Book of the Month: The Book of Secrets

This forum is an ongoing, and evolving, discussion. Genii Forum members discuss opinions and trade notes on current and past magic books.

Postby Dustin Stinett » 06/11/03 08:16 PM

Modern magic and secrets are synergetic: without one, the other does not exist. Secrets surround magic on many fronts: it's a secret society whose secrets have been passed down through the generations. Some believe that the secret to just that one special trick or illusion is the secret to fame and fortune. For the most part, magicians jealously guard their secrets, not just from the general public but from each other as well. Max Malini took the secret of his ice block production--a secret coveted by Dai Vernon--to his grave. No doubt Vernon took some of his secrets to the grave. Perhaps a few of his closest confidants were privileged enough to learn some of The Professor's secrets. If so, they will, in all likelihood, share these with a select few, or take them to their own graves.

Magic lives and dies by its secrets, or so most believe. Magic has been fighting the gratuitous exposure of its secrets for centuries. And, so far, magic has survived the most intensive battles waged in this period of time, the so-called "information age," where the weapons of mass dissemination, TV and the Internet, have been turned against it. What's the reason for its survival? Perhaps it is because the best-kept secret of magic is the fact that magic's biggest secrets have nothing to do with secrets. It is these types of secrets that John Carney shares in The Book of Secrets; Lessons for Progressive Conjuring (published by the author, 2002). Rest assured that Mr. Carney shares the secrets of magical effects and technique as well. But even within these can be found the real secrets--the all-important lessons recognizable to a student of the craft--that go well beyond the secrets of the tricks and techniques. In this regard, The Book of Secrets may be the book that all others published during this new century will be compared.

From a production value standpoint, the book is in the absolute highest of echelons. Its outward beauty is second only to its interior design and execution, both by the author and the abundantly talented Michael Albright. The author's illustrations that accompany the text are spectacular in quality and--most importantly--relevance. The flow of the book is as well thought out as the lessons; one building block (the effects and essays) upon another, with pertinent assignments to the reader (titled Your Turn…) following each one, as well as short biographies (titled Legends) of some of magic's elite, acting as the mortar holding it all together.

Within its 367 pages are found 16 effects and eight (well, 7 really) essay/dissertations and nine Legend entries. Written with obvious reverence, each of the subjects of these bios, even those of bygone eras, clearly had some profound influence on Mr. Carney's studies. However, these are not simply fluff homage pieces inserted to increase the page count. They are themselves mini-lessons on subjects such as (as I saw them) originality (de Kolta), scholarship, diversity and discipline (Vernon), imagery (Slydini), effect (Robert-Houdin), meaning and context (Hofzinser), experimentation and inventiveness (Devant), the marriage of material and character (Kaps), practicality (Baker) and the synergy of all technique--mental and physical (Ramsay). These short pieces carry messages antithetical to their size (on average a little more than a full page each not counting the portrait), that can (and, I fear, will) be easily missed by many readers.

The hallmark of The Book of Secrets is not the individual effects or the essays and dissertations or even these segments as a whole. It is the fact that the lessons contained within each can be applied to other effects and techniques. Obviously each effect is a lesson about that particular trick--and each described so completely as to leave no component uncovered--but the attentive student should see the other applications quite clearly. Occasionally these lessons are written "between the lines" --as is the case with Carney's handling of "Verbeck's Envelopes"--but most are right there for the student to find and absorb. To help the student, Mr. Carney includes assignments pertaining to the lessons just offered. These Your Turn sections are designed to get the student into the habit of applying this type of thinking to everything he or she reads (or views, should the student be watching a video, or even purchased tricks for that matter). Mr. Carney doesn't want his students to only think about what he has written in this book, but for us to think about everything we learn with equal depth.

The Book of Secrets has been described as John Carney's masterpiece. Perhaps, but like all great artists, who tend to have more than one masterpiece in them, I expect (hope) he will continue to share the fruit of his personal journey through the craft of magic. Mr. Carney is still a young man and he is a true student of the craft. There is no question in my mind that his passion for the study of magic will never diminish and it will take him to places we can't yet imagine, though he has so generously given us this book for the very purpose of putting us on that train of thought. Whether new to this type of thinking or someone temporarily sidetracked looking to find his way back, The Book of Secrets puts us on that track.

If you were expecting a line-by-line description of each effect, technique or theory discussed in The Book of Secrets you will be disappointed. By now you should understand that it is not the tricks or techniques in this book that I find important. Obviously discussion about the effects is welcome here, considering their classic status (as well as those hidden gems Mr. Carney offers--another lesson taught). But it is the theory and lessons within them that I hope will generate the most discussion here, so I will save my views for those times (he says with fingers crossed) and thus the reason for the relative brevity of this piece. This book demands study and discourse. I've given you time for your initial study of the book, now it's time for the discourse.

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Postby Guest » 06/12/03 10:43 AM

Great selection regarding not only classics (effects AND magicians), but also how to think about magic. I especially like the questions stretching us to think about our own magic.

I'm trying to add to my repertoire the paper / flower petal to egg and have tried to make the gimmick from a real egg membrane as in the book. My first attempts failed at the glycerin stage, so I e-mailed John directly and got a quick and helpful response. What a great guy.

(and when is he going to lecture in Chicago?)

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Postby Guest » 06/13/03 07:52 AM

I know that this may have been covered in another post, but, where can I get a copy of The Book Of Secrets?
I have searched a few sites with no luck so far...

Thanks.
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Postby Frank Yuen » 06/13/03 08:13 AM

It's only available direct from John Carney. Here's his web site address: www.carneymagic.com Unfortunately, the book is out of print at the moment.

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Postby Bill Mullins » 06/13/03 09:06 AM

Dustin referred to "gratuitous" exposure of secrets -- a useful standard. That's why I think discussion of magic secrets on the Genii Forum is okay -- it's not gratuitous. It has a context and a purpose that is beyond telling secrets for telling's sake. It's not gossip.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 06/13/03 01:28 PM

And I appreciate the difference as well (and agree with you), Bill, but please, let's keep this discussion focused on The Book of Secrets.

C'mon - where are all you guys and gals? You must have read this great book by now!

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Postby Dennis Kyriakos » 06/13/03 02:00 PM

I had the pleasure of seeing John lecture in July here in NY and then see him the next day put his philosophy into action in front of a lay audience.

I took A LOT of notes (something I normally don't do much of at magic lectures - because there hasn't been much of value for me at many of the lectures I've attended).

I'm getting to it Dustin...

The note that kept recurring most as I furiously wrote, and what I am getting out of Secrets is...

Here it comes Dustin...

My contribution is important.

This is what I needed to hear. It's something I've been struggling with for the last few years. I spoke with Jamy Swiss about the book and he said I probably wouldn't do anything from it. He's right. I don't WANT to do any of the material from the book. And I love John's work. He's smart in his work and I admire that.

But what I think the book has done for me is force me to look at ME. And what I can contribute to magic. The only way to contribute to magic is to do my work.

It's become my mantra: I have to do MY work.

So if you'll excuse me now...
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Postby Guest » 06/13/03 02:59 PM

Ive read The Book of Secrets twice now, and as soon as I finish the Al Baker book Ill probably read it a third time. In much the same way that Eugene Burgers Secrets and Mysteries and Darrin Browns Pure Effect forced me to examine the reasoning behind my little tricks, John Carney has produced a volume replete with concrete examples of what all that thinking can do. For myself, that might be the most valuable lesson of all. While thinking about magic is important, there comes a point where you must put your foot down and actually do something. You must let go of the fear of not being perfect, and instead try to be just a little bit better each time you perform. Then, once you have a few shows under your belt, can you go back to thinking about the effect. It is this circle thought, performance, refinement that brings the ultimate enjoyment to both ourselves and to our audiences.

Of course, the tricks are damn good, too, and I would be a big, fat liar if I said I didnt get a ton of ideas from the effects he presents. Ive never had the desire to perform the rising cards until The Book of Secrets came along. While I had read and half-heartedly tried the Leipzig Opener, it never dawned on me what a powerful piece that can become (especially with Mike Skinners wonderful climax). Vernons Silver and Glass? In the Vernon Chronicles it reads like death, but Johns description, and his admonishment to think like a student, always learn, made me search the flea markets and thrift shops of Seattle until I found just the right glass.

I was about to say that I am thankful for Johns contribution to my development, and I am, but more than that, I am thankful for John making me feel like a student again. Theres just so much to learn, and all of its fun.

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Postby Dennis Kyriakos » 06/13/03 07:09 PM

Here here, Zech!
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Postby troublewit » 06/16/03 04:40 PM

For my part, I enjoyed the Profiles in the book which featured the distinguishing touches of the past masters, as well as the theory which saturates the book. I immediately began working on the two Linking Ring moves John contributed, and after much clanging of metal and bruising of flesh, I am delighted to have added a very visual toss link and "melt-through" unlink to my "Symphony". Bravo, John
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Postby Chris Bruce » 06/16/03 05:29 PM

Great discussion - as was the thread on Strong Magic.

After eagerly awaiting and reading The Book of Secrets my thinking is this - the book was good, but not as great as all the hype. I actually liked Carneycopia better. I realize that I may have a dissenting view here, (& expect to get slammed) but for me Carneycopia had a more profound impact on my magical thinking. I've been reading about people on the net who have had the foundations of their philosophy of magic rocked by this book, but I didn't get any of that. I feel like I'm missing the boat here. What's being said that hasn't been said before? While reading The Book of Secrets I felt as though John was stating things that he has stated before in his previous works. Go back and reread the essay from the beginning of Carneycopia and see if you agree.

It goes without saying that the effects of the book are all top-notch. Indeed, a lot can be learned from studying them and trying to discern John's thought processes behind them (However this is true for many magic books.) I also enjoyed the biographies. I like John's writing and the books production values are fantastic.

Is this book a modern classic? For me, no. It is a really good book, but not great. I don't esteem it as much as The Books of Wonder, Carneycopia, or even Strong Magic.

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Postby mark » 06/16/03 06:58 PM

Chris,
I would not think of 'slamming' you for your opinion, and in light of your post I can understand. In my case, I have always thought much more highly of Carneycopia than most. Or, perhaps it has been long enough ago that it has become 'old news.' I feel though, that the book Carneycopia gives context to the Book of Secrets. In my reading(s) of the books I have always felt that to take one without the other was doing neither justice. They give us the process of magic, and the time to have stepped away to see it clearly. As we have all seen, expecially the old timers, the newest book has always been the one to have. Heck, back then they were few and far between, and whether the hype was deserved or not, we wanted another book, darn it! In this case, I noted that Mr. Carney waited until he truly had something more to say. We all know that he is certainly creative enough to churn out a 'trick book' a year. The Book of Secrets shows us what has gone on since Carneycopia, and if we are lucky, what has gone on in ourselves since that time. Hopefully, by the time Mr. Carney publishes his next book we *will* be doing OUR magic.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 06/17/03 12:07 AM

Chris,

Yours is one type of response I was looking for (and I'm going to bet that you are not alone, but, so far, no one else wants to say what you did--perhaps you're post will break the ice). Obviously I disagree with you, but your opinion has merit and you defend it well. So, I will try to counter a couple of your points:

I have to say, first and foremost, that Carneycopia is an exceptional book. However, I don't believe that Carney's belief system (for lack of a better term) permeates the entire work to the level that it does in Secrets. You say that, "a lot can be learned from studying them and trying to discern John's thought processes" while reading through the effects. I submit, with but a few exceptions, Carney's thought processes are right out in the open with very little to discern. This sets it apart from Carneycopia in my mind. The primary reason for this being that John Carney did not write Carneycopia, Stephen Minch did. Stephen Minch is one of the finest writers in magic, but it is virtually impossible for another writer to completely squelch his own voice and fully express the words and feelings of his subject.

Also, I think it's fair to say that the theory and the thought processes have certainly been refined over the years that separate these two works. Obviously the main aspects remain intact, since they are so ingrained in his very being, but perhaps the details are now clearer, even to him. So I feel that they come through in the writing much sharper than they did in Carneycopia.

When Carneycopia came out, the opening chapter (sub-chapter, actually), written by Carney, was heralded by the cognoscenti, but, I think, largely ignored by its target audience (those who needed to read and learn from it the most). I know people who skipped over it altogether, preferring to make a mad-dash to the tricks, until being badgered into reading it. Secrets doesn't give the reader the luxury of fully skipping the theory. It's imbedded in the work. They might not learn from it, but they have to read it. Though I cannot say for certain, I'm convinced that this is purely by design on Mr. Carney's part. And in writing it himself, he was able to pour his soul into the work: and it shows.

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Postby Dustin Stinett » 06/17/03 12:34 AM

Reading through my own post, I realized I made it sound like I didn't appreciate posts like Dennis Kyriakos' or Zech Johnson's (or any of the others): nothing could be further from the truth! It's just that these two men's thoughts so closely follow my own that I didn't respond in as timely a manner as I should have. You have my apologies.

I too doubt that I will do much (if anything) from Secrets. But I have received quite a bit from it just on my first reading (and there assuredly will be other readings).

I have not lost the feeling of being a student of the craft. I pray I never lose it. But if I do, I know what to read to get that feeling back. Finding a single book that could do that for me would be tough: A combination of books, yes, but a single book? Perhaps Eugene Burger's The Performance of Close-Up Magic might do it, but without question I think I'd turn to The Book of Secrets first.

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Postby Guest » 06/17/03 11:58 AM

Chris,

Far from slamming you, I want to thank you for making me examine my own reasons for enjoying The Book of Secrets as much as I have. Thats what this board should be about (as well as snickering at all the petty in-fighting magicians seem so fond of). Carneycopia is a wonderful book, and as Dustin pointed out the two books make a perfect complement for each other. But again, what is it about Secrets that I found so profound?

There is a core difference between the two, and that difference is approach. While Carneycopia was an outside-in book, Secrets is an inside-out book. By this I mean that Carneycopia was written with primarily the external actions in mind. We learn where to put our little finger, which direction to look, how to transfer the coins secretly from one hand to the other. With the exception of the opening essay, the book is about how to do the tricks that John invented, and while extremely well written, it is an outside perspective of his magic.

Secrets, on the other hand, comes from a point inside the artist and works outward. Here we learn some of the history of our craft and the people who shaped Johns work. We learn of his goal of getting better each day, because perfection is too much pressure. We learn the reasons and value of knowing a good impromptu trick (his handling of three-in-hand, one-in-pocket using grapes, for example). We learn of taking chances and exploring new sides of our character (the story accompanying his Trip to Hawaii). John takes the pains and effort needed to explore why he does things the way he does, and then goes a step further and gives us gentle prodding to find reasons of our own. He starts deep within himself and only then moves into the physical necessities of the trick itself.

With all that said, and to be perfectly honest, the reason this book had such an impact on me was that I had grown complacent with magic. After being an active hobbyist for 20 years (with a few years taken off in the middle) I had hit a point where Id buy a new book just because it was new, where my old standbys had lost most of their luster. I was in a rut so deep I didnt realize it until I read this book. Quite suddenly, from the first page, I felt that spark, that desire to learn my history, to make my magic as special as possible, to give my audiences something of me, not just a series of canned card-tricks. It reminded me of why I love magic and brought back my desire to give some of that love to the people Im performing for.

I hope I have managed to convey a little more of my reasons for plugging Johns book so hard. I dont have any affiliation with him. He wouldnt know me from Adam if I were to show up at his front door. But through his work, he has managed to help me know a little more about myself.

Thanks again,

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Postby Dustin Stinett » 07/11/03 12:23 AM

Boy did I ever blow it: Apparently at least (of course, this was not my only mistake recently). I guess I picked the wrong book. I mean, you look at its qualifications--one of the most anticipated books in years, by one of the great names in magic--and you think to yourself, "How could he pick that book?"

Granted, it did have a limited release (1,500 copies I was told). But I know of about two dozen people on this site who own this book, so I was hoping for a little more discussion than what has appeared so far.

For example, where is the discussion on the hidden lessons, such as that found in "Verbeck's Envelopes"?

How do you feel about the idea of changing the dominant hand for your card magic?

What do you think about the author's selections for required reading? What, might you think, is missing?

Is the book an "instant classic"? Some think not. Is there such a thing?

Thinking about this book makes me think about something attributed to poet Federico Garcia Lorca regarding criticism and art: "Works of art stand so alone that they cannot be approached by criticism. They can only be approached by love."

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Postby Bill Wheeler » 07/11/03 09:20 AM

I have never actually contributed to any discussion in the book club, but Dustin's appeal for more commentary piqued my interst.

The fact that this book is important is beyond doubt. I think this is one of those books that invites further reflection. As I have mentioned before there have been times where after the hype has died down I wonder what all the fuss was over a particular book (in fact I have at least one shelf of such books). In regards to the Book of Secrets, I'm still learning the lessons it seeks to impart. The fact that we're all at different levels of experience and have differing goals in magic may compound the lack of discussion.

On a similar vein, I'm sure if we had a discussion on "Strong Magic" 3-4 months after it came out the bulk of the response would be over Darwin Ortiz's opinions rather than looking beyond them to the overall message he attempts to deliver. And a disucssion on Darwin's opinions and writing style would have missed the point entirely.


How do you feel about the idea of changing the dominant hand for your card magic?

It was an interesting exercise to engage in. The exercise makes us critically look at the mechanics of our sleights to see if it is in did the best way for you or I to perform them. I was reminded how in the UK the packet used to be counted into the right hand during an Elmsley count (basically in a left handed manner).

Is the book an "instant classic"? Some think not. Is there such a thing?

I don't like using terms like "instant classic" but this certainly comes close. I'd rather just say it's an important contribution and has a lot to offer a student of magic.
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Postby Erik Hemming » 07/13/03 11:36 AM

Dustin-

To carry on in the vein of Bill Wheeler's response....

I am a huge fan of the book, but, to be truthful, I am not finished with it. I have read it, cover to cover once, and skimmed through it any number of times. But reading it alone doesn't suffice.

Further, I doubt most of the people who are really getting into Carney's text are finished, either. (Or maybe I'm just slow....)

I'm spending a substantial amount of time finding and making the right props, working a couple of the routines, thinking about how to make them work for me and how to make them better. I really can't say when I'll be finished...if ever.

Carney's book has sent me chasing after other books...Victor Farelli, Ross Bertram, Sharpe's "Conjurer's Secrets" series, etc. In all cases, they have been worth the chase, and I am looking forward to exploring Carney's other suggestions as I have the time. But this, too, is prolonging a truly thorough read.

I guess I liken Carney's book to the slow food movement. His point is to examine what you're doing, to stop and regard the history and development of an effect, to learn the effect and see where it takes you...and where you can take it.

All of these things take time. Fortunately, it's a book that is worth the time it asks.

I see it in direct contrast to the tape or DVD of the month mentality. This is stuff to live with for a while...stuff to savor.

One more issue: This past year has seen what amounts to a core dump of exceptional material into the market. The GLUT that Racherbaumer talks about has reached truly gargantuan proportions. If I start listing the MAJOR books and re-releases (ebook and otherwise) of incredible periodical information--not to address the exceptional materials on video, DVD, and through contemporary periodicals--I could be here a long while and would be in dire fear of missing half of them. Trying to actually READ everything would be something between a full time occupation and a Sisyphean task.

Pick your guru...Baker, Vernon, Marlo, Harris, McBride, Ortiz, Burger, somebody...ANYBODY...simpatico, do the work, and see where it takes you. Carney's Book of Secrets seems to be one sane, worthy path to help magicians cultivate good habits and make good choices with their time, money and lives.

But, truth be told, only time will tell.

Again, Dustin you made a spectacular pick--a book worthy of praise and attention. But a non-trivial discussion requires a familiarity that I haven't achieved, yet. And this book requires a non-trivial discussion.

It reminds me of the John Cage mantra,
I have nothing to say, and I am saying it.
Having typed so much and said so little, I withdraw for a time to think some more....
;)
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 07/15/03 11:51 PM

Thanks to both of you for the additional comments. I am going to pursue the changing of the dominant hand a little more, because I would like to know if others feel as I do.

Some years ago I toyed with the idea of, at the very least, spreading cards from my right hand to my left. Face up, this would allow the audience to see right-side-up indices. Of course, this would make it necessary for me to relearn some moves to remain consistent. For me it was like putting on underwear with my "good hand" in a cast. The spread was easy, but anything else, forgetaboutit. While I am right handed, my left hand can do things with cards that my right cannot even consider without cramping up. (It's worth noting here that I have been playing with cards since I was 5 years-old. My mother, who worked the graveyard shift at the time and wanted to sleep some during the day, taught me to shuffle and play solitaire in order to keep me in the house.)

A little over two years ago, I was very fortunate to attend a private workshop with Mr. Carney (nine others and myself performed for the group then we brainstormed--one of the greatest experiences of my magic "career"). I noticed Carney performing from the left side and asked him if he was left-handed or if he did it for the benefit of the audience. He shared his beliefs about the use of the true dominant hand in sleight-of-hand, the audience issue being an obvious side benefit.

That evening renewed my interest in trying, and then the book bolstered that. While some things are coming along, my issues remain. I feel as if I'm starting over and wonder if it's a wise use of my time.

So the question is: Am I too old a dog?

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/16/03 09:16 AM

As a right-handed person, it is always a challenge to teach magic to a lefty. Having done this on many occasions, it always triggers an immediate sense-memory of what it was like to try and learn difficult sleight of hand when I was 13--stuff just won't move the way you want it to.
When I saw Webmaster Brad recently, who is a lefty, and we spent some time on the Double Lift, I had do it left-handed. It was tough, but it made it much easier for him to figure out what was going on. The killer is always when I demonstrate hand positions for the Pass left-handed--t'aint a pretty sight.
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Postby Gary Freed » 07/31/03 04:05 PM

As a lefty, I have of course gotten used to reversing every direction I've ever seen...The ulitmate "insult" was Darwin Ortiz's first(?) book by Richard. Though Darwin is left-handed, all the instructions and pictures(!) were reversed for the sake of the right handed majority.

Okay, Richard, am I remembering this right or was it all a paranoid dream?
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Postby Brad A._dup1 » 07/31/03 10:58 PM

I've been reversing "right" and "left" in all magic literature, so I'll be really messed up when a left-hander has a trick published. "Why isn't this working!"

One must look at the illustrations as if one is looking into a mirror.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 07/31/03 11:40 PM

Stephen Minch wrote the book for you guys: Creations of a Magical Madman (A Theater of the Absurd For the Close-up Performer) (Micky Hades, 1977). It is written from the left-handed point of view. I would imagine that it is difficult to find these days. Brad, next week while you are hanging out at the Castle, see if Gordon can't find it for you. I know it was in the library at one time: hopefully it's still there.

For those of you who may be wondering, the next selection is coming. I'm late with it for two reasons: It's a laaaaazy summer and I'm a laaaaazy guy. It should be ready (God willing) next weekend.

Oh, and Gary, you are not having a paranoid dream: The photos in Darwin Ortiz at the Card Table (Kaufman & Greenberg, 1988) are all reversed so it looks as if he is right-handed. Of course, the card indices are all mirror images.

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Postby Bill Duncan » 08/01/03 03:14 PM

Originally posted by DustinStinett:
Stephen Minch wrote the book for you guys: Creations of a Magical Madman (A Theater of the Absurd For the Close-up Performer) (Micky Hades, 1977). It is written from the left-handed point of view
Great book. Personal favorites are:
  • Flies In Amber
  • The Flies and Balls
...and the best Cannibal Card routine ever printed. NO ONE does it. No one would go to that much trouble.

Steve has published some great material over the years. It's a shame his stuff isn't better known. I know one guy (who is legendary for his skill with cards and coins) who buys up every copy of a particular Minch manuscript every time he finds one... just to keep it to himself.
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Postby Philippe Noël » 08/02/03 08:18 AM

On page 17 of "The Book of Secrets" Mr Carney writes:"A general understanding of dove magic will help you with your coin magic"
How do you understand this sentence?
Thank you for your answers.

PS: Honestly I am asking you the question because I do not undestand this affirmation. Shame on me!
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Postby Philippe Noël » 08/02/03 08:39 AM

For the left-handed, read the description of "overhand false shuffle" in "The Amateur Magician's Handbook" p.51.
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Postby Bill Duncan » 08/02/03 10:54 AM

Much dove magic is dependant on the unseen steal of a large object under cover of a natural gesture or movement.

Understanding how to do this, as opposed to simply knowing a way to do this, will help you in any other type of magic.

What he's saying, I believe, is that how magic works is the same no matter what type of magic you do and the key to being a better magician is understanding that fact. One way to come to this understanding is to study forms that you don't use.

I suspect John mentioned coins because they would seem so unlike doves and therefore make his point more strongly.
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Postby Guest » 08/02/03 11:05 AM

As Bill said, it is about what you do, when you steal the load (dove, coin, whatever). Where do you look, how are your body movements, how do you stand, where are your arms, what are they doing (for the audience), what reason do they have to be there, etc.

When you understand the principles of dove magic, why some things work and how, you can apply these principles to other fields of magic and they work there as well.

A lot of direction of attention can be learned from dove work, which is vital for all magic performances.

Harry
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Postby Philippe Noël » 08/03/03 01:20 AM

Bill, Harry,
It is true that the great principles of magic are the same whether you do dove magic or coin magic. So learning those principles through dove magic for example can help you with your coin magic of course.I suppose it was what Mr Carney meant. Or is there something more to understand?
Thank you very much for your help.
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Postby Bill Duncan » 08/03/03 09:38 PM

Philippe,
I just re-read page 17 and John seems to be saying that we need to learn more about magic than might be obvious. He suggests that we study outside of our specific area of interest because what we learn will enrich our understanding of all magic.

He also notes that understanding basic principles of illusion design can help in creating smaller gimmicks and props. Tommy Wonder's video on the Watch in Nest of Boxes is a shining example of what John is talking about.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/03/03 09:54 PM

Mr. Carney also recommends we continue studying subjects other than magic. Reread the top of page 15; he says it better than I can.

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