Bonus Content for the December Issue...
Eighteen products are reviewed this month by Peter Duffie, Gabe Fajuri, Jared Kopf, Francis Menotti, Peter Pitchford, John Wilson: Master Course: Cups and Balls Vol. 1 and 2
by Daryl Distance
by SansMinds Creative Lab Joker Trick (Along for the Ride)
by Peter Nardi Sharpie BUG Writer
by Vernet Zero Set
by Limin Inspirations: Performing Magic with Excellence
by Lawrence Hass Hole 2.0
by Mickael Chatelain Phantom
by Peter Eggink The Oriental Magic of the Bambergs
by Robert Albo Ultimatum Deck
by Steve Brownley Thick Card Project
by Liam Montier The Magic of Math
by Arthur Benjamin Flutter
by Rizki Nanda A Thought Well Stolen
by Ben Harris Impale
by Jason Yu and Nicholas Lawrence Name Tag
by Agus Tjiu Senti-Mentalism
by Luca Volpe Three Way Force Bag
by Eran Blizovsky
- plus, our reviewers each pick one item they found especially impressive this year.
First Look: Implausibilities
Hudson Taylor is a close-up magician from New York City, specializing in mathematical principles in card magic. Introduced to magic by his grandfather, Hudson developed a love of magic and math, which allowed him to create impossible effects and seemingly moveless magic. While there are many beautiful Any Card at Any Number routines, Implausiblities solves the method problem that most versions have - that the name of the card and its intended position in the deck must be known by the magician. Such conditions are unnecessary in Implausiblities. The Dropshift move is excerpted and adapted from Taylor's forthcoming Implausibilities DVD.
Loving Mentalism: Additional Thoughts
This month's article is all about how to read someone's mind without using any of the usual methods: no glimpses, impressions, or preshow; nothing written down, no force as we usually use that term, and no need to write anything in after the facts are known. An unusual aspect of the method is that you can tweak it to suit yourself: you can either have a 100-percent certain, surefire outcome, or you can adjust things slightly and leave yourself in the position where you know roughly what the spectator is thinking, but you need a bit of intuition and intelligent guesswork - in other words, real mindreading - to conclude the routine!
Bent on Deception: Santa's Wild Ride!
For the family entertainer, this time of year means Christmas and holiday shows. These can be fun and profitable, but they can also be chaotic, and an almost a perfect show can be ruined by the big guy himself - Santa, who is rarely on time. Sometimes, he's early, but usually Mr. Claus is late. Rather than introducing him, then stand there feeling like an idiot for what seems like an eternity, I came up with a quick filler piece that fits the moment and can stretch or shrink to fit the situation. I call it Santa's GPS. Based on Val Evans' Optegramma effect, later popularized by Milbourne Christopher's road sign presentation, it's a simple, fun routine that I can grab and do in an instant if the situation presents itself. It takes up no space in my case and yet it plays very big.
The Monk's Way: Toys to Tools
There are a lot of toys being hocked all around - moves, sleights, and flourishes of interest (for a month or so), until the next toys are sent up with the rest of the hoopla. But toys are not tools. Tools are designed to be integrated and used within working repertoires, within actual tricks performed when the going gets tough. I'm sharing two possible tools with you this month. The full details of how they function within a particular trick will be provided in next month's installment of "The Monk's Way," when you'll get the full scoop on Wilder Pocket Interchange. Until then, consider the next two items fun toys to play around with. That is, until they evolve in your hands into the tools they were designed to be.
Classic Correspondence: Dick Ritson to Edwin Dearn
Edwin A. Dearn was born on October 27, 1892, in Birmingham, England. At age fifteen he took up magic, but a year later he had given up the dark arts to become a ventriloquist. At 22 he moved to China, where his interest in magic was rekindled. Besides performing in and around Shanghai, Dearn also started collecting magic books and related ephemera. Dick Ritson, the author of this letter, was born on September 1, 1896, in Sheffield, England. After witnessing a performance by Chung Ling Soo, Ritson developed his own "Asian" magic act, appearing as Wu Ling the Magical Mandarin. When Okito toured Britain's provincial theaters, he and Ritson became friends, and Dick was fortunate to acquire one of Okito's original floating balls. Ritson eventually developed into a serious collector of magic memorabilia and, after reading reports of Edwin Dearn's fabulous collection in Shanghai, China, he sought to develop a friendship with him through the post.
For What It's Worth: When the Party's Over
A magician friend called me the other day and wanted to talk about some new material he was developing. Based on his description, it was difficult for me to be encouraging. He went on to explain that he didn't feel comfortable with the new piece but thought maybe it was simply the natural fear of breaking in something new. And then he explained that, after many years in the business, he had developed a keen intuition about what was good for him and what was not. He then decided not to do the piece. The psychological pressure of breaking in a new piece is, for many, genuinely debilitating. So I can't imagine a better 2016 New Year's Resolution than this: I will create at least one new original piece of magic and take it to performance level.
Walkabout Soup: The Institute of Layman Studies Part 2: The Blind Narration
After using last month's column to introduce The Institute of Layman Studies - ILS, my half-serious/half-facetious term for designing magic based on actual detailed feedback from laypeople - I thought it might be worth going into more detail about a specific ILS technique I now call "The Blind Narration." It works best with visual routines that you can perform slowly with minimal dialogue. When it works, it can provide a good approximation of real-time mindreading of what's happening in someone's head as they watch your routine. It works like this. Pick a layperson to be your subject. Ask another person to be "the listener." Ask the listener to turn their back so that they can't watch what you're doing. Explain to the subject that you're going to perform something, and they are to describe what's happening so that the listener can follow along.