Posted on 1 Comment

The Magic Memories (179)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Javi Benitez Visiting; The Brittany Experience; The “How to Do a Book” Lecture; A Quick One On Erdnase; The Missing Link (Richard Wiseman)

These are The Magic Memories 179, gone online Sunday, June 2nd, 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.

Javi Benitez Visiting

One of the additional benefits of having written books that are translated into various languages – for Card College it is currently eight – is that I have many “friends”, in the sense of Jean Paul’s utterance that “books are only thick letters to friends”. Friends, of course, visit with each other occasionally. This is why I get pleasant visits from time to time from people I haven not met before.

Now in the case of Javi Benitez, from Sevilla, Spain, I have known him for some thirty years from my visits at the Escorial Card Conference. He has always been an eager attendant, and I have seen him grow from a very young man to the mature artist he is now.

Home with Javi Benitez, May 2024

Although we have had many friendly but short interactions on those occasions, we never spent much time together, and I followed his admirable career mainly through the media.

So, imagine my surprise, when I received an email from Javi, saying that he and his wife Lourdes (yes, like the pilgrimage site) were in Switzerland for a private show, and asking if I would be available for visiting.

And so we did finally meet for a long late afternoon and evening at my home in Muttenz, with lots of magic talk.

Like mots first-time guests, of course, Lourdes and Javi were treated to Barbara’s famous interpretation of Frank Garcia’s “Super Meatloaf” from Super Subtle Card Miracles! Plus amuse bouches as starters, a great chocolate mousse as a dessert (recipe by Paul Bocuse, again thoughtfully adapted by Barbara), accompanied by some fine wines, since “life is too short to drink bad wines”, as Goethe used to say, and who am I to argue with such smart people…

A highlight of the evening was Javi performing for us the routine with which he fooled Penn & Teller. It is an homage to his idol and teacher Arturo de Ascanio, who was also one of my most important teachers, even so far, that he considered me one of his “spiritual sons”.

Javi certainly is one of his closest followers, and what he does would certainly make Arturo proud.

If you have a few minutes you can watch what he did in the clip below, and I have nothing more to say than: BRAVO, olé!

The Brittany Experience

As promised, here is my little report of my travel to Lorient, Brittany, to see my friend and publisher Ludo Mignon, owner of Marchand de Trucs. Ludo is arguably nowaday’s most important dealer and publisher in France, with some of the greatest publications to his credit.

I have done my last two publications, Hidden Agenda  and Sharing Secrets, with him in French, and he and his graphic artist have done a superb job.

In the past two years he has also  reprinted the five volumes of Card College in French, there titled Cours de Cartomagie Moderne. 

Ludo, Sylvain, RG having Lobster

If you have never been there, you might know Brittany through the adventures of Asterix and Obelix, and, well, it is exactly that way (almost…).

It is not so easy to get there by plane, so most people do so by TGV fast train from Paris, which takes at least three hours to get to the nearer locations. The countryside is magnificent, to say the least, the people reserved, but warm, friendly and generous, once you know them.

There is hardly another part of Europe that is shrouded in so many myths and legends as Brittany, and in gastronomy the lack of wine they by far compensate by some of the best butter, cider, salt and of course seafood in the world. Briefly, it is one of the ten places to go before you do your last card trick.

The “How to Do a Book” Lecture

My visit occurred on the occasion of the release of Volume 5 of Cours de Cartomagie Moderne (Card College 5) and Secrets (Sharing Secrets), the latter had come out in October last year.

I suggested to Ludo to sign books and do an unusual lecture related to the book in general and to the latest publication in particular: I would perform and teach several items from Card College 5, but in-between try to explain the working process that takes place from the moment an author has the idea for a book, and the moment the book gets into the hands of the reader.

I had done this type of lecture only once, years ago in Paris, so had to think this over from scratch.

The result though, seemed to satisfy those who attended, some having traveled more than two hours to get to Ludo’s shop, where the event took place and lasted almost four hours, without anyone falling asleep 🙂

The pieces I did were:

  • The “Color Changing Deck” from CC5 (p. 1333): This is an ideal opener. As I have said many times, card tricks are not so good as openers, as many are quite procedural and it takes a while until the effect is reached. With the “Color Changing Deck”, though, there is immediate interaction, very important in close-up card magic, and the first effect happens within one minute. Then it goes bang-bang, with a great finale, and you end up with a “clean” deck, as you get rid of the only gimmicked card in a very elegant way. Another big advantage of this trick, at least in the version I do, is that the top ten or so cards do not get mixed. Therefore, I had those set to go into the second piece:
  • “The Stop Trick” from CC4 (p. 910): This is based on the version credited to Sam Horowitz in Greater Magic, but I have added some shenanigans that even fooled the experts in the room. In particular I have found a way to combine what looks like four real shuffles to get the top eight cards into the necessary arrangement.
  • “The Knowledgeable Cards” from CC5, p. 1233: This is possibly the most straightforward interpretation of the Hofzinser problem where a chosen Ace changes into a previously freely selected card. I think it is a great trick, as you might agree if you perform it a few times before laypeople. It is essentially very easy, although it requires a Top Change, but the latter takes place at a moment the attention is down due to the presentational construction of the trick.
  • “The Joker Folds Up” from CC5, p. 1349: This has been a “battle horse” (terrible war nomenclature) in all of my professional life, and to me it is the best version of the Hennig-Kaps folded card to box, I dare say even better than that of Fred Kaps, Frank Garcia, or even that of Tommy Wonder, which has a lot of fans; as for the reasons, I stated them in my lecture The Roberto Giobbi Lecture.

Between the performance of the above-mentioned pieces and their discussion, I interspersed bits of information related to the writing and publication of a book.

This is a subject most people simply ignore: Everyone in magic has at least a few books, but only very few have a notion of what it takes before that book is in front of them.

I hesitate to talk about it here, as I suspect the subject interests only few, but since this is my blog, I do not charge for it, and my credo is to do what I enjoy doing, I will give it a try 🙂

I have just spent about half an hour trying to transcribe what I said on the subject during the lecture, but realize that this will result in a work of a magnitude which will go far beyond the scope of these The Magic Memories: It is truly the subject of a lengthy talk.

Maybe, one day, I can convince the organizer of a magic convention for me to give this talk, maybe in form of an interview or panel discussion. I shall then insist that the event be taped and will make it available through my YouTube Channel.

Back Home

On Saturday, 11th May 2024, I made my way back from Lorient to Muttenz, Switzerland, and it was an eleven hour trip from door to door.

However, traveling first class on the fast train, that allowed me to read, write, and even do a little rest, plus a three-hour stopover in Paris, where I had time for an extensive lunch at “La Coupole“, made it an acceptable enterprise.

A Quick One On Erdnase

In a recent mailing I received, Potter & Potter offered a first edition Erdnase for $ 6’120.00, and I again wondered how significant this book by Erdnase really is.

The Expert at the Card Table, 1st edition (photo by “Quicket than the Eye”)

Is it an important book in the history of magic, not just card magic?

My answer is a definitive YES.

As I have mentioned before, it has arguably marked the shift of supremacy of the magical literature from Europe (especially France and England) to the New World, it has impacted one of the most influential voices in magic, Dai Vernon, and to this day it is a work in the front row.

As to the question if you need to read Erdnase to start in card magic and become very good at it, my answer is NO.

If it was not for the fact that its author is still unknown and a big mystery shrouds his identity, I very much doubt that the book would be as prominent as it is nowadays, except for historians.

From a strictly magical point of view, some books, exclusively or partially on card magic, published in the decades after Erdnase, are in my opinion far more useful to the performing magician. I am thinking of books such as Greater Magic, The Tarbell Course, Expert Card Technique, The Card Magic of LePaul etc.

The Missing Link

I have occasionally ended my The Magic Memories with a clip from Internet.

Since a few among you have inquired where on earth they have gone, here is one from a man most of you will know or have heard of, and who has published a great number of most interesting items (books, articles, video clips, talks etc.), but just in case you missed it, here is a short and sweet one.

To watch the clip, CLICK HERE.

This Richard Wiseman is a very smart man, and it seems to me that seeking out and studying his publications – at least some of them – will produce more insight and satisfaction than many an other activity.

Wish you all a successful and happy week,

Roberto Giobbi

1 thought on “The Magic Memories (179)

  1. bonjour Roberto
    après quelques temps d’absence je reprends les lectures des magics Memories
    et OUI c’était une parenthèse magique très agréable et innovante par rapport à ce que l’on a l’habitude de voir en conférence .Alors un grand merciiiiiii
    au plaisir

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.