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Topic: "Vindicator" - A mental card routine from Ben Blau
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jun 15, 2017 05:22PM)
Here's some footage of a routine I'm donating to Patrick Redford's next book, "Completely Out Of Order". The routine is called "Vindicator".

Hope you enjoy it.

https://youtu.be/jb1oz9qnR3o
Message: Posted by: Pasteboard Alchemist (Jun 15, 2017 10:04PM)
Very nice! Okay, I'm officially looking forward to the next book.
Message: Posted by: Nicolino (Jun 16, 2017 05:06AM)
Lovely thinking, and even better: it works with any stack!
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Jun 17, 2017 07:37AM)
VERY nice. :)

Some interesting presentational and routining possibilities immediately leapt to mind while watching this. The only thing I wonder is: What advantage is being offered when the routine involves the divination of a single playing card using a memdeck...when the stack is destroyed at the end. Is it worth it?

Regardless of this thought, I still think any participant would find this intriguing.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jun 17, 2017 12:04PM)
[quote]On Jun 17, 2017, Sudo Nimh wrote:
VERY nice. :)

Some interesting presentational and routining possibilities immediately leapt to mind while watching this. The only thing I wonder is: What advantage is being offered when the routine involves the divination of a single playing card using a memdeck...when the stack is destroyed at the end. Is it worth it?

Regardless of this thought, I still think any participant would find this intriguing. [/quote]

I destroy setups all the time. Ending clean is important to me, and if I'm performing a set with playing cards there are tons of routines I can follow up with that do not require a setup. Also, I carry a messenger bag with a few decks in it, each with a different setup. I like to perform one or two effects with cards, and then put the deck away (in the bag) to move on to non-card material. If I decide to return to the cards (which is frequent, because most people ask for me to do "one more thing"), I go back into the messenger bag and come out with a different deck, which they assume is the same one as before.

I personally have no specific need to maintain a stack throughout an entire performance, although there are many great ways of doing so. Patrick Redford's new book contains a ton of material that allows this.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jun 17, 2017 12:08PM)
Also -- if one is familiar with my material, you probably know that several of my routines utilize setups. Most of them are unique to the specific effect, so there is no single "universal" stack that I'd want to maintain, since I would find that limiting. I don't want my repertoire to be determined by the characteristics of one specific stack.
Message: Posted by: Waterloophai (Jun 17, 2017 01:26PM)
[quote]On Jun 17, 2017, Ben Blau wrote: I don't want my repertoire to be determined by the characteristics of one specific stack. [/quote]
Very wise words and congrats for vindicator.
Message: Posted by: Waterloophai (Jun 17, 2017 05:18PM)
[quote]On Jun 17, 2017, Sudo Nimh wrote:The only thing I wonder is: What advantage is being offered when the routine involves the divination of a single playing card using a memdeck...when the stack is destroyed at the end. Is it worth it? [/quote]

You wanna make an omelet, you gotta break some eggs.
Message: Posted by: Nicolino (Jun 18, 2017 04:00AM)
Or, as we Spaniards would say: [i]"Para hacer una tortilla hay que romper unos huevos".[/i]

This is just an innuendo to Waterloophai...and maybe to Ben, as well! :angel:
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Jun 18, 2017 07:23AM)
Hi Ben.

I hope you didn't take what I wrote as criticism - it certainly wasn't intended that way. I did say that I thought it was VERY nice. I have a set of guidelines that I go by when evaluating material to see if it's something I will add to my repertoire, and most of that criteria comes from my experience working in professional settings, where, if I am going to use a full deck memorized stack, I need to keep it intact if possible as I don't have time to reset it after every group or table. I'm not adverse to destroying it if needed - but it MUST be worth it. With the plethora of ways there are to go about revealing a mental selection using such a tool, I simply meant that I'd not had a chance to compare it up against other effects that accomplish the same result, that's all. Audiences don't often perceive certain subtle details that we "in the know" do. For me, any effect that requires a full deck stack is one thing. But if that same effect also destroys the stack, in my opinion, that *is* a con. Doesn't mean that it isn't worth doing, but it is a factor that needs to be considered when weighing out pros and cons, no? I'll give you a good example: Dani DaOrtiz's "Or Not" routine. It's an absolute show-stopper of an effect that allows for the revelation of THREE cards under exceedingly impossible conditions, and yet still manages to keep the deck intact.

Again, these are all considerations I make based on my own criteria.

Either way, I have quite enjoyed your previously released works and I look forward to your future offerings as well. I've also enjoyed what work I have seen from Patrick too, so for me, this is a "no-brainer" when it comes to purchasing it. :)
Message: Posted by: Waterloophai (Jun 18, 2017 08:29AM)
Hi Sudo Nimh,
My comment was not meant to be negative.
You are right when you write that a trick that destroys your MD is a "con".
It will always be a personal choice and decision if a particular trick is worth it or not.
And.... some tricks don't destroy your MD completely... :-)
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jun 18, 2017 10:28AM)
All opinions are welcome and appreciated. Each one of my thought-of card routines looks a little different, and seems to present different conditions. I like that. For example, Max Maven's masterpiece, "The Mockingbird" requires a semi-elaborate setup that is destroyed in the process of performing the routine. Yes, the end result is similar to other routines in which a thought-of card is divined. However, the ending of the trick is not what defines it. It's the journey the audience takes along with the performer.

This aligns with my position.

Ben
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jun 18, 2017 10:56AM)
Also, there's no reason to assume that Vindicator has to be the first trick you perform. Patrick has a metric sh!t ton on material in his new book that not only preserves a stack, but allows you to CREATE one in the context of doing other tricks.

:)

Ben
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Jun 18, 2017 07:02PM)
Hey Ben - agreed! Like I said, I just haven't had a chance to road test it yet, that's all. :)

And yes!, I am totally looking forward to what Patrick has got cooked up here - especially since this allows you to shift easily into NDO etc. Because from there, I can also shift quite easily into my preferred stack of choice - Mnemonica. I'm liking the versatility in options here and the ability to cherry pick.

@Waterloophai: No offense taken at all my friend - I was more worried that what I had wrote earlier might have offended anybody!

On another note: How refreshing it is to see a thread on the Café where people can respect and consider others opinions and be civil. I am somewhat amused by the fact that we all seem worried about offending one another here, if even in the slightest. :)


:dancing:
Message: Posted by: Patrick Redford (Jun 18, 2017 09:54PM)
Over the next couple of memorized deck releases I'll have a huge section on stacking any memorized deck in a couple of minutes under the noses of an audience while performing one effect. One of which would be a great follow up to this effect if you wanted to go that route. Again- we might be jumping the gun talking about all of this so quickly but Temporarily out of Order was never meant to be a one book project. It's intention was always to be at least three in the same format of the first.
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Jun 19, 2017 01:46AM)
Hey Patrick - quick question:

Will this ever be available in digital format?

I'm getting more and more excited about all of this - I dearly love memorized deck work.
Message: Posted by: mtgoldstein (Jun 19, 2017 02:46PM)
Aww go ahead Jump the Gun, Jump the Gun!!!! Some of the most exciting stuff has come out this year and it keeps leaping to higher and higher levels. And with due respect from all.
Message: Posted by: Nicolino (Jun 20, 2017 03:09AM)
[quote]On Jun 18, 2017, Sudo Nimh wrote:
I'll give you a good example: Dani DaOrtiz's [i]"Or Not" [/i] routine. It's an absolute show-stopper of an effect that allows for the revelation of THREE cards under exceedingly impossible conditions, and yet still manages to keep the deck intact. [/quote]
That's indeed a good and valid comparison. Given the overall length of both routines I tend to believe that [i]"Or Not"[/i] does tick the box here again as it has a certin entertainment factor by simultaneously involving a bunch of spectators.
Also, impact-wise they both are on par for me BUT this consideration also depends on who you perform for:
with [i]"Or Not"[/i] being straightforward it's well suited for an amaterish audience; apart from that it's dead easy in terms of technique.

[i]"Vindicator"[/i], on the other hand, has a more sophisticated approach in being more complex at core, and thus needs even better audience management than [i]"Or Not"[/i] . For a seasoned audience and/or other magicians, though, it's way more baffling and impossible looking. The repeated (and legitimate) shuffles still enhance this impression! That fact alone could be worth for many to destroy the stack after all.
Message: Posted by: Patrick Redford (Jun 20, 2017 09:33AM)
[quote]On Jun 19, 2017, Sudo Nimh wrote:
Hey Patrick - quick question:

Will this ever be available in digital format?

I'm getting more and more excited about all of this - I dearly love memorized deck work. [/quote]

I don't plan on that. Though all purchasers have access to part of the book in digital format after purchase just not the entire work.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jun 20, 2017 12:09PM)
I think Dani's "Or Not" is a fantastic piece. There is no reason not to love it.
Message: Posted by: Sebastian Oudot (Jun 20, 2017 06:00PM)
That's a great routine Ben.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jun 20, 2017 06:39PM)
[quote]On Jun 20, 2017, Sebastian Oudot wrote:
That's a great routine Ben. [/quote]

Thank you! I have some different ideas in terms of the specific handling that I might share at some point if people seem interested. Thanks for watching!

Ben
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Jun 20, 2017 07:09PM)
@ Patrick: Cool beans. I suspected that this was the case, but just thought I'd ask. Thanks!

BTW, I do LIKE this effect. I think some people may have misinterpreted what I was trying to get across. I was more or less thinking aloud. The point was simply that I'd not had a chance to road-test it yet in order to make comparisons - that's all. Anyways, I like the effect enough that I sent Ben a nice little presentational touch. :)

To add to that, if Patrick's idea for openly constructing a stack works as nicely as has been mentioned, then it would remove the only "niggle" I had - I will get around to ordering this eventually.
Message: Posted by: Claudio (Jun 21, 2017 07:59AM)
I think that [b]Vindicator[/b] would benefit from shortening the process between the card selection and its revelation. For wonderful, sleightless and stackless impossible locations effects, I recommend Steve Beam’s [b]SACT[/b] series.

Instead of parading as an impossible location effect, it’s possible to streamline [b]Vindicator[/b] and make it completely hands off.

The effect could read something like this:

A spectator cuts the deck into 3 packets, pockets the top card of one of the packets and reconstitutes the deck. Without asking any question or touching the deck , the performer, who had his back turned, reveals the selected card.

Basically it’s the same effect and procedure without the spurious shuffles and with no handling from the performer. No shuffling is required as the card is not in the deck anyway and the stack will be easy to put back together - if required.

In the scenario where the middle packet is chosen, like in the demo, a marked deck will tell you all you need to know, otherwise a simplistic sleight while casing the deck will.
Message: Posted by: Patrick Redford (Jun 21, 2017 10:00AM)
Again, no marked deck is needed. Even if performed the way you mentioned above.
Message: Posted by: Claudio (Jun 21, 2017 10:18AM)
I did not say a marked deck was required - as in the demo a p**k is all is needed and it's what I suggested in my original comment when I wrote "otherwise a simplistic sleight..." (rather than the obvious p**k demo'ed.) A stacked marked deck makes the effect completely hands off as the performer never touches the deck from start to finish.

I have not bought the effect, but the method is quite obvious to any magician who knows about the principle used. IMHO.

"Or Not" is not any more sophisticated either, but at least it's procedure free, or feels very much like it. Plus the performer does not ask any questions.

I like "Or Not" very much.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jun 21, 2017 10:58AM)
You'd be amazed by how many people I've shown this to immediately tumble to "use a marked deck". Also, it seems that a lot of magicians have a phobia of anything that requires time, an investment of attention, and using one's personality to keep the audience interested. My routines are long on purpose. I expect my audience to pay attention, because I am sharing something important with them.

Anecdote:

My favorite jazz pianist, Keith Jarrett, has been known to walk out on his own concerts if he feels that his audience isn't paying close enough attention. Too many people think of Jazz as background music. In reality, it's something incredibly important, and worthy of the undivided attention of its listeners. I have the same attitude about my mentalism. I'm not trying to be a snob, but I respect both the art and myself enough as a performer not to throw away my power for an inattentive and unappreciative audience. If I don't get the quality of attention I feel my performances deserve, I don't perform in the first place.

I understand the commercial requirements that some performers have, but they have little to do with why I perform mentalism, and how I structure my routines. The obsession with shortening everything is not one that I share. Believe me, the majority of the hate mail I receive comes from magicians who complain about the length of my performances. If you don't like it, I have no problem with that. Knowing someone's card is trivial. Use your favorite method.

Ben
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jun 21, 2017 11:06AM)
And, as far as the method being obvious to magicians, that is something that has never been an important consideration for me. Although I am capable of fooling magicians, I see it as a fruitless endeavor.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jun 21, 2017 12:33PM)
By he way folks, I don't recommend performing Vindicator until you see or read the explanation. There are some variables that can occur which require a slightly modified handling depending on certain choices the participant makes. Patrick has the explanation footage. I'd like to see it myself (even though I was the one explaining it), but I never got the chance to look at the playback.

!!!

:rotf:
Message: Posted by: carlyle (Jun 21, 2017 12:45PM)
I liked the trick quite a bit, thanks for the video.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jun 21, 2017 01:30PM)
[quote]On Jun 21, 2017, carlyle wrote:
I liked the trick quite a bit, thanks for the video. [/quote]

Very kind of you to watch. I appreciate it very much!

❤️

Ben
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Jun 21, 2017 02:10PM)
[quote]On Jun 21, 2017, Ben Blau wrote:
Although I am capable of fooling magicians, I see it as a fruitless endeavor. [/quote]

This. 100% agreement from me on that sentiment. :)
Message: Posted by: John Nesbit (Jun 25, 2017 03:39AM)
[quote]On Jun 20, 2017, Ben Blau wrote:
[quote]On Jun 20, 2017, Sebastian Oudot wrote:
That's a great routine Ben. [/quote]

Thank you! I have some different ideas in terms of the specific handling that I might share at some point if people seem interested. Thanks for watching!

Ben [/quote]

Yes, eagerly awaiting this one. The wait does seem rather daunting at this point. I'm sure that it will be worth it. I'm going to have to make due with what I've got already.
John
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jun 25, 2017 12:48PM)
Incidentally, Patrick has my blessings to release the explanation footage at any time he pleases. But since I gave this effect to him, it's his decision ultimately.
Message: Posted by: fasr eddie (Jun 25, 2017 03:21PM)
Great construction on this one Ben
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jun 25, 2017 07:41PM)
[quote]On Jun 25, 2017, fasr eddie wrote:
Great construction on this one Ben [/quote]

Thank you so very much!

❤️
Message: Posted by: adiabaticman (Jun 25, 2017 07:56PM)
Very nice effect Ben. I remember you shared a demo of this sometime back. I really like it.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jun 25, 2017 09:02PM)
[quote]On Jun 25, 2017, adiabaticman wrote:
Very nice effect Ben. I remember you shared a demo of this sometime back. I really like it. [/quote]

I did! I was a little more relaxed in that demo, but I made a few minor changes since filming it and the audio quality was poor. I wasn't thrilled with my performance on the current video, to be honest. I'm a little camera shy during a formal filming, and tend to stammer when I'm nervous. Sorry about that. Hopefully it wasn't too distracting. I also insisted on doing only one take. It would have been dishonest to do it any other way.

Ben
Message: Posted by: adiabaticman (Jun 25, 2017 10:24PM)
Ben, I think the performance in this new demo was perfectly fine. No nervousness was apparent. I think that feeling of nervousness (if any) is only internal. I feel the same when I give talks at work. Other people say they didn't notice anything when I feel I was very nervous. I guess we sometimes evaluate ourselves more strictly than others.
Message: Posted by: John Nesbit (Jun 25, 2017 10:37PM)
[quote]On Jun 25, 2017, Ben Blau wrote:
Incidentally, Patrick has my blessings to release the explanation footage at any time he pleases. But since I gave this effect to him, it's his decision ultimately. [/quote]

The last he told me on Sat. that was he holding onto it.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jun 25, 2017 11:24PM)
[quote]On Jun 25, 2017, adiabaticman wrote:
Ben, I think the performance in this new demo was perfectly fine. No nervousness was apparent. I think that feeling of nervousness (if any) is only internal. I feel the same when I give talks at work. Other people say they didn't notice anything when I feel I was very nervous. I guess we sometimes evaluate ourselves more strictly than others. [/quote]

Here's a tip on dealing with performance nerves. I call it "scripting relaxation". I write scripts. In addition to the words, I include things like facial expressions, blocking, as well as specific reminders to myself to actively try to relax at specific moments during the performance. In addition to that, I have a secret inner ritual I carry out just before I begin any presentation. It's an inner mantra, consisting of a single word. The word is "Commit". I relax as I repeat this word several times over and over again in my mind. I find it to be incredibly helpful. Problem is, sometimes I forget to do it. And when I do forget, my performances always turn out worse than what I'm capable of. This was the case for the Vindicator video I shot with Patrick. I was preoccupied with things that shouldn't have distracted me, such as whether or not there was enough free space on his camera SD cards to keep me from having to start over.

But, again, what I put out and want people to see is all done in the spirit of honesty. The performance was "just okay" from my point of view.

Ben
Message: Posted by: landmark (Jun 26, 2017 01:18PM)
Ben, thanks. As always your careful attention to scripting and performance increases the impact quite a bit.

You mentioned that people accuse you of using a marked deck in the trick. As with much of Aronson's and other memdeck material, the problem is often how to disprove the notion of marked cards [i]in performance[/i]. Proving afterwards is much weaker, in my opinion.

I think a future script might point out that when s/he turns over the packet with the selection that "even if I were peeking now, even if the cards were marked, there's no way I could read the back or front of your card. And for good measure, shuffle your packet, so I wouldn't even know what card to look at if I could!"

People don't even really know how using marked cards works--you can help them to understand and then dispel it as a solution for them at the very same time.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jun 26, 2017 02:05PM)
Thanks, Landmark. I generally prefer not to verbally introduce the idea in the first place. I'd rather have people think that I have no idea what marked cards are in the first place. As well, I like to rule out as much as possible in the audience's mind via structure. In this routine, a marked card (in the spectator's mind) wouldn't help me, because I never see the front or back of their selection. The magicians who watch this often suggest using marked cards not to identify the selection itself, but rather the indicator that cues it. Besides, if I'm performing for strangers with my own deck, I give it to them to keep when I'm done. That is good enough for me.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Jun 26, 2017 02:25PM)
Yes, you are congruent enough that it could well be that you're a guy who happens to have some cards, rather than a card guy. After that, it's a matter of balance between keeping your assumed naivete and dispelling possible solutions. I can appreciate that your performance style can lean towards the former effectively.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 3, 2017 07:47PM)
I've finally seen the explanation footage. I think it has more to offer than the performance video. Only Patrick has the power to decide how and when this will be released. I think it turned out particularly well, and am personally eager to share it. Let's hope Patrick comes up with something that makes us all happy!

Ben
Message: Posted by: willmagicman (Aug 1, 2017 06:02AM)
I really enjoyed watching you perform Vindicator Ben, great stuff, I'm well impressed. You looked far from nervous to me. I'm a musician [among other things] and I'm mostly never satisfied with any recording that I do in the studio. I think it's just knowing that I'm being recorded that puts me off a bit. Anyway, your performance was great, and I like your remarks about not letting a particular s**k dictate what your routine is going to be. The word 'Flexibility' springs to mind.

Will.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Oct 17, 2017 10:45AM)
Patrick Redford has just officially released the explanation footage, which includes a lot of subtleties and valuable insights for this routine. It can be viewed for free if you’re a member of his “Tempirarily Out Of Order” Facebook group, or my own “Ben Blau Mentalism” group.

FYI,

Ben
Message: Posted by: Doctor D (Oct 18, 2017 07:38AM)
I'll admit that, even though I was aware of the main modus operandi, I was clueless has to how you actually obtained the information needed. Thanks for sharing, Ben.
Message: Posted by: JBSmith1978 (Oct 21, 2017 05:40PM)
Very well constructed!

Best,
Jed
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Oct 25, 2017 01:25PM)
Thank you! I also have a borrowed-deck impromptu version (called “Jackal Lantern”) that I’ll be teaching in my next project. It plays out almost the same. Some would say even more fairly. 😈
Message: Posted by: MrEmagic (Nov 10, 2017 07:25AM)
I've been performing this effect over the last couple of weeks, and not only does it get great reactions but I also really like performing it!

Will the impromptu version be included in Completely Out Of Order?
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Nov 12, 2017 10:41AM)
[quote]On Nov 10, 2017, MrEmagic wrote:
I've been performing this effect over the last couple of weeks, and not only does it get great reactions but I also really like performing it!

Will the impromptu version be included in Completely Out Of Order? [/quote]

An impromptu version will be in my next book. Glad to hear you’re enjoying it!

Ben
Message: Posted by: Chris03 (Nov 12, 2017 11:17AM)
Your next book ? Good new...what is its name and when do you think it will be published ?
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Nov 14, 2017 05:56AM)
[quote]On Nov 12, 2017, Chris03 wrote:
Your next book ? Good new...what is its name and when do you think it will be published ? [/quote]

My publisher and I are currently discussing possible titles. I don’t have a specific release date, but if you enjoyed ASYMPTOTES I think you’ll like this one even more.

Thanks for your interest! It’s still off a little ways, but I’m making progress and will keep everyone posted.

Ben
Message: Posted by: Chris03 (Nov 15, 2017 04:11PM)
Yes I enjoyed "Asymptotes" and I am waiting for your next book.
Message: Posted by: Pasteboard Alchemist (Nov 16, 2017 07:08PM)
Even better than Asymptotes? Sign. Me. The. Hell. Up.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Nov 17, 2017 10:33PM)
[quote]On Nov 16, 2017, Pasteboard Alchemist wrote:
Even better than Asymptotes? Sign. Me. The. Hell. Up. [/quote]

That’s the plan! 😈