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The Magic Memories (135)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Masterclass in Luxemburg & how to instill concepts; Spanish National Convention in Valladolid; Burned Card Ruse (Injog Shuffle With Burn)

These are The Magic Memories 135, gone online Sunday, July 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 promised a few tales from my past travels, Luxembourg and Valladolid (Spain). The “Hintertuxer Zaubertage” in Tirol-Austria will have to wait until next week, as I decided to throw in a little magical idea at the end you might enjoy trying.

So, here we go!


Luxembourg, officially called Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, with its ca. 650’000 inhabitants, is one of the micro states, and in spite of being one of the least populated countries in Europe, it is also the one with the highest population growth rate – sounds like a magic trick.

city of Luxembourg in Luxembourg

My hosts Christina Nyman and Martin Saunders set up a one-day Masterclass for a dozen plus people coming from three countries, Luxembourg, France and Belgium.

The location was a lovely and very convenient cultural center which cultural institutions, such as a magic club is, get for free! Add to this that public transportation in Luxembourg is free – that’s to me a civilized country 🙂

The Masterclass had four topics: Stand-up Card Magic, self-working card tricks, how to find your own presentations, and Card Controls.

morning session on “Stand-up Card Magic”

Normally, any one of these topics can fill one or two days, here I managed to perform, talk and train on four subjects! And this also included several hands-on-sessions, as well as a final Q & A.

hands-on session on “Card Controls”


I find these full-day events for a restricted group the second best way of learning magic.

The best way, in my professional experience of several decades now, is without doubt the one-to-one coaching, ideally taking place live, or online.

What is frustrating to me as a teacher is that although I manage to explain complex concepts in simple words and illustrate them with several examples, and although everyone nods their head, writes down the ideas, when it comes to performing most do it wrong, meaning that they did not get it.

Several years ago I did a two-day Masterclass precisely on the same subject, Stand-up Card Magic, to a group of about twenty people. Everyone seemed to understand and enjoy the sessions. Then, in the evening, most of them performed. And you know what: almost everyone did the exact same mistakes I lectured and trained them on in the morning and afternoon. I was shocked. Why did they not get it? It must have been my mistake in the sense that I did not let them do enough exercises, but talked and performed myself too much. Maybe.

You see, the ultimate challenge for a teacher of magic, or any other subject for that matter, is not the selection and the presentation of the material to be taught – as if that wasn’t difficult enough (!) – no, it is the question: How does the student instill the teaching received.

Here is what I think is arguably the most important chapter from Sharing Secrets, just one page, read it carefully, as there is the whole secret of successful learning:

how to practice and instill magic knowledge

Please, do yourself a favor: If you don’t have Sharing Secrets get it (from me, Penguin Magic, or any dealer) – I promise you’ll like it. If you don’t, you can write to me, keep the book, and I’ll reimburse you in downloads of at least the same value (you could also send it back and I’ll reimburse you in full, but the shipping is just too costly).

Masterclass Luxembourg, July 2023

Thank you, Christina and Martin for having me, I had a great time!

Martin, RG, Christina over Luxembourg’s “lower city”

PS: Christina and Martin are also historians and collectors, and their beautiful house in the residential area of Luxembourg City is filled to the roof with art and other curiosa related to magic.

under original poster one of Barbara’s “Orimotos”


Back from Luxembourg I had only one day to unpack and repack, for then I went off to six days Valladolid, where the Spanish National Convention took place. Except for delays in the travel schedule due to a missed airplane connection (I will not travel again with Air Europe), and the heat, all the rest was well worth the journey and stay.

Fernando Arribas and his team did everything right that needs to be done right when you organize a convention. As a novum you could even register for the convention upon arrival at the hotel (it took less than 2 minutes!), a hotel, which was two minutes on foot, right opposite the convention center, both of which air-conditioned – you cannot ask for more.

The convention deserves a full report, and a good one at that, which I won’t be able to give. Well, just a few things 🙂

The city of Valladolid is truly magnificent and worth visiting. Although we had a change to go to the historical center every day, I wish I had stayed an extra day to enjoy the architectural and historical richness of this impressive city.

CLICK HERE for a 12-second video clip of the Plaza Mayor of Valladolid.

The galas, close-up and stage, were all very good, and I don’t say this easily.

One more thing I need to tell you: On our first evening we went to a restaurant that offered a tapas menu. Now, in Spain, tapas is not considered a proper meal, as tourists believe, but it is simply a means to have a glass of wine with friends and meaningfully bridge the time between the end of the work day and dinner, which in Spain starts not before 9:30 pm.

However, this restaurant had received several awards for best and most original tapas, so they sell a tapas menu which even locals regard worthy of being considered a “real meal”. Anyway, the menu was a complete illusion show, in the sense that every dish looked like something else than it actually was (see The Magic Memories 127, “Playing With Food”).

In the photo below you can see one of the starters that looks like a Cuban cigar (Cohiba!), but really was a reconstructed sardine, very much à la façon of molecular cuisine, and the glasses that are supposed to take rum to go with a cigar (what else?), in reality contained an extract of tomato juice. We had seven courses like that, one crazier than the other, but I spare you the rest 🙂 For more see Los Zagales.

sardines and tomato juice

As for the magic the program was excellent, but I spent the best moments sessioning with some of Spain’s top talents, and believe me, there is a lot!

In one of the stage galas a non-magic act got possibly the greatest response; it was Cayetano Lledó, a speed painter, as he calls himself, who in about five minutes created a gigantic portrait of Juan Tamariz on a canvas set on stage. The painting was then exhibited in the hall and all participants would sign it on the back for the Maestro to have it as a souvenir – what a great idea.

Juan Tamariz by Cayetano Lledó

I should also mention the close-up and stage competition, with a total of about three dozen participants, most of a good level, and a few even world-class. Many complained that there were too many “mentalists”, but I won’t comment on that, because when it comes to mentalism I’m like a vegetarian in a Steak House…

I spent quite a bit of magic and gastronomy time with my buddies José Ángel Suarez, of Magialdia fame, and Paul Wilson, of overall-fame 🙂 Paul tells me that his documentary on Tamariz is nearing completion, and you should hear from him through Kickstarter soon (I’ll let you know through this blog as soon as Paul sends news).

Besides the high magic quality, what really sets apart a Spanish convention from others is that they give you enough time to meet old friends and make new ones. As an example they put the evening galas on at 7 pm, so that when it finishes by 9 pm you have the rest of the evening to meet lots of people at the restaurants and the bars downtown. In practically all other conventions I’ve been to you have to skip one or two events to have time for a decent dinner or lunch.

a typical session with magic, food and wine… and great conversations

And it is late at night, in the most beautiful surroundings that camaraderie, magic and inspiring drinks form the height of the day.

conclusion of the day on the historical plaza

So, if you plan on a vacation in Spain, try to organize it around a magic convention, and you’ll leave as a happier person (and maybe a more inspired magician, too).

final gala with award ceremony

Burned Card Ruse (Injog Shuffle With Burn)

In order to close today’s The Magic Memories, here is an idea the cardicians among you should like.

It is a ruse to be used at the end of an Injog Shuffle that controls the top or bottom stock.

For top stock

Start an Overhand Shuffle, chopping off at least the packet to be controlled, run one card on top of the stock, injog the next cad (or block of cards), and then shuffle off. Let the deck slide in Dealing Position, obtain a break under the injogged card, cut half of the cards above the break to the table, cut at the break, and eventually drop the third packet on top. This is an Intelligent Shuffle (Sharing Secrets, “Intelligent Movements”, p. 54). Pick up the deck and bury the top and bottom card in the center of the deck, explaining that this is done in professional card play and is called “burning a card”, just in case someone caught an accidental glimpse of the top or bottom card.

The above can be beautifully combined with “Teschner’s Top-stock Control”, from Secret Agenda, p. 65. I leave it to you to look it up and find the (simple) combination of the two ideas; this should throw off even the seasoned expert…

For bottom stock

Start an Overhand Shuffle, shuffling until a little more than the bottom stock to be preserved remains in your right hand. Injog the next card, and then throw the rest on top. Let the deck slide in Dealing Position, obtain a break under the injogged card, cut the cards above the break to the table, cut half of the remaining cards on top, and eventually drop the last packet on top. This is an Intelligent Shuffle. Pick up the deck and bury the top and bottom card in the center of the deck, explaining that this is done in professional card play and is called “burning a card”.

I do not exclude that someone else has thought of this before, as it seems fairly obvious, however, I have never seen anyone using it…

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

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