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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » ASYMPTOTES. New book coming soon from Ben Blau (23 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Ben Blau
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You're welcome! Hope you enjoy it for years to come!
TazBo
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Can be pre ordered at Alakazam UK also:

http://www.alakazam.co.uk/product-Asympt......au-.html
BMWGuy
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Hey guys,

Alex here.

Thought I would chime in and recant my statement about the OOTW.

At first read, it didn't do it for me as I stated above.

But after Skyping with Ben, and having him perform it on me, even though I knew the method, I could see all the potential this OOTW has, making it the easiest OOTW, with no awkward moves.

After Skyping, I practiced it on myself, and it worked out very well, I then showed my wife the effect, and it passed the wife test. She says it was probably one of her favorite effects she has seen me do.

So with that said, I will continue to work this, but for now it will remain as part of my repertoire. Very easy, very fooling, especially for someone who hasnt seen OOTW.

Everything makes sense, patter and structure.

Thanks again Ben for Skyping with me and showing me this.

Myke was right, this routine is good, and baffling if you think back at how fair everything really is.

Alex Alejandro
PRESET by Alex Alejandro & Dan Harlan now available for a special introductory price!
Ben Blau
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Thanks, Alex. I totally understand how sometimes it's difficult to really see how a routine will play out in the real world just by reading it for the first time, and I very much appreciate you posting this.

Here's a quote from Myke Phillips regarding the OOTW:

"Ben Blau has the most baffling OOTW routine I have ever seen and it's the only one I use. If it's in the book, you're in for a treat, if not, you're in for a treat anyway."
Craig Logan
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So, I finally got a chance to see Ben perform a few selections from Asymptotes (his OOTW and Ishin Denshin among others). I must say they were all wonderful. They were layered, fooling, and most importantly entertaining. Great effects from a genuinely nice fellow. I cannot speak highly enough of his thinking in regards to mentalism. He seamlessly layers methods into the presentations in a way that is quite disarming. If you have the coin, I recommend you pick this up. When I have the coin, I most certainly will.

Cheers,
Craig
"A wizard is not to be made in a day." -Professor Hoffmann (Modern Magic)
pnerd
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Quote:
A couple of years ago, I released a video project ("The Ben Blau Project") that was very well-received. Two of the routines from that project are available for viewing on YouTube.

Where can I get this video project from?
.
Dapperdan
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Quote:
On Apr 15, 2016, pnerd wrote:
Quote:
A couple of years ago, I released a video project ("The Ben Blau Project") that was very well-received. Two of the routines from that project are available for viewing on YouTube.

Where can I get this video project from?
.


pnerd... If I were a forum "troll", I'd say "Google it!" or "Search the forum!". But, I'm not... so here is where you can find Ben's work:
http://www.patrickredford.com/benblauproject.html
Tada!...

.
Craig Logan
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I would also add that this download is great. Well worth the 30 bucks for a packed 3 hour download. You won't be disappointed.
"A wizard is not to be made in a day." -Professor Hoffmann (Modern Magic)
pnerd
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Quote:
On Apr 15, 2016, Dapperdan wrote:
pnerd... If I were a forum "troll", I'd say "Google it!" or "Search the forum!". But, I'm not... so here is where you can find Ben's work:
http://www.patrickredford.com/benblauproject.html

Thanks a lot.
.
Ben Blau
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I've received a shipment of books today. If you'd like to order one, please visit:

http://www.benblaumentalism.com/

I'm currently taking orders for the continental U.S. only.

Thanks!

-Ben
wilko7
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Hello all. I just wanted to chip in here. Since my original post a few weeks ago I have been working through the book. I was fortunate enough to have been sent a copy to read through prior to the release. All I can say is, you are in for a treat. It is full of workable, cleverly layered mentalism with cards. I have a few favourites from the book but I'm not going to go into too much detail. I'll leave it for you to all find your own favourites.
Sorry for this non review but I just wanted to document my praise for this great book.
Ben Blau
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Thanks, Wilko!


FYI folks, I'm almost sold out on my first three crates of books. More will be on the way soon, but if you want your copy early, please contact me
ASAP at the website in my signature.

-Ben
gillesA4
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Puliiize don't forget us, miserable overseas creatures...
Oh, all these coins on the floor, around me...
Ben Blau
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On Apr 19, 2016, gillesA4 wrote:
Puliiize don't forget us, miserable overseas creatures...


We have a printer in the UK who can ship to Belgium. In fact, we did this yesterday. Just PM me, and I'll give you the details.

-Ben
Daren
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Wish I would of known sooner about the UK printer, looks like I now need to wait until Murphys get them and then shipped across the pond, I'm sure it will be worth the wait though
Ben Blau
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Murphy's should have them any day now.
pancho247
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On Apr 10, 2016, TazBo wrote:
Can be pre ordered at Alakazam UK also:

http://www.alakazam.co.uk/product-Asympt......au-.html

When do you think they will have them in stock?
Ben Blau
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Many of the online vendors have sold out of their first stock of ASYMPTOTES during the preorder phase. They plan to have more stock available by May 4.

I have exactly two copies left in my personal inventory, although I have placed an order for another two crates of books (which should arrive any day now).

If you'd like to get a copy as quickly as possible, please place your order by visiting the website in my signature.

Thanks!

-Ben
Mike Ince
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“We are what we read,” said author David McCullough, as surely millions recognized before him. What we take into our eyes and ears shapes us, and we reflect the sum total of our experiences until we are reshaped by new ones. As a fan of Martin Gardner, Phil Goldstein, Paul Curry, and Eddie Joseph, Ben Blau features variations and perhaps a few improvements on published effects of those greats in his new book, ASYMPTOTES. If you aren’t familiar with those names yet (you probably ought to be), this book might compel you to read the magic books Ben’s been reading.

Ben clearly loves logic and hidden mathematics, appreciates self-working effects, and has a different skill set than an average sleight-of-hand guy might have. I don’t believe there’s a double-lift called for anywhere in this work. That’s not to say no sleights are required. The moves Ben teaches, which are conveniently described in the “Utilities” section located in the back pages, are easily within the reach of beginners. I learned new handlings of old sleights that I expect to use for years to come. There are plenty of helpful pictures provided along with the descriptions. For mysterious reasons I’ve developed a tremor in my left hand in the past year and I can’t even pinky count anymore, yet I had no trouble performing the necessary actions while reading these effects. Many of these routines required little more than an easy false cut and a motivated glimpse.

I received a review copy of ASYMPTOTES from the editor almost two weeks ago. I wanted to jump to a particular effect description immediately. Out of This World is my favorite card effect. I collect variations. When I read positive online comments about Ben’s routine called “A Pale Blue”, I wanted to see it.

There are compromises in all magic and mental effects – the key is to minimize them or make them invisible. “A Pale Blue” has the performer holding the deck. The handling is fair; there are no switches or suspicious movements, but it’s easier for the performer to follow the participant’s commands yet still maintain a degree of control. Perhaps it’s not quite as strong for that reason, as many of the best OOTW performances leave an impression that the performer didn’t handle the deck, but “A Pale Blue” has advantages over most other OOTW procedures. The deck is normal. At the outset, the cards can be legitimately shuffled by the participant then shown face-up to be mixed. There are no switches halfway through the dealing procedure, and there’s no “clean up” needed at the end. As great as all that is, the pace of the procedure can be a bit slower than, say, Eugene Burger’s handling of Grant’s “Nu-Way Out of This World”, so you’ll need to experiment until you find the right pace. I do like Ben’s work here.

Ben Blau’s card creations are mysteries crafted for the right moment. These effects weren't designed for strolling gigs. While I consider a few to be workers (“Con-Centration”, parts of “ESPilon”, maybe “Send it Down”, and an up-close magic square handling I’ll use called “Pocket Square”), others will fare better across the table in a coffee shop, after dinner, or in a time and place where your participants can slow down and savor the experience.

For example, “Sort of the Truth” is an alternate handling of Phil Goldstein’s “Out of Sorts”. During the routine, a card is thought of and removed by the participant under test conditions, then she adds it into a shuffled packet of fifteen or so cards. The cards are dealt, and she guesses which of four piles contains her card. This phase is repeated twice, and then she deals and the performer guesses its location correctly in the third and final phase, culminating with a surprise. (Mr. Blau wisely doesn’t explain how the effect works. If you really want to know, try it face-up and you’ll figure it out.) I showed this routine to my friend Julie, who's seen plenty of card effects, and she enjoyed guessing which pile held her card, maybe because she did well twice in a row and it confirmed what we already suspected: she's a psychic rock star. The next day my magician friend John guessed wrong many times during that phase, leaving him discouraged. He didn’t enjoy the routine as much. He complained that the procedure was just a bit too long, something I don’t think he would have said had he guessed right. As a reader, I enjoyed this self-working effect and I think you’ll enjoy performing it for yourself first, and then for others. Though based on Phil Goldstein’s effect, this morphed into something substantially different from the original in theme and handling. Judging by Max Maven’s brief but glowing forward of this book, I believe Mr. Goldstein would approve.

I want this to be a fair review, and I do have one or two complaints. Magic, mentalism, and mental card magic are best when they’re straightforward. Add procedure, especially unjustified procedure, and you risk killing wonder. For example, “ESPilon” is a three-phase Zener card routine. The procedure involved in Phase 3 of this effect is burdensome to the participant. I don’t care that Martin Gardner published it or that it’s self-working. It is not efficient. It requires the participant to do a quick counting process of seven cards, but repeated SIX TIMES. Maybe it’s just me, but it made me groan. It was like watching the 21-card-trick in Magician's Purgatory with my eyelids stapled open. I won’t use it. But Phases 1 and 2? Brilliant. I love them! It’s outstanding work, and those phases stand on their own. I don’t understand how the man who created the first two solid phases thought the third phase was worthy to follow them as written? I don't know about his audiences, but mine detest unnecessary labor almost as much as I do. I'll treat Phase 3 like the Star Wars prequels and pretend it never happened. If you own ASYMPTOTES, you might consider using equivoque in Phase 3 to help the participant find that one card out of seven in a fair and faster way. Again, maybe it really is just me. Whether you agree about the last phase, the author writes that you may conclude at the end of Phase 2, probably because it's so strong. There's no need to follow it.

At times the editor, Thomas Baxter, gives input for simplified, more straightforward handlings. Tom’s ending for “Creepfest” makes more sense to me. Simplify, simplify. Mr. Baxter’s handling of “Ishin-Denshin” helps avoid an anti-climactic ending. Ben made a great choice of editor in Tom Baxter, a seasoned, professional performer with a knack for problem-solving and technical writing.

Let's talk about tone. Sometimes it's relaxed and playful, sometimes it sounds a bit puffy (to me). In “Sort of the Truth”, the performer “asks a volunteer if he is familiar with the term, "double-blind" as it is used in scientific testing. He elaborates that for an experiment to be truly double-blind, even the experimenter himself must not be aware of the variable being tested.” I think one has to tread carefully explaining what double blind means without being patronizing. Explaining too little might be safer than presuming the need to explain a lot. Asking, “are you familiar with the term, 'double-blind'?", might come across as, “are you uneducated? Let me enlighten your simple mind.” I’d prefer the performer not to ask that question, but to embed his statement with a reminder. “This is a double-blind test, so neither of us should know the location of your card...”.

Don't be put off... there's strong material in this book. This isn't a perfect collection and I've never found one, but my few qualms aside, if you like mental card magic or mentalism with cards, this book contains strong examples of both. There are impossible locations (see “The Jackal”), ACAAN variations, including thought-of-card-to-thought-of-number demonstrations that would fool even you, a Ten Card Poker Deal worthy of your attention, predictions (I like “@” very much), as well as playful pieces like “Con-Centration” that will take you back to childhood games and dangle you upside down by your ankles. In the often heavy universe of mentalism, gravity can crush. A playful mindset is a good thing. Mr. Blau understands this.

There’s so much material in this book, and I’ve already written a lot. Trying to read this book over the last two weeks has been a challenge; there’s too much here, and I promised to post a review by the weekend. This review is not exhaustive. I can’t imagine your buying this book, reading it, and not getting your money’s worth. For me, “Pocket Square”, “@”, “A Pale Blue”, “Con-Centration”, “ESPilon”, and “Josephine” scratch the surface of the fine material I can see myself using. Even with my new (and hopefully temporary) physical disabilities in my left arm and hand, I’m confident I can do these. There are several effects I haven't addressed that I want to study more closely, as time permits.

ASYMPTOTES is a clearly written and unique collection of mental card effects from a creative mind with an appreciation for the arcane – Ben values subtlety over skill, and I enjoyed peering into this book to read his thoughts. If you’re into mental effects with cards, I think there’s something in this book for you.
The secret of deception is in making the truth seem ridiculous.
Ben Blau
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Thanks, Mike, for taking the time to post your initial impressions of ASYMPTOTES.

It's a LOT to read and ingest in just two weeks. Undoubtedly, some of the material will initially "speak" to you and your own performance sensibilities more than others.

It's very difficult to convey in writing the aspects of how I use my character and personality to overcome certain issues faced in performance, such as those you encountered when you performed "Sort Of The Truth" for your magician friend. The solution to the problem you faced is not in the instructions for the trick, and must be provided by the performer him/herself.

It is my hope that readers come to this book with that understanding.

I really appreciate your thoughtful feedback. On a personal note, I'd like to urge you to keep working on SOTT. Don't perform it for magicians (they view tricks with their own preconceptions and impose their own performance values on them). And the "wrong" guesses can be handled in such a way as to strengthen the premise, and make it not only fun for the audience, but all the more astonishing when the performer merely names the thought-of card at the end.

Thanks again, Mike!
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