What's Up Deck? A Notebook On Card Magic by Aldo Colombini

Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii October, 2005)

Aldo Colombini is a remarkably prolific author. His publications span four languages and dozens of titles. How he manages to maintain this onslaught of output is perhaps as deeply mysterious as some of the fine magic that he does; how he maintains all the while his relentlessly upbeat and cheerful countenance borders on the paranormal. In short: What a pain this guy is!

Of course, I mean that only in the best way, since countless magicians will already know that to meet Mr. Colombini, on or offstage, is to be immediately charmed by his warmth and goofily good humor, not to mention his smooth and creative magic. Last year the author released The Close-Up Magic of Aldo Colombini (reviewed in Genii , October 1994 ), a volume of mixed close-up magic which was poorly produced and unfortunately failed to do justice to the material. This time Mr. Colombini has taken matters into his own hands, and the results are far improved for his efforts.

Simply but usefully designed, clearly and competently written, this volume is a book of what is doubtless one of Mr. Colombini's chief passions—no, it's not a cook book— namely, close-up card magic. And what a feast it is! After an opening segment of sleights, ten more sections of tricks follow, including routines with selected cards, torn & restored themes, Ace routines, card-box tricks, packet tricks, mental magic, Triumph and reversals, red & black themes, plus other assorted items, totalling 54 entries in all. Most of the author's material requires a minimum of technical expertise, and so intermediate students will find a wealth of goodies to taste and experiment with here without too much being demanded of them in the way of mastering new technique. As well, Mr. Colombini has assembled this book so that the student need not turn to outside sources for reference; every sleight, right down to the venerable Elmsley Count, is completely described where appropriate, and there is an index of 40 such sleights provided at the back of the book as an extremely handy reference tool. Mr. Colombini is interested in enabling the student to gain the most pleasure with the least effort, and his concern and sincerity shows between the covers of this volume as surely as it shows on his face in person. In his opening pages entitled, "To The Reader..." Mr. Colombini comments that "....to those people (and reviewers) who may be expecting a revolutionary book ... this is not my intention and it will never be. This book will not turn the world of card magic upside down! It is a book of simple and direct magic..... I am a magician who tries to accomplish the best magic in the SIMPLEST POSSIBLE WAY." The clarity of Mr. Colombini's words is mirrored in the directness and simplicity of his methods. I can't honestly say that any one effect leaped off the pages and seized me by the throat, but if you'd like a abundance of stimulating ideas that are not technically demanding, you'll no doubt find good value in the table Mr. Colombini sets for you here. Buono appetito!

8 - 1/2" X 11" hardcover w/laminated dustjacket; 147 pages; approximately 120 line drawings; 1995; Published by Mamma Mia Magic