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The Magic Memories (76)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: “History of Card Magicians” – PP of my talk at the Museo del Naipe in Vitoria (Spain); Remembering the Masterclass in Las Vegas 2007 with Lennart Green.

These are The Magic Memories 76, gone online Sunday, June 12th, 2022, at 0:07h sharp.

History of Card Magicians

In last week’s blog The Magic Memories 75 I mentioned my talk I gave to a lay audience on the history of card magicians at the playing card museum in Vitoria as part of the Magialdia Magic Festival on WED, 14th SEP,  2016, length ca. 90 minutes, including final Q & A.

José Manuel Guimaraes, the father of Helder Guimaraes, and himself an accomplished amateur magician (he once won a competition where I sat in the jury, what a lovely memory!), asked if I could share the PP presentation I used on the occasion, and as always your wish is my command, so here it is.

Although the written texts are in Spanish (actually Castilian), and you’ll obviously not get the presentation that went with it, you can still click through the slides and film clips, pretending you were there, and maybe get inspired by one or the other image. If you look at it as an entry in Secret Agenda, it might very well trigger some interesting thoughts of your own, or even inspire someone to do something similar.

(BTW: Just saw that my talented friend Luis Otero from Venezuela is now offering a 3-hour Masterclass on the life and work of Dai Vernon, and it might very well be that he got inspired by my own Lecture-Seminar-Workshop-Masterclass I have been giving on the subject in many places in the New and Old World during the past 20 years. My 3-hour Seminar on Dai Vernon is still available HERE at a promotional price!)

Back to the talk: The full name of the place, which is worth visiting, is Museo Fournier de Naipes de Álava. On their homepage you’ll find a lovely documentary that in a short ten minutes details how Heraclio Fournier founded his playing card company and how the museum came about. Although the text is either in Castilian (standard Spanish language) or Euskara (Basque language), you can still enjoy it (or maybe there is an app that can translated it – I don’t know, but wouldn’t be surprised…). To watch it directly on Vimeo, CLICK HERE.

To download and then watch the PP of my talk “Historia de cartomagos” at the Fournier playing card museum in Vitoria CLICK HERE. (The file is ca. 350 MB, so you can’t stream it, you must download it.)

On the anecdotal side I should add that the talk was quite well received by the audience of about one hundred attendants, but when I did my final trick, “The Card Stab”, which I had been doing for over twenty years, I managed to miss the selection, something that has never happened before nor after.

It has, however, happened before – twice (!) – that I nailed the correct card, but its back was red, while the rest of the cards were blue-backed! In a desperate act of improvisation I said, without missing a beat, “Look, not only is it your card, it is also bleeding from the stab!” The reaction was so good that for a moment I even thought about making this part of the trick… but fortunately didn’t 🙂 The trick, incidentally, is on p. 242 of my book Stand-up Card Magic, under the title of “Stickler”, thus renamed by my then editor and publisher Stephen Minch . I never asked him why… (The book is also available in German, French and Italian.)

Stabbing a card, but with a red back…

Remembering the Las Vegas Seminar with Lennart Green

Recently, my good friend Joe Gallant from Boston sent in a photo taken on the occasion of a Masterclass Lennart Green and I gave in Las Vegas the day before The World Magic Seminar, as it was then called. I realize I’ve posted this photo before in The Magic Memories 16, but without further comments, so let me catch up on this and tell you a few amusing facts.

Unfortunately at present Lennart Green’s health condition doesn’t allow him to travel as much as before, but I certainly have the best of memories of our many meetings. Today I’d like to remember the Masterclass Lennart and I gave in Las Vegas in 2007.

Seminar in Las Vegas with Lennart Green

This event came into existence after I had already given my “Dai Vernon Seminar” on a previous edition of the convention, and the organizers where asked by several participants if such a thing could be repeated.

Wanting to offer something different that I had never done before, I phoned my good friend Lennart Green asking him if he’d be interested to do a three-day Masterclass together with me for a small group of fifteen people in Las Vegas before their big convention. As usual Lennart was immediately very enthusiastic about it and pronounced his favorite mantra, “Of course!”

Now, Lennart, who is among the most generous, brilliant, enthusiastic and easy-going people on this planet, a truly unique human being and artist, is also a hopeless optimist. I, in turn, well, I’m rather a pessimist.

You see, as an optimist, obviously, you will be disappointed about 50% of the time. As a pessimist, however, you’ll be happy 100% of the time, because if things do not turn out as expected, well, you knew before and won’t be disappointed. And if they do turn out well, against all expectations, you will be pleased and not disappointed, so, all in all, a 100% happy person 🙂

Anyway, I sensed that my cautious and organized way of doing things contrasted to Lennart’s exuberance and spontaneity, and could therefore be a potential source for problems…

Consequently, I called Lennart again and suggested he’d visit me in Switzerland a few months before the event, so we could spend a few days to brainstorm, and then arrange our ideas into some kind of “plan”.


Green meditating after brainstorm

If you know Lennart, you also know that the concept of a “plan” is not in his active vocabulary, at least not in the sense we “normal” people understand it, simply because Lennart is not “normal”, but a Genius, with a capital “G”.

They say that it takes a man of talent to recognize a genius, so at least I did understand this, especially because in my life I have had the great privilege of getting close to some of the other geniuses in the magic world, such as Juan Tamariz and Gaetan Bloom, to mention just two – there are not many anyway, and I shall be pleased to tell you a few things that occurred to me in the company of such people in the past (Ricky Jay and René Lavand, for instance).

When we finally sat down to work out a “plan” (ha, ha): Lennart and I had managed to write down the title and content of potential sessions that should last from 30 to 90 minutes each, on individual file cards. I then arranged the file cards on the table and let Lennart pick the subjects he’d like to present, and I then picked what was left, so all sessions with a subject where distributed among the two of us.

I then suggested we put them into an order that didn’t even have to be “logical”, sensing that this wouldn’t appeal to Lennart anyway.

Eventually we managed to reach a mutually agreeable sequence, starting on Friday evening, continuing Saturday for the whole day, and finishing Sunday morning, when the actual convention would start.

I obviously made a copy of all file cards, as well as of the order of the sessions, and gave them to Lennart, after having asked him several times if that would completely satisfy his needs and wishes. The answer was the well-known, “Of course!”

BUT, just to get to the punchline of this little story: Imagine my surprise, when at the start of the event in Las Vegas I introduced Lennart with the topic of his first session, he sat down and started to do a show, which was no at all part of the “plan”, at least not at this point!

Lennart had completely forgotten about the file cards, and just did what came to his mind! And that was only the beginning of a very “creative” three days…

Green putting meditation in action

Now you can imagine Giobbi (that’s me!), who is kind of an organized guy (see Card College and other publications…), going nuts (in silence, of course, and as a consummate professional pretending it all had been arranged like this from the very beginning).

And then there was a session “How to be creative” that Lennart should do at some point. He somehow must have thought that this wasn’t as good as we had originally assumed, so kept postponing it, while I kept insisting that he should give this 30-minute talk. On the last day I threatened him with some kind of punishment (jokingly), and he finally gave the talk. And guess what. It was a huge success that entailed a most interesting discussion among Lennart , name and the participants, and was judged one of the best sessions of the vent!

Now I’ll cut this short, and say that the event was a huge success, everyone, and I really mean everyone, was more than happy with the affair, and so were Lennart and I, and that’s the most important thing.

Me, too, I was very happy at the result, and the convention organizers received many compliments, but somehow I never again managed to get Lennart to do a similar affair with me 🙂

The complex personality of Green (Ken Knowlton)

In Conclusion

As always, I remind newcomers to The Magic Memories that you won’t receive any notice of it going online, but that you have to become proactive by going to http// and clicking on “News”.

Look forward to “seeing” (?) you next Sunday. Have an excellent week!

All the very best,

Roberto Giobbi

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