Posts tagged secret agenda

Secret Agenda – January 15 – Control Ruse

Secret Agenda – January 15 – Control Ruse

This can be very useful. I’ve longed used double undercuts, overhand shuffles, and the old standby, “fiddling with the deck” to get a specific card into a needed position from the top (or bottom) of the deck.  This “ruse” appears very natural and is easy to do.  And I love the potential of incorporating it into an “Any Card at Any Number” (ACAAN) scenario.

Speaking of ACAAN, I, like many magicians, love the concept and enjoy reading whatever is written on the subject, but I think I like it more as an intellectual exercise than as a worker effect. In actual practice, I prefer a similar concept, the spelling trick. The ruse that Roberto has given us here can be inserted quite nicely into such a routine.

Normally, I have a spectator shuffle a deck, insuring that nobody can know the position of any card.  I then riffle through the deck and have them stop me anytime, remembering the card.  This card is then glimpsed.

I mention of the ability of many magicians to steal cards from the deck when nobody is looking. I then run through the deck so they can make sure their card is still present.  It is during this run-through that I mentally spell the glimpsed card (or even better, their name) starting at the point where their card lies,  and then mentally spell an additional card (which I memorize), positioned where the first spelling ended (or my name, beginning where their name ended).  When finished, I cut the deck at that point (or, if necessary, start a mini run-through again from the face of the deck and cut the needed number of cards to the back, and then I’m set to do a very entertaining double spelling effect – first a “random” card that I just “think up” (or my name), and then after being successful, their card (or their name), and ending on their selection.  The effect is that the spectator is so “magical” that when they thoroughly shuffled the deck, they magically (or subconsciously) programmed it to find their card.

The appearance of their thought of card at the end of its spelling, or at the end of their name, is stronger (in my opinion) than a randomly selected number.  (Unless that number has a special  for them – like a favorite age, or last two digits of their phone number, or date of their birthday, etc.)  It’s all about relevance.

But now, with today’s entry, I can have them name any card that might have significance to them, or that they like, and then pretend to find it and place it on the table.  During the “finding” of their card, I can position it to it’s needed position and I’m set to go.  (I’d still recommend they shuffle the deck first, and make sure they watch to see that I don’t remix the cards.  The cutting of extra cards to the front or back of the deck, by the way, isn’t noticed because I address them with a direct question or comment and separate my hands as if distracted – when I put both halves back together, it appears I haven’t done anything and nobody notices the cut.)

Whew!  This was a much more technical writeup than I anticipated.  If you have any questions on the procedure I just attempted to describe, please contact me and I’ll be happy to clarify.

Anyway – a nice control ruse that’s fun to play with.

Secret Agenda by Roberto Giobbi – January 2 – Presentation and Handling for Six Guests in Five Rooms

Secret Agenda by Roberto Giobbi – January 2 – Presentation and Handling for Six Guests in Five Rooms

I wonder how many magicians are actually going to try this.

It’s an old puzzle, which hasn’t been redressed or updated so much as it’s been blocked and choreographed in a manner so as to make it accessible for most audiences.

Normally, you’d have to rely on verbal clarity to put across the details necessary for the proper understanding of the mystery.  Careful consideration to tonality, inflection, and pacing were important.

In this evolution, your hands provide visual representation, and unless you try it out in front of a mirror (or better yet, a video camera) or an audience, you might not realize the impact it can have.

A few years ago, I also updated this mystery for inclusion in my Learning is M.A.G.I.C. programs, allowing students the opportunity to develop presentation skills and boost self esteem while illustrating something most people can’t explain.  To help with clarity, I had students kinesthetically create the “rooms” onstage in front of an audience, complete with imaginary doors to open and invisible guests to usher into the rooms.  (Of course, in my incarnation, the “guests” were all members of the same family in town for a family reunion.  No need to go down the path of having to explain why adults are congregating in various hotel rooms.)

It played big, and well, and I thought I was on to something…

But Mr. Giobbi has done something much more elegant here, while still allowing for it to be performed in front of a large group.

Because it’s only the second entry in the book, I imagine most readers will gloss over it, silently admire it, and never try it.

Their loss…

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.