requests for a video-version of Card College Volume 5, similar to Card College 1&2 – Personal Instruction and Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction. This is much appreciated, and I thank you all for your interest.
However, I’m a bit reluctant to do this, for several reasons. Besides being another herculean task, requiring not only a lot of my time for preparation and recording, it will be taxing on Guillaume Cerati who so beautifully did the Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction.
Also, I will not hide from you, that I’m a bit disappointed with the reception of the last project we did, the Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction.
Certainly, I got a rave review in Genii, and everyone whom I asked and who owns the product speaks highly of it. That’s fantastic, and I’m very pleased.
Also, several friends are helping promote it (big THANK YOU!), as I’m a dead duck when it comes to marketing, preferring to waste my time on a blog like this one, rather than cultivate the socials and other marketing platforms that would sell.
But, although several hundreds were sold, and it keeps selling, I feel it is not enough to make it worthwhile – after all, magic is my profession, and not my hobby, and I have to make a living from it. It is a slap in my face to see that some people are sending the downloads around to their friends, and that professional webshops offer a pirated version of the product.
I don’t care so much for the pirated PDFs of my books (all my books have been pirated!), as a PDF is never the same as a real book, and those who get the PDFs would probably not have bought the book, but the pirated MP4-downloads are technically the same as the originals, so those are taking away a lot of business from me. And there is no magic organization or foundation in the world that helps protect the rights of us authors.
Last but not least, I find it hard to understand that some people spend $10 or $12 to buy the download of one single sleight or one single trick, but shy away from spending the $78 it costs to buy the Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction that contains over 150 sleights AND over 40 tricks, all explained in painstaking detail, with the theory and the professional experience of almost 50 years that goes into their execution and performance, all in all over twenty-two (!) hours.
Anyway, that’s the long answer to why I probably won’t do it… (unless there is a millionaire among my readership who wants to sponsor such a project for charity’s sake…). Yes, I know, I could do that as a fundraising project, but the procedures involved for this are just not my cup of tea…
To end this on a positive note, I would like to thank all of you honest people who have bought Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction (and Card College 1&2 – Personal Instruction) from me and have thus supported the project, and I hope you feel you have received a lot more than you have paid for 🙂 Please keep telling your friends, and send them to my webshop.
Masters of Magic Convention in Torino, Italy
Walter Rolfo, organizer of the past FISM 2014 in Rimini and future FISM in Torino 2025, kindly invited me to attend his convention “Masters of Magic” (MoM) in Torino from May 11 to 14. So, if you are there, please come up and say hello.
At Walter’s conventions you are always in for a surprise, actually several.
Talking to Max Maven at a past MoM-convention, Max mentioned the famous quote, “Less is more“. (This oxymoronic quote, usually attributed to Mies van der Rohe, a German-born architect, is much older, though,…). Max jokingly commented, “With Walter more is more!” Fact is, that you meet a lot of talent, and that’s the good part. And Torino, the capital of Piemont, is simply a superb city, with lots of history, fantastic museums (film museum, Egyptian museum, Royal Residence, automobile etc.), great architecture, and some of the best food and wines on this planet.
However, personally, I wish most conventions booked less performers who were give more time (and a better fee…). I will never forget the French convention in Vannes years ago where they had booked Johnny Thompson to perform in the gala… and that was it.
Here they had one of the last Greats of the “old school” (Vernon, Slydini, Goshman, etc.), who would have been more than happy to give a lecture, a workshop and even a talk-interview of some kind. Instead, the organizers preferred to fill the time slots with items on the programme with performers of less interest and talent.
For more information on MoM 2023 and how to register CLICK HERE.
Wish you all a very successful week!