Discoveries and Deceptions by John Guastaferro

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Postby Tom Frame » 01/28/13 01:48 PM

Discoveries and Deceptions (Book) by John Guastaferro $20.00
Softbound, 6 x 9, 60 pages, 31 photographs
Available at: http://www.magicjohng.com/


Im a fan of John Guastaferros work, so I was quite pleased to receive this nicely produced booklet featuring his latest offerings.

Mr. Guastaferro writes very well and does a fine job of teaching the material. He dutifully provides appropriate credits.

The photographs are clear and helpful.


Blackjack Transpo: The performer displays the face-up Ace and Jack of Spades on top of the face-down deck. A participant holds the open card case.

The performer turns the Ace and Jack face-down onto the deck. He turns the Jack face-up onto the deck, turns it face-down and then he inserts it into the card case. He places the face-down Ace up the participants sleeve.

The participant removes the Ace from the card case and the Jack from her sleeve.


Jack in the box and Ace up your sleeve are nifty, intuitive presentational anchors that ensure that the participant remembers the ostensible location of the cards.

I like it.


M.I.T. Aces: A card is freely selected and lost in the deck. The performer attempts to cut to the participants card. He turns the top card of the deck face-up and its an Ace. He tables it. Two more attempts produce two more Aces, which he tables with the other Ace. He cuts the deck again, turns it face-up and reveals the final Ace on the decks face.

The performer picks up the tabled Aces and places them face-up on top of the Ace on the deck. He turns the Aces face-down onto the deck. He removes the Aces, places them on the table in front of the participant and she covers them with her hand.

The performer turns the deck face-down, cuts it and spreads it on the table. The Aces appear face-up in the spread. The participant lifts her hand and finds a single card. She turns it over and its her selection.


Call me a cowardly doubting Thomas if you must, but I dont believe that one card looks, and more importantly, feels like four cards.

I dont like it.


Book of Clues: Participant #1 selects a card and places it in her pocket, sight unseen. The performer cuts the deck. He states that he will have three other participants cut off small packets of cards. To illustrate the desired size of the packet, he cuts off a packet.

Participant #2 cuts a packet of cards off the top of the deck and tables it face-down. The performer replaces his demonstration packet on top of the deck.

Participant #3 cuts off a packet of cards and tables it face-down. The performer shuffles the deck.

Participant #4 cuts off a packet of cards and tables it face-down.

Each participant removes the top card of her packet and tables it face-down. These cards serve as clues to the identity of the first participants card. The performer places the rest of the cards back in the deck.

Participant #2 peeks at her card and states that its a spot card. Participant #3 peeks at her card and says that its an odd card. Participant #4 peeks at her card and declares that its a black card.

Participants #3 and #4 slide their cards to participant #2, who combines them with her card. She looks at the faces of the cards, without showing them to anyone else. The performer instructs her to analyze the clues and determine the identity of the first participants card.

She passes the packet to participants #3 and #4 who repeat the procedure. The performer retrieves the packet and places it back in the deck.

The performer asks the participants to simultaneously announce their impressions of the first participants card. They shout, The Seven of Clubs. The first participant removes the Seven of Clubs from her pocket.


Ive described Andrew Browns version of Mr. Guastaferros effect. By changing the ending, Mr. Brown has transformed a good effect into a terrific effect! The participants reactions are priceless. His devious method tickles my tummy and makes be coo and purr with delight.

I really like it.


Here, There & in My Pocket: The performer displays his empty pants pocket. He fans the deck toward himself, removes a card and puts it in his pocket.

A participant freely selects a card which is returned to the deck and left out-jogged face-down.

The performer turns the top card of the deck face-up and displays an indifferent card. He pushes the out-jogged selection flush and turns the indifferent card face-down onto the deck. He turns the top card face-up, revealing the selection. He turns it face-down and thumbs it to the table.

The performer spreads the face-down deck, breaks the spread and displays the selection in the center of the deck. He thumbs the selection onto the tabled card.

He turns the deck face-up and reveals the selection on the face. He turns the selection face-down onto the deck, removes it and places it onto the tabled cards. He cuts the deck.

The performer spreads the face-down deck and reveals the selection face-up in the center. He removes it, turns it face-down and uses it to scoop up the tabled cards. He gets rid of the deck.

The performer displays holds four duplicates of the selection. He turns the packet face-down. He turns the packet face-up and reveals that he now holds the four Aces.

He turns the cards face-down in his left hand. He places his right hand into his pocket and removes the four Aces. He turns the single card in his left hand face-up, revealing the selection.

I like it.


X-Factor: The performer riffles the deck and a participant peeks at a card, say the Ace of Spades. She takes the deck and shuffles it. The performer retrieves the deck and hands his business card and a pen to the participant. She writes the name of her selection on the back of the business card.

The performer inserts the deck into the card case. The participant inserts the business card, writing side down, in the middle of the deck.

The performer states that he will use x-ray vision to read what the participant wrote on the business card. He says that he sees two cards, the Queen of Spades and the Four of Hearts, but they arent the participants card. Finally, he successfully reads the business card and correctly announces that the participant wrote the Ace of Spades.

The performer removes the deck from the case and spreads through it until he comes upon the business card. He turns the business card face-up to confirm that his revelation is correct. He turns over the cards on either side of the business card and they are the Queen of Spades and the Four of Hearts.


I like it.


Stock Exchange: The performer shuffles the deck, cuts it in half and places a half in front of two participants. Each participant freely selects a card from her half of the deck and the cards are lost in their respective portions.

Each participant cuts off a small packet of cards from their pile, turns it over and places it on top of the other participants pile. This cut-turn-exchange procedure is repeated twice, with the participants cutting off larger portions each time.

To emphasize the random, face-up/face-down composition of the cards, the performer crosses his arms, cuts packets off of both piles, turns them over, uncrosses his arms and places the packets on the opposite piles.

The participants turn the top cards of their piles face-up and find their selections. They spread their packets and see that all of the cards are now face-down. They spread their packets face-up and discover that all of the red cards have joined the red selection and all of the black cards have joined the black selection.


Ive ranted before and Ill rant again. I detest the Cut Deeper Force because its an unnatural, contrived way to select a card. I dont like the technique as a selection procedure.

The good news is that Mr. Guastaferro applies the technique in his Cut Deeper Exchange, which he uses here as a mixing procedure. I do like this application because, in this context, the technique feels congruent with the task.

I like it.


Match Game: The performer shuffles the deck and dribbles half of it into the participants waiting hand. He and the participant cut off a small packet of cards from their respective portions, turn them over and place them on the other persons portion. They repeat the procedure, cutting deeper this time.

They spread their packets until they reach the first face-down card. They turn the spread cards face-down and place them beneath their packets. They turn the top card of their packets face-up and discover the red Aces. The performer sets them aside.

The performer and participant turn the top card of their packets face-up and find indifferent cards. They turn their cards face-down.

They exchange packets and pick up the red Aces. They wave the Aces over their packets and then table the Aces. They turn the top card of their packets face-up and discover the black Aces.


Here, the author uses his Cut Deeper Exchange as a selection procedure. Rant. Rant.

I dont like it.


Daley Prequel: The performer displays the four Aces, with the Spade at the face and the Club on top. He turns the packet face-down and reverse counts the cards. He turns the top card face-up and displays the Ace of Spades. He turns it face-down onto the packet and then hands it to the participant.

The performer removes the top card and uses it to flip the red Aces face-up in his left hand. He places the face-down Ace of Clubs between the red Aces.

The participant waves her face-down Ace of Spades over the performers cards. He turns over his cards to reveal the Ace of Spades between the red Aces. The participant turns over her card and finds the Ace of Clubs.


This is a nice lead in to Daleys Last Trick.

I like it.


Multi-Mental: A participant shuffles the deck and returns it to the performer. Seven cards are freely selected and lost in the deck.

The performer spreads the deck, removes a card, displays it to the first participant and then holds it face-down. He states that he knows its not her card and he correctly names her selection. He displays the card again and now it is her selection. He cuts it into the deck.

The performer names participant #2s card. He cuts the deck and uses his left thumb to drag her card from the middle of the deck to the top, where it turns face-up. He removes her card and buries it in the center of the deck.

He names participant #3s card. He spreads the deck face-down and her card appears face-up. He turns it face-down and replaces it in the middle of the deck.

The performer names participant #4s card and then causes it to spin out of the deck. He replaces it in the middle of the deck.

He pulls a face-down card partially out of his right pocket. He names the fifth participants card, removes the card and shows that its hers. He places the card on top of the deck and cuts the deck.

The performer names participant #6s card, removes it from his left pocket and displays it. He puts it back in his pocket.

He brings his hands together and collapses the deck, leaving only one card in his hands. It is the seventh selection.


This routine is well constructed, involves a frenzied mob of participants and features great lashings of strong magic.

I really like it.


iContact: The performer borrows a participants cell phone, opens her Contacts application and displays the moving list of names. He turns the phone face-down and the participant swipes her finger up and down on the screen and then stops.

Averting his gaze, the performer displays the screen to the participant and she remembers the name at the top of the list. She retrieves her phone and continues scrolling to randomize the list and prove that the names move freely. The performer correctly announces the selected name.


The author includes this version by Raj Madhok. A participant selects a card which is lost in the deck. The performer opens the Contacts application on his cell phone. He holds his phone face-down and the participant swipes her finger up and down on the screen to randomly select a name. She clicks on the top name of the list and the thumbnail contact photograph depicts her card.


Im unashamed to announce that I dont own a cell phone and I doubt that I ever will. I have no use for one, period. And Im convinced that texting is the Great Destroyer of literacy and intimacy. Dont get me started.

So, Im neither able to nor interested in attempting these phone feats. But if cell phones function in the manner described, the method appears to be sound and the effects should be well received.

I like it, theoretically, if not philosophically.


Zen Bend: The performer holds a plastic straw vertically between his thumb and first finger. With no finger movements, the straw bends in half.


This eerie effect is impromptu and self-contained. You can immediately hand the straw to a participant for examination.

I like it.


John Guastaferros Discoveries and Deceptions contains clever, well constructed, potent magic. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I encourage you to discover these deceptions.


Highly Recommended
Tom Frame
 
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/28/13 03:13 PM

I just met John for the first time at the Columbus Magi-Fest and saw him work: he's very good!
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Postby John G » 01/28/13 04:38 PM

Thanks Tom for the review.
And Richard, it was fantastic to meet you face to face. An honor.

John G
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Postby Ted M » 01/29/13 05:32 PM

Tom, I'm sure I'm not alone in appreciating the time you put into the thorough trick-by-trick evaluations in your reviews.

Thank you!
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