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The Magic Memories (78)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Got Corona; Trick selection from Sharing Secrets; List of tricks & bits from Sharing Secrets – Part 1 (1 – 10); Some favorite quotes from my books.

These are The Magic Memories 76, gone online Sunday, June 26th, 2022, at 0:07h sharp.

Eureka – I (Found) And Got It

Like any good mentalist, which I’m not, I knew that at some point I would have to write this: I’ve caught Corona, yeah!

I confirm, though, that this is nothing to be proud of, so don’t seek it.

And it was foreseeable: I got invited to see the show of a magician friend (excellent!), and went into a small theater with ca. 120 people attending the 2-hours-plus show at a temperature of 35 degrees Celsius (95 F), although I’m told that the virus doesn’t care for the temperature, as it feels comfortable in an over-heated Swiss theater as it does in an air-conditioned magic convention in Las Vegas 🙁

These little guys really haven’t got any criteria… and are now on their way to FISM…

But, after five days now, besides having lost my sense of smelling and tasting (of relative importance to me!), I’m again 88,5% myself, so decided to get these The Magic Memories out for your information and entertainment pleasure (as my friend Daryl might have said).

I just want to add that what pisses me off with this situation is not so much the symptoms, which are relatively mild and bearable, thanks to triple vaccination I took, or so says my son Miro who studied Medical Sciences and Technologies at the ETH in Zurich and just got his Masters degree (forgive the father’s pride shining through, but ETH that’s where Einstein taught theoretical physics from 1912-14, and I have two “Einstein” tricks in my books – remember which ?).

So, what is aggravating, is the butterfly effect this caused (see Sharing Secrets, p. 28): I had five appointments this week, fortunately none of vital importance, but still enjoyable meetings with friends, that I had to cancel, and even though in Switzerland all restrictions have been suspended, I still felt I should not go out and see people, plus a few other things you don’t even want to know…

And if you imagine I had been abroad, instead of at home, I would have to stay in a hotel there probably for a week or so, at my now expenses, as it would be irresponsible too board a plane…

And I missed Karl Hein’s lecture at my club: As its Vice President – yes, I’m even a politician! – I have been organizing about six lectures a year since the early Eighties, that’s A LOT of world-class talent that I have been hosting, and taking care of, and who have come to my home, and who’s lectures I’ve then translated into German, mostly from English, but also from Italian, French and Spanish, with lots of amusing and memorable happenings, believe me – that alone would yield another Magical Book of Memories

Trick Selection from Sharing Secrets

My book Sharing Secrets is what some would call a “book on the theory and philosophy of magic” (really?).

However, this is far from meaning that it doesn’t ALSO have practical applications, quite on the contrary it contains countless and very down-to-earth techniques, tricks, bits of business, funny and serious lines, quotes, and presentational ideas.

I was inspired to write the present piece after receiving an email from James Liu. James, whom I met on my Chinese Tour in September 2019 and who attended my lecture, workshop and Masterclass in Shen Zhen, has meanwhile become a dear friend by correspondence. See the talented James Liu in action in the photo below performing “Card Call” from Stand-up Card Magic:

In one of his recent letters, he made an interesting remark on Sharing Secrets:

“When I finished rereading Sharing Secrets I could finally tell why your Card College books are such very great books. Because over 90% of the theory you are writing about in Sharing Secrets is present in almost every part of Card College, sometimes within a trick, sometimes behind a technique, sometimes you discuss it in deeper detail in one of the great essay in Chapter 27 of Card College Volume 2.

So, Sharing Secrets for me is much like a tool book, it offers me a check list to monitor my material and see if I can apply the theories in the book to improve my work.

I love it very much. Just feel a little sorry that due to the format restrictions of putting each theory on one page only, you did not write more about it – you have so much to say!”

Yes, I was aware of this, but thanks to the way James eloquently put it in his lovely letter, I returned to Sharing Secrets and wondered if readers, impressed by the discussion of the theoretical concepts, missed the “practical” stuff.

This happens to me often at lectures, where there is inevitably someone who compliments me on the lecture, saying that the “tricks where obviously not important”, but “all that thinking behind them”.

As flattering as such an utterance is, I couldn’t  disagree more with it. You see, in my opinion, the important thing is not the thinking, but the practical result that comes from it! (However, the result wouldn’t exist, if the thinking had not gone before, at least not in that form.)

Therefore, I’ve set out to compose a commented list of the “practical items” from Sharing Secrets, for you to go back to, if you like. This doesn’t mean that you have to completely disregard the theoretical concepts attached to them, but I invite you to change the focus for a moment. Here we go:

List of Tricks & Bits From Sharing Secrets – Part 1 (1-10)

1 – p. 11: Arguably the most important page in the book is the one depicted in the photo below, which tells the reader how to practice and instill a theory, that’s what it is all about. You my want to reread it…

From Roberto Giobbi’s Sharing Secrets

2 – p. 15: “Click Pass with Four Coins”. The one little change to the usual handling suggested here makes this a lot better, reminding us of Sherlock Holmes, who said to his friend, “Watson, details are by far the most important thing.”

3 – p. 17. “Ectoplasmic Aces”. This is in my opinion the most sophisticated and artistic version of the “Elevator Cards”. In Lesson 25 of Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction you can find “Ectoplasmic Kings”, an updated version explained in all detail. A beautiful trick.

4 – p. 21: “Card to Wallet, Pardon, to Wallet…”. I can see this being performed at a magic convention and knocking the socks off everyone.

5 – p. 23: Look again at “Apparent-Continuity Coin Vanish”, an idea by Dai Vernon. Reminds me of yet another Sherlock Holmes quote: “To a great mind, nothing is little,’ remarked Holmes, sententiously.” (Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet).

6 – p. 25: In “Authentic Props” is imbedded the brief explanation of an excellent quick, visual and “commercial” version of “Card in Cigarette”. But the beauty of it is, that you don’t have to be a cigarette smoker, and still do a hammer trick! Also, it implies the great lesson that you can take a piece you might otherwise reject for it being anachronistic, and with a simple dramatic twist make it topical again. And you get all that in a “paragraph”. Finding such pearls is what we should call “Magical Archaeology”. There must be thousands in the magical literature…

7 – p. 31: “Just Imagine”. Possibly the best trick to learn the Art of Palming. A handsome after-dinner trick to do for your invited guests before enjoying cigars and and a Cognac (Vernon’s favorite  brands were Macanudo and Courvoisier). You can find a performance with subsequent discussion of it in Lesson 32 of Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction

8 – p. 33: “T & R Thread”. This is my text, inspired by Al Koran, for what in my opinion is one of the Top Ten Close-up Tricks of all times. Ah, this brings up the suggestion for another list 🙂 (Remember that you can see my list for “The Top Ten Card Tricks of All Times” BY CLICKING HERE.)

9 – p. 35: “Instructions on Construction by Juan Tamariz”: Make a scan or photocopy of this, and whenever you put together a small or big “act”, or just “routine” a series of effects, take this as a guideline.

10 – p. “Visible and Invisible World”. You can watch this on my YouTube channel for free, and also in Lesson 30 of Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction, there renamed “Fantasy and Reality”, because it has been given yet another presentational frame than the one described in Sharing Secrets.

That’s it for the first part, folks, and I admit that after being myself initially skeptical how this little exercise would turn out, as it always bears the danger of smelling of conceitedness when self-referencing oneself, I now enjoy it quite a bit, and I truly think that for those who choose to follow along it will be greatly beneficial (you tell me).

Part 2 coming in The Magic Memories 79.

Extracted Quotes

In The Magic Memories 73 I pondered the question of additional benefits of a book, and made a few points for several of my own publications and what additional benefits I think they have.

Some of you asked for more, so I thought I might quickly sift through a few of my books and see if I could catch a few worthwhile things I wrote – here are then ten quotes, some mine, some from others, for your edification:

«I wrote the work now in your hands before tackling Card College because of my abiding fascination with structurally simple tricks that, if properly performed, have great impact.» (Card College Light, p. xvii)

“If you take a card trick with three sleights, and replace the first sleight with a subtlety, you get a better card trick. If you replace the second sleight with another refinement, you get a small miracle. But when you replace the third sleight, then you usually get a mathematical atrocity.” (Dr. Jacob Daley in Card College Light, p. xix)

«I do not believe in dogma, certainly not when it comes to art.» (Card College Light, p. xxii)

«Everything should be done as simply as possible, but not more simply.» (Albert Einstein in Card College Light, p. 145)

«If you don’t have a name for it, you did not understand it.» (Ask Roberto)

“Creating and understanding a trick is a science. Performing it is an art.” (Ask Roberto)

“A good teacher needs to think about what he wants to say and how he wants to say it, in a way the student not only correctly understands, but also is able to absorb and transform into a skill. And the teacher must take care that all this happens with the least effort and the greatest pleasure.” (Secret Agenda, p. 380)

«This is a serious subject, but don’t take yourself too seriously.» (Hidden Agenda, p. 195)

«Magic is an interdisciplinary form of art combining elements of fiction, performing arts, psychology and a large set of specific motoric skills.» (Roberto Giobbi)

«In order to advance in magic, we have to be broad and we have to be deep. Broad, in the sense of innovating, looking back in our history and going further in the future, deep, in the sense of looking at a specific topic, and then explore it, looking at it from all sides, discovering its beauty and complexity.» (Roberto Giobbi)

«The creative thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible.» (Roberto Giobbi)

«If we look at our sleights from the audience’s perspective, we will create more deceptive techniques and better magic.» (Secret Agenda, p. 92)

“In narrative literature there is the rule Rem tene, verba sequentur – “once you have the thing, the words will follow”. In magic you could say, “Once you have the trick, the presentation will follow.” (adapted from Umberto Eco)

OK, that went better than I thought. Not bad, I hope you will say, for a Corona-positive 🙁 I’ll be back next week, fully recovered (that’s the theory), and plan another “Remembering” section, as there are so many people and events I don’t want to forget…

All the very best,

Roberto Giobbi

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