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The Magic Memories (158)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Happy New Year message; Ask for a Personal Inscription; The Magic Memories 2021, 2022, and 2023 All-in-one PDF; Is the Classic Pass Necessary?; Irv Weiner aka Mr. Fingers with videos “Three-way Odyssey” and “Irv Weiner on Campus”

These are The Magic Memories 158, gone online Sunday, January 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.

Happy New Year!

Thank you to all who wrote in with best wishes for the new year – please receive my greetings here: May this year bring you health, peace and enough money to enjoy it, and may it also bring all of us closer to perfection in magic!

Representatively for all who sent greetings, here is what Roger Curtis from the Magic Circle London wrote:

Happy new year Roberto!

These Magic Memories are fantastic to read and are a real weekly highlight.

They are full of such interesting, well thought out and educational inspiration both from a magical and general perspective. It is so generous to you to give this to the magical community as a gift and please don’t stop!

Thank you.

Thank you, Roger, and all others who wrote in during the year.

I have thought about dropping these The Magic Memories several times, as they take me a lot more time than you imagine. But then it is messages like this one that make me continue. It is not so much that I would not know what to write, far from it, as I eat, drink and breath magic all day, and could therefore go on forever. No, it is just sometimes the doubt of things that I write not being as relevant to others as they are to me.

Therefore, please let me know what you would want to read more about, and ask questions which I might answer, sooner or later. 

Also, tell me if there are things you do not like so much, or with which you do not agree. Please be candid when doing so, as I do not have such a thick skin, but rest assured that I can listen.

Ask for a Personal Inscription

I am not using The Magic Memories as a platform to sell my books, videos etc., only exceptionally will I make reference to a creator of mine of it fits the rest of the content.

However, I know that most who read this blog have also bought one or more of my offerings, and are recommending them to others. So, I would like to take this occasion to tank all of you who help promoting whatever I have published and will publish in the future: Your comments on the social media and on the forums (or “fora”).

Please remember and tell your friends that you can ask for a personal inscription in and on all items you order from me directly, but this must be mentioned on the online-order form, as there are too many who are giving my books to others; it is mostly women who give to their boyfriends, husbands, and sons – I wish there would be more men giving to women…

RG signing books after a lecture in Bologna, Italy, ca. 2003

For anything needed you can always get in touch with me through the “CONTACT” menu item on my webshop. But please understand that I cannot get into a lengthy correspondence, nor answer questions that get answered by themselves if you read the item descriptions on the webshop, or if you read the instructions carefully in my books 🙂

The Magic Memories 2021, 2022, and 2023 All-in-one PDF

At the end of 2021 I made up a rather detailed Table of Content for The Magic Memories 2021, and if you are interested, you can download the PDF HERE.

I could not find anything for The Magic Memories 2022, so must have skipped that one… but I made up one just now for you, copying my own pro memoriam and making it into a PDF: You can get it HERE.

Finally, to download the (briefly) commented Content of The Magic Memories for the year 2023 CLICK HERE.

If anyone reading this wants to gather all The Magic Memories of the year 2023 in one PDF, you have my blessing, and if you do, please send me a PDF-copy to share with our community.

I made only brief comments to the items included, but it should suffice for anyone use the “search” function to find most contents… and you can add your own, if you wish.

Is the Classic Pass Necessary?

In compliance with my own resolution made above of answering questions, here is one that dates back over a year (oh my!).

Emir Kumalic from Vienna, Austria, asked a question several others have asked before: “Why did you not include the chapter on ‘The Classic Pass’ in your video course Card College 1&2 – Personal Instruction?”

Indeed, the Classic Pass is taught in Card College 2, the book, but not in the Card College 1&2 – Personal Instruction video series.

RG’s hands doing the Invisible Pass from CC4

There are three reasons for this.

One: Although I do use the Classic Pass occasionally, and can also do it unseen in front of a lay audience, I cannot do it invisibly if the camera focuses on my hands. Neither can 99,9% of those doing cardmagic (see “Two” and “Three” below).

Although everyone with a little performing experience knows that doing a sleight for a film or photographic camera, as opposed to doing it for a human being who normally has two eyes and a brain (we hope), especially a beginner who is learning from a video will simply judge from what he or she sees on the video, and because they “see something” will decide this cannot be done and be discouraged. Therefore, I have opted to leave it out on video, and teach it in print, where anyone who is over-talented and practices a few hours a day, for weeks, for at least one or two years, can indeed learn it, for all the information you need is there.

Two: The second reason is closely related to the first, as in the fifty-one years (as of 2024) of doing magic and watching thousands of magicians, I have only met a handful who can do the Classic Pass imperceptibly if you look at their hands. Yes, there are hundreds who can do it imperceptibly in the context of a performance with the adequate psychological staging and misdirection, and I count myself among these.

Also, I would like to say, thatI I do not know of any effect (mind you “effect”, not “trick”) that could not alternatively be done with another technique and look and feel at least as good for a lay audience.

I know that some “experts” will tell you this is not true and that I do not know what I am talking about, well, take it from me, who is also considered an “expert” by many, that they are wrong 🙂

Of course, that is all just my opinion; I have to repeat this at least once a year in this blog and in other writings of mine.

Certainly, if you do a Color Change with a Classic Pass, everyone at a magic convention will admire you, but if you do the same effect, i.e., transforming a card into another one, by using a Palm, which is a lot easier (and clearer in effect!), if properly done, you will get a knowing nod at best. (BTW: To do the Color Change with a Palm reread “The Side-slip Color Change” in Card College 3, and see it done in “Lesson 34: Color Change – Classic Color Change” of the Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction video series).

However, to a lay person it will not matter by what technique you obtain the transformation. What does matter, though, is how it affects the spectator emotionally and intellectually, our eternal Aristotelian Logos and Pathos.

So, if you just transform one card into another, nobody really cares (an exception being if you do a beautiful little routine as did José de la Torre – see The Magic Memories 71).

BUT, if you have a card chosen, then fail in finding it by displaying a wrong card, then you have added a conflict that gasps for a resolution, and what better way of resolving a conflict than by the power of magic (in a theatrical, artistical sense, of course).

I did not understand this myself, until Juan Tamariz in one of our innumerable sessions, taught this to me when I was a young man.

Only now do the spectators get involved – head and heart – and can feel the cathartic effect when the magic happens, when a wrong becomes right, when in a symbolic battle the good defeats the evil in an esthetically pleasing impossibility.

Erdnase, in 1902, said that the pass has yet to be invented, which can be done invisibly under all circumstances.

And Stanley Collins writes in his Gems of Personal Prestidigitation (p.77), a rare publication reprinted as an appendix in Edwin Dawes’ Stanley Collins – Conjurer, Collector, and Iconoclast: “If you must control a selected card by means of the outmoded double-handed pass, at best a barbarous device for the purpose, don’t withdraw the hands in an endeavor to cover the sleight. always thrust the hands toward the drawer of the card. By this means, the sleight even if done as badly as it is usually done, is less likely to be detected.” Collins wrote this in 1920!

Three: In Card College 4, the book, and in “Chapter 49 – Advanced Pass Techniques” of the video series Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction, there is a whole chapter on different kinds of passes, which in my opinion are easier and more practical than the Classic Pass, such as “The Spread Pass”, “The Bluff Pass”, “The Simple Pass” (very good!) etc., or in Stand-up Card Magic the “The Parallel Shift”.

All of these Passes plus others I did not mention, are discussed in detail in my video course Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction.

The topic deserves to be discussed in a lengthy essay. I won’t do it here. But in my opinion you should invest your time in learning all the other techniques on the course properly before devoting time to a sleight you will very probably never use. But then again you might belong to the 1:10’000 who can do it properly 🙂

Hope all of this was of some help.

Irv Weiner aka Mr. Fingers

To close this week’s The Magic Memories here is a goodie as a little additional New Year’s Present. 🙂

Some of you will remember my narration in The Magic Memories 152 of what I called “The Samelson Reunion”, with Peter Samelson, P. G. Varola, his wife Helen, and Mauro Massironi, a meeting on Lake  Maggiore (Switzerland and Italy).

In one of the many discussions Peter brought up the name of Irv Weiner, whom I knew only from one single trick, “Three-way Excursion” in  “Chapter 41 – Packet Switches” from Card College 4. You can see me do the trick in “Lesson 37: Packet Switches” of the Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction video series, there called by a different title, “Three-way Odyssey”, because it comes in a considerably updated version.

As a last-minute extra that I originally did not intend, I will give you the performance part of this new version, with a first phase that is not in the book plus a super-clever packet switch that is also not in the book, however, the core trick, the triple transposition, is all Irv Weiner’s, with just some handling adaptations by me.

To see me perform “Three-way Odyssey” CLICK HERE.

Final display of “Three-way Odyssey”

Now back to Irv Weiner: The video you are about to watch shows that Mr. Weiner’s technical skill, originality and presentational abilities all far surpass what most of us knew about this gentleman.

The clip comes courtesy of Scott Martell, who put up the video in the first place and from whom we may expect a book about the life and work of Irv Weiner sometime in 2024 (we hope!),  Peter Samelson who facilitated the contact, and myself.

In this recording Irv Weiner, aka Mr. Fingers, performs for a small group on Northern Illinois University campus circa late 1970. The quality is not very good, but you will be able to see and hear everything necessary, that’s the point. To watch the video CLICK HERE.

Have a successful start into the New Year 2024 – I look forward to chatting with you in The Magic Memories 159 next Sunday.

1 thought on “The Magic Memories (158)

  1. Los Recuerdos mágicos es de las cosas más mágicas y provechosas mágicamente hablando que pasan durante todas las semanas del año. Feliz año Roberto Giobbi y seguidores de estas memorias.

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