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The Reparation by John Lovick

Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii August, 1998)


John Lovick is a serious-minded magician from Los Angeles who, among other things, performs as his alter ego "Handsome Jack" from time to time, a clever and sometimes hilarious characterization that I highly recommend you go see if you get the chance. The item at hand has nothing to do with the erstwhile "male model" known as Mr. Jack, however. Rather, The Reparation is Mr. Lovick's greatly simplified handling for Guy Hollingworth's anything but simple trick known as the Reformation, a gradual, torn and then restored-one-quarter-at-a-time card. Most magicians have only seen Mr. Hollingworth's remarkable trick as he performed it on World's Greatest Magic; if you've tried to reconstruct the trick by slow-motioning that tape, you've no doubt been sorely disappointed. Other than that, the Reformation was released in a very limited videotape version to a small number of fortunate magicians, and even though too many unauthorized copies no doubt exist (including a dubbed version that appeared in Japan that is particularly egregious), nevertheless thanks to the truly limited nature of the item, the details of the method seem to have as yet failed to drift out to the general community. Suffice to say that the Reformation is a beautiful effect with a very clever handling, one that includes a few small but as yet perhaps not fully solved flaws, but one that is, more to the point, exceedingly difficult to perform effectively. The Reformation is the kind of magic that is among the most difficult of all types to execute convincingly and deceptively, in that "every move's a move." Practitioners are thus faced with the need to master that most difficult of all sleight-of-hand techniques, namely pure, raw, unadulterated simulation, in which with every step the magician is attempting to pretend to execute an apparently innocent step in procedure while he or she is in fact concealing some critically important deceptive maneuver. This is the kind of magic that is far too easy to do badly— as many no doubt will once Mr. Hollingworth's book is published by Mike Caveney's Magic Words—and exceedingly difficult to do well. You can fake this trick in a few weeks; it will probably take you a year or more to actually master it, if ever.

Into this challenge steps John Lovick. Armed with the methodological principles of a clever David Regal torn-and-restored card routine, Mr. Lovick set out to duplicate Mr. Hollingworth's gradual restoration effect while simplifying the method. He has succeeded, in a manner of speaking. That is, the method here is inarguably a great deal simpler to master than that of Mr. Hollingworth's, and is well within the reach of anyone who is willing to put in sufficient practice. Make no mistake, this is far—very far—from self-working, and practice is required. But in this case you will see results in weeks and polish in months, rather than results in months and polish in years.

The downsides, however, are several. While I believe that this decidedly thoughtful solution will get by laymen, and will therefore in essence create the desired effect on a certain level, at the same time I believe this approach to be decidedly inferior to that of Mr. Hollingworth. For one thing, in Mr. Lovick's handling the magician must repeatedly go in and out of his or her pockets, a fact which decidedly weakens the cleanliness and purity of Mr. Hollingworth's original. Also, the beauty of Mr. Hollingworth's three- quarter effect, in which the third quarter is added and then immediately both sides of the card are clearly shown to be genuinely restored and the hands are apparently quite empty otherwise, is completely passed up here, and what is substituted is a vastly weaker moment in which the third quarter is held in place and the three-quarter display is in fact a bluff sequence. This doesn't mean it won't go by, but method affects effect, and the resulting effect is, in my estimation, greatly affected. You might find this version interesting to work on, but I advise that you wait for Mr. Hollingworth's book, and, perhaps finding yourself duly discouraged by its contents, then deliberately but knowledgeably settling in favor of something appropriate to your skill level rather than damaging Mr. Hollingworth's exquisite creation.

5 - 1/2" X 8" staples perfect bound; 16 pages; 11 line drawings; 1998; Publisher: John Lovick