Friday, August 14, 2009

Card College Light

I really like this book, and the one that follows ("Card College Lighter"). This reminds me of the "Scarne on Card Tricks" book that got me started in card magic many years ago. Each of these effects can be performed with no sleight of hand, but they make it appear you are working miracles. I love effects like this that allow you concentrate on presentation and not worry so much about that pass or slip cut you've got to execute perfectly with everyone watching your hands.

The good thing about this book is that the effects are already grouped into threes. This gives you (if you so choose) a ready-made routine with an opener, middle, and closer. They flow seamlessly between each other. But you can also choose to take any of them as a standalone effect and create your own routine. Some will require a bit of set-up (especially if they are part of a previous routine that would have naturally done the set up for you, like revealing the four aces or something similar) but many are ready to go when you are.

Not every effect is a gem, but there are so many good ones you can't complain. The book is professionally done, and Giobbi does a great job of explaining how to create your own routines and what to look for in them. This book isn't just for beginners, though they will probably benefit the most from it.

Monday, August 10, 2009


This is a fun little throwaway trick that you can instantly do when someone finds out you're a magician and says "Hey, do a trick." The ring the spectator sees and handles is a normal ring, so they can inspect it as closely as they want and they'll never see a thing. There is, of course, a swap involved along the routine, but Jay's handling allows you to start and finish clean.

If you decide to do this on the spectator's finger, you'll just have to keep an eye on the angles. It can appear a miracle to them, but if a crowd is standing around you it's going to be a little tricky. There are a couple of moves you can implement that will allow you to do the trick surrounded, but it will make the way you're holding the ring look a little suspicious.

This is one of those effects that will really mess with the spectator's mind, but won't impress many magician friends. I should say though that the rings are top quality for the price. You won't be wearing them around town or anything, but they don't look like cheap plastic or something. It's a solid metal ring to the spectator, and it handles that way.

This is a great trick either as an opener or even solo for those "apparently impromptu" moments (that really aren't impromptu).

Thursday, August 6, 2009


This has to fall under the category of "Geek Magic" more than anything else, but if you're a fan of that sort of thing it works. In essence, you are making your finger do things it was never intended to do, and if you practice enough even those with strong stomachs will cringe.

I could only find one thing that I saw he could have instantly improved upon but chose not to for some reason. Meir Yedid's "Finger Fantasies" is credited here for the beginning of the routine (making the pinky finger appear to disappear into the hand), but Will takes the second part of the routine (a complete pinky vanish) into material that he created for the move. Unfortunately, it's the weakest part of the entire thing because it's instantly obvious to everyone what you're doing. Instead, he should have followed through with Yedid's second move in "FF" to accomplish the same thing in a much cleaner way. It can actually give a shock and awe moment just before you make it reappear. From that point on the routine is superb and very nice for a time when you don't have any magic on you and folks want to see something. If you want to really turn this into something that can go about five minutes or more, I would suggest getting "Finger Fantasies" and combining it with this. The combination is a natural. Finish this off with the "Arm Twist Illusion" (also available from Meir) and you can have a lot of fun with a spectator using no props whatsoever.

Monday, August 3, 2009

M.I.N.D. (Mentalism In New Directions)

If you're into mentalism, "M.I.N.D." is a great book to work with. It is a collection of Lee Earle's writings, along with a bonus CD that has a lot of nice extras on it. Lee does a nice job here of presenting a lot of different effects, and also of explaining the motivation behind them and updating some of his earlier stuff with a sentence or two of new handlings or thoughts.

Unfortunately, if you're not using a special clipboard prop Lee describes, the first section of the book might not mean a lot to you. It can be adapted to other types of readers that use carbon paper or the like, but the beginning of the book is geared that direction. Stick with it though, as there are a lot of great effects still to come in those pages.

Lee goes into detail about his billet work, and he makes an excellent case for its importance in mental magic. One effect he uses involving his photographs and different ladies from the audience leaving a kiss on them as he figures out who is who is particularly nice. The method isn't brand new, but his handling is great and I can honestly say I probably would never have caught it (he includes a couple of the photos in the text so you can see how it's done). His reasoning behind choosing this method rather than gathering items from the audience is especially sound in today's litigious society.

Earle's earlier work is actually some of his most versatile for the average performer. There are several headline prediction variations, and they each have a strength and weakness. I think this allows the individual performer to figure out what's best for him. Earle also includes everything you'll need to print out for some great performances involving fake stock certificates, headline predictions matching a seemingly innocent photograph, and handwriting samples.

The price is a little steep, but for the vast range of material it's a good investment, even for the beginning mentalist.