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The Magic Memories (155)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Replacement for #7 The Magic Calendar of Good Ideas; It Really Happened – Anecdote: Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?; Sunday Magic at the Zauberring Basel (“Wild Business” PDF and YouTube clip)

These are The Magic Memories 155, gone online Sunday, December 17th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

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

Replacement for #7 The Magic Calendar of Good Ideas

As several among you will have noticed, I smuggled in a duplicate item into The Advent Calendar of Good Ideas, just to see if you pay attention 🙂

Thank you to all those who wrote in, and here is the correct entry for the 7th December:

On December 25th, the day after the last entry, I will gather all the daily posts into one single PDF, with a title page and a short foreword, and you will be able to download all in one document, from which you can then extract your favorites, if you wish to do so; and I’m considering placing them in a poster some may want to print, but I’ll have to convince my free labor assistant (my wife Barbara!) to do that, because my skill stops at a Center Double Lift…

It Really Happened

I just finished re-watching one of my all-time favorite movies, Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?, with Robert Morley (outstanding!), Jacqueline Bisset, George Segal, Philippe Noiret etc., directed by Ted Kotcheff.

My edition of the DVD contains a “Making of…” with a lengthy interview with director Kotcheff that I found most interesting. To me such personal interactions are much more fascinating and useful than most of the modern “making of” that show a lot of action from the movie. I am interested in the “constructivist” aspect of a film as it relates to how we construct our magic. Yes, a big subject not much has been written about, well, maybe another day…

cover of the German version

In the movie chef Jean-Claude Moulineaux – a fictitious name, of course – prepares a “Canard pressé”, a pressed duck, for a dinner at Buckingham Palace. Briefly, a roast duck carcass is slowly pressed and crushed between two silver plated metal plates to extract the remaining juice and blood, which is then used to make a sauce and served on top of the sliced duck breast.

Pour le petite histories (english: anecdotally) it may be said that the dish, first served in the 19th century in “La Tour d’Argent” in Paris, a restaurant that remains legendary to this day (although some say it lost some of its glamour and quality, although I cannot confirm this, since the Bistrot cuisine in Paris is so excellent, that I only very rarely go to the overpriced star-studded places when in la grande capitale).

Anyway, as I was enjoying the film, it reminded me of a story that really happened to me at the very beginning of my professional career (ca. 1988):

I was performing close-up in “Schloss Böttstein”, one of the many castles here in Switzerland, that have been bought by large companies, refurbished, most nowadays hosting a high-end hotel and/or restaurant.

On one particular night, Harry, the tenant of the castle, had invited the owners and chefs to the most prestigious restaurants in the area. There were about thirty of them, and they had finished dinner, when Harry asked me if I would do some magic for them.

So I did, and judging by their reactions they liked it 🙂

I was invited to stay with the guests and have coffee and drinks. Who am I to refuse such an invitation?

At some point Harry asked for everyone’s attention and presented an object which he explained he had obtained from a recent auction. Expectantly looking at his guests, with an impish smile on his lips, inquired who knew what this was.


Nobody seemed to have any idea.

So, Harry, who wanted to play yet another practical joke asked me: “Roberto, you, who are such a good magician, would you know what that is?”

Well, it so happened, that just a few days ago I had seen for the first time the above-mentioned film, were the duck press is used to kill Moulineaux, and I immediately replied, “Sure, Harry, this is a so-called duck press. It is used to put the carcasse of a roast duck into it, in order to press out all its juice, which is then used as a base for the sauce of ‘canard pressé’!”

This is how a duck press looks

I was the hero of the evening, and my magic forgotten… what a moment of triumph which I remember to this very day!

Sunday Magic at the Zauberring Basel

I wanted to mention this a while ago, but get to do it only now: In November of this year I was asked to participate in our club’s “Sunday Magic”, a monthly magic show that was initiated and capably conducted by Kevin Stieger.

It is a kind of “Open Stage”, where members of the club can try out new material, and confirm some old one, too 🙂 Plus Kevin always invites one or two magicians who are traveling to be part of it, although it is all done on a voluntary basis.

The event lasts almost two hours, with a break for drinks, and as long as it exists it has always sold out. It takes place in the club venue of the Zauberring Basel, my local magic club, hosted in a small theater, so we can offer our audiences close-up as well as stand-up and stage.

The Sunday Magic Team of November 2023

Kevin put me as the closing “act” of the first part, were everyone did close-up at a table with the audience sitting around it.

See the photo below, where I just started performing my “Wild Business” routine as the opener of my “act”. I put “act” between inverted commas, because I do not have an act, neither for close-up nor for stage, at least not by the standard definition, as I do not think it is necessary. Over thirty years of quite successful performances on four continents have proven that this works, at least for me. Of course this does not mean that to have an “act” in the traditional sense is not a good idea. I hope to be able to comment on this subjects and others related to it, such as scripting etc. in a future The Magic Memories – you might have to remind me of it…

In case you are curious, here are the pieces I did:

I opened with “Wild Business” (see the link to the video clip as well as the PDF with the explanation of it below), continued with my handling of “Gipsy Thread” (on my video “Penguin Live – The Act”), followed by “The Deck of Missed Opportunities” from my book Confidences, and finishing with “Fantasy – Reality”, a lengthier routine combining Pavel’s “Traveling Queen” discussed in The Magic Memories 69, which I combined with the climax from “Prediction at a Risk” from my book Stand-up Card Magic, using Louis Lam’s wonderful finale with money coming from the envelopes initially not chosen, the chosen one containing the prediction of the selected card (Lam’s idea is in his publication Be Deceived, there called «Coincidence», p. 19, from 1939, proving that it is worth perusing older publications without having to buy all that new stuff…

To watch me do “Wild Business” many years ago at the British Magic Close-up Symposium CLICK HERE.

And if you are eager to perform this piece, or are just interested in learning about the background of it, as a little gift to you, I extracted the article that explains the trick plus the short essay on how to use mind mapping in magic, from the Genii issue that had me on the cover in November 2009; HERE is the PDF.

That’s all for today, folks – look forward to chatting with you next week-end.

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

2 thoughts on “The Magic Memories (155)

  1. Dear Roberto,
    Thank you for all the effort you put into these Magic Memories, it is always a pleasure to read. Here’s a little idea I had for a Christmas themed card trick for the holidays based on “Wild Business” I’d like to share with your readers:

    Material needed: 9 double blank playing cards, 9 Christmas themed stickers (all alike, e.g. a star), a bunch of different Christmas stickers (snow man, Santa Clause, candy cane …).
    Preparation: Prepare the cards as in “Wild Business”, i.e. put the same sticker on each of the eight blank cards, leave one of the cards blank. Set the nine cards up as described in “Wild Business”.
    Performance: Start by saying “As it is Christmas soon I will show you how a Magician produces Christmas cards” (this obviously makes for a nice word play: playing cards / Christmas cards). Introduce the blank cards as described in “Wild Business”. Now introduce the bunch of different Christmas stickers as possible motifs for your cards and force the “correct” one (in this case the star) on a spectator via your favorite method, thanking the spectator for choosing a nice motif for the Christmas card. Proceed as in “Wild Business”, i.e. attach the sticker to the double blank card saying something like “this will be our prototype for the Christmas cards”. Proceed as in “Wild Business” and magically produce nine nice Christmas cards. (As I don’t own a himber wallet my trick ends here, but you could certainly add the vanishing-stickers-part).

    Greetings from Kiel, Germany and happy holidays!

  2. I’ve seen Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe several times, as far back as when it first came out, and read the book as well. I just finished watching it again. My knowledge of German being what it is (something you could put in your eye and not feel) I had to resort to the internet to translate “Die Schlemmer Orgie.” Is that the closest they could come to the original meaning?

    The Italian translation of Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut”–“Occhi Operti Chiusi”–is almost surgically precise by comparison.

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