Today’s subjects: Remembering Pavel; Why you should have two sets of your most important props; Q&A on Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction
These are The Magic Memories 69, gone online Sunday, April 24th, 2022, at 0:07h sharp.
I was recently reading an article by a manager trainer in Das Magazin, the literary supplement of a Swiss newspaper, that it is better to thank others, rather than apologizing to them. So, when you arrive late at a meeting, instead of saying, “Please excuse my being late”, or some similar set phrase, say, “Thank you for waiting for me.” Hmmmm…
In this sense, to all those who had temporary trouble downloading the files of Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction, because Dropbox shut down my account without previous notice (!), justifying this with “too high traffic on your account”, a problem not even the “experts” I’m working with knew about, I say, “Thank you so much for your kind patience and understanding!”
As of this writing all works well again, and with a bandwidth of now 4TB there should be no more traffic jams. I can assure you that these two days were more stressful to me than the months it took to produce that (22 hours of teaching, in 25 Lessons, resulting in a 19,4GB heavy download).
I started to call this blog The Magic Memories, because I wanted to tell you about real “memories” from my magic life, but I now realize that I keep getting carried away by more topical subjects and more recent events.
So, I have made a resolution: In future posts I will try to include one “Memory” from my (magical) life and that will mostly be about an interesting person I met in the past, mostly magicians, but not only.
Setting order to the hundreds of Lecture Notes I have, one by Pavel caught my eye, and I was reminded of the exceptional person he was.
I will readily admit that when I first read his book The Magic of Pavel (ed. by Peter Walock, Supreme Magic Co., England 1969), I was not so impressed: Too much “color”, silks, and records. Later, when I got to meet him personally, as he had booked me to lecture and perform at his famous “Pavel’s Magic Day”, a yearly gathering he organized in Geneva, when I was still quite young and known only to a few “insiders”, I was moved by his kindness and knowledge. It was only in the following years that I realized what an inspired and hardworking individual he was: When genius and diligence come together, you get a result like Pavel and his magic.
Two events further cemented this opinion: First, his lecture on the use of magnets in magic I saw him give at MagicValongo, a magic convention we were both booked at by Fernando Castro. I was in awe of all those problems he had identified and to which he had found an original and practical solution using magnets. One of the ideas I remember was his “Card in Balloon”, where a magnet inside the ballon would imperceptibly get the selected card from the deck without apparent extra moves.
His lecture on magnets was exemplary of how an intelligent, knowledgeable and inspired person tackles a subject, and although I would not use one single idea from the lecture, I found it highly inspirational and it was then and there that I realized Pavel’s full genius.
I’ve always felt that this is the true gain one should get from a lecture, much more than individual tricks and techniques, although that’s OK in the first ten years of doing magic. But after that, you don’t want to walk away from a lecture doing the tricks the other one does.
If I go to a museum and get a guided tour that helps me understand the painter and his or her paintings, I don’t expect myself to repaint that same painting, but rather to gain an added understanding of painting that inspires me to do my own paintings. Just a though, nothing more…
Pavel had a knack for creating straightforward and easy to follow tricks, and he had some excellent ideas in the field of card magic, too.
Second, a ten-hour flight we did together from Paris to Bogota, were we had been booked to the prestigious InterMagic convention, organized by Gustavo Lorgia, in 1996. We sure had a blast discussing magic in all its aspects, and when he started to tell me about how he had come up with several of his best ideas, e.g., the “Walking Knot”, which won him the first prize in Invention at the FISM convention in Lausanne in 1991, I simply sat there in awe and listened.
Here is a card trick from his lecture notes Pavel’s 15 Micro Tricks (ca. 1980), and I assume he would have endorsed my initiative to present you with this gift in today’s The Magic Memories. I’ll first give you Pavel’s original description, then my comments suggesting a variation. To read or download the scan of Pavel’s original text CLICK HERE.
And here are my comments:
Start by having the blue-backed QH face up in the red-backed deck, and the red-backed QH on bottom of the blue-backed deck.
As in the original ask the spectator to choose a deck. By Magician’s Choice have him put the red deck in his pocket. Take the blue-backed deck with the QH on its face, and then force it, e.g., by means of Hindu Shuffle Force, or any other Force that doesn’t expose the back of the QH. Eventually place the QH face up in the blue deck.Case the blue deck, and then ask the spectator to place it next to the red deck in his pocket. “Now we have to wait exactly seven seconds…1, 2, ….7! Quickly, take out both decks!”Take out blue deck and ribbon-spread to show face-up QH, then take out red deck and spread to show the face up QH (apparently red-backed…). Push the Queens halfway out of the spread for good visibility. This is the first effect: In an act of “magical sympathy” the same card previously freely selected has tuned over in the other deck, in the spectator’s pocket! Not such a bad effect… but there is more to come…Replace each QH face up in its respective deck, then place each deck in front of a spectator and ask them to put their forefinger on top, so that “nothing and nobody” can tamper with the deck. “What you just saw, is unbelievable, but what you are about to see now, is incredible – a miracle…” Do a transposition gesture. Then have each spectator spread their deck on the table, revealing the face up QH. Ask them to turn over the QH, and show the transposition.The funny thing is that intelligent magicians will tell you that the coincidence effect is stronger then the following transposition effect, and I would agree, in theory. However, if performed before a lay audience, you will find the overall-impact is quite strong. This is a neat example showing that the difference between theory and practice is even bigger in practice than in theory.
For more photos see the Pavel Homepage – CLICK HERE. And you can find various recordings of his performances on YouTube.
Always Two Sets
You might have noticed that I offer to buy one set and two sets of “The Red Card” on my webshop.
This led Stephan Jochum from Germany to asks, “Why are you offering two sets of your “The Red Card”? The trick doesn’t have consumable materials, does it?”
This question is more interesting than I suspected, and it reminded me of the advice I received as a young man from Max Bühler, aka Cherry Maxim, who at that time was the president of the Zauberring Basel, the magic club of my home town in Switzerland. When he invited me to his home for a “Magic Session” – one of those wonderful real-life reunions before Internet and virtual meetings – I noticed that he had two – sometimes even three – copies of the same prop. When I asked him about it, he explained, “Oh, you always buy at least two copies of the props you use to perform, just in case one gets lost, stolen, or damaged.”
I admit that to me, the nineteen-year-old wise guy who thought he knew it all (what a mistake!), this sounded at best eccentric.
Later, as a full-time professional (since 1988), I was reminded of his words, and can only say that the man was absolutely correct, and I now have copies of most of the props I use professionally.
Q&A on Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction
As soon as the trailer appeared, and the first among you received the files, in came several questions that I thought might be interesting to most, so I’ll answer them below.
A1: No, the numeration changed, but the titles stayed. Also, all chapters are in the respective volumes (except “Deck Switches” – see below). So, the chapter “Riffle Shuffle Techniques, Part 2” is chapter 33 in the book, but Lesson 30 in the videos. But this, Ladies and Gentlemen, is not so difficult: You have a Table of Content and even an Index to find the corresponding item in a few seconds 🙂
A2: NO, only as a download. This is 22 hours (!) of teaching, that would make a full-fledged Netflix series🙂 With today’s increased prices for logistics this would almost double the costs, and multiply the investment necessary for the production of the physical items (DVDs, packaging, storage etc.). The only drawback I’ve encountered, is the limited bandwidth, which is only a problem in the first few days, when dozens are trying to download a huge file at the same time. But that seems out of the way now.
Ref. Sharing Secrets: Although there are many practical examples in the book in form of tricks and techniques, it is essentially about theoretical concepts. The best way, in my opinion, to understand and learn these concepts, is to put them into practice in a technique and/or performance. Therefore, the references to Sharing Secrets help identifying the moments and places the theories are applied, and thereby facilitating their instillation. This is arguably the most important benefit of the whole Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction. Period.
Q4: What is the difference between Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction and Card Magic Masterclass?
A4: These are two completely different projects, led by two different visions. The Card Magic Masterclass project came about when Joshua Jay, together with Andy Gladwin, founders of Vanishing Inc., invited me to their “Session” convention in London in January, 2018. Josh asked if I could do a video-Download with five or six of my favorite False Shuffles, as this is a sleight many are interested in. Briefly, since I think holistically and conceptional, Card Magic Masterclass was the result! It concentrates solely on sleights classed in the five big categories that define the operational side of card magic: False Shuffles & Cuts, Controls, Forces, Switches, and Palms. There are no tricks.
Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction, on the other hand, is the reflection of the Card College books volume 3 and 4, with almost all its content: Techniques, Tricks (including the presentations!), and Theories, the sacred Trinity of Artistic Card Magic.
If your budget is tight, I recommend you get Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction (only available directly from me at www.robertogiobbi.com). If you have time and a little more money, get both (Card Magic Masterclass is only available as a download from VI, no longer from me, as they’ve found a clever way to boot me out…).
A5: No, I haven’t, but I have written a complete book on the subject, The Art of Switching Decks, that also contains a DVD with the eighty-minutes lecture I gave at the Genii 75th Anniversary Convention in 2012.
If you have more questions, use the “Contact” field on the webshop to get them to me, and I’ll try to answer them in one of the upcoming posts.
Once you have downloaded the 25 Lessons from Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction in form of MP4-files, don’t just leave them on your computer (that can be damaged), but also put them on a separate backup-harddisk, and also store them in your Backup-cloud. For everyday private use I can recommend Dropbox, or any similar service. The link will remain in your account, but things can change, including the link, whereas if you have the files on your computer and/or harddisk, you can watch them anytime, anywhere, and even on your TV set via Wifi or by connecting the harddisk with a cable to your TV.
And now have a successful week – I look forward to having you back for next week’s The Magic Memories 70!