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Topic: Handcrafted Card Magic – Denis Behr
Message: Posted by: Mark Ennis (Jul 6, 2010 08:23AM)
Most everyone knows Denis Behr as “the dude with the awesome magic archive” and yes, Denis’ website is a wonderful resource for magic references. Denis is obviously a student of magic and he is also a good friend of another fine magician, Pit Hartling. Back in 2007, Denis released a hardback book called “Handcrafted Card Magic” and I recently ran through the book again.

For those of you who do not have this book, I would highly recommend putting it on your list of magic books you may want to add to your library. Denis has put together a very fine book of very clever card routines that have been audience tested. There is definitely something for everyone and at any stage you happen to be at in card magic.

“Brute Force Opening”, as the name implies, is Denis’ preferred opening effect in which a peeked card changes places with an indifferent card that is in the spectator’s hand, then it changes back to the indifferent card and the peeked selection appears in the empty card case.

For those people who work with a stacked deck, there are some great effects worth studying. “Plop” is a procedure and an effect – the spectator places the deck in the case and the performer asks for any value (for example – the 7s), and while pressing the top of the card case, the four 7s plop out and into the spectators hand. Denis also gives some very practical advice on how to get into these stacks with preceding effects, and how to preserve stacks, which are clever and very disarming (and practical!).

For fans of “Oil and Water”, Denis offers up a wonderful three phase routine and a gaffed version that has to be seen to be believed.

The book is only 94 pages but filled with some very creative effects, some brilliant applications and a bunch of practical routines you may want to perform. There is also a DVD lecture from International Magic of Denis performing and explaining some effects from this book at the MacMillan Magic Convention in London (2008).

I highly recommend the book and the DVD and both are available at Denis Behr’s website: http://www.denisbehr.de/

If you order the book from his website, he may even sign it for you!
Message: Posted by: mrehula (Jul 6, 2010 10:57AM)
I agree 'Handcrafted' is a great, underrated book. I get frustrated that there aren't more of these smaller volumes being published.

I think part of the problem that most books that are currently published are typically huge, comprehensive, career-spanning overviews. I prefer smaller, focused, and powerful volumes like this one.

Another problem is that if a magician collects a handful of effects, it typically gets published as a download. Sure, there are advantages to downloads, but a huge advantage of fully published smaller volumes is that they require a strong belief in the material of more than one person to get them published: I prefer to pay more when I can be assured of quality.
Message: Posted by: Mark Ennis (Jul 6, 2010 12:53PM)
I agree with you mrehula. I also like the fact that Denis published effects that have been audience tested which is the ultimate test of the effectiveness of a routine. I am sure he tweaked things from his original effect and learned from the audience reactions.

Denis also takes advantage of some psychological techniques to add further layers of deception to the already strong routines. There is a lot of useful information packed into less than 100 pages.

I would also love to see more of these kinds of books.
Message: Posted by: phyxiouz (Dec 3, 2010 01:05AM)
Are the sleight in the book hard ?
Message: Posted by: discobungle (Sep 22, 2014 06:46AM)
Just speaking to "Brute Force Opening", I didn't think the sleights were terribly hard. Lots of Mem D stuff in there though.
Message: Posted by: mrehula (Oct 17, 2014 12:14PM)
I'd call the material intermediate, but the descriptions include valuable subtleties that are important in becoming an intermediate card worker. So this can be recommended to everyone.