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Secret Agenda – February 03 – Picking Up the Deck

Secret Agenda – February 03 – Picking Up the Deck

I often find myself doing magic for people in their offices, sometimes spur of the moment, and I don’t have a close-up pad ready. I, like I imagine many of you, often use whatever is around, a desk, a table, for my working surface.  And I’ve fumbled to pick up the deck without giving it a second thought.

This entry ensures that I’ll exhibit more elegance while performing my magic (if only a tiny bit).

What’s that worth?

Conover Over

I was shocked and very saddened to learn last week of the tragic suicide of Tim Conover, certainly one of the best mentalists in modern history. Unfortunately, too few magicians got the chance to reap the benefits of his knowledge and experience because he didn’t publish much and kept himself so busy with corporate work that he rarely attended conventions.

Almost twenty years ago, I had the privilege to have dinner with him and my friend Craig Stone, in my hometown of San Diego, after a day working a trade show. (Craig swears that Brian Gillis was also present but I don’t remember that – sorry, Brian.)

During the meal I was amazed at Tim’s generosity with information – how he entered the market, priced himself, developed an act, got bookings, etc.  At one point he asked me to grab a napkin and jot down every effect I’d ever seen or performed that was a favorite.  It made no difference if I was fooled or not, if I knew the secret or not.  If I loved it, it went on the paper.

After about ten minutes of writing, I had about fifty-five effects.  Tim then instructed me to circle my top ten.  I groaned.  This would be difficult.

After another ten minutes, and many darlings killed, I had my circles.

Tim looked over the list, commenting here and there.  (“Thats a great one…  Not bad….  Good.”)

He then looked at me, and pointed to my top ten.

These are the effects you should be doing.”

I was speechless. It seemed so simple.  Really?

“These are the effects that moved you.  That you remember.  They mean something to you.  Why would you ever consider doing anything else?”

I smiled.  He was right.  It was a wonderful lesson.

Then, he upped the ante.

“And every year, take one of these effects, and replace it with a better one.”

I kept that napkin.

I still have it.

It means a lot more to me, now.

Rest in Peace, Tim.

Where the heck is Ruben Padilla??

The people want to know!!!

I have such grand plans… And sometimes, I trip over them.

I’ve been a magician since I was 13, and loved magic even before that. I’ve seen a lot of acts, read a lot of books, bought a LOT of tricks, performed in restaurants, private parties, corporate gigs, taught classes, owned a shop, created and developed a unique school program centered on magic…

And started a blog.

Finally, a repository for the multitude of thoughts, opinions, ideas, stories, and rants about magic that have occupied my mind and filled my notebooks over the years.

I began with the Steinmeyer book review (below), and then decided to review four days of Magic-Con. And after two days of Magic-Con reviews, life got in the way.

I got involved in a new business venture that forced me to forego the blog for a little while and focus on work. The stacks of new magic books and DVDs that I had hoped to review shortly upon their release has grown in size and gotten a bit dusty.

The people who missed Magic-Con and read my review of the first two days were waiting patiently to learn what transpired on days 3 & 4.

And the theories and opinions that I’ve shared with close friends and that I’ve wanted to post here remain unwritten.

I’ve heard from many of you about how much you liked the little I’ve done so far, and when am I going to finish Magic-Con and get to the other stuff????

Well… Soon.

My life is calming down, the world is spinning a bit slower now, and I’m ready to get back to the computer. I have lots to say.

Thanks for your patience and kind comments.

I’ve weeded out the merely curious! The lookie loos are gone!

MagiciansOnly is back!

Stay tuned…