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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » I am a member of a magic society now! (very long post) (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Lord Anacho
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Kessel-Lo, Belgium
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Hi everyone

Friday before last, I performed for the first time in 25 years. My audience was a group of 8 magicians, some beginners, some (very) experienced, and this was to be my entrance exam for club membership. I was on after the meeting break. Somewhat apprehensively I had informed the chairman earlier that I thought I was going to be on for more than 30 minutes. Afraid to outstay my welcome I asked him if that was OK. I also proposed to give two demonstrations of basic techniques after my act, just to show that I wasn't a 'tourist'; but I left it up him to decide at the appropriate time if I could go on with these demonstrations or if I should call it a day. After all, it had been 25 years and I hadn't got a clue about audience reception of an act. They might be interested, they might be bored to death. So he had to decide if I could continue or not.

I had prepared an act of six card tricks, more or less unified around a single theme. From the onset, I had informed the chairman, that this was not going to be 6 quickies. I proposed to do parlour magic and I intended to take my time with the effects.

I am not at 50 posts yet, so I cannot discuss methods, only effects. But I would be proud to tell you a bit about my thinking. And I have been thinking, toying and tampering with this act for some 4 to 5 months now. My basic idea was that I made it a point of honour to use beginners tricks only. I am a firm follower of Henning Nelms and wanted to use this entrance exam act to make some points on what I think is important in magic. From a practical standpoint and experience-wise I am a total beginner. But I have read and thougth about magic quite a bit.

0. Introduction to the act
Two decks are introduced. Spectator from the audience is given free choice of one of them, so he can 'practice his card handling skills' while I go about my act. I make it clear that at the end I will retrieve the deck for a last effect.

1. Opener: The Ethereal Fluidum.
EFFECT: This is a single card location effect. Spectator (no stooge) is called upon the stage. He selects a single card (no force, no glimpse). It is cut into the deck by him (no control). Deck is given to 'the most experienced manipulator of the magic club' and he shuffles the deck to his heart content. He also examines the deck to make sure is is 'ungaffed'. Card is then located by me.
PRESENTATION: At the beginning of the effect I have made a little wager with the spectator. If I locate his card he pays me a drink, otherwise I pay him a drink. If I win I will order something cheap. If he wins, he can order champagne.
I claim that under the conditions described above, there is no magician's technique to identify the card, so I will have to use an occult technique. Occultism teaches that people have different bodies besides physical one. Ethereal body is body of life force. His handling of the chosen card has left some of his ethereal fluidum, his life force on the card and I am trained to detect that. Cards are dealt face up. Chosen card passes without me noticing. Some cards further I claim to have felt the ethereal fluidum, ask spectator if the wager is still on, because the next card I turn over will be his card. I then pull out the chosen card from the spread and turn it face down. Of course I tell spectator that since I ‘played him’ he needn’t pay me the drink, I’ll pay him one for being a nice volunteer (but no champagne. I did win after all).
CREDITS: The initial idea came from a trick called the Know-All-Turnover in Marvin Kaye’s excellent beginner’s book ‘The Complete Magician’. I changed both the method (one-way back pattern in Kaye’s book) for identifying the card and the theme. The trick (with the gag of ‘Continuing dealing beyond the chosen card’) is also in Mark Wilson’s Complete Course where the key card principle is used.
COMMENTS: I needed a moderate fast trick to open with. I also wanted to make this as unfathomable for a magician’s gathering as I could. I know that they are supposed to judge me on my ability to present a simple trick for a laymen’s audience in a entertaining way; but I couldn’t resist setting my sights higher. I wanted to leave them guessing as to my method. And I succeeded. Only one guy figured it out. But then again, he was the most experienced magician present. Actually, he is one of the reasons I chose that particular club. I want to benefit from his experience.

2. The Astral Projection
EFFECT: This is a double card location effect. Second spectator is invited to assist. They both get half the deck. I am blindfolded (genuine). They each shuffle their half deck, turn it face up, remember the value of the bottom card, ignoring the suit. From top of deck they deal as many cards face down in a single pile as the value they have remembered. Top card of dealt pile is turned over and committed to memory. Cards in hands of spectators are placed on ‘table’ pile of other spectator. Piles are assembled. Blindfold is discarded. I locate both cards by dealing them face up. Card of first spectator is located with a little trouble. Remainder of deck is ribbon spread face down and second card is pushed out of the spread without me seeing the faces.
PRESENTATION: Again I claim that these are impossible conditions. So I will need to use another technique from the occult. Second occult body is astral body where imagination resides. I ask spectators to visualize their card and project the image to me. Cards are dealt face up. After some time, I ask if a chosen card has been dealt. As this is the case I have to confess defeat. Apparently I was overconfident in reading two astral projections at the same time. So I ask the spectator whose card hasn’t been dealt to stop ‘sending’ the card to me. I only concentrate on the first spectator’s astral projection and locate the card. To ‘redeem my honour’ even as a beginner I wish to make it harder on me to find the second guy’s card. Cards are spread face down. As I cannot identify the card from the back even if I receive his astral projection, I need an extra aid, this being a magic wand. Second card is succesfully pushed out of the spread.
CREDITS: This trick is called ‘Olympian Vision’ and is again out of Marvin Kaye’s book. It is actually a much older effect called ‘Eyes of the Gods’, with an extra twist by Marvin Kaye.
COMMENTS: This completely self working trick gives an opportunity to concentrate on the acting. Biggest problem is that there is a lot of card dealing and counting going on, which is a bore in a parlour magic environment. I must ask the first spectator to deal the card into two exact equal piles. I try to cover this by using the time he divides the cards, by selecting the second spectator to assist me. The blindfold is totally optional but gives the effect a somewhat bigger grandeur. I place myself into the audience to be blindfolded and give my instructions from there. This also opens up the effect spatially.
To demonstrate that God is in the details (or as Dai Vernon said: Perfection is in the details): I forgot a single patter line. When they look at the top card of their table piles and I ask them to remember that card and show it to the audience, I forgot to add: “don’t get it confused with the first card” (the one on the bottom of their pile whose value gave them the number of cards to deal on the table). And according to Murphy’s law: one of the spectators did just that. He was only on the lookout for that bottom card and when I asked if anyone had seen his card yet, he didn’t react. And I knew it had been dealt. The funny thing is that 25 years ago when I first dabbled in magic I would have died on stage. Now for some reason I remained calm, passed my hand slowly over the dealt cards (recounting them unobtrusively, those familiar with the effect will know what I’m talking about). I pushed out the card that ‘had’ to be his, and then he acknowledged his error. Of course I was quick to take the blame (as he was my honoured guest). The advantage of dramatising the trick however gives you a reasonably good ‘out’. You can simply claim that you were unable to receive his astral projection and then continue on the other guy’s card. As it happened, the first guy did acknowledge his card, so the double location was succesful.

3. The Third Occult Body
EFFECT: This is a triple location effect. A third spectator is invited to join. He is given the deck and is asked to deal the cards one at a time to the other two spectators and to himself. I turn away, and ask each of them to look at and remember their top cards. I reassemble the deck and very quicky locate all three cards.
PRESENTATION: The theme here is the third occult body: the Mental Body where all paranormal faculties reside. I claim to use clairvoyance to find their cards and ask them not to forget their cards of course, but to refrain from astral projection as otherwise it would not be a demonstration of clairvoyance, but just another thought-reading demo. So on the count of three I order them to start NOT thinking about their cards. I produce the cards chiding them (very friendly) that they failed to ‘blank’ their minds and that I received their thoughts. The experiment failed after a fashion because it wasn’t clairvoyance. Of course – again – I quickly take the blame, telling them that it is difficult for them: all these people on stage, me constantly talking, the first guy having to remember his third card in a row, etc.
CREDITS: This is the very first trick in Paul Clive’s book: Card Tricks Without Skill. It is called ‘Three Odd Heaps’.
COMMENTS:
I wanted to use beginner’s tricks. But this one gave me some trouble. Not with the method, which is incredibly simple, but with the presentation. After all; just pulling the three chosen cards out of the deck isn’t very dramatic. After playing with these 6 tricks in my head for many, many weeks, I got my brainwave. I am going to tell them they cannot concentrate on their cards, and then find the cards, chiding them (friendly) for not blanking their minds. It was only at this time in the development of the act that the theme of the three occult bodies was born.
By now the structure of the act will be apparent. Beginning with leaving a red herring (the deck given to a spectator ‘to practice’). Then locating one card with one spectator; locating two cards with two spectators and locating three cards with three spectators. As it is becoming a little crowded on stage, I need to start sending the spectators back to their seats. In reverse order of their appearance, I will dismiss them, sending each one away with a quick effect.

5. The Magical Toadstone
EFFECT: Spectator who last joined the stage is sent away first with quickie. He shuffles the deck, cuts in half and gives one halve to me. Both myself and spectator choose a card and put it on top of half deck. Halves are assembled, cut a number of times and both cards are found side by side in deck.
PRESENTATION: Since we are apparently ‘in a occult realm’ I will endeavour to present a truly magical effect. I present an odd looking stone, which I claim to be a toadstone that has magical properties. When we both shuffle our half deck, I shuffle mine keeping it in contact with the toadstone. After we both have selected a card and brought it to the top, I proceed to draw the ‘Sigil of Salomon’ with the toadstone, first on my card, then on his. Halves are assembled and I cut the deck three times whilst in contact with the toadstone. Then the deck is spread between the hands and both our cards are found side by side.
CREDITS: This is again out of Paul Clive’s “Card Tricks Without Skill” and is called ‘The Cuckoo Mates’ (trick n°. 3 if memory serves). The addition of the toadstone is borrowed almost literally out or Henning Nelms’ “Magic and Showmanship” where it is featured in the trick ‘The Singular Singletons’.
COMMENTS: Here the greatest problem was not with the trick, but with attention management. There are three guys on stage and I am going to do a private effect with one of them a bit to the side of the stage. My problem is that the other two spectators might start fidgeting, moving about, perhaps even talking to one another. This might attract the audience’s attention, when I want I to be on me and the third spectator. I can’t very well control those two guys since I am working the effect on the third spectator. My solution to this was to have the third spectator shuffle the deck and in the meantime I get two chairs to seat the other two guys. Being seated they will be confined to one space. Having carefully read Henning Nelms I placed the chairs in such a way that their lines of vision converged on the spot where I would be doing the third effect. If someone from the audience would look at one of them, he would be inclined to follow their line of vision and his gaze would be redirected to the correct spot where I was doing the effect.

5. Three Chances for Two Guys
EFFECT: The spectator who came on second is now going to be sent away, also with a quickie. He selects a card from the deck. Card is lost in the middle. I try to find the card using three chances and I fail. Since he is also a magician, he can have a go too. I give him an indifferent card to be used as a locator. Deck is riffled and spectator inserts his card in the deck, hopefully exactly there where his selected card is located. Selected card is neither above or below the locator card. Then it is discovered that the locator card, still in the spectator’s hand is actually the selected card !
PRESENTATION: As things are getting ‘a bit spooky’, I propose to leave these occult things alone and do a simple conjuring trick. After all, this isn’t a spiritualists assembly, it is a magicians society. As I am a beginner in conjuring, I ask for three chances to find his card. When I fail to locate it, I propose him to try locating his card in a magical way; and as I had three chances I offer three chances also. I tell he will use an indifferent card called a ‘Google’-card as a search engine. This card is used to locate his card by inserting it in the deck when I riffle it. The selected card is not above or below the ‘Google’-card. I ask him what the card was and when I start searching for it in the deck he discovers that the Google-card has changed into his selected card.
CREDITS: One more out of Paul Clive’s magnificent book. This is an effect by Paul Rosini. Admittedly, this is not out of the beginner’s section.
COMMENTS: The previous trick was blocked to take place on stage right. I blocked my act such that this trick takes place on stage left. This is not entirely according to the rules taught by Henning Nelms. As you reach the end of the act, you should occupy areas on the stage that are each stronger –attention wise– than the previous one. As stage left is not as strong as stage right I seem to have blocked things backwards by putting my one but last effect on this stage area. The reason I did this was because of my technical inadequacies ! I needed to hold a break in the deck and by being on stage left in a left 3-quarters profile with the spectator on my right, it was easier to conceal my (large) break. Hey, shoot me… I’m a beginner…
The theme of a ‘Google’-card came up on the very last stage of the construction of this act and is not really worked out well. I like the theme of imitating a computer search engine as a means to locate a card though and I will surely tax my creativity to come up with a better effect using this theme.

6. The 1001st Method
EFFECT: This is a Do-As-I-Do variation. With one spectator left on stage, I let him retrieve the deck that was given out in the beginning of the act. Decks are repeatedly shuffled and exchanged. The spectator and myself each select a card, bring it to the top. Decks are placed on the table and both selected cards are placed face down in front of the deck. When the top card of my deck is turned over it has apparently changed into the selected card of the spectator. To conclude, when the top card of the spectator’s deck is turned over it has changed into my selected card.
PRESENTATION: When both selected cards are placed face down on the table, I tell the spectator that –as a magician– he must surely know a 1000 ways to discover a selected card. I endeavour to show him the 1001st method. To identify a selected card all I have to do is to make a magic gesture above the top card of my deck and it will change into his selected card. I do so and lo and behold the top card of my deck is indeed the same as his selected card. I then instruct him to do the magic gesture over his deck and indeed, the top card of his deck is found to be the same as my selected card.
CREDITS: This is out of “Ted Annemann's Full Deck of Impromptu Card Tricks” and is called ‘An Easy Lesson’ and is attributed to Martin Gardner. Many thanks to Marko of The Learned Pig Project where I discovered this little gem.
COMMENTS: Another fast effect to bring my act to a close. My initial idea was to do the most basic of Do as I Do effects as a silent trick. Doing everything in pantomime, I would try to make the spectator do as I do. Buth when I stumbled upon this little beauty I couldn’t resist to drop my initial idea and do this instead.
I also came up with a handling to select the card. I let the spectator make a fan of the cards, select a card and outjog it out of the fan. He then must close the fan, strip out the outjogged card and put it on top. This is to prevent him from simply cutting the deck at the selected card, bringing it to the top at this way. This would of course ruin the trick. For consistency, in trick n° 4 I also had the spectator use this handling to select his card.
This act seems to go against the general adage “Never do your final trick with a spectator on stage”. But I had my reasons as you will see as you read on.

TWO BASIC DEMONSTRATIONS

After the act I thanked the volunteer and sent him to his place asking for a big round of applause. I started cleaning up the cards, pattering that this was the end of the act. Unless… I turned to the chairman and asked him if there is still time to show a little something. As I gathered from audience reaction I had good reasons to believe I was going to be allowed to continue. The chairman seemed eager. So I retrieved a chair, made myself comfortable in front of the gathering, took one of the decks and told them that doing a few card tricks does not make one a magician. After all who doesn’t know a couple of card tricks ? Just to prove to them that I wasn’t a tourist, but that I was genuinely interested in magic and that I had already studied the art, I was going to give them two demonstrations of basic techniques. Not to show of my skill, which I confessed was limited, just to show them that I was serious about the art. After all, I told them, there is at least one magic society in Belgium that requires from apprentice members that they MUST be able to do the Double lifts, the Elmsley Count, the Paddle Move and a host of other things or they can not be accepted as a member (This is actual fact by the way).

I then proceeded to my first demonstration
DOUBLE LIFTS
I get out the Ace of Spades from the deck and demonstrate four variations of the Double Lift. One out of Mark Wilson’s Course, one out of the 2nd series of Jean Hugard Card Manipulations and which is attributed to Dai Vernon; then a technique the origin of which I cannot remember but which I believe to have read about in a Lewis Ganson book (this technique I explain in detail before demonstrating it in performance speed), and at the end a personal variation inspired by something Fred Kaps said and which I read about in Gerald Edmundson’s book “The Ostrich Factor”.
As it happens the demonstration goes exceedingly well.

I put the chair away and come back to the table for my second demonstration
CARD FORCES
I ask the chairman to name a card from the deck to use as an example. I then demonstrate my personal variations of four basic card forcing techniques, each time forcing the card the chairman has named. Demonstrated are: The Cross-Cut force, the Top Count Of, an elaborate way of my own devising where several times piles of cards are chosen (without Magician’s Choice) to arrive at the forced card and at the end a Classic Force.
This also goes exceedingly well.

Then I drop my bombshell.

I remind them of that magic society that requires its aspiring members to master all the aforementioned techniques. I state (and I believe this fully) that this is nonsense. Though these techniques are fine weapons in the magician’s arsenal; by no means, mastery of these techniques makes someone a magician. All a magician must be able to do is to present an illusion of the impossible in an entertaining way and that the real craft of a conjuror is to affect the audience’s thinking. When he can do that I don’t give a toss about his methods. I then confess to them that all I wished to show in my two basic demonstrations was not my ability to handle these techniques (double lift and forces) but to show them I can affect their thinking.
Because I didn’t do a single double lift during the demonstration… At the end of my six card trick act when I sent the last spectator to his seat and started ‘cleaning up’, I made use of everyone relaxing their attention (show was over) to steal a six card stack from a jacket pocket and to add that to the bottom of the deck. The stack consisted of 4 Ace of Spades cards with two indifferent cards in between. So each time I demonstrated a double lift in performance speed, I took an Ace of Spades from the stack and put it top of the Ace of Spades that was on top of the deck ‘I’ll cover the Ace with an indifferent card’… Wasn’t hard to do very clean double lifts then !
The same with my demonstration of ‘different’ methods of forcing cards. When I put the chair away after the DL demo, I make a deck switch. From an inner jacket pocket I get out a one way forcing deck. Very easy to do different variations of forcing then ! Even my classic force worked like a charm... At the end I do another deck switch, dumping the one way forcing deck and stealing a plain deck with the force card missing, ending clean. Of course I was in cahoots with the chairman when I asked him to name any card from the deck !
There was more to these demonstrations than my brief description here. I added a lot of psychological subtleties. Again, not to show how very clever I am, but rather to show them that I had read my Henning Nelms quite well, and to prove them that the real secret of magic is not in the devices we use, but in the way we affect the audience’s mind.

As all this took place in a very small room, with the guys sitting almost in a half circle around me, some of the boys at the ends spotted the deck switch. But everyone was suitably impressed to allow me membership of the magical society.

Hard work has prevailed.

What amazed me most in this entire entrance exam thingie was this. I had expected to be very nervous. It had been 25 years since I performed and I had a tough audience. Not tough in the way they wanted to see me fail, but tough to deceive. However to my great surprise and neverending delight, I noticed that I was really enjoying performing. It felt grand to be on a stage again and to entertain people. Magic really is fun!

Ciao for now

Erik Arfeuille (proud member of the Lucky Ring)
"The secret impresses no one. The trick you use it for is everything" (Alfred Borden in The Prestige)
mrunge
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Charleston, SC
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Congratulations...job well done!

Mark. Smile
Dave V
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Las Vegas, NV
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Congratulations! I love the "Bombshell" part. Keeps the old guys who think they know everything on their toes.
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
Lord Anacho
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Kessel-Lo, Belgium
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Thanks Dave

Love your signature quote BTW

Erik
"The secret impresses no one. The trick you use it for is everything" (Alfred Borden in The Prestige)
Father Photius
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Sounds like you did a great job. Congratulations.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
MDew
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Sydney, Australia
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Lord Anacho, congratulations on your new membership. I wish you all the best in the future for your magic!
The Amazing Noobini
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Oslo, Norway
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Great story! I read it with great interest since your situation is somewhat similar to my own. I have so far decided not to join any local magic society as it is a bit expensive and I cannot really see what it could give me that the Internet couldn't do better. But your sound like a serious circle what with auditions and all. You have every reason to be proud of yourself now!
"Talk about melodrama... and being born in the wrong part of the world." (Raf Robert)
"You, my friend, have a lot to learn." (S. Youell)
"Nonsensical Raving of a lunatic mind..." (Larry)
Lord Anacho
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Kessel-Lo, Belgium
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Thanks Noobini

Don't entirely agree with the "Internet can do better" thingie. But I can understand if cost is an issue.

Ciao for now

Erik
"The secret impresses no one. The trick you use it for is everything" (Alfred Borden in The Prestige)
The Amazing Noobini
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What I meant by the Internet doing better is that if a magic circle has meetings maybe 5 times during a year and you suspect that as a shy new guy you'll be sitting at the back listening to arguments over who is to be re-elected as cashier for the next year and so on, you get a lot more from talking to people here and buying a book or DVD every now and then.

Here the circle has an extensive library, but so do I at home. They publish a newsletter but it isn't likely to be as plentiful as Genie Magazine or something like that. There are seminars and such each year, but it's not free. It's a business and in terms of economics, one might get more for one's money on the internet.

Then again I might be completely wrong.

If it was like the old gentlemens' clubs you can find in Victorian literature or some sort of secret society with special rings, I would want in. Smile

EDIT: You seem a lot more pro than I am, so clearly a magic circle is a lot more relevant to you than a noob like me. Actually, I don't know why I opened my mouth to begin with come to think of it.
"Talk about melodrama... and being born in the wrong part of the world." (Raf Robert)
"You, my friend, have a lot to learn." (S. Youell)
"Nonsensical Raving of a lunatic mind..." (Larry)
Bob Sanders
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Erik,

Congratulations!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

AmazedWiz@Yahoo.com http://www.magicbysander.com/
Andy the cardician
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A street named after my dad
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Nice job
Cards never lie
Cyar
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Congrats and thank you for taking the time to post the details of your routine. Very helpful for a newbie like myself.
I told those f***s down at the league office a thousand times that I don't roll on Shabbos!
Cyar
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Congrats and thank you for taking the time to post the details of your routine. Very helpful for a newbie like myself.
I told those f***s down at the league office a thousand times that I don't roll on Shabbos!
Vegasvent
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Definitely a big Congratulations.
Magical Phil-Kidzshow, LLC

"My Wife says that either all of my Stuff goes, or she does......" "Boy, I'm sure gonna miss her cookin'."
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