Posts tagged magician

Lecture Review – Devin Knight – Feb 27, 2013 – Los Angeles, CA

Sent: Thu, February 28, 2013 8:08:19 AM
Subject: Lecture

Hey Ruben,
You’ve seen a lot of lectures, I just wanted to get some feedback from you about last night’s lecture with Devin Knight…


From: Ruben
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2013 10:15:18 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Lecture

Hi, Brent.

Thanks for asking.

I went because I admire much of Devin’s thinking. His manuscripts are always very detailed and he has some subtle thinking on a wide range of magic, including some strong mentalism routines. He knows his stuff and his association with Al Mann back in the day yielded some great ideas.

But, sadly, the lecture sucked. We knew we were off to a bad start when he said this was his 32nd lecture day in a row and that he was dead tired.

It showed.

It also meant that what we were going to be offered for sale was the stuff that didn’t sell out in the previous 32 lectures! Oh, goody.

He didn’t smile. He seemed to have trouble thinking. He made some mistakes. And, perhaps the biggest infraction of all – he wasn’t having any fun. It was just a business transaction for him. We all felt it.

Worst of all (at least for a lecture we pay for), is that it was a dealer show. Yes, he gave the methods to a couple items that we didn’t have to buy (like the Styrofoam plate effect), but he glossed over the explanations and stressed how much we’d have to pay for it if we put it together ourselves. I did buy a few things, but only because I rarely act out of protest and there were some clever ideas, but I would have much rather given the money to you than to him.

He didn’t seem to appreciate us being there. And that makes me indifferent to him. I won’t attend a future lecture by him, but you’re interest in how I feel about it insures that I’ll be even more willing to patronize you in the future.

Thanks again for caring.


Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2013
Subject: Re: Lecture

Wow! That is a perfect review! Thank u so much Ruben! I had a feeling you were going to say that.
Thanx and I owe u a beer


Secret Agenda – January 11 – Script

Secret Agenda – January 11 – Script

I agree with Roberto that if you’ve never written a script of one of your presentations (“Script” can be such an intimidating word. If you’ve never written down the words that you usually say when performing a trick), it can be an eye-opening experience, filled with untold discoveries. But it’s Roberto’s comments on taking an acting class that reinvigorated me.

John Carney has also commented on the effectiveness of acting classes, and there are many magicians (like Jonathan Levit and myself) who have a strong theatrical background.  But many of the techniques and experiences that can only be gotten “on the boards” are useless in magic unless one has the capacity to identify and transfer those skills in a practical and effective way. The application of acting, directing, scripting, and blocking to magic (and all the sub-skills they embody) requires that you have experience in both magic and the theatre before a successful incorporation can be achieved. (Fortunately, in my case, I spent three decades simultaneously growing in both disciplines.)

However, it often takes an objective set of eyes and ears to really be effective.  Too often, we’re too close to our magic to be able to really make those difficult decisions (like cutting something out).

The solution?  Get somebody who is qualified to improve your magic by either instructing you in acting, or becoming your director. (Sorry, but your wife just doesn’t cut it.)

If you live in the greater Los Angeles area, there are literally  thousands of people and classes and schools that promise to guide you to acting success, and it’s a laborious process of trial and error (and investment) to achieving your objective.

But I know a guy…

He’s a director, writer, actor, teacher (Master Teacher!), mentor, and friend.  He co-founded Learning-is-M.A.G.I.C. and knows the problems, pitfalls, and potential that magic offers.

He will make your magic better.

I guarantee it.

You can contact me at or message me on my Facebook page and I’ll be happy to arrange an introduction. (Glendale area)  No obligation, no charge.  Bring a trick to perform, listen to his comments, and learn for yourself what he can do for you.

You’ll thank me later.

Secret Agenda by Roberto Giobbi – A Preview

I’m usually very excited about purchasing and reading a new magic book as soon as possible after its release. (Whether or not I’m successful at this depends on many complicated factors and layers of procrastination.)

Secret Agenda by Roberto Giobbi is no exception.  As soon as it arrived I opened it up and enthusiastically began to devour Mr. Giobbi’s always-reliable wisdom.  And, as predicted, it was enlightening and wonderful.  Tidbits, nuggets, smatterings and chunks of magic-related musings and ruminations for aspiring and accomplished artists alike.

In his recent review of Secret Agenda in Genii magazine, Jamy Ian Swiss lamented the fact that he had to read the book in its entirety in order to properly review it and thereby missed out on the author’s intention. Namely, reading one entry every day for a year.

Fortunately, I am under no such obligation.

But it wasn’t until the January 17th entry that I realized this.  And then I made the (excruciatingly difficult) decision to put the book away for a couple weeks (this was in mid-December) and begin anew on the first of the year.

I don’t know how many other magicians who own the book are going to do this.  I’d like to think most of them.  If you don’t yet own the book, buy it.  Having thus far only read the first twelve entries, I can guarantee (with as much weight as that entails) that you’ll find it immensely worthwhile.  And I present the entire Card College series as evidence.

Indeed, it will be a unique approach to learning magic and would realize Mr. Giobbi’s generous proposal – to give the reader the experience of spending an entire year under his tutelage.  Those who race through the almost four-hundred pages in a few sessions will no doubt be shortchanging themselves.  Yes, they’ll get the same information I’ll eventually garner, but in this case it truly is an issue of quality over quantity.  Each entry that I will enjoy will get to marinate for at least 24 hours before moving on to the next one.  I’m forcing myself, at Mr. Giobbi’s urging, to do what so many magicians seemingly fail to do: contemplate.  And it is through contemplation and reflection that information makes the difficult and rare transition to practical wisdom.

So, over the next year, I’ll occasionally blog about Secret Agenda .  As I see fit, I’ll comment on entries that strike me, inspire me or simply amuse me.  It is my hope that you’ll join me on this year-long project (No skipping ahead!) and perhaps a dialogue will ensue that will further our mutual love of this amazing art.

I know Mr. Giobbi would like that.