If you could study under any 5 living Close-Up card magicians in the world, they'd be...?

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby fivei56ix » 10/18/09 09:43 PM

If you could study under any 5 living Close-Up card magicians in the world today, who would they be (in any order)?
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Postby Kent Gunn » 10/18/09 10:54 PM

And how on earth would I be able to focus or make progress trying to digest the ideas and direction of five teachers?

I would not study under five people, ever.

If I could study with one person, I would feel fortunate and wish to absorb and digest that one person's teaching.

Fantasy is wonderful. We have to limit all things though. Otherwise we're just jerking each others' chain on a magic board.
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Postby fivei56ix » 10/18/09 11:16 PM

I should clarify; this would be over the course of a lifetime. This would not be five teachers instructing at once, but the opportunity to study with five of your favorite card manipulators individually. This of course is only an exercise in fantasy, but my main objective is discovering new magicians that I may never of had the pleasure of experiencing. Fun
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 10/18/09 11:58 PM

It depends.

Do I get to ask them what their ten favorite card tricks are?

And if they prefer using red or blue cards? ;)
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Postby Kent Gunn » 10/18/09 11:59 PM

Thanks for clarifying.

For me I learn best from books. It's not the fault of other people, I simply am a poor student when learning from live sources. I need time to reflect and mis-interpret the written word. With my limitations comes a huge advantage. I can learn from the dead, via their written legacy.

Etcheberry has given us (in English finally!) the thoughts of Ascanio.

Edward Marlo left a legacy in print that will never be equaled in breadth or scope.

Some of card magic's greatest authors are thankfully still around.

Harry Lorayne through his own inventions and the hundreds, nay thousands of pages of his writings on the work of others challenges all who will come before or after.

I hate sucking up in a man's own house, but goddammit, RK has written up the works of the world's greatest magicians, from around the world. He expanded just how good a magic book could be.

Roberto Giobbi has redifined card magic for this century. His five book series transcends any other attempts at summing up the card magic of this or any century to come.

Perhaps my favorite author that focuses on card magic is beckoning me. John Racherbaumer's two volumes on Card Finesse are pulled from my shelves all so very often.

Alex Elmsley, Paul Curry, Bruce Cervon, Al Baker, John Hilliard, J.K. Hartman, Stewart James, Karl Fulves . . . the list goes on.

Read and learn.

Why on earth would I want to bother any great cardman with my puerile talents and learning abilities. All these great authors are twenty feet from me. As a matter of fact, I'm going call a close to my fantasies and go pick up a book by Ortiz or maybe those Tommy-Wonderful books that Minch gave us.

Alive or dead. Through the written word, or for those who must, via video, you have all of the greats of card magic patiently waiting for you to sit at their feet and learn. No fantasy is required.

Ah . . . the new book on Vernon/Erdnase. I paid big bucks for the fancy one. I pick that book to read tonight.

Thanks for awakening me from my reverie.

KG
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 10/19/09 08:42 AM

I was lucky enough to have done so.

Billy Bishop the first Bish the magish... Who performed in vaudeville theaters and on early television. Also a successful banquet entertainer as well as night clubs. He was not bad as a close up magician. He did about six tricks but when he performed them because he had been doing them for more than 50 years they were miracles. My dad also was a very good card magician who was a student of Erdnase and of the old school.

Jack Pyle the punch deck pro. Known for a stand up act where he produced a large rabbit at the end. Also known for his close up and card work as a card shark magician doing poker and bridge deals.

Buddy Farnan an outstanding coin and card manipulator. Used to do the tenki palm and colorchanges great. As well as the man that showed me how to do the turn over pass and many other card moves.

Don Alan showed me a lot of things - timing of the audience and loads as well as a lot of close up.

Terry Veckey - One of the outstanding close up magicians of today. It is hard to imagine the amount of magic and ideas I got from watching this man blow away audiences in the old Chicago magic bars and restaurants like the New York Lounge and Bit O Magic.

And then there was Jay Marshall who showed me magic and gave me a lot of ideas as well he was also my Punch and Judy teacher. There are more and Jay is number six and you only asked for five so I think I will stop here.

Thanks for your interest.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 10/19/09 09:07 AM

Hmmm the usual from those who don't go and seek out mentors and just buy the latest stuff as it appears? Tiresome. The only fantasy in magic is what the audience gets to see - and we call that "the effect".

Have YOU met Sol Stone, Andy Galloway, Robert Olsen, Bob Fitch, Ken Krenzel, Johnny Thompson, Hiroshi Sawa, Bobby Bernard, Dick Koornwinder.... and gotten a sense of what you might wish to learn from them? what do you expect to have accomplished after you've spent some time with your chosen mentors?

Please do get out of fantasy mode and meet these folks who are still with us and have so much to teach. Serious students might just want to hang out and watch them perform for a while to get some ideas for good questions.
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Postby Sean-Dylan » 10/22/09 02:27 PM

1. David Williamson

2. Juan Tamariz

3. Roberto Giobbi

4. Ricky Jay

5. Bill Malone
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 10/23/09 01:43 AM

I am quite mortified to see that I am not on any of these lists. I am the greatest card magician of all time but modesty inhibits me from mentioning it.

I think all the best card magicians are dead or nearly dead. I am not feeling that well myself.

However before I do drop dead I feel that it is incumbent upon me to give away the secret to being a great perfomer with cards. I really don't think anyone seems to know it.

Any fool can manipulate cards. It takes a great magician who can manipulate the PEOPLE.
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Postby Nathan Muir » 10/23/09 05:50 AM

Yes, well, blah blah.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 10/23/09 09:19 AM

Nathan my boy. You should really pay attention. You could well learn something.
The trouble with a lot of the above people mentioned is not that they lack showmanship. It is that they have too much of it. You can over present as well as under present you know. Overpresenting sets up a kind of resentment among laymen that I have pontificated about before. It appears that I may have to pontificate about it again.
I rather suspect the lesson has not yet sunk in.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/23/09 10:57 AM

Mark is correct: you can "over present" as well as under present. It's the same as over-acting, aka "chewing the scenery." However I would not place any of Sean-Dylan's five choices in that categoryevery one is at the top of his game.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 10/23/09 12:25 PM

The lack of specifics (skills, tact, attitude, background, craft etc) used in these discussions is just plain creepy - it suggests that most would wish to channel their teachers rather than learn and apply what knowlege their teachers have dedicated their lifetimes in this craft to explore.

Keep naming names - making a necromomicon of our living art.

Hey Mark, I'd like to learn how you engage audiences in performance or pitch.
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Postby raj k » 10/23/09 01:37 PM

1. Armando Lucero.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 10/23/09 02:12 PM

I am not referring to any specific performers on Sean-Dylan's list but am referring to the general tendency towards over-presenting especially in some American performers. My old friend Murray the legendary escapologist once told me that "American magicians are so long winded" I think this may be part of the culture.

Since Sean-Dylan's list has been brought up by Richard I will say that I have seen four of them perform and I do agree that they are at the top of their game. However I think they would be even more at the top of their game if they were to calm down a trifle. They all over present a little. Note I said a little, not a lot. They, in my opinion could improve their excellent work by trimming the fat a little. You can have too much of a good thing.

As I said to one eminent magician today "nobody can be 100% perfect, you know" Except me of course.

It is not for a magician to give what Pantagruel calls "shewes without substance, by means of the babling tattle" His words should be secondary to his deeds. Good talk will add much to a trick while poor talk will only spoil it so you should only speak when you have something worth saying or when it is necessary for the purpose of the trick to say something.

Most magicians under present. However there are many who go to the other extreme. Loud babbling mitigates against effective performance.

Please note that I am talking about close up magic here. The stage has different rules but in an intimate close up atmosphere it is a good thing to cut the yap down a trifle and present a quieter though entertaining presentation. Slydini or Vernon in their earlier days for example never shouted, screamed or talked too much but they got great reactions from their magic. As did Goshman, Johnny Paul and Don Alan. Entertaining but not overpresenting.


Normally I don't understand a word Jonathon says but on this occasion I do so I had better take advantage of it.I engage audiences in a pitch situation in an entirely different manner than I approach them in a performance situation. It is like Jeckyll and Hyde. I am harsh, aggressive and rude while pitching although funny with it. Being a svengali pitchman has very little to do with being a magician and a different approach is necessary. And more important mental attitude. When I pitch I want people's money and I am in a different mental mode.

When performing I appear absent minded and incompetent yet everything is under control. And by disarming people and lowering the resentment factor I can garner very strong reactions. I manipulate the PEOPLE. Nobody describes what I am trying to say better than Vernon in his foreword to Harry Lorayne's first card book. He said regarding Harry's work "Onlookers are not aware what decision, what quickness of apprehension, what judgement and even knowledge of character, he employs when demonstrating some of his card effects"

This describes my approach EXACTLY. I have never seen Harry do card tricks but I can vouch for the wisdom of this philosophy.
THAT is the way to do card magic. Or any kind of close up magic for that matter.

There Nathan. I do hope you learned something.
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Postby Nathan Muir » 10/24/09 06:26 AM

Mark.Lewis wrote:There Nathan. I do hope you learned something.


Being a very busy person, I skipped the meat of your post and went straight to the conclusion, which I was gratified to see was about me.

Unfortunately there is little you can teach me about the issue I was commenting on. That issue being: lists are [censored].

So, to reiterate. Blah, blah.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 10/24/09 07:04 AM

Dearie me, Nathan my boy. As a psychic reverend and man of the cloth I cannot possibly approve of profanity. Do try and improve yourself.

The issue was not about lists. I happen to agree with you that lists are subjective. Please note the last word. It is vastly higher class than the one you used.

Now do go back and read what I said. I get a psychic vibe that you are badly in need of education. What I wrote will be useful to you if you absorb and apply it.
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Postby Stan Willis » 10/24/09 07:42 AM

Mark,

The things that you speak of is art within itself and fortunately cannot be learned in ten(10) minutes or from the latest DVD offering. It most likely takes months or maybe even years to perfect "the act".
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 10/24/09 08:06 AM

I have been doing this stuff for 52 years which coincidentally is the amount of cards in a deck. This scares me for metaphysical reasons. I am scared that I will drop dead this year because of the 52 card thing. My obituary will probably say that I died 52 years after I took up magic which coincidentally is the number of cards in the deck. A wonderful thing to say in an obituary but I would rather it wasn't necessary.

I was fiddling about with magic as kid for about two years and doing OK with it but not great. I would emphasise that I was completely self taught and actually still am. I have never had anyone sit down with me and teach me anything except one night with David Berglas. I learned everything from books and still do.
However when I was about 15 years old I got hold of the Royal Road to Card Magic and after about 6 months I had it all figured out. I was getting utterly fantastic reactions and I wondered why so I analysed it and figured out my theories early on.

A massive help was the Presentation section in Expert Card Technique. I am always surprised that this section is hardly, if ever, mentioned by magicians. It has all the secrets you need about presenting close up magic and yet it has comparitively few pages.

The first few pages which describe how to create a character may be the most important thing ever written about the presentation of magic. It teaches you that YOU are the magic rather than the trick which really is of minor importance. A trick is merely the peg upon which you hang your PERSONALITY. If you have no personality then you may as well not bother doing magic. But don't despair. There are ways of developing that personality. However develop it you must.
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Postby Ryan Matney » 10/24/09 09:59 AM

I've been saying this for a long time. Presentation is overrated. This tendency for magicians to think that everything must be justified and explained with a story makes for cumbersome magic.

I've seen on these forums and others people bemoaning the reason they do not do a torn and restored card effect is that they can not come up with a reason (presentationally) for tearing the card. What!?

How about you are a magician and you are there to do a trick. That's a good reason.

Or maybe you can say your grandfather showed you this trick and it makes you think of him everytime you do it. Pick up each piece of torn card and recite a poem about them.

Eugene Burger is often thought of as a story telling magician but seeing him work proves this is not exactly the case. He might do one piece that has a story but also knows theres a time and place for everything. It is not always appropriate.
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Postby Denis Behr » 10/24/09 10:42 AM

Well, like our wondrous [censored] said at another instance:

"The justification for doing 3 cards across is that you are trying to do a magic trick not trying to satisfy yourself that all the money it cost you to go to mystery school was well spent."
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 10/24/09 11:08 AM

I agree with Ryan except for one tiny thing. I do not believe that presentaton is over rated. In fact it is crucially important. However it should be the right kind of presentation.
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Postby Ryan Matney » 10/24/09 11:22 AM

Yeah, ok. I guess that's what I REALLY mean , Mark.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 10/24/09 11:47 AM

Jolly good Ryan. Carry on.......
Actually your point about magicians constantly trying to find a reason for things reminds me of the old Al Baker saying, "Many a good trick has been killed by improvement" I have seen this happen on a few occasions because of the very point you brought up.
One mentalist I know makes an awful hash of things by trying to always find a reason for things. He "improves" things so much that they always end up far worse than they were before he started.
I am not saying that you shouldn't find a reason for doing things in a limited way and within reason (no pun intended) but there comes a point where you say "who gives a stuff?"
As Harry Lorayne once said that magicians "sometimes get too technical about things a layman doesn't give a darn about"
Wisdom from a master. I agree with him.
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Postby Paul Gordon » 10/24/09 12:20 PM

I think that some magicians do over-egg the performance of card magic. Not every trick "effect" needs a rationale, but I think the "moves" and "actions" do. If that doesn't make sense, I can amplify if you wish...or care!

I like the nuts & bolts - here it is folks - approach. Rovi, Harry Lorayne, Jerry Sadowitz, Aldo Colombini...and, dare I say it, me! (See http://www.paulgordon.net/promovideo.html to see how I work.)

I don't like the magicians who try and make card magic appear as some heaven-sent high-art form. I think us card magicians do card "tricks" and as long as our techniques are good - we really are "selling" our personas. The complete package. In other words, how many so-called technical genius's have you seen that simply bore the pants off you? A lot, I bet! Conversely, there are too many "sloppy" card handlers who think their humour overcomes. Methinknot.

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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 10/24/09 12:27 PM

It's way too easy to offer humor at the expense of those who wish a reputation for being "good with their hands". Nor am I gonna gonna argue with those who need to self justify their wish to show others how they can suck eggs or blow eggs or even those who insist that painting eggs is not a real art form.

I'd simply like to remind folks that the role of a magician is to have people saying that they saw someone actually lay an egg or better yet that they cracked an egg open and hatched a live bird which then flew away.

Any suggestions for suitable teachers?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/24/09 01:47 PM

Having studied extensively under Derek Dingle, Larry Jennings, Brother John Hamman, Gene Maze, and Harry Lorayne (from all of whom I learned an enormous amount), my current studies with David Berglas are among the most rewarding because they're so very different.

One thing that I regret is, when I knew Slydini and spent time with him, that I didn't learn The Helicopter Card. It's a wonderful routine.

And also, I would caution everyone who posts on this thread not to overgeneralize--the bane of all good teaching in magic.

Most people who try to perform Rene Lavand's tricks using his exact presentations don't come off well. That's not to say that no one can do it, but most can't. He isn't "overplaying" when he performs card magic, as anyone who has seen him can attest. He has developed a unique personality and power as a performer that work perfectly for him.

Everyone has to figure out what is right for themselves, and for some a real dramatic or comedic persona works, for lots of other performers it falls flat.

Trial and error, lots of friends helping you who are willing to tell you when you look foolish--that's what you need.
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Postby Jim Martin » 10/24/09 07:46 PM

I was fortunate to see Brother John several times here in St. Louis, and met and watched Harry Lorayne at Tannens.

I never saw live performances of Larry Jennings, Derek Dingle, Slydini, Levand and Gene Maze and many more. For me, one of the true advantages of DVDs (......and I prefer books) is the ability to experience the performer 'in the moment' and get a sense of their persona.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/24/09 09:40 PM

Unfortunately, video seems kinder to magicians who overplay rather than those, like Dingle and Jennings, who underplay. Their charm was great in live close-up performance, but diminished by the camera.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 10/24/09 10:19 PM

I don't know about video but I do know that television is CRUEL to people that overplay. TV is an intimate medium and it behooves a performer to perform in an intimate friendly manner and not shout, scream and act like a lunatic. In English speaking countries anyway. Other countries where the populace are excitable by nature may perhaps have different rules.
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Postby Tom Cauble » 10/25/09 01:01 AM

Richard Kaufman wrote:Everyone has to figure out what is right for themselves...

Sorry for the redundancy--just thought it was worth repeating.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 10/25/09 06:12 AM

There is no rule that cannot be broken as Faucett Ross rightly pointed out. However you should be aware of the rule and know why you are breaking it. And the rule is a very sensible one. Don't overpresent. I think I invented this rule since I have never seen it mentioned anywhere else.

There are indeed exceptions to this rule but I personally have never seen an overpresenting performer that I have ever gotten terribly excited about. No doubt this is because of my inherent quiet and retiring nature.

I mentioned television above. It reminds me of something. I often tell people that my favourite magician is [censored]. However it pains me to confess that it isn't quite true. My favourite magician is a man named David Nixon. He would be hardly known in America even among magicians but in the UK he was a household name. He is somewhat dead at the moment so won't be able to read my fulsome praise of him.

To me he was the best television magician of them all. And he followed my above contention that a television magician should work in an intimate manner. And he followed this dictum to perfection.

I have just found out that a biography of David Nixon has just been published and I am in high and wondrous delight over the matter.

Which reminds me. I wish to state a historical fact for the record. I was the first magician to appear on colour television in Britain. This fact will be mentioned in my upcoming memoirs. Not that I am one to brag of course.

While I am at it I should also mention that I was the second magician ever to perform restaurant magic in the UK. The first was Mick Chardo who eventually became a traffic warden and is now extremely dead. I am merely nearly dead and have ended up on the bloody Genii forum. I am very tempted to entitle my memoirs "My Life Has been a Complete Waste of Time" instead of "The Lives of a Showman"
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 10/25/09 08:38 PM

Still gotta apply Clarke's Second Law to test the applicability of the rule.
Mundus vult decipi
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Postby Carlo Morpurgo » 10/26/09 07:21 AM

Upon reading these messages I am now convinced - here's my list:

1. [censored]
2. [censored]
3. [censored]
4. [censored]
5. [censored]
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 10/26/09 07:48 AM

I must say that Carlo is very astute and I agree with every word he says.
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Postby bobon » 10/29/09 07:02 AM

1.Edward Marlo

2.Ascanio

3.Juan Tamariz

4.Larry Jennings

5.Darwin ortiz
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 10/29/09 07:12 AM

I have seen three people on bobon's list work and I didn't like any of them. I far prefer Carlo's list.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 10/29/09 08:49 AM

Gonna have to pretend the OP did not prefix the word magicians with "card" as I don't want to condone limiting ones studies to the point where they can't do the classics of this craft like the rings, cups and balls...

If Mark would be okay with me doing the NLP interview/modeling process for his audience rapport work - he'd be my first choice.

If Andy Galloway would put up with my harebrained temperment and lack of coordination for toss/catch actions - he'd be second for learning to pace/lead audience attention during a procedure they are supposed to follow.

Third... probably a working bizarrist so I could hang out and watch their shows and see what works and where things need to be refined in the process of getting the audience to buy into mini-dramas ... or perhaps a conman but that's not safe.
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Postby DrDanny » 10/29/09 10:45 AM

Rather than technicians, I would love to spend time with entertainers. Thus I'd pick (in no particular order)
Aldo Colombini
John Carney
Bill Malone (best of both worlds!)
Harry Lorayne
David Regal
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 10/29/09 08:55 PM

I am sorry Jonathon. I do not approve of NLP on the grounds that I consider it to be a load of bunkum. I think the initials are an abbreviation for "NOT a Lot of Plausibility"

Still I can see why you like it. NLP books are full of big words that nobody understand.
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