Secret Agenda

Secret Agenda – March 15 – The Goldin Pass

Secret Agenda – March 15 – The Goldin Pass

What isn’t made clear in the description of this interesting pass is the direction that the packets are turned over.

For example, in one variation, I can turn each packet over right-to-left (like a book).  Specifically, the first packet (top half) is turned over right-to-left (like a book).  Then the entire deck over right-to-left (also like a book), followed by the (new) injogged, top half right-to-left.  There’s a nice uniformity of action and efficiency in this handling.  Very crisp and clean.

But I prefer this variation – turn the first packet (the top half of the deck) over from left-to-right.  Then the whole deck from right-to-left (like a book).  Then the final packet (the new, injogged top half) from left-to-right.

This creates a more haphazard look.

Now, here’s my context.

Treat the whole pass as if it were a mistake.

You meant to turn over the entire deck (Make sure you’re not looking at the deck when you do the first packet), but upon looking down you realize only part of the deck (the top half) was turned over.  So you quickly try to recover by starting over – you turn the whole deck over (Second part. Right-to-left).  But that didn’t fix things either.  So now (a little more hesitatingly) you turn over the third packet (the injogged top half) from right-to-left.  Give a quick dribble to make sure all the cards are aligned correctly (which shows you’re not holding any breaks), give a little shrug, and you proceed.

With this approach, the justification or context that Roberto has assigned us to find is not a justification of the move.  The move was, in appearance, a mistake.  Your justification is correcting this botched attempt at turning over the deck.  Once you’ve corrected it, it becomes forgotten as a non-event, and cannot be thought of as conjurer’s procedural necessity.

I hope this makes sense.  I’ve played with it, and it fits my personality nicely.

Secret Agenda – March 14 – Top Fifteen Humorous Quotes

Secret Agenda – March 14 – Top Fifteen Humorous Quotes

I actually tried to track down the translation to “In dubio Prosecco” and “Mens sana in campari soda” with no luck.  (Google failed me! Or I failed Google.) If you know what either of these phrases mean, please post it as a comment.

I have a feeling the wait will be worth it…

Secret Agenda – March 13 – An Emotional Out

Secret Agenda – March 13 – An Emotional Out

I’m not sure how many of you are actually pulling down books from your shelf and looking up an item when Roberto cites an effect or sleight, but I’m being careful to follow his suggestions (and I’m fortunate to have a large library).

I pulled down Dai Vernon’s Inner Card Trilogy and reread “Emotional Reaction” on page 7.  It was as if I was reading it for the first time.  How is it that we skim over items of this caliber, dismissing them because they’re too simple or don’t manage to bow us over, only to rediscover them years later (if ever)?  This effect, and Roberto’s expansion of it here is fantastic – utterly baffling.

And Roberto’s suggestion (offered as the last sentence) that this would be an excellent out when you have lost a card is such a great tip, and one worthy of memorizing since we’re all bound to lose a card (again) sooner or later.  If I lose a card, and follow up with this out, there is no doubt in my mind that it would completely entertain an audience – so much so that they might actually request I repeat it later on.

When an out is as strong as any of your effects, you can either strive to get stronger effects, or be thankful that you’ve found such a strong out.

I’m thankful.

Secret Agenda – March 12 – Solution for out and Quickie

Secret Agenda – March 12 – Solution for out and Quickie

I like Roberto’s solution, but am not too fond of ringing in a duplicate card.  I believe him when he says just that already having it present inside the deck is a safe alternative, but I’d like the option of doing this anytime, anywhere, with any deck.

Here’s my solution, and I preface it by saying that I don’t think my answer is better than Roberto’s.  It’s just my own.  (Also, there’s no force.)

I hold the deck up and riffle the right side to have a card sighted. I then glimpse this card.  (At this point you can have the spectator shuffle the cars if you wish.)

Then, I proceed to look through the deck as if looking for the selection and secretly cull their card to the top (I use the Hofzinser Spread Cull), noting and remembering the (now) second card from the top. (At this point their chosen card is on top of the deck, and a known “x” card is second from the top.)

I close the deck, remarking that I now know the identify of their card and where it lies inside the deck.  I explain that I will now magically make their card rise from the middle, where they first saw it, to the top of the deck.

I get ready for a double lift, triumphantly name the second card as theirs, and lift the double from the deck. (Not a turnover – I’m holding two cards as one with the face towards them.)

Upon discovering that I’m wrong, I ask for the name of their card, and with suitable acting (of frustration), I replace the double on top of the deck, use my right hand to grab a pen (make sure you use the great idea from January 30 here – Double Lift Replacement), return to the deck and necktie it (lift it up and away from the spectator’s sight) as I turn over just the top card.  Since I just showed it as the mistaken card, there’s no suspicion.  I then write the correct name across the face. I then turn over the top card and sail it across the table towards the spectator, finishing as described. (Alternatively, you may prefer to simply write on the back of the card.  Or, do both – write the name of the card on the face, and then openly turn it over and sign your name on the back – as a souvenir.)

I feel that any disadvantage in not letting the spectator see me write on the wrong card is acceptable to me because of the logic.  He heard me name the wrong card, and with no moves (thanks to the hidden cull and remembering of the second card) immediately witnessed the wrong card come to the top of the deck.  Additionally, why would I write the correct name on the face of the correct card?  That makes no sense.  Of course it’s the wrong card.  Thus, I think this will fly psychologically, and allows me the advantage of not having to “match” writing or have a duplicate card.

Hope this works for you.

Secret Agenda – March 11 – Out and Quickie

Secret Agenda – March 11 – Out and Quickie

And, like a good teacher should, Roberto has challenged and encouraged us to create a scenario whereby the infrequent challenge can be utilized as a procedural effect.  I should have known this was coming.

Better yet, I should have challenged myself without Roberto’s prodding.

Secret Agenda – March 10 – A Humorous Out

Secret Agenda – March 10 – A Humorous Out

I wish that opportunities to use ideas like this one occurred with more frequency.

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, due to strong audience management), it’s rare that a spectator challenges me to find a thought of card.

Nevertheless, I wish audience members would step up and “bring it on” more often.

Secret Agenda – March 9 – Push-In

Secret Agenda – March 9 – Push-In

The big lesson here isn’t a new and natural way to insert a card into the deck (although I like it), but rather, the way that Roberto developed this.

He made himself aware of how he naturally does things, so that when the opportunity presented itself for a new idea, he was paying attention.  He gathered further data (in the form of questioning other magicians), modified his learned behavior, and created a new habit that was rooted in believable, natural actions.

Opportunities like this surround us every day.  Simple, mundane acts such as removing cards from the case, turning over a tabled card, dealing and searching for cards, etc., while extensively explored by great minds before us, are still ripe with possibility.

This, more than anything, is what I choose to take from this illuminating entry.

Secret Agenda – March 8 – Top (Non)Sense Quotes

Secret Agenda – March 8 – Top (Non)Sense Quotes

3 favorites – Marx, Wittgenstein, and Lavand.

Secret Agenda – March 6 & 7 – Remember, You Shuffled I & II

Secret Agenda – March 6 & 7 – Remember, You Shuffled I & II

Both of these entries (and their applications) allow for an effective and powerful mental reconstruction of fairness and impossibility while furthering audience interaction and revelations of personality.

(That sentence flowed very quickly and effortlessly.  I’m impressed with myself.)

Secret Agenda – March 5 – Prop or Instrument

Secret Agenda – March 5 – Prop or Instrument

One of my favorite entries of the book thus far.  Beautiful concept.  Actually viscerally exciting to me.

However, I feel a distinction needs to be made between this approach as applied to magic and as applied to mentalism (And only because I have a deep passion for mentalism. In no way has Roberto neglected this subject. He’s just devoted this book to card magic.)

In mentalism, the opposite approach must be taken.  To treat your props as instruments in mentalism would completely arouse a suspicion of trickery.

In mentalism, props are props (or tools), and nothing more.

I wish more mentalists realized this.