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?

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.