These are The Magic Memories 64, gone online Sunday, March 20th, 2022, at 0:07h sharp.
Today’s contribution is a film clip of me performing my interpretation of Dai Vernon’s hitherto unpublished version of “Ambitious Classic”. Read more below.
What I Would Ask Myself
I received quite a few lovely comments on last week’s blog that featured the interview Damian Jennings did for Vanishing Inc.’s The Insider.
With all those interviews I’ve given in the “Pandemic Years”, and the ones before (!), I was wondering what questions have NOT been asked, yet, and that would be interesting to ask. Reminds me of Georg Christoph Lichtenberg’s (1742 – 1799) Waste Books, a term traditionally used for bookkeeping, actually his scrapbooks or notebooks, with often amusing and always thought-provoking original ideas. Arthur Schopenhauer and Sigmund Freud both greatly admired Lichtenberg for what he had written in these notebooks. Years ago I put it in my bathroom and read it in less than a year – I recommend you do the same as an instructional and entertaining way to kill dead time (how is that for a tautology, or is it an oxymoron). Read what the NY Review Books has to say HERE. And buy a copy…
So, one of his aphorisms I remember said: “With some authors I would rather be interested to read what they choose not to publish, than what they published.”
Coming full-circle, the question I’ve never been asked by any of the interviewers and therefore (if I remember well…) have never answered, although it is implicit in various of my writings, is: “What do you consider the most difficult thing in magic?” I wonder what you would answer. What do you think is the most difficult thing in magic? I’ll give you my own answer in next week’s blog.
Thief of Thoughts for Twins – The Performance
We have just finished taping the last segments of Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction scheduled to be released end April, hopefully before my birthday, May 1st, as a gift to myself, but above to all of you, who will accept that gift… in return of a modest remuneration 🙂
We started taping on January 11, 2022, and after four three-day-marathons, we finished by taping the twenty-five tricks and their detailed explanations that go with Card College Volume 4 on March 15. That’s a total of twelve days, not counting the week-long preparations and the even longer editing, correcting, uploading and publicizing, most of which is still ahead of us.
I say “us”, because my partner in this mega-project is Guillaume Cerati of Ceratifilm, a professional magician from Grenoble, France, and film-buff. He brought in all his professional equipment and know-how, and we set up a small film studio in my home, now called Castle Mountain Studios – my German-speaking readers will understand the allusion to my street address “Schlossbergstrasse” 🙂
This is the first time I produce a video project myself, and in spite of the additional work, time and finances this entails, in the future I will not do it anyway else, if at all possible.
Sure, the taping of Card College 1&2 – Personal Instruction with Jim Steinmeyer and Frankie Glass was a great experience. But taping all of it in three days was one of the most stressful experiences I ever had… and at that time I was thirteen years younger 🙂
It was one of the hottest months of June, and in the studio the air conditioning had to be switched off during takes because it was too loud… and we taped from 9 to 5, with just short breaks, not counting my travel and set-up times before and after.
The product eventually came off well, but in 2009 the decline of DVDs had already set in, downloads starting to become popular, and of course the ripping of DVDs made it easy to pirate videos. Artistically the project was a great success, but the huge production costs, involving super-professional equipment and personell, swallowed much of the profit. The DVDs made it into a second edition, but ultimately had to be sold off at $ 10 instead of the original $ 125 through Richard Kaufman (who acted as an advisor during taping) to those who renewed their subscription to the magazine.
In spite of all this, Jim and Frankie initially set up a contract that kindly allowed me to regain the copyright of the videos after ten years. These are now available as downloads from my webshop, as a complete course, as well as in individual lessons, the latter at less than the price of a coffee at Starbucks (which as an Italian I’d rather not drink…). And of course they started the idea that I have now picked up with Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction fourteen years later. For this, and the kindness they extended to me during my stay in Burbank, Los Angeles, I will always be thankful to them.
After this very brief excursion into the past – after all this blog is called The Magic Memories (!) – back to the present: Being my own boss allowed me to do everything the way I wanted and at the pacing that suited me. I really think that we have done everything which is necessary, and left out all that is not needed: maximum attention on content, minimal but still professional in every way on formal elements. I did everything from treatment, scripting to performing, and Guillaume (almost) everything else: Cameras (we have five angles!), light, sound, check, continuity, editing, set and graphic design, and a large etc. In other words, he had to split himself up, not in two, but in multiples of himself!
At the end two of him were left, Cerati & Cerati, and I could convince them to act as spectators to my “Thief of Thoughts for Twins” that we did not include in the Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction (you can imagine what the rest looks like…). To watch the performance CLICK HERE.
Next week I’ll give you some background on the trick and make some comments with information that should allow you to learn the trick, or at least apply some of the ideas exposed to your own work.
All the very best for this week,