Sign up Latest Topics Chat
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment  
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 4,001
Reply with quote  #1 
After watching the Jason Dean lecture, (which was great, by the way!), I reflected on the Jason I saw versus the one I had met a decade ago.  And it reminded me of something very important.  So pardon me as I go on a little rant.

Many here on the forum are in the beginner to intermediate stage.  That is a great place to be and this forum is a great place for them to learn.  New students of magic are often overwhelmed by the sheer number of effects and sleights and it is often difficult to decide what to work on first.  This is a judgment-free zone.  Nobody is going to be called out for asking a sincere question.  Even if the question has been asked and answered many times.

As you progress and you get some confidence and your abilities increase, it is tempting to want to dive in and begin learning "hardcore" card sleights, some of which we refer to as "knucklebusters".  Some really go down the rabbit hole of card manipulation and we call those folks "move monkeys".  

But as they gain experience, even a lot of the "move monkeys" begin to focus more on the presentation of magic and entertainment and less on the method.  They realize that since the audience shouldn't be aware of the method anyway, why make it hard on yourself?

So if a routine can be strengthened or difficult sleights eliminated by the use of a gaffed card, then so be it.  In the end, it is the effect that counts.  Not how you got there.

That is not to say there isn't also pleasure in being able to achieve effects with a normal, even borrowed deck.  So don't get me wrong, I'm not saying those who eschew the use of all gaffed cards have their priorities misplaced.  Not at all.  Different strokes and such.

But in general, many magicians reach a place where there is less desire to go for the knucklebusting sleights and methods in favor of taking it easy.

I was in Kansas City at U.S. Toy and Magic Company to see the Lee Asher lecture.  As luck would have it, I was in KC on business and I was able to attend.  I had seen Lee lecture before, at a Midwest Magic Jubilee, so I was really looking forward to it.  But the bonus was that I got to meet Jason Dean, who was there also.  I had seen some video of Jason performing and he was the quintessential "move monkey", I mean really serious chops.
It seemed as though everything he did was super visual and required a lot of technical skill.

So I was surprised when I saw the lecture from this past week's TMF Live event.  Oh I still saw some awesome magic, full of surprises and mystery, but the methods relied more on knowledge than skill.  Jason explained one of the reasons later on in the lecture and I won't address that here as it isn't the point.  The point is that here is a man who used to and probably can still do some incredible things with a pack of cards yet he has found he doesn't need to.  He can "take it easy" and fool the pants off of his audience using his brain a little more than his brawn.

My memory is full of other magicians that I've witnessed go through "seasons" where they transitioned away from knucklebusting.  There was a time Chris Kenner was a true "purist", refusing to use anything that smacked of being a gimmick.  Then at one point he was creating some incredible effects that used "a little help" because he realized the value gaffs can provide.  Again, the effect was more important than the method.

Another example is Dan Fleshman, who suffered from carpal tunnel issues.  For a time, most any hardcore sleight was literally painful.

Jason, Chris and Danny all learned that they could create wonderful, fooling and entertaining magic even if they chose to take it easy.

So go ahead and chase that elusive bottom deal and keep working on your tabled faro shuffle.  But in the end remember what it's really all about.

Just some thoughts I wanted to share.
0
Alan Smithee

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 617
Reply with quote  #2 
I recall Martin Nash at the British Magic Society way back in 1983. September, I think.

He did the moves and whatnot, but then: His final performance piece, before the explanations was something in which the whole pack was dealt into face down pairs and each pair matched. That is, red kings together, black sevens and so on. All this with the pack he'd been using throughout the session. Shuffle uphill and across the ceiling. A Shuffled Deck In Use, in fact.

Except it wasn't. He switched it for a stacked pack. What a swindle!!!!

It wasn't a clever-clever switch. It was the Cross-Cut Force approach applied to a switch. Hidden in plain view. He simply put the shuffled pack in his jacket pocket, nattered briefly, then brought the "same" pack "back" into play from his other pocket.

And blew the roof off the place. 

As I said, what a swindle. A Great Swindle.


0
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 4,001
Reply with quote  #3 
Steve Reynolds performed and explained his take on the "matched pairs" effect during his lecture on TMF Live 2.


0
Alan Smithee

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 617
Reply with quote  #4 
And how was it?
0
marv long

Avatar / Picture

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 76
Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ
After watching the Jason Dean lecture, (which was great, by the way!), I reflected on the Jason I saw versus the one I had met a decade ago.  And it reminded me of something very important.  So pardon me as I go on a little rant.

Many here on the forum are in the beginner to intermediate stage.  That is a great place to be and this forum is a great place for them to learn.  New students of magic are often overwhelmed by the sheer number of effects and sleights and it is often difficult to decide what to work on first.  This is a judgment-free zone.  Nobody is going to be called out for asking a sincere question.  Even if the question has been asked and answered many times.

As you progress and you get some confidence and your abilities increase, it is tempting to want to dive in and begin learning "hardcore" card sleights, some of which we refer to as "knucklebusters".  Some really go down the rabbit hole of card manipulation and we call those folks "move monkeys".  

But as they gain experience, even a lot of the "move monkeys" begin to focus more on the presentation of magic and entertainment and less on the method.  They realize that since the audience shouldn't be aware of the method anyway, why make it hard on yourself?

So if a routine can be strengthened or difficult sleights eliminated by the use of a gaffed card, then so be it.  In the end, it is the effect that counts.  Not how you got there.

That is not to say there isn't also pleasure in being able to achieve effects with a normal, even borrowed deck.  So don't get me wrong, I'm not saying those who eschew the use of all gaffed cards have their priorities misplaced.  Not at all.  Different strokes and such.

But in general, many magicians reach a place where there is less desire to go for the knucklebusting sleights and methods in favor of taking it easy.

I was in Kansas City at U.S. Toy and Magic Company to see the Lee Asher lecture.  As luck would have it, I was in KC on business and I was able to attend.  I had seen Lee lecture before, at a Midwest Magic Jubilee, so I was really looking forward to it.  But the bonus was that I got to meet Jason Dean, who was there also.  I had seen some video of Jason performing and he was the quintessential "move monkey", I mean really serious chops.
It seemed as though everything he did was super visual and required a lot of technical skill.

So I was surprised when I saw the lecture from this past week's TMF Live event.  Oh I still saw some awesome magic, full of surprises and mystery, but the methods relied more on knowledge than skill.  Jason explained one of the reasons later on in the lecture and I won't address that here as it isn't the point.  The point is that here is a man who used to and probably can still do some incredible things with a pack of cards yet he has found he doesn't need to.  He can "take it easy" and fool the pants off of his audience using his brain a little more than his brawn.

My memory is full of other magicians that I've witnessed go through "seasons" where they transitioned away from knucklebusting.  There was a time Chris Kenner was a true "purist", refusing to use anything that smacked of being a gimmick.  Then at one point he was creating some incredible effects that used "a little help" because he realized the value gaffs can provide.  Again, the effect was more important than the method.

Another example is Dan Fleshman, who suffered from carpal tunnel issues.  For a time, most any hardcore sleight was literally painful.

Jason, Chris and Danny all learned that they could create wonderful, fooling and entertaining magic even if they chose to take it easy.

So go ahead and chase that elusive bottom deal and keep working on your tabled faro shuffle.  But in the end remember what it's really all about.

Just some thoughts I wanted to share.

Baby - You're preachin' to the choir.
 I used to fill in restaurant table work for a still well known close-up magician. (No I won't give his name - he's a great guy and skillful magician).
Before I filled in for him I went to see him work (I had seen him lecture a couple of times before). The material he was doing was different from his lectures by quite a bit.  So I asked him about it. His reply? Well the stuff I mostly do in lectures is "watch me" magic. Stuff the guys want to see. Cool moves and "new" methods. The stuff I do for work is "watch you" magic. Spectator involvement - easy to do material - presentation.
I seldom perform at magic sessions. My material is not magician killer material. (Love to watch them BTW) But I spend my time on pieces I can do for real people. There is room for both schools in my humble opinion. A good magic trick is a good magic trick if presented properly no matter how easy or hard it was.



0
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 4,001
Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Smithee
And how was it?


Excellent, very good thinking.
0
GregB

Avatar / Picture

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 148
Reply with quote  #7 
When I started out in magic I was definitely in the "purist" camp, I wanted to be able to perform all the material I knew with a regular deck of cards. I thought it would be pretty embarrassing if someone came up and asked me to do "that one trick" but it required a gaff and I didn't have one. Over time I realized that there are some just stunner tricks you can do with gaffs that have been so worth the arts and crafts to make (Face Off by Ron Salamangkero) or worth carrying around the extra cards when I go to perform (Stand Up Monte by Garrett Thomas).The majority of what I perform is with ungaffed tricks, but I now think you can miss out on leaving your spectators with truly magical experiences if you eschew them altogether.
0
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 4,001
Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregB
When I started out in magic I was definitely in the "purist" camp, I wanted to be able to perform all the material I knew with a regular deck of cards. I thought it would be pretty embarrassing if someone came up and asked me to do "that one trick" but it required a gaff and I didn't have one. Over time I realized that there are some just stunner tricks you can do with gaffs that have been so worth the arts and crafts to make (Face Off by Ron Salamangkero) or worth carrying around the extra cards when I go to perform (Stand Up Monte by Garrett Thomas).The majority of what I perform is with ungaffed tricks, but I now think you can miss out on leaving your spectators with truly magical experiences if you eschew them altogether.


👍🏻
0
Alan Smithee

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 617
Reply with quote  #9 
I was never a purist. I didn't come across the term until I'd been in Magic for a day or two. But I did feel that I ought to be learning moves, because I thought all magicians knew the moves. And I ever got to meet any I wouldn't feel inadequate. 

At the same time any and every piece of apparatus attracted me, gimmicked or not. Still does to an extent.
0
Paco Nagata

Avatar / Picture

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 394
Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregB
When I started out in magic I was definitely in the "purist" camp, I wanted to be able to perform all the material I knew with a regular deck of cards. I thought it would be pretty embarrassing if someone came up and asked me to do "that one trick" but it required a gaff and I didn't have one. Over time I realized that there are some just stunner tricks you can do with gaffs that have been so worth the arts and crafts to make (Face Off by Ron Salamangkero) or worth carrying around the extra cards when I go to perform (Stand Up Monte by Garrett Thomas).The majority of what I perform is with ungaffed tricks, but I now think you can miss out on leaving your spectators with truly magical experiences if you eschew them altogether.

In my opinion that's the perfect way to start, Greg! Specially for amateurs.
And that procedure is what I would always recommend to any beginner.

Firstly, you focus your magic on impromptu tricks, so that your people can examine your stuff and you can perform anywhere and anytime; a true magician!
Then, after acquiring some reputation, you can add some gimmicks on some of your shows as your people trust your clarity and talent in general.

So, yes, Ray, I think that "Take it Easy" along with "Be Yourself" are the first best advises for beginners.

Very important thoughts.

"A conjurer is not to be done in one day"

Professor Hoffmann

__________________
"The Passion of an Amateur Card Magician" https://bit.ly/2lXdO2O
"La pasion de un cartómago aficionado" https://bit.ly/2kkjpjn
Latest erratum corrections and improvements update, 16/06/2020
0
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 4,001
Reply with quote  #11 
"A conjurer is not to be done in one day"

Unfortunately, many don't get that. You can learn more readily nowadays, but there's no "microwave" for experience. It takes time.
0
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 4,001
Reply with quote  #12 
"A conjurer is not to be done in one day"

Unfortunately, many don't get that. You can learn more readily nowadays, but there's no "microwave" for experience. It takes time.
0
TheAmazingStanley

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 239
Reply with quote  #13 
The more I read and learn the more I ask myself, what am I doing? I don’t think at this stage of the game I feel compelled to master every move in Erdnase (by the way, did Ricky Jay recite that courtly Queen routine verbatim in his 52 Assistants? I saw that before I got the book, then I read that and thought you gotta be kidding me). Right now I’m getting the basic sleights down and picking off whatever Marlo tricks I can pull off. But I also have two Svengali decks, two gaff decks, an invisible deck, and a blank deck. You can combine the two worlds anyway. The hand sandwich transposition uses a sleight but also a duplicate. Creativity is creativity.


__________________
When you come to a fork in the road, take it!
0
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 4,001
Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAmazingStanley
The more I read and learn the more I ask myself, what am I doing? I don’t think at this stage of the game I feel compelled to master every move in Erdnase (by the way, did Ricky Jay recite that courtly Queen routine verbatim in his 52 Assistants? I saw that before I got the book, then I read that and thought you gotta be kidding me). Right now I’m getting the basic sleights down and picking off whatever Marlo tricks I can pull off. But I also have two Svengali decks, two gaff decks, an invisible deck, and a blank deck. You can combine the two worlds anyway. The hand sandwich transposition uses a sleight but also a duplicate. Creativity is creativity.



Balance is good no matter what your pursuit.  Being able to do tricks with a borrowed deck should be a must for anyone entering magic.  For that, go no further than any of the works of Harry Lorayne.

But it sure is nice to ring in a gaff at times in order to heighten an effect and get that coveted reaction, "no way!".
0
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 4,001
Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAmazingStanley
The more I read and learn the more I ask myself, what am I doing? I don’t think at this stage of the game I feel compelled to master every move in Erdnase (by the way, did Ricky Jay recite that courtly Queen routine verbatim in his 52 Assistants? I saw that before I got the book, then I read that and thought you gotta be kidding me). Right now I’m getting the basic sleights down and picking off whatever Marlo tricks I can pull off. But I also have two Svengali decks, two gaff decks, an invisible deck, and a blank deck. You can combine the two worlds anyway. The hand sandwich transposition uses a sleight but also a duplicate. Creativity is creativity.



Never underestimate the skill needed to properly use gimmicked decks or gaffed cards.
In fact, it is that lack of awareness that sometimes makes it clear to the audience that something is "amiss".

Being able to ring in gaffed cards unnoticed or handle a gaffed deck and make it appear "normal" are skills just as much as you double lift.  


0
TheAmazingStanley

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 239
Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ


Never underestimate the skill needed to properly use gimmicked decks or gaffed cards.
In fact, it is that lack of awareness that sometimes makes it clear to the audience that something is "amiss".

Being able to ring in gaffed cards unnoticed or handle a gaffed deck and make it appear "normal" are skills just as much as you double lift.  




I agree with this. I wouldn’t do an invisible deck for spectators until I’d put a lot of practice into it.

__________________
When you come to a fork in the road, take it!
0
SamtheNotasBadasIWas

Avatar / Picture

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 389
Reply with quote  #17 
I agree that magic is not in the method, but I am firmly in the purist camp. Maybe because I don't have the money to spend on gaffs? But I think my main reason is simplicity. I like not having to carry as much around and I like making magic without the gaffs and I like practicing. But Paco may be right, it may be that at the beginning it is good to be a purist and then when you have the chops, use whatever. My opening card trick (color changing deck) requires a setup, but every other trick that I do can be done with a borrowed deck. So I buy props, but not gimmicks. However, I am not a magical ideologue. I have been looking at a shell for the fake silver dollars that I use because they aren't terribly expensive and I've seen some great routines using them.
__________________
O' what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive! - Sir Walter Scott
0
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 4,001
Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SamtheNotasBadasIWas
I agree that magic is not in the method, but I am firmly in the purist camp. Maybe because I don't have the money to spend on gaffs? But I think my main reason is simplicity. I like not having to carry as much around and I like making magic without the gaffs and I like practicing. But Paco may be right, it may be that at the beginning it is good to be a purist and then when you have the chops, use whatever. My opening card trick (color changing deck) requires a setup, but every other trick that I do can be done with a borrowed deck. So I buy props, but not gimmicks. However, I am not a magical ideologue. I have been looking at a shell for the fake silver dollars that I use because they aren't terribly expensive and I've seen some great routines using them.


Using a gimmick sparingly can have devastating impact.  Relying on them creates limitations, especially when someone from out of the blue asks you to do a trick.
0
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.