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The Magic Memories (95)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Card College books again in stock; Card on Sword by Crauwels (free PDF); Picasso inspired by El Greco; Guest Book reviewed; The Magic Memories 96 pauses.

These are The Magic Memories 95, gone online Sunday, October 23rd, 2022, at 0:07h sharp.

Card College Back in Stock

…back in stock!

Just a short notice to tell all of you who asked about the availability of the Card College books: They are all back now, and you can order for yourself and your friends (great Xmas Gift)!

Remember that if you order form me directly, you can ask for the book to be signed to your name, and you always get some free bookmarks, plus a signed photo 🙂

If you don’t order from me, order from Penguin Magic. You may, of course, order from your favorite dealer, but be aware that if you order from any dealer (except Penguin who is my publisher), in the case, e.g., of CC1 that costs you $ 40, I’ll receive $ 3.20 (yes, three Dollars and twenty Cents). This is because most dealers buy from a jobber like Murphy’s who gets a discount of 60% from the publisher and resells at 40%. So far for numbers…

It seems hard to believe, but for months Card College Volumes 1, 2, 3, 5, as well as Stand-up Card Magic had been out of print. This is due to the still very difficult situation in the printing business, where there is paper shortage, paper has multiplied its costs. logistics, binding, job shortage, well, as Alexis Zorba the Greek laments, in accented English, “Am I not a man? And is not a man stupid? I’m a man, so I’m married. Wife, children, house–everything. The full catastrophe.” This is all true for me, too, but on top of that I’m also an author of books at the mercy of his publishers 🙂

BTW: The Penguins, my major publisher, have promised to reprint Confidences early next year (they said the same thing in 2021…), and Card College Light, also out of print, is scheduled to arrive before the end of the year, 2022, I mean…

Card on Sword by Crauwels

Danny Crauwels from Belgium wrote in, as he has kindly done several times before, always with some pertinent comment, to generously share a work of his. Danny is  a specialist in memory deck magic, and his alias “Maigret” may hint at his former profession 🙂

He makes reference to my The Magic Memories 87, where I briefly discussed an idea for “Card on Sword”, well, titled there “A Little Idea” (there’s also an idea with an umbrella used as a sword).

Danny Crauwels’ (Maigret) Card Sword

It so happens that Danny has authored a most interesting – and I would say almost comprehensive – work on the history, technique, effect and presentation of the classic “Card Sword”.

In Danny’s own words:

“As stated in the copyright notices, this is a free eBook for all magicians interested in it.

The latest version can always be downloaded HERE.

The creation of the eBook is actually a story in itself. It was never my intention to write this eBook. In it you can read on page 88 (epilogue) how things went. Thank you for paying attention to the eBook that is indeed intended for everyone who is interested.”

End of quote.

If you are interested in more of Mr. Crauwels’ work, especially memdeck, and want to know a little more about the man, CLICK HERE.

Picasso Inspired by El Greco

A few weeks ago Barbara and I visited the Basel Kunstmuseum, the Basel Museum of Art, where they have a most inspiring special exhibition on “Picasso and El Greco”. On one of his visits to my home, Bill Kalush, of Conjuring Arts Research Center fame, declared this museum one of the best he had seen – who am I to argue…

Years ago I happened to be in Madrid, where the Museo Reina Sofia, one of the three in the “magical” “Museum Triangle”, had an exhibition dedicated to “Picasso and Goya”; that was quite something, especially the room where they displayed Picasso’s “Guernica” against Goya’s “The Executions of the Third of May” – hugely impressive (for reasons of copyright I’m not allowed to show the paintings here, but a quick search on Google will show them in a few seconds).

In Basel things are less dramatic, but equally fascinating.

Works of Picasso (1881 – 1973) are displayed opposite works of El Greco (1541 – 1614) that did inspire Picasso. The exhibition tells of the themes and techniques used by El Greco, and that inspired Picasso to interpret them in his very own way.

It reminds me of the quote, “Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed”, often attributed to Antoine Lavoisier (1743 – 1794), but possibly such a truism has already been pronounced by some Greek philosopher, or Confucius etc. This is similar to magic, where most intelligent thoughts can be traced back to Robert-Houdin or Hofzinser, and if it’s a technique obviously to Marlo 🙂

Giobbi Devant Picasso

PS: For those among my readers who are new to magic, I’ll explain the “Giobbi Devant Picasso” caption above: As the anecdote goes, David Devant (1868 – 1941), the famous British conjuror, and one of his students go to an art museum. At one point they watch a painting depicting David fighting against Goliath. The painting, being from a French artist, bears the title “David Devant Goliath” (David in front of Goliath). Whereupon the student admiringly says to Devant, “Mister Devant, that’s incredible, you are not only a great magician, but also a famous painter!” Apparently, he was serious…

Inevitably, admiring Picasso’s paintings and his open admission (great quotes with each painting) to have virtually “copied” another great artist’s work, made me think of how our greatest performers are inspired by other famous performers before them. If I was the artistic director of a magic convention (I was twice, and will never again be…), I’d think about a ca. 45-minute format where four or five very good performers would each perform the same trick. It would then be possible to experience that no trick can be done in the same way twice, and that there are infinite variables that make up a performance. I’m sure this has never been done, and that it would prove quite a hit for an intelligent audience.

Another idea I had, again as artistic director, is to ask four performers to perform a trick that has been directly inspired by a trick of a past master, and to explain the thinking that went with it. The could be done in a 90-minute session in front of the plenum.

Below is an example of a comparative exhibit: On the left El Greco’s “Christ driving the traders from the temple”, on the right Picasso’s inspiration from it “The crucifixion”. If you look closely you can see the soldiers playing dice on the lower right (see painting HERE).

El Greco inspires Picasso

Due to Corona I hadn’t been in a museum in almost three years, but I must say that each time I go to a museum, regardless of the subject, I come out with new insights and ideas.

I highly recommend that you do likewise, especially to my younger readers I’ll say that a good educational background is as important as your skill and understanding of magic. An all-round education, as the British call it, is part of your person (not persona!), and your person is the only one thing that is unique to you and nobody can copy, it is and remains the most important thing, before a good trick, before impeccable technical execution, and before presentation (in that order!).

Guest Book Reviewed

In Secret Agenda, entry of November 28, I briefly discuss an idea that Gaetan Bloom gave me when I visited Paris the first time around forty (!) years ago, namely a Guest Book you leave on the table after you’ve performed close-up. I won’t say more, look it up, it is worth its weight in gold for any performing magician. You can thank me later – it’s soon Xmas… (anything considered unhealthy is absolutely fine).

Roland Heuer (see The Magic Memories 92) sent in two photos of his interpretation of the idea, very nice. Note the custom-made brass label, the ultimate class 🙂

Roland Heuer’s hand-bound guestbook
Guest’s inscription in guest-book (Roland Heuer)

The Magic Memories (96)

The next The Magic Memories 96, due to go online on SUN, 30th October, will go on a one-week hiatus, as I’m attending the Card Conference in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, near Madrid. The advantage for you, I hope, is, that I will report on it on my comeback (provided I did not catch Corona on the trip or during the stay). Keep your fingers crossed…

So, I look very much forward to chat again with you on The Magic Memories (97), on SUN, 6th November, as always at 0:07 o’clock sharp; some of you may think this is “Swiss Precision”, but this is far from true, it is a feature of WordPress, the web content management system of USA-UK origin I use to create and publish this blog!

Wish everyone an excellent week!

All the best,

Roberto Giobbi

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