Books

Secret Agenda – March 25 – Tent Vanish Subtlety

Secret Agenda – March 25 – Tent Vanish Subtlety

The Tent Vanish has always been a reliable sleight in the magician’s cupboard.  What’s more, it’s fun to do.

Using Roberto’s subtlety makes it even more fun to do.

Rather than just read today’s entry, pick up your deck and try it out (and yes, you’ll have to hunt down an additional Joker if your deck typically only has one, as mine does).  Do it!

Fun, huh?

(This could also be used in a Repeat Card to Pocket routine with good results.)

Secret Agenda – March 24 – Ten Favorite Little-Known or Little-Used Sleights

Secret Agenda – March 24 – Ten Favorite Little-Known or Little-Used Sleights

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m only vaguely familiar with a couple of these sleights, and I’ll need more than a day to visit (or revisit) the sources cited.  At the same time, I’m proud to say I own all the books listed.

Thank you Roberto, for giving me a nudge to reopen these tomes.

Secret Agenda – March 23 – Good and Better

Secret Agenda – March 23 – Good and Better

A very subtle lesson today, but one worthy of our attention.  Looking at our sleights from the audience’s point of view will provide opportunities to “tweak” our methods for the better.  This process of adjustment, done with the priority of strengthening our spectators’ perceptions, is a lifelong endeavor, and as long as we are careful with our attention, we’ll continue to improve, instead of remaining stagnant like so many mediocre performers.

Secret Agenda – March 22 – Fecther’s Slide Control

Secret Agenda – March 22 – Fechter’s Slide Control

For some reason it took a while to make sense of this description, and I place no blame on Roberto.  For the longest time I just couldn’t get it.  Finally, I made it work.  There’s a saying in Spanish, “No me llamó la atención.”  It just didn’t capture my attention.  If need be, I’ll double undercut the top card to the bottom and then do an overhand shuffle, retaining the bottom card.

Granted, it doesn’t fulfill the purpose that Roberto stated at the top of this entry, but I’m okay with that.

Secret Agenda – March 21 – Top Ten General Quotes

Secret Agenda – March 21 – Top Ten General Quotes

Hard to choose a favorite.  Ascanio, Picasso, Schweizer, Disney, and Arden.  These are my top five.

(And, I’ll admit, I’m still trying to understand Kant’s quote.)

Secret Agenda – March 20 – Double Lift Substitute

Secret Agenda – March 20 – Double Lift Substitute

Haven’t had a chance to try this for someone, yet.  But I like the thinking and, as part of a longer Ambitious Card routine, this would be a nice, clean sequence.  I’m not completely sold on the idea of lifting the deck up (twice!) so they can see their card on top, but this is a minor quibble, and reflects more on my idiosyncratic tendency to want to keep magical moments in a tight, visual “frame”.

I’ll try it out.

Secret Agenda – March 19 – A Not So Mathematical Contro

Secret Agenda – March 19 – A Not So Mathematical Control

I like Roberto’s thinking, especially as an example of the discipline required to spruce up boring (or rather, not too exciting) magic procedures.

As for this effect, I’d only perform it on somebody’s birthday.  And even then, I’d be hard pressed to not perform Simon Aronson’s “Happy Birthday” from Simply Simon (I’m a huge Aronson fan.)

But the lesson here still stands.  Find ways to interestingly justify crap.

Secret Agenda – March 18 – A Mathematical Control

Secret Agenda – March 18 – A Mathematical Control

I’m interested to see what Roberto comes up with tomorrow.  As it stands, I’d never do this.  But I’ve seen other people perform it (as a simple location) to mild response.

Secret Agenda – March 17 – Give It a Stab

Secret Agenda – March 17 – Give It a Stab

I’m getting rid of my cutting boards – this is the card stab routine I’ve been waiting for.  I’ll need to carry a Svengali deck around and I’ll have to practice my two-handed fan, but that’s a small price to pay for this genius routine.  Similar thinking has cropped up before, but nobody makes it read as well as Roberto.

Just a thought, and one that I’m sure Roberto has considered (and evidently dismissed):  if you wish to just use one deck – let it be the Svengali.  Use it to force your card, have it looked at and returned to the deck and then (false) shuffled.  Then do the stab.  Granted, this alters the trick slightly from an impossible divination to more of a location, but the fact that the spectator does the work insures it still plays strong.

On a separate note, I use a Svengali deck for a very strong “Card at Any Number” routine, using the presentational hook that the spectator is more magical than she thinks.  Despite shuffling a selected card into the deck, her intuition will allow her to locate the card by naming any number.  When the card is found at that location (either by removing exactly that many cards or at her number itself), she’s performed the magic, and I was just a facilitator.  It’s very effective.  But the idea of using a knife is more dramatic and makes this close-up effect play much bigger.

Secret Agenda – March 16 – Cyclic False Shuffle

Secret Agenda – March 16 – Cyclic False Shuffle

I’m always on the lookout for a good full deck false shuffle.

This one is great.  And it’s the first three words of this entry, “For lay audiences…” that really makes all the difference in the world.  I don’t care much about fooling magicians.  This shuffle will be completely deceptive for real world audiences.  I’m going to use it.

Two and a half months in, and I’ve already gotten more than my money’s worth with this book.  How about you?